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used for the commentaries upon the Mishna : at other times it includes both : I shall generally use it as distinct from the Mishna, denoting the commentaries upon it, of which there are but two, the Jerusalem and the Babylonian : of all which good accounts may be seen in Wagenseil's preface to his Tela Ignea Satanæ, and in Dr. Wotton's Discourses upon the Traditions of the Scribes and Pharisees, and in many other writings. The most authentic account is that of M. Maimonides, in his preface to the Order of Seeds, which is the first of the six orders into which the whole work is divided; and may be seen in Pocock's Porta Mosis, as it is also prefixed to the first volume of Surenhusius's edition of the Misbna.
The compiler of the Mishna is Rabbi Jehudah Hakkadosch, or the Holy, upon whom the highest commendations are bestowed by Maimonides, a as eminent for humility, temperance, and every branch of piety, as also for learning and eloquence, and likewise for his riches; which are magnified by him and other Jewish writers, beyond all reasonable bounds of probability.
But it may not be amiss for me to give my readers some farther insight into this work, by reciting an article of Dr. Prideaux in his Connexion of the History of the Old and New Testament. He observes how the number of Jewish traditions had increased : •And thus,' says he, it went on • to the middle of the second century after Christ, when An• toninus Pius governed the Roman empire, by which time * they found it necessary to put all these traditions into writing: for they were then grown to so great a number, and enlarged to so huge a heap, as to exceed the possibility of • being any longer preserved by the memory of men. And . therefore there being danger, that under these disadvan' tages they might be all forgotten and lost, for the prevent
ing hereof it was resolved that they should be all collected ' and put into a book; and Rabbi Judah, the son of Simeon,
who, from the reputed sanctity of his life, was called Hak· kadosh, that is, the Holy, and was then rector of the school · which they had at Tiberias in Galilee, undertook the work,
and compiled it in six books, each consisting of several * tracts, which all together make up the number of sixty • three This is the book called the Mishna; which book was forthwith received by the Jews with great veneration throughout all their dispersions, and hath ever since been held in high esteem among them- And therefore, as soon
Ap. Poc. Port. Mosis, p. 35, 36. • The year before Christ 446, p. 326, &c. Vol. i.
as it was published, it became the object of the studies of • all their learned men; and the chiefest of them employed * themselves to make comments upon it: and these with the · Mishna make up both their Talmuds, that is, the Jerusalem • Talmud, and the Babylonish Talmud. These comments
they call the Gemara, that is, the Complement; because • by them the Mishna is fully explained, and the whole tra* ditionary doctrine of their law and their religion complet• ed: for the Mishna is the text, and the Gemara the com* ment; and both together is what they call the Talmud. . That made by the Jews of Judea is called the Jerusalem
Talmud, and that made by the Jews of Babylonia, the Ba* bylovish Talmud. The former was completed about the • year of our Lord 300, and is published in one large folio; • the latter was published about two hundred years after, in • the beginning of the sixth century, and bath had several • editions since the invention of printing : the last published • at Amsterdam, is in twelve folios. And in these two Tale * muds is contained the whole of the Jewish religion that is
now professed among them : but the Babylonish Talmud • is that which they chiefly follow.'
The same learned author again afterwards computes that the Mishna was composed about the one hundred and fiftia eth year of our Lord, the Jerusalem Talmud about the three hundredth year, and the other Talmud about the five hundredth year of our Lord.
And Wagenseil observes, that Rabbi Jehuda was contemporary with Antoninus the pious. Mr. Lampe,e speaking of several of the Jewish rabbins celebrated abont this time, says that R. Jehuda, author of the Mishna, died about the year of Christ 194, or according to others in the year 230.
Dr. Lightfoot [Fall of Jerusalem, sect. vii. vol. i. p. 369.] ] says, that · R. Judah outlived both the Antonines, and Com· modus also.' And afterwards, in the same page : He * compiled the Mishna about the year of Christ 190, in the • latter end of the reign of Commodus; or, as some compute, in the year of Christ 220, and a bundred and fifty years after • the destruction of Jerusalem.'
c Dr. Wotton, as above, p. 22, 23, says: The Jerusalem Talmud wants * the impertinences, and, consequently, the authority of the Babylonish Gemara
-It has little of that hyperbolical and fabulous stuff, for which the other is so highly valued by the modern Talmudists.'
d Rabbi Jehudam, qui Sancti cognomen inter suos meruit, et Antonini Pii Imperatoris æqualis fuit, metus invaserat, ne, ob tantas gentis suæ miserias, et in remotissimis terris deportationes, Oralis Lex plane in hominum animis obliteraretur. Wagens. Pr. p. 55.
e Sed præcipue eminuit R. Jehuda, quem Sanctum nominant, Mishnæ auctor, qui circa annum 194, aut secundum alios 230, obiisse creditur. Lampe, Synops. H. E. P. 111.
