The metaphysical and religious doctrine which we have gathered from the Zohar has undoubtedly a more intimate resemblance to the so-called Neoplatonic philosophy than to pure Platonism. But before pointing out what is common to both, are we justified in the conclusion that the first of these two systems is necessarily a copy of the other? One word would suffice for the solution of this question were we content with a superficial criticism; for we would have no trouble to establish--and we did establish in the first part of this book--that the secret doctrine of the Hebrews existed long before Ammonius Saccas, 1 Plotinus 2 and Porphyrius 3 changed the aspect of philosophy. But compelled by weighty reasons, we would rather admit that it took the Kabbalah several centuries to develop and establish itself in its definite state. The supposition that the Kabbalah borrowed a great deal from the Pagan school of Alexandria remained since then in full force, and merits therefore our serious consideration; especially so when we bear in mind that after the revolution brought about in the Orient by the Macedonian armies many Jews adopted the language and the civilization of their conquerors.
We must start from the already proven fact (See Part One)--a fact that will show itself still clearer as we go along--that the Kabbalah came to us from Palestine, as attested by its close connection with the rabbinical institutions. For the Jews of Alexandria spoke Greek, and in no case would they have made use of the popular and corrupt idiom of the Holy Land. Now, what relations do we meet with between these countries and the civilizations they represent, from the time the Neoplatonic school made its appearance until the middle of the fourth century, a period during which Judea witnessed the dying of its last schools, of its last patriarchs, and of the last sparks of its intellectual and religious life? 4 Had the Pagan philosophy penetrated the Holy Land during this lapse of time, it would naturally imply the intervention of the Alexandrian Jews, to whom during a course of several centuries the principal monuments of the Greek civilization were as familiar as the holy books, a fact borne out by the Septuagint and the example of Aristobulus.
But the Alexandrian Jews had so little communication with their Palestinian brethren that they completely ignored the rabbinical institutions which played such a great role with the latter, and which, for more than two centuries before the common era, were already deeply rooted in them. 5 When the works of Philo, the book of Wisdom, and the last book of the Maccabees, both of which flowed from an Alexandrian pen, are scrutinized carefully, we find no mention there of any of the names which stand in Judea for the most sacred authority, as that of the high priest Simon the Just, the last representative of the Great Synagogue, 6 and those of the tannaim who succeeded him in
veneration by the people. We never find there even an allusion to the famous disputes of Hillel and Shammai, 7 nor to the different customs which were collected later in the Mishnah, and which attained legal power. In his work "Life of Moses," 8 Philo does mention an oral tradition which has been preserved by the Elders of Israel, and which was usually studied with the text of the Scriptures. But this tradition, even if not accidentally invented to interweave at pleasure fables in the life of the Hebrew prophets, has nothing in common with the traditions which form the basis of the rabbinical cult. It reminds us of the Midrashim, or those popular, unauthoritative legends which abound in Judaism at every epoch of its history.
The Palestinian Jews, again, were no better informed of what happened with their scattered brethren in Egypt. They knew only from hearsay the pretended version of the Septuagint which dates from a much earlier epoch than the one holding our attention at present. They eagerly accepted the fable of Aristeas 9 which harmonized so well with their national self-love and with their inclination to the marvelous. 10 Not a word is found in
the Mishnah and in the two Gemaras which would be applicable either to the philosopher Aristobulus, to Philo, or to the author of the apocryphal books mentioned before. Still more surprising is the fact that the Talmud never mentions either the Therapeutae, 11 or even the Essenes, 12, 13 although the latter were already well
established in the Holy Land during the life of the historian Josephus. Such silence can be explained only by the origin of these two sects and by the language they employed for the trans-mission of their doctrines. Both were brought forth in Egypt, and probably kept up the use of the Greek language, even upon the soil of their religious fatherland. The silence of the Talmud, especially with regard to the Essenes, would otherwise be still more unexplainable; for, according to Josephus, these sects were known already during the reign, of Jonatas Maccabeus, one hundred and fifty years before the Christian era. 14
Can we possibly believe that the Jews of Palestine knew much more of what was going on in the Pagan schools, equally distant, while they were so ignorant of matters pertaining to their own brethren some of whom they could justly have been proud of? We have already said that they held the Greek language in high esteem; but were they sufficiently familiar with it to enable them to follow the philosophic trend of their time? We are perfectly justified in doubting this. For, above all, we find neither trace nor mention in either Talmud 15 or Zohar of any monument
of the Greek civilization. How, then, is it possible to understand a language when the works it produced are not known? Then again, we learn from Josephus himself, 16 who was born in Palestine, and who spent most of his life there, that this famous historian required help for the writing, or rather, for the translating of his works into Greek. At another place in his works 17 he expresses himself still more explicitly on this subject, applying in general to his compatriots what he says of himself; he then adds that the study of languages is looked upon in his country as a profane occupation, worthy rather of slaves than of free people; and that, finally, only those are held there in great esteem and called savants who are very highly proficient in the knowledge of the religious laws of the Holy Scriptures.
