Catholic Encyclopedia
Church Fathers
Classics Library
Church Documents
Prayer Requests
Ray of Hope
Social Doctrine

A History Of The Jewish People In The Time Of Jesus Christ: Two Divisions In Five Volumes


IT is a reconstruction of the Manual of the History of New Testament Times which here appears under another title. I believe that this new title expresses more plainly and correctly than the old title the actual contents of the book. For in fact, whether in its former or present state, it does not profess to be more than a History of the Jewish People in the Time of Jesus Christ, to the exclusion of the state of the heathen world. I could not decide on admitting the latter, because the selection to be made must have been an arbitrary one.

The external framework of the book has undergone but little alteration in this new revision. Most of the paragraphs remain the same. The only additions are the section on the Priesthood and the Temple worship (§ 24), and the two paragraphs on the Palestino-Jewish and the Graeco-Jewish literature (§ 32 and 33), which replace the former section on the Apocalypse. Thus the number of paragraphs is only increased by two. Within this former framework, however, the book has certainly become almost a new one. Renewed consultation of authorities and continued occupation with the subject furnished so much fresh material, that a considerable increase of extent was unavoidable. The matter of this Second Division is threefold that of the first edition, although I have earnestly striven not to expand the form beyond the limits then observed. It is only in verbal citations from documentary authorities that I have allowed myself somewhat more liberty than in the former edition.

An apology is needed on my part for issuing the second half of the book before the first. This inversion of the natural order was not at first contemplated. I merely began operations on this second half because there was more to be done here than in the first, my purpose being to print both parts in one volume as before. The work, however, so grew under my hands as to render a division necessary. At the same time, the completion of the whole was consequently so delayed, that it seemed desirable to publish what was ready at once. This was the more possible because this half also forms a comparatively independent whole. While thus issuing this Second Division first, I can at the same time express the hope, that the First Division, which will not expand in the same proportion, may, with the needful index, follow it within the space of one year.

GIESSEN, Sept. 1885.

§              22.              THE STATE OF CULTURE IN GENERAL

              I.              Mixture of Population, Language

              II.              Diffusion of Hellenic Culture

(1)              Hellenism in the Non-Jewish Regions

(2)              Hellenism in the Jewish Region

              III.              Position of Judaism with respect to Heathenism

§              23.              CONSTITUTION. SANHEDRIM. HIGH PRIEST

              I.              The Hellenistic Towns

Raphia,  Gaza,  Anthedon,  Ascalon,  Azotus,  Jamnia,  Joppa,  Apollonia,  Straton’s Tower = Caesarea,  Dora,  Ptolemais,  Damascus,  Hippus,  Gadara,  Abila,  Raphana,  Kanata,  Kanatha,  Seythopolis,  Pella,  Dium,  Gerasa,  Philadelphia,  Sebaste = Samaria,  Gaba,  Esbon (Hesbon),  Antipatris,  Phasaelis,  Caesarea Panias,  Julias = Bethsaida,  Sepphoris,  Julias = Livias,  Tiberias

              II.              The strictly Jewish Territory

              III.              The great Sanhedrim at Jerusalem

History,  Composition,  Jurisdiction,  Time and Place of Sessions,  Judicial Procedure

              IV.              The High Priests

§              24.              THE PRIESTHOOD AND THE TEMPLE WORSHIP

              I.              The Priesthood as a distinct Order

              II.              The Emoluments

              III.              The Various Functions of the Priesthood

              IV.              The Daily Service

Appendix. Participation of Gentiles in the Worship at Jerusalem

§              25.              SCRIBISM

              I.              Canonical Dignity of Holy Scripture

              II.              The Scribes and their Activity in general

              III.              Halachah and Haggadah

(1)              The Halachah

(2)              The Haggadah

              IV.              The most famous Scribes


THE Jewish population of Palestine experienced, during the Greek and Roman period, as well as in previous centuries, great fluctuations both in numbers and extension. From the beginning of the Hellenistic period to the rising of the Maccabees the Jewish element must be regarded as gradually receding, the Greek as triumphantly advancing. The rising of the Maccabees and its consequences produced however an important change, Judaism gaining ground thereby both intensively and extensively. It was internally consolidated and extended its boundaries in nearly every direction: to the west, by the Judaizing of the towns of Gazara, Joppa and Jamnia (see above, § 7, and below, § 23. I.); to the south, by the compulsory conversion of the Idumaeans under John Hyrcanus (see § 8); to the north, by the conversion of the Ituraeans under Aristobulus I. (see § 9); and in all directions by the conquests of Alexander Jannaeus. It is true that the Judaism of these Asmonean princes from John Hyrcanus onwards was not that of the scribes and Pharisees; still they represented, though in their own fashion, the Jewish religion and nationality, as the example of the “Hellenistic Aristobulus” especially proves. Then, under Alexandra even the Pharisaic tendency again prevailed. Under the Romans and Herodians indeed the pursuit of a Graeco-Roman culture was again favoured as much as possible. But Pharisaic Judaism was now so established, both externally and internally, by the development of the last two centuries, that its state of possession could not thus be essentially encroached upon, and not till the convulsions of the wars under Vespasian and Hadrian did it again incur great losses.

For the times of Josephus we have somewhat more accurate information concerning the extension of the Jewish population in Palestine in the description he has given of the country in his Bell. Jud. iii. 3. From this we learn—what is elsewhere confirmed—that of all the maritime towns, two only, viz. Joppa and Jamnia, which were Judaized in the Maccaibaean period, contained a chiefly Jewish population. In all the other coast towns the Gentile was the prevailing element (see also § 23. I.). In the interior, on the contrary, the countries of Judaea, Galilee and Peraea had an essentially Jewish population. To these were added the regions lying to the east of the Sea of Gennesareth, viz. Gamalitis, Gaulonitis, Batanaea and Trachonitis, which had a mixed Jewish and heathen population. Lastly the Samaritans also must in a wider sense be reckoned as belonging to the Jewish population.

The threefold division of the Jewish region into Judaea, Galilee and Peraea (יְהוּדָה, נָּלִיל, עֵבֶר הַיַּרְדֵּן) is also repeatedly assumed in the Mishna. The central country and nucleus of the whole was Judaea, which was bounded on the north by Samaria, on the east by the Jordan and the Dead Sea, on the west by the district of the Philistine-Hellenistic cities, on the south by Arabia Petraea. In Judaea was the centre of Jewish life; it was here that the new community had first reorganized itself after the Babylonian captivity, here that the rising of the Maccabees originated, and here that the learned and educational activity of the Pharisaic scribes had its chief seat. In the north, and separated from Judaea by Samaria, was Galilee, whose boundaries were to the north the district of Tyre; to the west, that of Ptolemais; to the east, Jordan and the Lake of Gennesareth. The population of Galilee also was mainly Jewish; for the inhabitants of this district had not joined the Samaritan schism, as might have been expected from the former common history of the kingdom of Ephraim. On the contrary, the tendency adopted by Judaism in the post-exilian period had been—we no longer know how or when, but certainly during the Persian period—successfully brought to bear in this district also, and an enduring religious association thus established between the inhabitants of Judaea and Galilee. Peraea, the third of the Jewish lands, lay beyond the river Jordan, and was bounded on the north by the district of Pella, on the east by the districts of Gerasa, Philadelphia, and Heshbon, and on the south by the kingdom of Arabia Petraea. In this province also the population was an essentially Jewish one. Still, neither in Galilee nor Peraea must we conceive of the Jewish element as pure and unmixed. In the shifting course of history Jews and Gentiles had here been so often, and in such a variety of ways, thrown together, that the attainment of exclusive predominance by the Jewish element must be counted among the impossibilities. It was only in Judaea, that this was at least approximately arrived at by the energetic agency of the scribes during the course of centuries.

In spite of the common religion and nationality of the three provinces, many differences of manners and customs existed between their inhabitants, and these imparted a certain independence to their inner life, quite apart from the political separation repeatedly appearing. The Mishna mentions, e.g., slight differences in respect of the marriage laws between Judaea and Galilee, varying customs in the intercourse between espoused persons, differences of weights and coinage between Judaea and Galilee. The three provinces are therefore looked upon as in certain respects “different countries.”

The districts east of the Lake of Gennesareth (Gamalitis, Gaulonitis, Batanaea and Trachonitis) formed a somewhat motley assemblage. The population was a mixed one of Jews and Syrians (Bell. Jud. iii. 5: οἰκοῦσι δὲ αὐτὴν μιγάδες Ἰουδαῖοί τε καὶ Σύροι). But besides the settled population, numerous nomadic hosts, from whom the former had much to suffer, were wandering about in these border lands of civilisation. Very favourable to them were the caves of this district, in which they could lay up stores of water and provisions, and in case of attack find refuge, together with their flocks and herds. Hence it was very difficult to subdue them. The powerful hand of Herod however succeeded in inducing among them a certain amount of order. With the view of keeping these turbulent elements permanently in check, he frequently settled foreign colonists in Trachonitis; at first, three thousand Idumaeans; then a colony of warlike Jews from Babylon, to whom he granted the privilege of immunity from taxation. His sons and grandsons continued this work. Nevertheless one of the two Agrippas had to complain in an edict of the brutish manner of life (θηριώδης κατάστασις) of the inhabitants and of their abode in the caves(ἐνφωλεύειν). Herod’s exertions for the promotion of culture at last introduced the Greek element into these countries. In the neighbourhood of Kanatha (see § 23. I.) are still found the ruins of a temple, which according to its Greek inscriptions belongs to the period of Herod the Great. Greek inscriptions of the two Agrippas, especially of Agrippa II., are found in larger numbers in the neighbourhood of Hauran. In the Roman period the Greek element predominated, at least externally, in these districts (see hereon Nr. ii. 1).

The Samaritans also belonged in a wider sense to the Jewish population. For their character is not rightly viewed till it is regarded from the twofold point of sight—(1) of their being indeed, according to their natural composition, a mixed people arising from the intermingling of the former Israelitish population with Gentile elements, especially with the heathen colonists introduced by the Assyrians; and (2) of their having a religion essentially identical with that of Israel at an earlier stage of development. Among the colonists, whom the Assyrians had planted (2 Kings 17:24 sqq.) in Samaria from the provinces of Babylon, Cuthah, Ava, Hamath and Sepharvaim, those from Cuthah (כּוּתָה, כּוּת, 2 Kings 17:24, 30) seem to have been particularly numerous. The inhabitants of Samaria were hence subsequently called Cuthites by the Jews (Χουθαῖοι in Joseph. Antt. ix. 14. 3, xi. 4. 4, 7. 2, xiii. 9. 1; in Rabbinic literature כּוּתִים). We must not, however, confidently assume, that the ancient Israelitish population was entirely carried away, and the whole country peopled afresh by these heathen colonists. It is, on the contrary, certain, that a considerable percentage of the ancient population remained, and that the new population consisted of a mixture of these with the heathen immigrants. The religion of this mingled people was, according to the Bible (2 Kings 17:24–41), at first a mixed religion,—a combination of the heathen rites introduced by the colonists with the old Israelite worship of Jahveh upon the high places. Gradually however the Israelitish religion must have obtained a decided preponderance. For, from what we know with certainty of the religion of the Samaritans (of course leaving malicious reports out of question), it was a pure Israelitish monotheism. They acknowledged the unity of God and the authority of Moses as the greatest of the prophets; they observed the Jewish rite of circumcision on the eighth day, the sanctification of the Sabbath, and the Jewish annual festivals. Nay, they even relinquished the pre-Deuteronomic standpoint of the worship of Jahveh upon high places, accepted the whole Pentateuch as the law of Israel, and consequently acknowledged the unity of the Jewish worship. It is only in the circumstance of their transferring this worship not to Jerusalem but to Gerizim that we perceive the after effect of the older standpoint. Here, according to the somewhat suspicious account of Josephus, they built in the time of Alexander the Great a temple of their own; and even after its destruction by John Hyrcanus, Gerizim continued to be their sacred mountain and the seat of their worship. They did not indeed participate in the further development of Pharisaic Judaism, but rejected all that went beyond the injunctions of the Pentateuch. Nor did they accept any of the sacred writings of the Jewish canon except the Pentateuch. But for all this the right to call themselves “Israelites” cannot be denied them, so far, that is, as religion and not descent is in question.

The position of Judaism proper with regard to the Samaritans was always a hostile one: the ancient antagonism of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah was here carried on in a new form. When the Samaritans desired, in the time of Zerubbabel, to co-operate in the building of the temple at Jerusalem, they were rejected by the Jews (Ezra 4:1); and “the foolish people who dwell in Sichem” are as much hated by the Son of Sirach as the Edomites and Philistines (Ecclus. 50:25, 26). The Samaritans on their side requited this disposition with like hostility. The legal appointments, nevertheless, of Rabbinic Judaism with respect to the Samaritans, are, from the standpoint of Pharisaism, generally correct and just. The Samaritans are never absolutely treated as “foreigners, but as a mingled people, whose Israelitish descent was not indeed proved, but always to be regarded as possible. Hence their membership of “the congregation of Israel” is not denied, but only designated as doubtful. Their observance of the law, e.g. with regard to tithes and the Levitical laws of purification, did not indeed correspond with Pharisaic requirements, on which account they were in many respects placed on a level with Gentiles. They were never however treated as idolaters (עכ״ום), but, on the contrary, decidedly distinguished from them. Their observance of the Sabbath is occasionally mentioned, and it is assumed as at least possible, that they could say a genuine Israelitish grace at meals. In fact they stand, so far as their observance of the law is concerned, on the same level as the Sadducees.

The language of the Jewish population of all the districts here mentioned was, since the last centuries before Christ, no longer Hebrew, but Aramaic. How and when the change was effected, cannot now be ascertained. At any rate, it was not the exiles, who returned from Babylon, who brought the Aramaic thence, for the post-exilian literature of the Israelites is also chiefly Hebrew. Nor was the Aramaic dialect of Palestine the Eastern (Babylonian), but the Western Aramaic. Hence it must have penetrated gradually to Palestine from the north. The period of the transition is marked by the canonical books of Ezra and Daniel (the latter about 167–165 B.C.), which are written partly in Hebrew, partly in Aramaic (Aramaic are Ezra 4:8–6, 18, 7:12–26; Dan. 2:4–7, 28). A saying of Joses ben Joeser, about the middle of the second century before Christ, is cited in Aramaic in the Mishna, also certain sayings of Hillel and other authorities. That Aramaic was in the time of Christ the sole popular language of Palestine, is evident from the words mentioned in the New Testament: ἀββᾶ (Mark 14:36), ἀκελδαμάχ (Acts 1:19), γαββαθᾶ (John 19:13), γολγοθᾶ (Matt. 27:33), ἐφφαθά (Mark 7:34), κορβανᾶς (Matt. 27:6), μαμωνᾶς (Matt. 6:24), μαρὰν ἀθα (1 Cor. 16:22), Μεσσίας = מְשִׁיחָא (John 1:41), πάσχα (Matt. 26:17), ῥακά (Matt. 5:22), σατανᾶς (Matt. 16:23), ταλιθὰ κούμι (Mark 5:41); to which may be added names of persons, such as Κηφᾶς, Μάρθα, Ταβιθά, and the numerous names compounded with בַּר (Barabbas, Bartholomew, Barjesus, Barjonas, Barnabas, Barsabas, Bartimæus). The words, too, of Christ upon the cross: Ἐλωῒ ἐλωῒ λαμὰ σαβαχθανεί (Mark 15:34), are Aramaic. Hebrew was so little current with the common people, that the lessons from the Bible read in public worship had to be translated verse by verse into the dialect of the country. Notwithstanding however this complete prevalence of Aramaic, Hebrew still remained in use as “the sacred language” (לְשׁוֹן הַקֹּדֶשׁ). The Holy Scriptures were read aloud in it before as afterwards; and in certain liturgical cases the use of Hebrew was absolutely required. Hebrew also continued to be the language of the learned, in which even the legal discussions of the scribes were carried on. Not until about the third century after Christ do we find Aramaic in use for the last-named purpose; and while the Mishna was still in Hebrew (second century), the Palestinian Talmud was (fourth century) in Aramaic. The latter is our most copious source for the knowledge of this language of Palestine. Some hints concerning dialectic differences of pronunciation between Judaea and Galilee are given in the Gospels and the Talmud.

1. Hellenism in the Non-Jewish Regions

The Jewish region just described was, in ancient times as well as in the Graeco-Roman period, surrounded on all sides by heathen districts. Only at Jamnia and Joppa had the Jewish element advanced as far as the sea. Elsewhere, even to the west, it was not the sea, but the Gentile region of the Philistine and Phenician cities, that formed the boundary of the Jewish. These heathen lands were far more deeply penetrated by Hellenism, than the country of the Jews. No reaction like the rising of the Maccabees had here put a stop to it, besides which heathen polytheism was adapted in quite a different manner from Judaism for blending with Hellenism. While therefore the further advance of Hellenism was obstructed by religious barriers in the interior of Palestine, it had attained here, as in all other districts since its triumphant entry under Alexander the Great, its natural preponderance over Oriental culture. Hence, long before the commencement of the Roman period, the educated world, especially in the great cities in the west and east of Palestine, was, we may well say, completely Hellenized. It is only with the lower strata of the populations and the dwellers in rural districts, that this must not be equally assumed. Besides however the border lands, the Jewish districts in the interior of Palestine were occupied by Hellenism, especially Scythopolis (see § 23. I. Nr. 19) and the town of Samaria, where Macedonian colonists had already been planted by Alexander the Great (§ 23. I. Nr. 24), while the national Samaritans had their central point at Sichem.

The victorious penetration of Hellenistic culture is most plainly and comprehensively shown by the religious worship. The native religions, especially in the Philistine and Phenician cities, did indeed in many respects maintain themselves in their essential character; but still in such wise, that they were transformed by and blended with Greek elements. But besides these the purely Greek worship also gained an entrance, and in many places entirely supplanted the former. Unfortunately our sources of information do not furnish us the means of separating the Greek period proper from the Roman, the best are afforded by coins, and these for the most part belong to the Roman. On the whole however the picture, which we obtain, holds good for the pre-Roman period also, nor are we entirely without direct notices of this age.

On the coins of Raphia of the times of the empire are seen especially Apollo and Artemis according to the purely Greek conception; upon those of Anthedon, on the contrary, the tutelary goddess of the city is conceived of as Astarte.

Of the worship at Gaza in the times of the Roman Empire complete information is given in the life of Porphyry, Bishop of Gaza, by Marcus Diaconus. According to this, there were in Gaza in the time of Porphyry (the end of the fourth century after Christ) eight δημόσιοι ναοί, viz. of Helios, Aphrodite, Apollo, Persephone (Kore), Hecate, Heroon, a temple of Tyche, and one of Marnas. From this it appears that the purely Greek worship was the prevailing one, and this is confirmed in general by the coins, upon which other Grecian deities also appear. A temple of Apollo in Gaza is already mentioned at the time of the destruction of the city by Alexander Jannaeus (Antt. xiii. 13. 3). In the Roman period only the chief deity of the city, Marnas, was, as his name (מר = Lord) implies, originally a Shemitic deity, who was however more or less disguised in a Greek garment.

A mixtur of native and Greek worship is also found at Ascalon. A chief worship here was that of Ἀφροδίτη οὐρανίη, i.c. of Astarte as Queen of Heaven. She is mentioned even by Herodotus as the deity of Ascalon, and is still represented on coins of the imperial epoch chiefly as the tutelary goddess of the town. With her is connected, nay probably at first identical, the Atargatis or Derceto, which was worshipped at Ascalon under a peculiar form (that of a woman with a fish’s tail). Her Semitic name (עתרעתה, compounded of עתר = Astarte, and עתה) already points out that she is “merely the Syrian form of Astarte blended with another deity” (Baudissin). From this fish-form it is evident, that “the fertilizing power of water” was especially honoured in her. Asclepius λεοντοῦχος of Ascalon, to whom the Neo-Platonist Proclus composed a hymn, is, as well as these two, to be regarded as an originally Oriental deity. The genuinely Greek deities Zeus, Poseidon, Apollo, Helios, Athene, etc., appear also on the coins of Ascalon. A temple of Apollo in Ascalon is mentioned in pre-Herodian times, the grandfather of Herod having been, it is said, Hierodule there.

In Azotus, the ancient Ashdod, there was in the pre-Maccabaean period a temple of the Philistine Dagon, who was formerly also worshipped at Gaza and Ascalon. At the conquest of Ashdod by Jonathan Maccabaeus, this temple was destroyed, and the heathen worship in general extirpated (1 Macc. 10:84, 11:4). Of its re-establishment at the restoration by Gabinius no particulars are known. In any case Azotus also had in this later period a considerable number of Jewish inhabitants (see § 23. I. Nr. 5).