I do not take upon me to contest at all what Prideaux says of the times of the two Talmuds: but I must say a few things about the time of the Mishna. I allow that Rabbi Jehudah, the composer of it, was contemporary with Antoninus the pious; though the stories told by the Jewish writers, of the favours shown him by that emperor, must be reckoned partly fabulous. But, allowing him to be contemporary with Antoninus, who died in the year 161, it does not follow that the Mishna was composed so soon as the year of Christ 150. R. Jehudah is supposed to have had a long life; and the compiling of the Mishna, which must have been the work of many years, and much leisure and deliberate thought and consideration, may not have been finished before the year 190, or f later. If therefore I place this work at the year 180, I think I place it soon enough. Besides, it is said that R. Jehuda had several sicknesses, some of long continuance, which are particularly mentioned both in the Jerusalem and the Babylonian Talmud, though with some variations. These must have been obstructions to him in his studies, and must have prolonged the labours of his work. The nature of the work also required time. It is not a speculation which might be spun out of a man's head at once. But it is a collections of traditions from all quarters, and from the contributions of other learned men of the nation, who had treasured
these hitherto unwritten traditions in their memories.
One thing more I may premise here, that h it is the opinion f Talmudici Operis fundamenta hoc seculo jacta, circa A. C. 190. Magistri citius, imperante Antonino Pio. Fred. Spanh. Opp. T. i. p. 687. Vid. et
& Quamobrem, adhibitis in consilium auxiliumque sapientissimis quibusque, sedulo ab iis, quibus licebat, Judæis, voce ac per epistolas sciscitatus est, quænam a parentibus oralis legis scita didicissent, quin et schedas undique conquisivit, quibus hactenus memoriæ causâ traditiones inscriptæ fuerant. Ea omnia, secundum certa doctrinæ capita disposuit, et in unum volumen redegit, cui nomen hoc Mishna, hoc est, devTepwois imposuit. Wagenseil. Pr. p. 55.
h Scilicet, si per Talmud solam Mishnam intelligam, vere affirmavero, nullam in toto Talmude reperiri blasphemiam, nihil christianis adversum, nullam fabulam quoque, imo nec quicquam quod valde a ratione sit alienum. Continet enim meras tantum natporapadocels, et est, ceu diximus, corpus juris judaïci olim non scripti. Rem ita se habere, testem idoneum ac locupletem sistere possumus, virum harum rerum scientissimum, omnique dignum præconio, Josephum de Voisin.--Wagenseil. Præf. p. 57.
Quippe, quod in præfatione hujus voluminis satis dixi, id tamen nunc iterum dico, in universâ Mishna, de Jesu servatore, nec vola nec vestigium ullum apparet, imo ne de christianis quidem, ejus nomen profitentibus. Id in Confut. Toldos Jesehu. p. X. sect. 4.
of divers learned men, well skilled in this part of learning, that in the Mishna, which is a collection of Jewish traditions, there is little or nothing concerning our Saviour or lis followers. I allow also that here are none of those open blasphemies which may be found in some other Jewish writings.
II. I shall now make some extracts out of the Mishna.
1. In the tract concerning fasts are these words: “Five i heavy afflictions have befallen our ancestors on the seventeenth day of the month Tammuz [June] and as many on the ninth day of the month Ab [July:] for on the seventeenth day of Tammuz the tables of the law were broken ; the perpetual sacrifice ceased; the walls of the city were broke open; the law was burnt by Apostemus; and an idol was set up in the temple. On the ninth day of the month Ab, God determined concerning our fathers, that they should not enter into the promised land; the first and second temple was desolated; the city Bither was taken; the holy city was destroyed: for which reason, as soon as the month Ab begins, rejoicings are abated.”k
Quinque res luctuosæ patribus nostris acciderunt die septimo decimo mensis Tammuz [sc. Junii.] totidemque die nono mensis Abh [sc. Julii.] Nam xvii. Tammuz fractæ sunt tabulæ Legis: cessavit juge sacrificium : Urbis mænia perrupta : Lex ab Apostemo combusta, idolumque in templo statutum. Nono autem die mensis Abh, decrevit Deus de patribus nostris, non ingressuros eos in terram promissam : desolatum est templum primum et secundum : capta est urbs Bither : diruta urbs sancta. Unde ex quo mensis Abh incipit, lætitiam imminuunt. Tract. de Jejuniis, c. 4. sect. 7. Pars 2. p. 382. edit Surenh.