And yet Josephus belonged to one of the most distinguished families. Of royal blood and of priestly rank, no one was more fit to be initiated in all the knowledge of the land, in the religious knowledge as well as in that which prepares one of noble birth for a political life. In devoting himself to the profane studies, the author of the "Jewish Antiquities" and of the "Jewish War" was not subject to the same scruples as his compatriots who remained true to their country and to their belief. 18
Admitting even that the Greek language was much more cultivated in Palestine than we are justified in thinking, we are still far from drawing any conclusion therefrom upon the influence of the Alexandrian philosophy; for the Talmud makes a clear distinction between the Greek language and, what it calls the Greek science, 19 חכמת יונות לחוד לשון יונית לחיד (Greek science for itself, Greek language for itself); as much as the first was
respected and honored, so much was the latter execrated. The Mishnah which, as a collection of legal decisions, expresses itself very concisely, confines itself to prohibiting the bringing up of children in Greek learning; it adds, however, that this interdiction was carried out during the war with Titus. 20 The Gemara, though, is more explicit, and sets that interdiction at an earlier date. "The following," it says, "has been taught us by our masters: During the war which raged between the Hasmonian princes, Hyrcanus laid siege to Jerusalem, and Aristobulus was the besieged. 21. 22 A chest full of coins was lowered every day along the outer wall, and in exchange thereof the animals required for sacrifices were sent up. 23 Now, in the camp of the besieger there was an old man who was at home in the Greek learning. He said: As long as your enemies are having the means to hold divine service, they will not fall into your hands. When on the following day the chest full of coin was lowered as usual, a pig was sent up instead of the sacrificial animal. When half way up the rampart, the unclean animal dug its nails into the wall and the land of Israel trembled four hundred parasangs (Persian miles) around. At that time the following curse was pronounced:
[paragraph continues] Cursed be he who raises pigs; cursed be he who imparts Greek learning to his children." 24
Barring the fabulous and ridiculous account of the earthquake, this account is valuable for the critic. The gist is apparently true, for it is also found in Josephus. (Jewish Antiquities, Vol. XIV, ch. 3.) According to him Hyrcanus' men promised to give to the besieged sacrificial animals at one drachma per head, but when the money was delivered they refused to send the animals. This was considered by the Jews as doubly odious; for, according to Josephus, it violated not only the sworn trust in man, but it struck in some way God Himself. When we add to it the very probable new circumstance that the priests saw coming into the holy place an animal so utterly disgusting to them instead of the impatiently expected sacrifice, we can see the measure of blasphemy and perjury overflowing. Now then, who was responsible for such a crime? Where are we to look for the first impulse? Surely with those who neglected the Law of God for the wisdom of other nations. Whether or not this accusation be well founded, is of little importance; whether the anathema, justified or caused by that accusation, was pronounced during the Hasmonean war or during the war of Titus, is of still less importance to us. What does interest us, though, and what seems to us also beyond doubt, is the fact that Greek learning was looked upon in Palestine as a source of impiety, and constituted in itself a double sacrilege, no matter what degree it attained there. No sympathy, no alliance, therefore, could take place between those who were suspected of it and the founders and keepers of rabbinical orthodoxy.
In the name of Rabbi Judah, who heard from an older teacher Samuel, the Talmud really gives us the following words of Simon, the son of Gamaliel, who played such a beautiful part in the Acts of the Apostles: There were a thousand children in the home of my father; five hundred studied the Law, and five hundred
were instructed in Greek learning. Today only myself here and the son of my father's 25 brother in Asia 26 remain. To this objection the Gemara responds with: An exception is made with the family of Gamaliel because it was close to the royal court. 27 Let us note, besides, that the entire passage is far from offering the same character as the previous one; we do not deal here with a general tradition, 28 but with a simple hearsay of an individual witness who is already far removed from the source. 29 Gamaliel's character, as pictured by tradition, is best distinguished from that of the other teachers of the Law by his very attachment to the orthodox wing of Judaism and by the general respect he inspired (νομοδιδάσκαλος τίμιοσ παντὶ τῷ λαῷ). 30
It will be seen that such sentiments are not easily compatible with the accusation of impiety made against the Hellenists. 31 What is more, this patriarch of the synagogue, quite aged already at the time of the apostles, had been dead a long time when the school of Alexandria was founded. Finally, since the house of Gamaliel was an exception, the fact, whatever it may be, should have disappeared with the cause, and we really do not find later the least trace of it. Offsetting this obscure and uncertain text,
we find another text which is in perfect accord with the strict terms of the Mishnah. "Ben Domah asked his uncle Rabbi Ismael: Having studied all of the Law may I also study Greek science? The teacher cited the following verse to him: The hook of the Law shall not quit thy mouth; and thou shalt ponder over it day and night. Now then, he added, find an hour which is neither day nor night, and I shall permit you to devote it to the study of Greek science." 32
The hypothesis that the Alexandrian philosophy found disciples among the teachers of Judea is totally overthrown by the passages previously quoted (and we do not know of any other) which justify our opinion that they did not even know the word "philosophy." 33
Indeed, how can that old man who advised Hyrcanus to use against the enemy the exigencies of the cult--his own cult--be considered a philosopher! Such a policy would be worthy rather of a Machiavelli! How can philosophy be counted among the attainments necessary for the admission to the court of Herod! When we consult the oldest and most celebrated commentator, R. Solomon bar Isaac, 34 (Rashi--רש״י), 35 our opinion is confirmed. "By Greek science," he says, "the Talmud understands a scholastic language spoken by the courtiers and not understood
by the people in general." 36 This explanation, although very sensible, is perhaps a little narrow; but, to be sure, the doubtful expression to which it refers can not designate 37 anything but a certain general culture, or rather, a certain intellectual liberty brought about by the influence of Greek literature.