In the neighbouring towns of Jamnia and Joppa the Jewish element attained the preponderance after the Maccabæan age. Joppa is nevertheless of importance to Hellenism, as the scene of the myth of Perseus and Andromeda; it was here on the rock of Joppa, that Andromeda was exposed to the monster and delivered by Perseus. The myth retained its vitality even during the period of Jewish preponderance. In the year 58 B.C., at the splendid games given by M. Scaurus as aedile, the skeleton of the sea-monster brought to Rome from Joppa by Scaurus was exhibited. The permanence of the myth in this locality is testified by Strabo, Mela, Pliny, Josephus, Pausanias, nay even by Jerome. The Hellenistic legend, according to which Joppa is said to have been founded by Cepheus, the father of Andromeda, also points to it. Pliny even speaks of a worship of the Ceto there, and Mela of altars with the name of Cepheus and his brother Phineus as existing at Joppa. After Joppa was destroyed as a Jewish town in the war of Vespasian, the heathen worship regained the ascendancy there.

In Caesarea, which was first raised to a considerable city by Herod the Great, we meet first of all with that worship of Augustus and of Rome, which characterized the Roman period. Provinces, towns and princes then vied with each other in the practice of this cult, which was indeed prudently declined by Augustus in Rome, but looked upon with approval and promoted in the provinces. It was self-evident that Herod also could not remain behind in this matter. If a general remark of Josephus is to be taken literally, he “founded Caesarea (Καισαρεῖα, i.e. temples of Cæsar) in many towns.” Such are specially mentioned in Samaria, Panias (see below) and in Caesarea. The magnificent temple here lay upon a hill opposite the entrance of the harbour. Within it stood two large statues, one of Augustus after the model of the Olympic Zeus, and one of Rome after that of Hera of Argos, for Augustus only permitted his worship in combination with that of Rome. With respect to the other worships of Caesarea, the coins show a motley variety. In saying this we must certainly take into consideration, that these belong for the most part to the second and third centuries, which is of importance in the case of Caesarea, because after the time of Vespasian the Roman element, in opposition to the Greek, received a considerable reinforcement in the Roman colony introduced into Caesarea by that emperor. Hence it is to be ascribed to the influence of the Roman element, that the Egyptian Serapis, who was, as is well known, highly honoured in Rome, occurs so very frequently. In general, however, we may transpose to an earlier period also the deities mentioned on the coins. We here find again Zeus, Poseidon, Apollo, Herakles, Dionysos, Athene, Nike, and of female deities chiefly Astarte, according to the view of her prevailing in Palestine.

The coins of Dora, which are assignable to a period subsequent to Caligula, have most frequently the image of Zeus with the laurel. In a narrative of Apion, which is indeed a silly fiction, Apollo is designated the deus Dorensium. His worship, which was common in all these towns (comp. Raphia, Gaza, Ascalon, Caesarea), is to be traced to Seleucid influence. For Apollo was the ancestral God of the Seleucids, as Dionysos was that of the Ptolemies.

The ancient Ptolemais (Akko) was in the age of the Seleucids and Ptolemies one of the most flourishing of heathen cities (see § 23. I. Nr. 11). Hence we may here assume, even without more special information, an early penetration of the Greek worship. Upon the autonomie coins of the town, belonging probably to the last decades before Christ (soon after Caesar), is found. almost universally the image of Zeus. In the time of Claudius, Ptolemais became a Roman colony. Upon the very numerous subsequent coins is found chiefly Tyche (Fortuna); likewise Artemis, Pluto and Persephone, Perseus with Medusa, the Egyptian Serapis and the Phrygian Cybele. The Mishna gives an account of a meeting of the famous scribe Gamaliel II. with a heathen philosopher in the bath of Aphrodite.

Beside the towns on the coast, it was chiefly the districts in the east of Palestine which were the earliest and the most completely Hellenized. It is probable that Alexander the Great and the Diadochoi here founded a number of Greek towns, or Hellenized towns already existing. Hence arose in early times a series of centres of Greek culture in these parts. Their prosperity was interrupted for only a short time by the chaotic work of destruction of Alexander Jannaeus. For Pompey already made an independent development again possible to them by separating them from the Jewish realm and combining them probably under the name of Decapolis into a certain sort of unity.

Damascus is reckoned by Pliny and Ptolemy as the chief among these cities of Decapolis. It was an important arsenal even in the time of Alexander the Great. Its Hellenistic character at that period is testified to by coins of Alexander, which were minted there (see § 23. I. Nr. 12). From that time onward it became increasingly a Hellenistic city. At the partition of the great empire of the Seleucids into several portions towards the end of the second century before Christ, it even became for a while the capital of one of these smaller kingdoms. As was consequently to be expected, the autonomic and mostly dated coins of Damascus reaching to the commencement of the Roman Empire, present us with the purely Greek deities: Artemis, Athene, Nike, Tyche, Helios, Dionysos. Upon imperial coins proper the emblems and images of stated divinities are, comparatively speaking, but seldom found. Silenus, the honoured companion of Dionysus and with him Dionysos himself here occur the most frequently; especially in the third century after Christ. The Hellenistic legend, which connects him with the foundation of Damascus, also points to the worship of this god. Perhaps his worship both here and in other cities of Eastern Palestine is to be traced to Arabian influence. For the principal deity of the Arabians was conceived of by the Greeks as Dionysos. Upon the Greek inscriptions, which have been preserved in Damascus and its neighbourhood, Zeus is more frequently mentioned.

In many of the towns of Decapolis, especially in Kanatha, Gerasa, and Philadelphia, the existing magnificent ruins of temples of the Roman period still bear witness to the former splendour of the Hellenistic worship in these towns. Of the special worships of the several towns, we have for the most part but deficient information. In Scythopolis, Dionysos must have been specially honoured. For the town was also called Nysa, and this is the mythological name of the place, in which Dionysos was brought up by the nymphs. The name Scythopolis was also referred mythologically to Dionysos (see § 23. I. Nr. 19). On the coins of Gadara Zeus is most frequently met with, also Herakles, Astarte and other individual deities. Artemis is depicted on the coins of Gerasa as the Τύχη Γεράσων. In Philadelphia Herakles appears to have been the principal divinity, Τύχη Φιλαδελφέων, other individual gods also occurring. The coins of the other cities of Decapolis are not numerous, and offer but insufficient material.

Apart from the coast towns and the cities of Decapolis, there are only two other cities in which especially Hellenism gained an early footing, viz. Samaria and Panias. Alexander the Great is said to have settled colonists in Samaria. In any case it was an important Hellenistic military post in the times of the Diadochoi (see § 23. I. Nr. 24). The town was indeed razed to the ground by John Hyrcanus, but the Hellenist rites must certainly have been re-established at its restoration by Gabinius, and have attained still greater ascendancy at the enlargement of the town by Herod the Great, who also here erected a magnificent temple to Augustus. On the other worships some further information is furnished by coins attributable to times subsequent to Nero. In Panias, the subsequent Caesarea Philippi, the Greek Fan must have been worshipped since the commencement of Hellenic times in the grotto there; for the locality is in the days of Antiochus the Great already mentioned by the name of τὸ Πάνειον (see § 23. I. Nr. 29). The continuance of his worship in later times is also abundantly testified by coins and inscriptions. Herod the Great built here as well as in Caesarea Stratonis and Samaria a temple of Augustus. Of other deities Zeus is most frequently found upon the coins, some appear singly; the image of Pan is, however, by far the most prevalent.

Subsequently to the second century after Christ, Hellenic worship may be proved to have existed in other towns of Palestine also, as Sepphoris, Tiberias, etc. It may however be assumed with tolerable certainty, that it found no favour in them before the Vespasian war. For till then the cities in question were chiefly inhabited by Jews, who would hardly have tolerated the public exercise of heathen worship in their midst.

The case was different with the half-heathen districts of Trachonitis, Batanaea, and Auranitis, east of the Lake of Gennesareth. Here too the Hellenistic worships probably first penetrated to a wider extent subsequently to the second century after Christ. But the work of Hellenization. began with the appearance of Herod and his sons, who gained for culture these hitherto half-barbarous places (see above, p, 4). The worship of Hellenic deities was afterwards admitted. The inscriptions, of which a special abundance has been preserved in these regions, testify to its prevalence from the second to the fourth centuries. The same observation must however here be made as with respect to the Philistine towns, viz. that the native Arabian deities were still maintained beside the Greek gods.

Among these Dusares, compared by the Greeks to Dionysos, takes the first place. His worship in Roman times is testified chiefly by the games dedicated to him, the Ἄκτια Δουσάρια in Adraa and Bostra. Several other Arabian gods, the names of some of whom are all that is known to us, are also mentioned upon the inscriptions. The Greek deities have, however, the preponderance during this period. Among them by far the most frequently occurring is Zeus, and next to him Dionysos, Kronos, Herakles. Of female deities the most frequent are Athene and Tyche, then Aphrodite, Nike, Irene. Finally, the religious syncretism of the subsequent imperial period favoured other Oriental, as well as the ancient native deities. Among these the Syrian Sun-god, who is here adored, now under his Semitic name Αὔμου, now under his Greek name Ἥλιος, at another under both together, plays the chief part. His worship so flourished in Constantine’s time also, that a considerable temple could even then be erected for it in Auranitis. Nay, the Christian preachers were only able to suppress it, by substituting for him the prophet Ἡλίας. Besides the Syrian Sun-god, the worship of Marnas of Gaza and the Egyptian deities Ammon and Isis, may also be shown to have been practised.

Periodical games were often closely connected with the religious rites. In this department also the predominance of Hellenic customs may be proved by numerous examples. But even here authorities for the Greek period, properly so called, are extremely few. We know, that Alexander the Great celebrated splendid games at Tyre. The πενταετηρικὸς ἀγών held there is incidentally mentioned in the prefatory narrative of the Maccabean rising (2 Macc. 4:18–20). On the same occasion we learn also that Antiochus Epiphanes desired to introduce the Διονύσια into Jerusalem (2 Macc. 6:7). But it is just is the Hellenic towns of Palestine that the celebration of such solemnities during the pre-Eoman period cannot be proved in detail, though from the general character of the age it must evidently be assumed. Not till we come to the Roman period are authorities again abundant. The great importance of public games in imperial times is well known; not a provincial town of any consequence was without them. This was especially the case with those in connection with the cult of the Imperator, the games in honour of the emperor, which were everywhere in vogue, even in the time of Augustus. In Palestine also they were introduced by Herod into Caesarea and Jerusalem. Other games of various kinds also existed beside them. Their prevalence in the chief towns of Palestine in the second century after Christ is proved by an inscription at Aphrodisias in Caria, upon which the council and people of the Aphrodisians record the victories gained by one Aelius Aurelius Menander in several contests. Among the games here enumerated are some also which took place in Palestinian towns. In a similar inscription at Laodicaea in Syria, of the beginning of the third century after Christ, the victor himself transmits to posterity the victories he obtained. Here too many towns of Palestine are mentioned as the theatres of these victories. Lastly, in an anonymous Descriptio totius orbis of the middle of the 4th century after Christ, are enumerated the kinds of games and contests, for which the most important towns of Syria were then distinguished. From these and other sources the following materials have been compiled.

In Gaza a πανήγυρις Ἀδριανή was celebrated from the time of Hadrian. A παγκράτιον is mentioned as held there in the inscription of Aphrodisias. The pammacarii (= παμμάχοι or παγκρατιασταί) of Gaza were in the fourth century the most famous in Syria. Jerome in his Life of Hilarion mentions the Circensian games there. A ταλαντιαῖος ἀγών is testified for Ascalon in the inscription of Laodicaen. Its wrestlers (athlelue luctatores, see note 9 were particularly famous. In Caesarea a stone theatre and a large amphitheatre, the latter with a view of the sea, were built by Herod the Great; a στάδιον is mentioned of the time of Pilate; the town must also have had a circus from its commencement, since a ἵππων δρόμος was held (see below) so early as at the dedication by Herod. Even now traces and remains of a theatre are discernible. All the four species of games having thus been from the first provided for, it follows that all four were in fact celebrated at the dedication by Herod the Great. From that time onwards they were repeated every four years in honour of the emperor. These were however of course not the only games held at Caesarea. All the four kinds may also be pointed out singly in later times. 1. The ludi circenses of Caesarea were in the fourth century after Christ as famous as those of Antioch. Laodicaea, Tyre and Berytus (see note 9 2. Titus instituted after the termination of the Jewish war gladiatorial contests and fights of wild beasts, in which hundreds of Jewish prisoners were sacrificed. The Emperor Maximinus exhibited at the celebration of his birthday animals brought from India and Ethiopia. 3. Games in the theatre are mentioned in the time of King Agrippa I. The pantomimi of Caesarea were in the fourth century the most famous in Syria (see note 9 We must understand indeed of pantomimic games also, what Eusebius says of the games of Maximinus. 4. A παγκράτιον is mentioned in the inscription of Aphrodisias, a boxing-match in that of Laodicaea. In Ptolemais a gymnasium was built by Herod the Great.

In Damascus also a gymnasium and theatre were built by Herod the Great (see Josephus as before). The existence of a παγκράτιον there is testified to by the inscription of Aphrodisias, and σεβάσμια (games in honour of the emperor) are mentioned upon the coins since Macrinus. Ruins of two theatres are still standing at Gadara. A ναυμαχία there occurs on the coins of Marcus Aurelius. Kanatha has besides ruins of its temple those of a small theatre, hewn out in the rock and designated on an inscription as θεατροειδὲς ᾠδεῖον. In Scythopolis traces of a hippodrome are found, and ruins of a theatre are still standing. A παγκράτιον is mentioned in the inscription of Aphrodisias, and a ταλαντιαῖος ἀγών in that of Laodicaea. Among the magnificent ruins of Gerasa are found those of two theatres and traces of a Naumachia (an amphitheatre erected for battles of ships). Philadelphia too possesses the ruins of a theatre and of an Odeum (a small roofed theatre), and a παγκράτιον is mentioned in the inscription of Aphrodisias. In Caesarea Panias “various spectacles” (παντοίας θεωρίας), especially gladiatorial contests and wild beast fights, in which Jewish prisoners were used, were given by Titus after the termination of the Jewish war. A παγκράτιον held there is mentioned in the inscription of Aphrodisias. On games in the Jewish towns (Jerusalem, Jericho, Tarichea, Tiberias), see the next section.

Besides the religious rites and games, there is finally a third point which shows how deeply Hellenism had penetrated in many of these towns, viz. that they produced men, who gained a name in Greek literature. Among the coast towns Ascalon is especially prominent in this respect. In Stephanus of Byzantium (s.v. Ἀσκάλων) are enumerated four Stoic philosophers: Antiochus, Sosus, Antibius, Eubius, who were natives of Ascalon. Of these only Antiochus is elsewhere known. He was a contemporary of Lucullus and a teacher of Cicero, and therefore belongs to the first century before Christ. His system is moreover not exactly stoic but eclectic. As grammarians of Ascalon, Ptolemaeus and Dorotheas, as historians Apollonius and Artemidorus are named by Steph. Byz. The two latter are unknown. Dorotheas is elsewhere quoted, but his date cannot be decided. Next to the philosopher Antiochus, the grammarian Ptolemaeus is best known. If he was, as stated by Stephen, Ἀριστάρχου γνώριμος, he would belong to the second century before Christ. He is probably however of a considerably later date (about the beginning of the Christian era). Among the towns of Decapolis Gadara and Gerasa are especially to be mentioned as the birthplaces of distinguished men. Of Gadara was the Epicurean Philodemus, the contemporary of Cicero, numerous fragments of whose writings have become known through the rolls discovered in Herculaneum; also the epigrammatic poet Meleager and the cynic Menippus, both probably belonging to the first century before Christ. The Greek anthology contains more than a hundred epigrams of Meleager, nay he was himself the founder of this collection. Lastly the rhetorician Theodorus, the tutor of the Emperor Tiberius, was also a Gadarene. All the four are already mentioned in combination by Strabo. Of Gerasa were, according to Steph. Byz. (s.v. Γέρασα): Ariston (ῥήτωρ ἀστεῖος), Kerykos (σοφιστής) and Plato (νομικὸς ῥήτωρ), all three not otherwise known.

2. Hellenism in the Jewish Region

In the Jewish region proper Hellenism was in its religious aspect triumphantly repulsed by the rising of the Maccabees; it was not till after the overthrow of Jewish nationality in the wars of Vespasian and Hadrian, that an entrance for heathen rites was forcibly obtained by the Romans. In saying this however we do not assert, that the Jewish people of those early times remained altogether unaffected by Hellenism. For the latter was a civilising power, which extended itself to every department of life. It fashioned in a peculiar manner the organization of the state, legislation, the administration of justice, public arrangements, art and science, trade and industry, and the customs of daily life down to fashion and ornaments; and thus impressed upon every department of life, wherever its influence reached, the stamp of the Greek mind. It is true that Hellenistic is not identical with Hellenic culture. The importance of the former on the contrary lay in the fact, that by its reception of the available elements of all foreign cultures within its reach, it became a world-culture. But this very world-culture became in its turn a peculiar whole, in which the preponderant Greek element was the ruling keynote. Into the stream of this Hellenistic culture the Jewish people was also drawn; slowly indeed and with reluctance, but yet irresistibly, for though religious zeal was able to banish heathen worship and all connected therewith from Israel, it could not for any length of time restrain the tide of Hellenistic culture in other departments of life. Its several stages cannot indeed be any longer traced. But when we reflect that the small Jewish country was enclosed on almost every side by Hellenistic regions, with which it was compelled, even for the sake of trade, to hold continual intercourse, and when we remember, that even the rising of the Maccabees was in the main directed not against Hellenism in general, but only against the heathen religion, that the later Asmonaeans bore in every respect a Hellenistic stamp—employed foreign mercenaries, minted foreign coins, took Greek names, etc., and that some of them, e.g. Aristobulus I., were direct favourers of Hellenism,—when all this is considered, it may safely be assumed, that Hellenism had, notwithstanding the rising of the Maccabees, gained access in no inconsiderable measure into Palestine even before the commencement of the Roman period. Its further diffusion was not to any considerable amount promoted by the rule of the Romans and Herodians, who added to it that Latin element, which makes itself so very apparent especially after the first century of the Christian era. For this later age (the first half of the second century after Christ), the Mishna affords us copious material, plainly showing the influence of Hellenism upon every sphere of life. A multitude of Greek and also of Latin words in the Hebrew of the Mishna shows, how it was just Hellenistic culture which had gained an ascendancy in Palestine also. A series of examples may serve to substantiate this in detail also.

It is chiefly of course in the department of civil government and military matters that, together with foreign arrangements, we find foreign terms also current. A provincial governor is called הגמין (ἡγεμών), a province הגמוניא (ἡγεμονία), the municipal authorities of a town ארכי (ἀρχή). For soldiers in general the Latin לגיונות (legiones) is used; an army is called אסטרטיא (στρατία), war פולמוס (πόλεμος), pay אפסניא (ὀψώνιον), a helmet קסדא (cassida), a shield תריס (θυρεός). In matters of jurisprudence, Jewish traditions were in general strictly adhered to. The law, given to His people by God through Moses, extended not only to sacred transactions, but also to matters of civil law and the organization of the administration of justice. Here too then the Old Testament was in essential points the standard. We nevertheless meet with Greek terms and arrangements in some particulars in these departments also. The court of justice is indeed generally called בית דין, but sometimes also סנהדרין (συνέδριον), the assessors פרהדרין (πάρεδροι), the accuser קטיגור (κατήγορος), the advocate פרקליט (παράκλητος), a deposit אפותיקי (ὑποθήκη), a testament דיתיקי (διαθήκη), a guardian or steward אפיטרופוס (ἐπίτροπος). Nay even for a specifically Jewish legal institution, introduced in the time of Hillel, viz. the declaration before a court of justice, that the right to call in a given loan at any time was reserved notwithstanding the Sabbatic year, the Greek expression פרוזבול (προσβολή) was used.

Of other public institutions, games again come first into notice. Pharisaic Judaism has always repudiated the heathen kind of games. Philo indeed says in his work, Quod omnis probus liber, that he was once present at an ἀγὼν παγκρατιαστῶν, and another time at the performance of a tragedy of Euripides. But what the cultured Alexandrian allowed himself was no standard for the strict legal Palestinians. Even in the period of the Maccabees the building of a gymnasium in Jerusalem and the visiting of the same on the part of the Jews is mentioned as a chief abomination of the prevailing Hellenism (1 Macc. 1:14, 15; 2 Macc. 4:9–17). And this continued to be the standpoint of legal Judaism. Even Josephus designates the theatre and amphitheatre as “foreign to Jewish customs.” Judaism however was unable, in spite of this theoretic repudiation, to prevent the pageantry of heathen games from developing in the midst of the Holy Land during and after the Herodian period; and we cannot assume that the mass of the Jewish population denied themselves from visiting them. A theatre and amphitheatre were built in Jerusalem by Herod, who instituted there as well as at Caesarea games every four years in honour of the emperor. The games imply the existence also of a stadium and hippodrome, the latter indeed is once expressly mentioned. In Jericho where Herod seems to have frequently resided were a theatre, amphitheatre and hippodrome. In Tiberias a stadium is incidentally mentioned. Even so unimportant a town as Tarichea had a hippodrome.