k I think it cannot be disagreeable to my readers, if I here transcribe some observations of Dr. Lightfoot, from what he calls a Parergon. Concerning the fall of Jerusalem. Of his works, Vol. i. p. 362, though they are long: . The temple was burnt down, as Josephus a spectator setteth the time,“ • the tenth day of the month Lous." Which he saith was a fatal day to the
temple; for it had been burnt down by the Babylonians before on that day. • De Bell. I. 6. c. vii. And yet his countrymen, who write in the Hebrew
tongne, fix both these fatalities to the ninth day of that month, which they . call the month Ab. And they account that day fatal for three other sad • occurrences besides. « On the ninth day of the month Ab," say they, “ the . decree came out against Israel in the wilderness that they should not enter • into the land. On it was the destruction of the first temple, and on it was
the destruction of the second. On it the great city Bither was taken, where • thousands and ten thousands of Israel, who had a great king over them, [Ben • Cozba,] whom all Israel, even their greatest wise men, thought to have been • Messias. But he fell into the hands of the heathen, and there was great afflic• tion as there was at the destruct.on of the sanctuary. And on that day, a day allotted for vengeance, the wicked Turnus Rufus ploughed up the place of the temple, and the places about it, to accomplish what is said, sliall become a ploughed field.” Talmud. in Taanith. per. 4. halac. 6. • Maimon. in Taanith. per. 5.'
* It is strange, that men of the same nation, and in a thing so signal, and
Who is meant by Apostemus, or Appostemus, is not very material, and therefore I do not inquire. I allege this passage as an early Jewish testimony to the destruction of the holy city, or Jerusalem, and the second temple, as it is here called.
2. In the tract concerning the woman suspected of adulte y, are these words : When the war of Vespasian began, the coronets and bells of bridegrooms were forbidden by a public decree. When the war of Titus began, the coronets of brides were forbidden, and that no man should educate bis son in great learning. Because of the final issue of that war every bride was forbidden to come abroad under an umbrella. Nevertheless, our masters have [since] thought fit to allow of it.'
of which both parties were spectators, should be at such a difference: and
et not a difference neither, if we take Josephus's report of the whole story, • and the other Jews' construction of the time. He records that the cloisterwalks, commonly called the Porticoes of the temple, were fired on the eighth day, and were burning on the ninth : but that day Titus called a council of
war, and carried it by three voices, that the temple should be spared. But a * new bustling of the Jews caused it to be fired, though against his will on the
next day. Joseph. ubi supr. c. 22, 23, 24. Now their Kalendar reckons * from the middle day of the three, that fire was at it as from a centre. And
they state the time thus: “It was the time of the evening when fire was put • to the temple, and it burnt till the going down of the sun of the next day And behold what Rabban Jochanan Benzaccai saith : If I had not been in
that generation, I should not have pitched it upon any other day but the * tenth, because the most of the temple was burnt that day. And in the Jern
salem Talmud it is related that Rabbi and Joshua Ben Levi fasted for it the * ninth and tenth days both." Gloss. in Maim. in Taanith. per. 8.'
. Such another discrepancy about the time of the firing of the first temple by Nebuchadnezzar, may be observed in 2 Kings xxv. 8, 9, where it is said • that “ in the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month, came Nebuzara . . dan, captain of the guard, and burnt the house of the Lord :" and yet in Jer. • lii. 12, it is said to have been “ in the fifth month, on the tenth day of the • month.” Which the Gemarists in the Babylon Talmud reconcile thus: • " It cannot be said on the seventh day, because it is said on the tenth. Nor
can it be said on the tenth, because it is said on the seventh. How is it then? * On the seventh day the aliens came into the temple and ate there, and defiled
it the seventh, eighth, and ninth days. And that day, towards night, they * set it on fire, and it burnt all the tenth day, as was the case also with the * second temple." Taanith. fol. 29.'
• The ninth and tenth days of the month Ab, on which the temple was • burnt down, was about the two and three-and-twentieth days of our July. • And the city was taken and sacked the eighth day of September following. · Joseph. supr. c. 47.' So Lightfoot.
| Orto bello Vespasiani, decreto publico abrogatæ sunt coronæ sponsorum et tympana.
na. Orto bello Titi, cautum est de coronis sponsarum, et ne quis filium in Græcanicis erudiret. Propter postremum belli impetum, prohibebatur sponsa in publicum prodire sub uranisco. Sed magistris nostris visum est, facultatem ejus rei indulgere. Tractat. de Uxore Adulterii suspectâ, num 14. P. 3. p. 304. Edit. Surenh.