While the religious traditions of the Jews show such hatred towards any wisdom coming from the Greeks, it is evident from the following passage with what enthusiasm, with what adoration
and with what superstitious fear they speak of the Kabbalah: "Our teacher 38 Yohanan Ben Zakkai 39 once took to the road, mounted on an ass and accompanied by Rabbi Eleazar Ben Arak. The latter asked Ben Zakkai to teach him a chapter of the Merkaba. Did I not tell you, answered our teacher, that it is forbidden to expound the Merkaba even to one person unless he be wise and can deduce wisdom of his own accord? 40 Then
permit me at least, replied Eleazar, to repeat in your presence what you taught me of this science. Very well, speak, replied again our teacher; and thus saying he alighted from the ass, covered his head and sat upon a stone in the shade of an olive tree. . . . Eleazar, son of Arak, had hardly begun to speak of the Merkaba, when a fire descended from heaven and enveloped all the trees of the field, which seemed to sing hymns, and from the fire there was heard the voice of an angel who expressed his joy at listening to these secrets. . . . " 41 Later on, when two other teachers attempted to imitate the example of Eleazar, they were struck by miracles of no less astonishing a character. Dark clouds suddenly covered the sky, a rainbow-like meteor dazzled on the horizon, and the angels were seen hastening to listen, like a curious crowd gathering to witness a wedding march. 42 Is it still possible to think, after reading these lines, that the Kabbalah is but a ray pilfered from the sun of Alexandrian Philosophy?
However, we can not help acknowledging that there exist certain resemblances between the Kabbalah and the Neoplatonism of Alexandria which are impossible to account for except by a common origin; and this origin, perhaps, we shall have to look for elsewhere than in Judea and Greece. We need not point out here that the school of Ammonius, like the school of Simeon ben Yohai, also shrouded itself in mystery, and also resolved never to divulge the secrets of its doctrines (Porphyrius, Life of Plotinus); that through the medium of their last disciples, at least, they too passed themselves for the inheritors of an ancient and mysterious tradition which emanated, necessarily, from a divine source; 43 that they knew and applied in the same manner allegorical interpretations; 44 and, finally, that they put the pretentious enlightenment of enthusiasm and faith above reason. 45 These then are the claims common to all kinds of mysticism. We shall not dwell upon them and delay thereby our getting sooner to the following, more important points.
1. God is to Plotinus and his disciples, as well as to the adepts of the Kabbalah, the immanent cause of the substantial origin of things. Everything comes from Him, and everything returns to Him. He is the beginning and the end of all that is. 46 He is, as Porphyrius says, everywhere and nowhere. He
is everywhere, because all beings are in Him and through Him; He is nowhere, for He is neither in any particular existence, nor in the sum of all existences 47 He is so far from being the union of all individual existences, that he is even, says Plotinus, above existence, in which he sees but one of His manifestations. If He is superior to existence, He is equally superior to intelligence which, emanating necessarily from Him, can not reach Him. Then again, although He is generally called the Unity (τὸ ἕν), or the First, it would be. more appropriate to give Him no name at all, for there is no name that can express His essence; He is the Ineffable, the Unknown (ἄρρητος, ἄγνωστος). 48 This is exactly the status of the Ayn Sof which is always called by the Zohar the Unknown of the Unknown, the Mystery of Mysteries, and which is placed by it far above the Sefiroth, even above those which represent existence in the highest degree of abstraction.
2. According to the Alexandrian Platonics, God can be conceived only in the form of a trinity. There is first a general trinity that is composed of the following three expressions which have been borrowed from the language of Plato: the Unity or the Good (τὸ ἕν, τὸ ἀγαθόν), the Intelligence and the Soul of the world (ψυχὴ τοῦ παντός, τῶν ὅλων) or the Demiurge. 49 But each of these three expressions gives birth to a particular trinity. The Good or the Unity, in its relations to the beings, is at the same time the principle of all love, or the object of universal desire (ἐφερτόν), the fulness of power and possession (ἱκανόν), and, finally, the highest perfection (τέλειον). As the possessor of the fulness of power, God tends to manifest Himself outwardly, to become the creating cause; as the object of love and desire, He attracts to Him all that is, and becomes
the final cause; and as the type of highest perfection, He changes these arrangements into an efficient virtue, the beginning and end of all existence. 50 This first trinity is called the goodness itself (τριὰς ἀγαθοειδής) Next follows the intelligible trinity (τριὰς νοητὴ) or divine wisdom, in whose bosom rest and unite, in its most perfect identity, existence, truth and intelligible truth, that is to say, the thinking object, the object thought of and the thought itself. 51, 52 Finally, the soul of the world, or the Demiurge, may also be considered a trinity--the demiurgic trinity (τριὰς δημιουργική). It includes the universal substance or the universal power which acts in all nature, the motion or generation of beings, and their return to the bosom of the substance that produced them." 53
These three aspects of nature may be replaced by three others which represent in a symbolic manner as many Olympic deities: Jupiter is the universal Demiurge of the souls and bodies, 54 Neptune reigns over the souls and Pluto over the bodies. These three particular trinities, which blend and lose themselves in some way in a general trinity, do not differ much from the classification of the divine attributes as represented in the Zohar. For we must not forget that all the Sefiroth are divided into three categories which, in their totality, also form a general and indivisible trinity. The first three bear a purely intellectual character, those following bear a moral character, and the last relate to God as beheld in nature.