The public baths and public inns were further arrangements showing the influence of Hellenism. The bath indeed was designated by a purely Hebrew expression מֶרְחָץ. But the name for the director of the bath, בַּלָּן (βαλανεύς), points to its Greek origin. In the case of the public inns their Greek name, פונדקי (πανδοκεῖον or πανδοχεῖον), already showed them to be a product of the Hellenistic period.

Architecture in general and especially in public buildings must be regarded as emphatically a Hellenizing element. In the Hellenistic towns in the neighbourhood of Palestine this is of course self-evident. They all had their ναούς, θέατρα, γυμνάσια, ἐξέδρας, στοάς, ἀγοράς, ὑδάτων εἰσαγωγάς, βαλανεῖα, κρήνας and περίστυλα in Greek fashion. But also in Palestine proper, the prevalence of the Greek style—especially since the time of Herod—may be safely assumed. When Herod built himself a splendid palace, there can be no doubt that he adopted for it the Graeco-Roman style. The same remark applies also to the other contemporary palaces and monuments of Jerusalem. In any case not only were Stadia known in Palestine,—as must be assumed from what has been remarked about the games,—but also Basilica, porticoes, porches, Tribunes, banqueting-halls and other buildings after the Graeco-Roman manner. Even in the temple at Jerusalem the Grecian style of architecture was copiously adopted. It is true that in the temple proper (the ναός) Herod could not venture to forsake the old traditional forms. But in the building of the inner fore-court we see the influence of Greek models. Its gates had fore-courts (ἐξέδραι) within, between which colonnades (στοαί) ran along the inside of the walls. The gate at the eastern side of the outer court had folding doors of Corinthian brass, which were more costly than those covered with gold and silver. Quite in the Grecian style were the colonnades (στοαί), which surrounded the outer court on all four sides. Most of them were double (διπλαῖ), but the most magnificent were those found on the south side. They were in the form of a basilikon (βασίλειος στοά); four rows of large Corinthian columns, together 162 in number, formed a three-aisled hall, the middle aisle of which was broader by a half than the two side aisles and as high again. All this does not indeed prove, that the Grecian was the prevailing style for ordinary private houses, nor may this be assumed. Occasionally we see also that Phoenician and Egyptian architecture was also found in Palestine.

Plastic art could, by reason of the Jewish repudiation of all images of men and beasts, find no entrance into Palestine; and it was only in isolated cases, as e.g. when Herod the Great had a golden eagle brought into the temple, or Herod Antipas placed images of animals on his palace at Tiberias, that the Herodians allowed themselves to defy Jewish views, Grecian music was undoubtedly represented at the feasts at Jerusalem and elsewhere. The musical instruments of the Greeks, κίθαρις, ψαλτήριον and συμφωνία, are, as is well known, mentioned in the Book of Daniel and also in the Mishna. Of games of amusement dice, קוביא (κυβεία), were, as the name shows, introduced into Palestine by the Greeks. They also were repudiated by the stricter Jews. In the matter of writing the influence of the Greek and Roman periods is shown in the words used for pen, קלמוס, (κάλαμος), and writer, לבלר (librarius).

But it was in the department of trade, of industry, and all connected therewith, and in that of the necessaries of daily life, that the influence of Hellenism made itself the most forcibly noticeable. By their ancient commerce with the Phoenicians the coast lands of the Mediterranean had already entered into active intercourse with each other. While, however, in ancient times the Phoenicians had the preponderance as givers, the Orientals now more occupied the position of receivers. At least it was the Graeco-Roman element which was now the intermediary and influential factor in the general commerce of the world. This is plainly shown in the trade and commerce of Judaeo-Palestine. Already are the technical designations of the commercial class partly Greek. A corn-dealer is called סיטון (σιτώνης), a sole dealer, מנפול (μονοπώλης), a retail dealer, פלטר (πρατήρ), a merchant’s account-book is called פנקס (πίναξ). The whole coinage system of Palestine was partly the Phoenician-Hellenistic, partly the entirely Greek or Roman. Reckonings were made in Palestine in the time of the Maccabees by drachmas and talents. During the period of independence the Asmonean princes certainly issued money of their own, coined according to a native (Phoenician) standard, and with Hebrew inscriptions. But the later Asmoneans already added Greek inscriptions also. Of the Herodians only coins of Roman values with Greek inscriptions are known. In the period of Roman supremacy the Roman system of coins was fully carried out, nay even the Roman names of coins were then more current than the Hebrew and Greek ones, which were used simultaneously. This is seen by the following comparison of the material afforded by the Mishna and the New Testament. (1) The Palestinian gold coin is the Roman aureus of 25 denarii, often mentioned in the Mishna under the name of the “gold denarius” (דינר זהב). (2) The current silver coin was the denarius (δηνάριον), which is the most frequently named of all coins in the New Testament (Matt. 18:28, 20:2 sqq., 22:19; Mark 6:37, 12:15, 14:5; Luke 7:41, 10:35, 20:24; John 6:7, 12:5; Rev. 6:6). That this Latin designation is familiar to the Mishna is very evident, for it is here almost more frequently mentioned by the expression דינר than by its Semitic equivalent זוּז. The denarius being esteemed equal in value to an Attic drachma, calculations were still made by drachmas. Still this mode of computation was no longer frequent. (3) Of copper coins, the two as piece, or dupondius (Hebr. פונדיון), is chiefly mentioned. Such a dupondius is also meant in the saying of Christ, Luke 12:6, where the Vulgate rightly translates ἀσσαρίων δύο by dipondio. (4) The most common copper coin was the as, Greek ἀσσάριον (Matt. 10:29; Luke 12:6), Hebr. אסר, sometimes expressly designated as the Italian as, אסר איטלקי. It amounted originally to one-tenth, but after the second Punic war (B.C. 217), to only one-sixteenth of a denarius. (5) The smallest copper coin was the פְּרוּטָה, amounting to only the eighth of an as. It was unknown to the Roman system of coinage, its name too is Semitic. The λεπτόν however which occurs in the New Testament (Mark 12:42; Luke 12:59, 21:2), and is, according to Mark 12:42, the half of a quadrans, is identical with it. Coins of this size are in fact found in the period of the later Asmoneans and single ones in the Herodian-Romish period. It is however striking, that both in the Mishna and the New Testament reckonings are made by this smallest portion of the as, and not by the semis (half as) and quadrans (quarter as), while the latter were then coined in Palestine also, and indeed more frequently than the λεπτόν. The mode of reckoning seems, according to the latter, to have come down from pre-Roman times, but to have remained in use even after the introduction of the Roman valuation. The coins issued in the Phoenician towns, especially in Tyre, which were in circulation in Palestine even when no more were made according to this standard, differed in value from the Roman coins.

That which applies to money, the medium of commerce, applies also to its objects. Here too we everywhere come upon the track of Greek and Roman names and matters. At the same time we must not overlook the fact, that Palestine with her abundance of natural products made on her part large contributions to the commerce of the world; the produce of her soil and her industrial commodities went into all lands and were some of them world-famed. But whether the commodities were produced in the land or introduced from abroad, they equally bore in large proportion the impress of the prevalent Hellenistic culture; the produce of the interior was regulated by its requirements, while just the objects which were the fashion in all the world were those which were imported into Palestine.

A series of examples from the three departments of (1) provisions (2), clothing and (3) furniture may serve as a further illustration. Of foreign provisions, e.g., there were known in Palestine Babylonian sauce (כּוּתַח), Median beer (שֵׁכָר), Edomite vinegar (חוֹמֶץ) and Egyptian zythos (זִיתוֹס). Also other Egyptian products, viz. fish, mustard, pumpkins, beans, lentils. Likewise Cilician groats, Bithynian cheese, Greek pumpkins, Greek and Roman hyssop, and Spanish kolias. From abroad came also, as their foreign names show, e.g. asparagus, lupines and Persian nuts. Very widely diffused in Palestine was the custom of salting fish or pickling them in brine, as the name of the town Ταριχέαι on the Lake of Gennesareth and the frequent mention of brine (muries) in the Mishna prove. The foreign origin of this custom also is evident from its foreign name.

Of materials for dress and garments of foreign origin the following are mentioned: Pelusian and Indian linen and cotton fabrics, Cilician haircloth, the sagum (סגום), the dalmatica (דלמטיקיון), the paragaudion (פרגוד), the stola (אצטלית), the handkerchief (סודרין, σουδάριον), the felt hat (פליון, πιλίον), the felt socks (אמפליא, ἐμπίλια), the sandals (סנדל), of which the Laodicean (סנדל לדיקי) are mentioned as a special kind. A series too of technical expressions in the department of manufactured articles testifies to the influence of Greek models. The spun thread is called נימא (νῆμα), a certain arrangement of the loom קירוס (καῖρος), the tanner בורסי (βυρσεύς). Of raw materials, hemp (e.g. קנבוס, κάνναβος, κάνναβις) was first introduced into Palestine by the Greeks.

Domestic utensils of foreign, especially of Greek and Roman origin, are everywhere plentiful. Of Egyptian utensils, a basket, a ladder, and a rope are mentioned, also a Tyrian ladder, Sidonian dishes or bowls. Of Greek and Roman utensils we find the bench (ספסל, subsellium), the armchair (קתדרא, καθέδρα), the curtain (וילון, velum), the mirror (אספקלריא, specularia), the Corinthian candlestick. For eating and drinking, e.g. the plate (אסקוטלא, scutella), the bowl (פילי, φιάλη), the table-cloth (מפה, mappa). For cases of all kinds the most common designation is תיק, θήκη. Special kinds of wooden vessels are the cask or box (קופה, cupa), the wine-barrel (פיטס, πίθος), the chest (גלוסקמא, γλωσσόκομον), the small chest (קמטרא, κάμπτρα), the casket (קפסא, capsa), the sack (מרצוף, μαρσύπιον).

The stock of Greek and Latin words in the Mishna is far from being exhausted by the specimens quoted. They suffice however to give a vivid impression of the full adoption of Western manners and customs even in Palestine in the second century after Christ. The influence of the Greek language reached still farther. For even in cases where the introduction of Western productions and notions is not treated of, we meet with the use of Greek words in the Mishna. The air is called אויר (ἀήρ), the form טופס (τύπος), the sample or pattern דוגמא (δεῦγμα), an ignorant, a non-professional, or a private individual הדיוט (ἰδιώτης), a dwarf ננס (νάννος), a robber לסטיס (λῃστής). For the notion “weak” or “ill” the Greek expression אסטניס (ἀσθενής) for steep קטפדס (καταφερής) is used. The employment also of Greek and Latin proper names is pretty frequent even among the lower classes and the Pharisaic scribes. Not only were the aristocratic high priests, who were on friendly terms with the Greeks, called Jason and Menelaus (in the Maccabean period), Boethus and Theophilus (in the Herodian period), not only did the Asmonean and Herodian princes bear the names of Alexander, Aristobulus, Antigonus, Herod, Archelaus, Philip, Antipas, Agrippa, but among men of the common people also, as the apostles of Christ, names such as Andrew and Philip appear. And in the circles of the Rabbinical scribes we find an Antigonus of Socho, a R. Dosthai (= Dositheus), a R. Dosaben Archinos (for such and not Harkinas was the Greek name of his father), R. Chananiah ben Antigonus, R. Tarphon (= Tryphon), R. Papias, Symmachus. Latin names also were early naturalized. The John Mark mentioned in the New Testament was, according to Acts 12:12, a Palestinian; so too was Joseph Barsabas, whose surname was Justus (Acts 1:23). Josephus mentions besides the well-known Justus of Tiberius, also e.g. a Niger of Peræa.

But all that has been said does not prove that the Greek language also was familiar to the common people of Palestine. However large the number of Greek words which had penetrated into the Hebrew and Aramaic, an acquaintance with Greek by the mass of the people is not thereby proved. In fact, it must be assumed, that the lower classes in Palestine possessed either no knowledge, or only an insufficient one of Greek. When the Apostle Paul wanted to speak to the people in Jerusalem, he made use of the Hebrew (Aramaic?) tongue (Acts 21:40, 22:2). When Titus during the siege of Jerusalem repeatedly summoned the besieged to surrender, this was always done in Aramaic, whether Titus commissioned Josephus to speak, or spoke in his own name by the help of an interpreter. Thus the incidental knowledge of Greek on the part of the people was in any case by no means an adequate one. On the other hand it is probable, that a slight acquaintance with Greek was pretty widely diffused, and that the more educated classes used it without difficulty. Hellenistic districts not only surrounded Palestine on almost every side, but also pushed far into the interior (Samaria, Scythopolis). Constant contact with them was inevitable. And it is not conceivable, that this should continue without the diffusion of a certain amount of knowledge of the Greek language in Palestine also. To this must be added, that the country, both before and after the Asmonean period, was under rulers, whose education was a Greek one: first under the Ptolemies and Seleucidæ, then under the Herodians and Romans; nay some even of the Asmoneans promoted Greek civilisation. The foreign rulers too brought with them into the country a certain amount of elements moulded by Greek training. We know of Herod especially, that he surrounded himself with Greek literati (see § 15). There were foreign troops in the land; Herod had even Thracian, German and Gallic mercenaries. The games given by Herod at Jerusalem brought not only foreign artists, but spectators from abroad into the holy city. But the most numerous concourse of strangers took place at the great annual Jewish festivals. The thousands of Jews, who came on these occasions from all parts of the world to Jerusalem, were for the most part both in language and education Hellenists. And not only Greek Jews, but actual Greeks, i.e. proselytes, came at the Jewish feasts to Jerusalem to sacrifice and worship in the temple (comp. John 12:20 sqq.). We must conceive of the number of such proselytes, who made annual pilgrimages to Jerusalem, as something considerable. Again many Jews, who had received a Greek education abroad, took up their permanent abode at Jerusalem, and even formed there a synagogue of their own. Hence we find at Jerusalem in the times of the apostles a synagogue of the Libertines, Cyrenians, Alexandrians, Cilicians, and Asiatics (Acts 6:9; comp. 9:20), in which it is uncertain whether one congregation or five are spoken of. In Galilee the larger towns had probably a fraction of Greek inhabitants. We know this for certain of Tiberias, not to speak of the mainly non-Jewish Caesarea Philippi. Together with this strong penetration of the interior of Palestine by Greek elements, there must have been not infrequently the necessary acquaintance with the Greek tongue. And single traces actually point to this. For while the Asmoneans had their coins stamped with both Greek and Hebrew inscriptions, the Herodians and Romans coined even the money intended for the Jewish region proper with merely Greek inscriptions; and it is known from the gospel history that the (undoubtedly Greek) inscription upon the coins of Caesar could be read without difficulty at Jerusalem (Matt. 20:20 sq.; Mark 12:16; Luke 20:24). The statement of the Mishna, that even in the temple certain vessels were marked with Greek letters, is certainly supported there by only one authority (R. Ismael), while according to the prevailing tradition the letters were Hebrew. When further it is determined in the Mishna that the writing of divorcement might be in the Greek language also, and that the Holy Scriptures might be used in the Greek translation, both these permissions may refer to the Jewish Dispersion beyond Palestine. The notice on the contrary, that at the time of the war of Titus (or more correctly Quietus) it was forbidden to any one to have his son instructed in Greek, presupposes, that hitherto that which was now prohibited had taken place in the sphere of Rabbinic Judaism. Nor can the circumstance be otherwise explained, than by a certain familiarity with Greek, that in the Mishna the names of Greek letters are often used for the explanation of certain figures, e.g. כִּי for the explananation of the figure Χ, or גַּמָּא for the explanation of the figure Γ.

From the commencement of the Roman supremacy the Latin was added to the Greek language and culture. But Latin, as in all the eastern provinces, so also in Palestine, attained no wide diffusion till the later imperial period. In the first centuries the Roman officials in their intercourse with provincials exclusively employed the Greek language. It was only in official documents, inscriptions, and the like, that Latin was, from the time of Caesar, also adopted. Thus e.g. Caesar commanded the Sidonians to set up in Sidon upon a brazen tablet his decree for the appointment of the Jewish high priest Hyrcanus II. in the Greek and Roman languages (Antt. xiv. 10. 2). Another official decree of the same period was in like manner to be set up in the Roman and Greek tongues in the temples of Sidon, Tyre, and Ascalon (Antt. xiv. 10. 3). Mark Antony commanded the Tyrians to set up in a public place a decree issued by him in Greek and Latin (Antt. xiv. 12. 5). In the temple at Jerusalem there were placed at intervals on the enclosure (δρύφακτος), beyond which a nearer approach to the sanctuary was forbidden to Gentiles, tablets (στῆλαι) with inscriptions, which announced this prohibition partly in the Greek and partly in the Latin language (Bell. Jud. v. 5. 2, vi. 2. 4). The superscription also over the cross of Christ was written in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin (John 19:20). Beyond such official use Latin had not advanced in Palestine, in the early times of the Roman supremacy.

3. Position of Judaism with Respect to Heathenism

The more vigorously and perseveringly heathenism continued to penetrate into Palestine, the more energetically did legal Judaism feel called upon to oppose it. On the whole indeed the advance of heathen culture could not, as has been shown, be prevented. But for that very reason the lines of defence against all illegality were only the more strictly and carefully drawn by the vigilance of the scribes. Extreme vigilance in this direction was indeed a vital question for Judaism. For, if it was not to succumb in the struggle for existence, in which it was engaged, it must defend itself with the utmost energy against its adversary. But the anxiety with which the struggle was carried on infinitely increased the danger which was to be guarded against, and which was in fact victoriously encountered. For the greater the subtilty with which casuistry determined the cases, which were to be regarded as a direct or indirect pollution through heathen customs, the more frequent was the danger of incurring it. Hence the course of events placed the pious Israelite in an all but unendurable position. He was in almost daily contact with heathenism, whether with persons or with goods and matters which sought and found entrance into Palestine in the way of trade and commerce. And the zeal of the scribes was continually increasing the number of snares, by which an Israelite who was a strict adherent to the law might incur uncleanness through heathen practices.

Two points especially were not to be lost sight of in guarding against heathen practices—(1) heathen idolatry and (2) heathen non-observance of the Levitical law of uncleanness. With respect to both the Pharisaism of the scribes proceeded with extreme minuteness. (1) For the sake of avoiding even an only apparent approximation to idolatry, the Mosaic prohibition of images (Ex. 20:4 sq.; Deut. 4:16 sq., 27:15) was applied with the most relentless consistency. To suffer anything rather than the setting up of the statue of Caligula in the temple was indeed quite right. But pictorial representations in general, such as the trophies in the theatre in the time of Herod, or the eagle at the gate of the temple, were also repudiated. When Pilate marched his troops into Jerusalem with the eagles of the legions, a regular tumult took place. Vitellius took his troops by an indirect course from Antioch to Petra for the sole reason of not polluting the sacred soil of Judah by the Roman eagles. And at the outbreak of the war, the first thing to be done in Tiberias was to destroy the palace of Antipas, because it was adorned with images of animals. It seems indeed, that coins with the image of the emperor were circulated in Judaea (Matt. 22:20, and parallel passages); but the coins issued there were not, from considerate forbearance, so stamped. When the famous scribe Gamaliel II. justified his visit to the baths of Aphrodite at Akko (Ptolemais) by saying, that the image of Aphrodite was there because of the baths, and not the baths because of the image of Aphrodite, this was a kind of consideration by no means generally recognised as valid in the sphere of legalistic Judaism. To obviate the danger of a direct or indirect encouragement of idolatry, or any kind of contact therewith, an Israelite was forbidden to transact business with Gentiles, to lend to, or borrow anything from them, to make them payments, or receive payments from them during the three days preceding, and, according to R. Ismael, also the three days following any heathen festival, while on the festival itself an Israelite was to hold no kind of intercourse in the town. All objects, which might even possibly be connected with idolatrous worship, were forbidden. Thus heathen wine must not only be made no use of, because it might possibly have been offered as a libation, but it was also forbidden to derive any profit from it. If wood had been taken from an idol grove all use of it was prohibited. If the stove had been heated by it, the stove must be broken to pieces, if it were still new; but if it were old, it must be let to cool. If bread had been baked with it, not only the eating, but every use of it was forbidden. If such bread were mixed with other bread, no use of it was allowed. If a weaver’s shuttle were made of such wood, its use was forbidden. If a garment had been made of the stuff woven therewith, all use of the garment was forbidden. If this garment had been mixed among others, and these again among others, the use of all was forbidden.