3. In the same manner the generation of beings, or the
manifestation of God's attributes, is shown by the two systems we are comparing. As we have said before, the doctrine of Plotinus and Proclus teaches that the intelligence is the very essence of the being, and that the being and the intelligence are absolutely identical in the bosom of unity. It therefore follows that all existences of which the world is composed, and all the aspects under which we may consider them, are but the development of the absolute thought, or a kind of a creative dialectic which produces simultaneously light, reality and life 55 For nothing ever separates itself absolutely from the principle or from the highest unity which is always immutable and self-resembling. It includes all the beings and all the forces which we distinguish in the world.
In the lower degrees, finally, the multiplicity and number extends infinitely; 56 but the intelligible essence of things gradually weakens at the same time, until it sinks to a mere negation. In this state it becomes matter, which is called by Porphyrius 57 "the absence of all existence" (ἔλλειψις παντὸς τοῦ ὄντος), or true No-Thing (ἀληθινὸν μὴ ὃν--Non-Ens), and more poetically represented by Plotinus as the image of shadows which limit our knowledge, and which are given an intelligible form by our soul's reflection therein. 58 Let us recall two remarkable passages in the Zohar where thought, united at first with the being in perfect identity, successively produces all creatures and all divine attributes by continually causing its self-consciousness to change and become more distinct. The elements themselves--I mean the material
elements and the different conditions which we observe in space--are among the things which it eternally produces from its own bosom. (See Part II, near end.) All the metaphors, therefore, which represent the supreme principle of things as a source of light which emanates, inexhaustibly and eternally, rays of light that reveal its presence in all conditions of infinity, are not always to be taken literally, whether met with in the Hebrew or in the Alexandrian doctrine. Light, says Proclus expressly, (Theol. Secund. Plato, liv. II, ch. 4) is here nothing else but the intelligence or the participation of divine intelligence (οὐδὲν ἄλλο ἐστὶ τὸ φῶς ἢ μετοισία τῆς Θείας ὑπάρξεως). The inexhaustible source from which it flows unceasingly, is the absolute unity which unites in its bosom the being and the thought. 59 It would be useless to repeat here, for the sake of the Neoplatonic. school, all we have said in the analysis of the Zohar about the human soul and its union with God through faith and love. All mystic systems necessarily agree on this point; for it may be regarded as the basis, the very foundation of mysticism. We shall now choose this hasty parallel by asking whether it is really possible to explain such deep and continuous resemblances in a train of thought, which is hardly accessible to most intelligences, by the identity of human faculties, or by the general laws of thought? On the other hand, we believe to have sufficiently demonstrated that the teachers of Palestine could not have drawn from the Greek civilization, a civilization so accursed and so anathematized by them, a science of greater importance even than the study of the Law. With due respect to the critic, we can not even admit that the Greek philosophers could have made profitable use of the Jewish tradition. For, while Numenius and Longinus speak of Moses; while the author of the "Egyptian Mysteries," 60
whoever he may have been, admits angels and archangels into his theological system, it is probably because of the version of the Septuagint, or because of the relations that exist between these three philosophers and the Hellenistic Jews of Egypt. It would be absurd to draw the conclusion that they were initiated in the formidable mysteries of the Merkaba.
We are, therefore, to inquire yet whether there exists an older doctrine from which, unknown to each other, both the Kabbalistic system as well as the so-called Alexandrian Platonism, sprang. There is no need of leaving the capital of the Ptolemies for this purpose; for right in the bosom of the Jewish nation we find a man who may be judged in different ways, it is true, but who always enjoys splendid fame 61 A man, who is generally looked upon by the historians of philosophy as the true founder of the Alexandrian school, while by some critics and by most of the modern historians of Judaism he is considered the inventor of Hebrew Mysticism. This man is--Philo. It is, then, his system, as far as there may be one, that we shall now make the object of our investigation, and endeavor to discover in his opinions and in his numerous writings the first traces of the Kabbalah. I say "Kabbalah" only, for the relations of Philo to the Pagan philosophical schools which have been founded after him, will become apparent of themselves. Besides, no matter how worthy of interest the origin of this philosophy may be in the present work, it need but be of secondary consideration.
220:1 Ammonius Saccas (sack-carrier). Greek philosopher and founder of the Neoplatonic school, (243 C. E.)--Transl.
220:2 Greek philosopher, founder of the Neoplatonic system of philosophy, (c. 205-270 C. E.).--Transl.
220:3 Greek philosopher of the Neoplatonic school, (233-305).--Transl.
221:4 See Yost, History of the Jews, vol. IV, Book XIV, ch. VIII; and in the General History of the People of Israel, by the same author, vol. II, ch. V.
221:5 We adopt the chronology of Yost, just because it is so strict, that is to say, it diminishes as much as possible the antiquity attributed by the Jewish historians to their religious traditions.
221:6 שמעין הצריק היה משירי בנסת הנדולה., Abot, 1, 2. (Simon the Just was of the remnant of the Great Synagogue).--Jellinek
222:7 These two great leaders in the Mishnah flourished from 78 to 44-B. C. They therefore lived before Philo.
222:8 De vita Mosis, liv. I, init.; liv. II, p. 81, ed. Mangey. These are the words of Philo. Μαθὼν ἀυτὰ καὶ ἐκ βίβλων τῶν ἱερῶν . . . καὶ παρὰ τινῶν ἀπὸ τοῦ ἔθνους πρεσβυτέρων. Τὰ γὰρ λεγόμενα τοίς ἀναγινωσχομένοις ἀεὶ συνύφαιον.
222:9 The author probably means the "Letter of Aristeas" where the story of the Septuagint is told.--Transl.
222:10 Tractat Megillah, fol. 9. This passage clearly shows not only that the authors of the Talmud did not know the Septuagint (there were supposed to be seventy-two translators), but that, on account of their ignorance of the Greek language and literature, they could not possibly have known it. Indeed, in enumerating the changes made in the text of the Pentateuch by the seventy-two Elders who were especially inspired by the Holy Spirit for that purpose, they point out ten places, some of which never existed, some of which not the least trace had been found, and the most of which are either ridiculous or impossible. Thus, to cite only two examples, they contend that it was necessary to change the first three words of Genesis; that instead of Bereshith Bara Elohim (in the beginning God created), we read Elohim Bara Bereshith (God created in the beginning); for, they said, had the original arrangement p. 223 been retained, king Ptolemy would have believed that there existed a higher principle than God, and that this principle was Bereshith.
But I fail to see how such a misapprehension can possibly occur in a Greek translation, whether the two words ἐν ἀρχῇ be placed at the beginning or at the end. And who would take these two words as the name of the divinity? As to the Hebrew word Bereshith, why should it at all be preserved in any translation? In the passage in Leviticus (XI, 6), where Moses forbids the use of the hare, they introduce (always in the name of the Seventy) a still more ridiculous variant. They say that the Hebrew name of the forbidden animal (ארנבת--Arnebeth) was the same as that of Ptolemy's wife, and that the king be not shocked by linking his wife's name with an impure thought, the following paraphrase was used: that which is nimble of foot (צעירת הרנלים ). They possibly meant to designate here the family of the Lagidia (hares). But, in any case, it is impossible to endure any longer this ignorance of history and of Greek literature. What concerns the paraphrase spoken of above, this is entirely imaginary.
223:11 A Jewish ascetic sect that originated in Egypt during the first century.--Transl.
223:12 Asarya de Rosi, a critic of the sixteenth century (not fifteenth, as given by the author.--Jellinek) vainly maintains that the Baythusims, so often mentioned in the Talmud, can be no other than the Essenes. The proof he offers is too shallow to deserve the least consideration. * He thinks that the name Baythusim, ביתוסים, is a corruption of the word which expresses in Hebrew the sect of the Essenes, בית אוסים (Beth Uhsim). Yet, relying upon such a basis, a modern learned critic accepted the identity of these two religious sects. See Gefroerer, Critical History of Primitive Christianity, Part II, p. 346, 347.
223:* That the Talmud knows and thinks of the Essenes has nee., proven by Rapaport, the father of modern Jewish criticism, in his biography of the religious poet (Paytan--פיטן) Kaliri, Note. 20. a They are mentioned in the Talmud (Berakoth 9b) under the name of קהלה קדישא דבי-ושלים "holy congregation of Jerusalem" and ותיקין (ἠθικοὶ) "moral pious." Compare also "Orient," year 1840, col. 604. Year 1842, col. 440.--Jellinek
223:a Of the same opinion is Dr. Lippe, an erudite and deep talmudic scholar, who says in the introduction to his "Das Evangelium Matthaei vor dem Forum der Bibel and des Talmud" (The Gospel according to Matthew before the Tribunal of Bible and Talmud, translated by me): It (the sect of the Essenes) is met with in the Talmud under different names, depending upon the various peculiarities and occupations in which its members appeared among the people. They are called "Morning Baptizers" (Haemerobaptists--מובלי שהר), because of their p. 224 custom of bathing in the Jordan every morning; the Chaste (צנועים) "Men of Pure Thought" (נקיי הדעת); "The Silent Ones" (חשאים); "The Healers" (עסיים).--Transl.
223:13 Hirsh Hayes thoroughly disposed of this proposition of de Rossi in Fuerst's "Orient" 1840, col. 603.--Jellinek
224:14 Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book XII, ch. 9. Josephus does not state that the Essenes were established in Palestine at that time.
224:15 This is disputable on many points. Besides the great number of Greek words adopted by the Talmud, I want also to point out that the Mishnah knew already of Homer. In Tract Yodahyim we read: ספרי המירום אינה מממאין את הידים "The books of Homer do not defile the hands."
Again, in the Jerusalem Talmud, Tract, Sanhedrin, fol. 28a; ד׳ עקיבע אומר אף הקורא במפרים ההיצונים כגון ספרי בן סידא וספרי בן
לצנא, אבל ספרי המירום יבא הספרים שנכתבו מיבן ואילך הקורא בהן כקורא באיגרת "Rabbi Akiba says: Even those who read the irreligious books of Ben Laon (forfeit the future life); but he who reads the books of Homer and other similar books, is considered as though reading a letter." That המירום is identical with Homer is admitted by R. Benjamin Musafia. Compare the talmudical dictionary Aruch under מרים, and Musafia's commentary of it. See also אור אסתר by S. and M. Bondi (Bessau, 1812), under המירום--Jellinek
225:16 Josephus against Appion, I, 9.
Χρησθάμενος τισὶ πρὸς τὴν Ἑλληνίδα
φωνὴν συνεργοῖς οὕτως ἐποιήσαμεν τῶν πράξεων τὴν παράδωσιν.