If all this sufficiently provided for the separation of Judaism from heathenism, it was still further inculcated by the notion, that a Gentile—as a non-observer of the laws of purification—was unclean, and that consequently all intercourse with him was defiling; that further, for the same reason, even the houses of the heathen, nay all objects touched by them,—so far as these were receptive of Levitical uncleanness,—were to be regarded as unclean. When it is said (Acts 10:28), that a Jew might have no intercourse with a heathen (ἀθέμιτόν ἐστιν ἀνδρὶ Ἰουδαίῳ κολλᾶσθαι ἢ προσέρχεσθαι ἀλλοφύλῳ), this must not indeed be misunderstood to the extent of supposing that there was an absolute prohibition of all intercourse, yet it does mean that ceremonial uncleanness was incurred by such intercourse. All Gentile houses were as such unclean. Merely to enter them was to become unclean (John 18:28). All articles belonging to Gentiles and of a kind susceptible of Levitical uncleanness, were unclean, and needed before using some kind of purification. “If any one buys kitchen utensils of a Gentile, he must dip what is to be purified by dipping; boil what is to be boiled and heat in the fire what is to be heated; spits and gridirons are to be made red-hot; knives need only be sharpened and they are clean.” Apart from this uncleanness, which so many objects might contract by use on the part of Gentiles, there were lastly many heathen products, which could not be used by Jews, because in their production the Jewish laws, especially those relating to the distinction between clean and unclean, had not been observed. Partly for the former, partly for the latter reason, the most ordinary provisions, if coming from the heathen, were not to be eaten by Jews, who were only allowed to use them by buying and selling. This was especially the case with milk milked by a heathen without an Israelite seeing it, also with the bread and oil of the heathen. Neither could a strictly legal Israelite at any time sit at meat at a Gentile table (Acts 11:3; Gal. 2:12). Hence Israelites travelling in foreign countries were in very evil case, and, if they wanted to be exact in their observance of the law, had to restrict themselves to vegetable raw materials, as e.g. certain priests, friends of Josephus, who having been brought as prisoners to Rome lived there upon nuts and figs.

To all the reasons here stated, which made intercourse with the heathen and their abode in the Holy Land a heavy burden to an Israelite, who was faithful to the law, was added an entirely opposite and doctrinal view, which caused the rule of strangers in the land of Israel to be felt as a glaring contrast between the ideal and reality. For the land was the property of the chosen people. None but Israelites could be landowners therein. Even the letting of houses and fields to the heathen was, according to the theory of the scribes, forbidden. And what with such views must have been their feelings at finding the heathen really in possession—if not privately yet politically—of the whole land? Under such circumstances we can understand, that the question, whether it were lawful for a faithful Israelite to pay tribute to Caesar at all, would be one of serious consideration (Matt. 22:15–22; Mark 12:13–17; Luke 20:20–26).

Thus circumstances present us with a peculiar double picture: a yielding to the influence of heathen customs together with the erection of the strongest wall of partition against them. So far as the actual purpose of the latter was a defence against heathenism in its religious aspect, its aim was certainly attained. In other respects, however, heathen culture was not restrained by it, but only made a burdensome oppression to Israelites.

Noris, Annus et epochae Syromacedonum in vetustis urbium Syriae nummis praesertim Mediceis expositae (Florence 1689). I cite from the Leipsic edit. 1696.

Belley, Suppléments aux Dissertations du Cardinal Noris sur les époques des Syro-Macédoniens, in the Mémoires de l’Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, ancient series, vols. xxvi. xxviii. xxx. xxxii. xxxv. Paris 1759–1770.

Eckhel, Doctrina numorum veterum. Vol. iii. Vindob. 1794.

Mionnet, Description de médailles antiques. Vol. v. Paris 1811. Supplément. Vol. viii. Paris 1837. Recueil des planches. Paris 1808.

De Saulcy, Numismatique de la Terre Sainte, Description des monnaies autonomes et impériales de la Palestine et de l’Arabie Pétrée. Paris 1874.

Droysen, Geschichte des Hellenismus. 2nd ed. 3 parts in 6 half vols. Gotha 1877–1878.

Stark, Gaza und die philistäische Küste. Jena 1852.

Kuhn, Die städtische und bürgerliche Verfassung des römischen Reichs bis auf die Zeiten Justinians. 2 parts. Leipzig 1864–1865.

Kuhn, Ueber die Entstehung der Städte der Alten. Komenverfassung und Synoikismos. Leipzig 1878 (especially pp. 422–434).

Marquardt, Römische Staatsverwaltung. Vol. i. (also under the title of Handb. der röm. Alterthümer von Marquardt u. Mommsen, vol. iv.). 2nd ed. Leipzig 1881.

Pauly’s Real-Encyclopädie der classischen Alterthumswissenschaft, unter den betr. Artikeln.

Winer’s and Schenkel’s Biblische Realwörterbucher, unter den betr. Artikeln.

The geographical works of Reland, Raumer, Robinson, Ritter, Guérin, and others (for the titles see above, § 2).

Menke’s Bibelatlas, maps iv. and v.

OF fundamental importance in the political life of Palestine during the Hellenic era was the independent organization of large municipal communities. This was indeed no novelty in Palestine, where from of old the large towns of the Philistine and Phoenician coasts had formed centres of political life. The entrance of Hellenism marks however a turning-point in this respect also. For, on the one hand it essentially transformed the existing communities, while on the other it founded numerous new ones and made the municipal communities in general the basis of the political organization of the country in a far more thorough manner than before. Wherever Hellenism penetrated—especially on the Philistine coasts and the eastern boundaries of Palestine beyond the Jordan—the country districts were grouped around single large towns as their political centres. Each of such communities formed a comparatively independent whole managing its own internal affairs, and its dependence upon the rulers of Syria consisted only in the recognition of their military supremacy, the payment of taxes, and certain other performances. At the head of such a Hellenistically organized community was a democratic senate of several hundred members, which we may probably conceive of as resembling the Athenian βουλή, i.e. as one changed annually, chosen from the Phylae, or as a committee chosen by lot from the people (Marquardt). It formed the ruling power, not for the town only, but also for all the smaller towns and villages, which belonged to the often extensive district of the town. The entire Philistinian and Phoenician coast was in this way divided into a number of municipal communities, some of which were of considerable importance. We have then briefly to consider as such the Hellenistic towns in the east and north-east of Palestine, the Hellenized towns in the interior of Palestine, such as Samaria and Scythopolis, and the towns founded by Herod and his sons, of which a considerable portion of the population was non-Jewish.

With all their independence these towns of course participated on the whole in the political fate of the rest of Palestine. In the time of the Diadochoi the government changed very frequently. Ptolemy I. three times took possession of Phoenicia and Palestine, and three times had to surrender them. It was not till about 280 B.C. that Ptolemy (II.) Philadelphus succeeded in establishing the rule of the Ptolemies over these countries for a lengthened period. After that date not only Palestine proper, but also the whole of Phoenicia, as far as Eleutherus, south of Aradus, was under their dominion. Their power, however, did not extend beyond Lebanon. Damascus already belonged to the Seleucidae. In the years 219–217 B.C. Antiochus assumed a transitory possession of Palestine, but was obliged to give it up in consequence of the unsuccessful battle at Raphia. After the death of Ptolemy (IV.) Philopator, he however invaded Palestine a second time, and his victory at Panias (198 B.C.) was decisive in favour of the Seleucidae. From this time onward Palestine and the whole Philistinian-Phoenician coast belonged to the Syrian kingdom. The supremacy of the Ptolemies, like that of the Seleucidae, found its expression chiefly in two points: in the appointment of military governors (στρατηγοί) in the regions subject to their sway, and in the imposition of regular taxes. Josephus in his account of Josephus, the farmer of taxes, and his son Hyrcanus (Antt. xii. 4), gives us a very vivid picture of the manner in which the system of taxation was organized in the later period of their rule, a picture which, notwithstanding its fictitious colouring, certainly gives a faithful reflection of the institutions. It shows that the imposts were not collected by the authorities, but leased to great contractors, to whom their collection in the several towns was given up.

Towards the end of the second century before Christ, the kingdom of the Seleucidae increasingly exhibits an image of dissolution. The central authority was so weakened by continual revolutions, that a multitude of independent communities were founded in the border lands of the empire. During this period therefore not only did the Jews obtain and maintain their full freedom, but a number also of the larger towns, which had already in the wars between Syria and Egypt often played a part of their own, declared themselves independent, and as a sign of their independence began a new computation of time. Thus Tyre had an era dating from the year 126 B.C.; Sidon a similar one from the year 111; Ascalon from 104. In other towns individual “Tyrants” would seize upon the sovereignty. Thus we find towards the end of the second, and in the beginning of the first century before Christ, a tyrant, Zeno Kotylas in Philadelphia, his son Theodorus in Amathus on the Jordan, Zoilus in Straton’s Tower and Dora, Demetrius in Gamala. And there is no lack of evidence that the Romans at their entry into Syria found there a number of independent petty princes.

The strengthening of the Jewish power was in those times fatal for the towns in the neighbourhood of Palestine. Even the earlier Maccabees, and subsequently John Hyrcanus, subjected several towns. But it was especially Alexander Jannaeus who made conquests on a large scale. At the end of his rule all the coast towns from Raphia to Carmel, with the sole exception of Ascalon, almost all the towns of the country east of Jordan, and of course those also which were situated in the interior, such as Samaria and Scythopolis, as far north as the Lake of Merom, were subject to the Jews.

The conquest of Syria by Pompey put an end again at a stroke to the independence of all the small towns, which had separated themselves from the empire of the Seleucidae. The only consequence to the autonomic towns was, that they now entered into the same relations of voluntary dependence towards the Romans, in which they had hitherto stood towards the Seleucidae. To those towns however, which had been subjected by the Jews, the Roman invasion had even the character of a deliverance from a hated rule. For Pompey again separated from the Jewish region all those towns which had been subjected to the Jews since the time of the Maccabees and restored to them their freedom. Josephus enumerates as such “liberated” towns, which had of course to acknowledge the Roman supremacy, the following: Gaza, Azotus, Jamnia, Joppa, Straton’s Tower, Dora, Samaria, Scythopolis, Hippus, Gadara, Pella, Dium. The list is, however, incomplete. For besides the above-named, others also used the Pompeian era, i.e. the computation since the liberation by Pompey, and many of these towns retained it till far into the imperial period. Those lying in the region east of the Jordan, together with Scythopolis, then united with each other in the “ten cities alliance,” the so-called Decapolis. The proconsul Gabinius was another benefactor to many of these towns. In the years 57–55 B.C. he rebuilt the towns of Raphia, Gaza, Anthedon, Azotus, Jamnia, Apollonia, Dora, Samaria and Scythopolis, some of which had been entirely destroyed by the Jews. The Roman civil wars however, with their exhaustion of the provinces and the arbitrary rule of Antony in the East, brought bad times to these towns. He bestowed upon Cleopatra the entire Philistinian and Phoenician coast, from the borders of Egypt to Eleutherus, with the sole exception of Tyre and Sidon. Even when, after the fall of Antony and Cleopatra, whose authority had ceased of itself, a more quiet era had been established by Augustus, many of these towns again changed masters. Augustus bestowed upon Herod all the coast towns from Gaza to Straton’s Tower, with the exception of Ascalon, together with the towns of Samaria, Hippus and Gadara in the interior. After the death of Herod these towns again experienced different fates. Gaza, Hippus and Gadara were placed under the immediate government of the Roman legate of Syria (on Anthedon, see below the section respecting it); Azotus and Jamnia with Phasaelis, which was built by Herod, were given to his sister Salome, while Joppa, Straton’s Tower and Samaria fell with the rest of Judaea to Archelaus. The towns belonging to Salome came after her death to the Empress Livia. After the death of Livia, they seem to have been transferred to the private possession of her son Tiberius, on which account we find an imperial ἐπίτροπος in his time in Jamnia. The towns bestowed upon Archelaus, together with the rest of his district, came after his deposition under the oversight of a Roman procurator, then in the years 41–44 A.D. to King Agrippa I., and were again after his death under Roman procurators. This frequent change of masters was however of little more consequence to these towns, than that the taxes had to be paid now to one now to another governor. For they had, on the whole, the independent management of their own affairs, even though the supremacy of their different masters made itself sometimes more and sometimes less noticed. Finally, it was of importance to the development of their communal life that Herod and his sons refounded a great number of towns, so especially Caesarea (= Straton’s Tower), Sebaste (= Samaria), Antipatris, Phasaelis, Caesarea Philippi, Julias, Sepphoris, Livias, Tiberias.

The kind of dependence of these towns upon the Roman power both in name and in fact differed considerably. There were in the Roman Empire both free and subject communities. The former (civitates liberae, ἐλεύθεροι) had not only their own judicature and administration of finance, but were also free from taxation proper and only bound to certain definitely appointed contributions; they were αὐτόνομοι καὶ φόρων ἀτελεῖς (Appian. Civ. i. 102). Again there was among these a privileged class, the civitates foederatae or such as had their freedom guaranteed by a foedus. All these free cities were indeed dependent upon Rome, but were not regarded as belonging in the strict sense to the province. From them must then be distinguished the subject towns (ὑπήκοοι) properly belonging to the province, the specific difference of which from the former consisted in their liability to taxation. For αὐτονομία, or the privilege suis legibus uti, was often conceded to them, though under the control of the Roman proconsul. All the varieties of civic position here alluded to were represented among the Syrian towns. Tyre e.g. was one of the privileged civitates foederatae. Ascalon was an oppidum liberum. But just because this is mentioned of Ascalon as something special, the greater number are not to be regarded as free communities in the technical sense of the word. Nor is it, according to what has just been said, opposed to this that many of them are designated as αὐτόνομοι. And still less does it signify, when Josephus says that Pompey made these towns free (ἐλευθέρας). For this means only their liberation from Jewish sway. Their political condition is correctly pointed out by Josephus by the expressions προσένειμε τῇ ἐπαρχίᾳ and κατέταξεν εἰς τὴν Συριακὴν ἐπαρχίαν. These slight political distinctions were not indeed of much practical importance. For the most privileged towns were taxed for certain requirements, and on the other hand many of the subject towns, at least in Syria, had a jurisdiction and administration of their own. Least of all were these distinctions paid respect to with regard to military affairs. It would be a great mistake to suppose, that in war all or most of these towns were released from the obligation of furnishing auxiliaries. At least Josephus speaks quite generally of the auxiliaries, which had been furnished by “the towns” at the campaign of Cestius Gallus against Jerusalem. When in the year 4 B.C. Berytus with its district furnished 1500 auxiliaries to the army of Varus, this certainly is not a case in point, inasmuch as Berytus was then already a Roman colony and was therefore under different legal regulations from the other towns. But we also know e.g. that from A.D. 44–67 there was in Caesarea a garrison of five cohorts and a wing of cavalry, which was formed for the most part of Caesareans and Sebastenians (inhabitants of the towns of Caesarea and Sebaste and their respective districts). Nay we find towards the end of the first century after Christ a cohors I. Tyriorum already in Moesia. So too in occupying the towns with garrisons regard was certainly had less to political distinctions than to military requirements. “Free” Antioch became the chief seat of the Roman military force in Syria, and we know of Ascalon, that though an oppidum liberum, it received a Roman garrison, though but a small one.

The Roman colonies occupied among the towns of the Roman Empire an exempt position from taxes. There had been such both in Palestine and Phoenicia since the time of Augustus. The oldest were Berytus, founded by Augustus, Ptolemais by Claudius, Caesarea by Vespasian. All the colonies of the imperial period were military colonies, i.e. they consisted of superannuated soldiers, to whom possession of lands was awarded as payment for their services, and indeed in such wise, that this was always done to a large number at one place contemporaneously, thereby founding the colony. The lands required for the purpose were in earlier times simply taken from their possessors. Afterwards (i.e. after Augustus) it was customary to compensate the owners or to give the veterans such land as was already state property. The colonists either formed a new community beside the older one, or themselves entered into the older community, in which case the latter received in its entirety the Roman municipal constitution. Thus the plantation of a colony, which had formerly been an act of cruel plunder, gradually became an actual favour to a town. The rights of colonies also differed. Those were in the most favoured position, which had received the full jus Italicum and with it exemption from poll taxes and land taxes. Herod imitated Augustus in his system of establishing military colonies.

The position of those towns, which were temporarily under the Herodian princes, did not essentially differ from that of those directly under Roman governors. It is certainly possible, that the Herodian princes made their power more directly felt, but this cannot be proved. For the security of their sovereignty, they appointed governors of their own in the towns; thus Herod the Great placed an ἄρχων in Idumaea and Gaza, Agrippa I. a στρατηγός in Caesarea and an ἔπαρχος in Tiberias, Agrippa II. a viceroy in Caesarea Philippi and an ἔπαρχος in Gamala. Such a viceroy was also the ἐθνάρχης of King Aretas in Damascus, 2 Cor. 11:32.

The great independence of these towns involves the fact, that each had its special history. In following this in each separate case, we shall begin with the towns of the Philistinian and Phoenician coast, advancing from south to north. Many of these had at the commencement of the Hellenistic period a brilliant past behind them and continued to be of prominent importance during the whole Graeco-Roman period.

1. Raphia, Ῥαφία (so is it written on the coin), may still be pointed out in the ruins of Kirbeth bir Refah, situated according to Guérin about half a league from the sea, but upon a flat harbourless shore, and therefore regarded by Pliny and Ptolemy as an inland town. It was the first Syrian town after leaving Egypt. Apart from the cuneiform inscriptions, it is first mentioned in history in the campaign of Antigonus against Egypt, B.C. 306, when the fleet of Antigonus, under the command of his son Demetrius, was here destroyed by a storm. It then became famous chiefly through the victory, which was here gained by the unwarlike Ptolemy Philopater over Antiochus the Great, and which resulted in the loss of Palestine and Phoenicia by the latter. In the year 193 the marriage of Ptolemy Philopater with Cleopatra, daughter of Antiochus the Great, was celebrated here. In the beginning of the first century before Christ Raphia was conquered by Alexander Jannaeus (Joseph. Antt. xiii. 13. 3; Bell. Jud. i. 4. 2; comp. Antt. xiii. 15. 4), was afterwards, like the neighbouring towns, separated by Pompey from the Jewish district and was rebuilt by Gabinius (Antt. xiv. 5. 3; Bell. Jud. i. 8. 4). Hence the coins of Raphia, of the imperial age (from Commodus to Philip the Arabian), have an era commencing with the refoundation by Gabinius (57 B.C.). It seems never to have been in the possession of the Herodian princes.

2. Gaza, Γάζα, Hebr. עַזָּה, the ancient and important city of the Philstines, so often mentioned in the Old Testament. Herodotus knows it by the name of Κάδυτις, and remarks, that it is not much smaller than Sardis. Already in the times of Persian supremacy it must—as the coins testify—have been in active intercourse with Greece. In the time of Alexander the Great it was next to Tyre the most important fortress on the Philistinian-Phoenician coast. Alexander did not take it till after a three months’ troublesome siege (332 B.C.). After that time it became more and more a Greek town. The contests of Ptolemy Lagos with the other Diadochoi for the possession of Coelesyria of course affected Gaza in the highest degree. In 315 B.C. it was conquered by Antigonus. In 312 it again fell into the hands of Ptolemy in consequence of his victory gained at Gaza over Demetrius the son of Antigonus. In the same year however he renounced the possession of Coelesyria, and on his retreat had the most important fortresses, Gaza among them, demolished. The sovereignty over these districts changed several times during the decades next following, till at length they were for a longer period in the possession of the Ptolemies about 240 B.C. In the years 218–217 Gaza, like the rest of Syria, was temporarily in the possession of Antiochus the Great. Twenty years later Coelesyria came permanently under the dominion of the Seleucidae through the victory of Antiochus the Great at Panias (198 B.C.). Gaza also must then have been conquered after a difficult siege, to which indeed we have only allusions in Polybius. The sway of the Seleucidae is evidenced among other things by a coin of Demetrius I. (Soter) minted at Gaza. During the contests in the Syrian kingdom between Demetrius II. (Nicator) and Antiochus VI. respecting Trypho (145–143 B.C.), Gaza refusing to join the party of Antiochus, was besieged by Jonathan the Maccabee in concert with him, and its environs laid waste, whereupon it gave up its opposition and delivered hostages to Jonathan as a pledge of its adherence to Antiochus. With respect to the constitution of Gaza at this time we learn incidentally, that it had a council of 500 members. About the year 96 B.C. Gaza as well as the neighbouring cities of Raphia and Anthedon fell into the hands of Alexander Jannaeus. Alexander conquered it after a siege of one year, though at last only through treachery, and abandoned the city and its inhabitants to destruction (Joseph. Antt. xiii. 13. 3; Bell. Jud. i. 4. 2; comp. Antt. xiii. 15. 4. Stark, p. 499 sqq.). When Pompey conquered Syria, Gaza also—so far as its existence can be then spoken of—obtained its freedom (Antt. xiv. 4. 4; Bell. Jud. i. 7. 7). The newly built town consequently began a new era from the time of Pompey (52 B.C.). The rebuilding itself did not take place till the time of Gabinius (Antt. xv. 5. 3). Probably the ancient Gaza was then forsaken and the new town built somewhat farther southwards. In the year 30 B.C. Gaza came under the authority of Herod the Great (Antt. xv. 7. 3; Bell. Jud. i. 20. 3). After his death it was again added to the province of Syria (Antt. xvii. 11. 4; Bell. Jud. ii. 6. 3). With this agrees the fact, that the imperial coins of Gaza do not begin till after the death of Herod the Great. The oldest known are two coins of Augustus of the years 63 and 66 aer. Gaz. In the time of Claudius, Gaza is spoken of as an important city by the geographer Mela. In A.D. 66 it was attacked and destroyed by the rebellious Jews (Joseph. Bell. Jud. ii. 18. 1). This must however have been a very partial destruction. For so strong a fortress could not have been actually destroyed by a band of insurrectionary Jews. Coins too of the years 130, 132, 135 aer. Gaza. (= A.D. 68/69, 70/71, 73/74) testify to the lasting prosperity of the city. Special tokens of favour seem to have been bestowed upon it by Hadrian. It is called on an inscription of the time of Gordian (A.D. 238–244) ἱερὰ καὶ ἄσυλος καὶ αὐτόνομος. It must have subsequently become a Roman colony. Eusebius speaks of it as a πόλις ἐπίσημος. And this too it remained for a considerable period. The independence of these great cities is shown in perhaps the most striking manner by the fact, that Gaza as well as Ascalon, Tyre and Sidon had each its own calendar.