225:17 Jewish Antiquities, lib. XX, IX, at the end of the book.
225:18 Josephus' character is appreciated in a very interesting thesis defended recently (1843) in the Faculty of Sciences at Paris by Philarete Chasles: "On the Historical Authority of Flavius Josephus."
225:19 Tract. Sotah fol. 49b at end.
226:20 Ib. supr. כסולמום של טיטום גזרו שלא ילמד אדם את כנו חכמת יוונית. (In the army of Titus it was forbidden to teach children Greek science).
226:21 Attention to this discrepancy between the Gemara and the Mishnah is directed also in the Tosafoth (Appendices to the Talmud), Baba Kamah, fol. 82. It is the result of the vague historical knowledge of the Gemarists. Compare also my succeeding note.--Jellinek
226:22 In the Talmud it really reads: היה הורקנום מבפנים ואדיסטובולום "Hyrcanus was within (therefore, the besieged) and Aristobulus without (the besieger)"; but the Talmud, not always exact in matters of historical data, refers here to the first fraternal struggle (60 B. C.) which does not correspond with the alleged passage in Josephus. Following Josephus, therefore, I retained the translation of the author; although the event, according to the Talmud, would date back still further.--Jellinek
226:23 The author's translation "une caise remplie d’argent" does not correspond exactly with the text a: הין משלשלין להם בקופה דינרין--Jellinek
226:a The mistake is a trifling one. Should read "basket of money." קופה means basket and not case.--Transl.
227:24 Ib. supr. This Gemara follows immediately the Mishnah quoted in the previous note.
228:25 In the first edition the author had "Le fils de mon frère," which Dr. Jellinek noted as incorrect. In the last edition the author took note of Dr. Jellinek's correction, but still failed to give the correct translation of the text. He says "Le fils du frère de mon frère," which certainly has no meaning. Possibly the printer's devil slipped in here, and instead of the last "frère" it should read here "père." I followed Jellinek's translation which is the correct one. I only wish to add here that the last word in this quotation, the word "באסיא", means "of Asia," or perhaps "Essa," the name of a place. (See Dr. Kohut's Aruch).--Transl.
228:26 אמר רב יהודה אמר שמואל משום רשב׳ג אלף ילדים היו בבית אבא המש מאות למדו תורה וחמש מאות למדו יוונית ולא נשתייד מהם אלא אני כאן ובו אהי אבא באסיא.
228:27 Ib. Supr. שאני של בית ד׳ג שתין קרובים למלכות.
228:28 By "general tradition" is meant the "תנו רבנן"our Rabbis have taught."--Transl.
228:29 This testimony is not to be distrusted. Granted that the number is exaggerated; the fact, as corroborated by the exact names given, still remains true.--Jellinek
228:30 This is the very expression used by the Gospel, Acts, V. 34--39.
228:31 Yost, History of the Jews. vol. III, p. 170 ff.
229:32 צא וברוק שעה שאינת לא יום ולא לילה ולמיד בה הכמת יוונית.--Tract. Menachoth, fol. 99b.
229:33 The word "philosopher" (פילוסופום φιλόσοφος) is met with several times in Tractat Sabbath, fol. 116a, Aboda Zora, fol. 54b. In the last place a conversation between a philosopher and Gamaliel II is even quoted. Still, it does not interfere with the investigation of the author; on the contrary, these passages prove that to them philosophy was a source of impiety.--Jellinek
229:34 The most famous commentator of Bible and Talmud. Born at Troyes, France, in 1049, died 1105.--Transl.
229:35 In this and similar cases, Rashi is not an important authority; for he did not understand Greek. Generally speaking, Rashi may be made better use of for the Halakah of the Talmud. To Aboda Zora, 54b, for example, Rashi comments the word פילוסופין with חכמי האומות "Pagan savants," and the Tosafoth only say (Sabbath, fol. 116a) that they had heard from a Jew who came from Greece that the Greek meaning of the word פילוסלפום is "Friend of Wisdom."--Jellinek
230:36 לשון חכמה שמדברים בני פלטין ואין שאר העם מכירין בו. Rashi, commentary to the words חכמת יוונית in the quoted passage. Maimonides, in his commentary to the Mishnah, expresses himself on the same subject as follows: "By the Greek science we understand the signs--found in all languages--which digress from the right path, as the allegories a and riddles." הרמוים שהם בלשונות שנוטים מדרך הישרה כמו הרמוים והתידות. "No doubt," he adds, "the Greeks had a similar language, although no trace of it is left with us." This opinion is utterly ridiculous, and does not deserve further consideration. We maintain the same of Gefroerer's opinion (critical History of Primitive Christianity, Vol. II, p. 352). Depending upon Maimonides' words, the German critic believes that, according to the Talmudists, the Greek learning was only a symbolic interpretation of the Scriptures by the Alexandrian Jews, and he comes to the conclusion that the mystic ideas of Palestine were borrowed from Egypt. But where can we find the least connection between these ideas and the advice given to Hyrcanus, or the customs prevailing at the court of Herod?
230:a Dr. Jellinek objects to the author's rendition of רמוים with "enigmas," as well as to Gefroerer's translation by «ἀλληγορίαι» (allegories). He thinks that the fundamental meaning of the word is "Andeutungen" (hints, allusions, suggestions). According to the Aruch of Kohut, the word רמן means "to wink" (with the eye), or "to nod," and he gives many examples in support of his opinion. It amounts, after all, to the same thing. An allegory is nothing else but "a description of one thing under the image of another, spoken so as to imply something else." (Twentieth Century Dictionary), or to hint or wink at something.--Transl.