3. Anthedon, Ἀνθηδών, situate on the sea, erroneously called an inland town by Pliny, was according to Sozomen only twenty stadia from Gaza, probably in a northerly (northwesterly) direction. Its very name shows it to have been founded in the Greek period. It is first mentioned in the time of Alexander Jannaeus, who conquered it about the same time as Raphia (Joseph. Antt. xiii. 13. 3; Bell. Jud. i. 4. 2; comp. Antt. xiii. 15. 4). Like the other coast towns it was undoubtedly retaken from the Jews by Pompey. Gabinius rebuilt it (Antt. xiv. 5. 3; Bell. Jud. i. 8. 4). Augustus bestowed it on Herod (Antt. xv. 7. 3; Bell. Jud. i. 20. 3), who again restored it and gave it the name of Agrippias or Agrippeion in honour of Agrippa (Antt. xiii. 13. 3; Bell. Jud. i. 4. 2, 21. 8). It is not expressly mentioned in the partition of Herod’s inheritance. Hence it is uncertain whether, like its neighbour Gaza, it was united to the province of Syria, or passed like Joppa and Caesarea to Archelaus (see Stark, p. 542 sq.). In the latter case it would have shared the fate of the rest of Judaea and therefore have come, after the deposition of Archelaus, under Roman procurators and have been from A.D. 41–44 under the rule of King Agrippa. The existence of a coin of Anthedon with the name of Agrippa would give evidence of the latter, if its reading were certain. At the beginning of the Jewish war Anthedon was attacked and partially devastated by the revolted Jews (Bell. Jud. ii. 18. 1). The name Agrippias was never naturalized; Josephus already and all subsequent authors call it Anthedon again. On coins too only this name occurs.

4. Ascalon, Ἀσκάλον, Hebr. אַשְׁקְלוֹן, was like Gaza an important town of the Philistines, repeatedly mentioned in the Old Testament and also already known to Herodotus. The present Ascalon lies close to the sea, and Ptolemy also mentions Ascalon as a coast town. But the old town must have lain inland, if ever so little, since even in the sixth century after Christ Ascalon and Majuma Ascalonis (the port of Ascalon) are distinguished. In the Persian period Ascalon belonged to the Tyrians. Coins of Alexander the Great coined at Ascalon mark the commencement of the Hellenistic period. Like all Palestine and Phoenicia it was in the third century before Christ under the dominion of the Ptolemies, and had consequently to pay them yearly tribute. With Antiochus III. began its subjection to the Seleucidae, which is also evidenced by Ascalonian Seleucid coins from Antiochus III. to Antiochus IX. Ascalon was able by prudent concessions to protect itself against the increasing power of the Jews. The Maccabaean Jonathan did indeed march twice against the town, but was on both occasions pacified by a respectful welcome on the part of the inhabitants. Ascalon was also the only coast town, which remained unmolested by Alexander Jannaeus. It was able in the year 104 B.C. to attain to independence and thenceforth began a computation of time of its own, which it made use of even in the times of the Roman Empire. The Romans acknowledged its independence at least formally. Besides the usual era of the year 104 B.C. another of 57 B.C. occurs in several instances, which proves that Ascalon was favoured by Gabinius. On some of the coins of Ascalon the heads have been taken for those of Cleopatra and a Ptolemy, which would point to their sovereignty or claims to sovereignty over this region. Ascalon was never in the possession of Herod and his successors, although it was indeed adorned with public buildings by Herod, who seems also to have had a palace there, which after his death passed into the possession of his sister Salome. The ancient enmity of the Jews and Ascalonians made the breaking out of the Jewish war in A.D. 66 fatal for both. At first Ascalon was devastated by the Jews; then the Ascalonians put to death all the Jews dwelling in their city, 2500 in number; finally, the Jews made a second attack upon the town, which was indeed easily repelled by the Roman garrison stationed there. Ascalon long remained a flourishing Hellenistic city with celebrated religious rites and games. Many individuals famous in Greek literature were natives of this town.

5. Azotus, Ἄζωτος, or Ashdod, Hebr. אַשְׁדּוֹד, like Gaza and Ascalon, an old Philistine town frequently mentioned in the Old Testament and already known to Herodotus. Ptolemy speaks of it as a coast town; Josephus at one time as a coast, at another as an inland town. The latter is more accurate, for it lay, as the present Asdud does, more than a league inland, on which account Ἄζωτος παράλιος is in Christian times distinguished from Ἄζωτος μεσόγειος. The district of Azotus is frequently mentioned in the Books of the Maccabees; but no certain conclusions can be drawn therefrom as to its extent. Nor are any further details of its fate under the Ptolemies and Seleucidae known. At the time of the rising of the Maccabees Azotus was unable to maintain itself against Jewish supremacy. Judas already destroyed its altars and images (1 Macc. 5:68). Jonathan, however, devastated the city, together with its temple of Dagon, by fire. (1 Macc. 10:84, 11:4). At the time of Alexander Jannaeus the city, or rather its ruins, belonged to the Jewish region (Joseph. Antt. viii. 15. 4). Pompey again separated it from this latter, and made it a free town (Antt. xiv. 4. 4; Bell. Jud. i. 7. 7). But the ruined city was not restored till Gabinius (Antt. xiv. 5. 3; Bell. Jud. i. 8. 4). It possibly came, together with the other maritime towns, under the dominion of Herod (B.C. 30), from whom it passed after his death to his sister Salome (Antt. xvii. 8. 1, 11. 5; Bell. Jud. ii. 6. 3). Whether, like Jamnia, it fell after her death to the Empress Livia is not quite certain, since Azotus is not expressly named (Antt. xviii. 2. 2; Bell. Jud. ii. 9. 1). It is probable that a considerable portion of its population was Jewish, on which account Vespasian was obliged, during the Jewish war, to place a garrison in it (Bell. Jud. iv. 3. 2). Coins of Azotus during the Roman period seem not to have been preserved.

6. Jamnia, Ἰάμνεια, in the Old Testament Jabneh, יַבְנֶה (2 Chron. 26:6), under which name it frequently occurs in Rabbinic literature. Jamnia, like Azotus, is sometimes called a maritime, sometimes an inland town, for it lay considerably inland, but had a port. Both are correctly distinguished by Pliny and Ptolemy. There is express testimony that Jamnia had a district. According to Strabo, it was so densely populated that Jamnia and its neighbourhood were able to furnish 40,000 fighting men. In the Maccabaean period Jamnia was—at least according to the second Book of the Maccabees—attacked by Judas, and its port together with the fleet burnt. The town itself however did not come into the possession of the Jews either then, or, as Josephus asserts, under Simon. It was not till Alexander Jannaeus that it formed a portion of the Jewish territory (Antt. xiii. 15. 4). Pompey again separated it from the latter (Antt. xiv. 4. 4; Bell. Jud. i. 7. 7), Gabinius restored it. Like Azotus, Jamnia must also have come into the possession of Herod, since it was left by him to his sister Salome (Antt. xvii. 8. 1, 11. 5; Bell. Jud. ii. 6. 3). The Empress Livia received it from the latter (Antt. xviii. 2. 2; Bell. Jud. ii. 9. 1), and after her death it seems to have become a private possession of Tiberius (Antt. xviii. 6. 3; see above, p. 55). The population was then a mixed one of Jews and heathen, but with a preponderance of the Jewish element. This explains the fact, that Vespasian twice found himself obliged to garrison the city, and that Jamnia, after the destruction of Jerusalem, soon became a headquarter of Jewish learning.

7. Joppa, Ἰόπη or Ἰόππη, Hebr. יָפוֹ, the present Jaffa. The special importance of Joppa is found in the fact that it was comparatively the best harbour on the coast of Palestine. It was therefore at almost all periods the chief place of debarkation for the interior of Judaea, and its possession, especially on the greater development of trade and commerce in later times, was almost a vital question for the Jews. In the Persian period, and indeed in the time of the Sidonian King Eschmunazar, Joppa was granted to the Sidonians by the “Lord of Kings,” i.e. by the Persian monarch. To the Greeks it was chiefly known as the scene of the myth of Perseus and Andromeda, and is mentioned as such even before the time of Alexander the Great by Scylax (see above, p. 15). In the Diadochian period it seems to have been an important arsenal. When Antigonus wrested Coelesyria from Ptolemy Lagos, he was obliged to take Joppa as well as other places by force. And when, three years later (312 B.C.), Ptolemy Lagos found he could not hold the reconquered region against Antigonus, he had Joppa razed on his retreat as one of the more important fortresses. In the time of the Maccabees the efforts of the Jews were especially directed to obtain possession of this important place. It is true that Judas Maccabaeus—if the account is quite trustworthy—only destroyed the port and fleet of Joppa during a nocturnal attack (2 Macc. 12:3–7). Jonathan however, in the year 147 or 146 B.C., made a serious assault of the town, in consequence of which the inhabitants opened the gates to him and forced the Syrian garrison to depart (1 Macc. 10:75, 76). Thenceforward the Jews remained with but slight intermission in possession of the town till the time of Pompey. From the same period also must be dated the Judaizing of the city. For when, a few years after its conquest by Jonathan, the inhabitants showed signs of again surrendering the town to the Syrians, Simon, the brother of Jonathan, stationed a Jewish garrison in it (1 Macc. 12:33, 34) and compelled the heathen inhabitants to leave the town (1 Macc. 13:11: ἐξέβαλε τοὺς ὄντας ἐν αὐτῇ). Simon afterwards enlarged and improved the harbour and fortified the town (1 Macc. 14:5, 34). When the energetic Antiochus VII. (Sidetes) endeavoured again to retrench the power of the Jews, the possession of Joppa was a main point of dispute. Even while Antiochus was contending with Trypho, he demanded from Simon the surrender of Joppa (1 Macc. 15:28–30). The latter however declared himself only ready to pay a sum of money instead (1 Macc. 15:35). When, some years later, in the beginning of the reign of John Hyrcanus, all Palestine was conquered and even Jerusalem besieged by Antiochus, it is probable that Joppa had already been taken by him. He was nevertheless satisfied at the conclusion of a peace with the payment of a tribute for Joppa (Joseph. Antt. xiii. 8. 3). Thus the town continued in the possession of the Jews, and in later times even the payment of the tribute ceased. There is express testimony that Alexander Jannaeus possessed Joppa (Antt. xiii. 15. 4). This maritime city was however taken by Pompey from the Jews, who were thus entirely cut off from the sea (Antt. xiv. 4. 4; Bell. Jud. i. 7. 7). Among the favours bestowed by Caesar on the Jews one of the most valuable was the restoration of Joppa (Antt. xiv. 10. 6). It is not quite certain whether Herod held Joppa from the first. At any rate, like the other coast towns, it belonged, during the years 34–30 B.C., to Cleopatra (see above, § 15), and thenceforth to Herod (Antt. xv. 7. 3; Bell. Jud. i. 20. 3). From this time it was always united with Judaea proper, and hence passed after Herod’s death to Archelaus (Antt. xvii. 11. 4; Bell. Jud. ii. 6. 3), and was after his deposition under Roman procurators. At the beginning of the Jewish war, Joppa was, by reason of its mainly Jewish population, a central seat of rebellion. It was destroyed at the very beginning of the war by Cestius Gallus (Bell. Jud. ii. 18. 10), but soon fortified again and conquered a second time by Vespasian (Bell. Jud. iii. 9. 2–4). From that time it probably again became a chiefly heathen town. It is shown by a coin recently discovered, that it was also called Flavia, which leads to the inference of its refoundation in the time of Vespasian. Notwithstanding its close connection with Judaea, Joppa formed an independent political community after the manner of Hellenistic towns. Of its coins few specimens have been preserved.

8. Apollonia, Ἀπολλωνία. An Apollonia between Joppa and Caesarea is mentioned by geographers down to the later imperial period. It occurs only twice in history: at the time of Alexander Jannaeus, when it belonged to the Jewish region (Joseph. Antt. xiii. 15. 4), and at the time of Gabinius, who restored it (Joseph. Bell. Jud. i. 8. 4). According to the statement of distance in the Peutinger table (22 m. p. from Caesarea) it must have been situate where the present Arsuf is. Stark’s supposition, that it is identical with Σώζουσα, is commended by the circumstance, that in Cyrenaica also an Apollonia and a Sozusa appear, which are probably identical. Sozusa would thus be the town of Apollo Σωτήρ. The name Apollonia makes it probable, that it was founded by Seleucus I. in the time of the definitive occupation of Coelesyria by the Ptolemies.

9. Straton’s Tower, Στράτωνος πύργος, afterwards Caesarea. Like Apollonia, Straton’s Tower may have been a foundation of the Hellenistic period, perhaps at first a castle, so called, after a general of the Ptolemies. It is however possible, that it was founded towards the end of the Persian period by a Sidonian king of the name of Straton. Artemidorus, about 100 B.C., is the first geographical author by whom it is mentioned. At that period too it first occurs in history, being mentioned in the time of Aristobulus I., 104 B.C. (Antt. xiii. 11. 2). In the beginning of the reign of Alexander Jannaeus, a “tyrant,” Zoilus was master of Straton’s Tower and Dora (Joseph. Antt. xiii. 12. 2). He was soon overthrown by Alexander Jannaeus (Antt. xiii. 12. 4), and hence Straton’s Tower is named among the towns belonging to Alexander (Antt. xiii. 15. 4). It obtained its freedom from Pompey (Antt. xiv. 4. 4; Bell. Jud. i. 7. 7). It was bestowed upon Herod by Augustus (Antt. xv. 7. 3; Bell. Jud. i. 20. 3), and from this period dates the special importance of the town. For it was rebuilt on the most magnificent scale by Herod, and provided with artificial embankments and an excellent harbour (Antt. xv. 9. 6, xvi. 5. 1; Bell. Jud. i. 21. 5–8). He called the town Καισάρεια in honour of the emperor, and the harbour Σεβαστὸς λιμήν. Hence on Nero’s coins we meet with Καισαρια ἡ προς Σεβαστω λιμενι. The designation Καισάρεια Σεβαστή occurs only once. Elsewhere the town is called in distinction from others Καισάρεια Στράτωνος, and in later times Καισάρεια τῆς Παλαιστίνης. It quickly attained to great prosperity, and remained for a long period one of the most important towns of Palestine. After the death of Herod it passed with the rest of Judaea to Archelaus (Antt. xvii. 11. 4; Bell. Jud. ii. 6. 3). It afterwards continued on all occasions united with Judaea, and hence came after the deposition of Archelaus under Roman procurators, then under Agrippa I., and then again under procurators. Coins of Agrippa I., which were coined in Caesarea, are still in existence. His στρατηγός in Caesarea is incidentally mentioned (Antt. xix. 7. 4). It is well known that he himself died there (see above, § 18). He was hated by the Caesareans for his Judaizing tendencies (Antt. xix. 9. 1). The Roman procurators, both before and after the reign of Agrippa, took up their abode at Caesarea (see above, § 17). Hence the town is called in Tacitus, Judaeae caput (Tac. Hist. ii. 78). It was also the chief garrison for the troops under the command of the procurators, who were for the most part composed of natives (see above, p. 65). The population being chiefly a heathen one (Bell. Jud. iii. 9. 1), though mingled with a considerable Jewish fraction, disputes easily occurred, and the more so that both had equal civil rights, and had therefore to conduct the affairs of the town in common. Neither the Jews nor the heathen were satisfied with this state of things. Each of these parties claimed the exclusive government of the town. Already towards the close of the official career of Felix there were sanguinary contests on the subject, in consequence of which Nero, whose adviser had been bribed by the heathen party, deprived the Jews of their equality of right, and declared the heathen sole governors of the town. The exasperation which ensued gave the first inducement to the great rising of the Jews in A.D. 66 (Antt. xx. 8. 7 and 9; Bell. Jud. ii. 13. 7, 14. 4, 5). After the breaking out of the war, the Jews, as the minority, fell victims to the fury of the heathen populace. It is said that all the Jewish inhabitants, 20,000 in number, were then assassinated in an hour (Bell. Jud. ii. 18. 1 vii. 8. 7, ed. Bekker, p. 161). Caesarea was changed by Vespasian into a Roman colony, though without the full jus Italicum. On coins it bears the title col(onia) prima Fl(avia) Aug(usta) Caesarensis or Caesarea. To this was added after the time of Alexander Severus the title metropolis, or as it is more completely given on coins after Decius, metropolis, pr. S. Pal. (= provinciae Syriae Palaestinae.

10. Dora, Δῶρα, in Polybius Δοῦρα, elsewhere also Δῶρος, in Pliny, Dorum, Hebr. דּוֹר or דֹּאר, an old Phoenician settlement 8 or 9 miles north of Caesarea. It was known from ancient times to the Greeks, being already mentioned by Hecataeus of Miletus, who lived 500 years before Christ, in his description of the earth. Nay, it is possible that it may, during the hegemony of Athens in the Mediterranean in the 5th century B.C., have been tributary to the Athenians. In the time of the Sidonian King Eshmunazar it was granted to the Sidonians by the “Lord of Kings,” i.e. by the Persian monarch. Hence Scylax, whose description refers to the Persian period, rightly calls Dora a town of the Sidonians. Although Dora was no large city, it was on account of its favourable position a strong fortress. When Antiochus the Great made (219 B.C.) his first attack upon Coelesyria, he besieged Dora, but in vain. Eighty years afterwards (139–138 B.C.) Trypho was here besieged by Antiochus Sidetes with a large army, but equally without result. The siege ended with the flight of Trypho. On a coin of Trypho’s stamped at Dora the town is called ἱε(ρὰ) κ(αὶ) ἄ(συλος). Some decades afterwards we find it in the possession of the tyrant Zoilus (Joseph. Antt. xiii. 12. 2), who was afterwards overthrown by Alexander Jannaeus (Antt. xiii. 12. 4). It must therefore have subsequently belonged to the Jewish region, but was again separated from it by Pompey (Antt. xiv. 4. 4; Bell. Jud. i. 7. 7). Like many other towns, Dora also then began a new era, which it continued to use on coins of the imperial age. It was restored by Gabinius (Antt. xiv. 5. 3). After Pompey it was under direct Roman government, and therefore never belonged to Herod (whose dominions on the coast extended no farther northward than Caesarea). It is called on coins of the imperial period ἱερὰ ἄσυλος αὐτόνομος ναυαρχίς. The existence of a Jewish community in Dora is evidenced by an occurrence of the time of King Agrippa I.: a number of young people once placed a statue of the emperor in the Jewish synagogue, and it needed energetic intervention on the part of Petronius the governor, in a letter addressed to the authorities of Dora (Δωριτῶν τοῖς πρώτοις), to secure to the Jews that free exercise of their religion, which had been pledged to them (Antt. xix. 6. 3). In the later imperial period, Dora seems to have fallen into decay. Christian bishops of Dora are however mentioned down to the 7th century.

11. Ptolemais, Πτολεμαΐς. The original name of the town was Akko, עַכּוֹ (Richter 1. 31), or, as it reads in Greek, Ἄκη. By this name it was already known to the Greeks in pre-Hellenistic times. It was here that in the year 374 B.C. the army of Artaxerxes Mnemnon assembled for the campaign against Egypt. Ake must have been an important town in the time of Alexander the Great. For among the coins of Alexander stamped in Phoenicia those of Ake especially are very numerous. They have the name of Alexander in Greek, that of the town in Phoenician characters (Ἀλεξάνδρου, עכ, sometimes עכא), and the year of an era beginning with Alexander the Great. As elsewhere so too in Ake these coins were still issued long after the death of Alexander. Ake was levelled to the ground in the year 312 by Ptolemy Lagos, when he again evacuated before Antigonus the district of Coelesyria, which he had just conquered. It probably received from Ptolemy II. the name of Πτολεμαΐς, which was henceforth the prevailing one. Still its original name Akko was uninterruptedly maintained beside the Greek one, which it subsequently supplanted. In the Seleucid period also Ptolemais figures as one of the most important cities of the Phoenician-Philistine coast. The conquest of this region by Antiochus the Great in the year 219 was much facilitated by the surrender to him of the towns of Tyre and Ptolemais by the Phoenician general Theodotus. Antiochus wintered in Ptolemais in 218/219. The Seleucidae after their definitive occupation of Phoenicia specially favoured Ptolemais. On coins, especially those of the times of Antiochus IV. and VIII., the inhabitants are called Ἀντιοχεῖς οἱ ἐν Πτολεμαΐδι, sometimes with the addition ἱερὰ ἂσυλος, sometimes ἱερὰ αὐτόνομος. The bestowal of the title “Antiochians, and with it perhaps certain privileges, is to be regarded as a mark of favour, which was aspired after by many other towns, e.g. Jerusalem, during the predominance of the Hellenistic party. Seleucid coins of Antiochus V., Demetrius I., Alexander Balas, and Trypho, minted at Ptolemais, are in existence. The town was used as a residence by the kings during their temporary abode in these regions (1 Macc. 10:56–60, 11:22, 24). It always showed itself hostile to the Jews. Even at the beginning of the Maccabaean rising, it was especially the towns of Ptolemais, Tyre and Sidon, which fought against the Jews, who had revolted from Syrian sovereignty (1 Macc. 5:15 sqq.). Jonathan was here treacherously taken prisoner by Trypho (1 Macc. 12:45 sqq.). After the accession of Alexander Jannaeus, B.C. 104, when the Seleucidae had already lost all authority in the southern parts of their dominions, three neighbouring powers contended for the possession of Ptolemais. At first Alexander Jannaeus entertained the purpose of conquering it, but was prevented from carrying out his design by Ptolemy Lathurus, the ruler of Cyprus, who himself took possession of the town by force (Joseph. Antt. xiii. 12. 2–6). He was however soon deprived of it by his mother Cleopatra, queen of Egypt (Antt. xiii. 13. 1–2). Ptolemais seems never again to have come under the authority of the Selucidae, nay even the still more northward towns of Tyre and Sidon had meantime made themselves independent. On the contrary, we still find there, about 70 B.C., an Egyptian princess, Selene, daughter of this Cleopatra, and widow of Antiochus Grypus, to whom she had been given in marriage by her mother, when the latter entered into alliance with him against Antiochus Kyzikenos, who ruled in Coelesyria. At the instance of this Selene Ptolemais closed its gates against Tigranes, king of Armenia, the conqueror of the Seleucid kingdom; was thereupon conquered by Tigranes, but again liberated when Tigranes found himself obliged to retreat by reason of the attacks of the Romans upon his own kingdom (Joseph. Antt. xiii. 16. 4). Ptolemais seems to have experienced special favour from Caesar, when in the year 47 he was over the affairs of Syria. For there are in existence some of its coins of the imperial period with an era reaching back to Caesar. Probably the coins with the legend Πτολεμαι. ἱερας καὶ ἀσυλον (or the like) belong also to this time (shortly after Caesar). The Emperor Claudius settled a colony of veterans in Ptolemais. Hence the town was henceforth called colonia Ptolemais, though it did not possess the actual privileges of a colony. At the breaking out of the Jewish war, the Jews in Ptolemais, 2000 in number, were slaughtered by the inhabitants (Bell. Jud. ii. 18. 5). The district of Ptolemais is mentioned by Josephus as the western boundary of Galilee (Bell. Jud. iii. 3. 1; comp. Vita, 24). The formula: Πτολεμαΐδα καὶ τὴν προσκυροῦσαν αὐτῇ, scil. χώραν (1 Macc. 10:39), is characteristic.

Next to the great maritime towns, the towns of the so-called Decapolis belong to the class of independent Hellenistic communities. The organization alluded to in this word was probably the work of Pompey. For we first meet with the term (ἡ Δεκάπολις) during the Roman period; and most of the towns of Decapolis owe their independent political existence to Pompey. These were the Hellenistic towns of the country east of Jordan, which, having been subjected by Alexander Jannaeus, were again liberated from Jewish authority by Pompey. It is probable that they then formed a kind of confederacy, which originally consisted of ten towns, and was therefore called ἡ Δεκάπολις, but retained the name after the number was enlarged by the accession of other towns. For the number did not always remain the same, as Pliny, our chief authority, remarks, H. N. v. 18. 74: Decapolitana regio a numero oppidorum, in quo non omnes eadem observant, plurimum tamen Damascum, Philadelphiam, Rhaphanam, Scythopolim, Gadara, Hippon, Dion, Pellam, Galasam (read: Gerasam), Canatham. Besides Pliny, only Ptolemy v. 15. 22–23 gives an enumeration of the several towns. It contains all the towns mentioned by Pliny, with the exception of Raphana; and besides these, nine others (situated chiefly in the north of Palestine in the neighbourhood of Damascus), so that the number given by him amounts to eighteen. Hence we must keep to Pliny for the original number. To those named by him, we add only Abila and Kanata (another town than Kanatha), both which have also the Pompeian era. All the towns except Scythopolis lie in the region east of the Jordan. The inclusion of Damascus, lying so far to the north, is striking. Since however it is mentioned by both Pliny and Ptolemy, it must be retained. In any case Decapolis, as such, continued in existence in the second century after Christ (the time of the geographer Ptolemy). Its dissolution took place in the course of the third century, in consequence of the transference of some of its most important towns (as Kanatha, Gerasa, Philadelphia) to the province of Arabia (constituted a province A.D. 105). The mention of Decapolis by later authors, as Eusebius, Epiphanius, Steph. Byz., rests therefore only on historical information. The following enumeration is in geographical order from north to south.

12. Damascus, Δαμασκός, Hebr. דַּמֶּשְׂק. From the varied history of this town, we can here bring forward only such particulars as are important with respect to its constitution during the Hellenistic and Roman periods. The dominion of Alexander the Great over Damascus is evidenced not only by the narratives of authors, but by coins of Alexander issued there. In the third century before Christ, Damascus seems to have belonged not, like Phoenicia and Palestine, to the Ptolemies, but to the Seleucidae. It is true, that when Ptolemy II. seized Phoenicia and Palestine, B.C. 280, he must also have taken possession of Damascus. It was however reconquered by Antiochus I. (280–262). At the great invasion of the realm of the Seleucidae by Ptolemy III., B.C. 246, in which all Syria was for some time lost to Seleucus II., Damascus seems to have been not once conquered, but only besieged. Seleucus relieved it, when in the year 242/241 he again victoriously pressed southwards. The fact, that Damascus anciently formed part of the Seleucid dominions, is indirectly confirmed by the circumstance, that Polybius, when fully relating the particulars of the conquest of Phoenicia and Palestine by Antiochus the Great (v. 61–71), mentions indeed the taking of the most important Phoenician and Palestinian towns, but nowhere speaks of Damascus. When in 111 B.C. the Syrian kingdom was, in consequence of the strife between the brothers Antiochus VIII. (Grypos) and Antiochus IX. (Kyzikenos), divided, and Antiochus Kyzikenos established himself in the southern part, Damascus probably became the capital of his small kingdom. At all events it was about 95–85 B.C. repeatedly the capital of a kingdom of Coelesyria separated from the kingdom of Syria, first under Demetrius Eukaerus a son of Antiochus Grypos (Joseph. Antt. xiii. 13. 4), then under Antiochus XII. also a son of Grypos (Antt. xiii. 15. 1). Antiochus XII. fell in battle against the Arabian king Aretas; and Damascus continued henceforth under his authority (Antt. xiv. 15. 1, 2; Bell. Jud. i. 4. 7, 8). When Pompey penetrated into Asia, Damascus was first of all occupied by his legates (Antt. xiv. 2. 3; Bell. Jud. i. 6. 2). Apparently it was not restored to the Arabian king, but united to the province of Syria. In the time of Cassius (44–42 B.C.) we find a Roman commander, Fabius, in Damascus (Antt. xiv. 11. 7, 12. 1; Bell. Jud. i. 12. 1, 2). Already in the times of Augustus and Tiberius there were Roman imperial coins of Damascus, but at the same time, as in the case of Ascalon, autonomic ones also. The Seleucid era is used on both, and this continued to be the prevailing one at Damascus. There are no coins of the times of Caligula and Claudius, though there are coins from Nero onwards. With this circumstance must be combined the fact, that Damascus, when St. Paul fled from it (probably in the time of Caligula), was under a viceroy (ἐθνάρχης) of the Arabian king Aretas (2 Cor. 11:32). Hence it then belonged temporarily to the Arabian king, whether he seized it by violence or obtained it by imperial favour. That there was a Jewish community in Damascus is already evident from the New Testament (Acts 9:2; 2 Cor. 11:32). That it was numerous may be inferred from the number of Jews slain at Damascus at the breaking out of the great war. This amounted to 10,000, or according to another statement 18,000 (the former, Bell. Jud. ii. 20. 2; the latter, Bell. Jud. vii. 8. 7). After Hadrian the town bore the title μητρόπολις, after Alexander Severus it was a colony (not first after Philip the Arabian, as even Eckhel supposes), both facts being witnessed to by the coins. We are informed (Antt. xviii. 6. 3) of a dispute concerning boundaries between the Damascenes and Sidonians in the time of Tiberius, which is chiefly of interest as showing, how extensive the district pertaining to this town must have been, since it bordered upon that of Sidon.

13. Hippus, Ἵππος, is properly the name of a mountain or hill, on which stood the town of the same name. Identical with it is probably the Hebrew Susitha (סוסיתא), which is frequently mentioned in Rabbinical authorities as a Gentile town of Palestine, and Susije, which frequently occurs in Arabic geographers. The following statements serve to determine the locality. According to Pliny, it stood on the eastern shore of the Lake of Gennesareth; according to Josephus, only 30 stadia from Tiberias; according to Eusebius and Jerome, near a certain city and castle of Afeka. According to these data the ruins of el-Hösn on a hill on the eastern shore of the Lake of Gennesareth are probably to be regarded as marking the position of the ancient Hippus; a village of the name of Fik, which must be identical with the ancient Afeka, is three-quarters of a league off. The supposed identity of the name Hippos with el-Hösn (the horse) is certainly questionable. But little is known of the history of Hippus. It received its freedom from Pompey (Joseph. Antt. xiv. 4. 4; Bell. Jud. i. 7. 7). It was bestowed by Augustus upon Herod (Antt. xv. 7. 3; Bell. Jud. i. 20. 3), after whose death it was again separated from the Jewish region (Antt. xvii. 11. 4; Bell. Jud. ii. 6. 3). On this occasion it is expressly called a Greek city (l.c.). At the outbreak of the Jewish revolt the district of Hippus as well as that of Gadara was devastated by the Jews under the leadership of Justus of Tiberias (Bell. Jud. ii. 18. 1; Vita, 9). The inhabitants of Hippus retaliated by slaying or casting into prison all the Jews dwelling in the city (Bell. Jud. ii. 18. 5). In Christian times Hippus was the see of a bishop. The name of the town has as yet been only once shown to exist upon coins (viz. on one of Nero’s time). But coins with the legend Ἀντιοχέων τῶν πρὸς Ἵπ(πον) τῆς ἱερ(ᾶς) κ(αὶ) ἀσύλου have been rightly referred by numismatists to Hippus. They have as might be expected the Pompeian era, and on most is the image of a horse.—The district of Hippus is mentioned Vita, 9, 31; Bell. Jud. iii. 3. 1. Vita, 9: Ἐμπίπρησι τάς τε Γαδαρηνῶν καὶ Ἱππηνῶν κώμας, αἳ δὴ μεθόριοι τῆς Τιβεριάδος καὶ τῆς τῶν Σκυθοπολιτῶν γῆς ἐτίγχανον κείμεναι, is most instructive as showing, that the districts of these four towns were so extensive as to form a connected whole.

14. Gadara, Γαδαρά. The position of Gadara on the site of the present ruins of Om-Keis (Mkês), to the south-east of the Lake of Gennesareth, was recognised by Seetzen so early as 1806, and may now be regarded as settled. The main point of connection is furnished by the warm springs for which Gadara was famous, and which are still found in this region. They lie on the northern bank of the Scheriat el-Mandur; on the southern bank, at about a league’s distance from the springs, are found on the lofty ridge of the hill the ruins of the town. Hence the Scheriat el-Mandur is identical with the Hieromices, which according to Pliny flowed past the town. Gadara was in the time of Antiochus the Great already an important fortress. It was conquered by Antiochus both at his first invasion (B.C. 218), and when he finally took possession of Palestine after his victory at Panias, B.C. 198. It was taken by Alexander Jannaeus after a ten months’ siege (Antt. xiii. 13. 3; Bell. Jud. i. 4. 2). It consequently belonged under him and his successors to the Jewish region (Antt. xiii. 15. 4), but was separated from it by Pompey (Antt. xiv. 4. 4; Bell. Jud. i. 7. 7). On this occasion Pompey, out of regard for his freedman Demetrius of Gadara, rebuilt the city, which had been destroyed by the Jews (Alexander Jannaeus?). Hence upon the numerous coins of the town extending from Augustus to Gordian, the Pompeian era is used. It begins in the year 690 A.U.C., so that 1 aer. Gadar. = 64/63 B.C. The memory of its rebuilding by Pompey is also perpetuated upon coins from Antoninus Pius to Gordianus by the legend Πομπηιέων Γαδαρέων. The notion that Gadara was the seat of one of the five Jewish Sanhedrin established by Gabinius is incorrect (see above, § 13). In the year 30 B.C., Gadara was bestowed upon Herod by Augustus (Antt. xv. 7. 3; Bell. Jud. i. 20. 3). The town was however very discontented with his government. So early as the year 23–31 B.C., when M. Agrippa was staying at Mytilene, certain Gadarenes there brought complaint against Herod (Antt. xv. 10. 2). Complaints were repeated when Augustus in the year 20 personally visited Syria (Antt. xv. 10. 3). In both cases those who made them were dismissed. It is quite in accordance with this, that we find Gadarene coins of just the year 20 B.C. (44 aer. Gadar.) with the image of Augustus and the inscription Σεβαστός—Herod being desirous, by stamping such coins at Gadara, to show his gratitude to the emperor. After the death of Herod, Gadara regained its independence under Roman supremacy (Antt. xvii. 11. 4; Bell. Jud. ii. 6. 3). At the beginning of the Jewish revolt the district of Gadara, like that of the neighbouring Hippus, was devastated by the Jews under the leadership of Justus of Tiberias (Bell. Jud. ii. 18. 1; Vita, 9). The Gadarenes, like their neighbours of Hippus, avenged themselves by slaying or imprisoning the Jews dwelling in their town (Bell. Jud. ii. 18. 5). Such of the inhabitants however as were friendly to the Romans, not feeling themselves secure against the turbulent elements in their own city, requested and received a Roman garrison from Vespasian in the later period of the war (Bell. Jud. iv. 7. 3, 4). In what sense Josephus can designate Gadara as the μητρόπολις τῆς Περαίας (Bell. Jud. iv. 7. 3) cannot be further ascertained. On coins, especially of the time of the Antonines, it is called ἱε(ρὰ) ἄσ(υλος) α(ὐτόνομος) γ(…?) Κοί(λης) Συρ(ίας). According to an inscription discovered by Renan, it was during the later imperial period a Roman colony. The information of Stephanus Byz. (s.v.), that it was also called Ἀντιόχεια and Σελεύκεια, stands quite alone, and certainly refers only to temporary official designations, not to such as had come into common use. There is abundant evidence that it was already in pre-Christian times a flourishing Hellenistic town. Josephus calls it at the death of Herod a πόλις Ἑλληνίς (Antt. xvii. 11. 4; Bell. Jud. ii. 6. 3); Strabo mentions as renowned natives of Gadara, Philodemus the Epicurean, the poet Meleager, and Menippus the Cynic, who on account of his witty style was often called ὁ σπουδογελοῖος, and Theodorus the orator. Of later times must also be added Oenomaus, the cynic and the orator Apsines. Meleager says of himself that he came of “an Attic race, dwelling in Assyrian Gadara.” The district of Gadara formed the eastern boundary of Galilee (Bell. Jud. iii. 3. 1). On its extent, comp. Vita, 9, and above, p. 100. That it reached to the Lake of Gennesareth may not only be inferred from Matt. 8:28 (where the reading is uncertain), but also from the coins, on which a ship is often portrayed, nay once (on a coin of Marc. Aurel.) a ναυμα(χία) mentioned.

15. Abila, Ἄβιλα. The local name Abel (אָבֵל) or Abila is very frequent in Palestine. Eusebius knows of three places of this name celebrated for the cultivation of the vine: (1) A village in South Peraea, 6 mil. pass. from Philadelphia; (2) A πόλις ἐπίσημος, 12 mil. pass. from Gadara; (3) A place between Damascus and Paneas. Of these the second town on the east of Gadara is the one with which we are here concerned. Its situation, on the south bank of the Scheriat el-Mandur, was discovered, as well as that of Gadara, by Seetzen. Pliny does not mention this Abila among the cities of Decapolis. Its inclusion among them is however evidenced by an inscription of the time of Hadrian. An Ἄβιδα by which our Ἄβιλα is certainly intended is also placed by Ptolemy among the cities of Decapolis. It first appears in history in the time of Antiochus the Great, who occupied Abila as well as its neighbour Gadara at both his first and his second conquest of Palestine, 219 and 198 B.C. On the whole it seems to have frequently shared the lot of Gadara. Like the latter, Abila received its liberty through Pompey. For the coins of Abila with the Pompeian era are rightly ascribed to this town. Its titles also are the same as those of Gadara: ἱ(ερὰ) ἄ(συλος) α(ὐτόνομος) γ(…?) Κοί(λης) Συ(ρίας). The coins show that the town was also called Σελεύκεια, the inhabitants were called Σελευκ(εῖς) Ἀβιληνοί. In Nero’s time Abila was given to Agrippa II., unless the notice of Josephus to that effect rests upon an error. In the sixth century after Christ Christian bishops of Abila, who may with tolerable certainty be referred to our Abila, are mentioned.

16. Raphana, not to be confounded with the Syrian Ῥαφάνεια in Cassiotis, is mentioned only by Pliny (v. 18. 74). The Ῥαφών however of the first Book of the Maccabees (5:37 = Joseph. Antt. xii. 8. 4), which, according to the context of the narrative (comp. 5:43) lay in the neighbourhood of Astaroth-Karnaim, and therefore in Batanaea, is probably identical with it. Since Ptolemy has not the name of Raphana among the towns of Decapolis, it is probable that he mentions the town by another name; and it is at least possible, though only possible, that Raphana is, as Quandt supposes, identical with the Capitolias mentioned by Ptolemy (v. 15. 22), and so frequently elsewhere since the second century after Christ.

17. Kanata. The existence of this town, as distinct from Kanatha, has but recently been ascertained on the ground of inscriptions by Waddington. Upon an inscription at el-Afine (on the south-western declivity of the Hauran, to the west of Hebran) is mentioned an ἀγωγὸς ὑδάτων εἰσφερομένων εἰς Κάνατα built by Cornelius Palma, governor of Syria in the time of Trajan. This Kanata cannot be identical with Kanatha = Kanawat, for the latter, lying higher than el-Afine, and being itself abundantly supplied with water, an aqueduct from el-Afine thither is inconceivable. The situation of Kanata is however also determined by an inscription discovered by Wetzstein at Kerak (in the plain west-south-west of Kanawat): Διῒ μεγίστ[ῳ] Κανατηνῶν ὁ [δῆμος]. According to this Kanata is identical with the present Kerak, to whose former Greek culture other inscriptions also bear testimony. The few coins of Kanata, which were by former numismatists wrongly attributed to the better known Kanatha, prove at least that Kanata had the Pompeian era, and therefore very probably belonged to Decapolis. The coins belong to the times of Claudius and Domitian. That Kerak was once a town is confirmed by the mention of a βουλευτής upon an inscription. On the other hand, another inscription of the middle of the third century after Christ calls it a κώμη. It had thus already lost the rights of a town. The date on this inscription is according to the era of the province of Arabia, hence we may conclude, that at the establishment of this province (105 B.C.) it was allotted to it.

18. Kanatha. On the western declivity of the Hauran range is the place now called Kanawat, whose ruins are among the most important of the country east of the Jordan. Numerous inscriptions, well preserved remains of temples and other public buildings, prove that an important town once stood here; and both ruins and inscriptions point to the first centuries of the Roman imperial period. The ruins have, since Seetzen’s first hasty visit, been frequently described. The inscriptions have been most completely collected by Waddington. It is rightly and almost universally admitted, that the Kanatha so often mentioned by ancient authors, and with which the Old Testament קְנָת (Num. 32:42; 1 Chron. 2:23) is probably identical, is to be sought for here. The form of the name fluctuates between Κάναθα and Κάνωθα; Κεναθηνός also occurs upon an inscription. Apart from the Old Testament passages, the history of Kanatha cannot be traced farther back than the time of Pompey; its coins have the Pompeian era, and it is reckoned by both Pliny (v. 18. 74) and Ptolemy (v. 15. 23) among the towns of Decapolis. On the coins of Commodus given by Reichardt the inhabitants are called Γαβειν(ιεῖς) Καναθ(ηνοί); the town therefore seems to have been restored by Gabinius. Herod experienced a mortifying defeat at Kanatha in a battle against the Arabians. On the civic constitution of Kanatha in imperial times we get some information from inscriptions, βουλευταί being frequently mentioned, and once an ἀγορανόμος. A Graeco-Latin epitaph of a Syrian merchant, discovered in 1862 in the neighbourhood of Trevoux in France, is of special interest. He is designated in the Greek text as βουλευτὴς πολίτης τε Κανωθαί[ω]ν ἐ[…] Συρίης, in the Latin as decurio Septimianus Canotha. What the latter title denotes is indeed very doubtful. If the Συρία of the Greek text is to be understood in the strict sense of the province of Syria, it follows from the combination of the two texts, that Kanatha belonged to the province of Syria down to the time of Septimius Severus. In the time of Eusebius it belonged to the province of Arabia. It is striking that Eusebius calls it a κώμη. Could it in his time have no longer had a civic constitution? A Christian bishop of Kanotha was present at the Councils of Ephesus (A.D. 449), Chalcedon (A.D. 451) and Constantinople (A.D. 459).