230:37 To find out the real meaning of the words חכמת יוונית we must go back to the development of this expression. Just as the Greek word «σοφία» (Sophia) was originally used to express dexterity in corporeal art (Homer, II, 15, 42). and later to express political wisdom, so is the Hebrew word חכמה (Hakmah) used in the latter sense. The Jews express by חכמה what the Greeks express by σοφία. Now, then, as politics and political wisdom are part of σοφία, the Jews, therefore, understand by חכמת יוונית--politics, and for this reason also the special designation יוונית. This conception of חכמת יוונית will cast much light on the quoted passage of the Talmud. Compare also further on about the conception of חכמה--Jellinek
231:38 We thus translate the word רבן (Rabban) not because it is a higher title than that of רבי (Rabbi), but because it is probably an abbreviation of the word רבנו (rabbenu) which literally means "our teacher;" "rabbi" means "my teacher." The first of these titles belongs to the Tannaim, and expresses more general authority than the second. *
231:* More distinctly expressed, רבי is the title peculiar to the Tannaim; רב (Rab) belongs to the Amariam. Besides, it is not settled whether the "ן" (final Nun) in רבן (Rabban) is the abbreviated plural ending; for an (like the an in Arabic) is the connecting syllable of many nouns in Aramaic. The title רבן was given to Gamaliel I, II, III, and to Hananyah, the son of Gamaliel. This would lead to believe that the title רבן included also the idea of popular esteem.--Jellinek
231:39 I can not desist from giving here some footnotes found in the German translation of the first edition; they seem to me of some importance. This paragraph ends somewhat differently there. The author mentions Yohanan ben Zakkai as living before Gamaliel, the contemporary of the apostles. He makes the following footnote: "Yohanan ben Zakkai was the immediate disciple of Hillel the Elder, whose grandson was Gamaliel; Yohanan, therefore, must have been older (Tract. Sukah, fol. 28. Yost, History of the Israelites, Vol. III, 114 and 170). To this Dr. Jellinek remarks the following: "In the seventh volume of כרם חמד--Lovely Vineyard--(Prague, 1843, S. Landau) there are very pointed remarks made by Dr. Michael Sachs on the character of Yohanan ben Zakkai. Especially noteworthy is the fifteenth Mishnah of the ninth chapter of the Tractate Sota to which he refers. There it reads: משמת ר׳ יוחנן בן זכאי בטל זיו חכמה. 'When Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakkai died, the splendor of wisdom vanished.' The point at issue here is the correct meaning of the word חבמה (Wisdom). But Dr. Sachs himself veils the interpretation of this word in mystery, and the reader is at a loss to know what he is to understand by it. Although this scholar is loath to identify it with the Kabbalah, he nevertheless admits that it has some connection with the Merkaba. I am, indeed, far from supporting the opinion that this חבמה (Hakmah--Wisdom) is the Kabbalah as presented to us by the Zohar; yet, it stems to me that it belongs at least into that class, and that it testifies to the great age of the Kabbalistic ideas."--Transl.
231:40 In the text: ולא במרכבה ביחיד אלא אם כן היה חכם ומבין מדעתו
These words prove best the old age of the first Mishnah of the section in Haggiga. It is well known that the editor of the Mishnah collected the sayings of other teachers. Accordingly, these words, found in the p. 232 quoted Mishnah, belong to Yohanan ben Zakkai, the disciple of Hillel (Sukah, fol. 28). Compare further on about Yohanan ben Zakkai.--Jellinek
232:41 Babyl. Talmud, Tract. Haggiga, fol. 14b.
232:42 Babyl. Talmud, Tract. Haggiga, fol. 14b. These two passages form but one passage which does not end at the place we stopped. We must add the account of the dream narrated by R. Yohanan when he was told of the miracles performed by his disciples: "You and I were on the Mount Sinai when from on high in heaven there came a voice that said: Come up here, come up here! Spacious banquet halls and beautiful sofas are reserved for you. You, your disciples, and the disciples of your disciples are destined for the third class." * Do not the last four words hint to the four worlds of the Kabbalists? This conjecture gains in certainty when we consider that above the third degree is the world of B’ree-ah of the divine attributes only.
232:* Rashi comments on the expression כת שלישית (third class) with: ג׳ כתית היושבות לפני השכינא "three classes that dwell before the Shekinah." This explanation is also subscribed to by the Jerusalem Talmud which adds: אתיא כמ׳ד שובע שמחית את פניךּ שבע כתית של צדיקים לעתיד לבוא.--"this is taken in the sense of one who concludes from the following words of the Psalms: In Thy presence is fulness of joy (Psalms, XVI, 2)--that there are seven classes of righteous ones in the world to come (by substituting the word שובע--to fill, to sate, the word שבע--seven)." This has, therefore, nothing in common with the worlds of the Kabbalists. Besides, all these tales are united into one story in the Jerusalem Talmud, which would also point to the legendary and uncertain character of this story.--Jellinek.