19. Scythopolis, Σκυθόπολις, one of the most important Hellenistic towns of Palestine, the only one among the towns of Decapolis which lay westward of the Jordan. The ancient name of the town was Beth-sean, בֵּית שְׁאָן or בֵּית שָׁן, in the Septuagint and in the first Book of Maccabees (v. 52, 12:40 sq.), Βαιθσάν. The ancient name was always maintained beside the Greek one, nay at last supplanted it. To this very day the desolate ruins of Beisan in the valley of the Jordan south of the Lake of Gennesareth mark the position of the ancient city. The name Σκυθόπολις is undoubtedly equal to Σκυθῶν πόλις, as indeed it is frequently written. The reason for this name is very obscure, probably it must be explained as by Syncellus, by the fact that a number of Scythians settled here on the occasion of their great invasion of Palestine in the seventh century before Christ. On the name Nysa, which Scythopolis also bore according to Pliny, Stephanus Byz., and which is found upon coins, see above, p. 20. The town was perhaps already known by its Greek name Scythopolis in the time of Alexander the Great, or at any rate in the third century before Christ, when it was tributary to the Ptolemies. When in 218 B.C. Antiochus the Great invaded Palestine, the town willingly (καθʼ ὁμολογίαν) surrendered to him. Like the rest of Palestine however it did not come permanently under Syrian dominion till twenty years later (198 B.C.). In the time of the Maccabees Scythopolis is mentioned as a heathen town, but not as one hostile to the Jews (2 Macc. 12:29–31). Towards the end of the second century (about 107 B.C.) it came under Jewish rule, the weak Antiochus IX. (Kyzikenos) being unable to offer effectual resistance to the advance of John Hyrcanus, nay his general Epicrates treacherously surrendering Scythopolis to the Jews (Joseph. Antt. xiii. 10. 3; Bell. Jud. i. 2. 7 speaks otherwise). Hence we find it also in the possession of Alexander Jannaeus (Antt. xiii. 15. 4). It was again separated from the Jewish region by Pompey (Antt. xiv. 5. 3, xiv. 4. 4; Bell. Jud. i. 7. 7), and restored by Gabinius (Antt. xiv. 5. 3; Bell. Jud. i. 8. 4). It afterwards continued to be an independent town under Roman supremacy. Nor did either Herod or his successors ever possess the town. Its membership among the cities of Decapolis is testified by Josephus, who calls it “one of the largest towns of Decapolis” (Bell. Jud. iii. 9. 7: ἣ δέ ἐστι μεγίστη τῆς Δεκαπόλεως). It is not quite certain what era it made use of. The Pompeian era is evidently used on a coin of Gordianus; while upon others a later one seems adopted. The titles of the town, especially upon the coins of Gordianus, are ἱερὰ ἄσυλος. At the beginning of the Jewish war, A.D. 66, the revolted Jews attacked the district of Scythopolis (Bell. Jud. ii. 18. 1). The Jewish inhabitants found themselves obliged, for the sake of safety, to fight on the side of the heathen against their fellow-countrymen, who were attacking the town. The heathen inhabitants however afterwards requited this alliance by faithless treachery, luring them into the sacred grove, and then surprising them by night and massacring them to the number, as it is said, of 13,000 (Bell. Jud. ii. 18. 3, 4, vii. 8. 7; Vita, 6). When Josephus says with respect to the period of the Jewish war, that Scythopolis was then obedient to King Agrippa (Vita, 65, ed. Bekker, p. 341, 20: τῆς ὑπηκόου βασιλεῖ), this is certainly not to be understood in the sense of actual subjection, but only means, that Scythopolis was on the side of Agrippa and the Romans. The district of Scythopolis must be regarded as very extensive. At the taking of Scythopolis and Philoteria (a town of that name on the Lake of Gennesareth of which we know nothing else) by Antiochus the Great, in the year 218, Polybius remarks, that the district subject to these two towns could easily furnish abundant support for the whole army. We have also similar testimony at a later date, viz. that of Josephus (Vita, 9), that the district of Scythopolis bordered on that of Gadara (see above, p. 88). The district of this town is also mentioned Bell. Jud. iv. 8. 2. The subsequent history of Scythopolis, which remained for centuries an important and flourishing town, cannot be further pursued here. On its religious rites, games and industry, compare above, pp. 19, 27, 41.

20. Pella, Πέλλα. The district of Pella is designated by Josephus as the northern boundary of Peraea. According to Eusebius, the Jabesh of Scripture was only 6 m. p. from Pella, on the road from this latter to Gerasa. Now as Gerasa lies south of the present Wadi Jabis, Pella must have lain a little to the north of it, and hence it is almost certain, that the important ruins at Fahil, on a terrace over the Jordan valley opposite Scythopolis in a south-easterly direction, mark the position of the ancient Pella. That it stood here is further borne out by the fact that Pliny describes Pella as aquis divitem. Whether the original Semitic name was Fahil (פחלא ?), and the name Pella chosen by the Greeks on account of its similarity of sound, may be left uncertain. In any case the name Pella was borrowed from the famous Macedonian town of the same name. The latter being the birthplace of Alexander the Great, it is not improbable that our Pella as well as the neighbouring Dium was founded by Alexander the Great himself, as indeed the somewhat corrupt text of Stephanus Byz. declares. According to another passage of Stephanus Byz. our Pella was also called Βοῦτις. Pella is first mentioned in history at the conquest of Palestine by Antiochus the Great, B.C. 218, when after taking Atabyrion (Tabor) he turned towards the country east of the Jordan and seized Pella, Kamus, and Gephrus. Alexander Jannaeus conquered and destroyed the town, because its inhabitants would not adopt “Jewish customs” (Bell. Jud. i. 4. 8; Antt. xiii. 15. 4). It was again separated from the Jewish region by Pompey (Antt. xiv. 4. 4; Bell. Jud. i. 7. 7). The fact of its having belonged to Decapolis is attested by Eusebius and Epiphanius as well as by Pliny and Ptolemy. The few coins which have been preserved bear, as might be expected, the Pompeian era. When Pella is named in Josephus (Bell. Jud. iii. 3. 5) among the chief places of the eleven toparchies of Judaea, this must be ascribed either to a mistake on the part of Josephus himself or to an error in the text. At the commencement of the Jewish war Pella was attacked by the insurgent Jews (Bell. Jud. ii. 18. 1). During the war the Christian Church fled thither from Jerusalem. Christian bishops of Pella are mentioned in the fifth and sixth centuries after Christ.

21. Dium, Δῖον. Among the towns of this name, of which Steph. Byz. enumerates seven, that in Macedonia at the foot of Olympus is the best known. Hence it is very credible, that our Dion in Coelesyria was a foundation of Alexander the Great. According to the astronomical definitions of Ptolemy (v. 15. 23), Dium lay under the same degree of latitude as Pella, but 1/6 of a degree farther eastward. With this agree the statements of Josephus concerning Pompey’s route, that the Jewish king Aristobulus accompanied Pompey on his march from Damascus against the Nabataeans as far as Dium, that here he suddenly separated from Pompey, who therefore now turned suddenly westward and came by Pella and Scythopolis to Judaea. Little is known of the history of Dium. It was conquered by Alexander Jannaeus (Antt. xiii. 15. 3), liberated by Pompey (Antt. xiv. 4. 4), and then belonged to Decapolis (Plin. v. 18. 74; Ptolem. v. 15. 23). The coins of Dium, with the legend Δειηνων, have the Pompeian era. Some of those belonging to the time of Caracalla and Geta are still in existence. The Δία mentioned by Hierocles is certainly identical with this Dium.

22. Gerasa, Γέρασα. The ruins of the present Dscharásch are the most important in the region east of the Jordan, and are indeed (with those of Palmyra, Baalbec and Petra) among the most important in Syria. There are still in existence considerable remains of temples, theatres and other public buildings. About one hundred columns of a long colonnade, which ran through the middle of the town, are still standing. The buildings seem from their style to belong to the second or third century after Christ. Few inscriptions have as yet been published. There can be no doubt that here was the ancient Gerasa. The derivation of the name from γέροντες (veterans) of Alexander the Great, who settled here, is based only upon etymological trifling. It is certainly possible, that the foundation of Gerasa as a Hellenistic town may reach as far back as Alexander the Great. It is first mentioned in the time of Alexander Jannaeus, when it was in the power of a certain Theodorus (a son of the tyrant Zeno Kotylas of Philadelphia). It was conquered after an arduous siege by Alexander Jannaeus towards the end of his reign. It was while still defending the fortress Ragaba “in the district of Gerasa (ἐν τοῖς Γερασηνῶν ὅροις)” that he died. Gerasa was undoubtedly liberated by Pompey, for it belonged to Decapolis. At the outbreak of the Jewish war it was attacked by the Jews (Bell. Jud. ii. 18. 1); yet the Jews dwelling in the town were spared by the inhabitants (Bell. Jud. ii. 18. 5). The Gerasa conquered and destroyed by Lucius Annius at the command of Vespasian (Bell. Jud. iv. 9. 1) cannot be this Gerasa, which as a Hellenistic town was certainly friendly to the Romans. The few coins of Gerasa (from Hadrian to Alexander Severus) have no era and contain no epithet of the city, They almost all have the superscription Ἄρτεμις τύχη Γεράσων. On an inscription of the time of Trajan the inhabitants are called Ἀντιοχεῖς πρὸς τῷ Χρυσορόᾳ. Upon another inscription, also of the Roman period, the town is called Γέρασα Ἀντιόχεια. In an ethnographic sense Gerasa must be reckoned part of Arabia, but seems even in the second century after Christ to have belonged to the province of Syria and only subsequently to have been incorporated in that of Arabia. In the fourth century after Christ it was one of the most important towns of this province. Its district was so large, that Jerome could say, that what was formerly Gilead was now called Gerasa. Famous men of Gerasa are mentioned by Steph. Byz. The names too of certain Christian bishops are well known.

23. Philadelphia, Φιλαδέλφεια, the ancient capital of the Ammonites called in the O. T. “Rabbah of the Ammonites” (רַבַּת בְּנֵי עַמּוֹן), i.e. the chief city of the Ammonites, or more shortly “Rabbah” (רַבָּה). In Polybius it is called Rabbat-Amana, in Eusebius and Steph. Byz. Amman and Ammana. The situation of the town is certainly evidenced by the ruins south of Gerasa, which to this day bear the name of Ammana. The ruins belong, like those of Kanatha, to the Roman period. The town received the name of Philadelphia from Ptolemy II. (Philadelphus), to whom consequently its Hellenization is to be referred. In the time of Antiochus the Great it was a strong fortress, which in the year 218 B.C. he vainly endeavoured to take by storm, and of which he vainly unable to get possession, till a prisoner showed him the subterranean path, by which the inhabitants came out to draw water. This being stopped up by Antiochus, the town was forced to surrender for want of water. About 135 B.C. (at the death of Simon Maccabaeus) Philadelphia was in the power of a certain Zenos Kotylas (Antt. xiii. 8. 1; Bell. Jud. i. 2. 4). It was not conquered by Alexander Jannaeus, though he had possession of Gerasa to the north and Esbon to the south of it. Hence Philadelphia is not named among the towns which were separated by Pompey from the Jewish region. It was however joined by him to the confederacy of Decapolis and had therefore the Pompeian era. It was in its neighbourhood that Herod fought against the Arabians. In A.D. 44 sanguinary contests took place between the Jews of Peraea and the Philadelphians concerning the boundaries of a village called Mia in our present text of Josephus, but for which Zia is probably the correct reading (Antt. xx. 1. 1). At the outbreak of the Jewish war, Philadelphia was attacked by the insurgent Jews (Bell. Jud. ii. 18. 1). Upon an inscription of the second century after Christ our Philadelphia is called Φιλαδέλφεια τῆς Ἀραβίας. This is however meant only in an ethnographical sense. For coins down to Alexander Severus have the superscription Φιλαδελφέων, Κοίλης Συρίας. The town therefore still belonged to the province of Syria and was probably allotted to the province of Arabia towards the close of the third century. In the fourth century it was one of the most important towns of this province. Josephus mentions the district of Philadelphia (Φιλαδελφηνή) as the eastern boundary of Peraea (Bell. Jud. iii. 3. 3). If the supposition be warranted, that Zia is the correct reading in Joseph. Antt. xx. 1. 1, the district of Philadelphia must have extended to about 15 m. p. westward of the town, in other words, full half of the land lying between the Jordan and the town must have belonged to the Philadelphian district.

It is an undoubted fact, that all the cities hitherto described formed independent political communities, which—at least after the time of Pompey—were never internally blended into an organic unity with the Jewish region, but were at most externally united with it under the same ruler. Almost all of them had a chiefly heathen population, which after the third century before Christ became more and more Hellenistic in its character. It was only in Joppa and Jamnia and perhaps Azotus, that the Jewish element obtained during and after the Maccabean period the ascendancy. But even these towns with their respective districts formed both before and after that time independent political units.—To the same category belonged also, as Kuhn correctly admits, the towns which were refounded by Herod and his sons. It is true, that in many of these the population was mainly Jewish. But even where this was the case, the constitution was of Hellenistic organization, as is shown especially in the case of Tiberias. In most of them however the heathen population preponderated. Hence we must not assume, that they were organically incorporated with the Jewish realm, but that they occupied within it au independent position similar to that of the older Hellenistic towns. Nay in Galilee, where it was indeed impregnated with heathen elements, the Jewish country seems, on the contrary, to have been subordinate to the newly built capitals—first to Sepphoris, then to Tiberias, then again to Sepphoris (see the articles concerning them), Among the towns built by Herod certainly the two most important were Sebaste, i.e. Samaria, and Caesarea, the latter of which has been already spoken of (No. 9). Of less importance were Gaba in Galilee and Esbon in Peraea (Antt. xv. 8. 5), which must also be regarded as chiefly heathen towns, for at the outbreak of the Jewish war they, like Ptolemais and Caesarea, Gerasa and Philadelphia, were attacked by the insurgent Jews (Bell. Jud. ii. 18. 1). Lastly, we have to mention as towns founded by Herod, Antipatris and Phasaelis, Kypros named together with the latter being a mere castle near Jericho and not a πόλις (Bell. Jud. i. 21. 9; Antt. xvi. 5. 2), which also applies to the fortresses of Alexandreion, Herodeion, Hyrcania, Masada and Machaerus. Among the sons of Herod, Archelaus founded only the village (κώμη) of Archelais. Philip, on the other hand, built Caesarea = Panias and Julias = Bethsaida, and Herod Antipas the cities of Sepphoris, Julias = Livias and Tiberias. These ten cities still remain to be treated of:

24. Sebaste = Samaria. The Hellenization of the town of Samaria (Hebr. שֹׁמְריֹן) was the work of Alexander the Great. The Samaritans had during his stay in Egypt, B.C. 332–331, assassinated Andromachus his governor in Coelesyria. Consequently when Alexander returned from Egypt (B.C. 331), he executed strict justice upon the offenders and planted Macedonian colonists in Samaria. The Chronicle of Eusebius speaks also of a refoundation by Perdiccas, which could only have taken place during his campaign against Egypt (B.C. 321); this is however very improbable so soon after the colonization by Alexander the Great. As in old times so now also Samaria was an important fortress. Hence it was levelled by Ptolemy Lagos, when in the year B.C. 312 he again surrendered to Antigonus the land of Coelesyria, which he had shortly before conquered. Some fifteen years later (about 296 B.C.) Samaria, which had meanwhile been restored, was again destroyed by Demetrius Poliorcetes in his contact with Ptolemy Lagos. Thenceforward we are for a long time without special data for the history of the town. Polybius indeed mentions, that Antiochus the Great in both his first and second conquest of Palestine 218 and 198 B.C. occupied the country of Samaria, but the fate of the town is not further indicated. It is of interest to find, that the country of Samaria, under the Ptolemies as well as under the Seleucidae, formed like Judaea a single province, which again was subdivided into separate νομοί. Towards the end of the second century before Christ, when the Seleucidian Epigonoi were no longer able to prevent the encroachments of the Jews, the town fell a victim to their policy of conquest; and Samaria—then a πόλις ὀχυρωτάτη—was again conquered in the reign of John Hyrcanus (B.C. 107) by his sons Antigonus and Aristobulus after a siege of a year, and entirely given up to destruction (Antt. xiii. 10. 2, 3; Bell. Jud. i. 2. 7). Alexander Jannaeus had possession of the town or its ruins (Antt. xiii. 15. 4). It was separated from the Jewish region by Pompey and never henceforth organically combined with it (Antt. xiv. 4. 4; Bell. Jud. i. 7. 7). Its rebuilding was the work of Gabinius (Antt. xv. 14. 3; Bell. Jud. i. 8. 4), on which account its inhabitants were for a while called Γαβινιεῖς. The town was bestowed upon Herod by Augustus (Antt. xv. 7. 3; Bell. Jud. i. 20. 3); and by his means it first regained prosperity. For while it had hitherto been a comparatively small though strong town, its extent was so greatly increased by Herod, that it was now twenty stadia in circumference and not inferior to the most important towns. In the city thus enlarged Herod settled six thousand colonists, composed partly of disbanded soldiers, partly of people from the neighbourhood. The colonists received excellent estates. The fortifications too were rebuilt and extended, and finally the town obtained also, by the erection of a temple to Augustus and other magnificent edifices, the splendour of modern culture. Herod gave to the newly-rebuilt town the name of Σεβαστή (Antt. xv. 8. 5; Bell. Jud. i. 21. 2. Strabo, xvi. p. 860) in honour of the emperor, who had recently assumed the title of Augustus. The coins of the town bear the inscription Σεβαστηνῶν or Σεβαστηνῶν Συρ(ίας) and a special era commencing with the year of the rebuilding of the city, i.e. according to the usual view 25 or perhaps more correctly 27 B.C. The town is also mentioned in Rabbinical literature by its new name of Sebaste (סבסטי). When Josephus says, that Herod granted it “an excellent constitution,” ἐξαίρετον εὐνομίαν (Bell. Jud. i. 21. 2), he makes indeed no great addition to our knowledge. It is however probable from other reasons, that the country of Samaria was subordinated to the town of Sebaste precisely as Galilee was to the capitals Sepphoris and Tiberias respectively and Judaea was to Jerusalem. For on the occasion of the tumults of the Samaritans under Pilate a “council of Samaritans,” Σαμαρέων ἡ βουλή, is mentioned, which seems to point to a United organization of the country (Antt. xviii. 4. 2). Sebastenian soldiers served in the army of Herod and embraced the party of the Romans against the Jews in the conflicts which broke out at Jerusalem after his death (Bell. Jud. ii 3. 4, 4. 2, 3; comp. Antt. xvii. 10. 3). At the partition of Palestine after the decease of Herod, Sebaste with the rest of Samaria fell to Archelaus (Antt. xvii. 11. 4; Bell. Jud. ii. 6. 3), after whose banishment it remained for a time under Roman procurators, was then temporarily under Agrippa, and then again under procurators. During this last period Sebastenian soldiers formed a main element in the Roman troops stationed in Judaea (see above, p. 65). At the outbreak of the Jewish war Sebaste was attacked by the insurgent Jews (Bell. Jud. ii 18. 1). The town of Sebaste, with its chiefly heathen population, then remained as during the disturbances that followed the death of Herod (Antt. xvii. 10. 9; Bell Jud. ii. 5. 1) undoubtedly on the side of the Romans, while the native Samaritans in the district of Sichem certainly occupied a difficult position (Bell. Jud. iii. 7. 32). Sebaste became a Roman colony under Septimius Severus. But its importance henceforth declined before the prosperity of Neapolis = Sichem. Eusebius and Stephanus Byz. still call Sebaste only “a small town.” Its district was nevertheless so large, that it comprised e.g. Dothaim, which lay 12 m. p. northward of the town.