233:43 According to Proclus the philosophy of Plato existed at all times in the minds of exceptional men. As a mystery it was transmitted from generation to generation to Plato who communicated it to his disciples. Ἁπάσαν μὲν τοῦ Πλάτωνος φιλοσοφίαν καὶ τὴν ἀρχὴν ἐκλάμψαι νομίζω κατὰ τὴν κρειττόνων ἀγαθοειδῆ βούλησιν . . . τῆς τε ἄλλης ἁπάσης ἱμᾶς μετόχους καττέστησε τοῦ Πλάτωνος φιλοσοφιάσ καὶ κοινωνοὺς ἐν ἀπορρήτοις παρὰ τῶν αὐτοῦ πρεσβυτέρων μετείληφε.
233:44 There are three ways of speaking of God, says Proclus: the mystic or divine, ἐνθεαστικῶς; the dialectic, διαλεκτικῶς; and the symbolical, συμβολικῶς Ib. supr. Ch. IV. This distinction reminds of the "three cloaks of the Law" accepted by the Zohar.
233:45 This preference is fully expressed in all the works of Plotinus and of Proclus; but we cite principally the "Platonic theology" of the latter, Book I, ch. XXV, where faith is defined in a very remarkable manner.
233:46 Proclus in the Theol. Plat., 1, 3; II, 44; Element. Theol. 27-34, and in the Commentary on Plato.
234:47 Πάντα τὰ ὄντα καὶ μὴ ὄντα ἐκ τοῦ Θεοῦ καὶ Θεῷ, καὶ οὐκ αὐτὸς . . . . τὰ ὄντα τὰ πάντα γέννηται δἰ αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐν αὐτῷ ὅτι πανταχοῦ ἐκεῖνος, ἕτερα δὲ αὐτοῦ, ὅτι αὐτὸς οὐδαμοῦ. Sentent. ad intelilgib., ch. XXXII.
234:48 Proclus, in the Theol. of Plato, liv. II, ch. VI; II, 4.
234:49 Plat. Ennead., II, liv. IX, 1; Ennead., liv. V, 3, etc. Proclus, Theol. Plato, I, 23.
235:50 Proclus, in the quoted work, liv. I, ch. XXIII.
235:51 Plotinus, Ennead., VI, liv. VIII, 16; Enn., IV, liv. III, 17, et passim. Proclus, Theol, I, 25. Δῆλον οὖν ὅτι τριαδικὸν ἐστι τὸ τῆς Σοφίας γένος. Πλῆρες μὲν οὖν τοῦ ὄντος καὶ τῆς ἀληθείας, γεννητικὸν δὲ τῆς νοερᾶς ἀληθείας.
235:52 The νοῦς in its trinity may also be represented as οὐσιωδῶς, ζωτικῶς and νοηρῶς.--Jellinek
235:53 Proclus, Theol. secund. Plato, liv. VI, ch. VII, VIII et sequ.
235:54 Τῆς δημιουργικῆς τριάδος ἔλαχε τὴν ὑψηλοτάτην τάξιν Ζεύς. Ὁ Ποσειδῶν συμπληροῖ τὰ μέσα τῆς δημιουργικῆς, καὶ μάλιστα τὸν ψυκικὸν διάκοσμον κυβερνᾶ. l.c., liv. VI, ch. XXII et seq.
236:55 Ἅπασα μονὰς ὑποστήσει πλῆθος μὲν ὡς ἑαυτῆς δεύτερον γεννῶσα καὶ μεριζόμενον τὰς ἐν αὐτῇ κρυδίως προϋπαρχούσας δυνάμεις. l.c., liv. III, ch. I.
Ἐπειδη γὰρ ἀπὸ τῶν νοητῶν πάντα πρόειεσι τὰ ὄντα, κατ᾽ αἰτάιν ἐκεῖ πάντα προϋπάρκει. Liv. V, ch. XXX.
236:56 Ἧσαν μὲν οὗν καὶ ἐν τῇ πρώτῃ μονάδι δυνάμεις, ἀλλὰ νοητῶς καὶ ἐν τῇ δευτέρᾳ πρόσοδοι καὶ ἀπογενήσεις, ἀλλὰ νοητῶς καὶ νοερῶς᾽ ἐν δὲ τρίτῃ πανδήμος ὁ ἀριθμὸς ὅλον ἐανιὸν ἐκφήνας. l.c., liv. IV, ch. XXIX.
236:57 Sentent. ad intelligib., Roman edition, ch. XXII.
236:58 Plotinus, Enn. IV, liv. III, ch. IX.--Enn., liv. VIII, ch. VII.--Enn. II, liv. III, ch. IV.
237:59 Καὶ ἡ οὑσία καὶ ὁ νοῦς ἀπὸ τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ προῶτος ῦφέσταναι λέγεατι καὶ περὶ τὸ ἀγαθὸν τὴν ὕπαρθιν ἔχειν, καὶ πληροῦσθαι τοῦ τῆς ἀληθείας φωτὸς ἐκεῖθεν προϊόντος . . . καὶ ὁ νοῦς ἄρα Θεὸς διὰ τὸ φῶς τὸ νοερὸν καὶ τὸ νοετὸν καὶ αὐτοῦ τοῦ νοῦ πρεσβύτερον. l.c., liv. II, ch. IV.
237:60 De Mysteriis Egypt., sect. II, ch. XI.
238:61 I find it quite natural for the author to disregard the hyper-criticism of Kirschbaum who, in his book on Jewish Alexandrianism, regards all the works of Philo as spurious.--Jellinek