25. Gaba, Γάβα or Γαβά. The name corresponds to the Hebrew גֶּבַע or גִּבְעָה, a hill, and is a frequent local name in Palestine. We are here concerned only with a Gaba, which according to the decided statements of Josephus stood on Carmel, and indeed in the great plain near the district of Ptolemais and the borders of Galilee, and therefore on the north-eastern declivity of Carmel (see especially, Bell. Jud. iii. 3. 1, and Vita, 24). Herod here settled a colony of retired knights, on which account the city was also called πόλις ἱππέων (Bell. Jud. iii. 3. 1; Antt. xv. 8. 5). From the manner in which the town is mentioned in the two passages, Bell. Jud. iii. 3. 1; Vita, 24, it is evident that it did not belong to the district of Galilee. Its population being chiefly heathen, it was attacked by the Jews at the beginning of the Jewish insurrection (Bell. Jud. ii. 18. 1), while on the other hand it took an active part in the struggle against the Jews (Vita, 24). This town is probably the Geba on Carmel mentioned by Pliny. Whatever other material has been adduced to the contrary by scholars with respect to Gaba, has served to complicate rather than throw light upon the questions concerning its situation and history. A Gabe 16 m. p. from Caesarea is mentioned by Eusebius, but the distance stated is too short to suit the situation north-east of Carmel. Still more improbable is it, that the coins with the superscription Κλαυδι(έων) Φιλιπ(πέων) Γαβηνῶν belong to our Gaba. These titles point rather to a Gaba, which had belonged to the Tetrarch Philip; and the Gabe, mentioned by Pliny as near Caesarea Panias, may be identical with it. Lastly, which Gaba the Γάβαι in Palaestina secunda, mentioned by Hierocles, may be, must be left uncertain. Guérin thinks he has discovered our Gaba in the village of Sheikh Abreik upon a hill near Carmel, with the situation of which the statements of Josephus certainly agree.

26. Esbon or Hesbon, Hebr. חֶשְׁבּוֹן, in the LXX. and Eusebius Ἐσεβών, Josephus Ἐσσεβών, later Ἐσβοῦς. The town lay, according to Josephus, 20 m. p. east of the Jordan, opposite Jericho. With this agrees exactly the situation of the present Hesbân, east of Jordan, under the same degree of latitude as the northern point of the Dead Sea, where ruins are also found. Hesbon is frequently mentioned as the capital of an Amorite kingdom. In Isaiah and Jeremiah, on the other hand, it appears as a Moabite town. And as such it is also mentioned by Josephus even in the time of Alexander Jannaeus, by whose victories it was incorporated in the Jewish region (Antt. xiii. 15. 4). Its further history cannot be accurately followed. At all events it was in the possession of Herod, when he refortified it for the control of Peraea, and placed in it a military colony (Antt. xv. 8. 5). The district of Esbon is mentioned as the eastern boundary of Peraea by Josephus, hence it did not in a political sense belong to Peraea. At the outbreak of the Jewish war, it was attacked by the insurgent Jews (Bell. Jud. ii. 18. 1). At the creation of the province of Arabia, A.D. 105, Esbon, or as it was now called Esbus, was probably forthwith awarded to it, for Ptolemy already speaks of it as belonging to Arabia. The few coins as yet known are those of either Caracalla or Elagabalus. It was an important town in the time of Eusebius, and Christian bishops of Esbus (Esbundorum, Ἐσβουντίων) are mentioned in the fourth and fifth centuries.

27. Antipatris, Ἀντιπατρίς. The original name of this town was Καφαρσαβά, or Καβαρσαβά, sometimes Καπερσαβίνη, Hebrew כפר סבא, under which name it also occurs in Rabbinical literature. Its situation is evidenced by the present Kefr-Saba, north-eastward of Joppa, the position of which agrees with the statements of ancient writers concerning Antipatris, that it was 150 stadia from Joppa, at the entrance of the mountainous district, and 26 m. p. south of Caesarea, on the road thence to Lydia. Herod here founded in a well-watered and well-wooded plain a new city, which he called Antipatris in honour of his father Antipater (Antt. xvi. 5. 2; Bell. Jud. i. 21. 9). The town is also mentioned in Rabbinical literature under this name, אנטיפטרט; also by Ptolemy, Eusebius, and Stephanus Byzantinus. It was much reduced in the fourth century after Christ, being spoken of in the Itinerar. Burdig., not as a civitas, but only as a mutatio (stopping place), and designated by Jerome as a semirutum opidulum. Yet a Bishop of Antipatris still occurs in the Acts of the Council of Chalcedon, A.D. 451. Its existence in these later times is also elsewhere evidenced. Nay, so late as the eighth century after Christ it is still spoken of as a town inhabited by Christians.

28. Phasaelis, Φασαηλίς. It was in honour of his brother Phasael that Herod founded in the Jordan valley, in a hitherto untilled but fertile region, which was thus gained for cultivation, the city of Phasaelis (Antt. xvi. 5. 2; Bell. Jud. i. 21. 9). After his death the town, with its valuable palm plantations, came into the possession of his sister Salome (Antt. xviii. 8. 1, 11. 5; Bell. Jud. ii. 6. 3); and after her death into that of the Empress Livia (Antt. xviii. 2. 2; Bell. Jud. ii. 9. 1). Pliny speaks of the excellent dates obtained from the palm trees growing there. The town is also mentioned by Ptolemy, Stephanus Byz., and the geographers of Ravenna. Its name has been preserved in the present Karbet Fasail on the edge of the plain of the Jordan, in a fertile district. The stream flowing thence to the Jordan is called Wadi Fasail.

29. Caesarea Panias. Τὸ Πάνειον properly means the grotto dedicated to Pan at the source of the Jordan. It is first mentioned under this name by Polybius in the time of Antiochus the Great, who there gained (198 B.C.) over the Egyptian general Scopas the decisive victory, in consequence of which all Palestine fell into his hands. Even this early mention would lead us to infer a Hellenization of the place in the third century before Christ. In any case the population of the surrounding district, as its farther history also shows, was chiefly non-Jewish. In the early times of Herod the country of Πανιάς (as it was called from the Pan-Grotto there) belonged to a certain Zenodorus, after whose death, in the year 20 B.C., it was given by Augustus to Herod (see above, § 15), who built a splendid temple to Augustus in the neighbourhood of the Pan-Grotto (Antt. xv. 10. 3; Bell. Jud. i. 21. 3). The place, which lay there, was originally called like the country, Πανιάς or Πανεάς. It was first, however, transformed into a considerable town by Philip the Tetrarch, the son of Herod, who rebuilt it and called it Καισάρεια, in honour of Augustus (Antt. xviii. 2. 1; Bell. Jud. ii. 9. 1). This refoundation belongs to the early times of Philip; for the coins of the town have an era, the commencement of which probably dates from the year 3 B.C. (751 A.U.C.), or at latest 2 B.C. (752 A.U.C.). After the death of Philip, his realm was for a few years under Roman administration, then under Agrippa I., then again under Roman procurators, and at last, in A.D. 53, under Agrippa II., who enlarged Caesarea and called it Νερωνιάς in honour of Nero (Antt. xv. 9. 4), which name is occasionally found on coins. That the town was then also chiefly a heathen one appears from Joseph. Vita, 13. Hence both Titus and Vespasian passed their times of repose during the Jewish war amidst games and other festivities at this place. The name Neronias seems never to have been naturalized. In the first century after Christ this Caesarea was, to distinguish it from others, usually called Καισάρεια ἡ Φιλίππου; its official designation upon coins, especially of the second century, is Καισ(άρεια) Σεβ(αστὴ) ἱερ(ὰ) καὶ ἄσυ(λος) ὑπὸ Πανείω. Elsewhere it has generally been called since the second century Καισάρεια Πανιάς, which name also predominates on coins of the third. Since the fourth the name of Caesarea has been wholly lost, and the town called only Panias. This seems besides to have always remained its prevailing name among the native population, as it is also that chiefly used (in the form פנייס) in Rabbinic literature. When the “villages of Caesarea Philippi” (αἱ κῶμαι Καισαρείας τῆς Φιλίππου) are mentioned in the New Testament, Mark 8:27, of course the genitive here expresses not a merely “local reference” of the villages to the town, but shows that they belong and are subject to it,—in other words, that Caesarea had, like each of these towns, a district of its own which it governed.

30. Julias, formerly Bethsaida. In the place of a village called Bethsaida, lying to the north of the Lake of Gennesareth, a new town was built by Philip, who called it Ἰουλιάς, in honour of Julia the daughter of Augustus (Antt. xviii. 2. 1; Bell. Jud. ii. 9. 1). Its situation eastward of the Jordan, just before the latter flows into the Lake of Gennesareth, is placed beyond doubt by the repeated and concurrent statements of Josephus. The foundation of this city also must have taken place in the earlier times of Philip. For in the year 2 B.C. (752 A.U.C.) Julia had already been banished by Augustus to the island of Pandateria, and it is not conceivable, that Philip should, after that date, have named a town after her. Of its subsequent history, nothing is known but that it was given by Nero to Agrippa II. (Antt. xx. 8. 4; Bell. Jud. ii. 13. 2). It is mentioned in Pliny, Ptolemy and the geographers of Ravenna. From the manner in which Josephus speaks of it (Antt. xviii. 2. 1), it might appear as though Philip had only altered the name of the village of Bethsaida into Julias, and thus, that the new place too was only a κώμη. In another passage however he explicitly distinguishes Julias from the surrounding villages as a πόλις, hence the former was properly speaking a πόλις from the time of its rebuilding. The question as to whether the Bethsaida of the New Testament was identical with this—a question recently again decided in the affirmative—must here be left undiscussed.

31. Sepphoris, Σεπφώρις. The Semitic form of this name fluctuates between צִפּוֹרִין and צִפּוֹרִי. Perhaps the former is the older, the latter the abbreviated form. With the former correspond the Greek and Latin Σεπφουρίν, Saphorim, Safforine; with the latter Σαπφουρεί, Sapori. Josephus constantly uses the Graecized form Σεπφώρις. On coins the inhabitants are called Σεπφωρηνοί. The earliest mention is found in Josephus in the beginning of the reign of Alexander Jannaeus, when Ptolemy Lathurus made an unsuccessful attempt to take Sepphoris by force (Antt. xiii. 12. 5). When Gabinius, about 57–55 B.C., divided the Jewish region into five “Synedria,” he transferred the Synedrium for Galilee to Sepphoris (Antt. xiv. 5. 4; Bell. Jud. i. 8. 5); which shows that this town must then have been the most important town of Galilee. It is also mentioned as a place of arms at the conquest of Palestine by Herod the Great, who was only able to take it without difficulty, because the garrison of Antigonus had evacuated the place (Antt. xiv. 15. 4; Bell. Jud. i. 16. 2). At the insurrection, after the death of Herod, Sepphoris seems to have been a main seat of the rebellion. Varus despatched thither a division of his army, burnt the town and sold its inhabitants as slaves (Antt. xvii. 10. 9; Bell. Jud. ii. 5. 1). This makes a turning-point in its history; from a Jewish town adhering to the national party it now became a town friendly to the Romans, with probably a mixed population. For Herod Antipas, to whose possession it was transferred, rebuilt it and made it “the ornament of all Galilee” (Antt. xviii 2. 1): πρόσχημα τοῦ Γαλιλαίου παντός. But its population was—as was shown by its attitude during the great war, A.D. 66–70—no longer anti-Roman and hence no longer purely Jewish. It is perhaps this change, which is referred to in a passage of the Mishna, in which the “ancient government of Sepphoris” is assumed to have been a purely Jewish one. At its rebuilding by Herod Antipas, Sepphoris seems to have been also raised to the rank of capital of Galilee.

This rank was however afterwards bestowed by the same prince upon the newly built city of Tiberias, to which Sepphoris was subordinate. It so continued until Tiberias was, in the reign of Nero, separated from Galilee and bestowed upon Agrippa II., when Sepphoris consequently again occupied the position of capital of Galilee. Thus these two towns alternately assumed the same position with respect to Galilee, that Jerusalem did with respect to Judaea (see below, § 2). Sepphoris was at that time the most important fortress in Galilee, and, after Tiberias, the largest town in the province. Hence, at the outbreak of the Jewish war, it was of the greatest consequence, that just this town did not participate in the insurrection, but remained from the beginning on the side of the Romans. So early as the time when Cestius Gallus marched against insurgent Jerusalem, Sepphoris took up a friendly position towards him. It remained also faithful to its Romish tendencies during the winter of A.D. 66/67, when Josephus was organizing the insurrection in Galilee. Josephus therefore took possession of it by force, in doing which he was unable to prevent its being plundered by his Galilaean troops. Cestius Gallus consequently sent a garrison to the oppressed town, by which Josephus was repulsed, when he for the second time entered it by force. Vespasian soon after arrived in Galilee with his army, and Sepphoris entreated and again received from him a Roman garrison. We have but fragmentary information of the further history of the town. Its inhabitants are, on coins of Trajan, still called Σεπφωρηνοί. Soon after however it received the name of Diocaesarea, which appears on coins since Antoninus Pius. Its official designation upon coins is: Διοκαι(σάρεια) ἱερὰ ἄσ(υλος) καὶ αὐτό(νομος). The name of Diocaesarea remained the prevailing one in Greek authors, though its original appellation continued to exist, and at last banished the new one. The district of Diocaesarea was so extensive, that it included e.g. the village of Dabira on Mount Tabor.

32. Julias or Livias. In the Old Testament, a place called Beth-haram (בֵּית הָרָם or בֵּית הָרָן), in the country east of the Jordan, in the realm of the Amorite kings of Hesbon, is mentioned (Josh. 13:27; Num. 32:36). In the Jerusalemite Talmud בית רמתה is stated to be the more modern name of this Beth-haram; and both Eusebius and Jerome identify the scriptural Beth-haram with the Βηθραμφθά or Bethrhamtha, which was known to them. The Βηθαράμαθος, where Herod the Great had a palace, which was destroyed during the insurrection after his death, is at any rate identical with the latter. It was this very Bethramphtha, which was rebuilt and fortified by Herod Antipas, and called Julias in honour of the wife of Augustus (Joseph. Antt. xviii. 2. 1; Bell. Jud. ii. 9. 1). Eusebius and others give the name as Livias instead of Julias, and the town is elsewhere frequently mentioned by this name. Since the wife of Augustus was called by her own name Livia during his lifetime, and did not bear the name of Julia till she was admitted into the gens Julia by his testament, we must conclude that Livias was the older name of the town, and that this was after the death of Augustus altered into that of Julias; but that this new official appellation was, as in the case of Caesarea Philippi and Neronias, unable to banish the older and already nationalized name. Only Josephus uses the official designation Julias. He still mentions the town by this name at the time of the Jewish war, when it was occupied by Placidus, a general of Vespasian. The situation of the town is most accurately described by Theodosius, the Palestinian pilgrim (sixth century), and after him by Gregory of Tours: it lay beyond Jordan, opposite Jericho, 12 m. p. from that town, in the neighbourhood of the warm springs. With this Eusebius, who places it opposite Jericho on the road to Hesbon, coincides. Its cultivation of dates is as much celebrated by Theodosius as by Pliny.

33. Tiberias, Τιβεριάς. The most important work of Herod the Great was the building of a new capital on the western shore of the Lake of Gennesareth, which he called Τιβεριάς in honour of the Emperor Tiberius. It was situated in a beautiful and fertile district in the neighbourhood of celebrated warm springs (Antt. xviii. 2. 3; Bell. Jud. ii. 9. 1; compare above, § 17). Its building took place considerably after that of Sepphoris and Livias. For while Josephus mentions the building of these two cities at the very beginning of the reign of Herod Antipas, he does not speak of the building of Tiberias till the entrance of Pilate upon his office (A.D. 26); see Antt. xviii. 2. 1–3. This makes it probable, that Tiberias was not built till A.D. 26 or later. Eusebius in his Chronicle decidedly places the building in the 14th year of Tiberius; but this statement is quite without chronological value. Unfortunately the era of the town occurring upon the coins of Trajan and Hadrian cannot be calculated with certainty. It appears however, that the dates of the coins do not contradict the conjecture arrived at from Josephus. The population of Tiberias was a very mixed one. To obtain inhabitants for his new town Herod Antipas was obliged to settle there, partly by compulsion, a real colluvies hominum (see above, § 17). Its attitude however during the Jewish war shows them to have been chiefly Jewish. The constitution however was one of Hellenistic organization. The town had a council (βουλή) of 600 members, at the head of which was an ἄρχων and a committee of the δέκα πρῶτοι, also Hyparchoi and an Agoranomos. It was also promoted to be the capital of Galilee, Sepphoris itself being subordinated to it (see above, p. 139), The coins of Tiberias issued in the time of Herod have simply the superscription Τιβεριάς. After the deposition of Herod Antipas Tiberias was transferred to the possession of Agrippa I. A coin of his time also, with the superscription Τιβεριέων is known. After the death of Agrippa the town came under the authority of the Roman procurators of Judaea. It must at the same time have received new political privileges or experienced some kind of favour from the Emperor Claudius; for the inhabitants are constantly called Τιβεριεῖς Κλαυδιεῖς on the coins of Trajan and Hadrian. It continued to maintain its position as capital of Galilee till the time of Nero (Joseph. Vita, 9). By him, probably in A.D. 61, it was bestowed upon Agrippa II., and thus separated from Galilee (Antt. xx. 8. 4; Bell. Jud. ii. 13. 2; Vita, 9). Hence it formed part of the realm of Agrippa, when the Jewish insurrection broke out in A.D. 66. The attitude of the population with respect to it was a very varying one. Some desired to remain on the side of Agrippa and the Romans; others—and indeed the mass of those without property—wished to join the cause of the revolution; others again took up a position of reserve (Vita, 9; comp. also Vita, 12, where the revolutionary party is called ἡ τῶν ναυτῶν καὶ τῶν ἀπόρων στάσις). This party had decidedly the upper hand, and the rest had consequently to submit. A chief leader of this party was Jesus the son of Sapphias, then archon of the town. Still even after the triumph of the revolutionary torrent, a part of the population maintained their relations to Agrippa, and repeatedly entreated, though in vain, his support. When Vespasian had subjected the greater part of Galilee and penetrated as far as Tiberias, the town ventured no resistance, but voluntarily opened its gates and begged for pardon, which was granted out of regard for Agrippa. Vespasian indeed allowed his soldiers to march into Tiberias, but spared the town and restored it to Agrippa. It remained in his possession probably till his death, A.D. 100, till which period it did not again come under direct Roman rule, to which circumstance extant coins of the time of Trajan and Hadrian bear testimony. Eusebius designates it as a πόλις ἐπίσημος. It was in the third and fourth centuries after Christ a chief seat of Rabbinical scholarship, and is hence frequently mentioned in Talmudic. literature.

Of some of the last-named towns, as Antipatris, Phasaelis, Julias and Livias it cannot certainly be determined whether they really belonged to the class of independent towns with Hellenistic constitutions, since it is just as likely that, like other second-rate towns, they were incorporated in the general organization of the country. They had however to be named here, because in any case a certain proportion of the towns built by Herod and his sons belonged to the above category. On the other hand, it is also possible, that the number of the independent communities is not exhausted by the towns here enumerated. Hence we cannot look upon the list we have given as a strictly defined one. For the times of Roman imperialism a further number of independent civic communities would have to be named, which are here designedly passed over, because it was not till later (at the earliest A.D. 70) that they attained this position. This was the case especially with Nicopolis (= Emmaus), Neapolis (= Sichem), Diospolis (= Lydda), Eleutheropolis and the communities belonging to the province of Arabia, as Bostra, Adraa and others. Aelia Capitolina (= Jerusalem) too would have to be mentioned as a heathen town for the period after Hadrian. On Capitolias, comp. above, p. 106.

Concerning the position of the Jews in these mainly heathen communities no further material exists than what has been already communicated on the places in question. The history of Caesarea (No. 9) is the most instructive. Here heathens and Jews possessed down to Nero’s time equal civic rights (ἰσοπολιτεία, Antt. xx. 8. 7 and 9) and hence equal eligibility to the town senate. As this of necessity entailed manifold dissensions, both parties strove to bring about an alteration of this state of things, each desiring to have the supremacy. Thus a threefold possibility existed: 1. equality, 2. exclusion of the Jews, and 3. exclusion of the heathen, from civic privileges. All three cases actually occurred. In the old Philistinian and Phoenician towns the Jews hardly possessed the privilege of citizenship. They dwelt in them indeed by thousands; but were only tolerated as inhabitants; and how strained were the relations between them and the heathen citizens, is best shown by the sanguinary persecution of the Jews in many of these towns at the outbreak of Jewish revolution, as e.g. in Ascalon, Ptolemais and Tyre. In other towns heathen and Jews may have been on an equality; this was especially the case in those towns, which subsequently to the Maccabaean period were mainly inhabited by Jews, as Jamnia and Joppa. Whether heathens were excluded from civic rights in any of the hitherto named towns is very doubtful; and not probable even in Sepphoris and Tiberias. The third possibility is at all events represented by Jerusalem and in general by the towns of the strictly Jewish territory. Particulars cannot be further entered into from lack of material It must suffice to have established the general point of sight On the organization of the Jewish communities in these towns, see below, § 27. II. and § 31. II.–III.

Selden, De synedriis et praefecturis juridicis reterum Ebraeorum, lib. i. Londini 1650, lib. ii. Londini 1653, lib. iii. Londini 1655 (reprint of the whole work, Amstelodami 1679). The first book treats of the judicial institutions of the Jews ante legis in Sinai dationem, the second of these same institutions subsequent to the giving of the law at Sinai, while the third is specially devoted to the consideration of the prerogatives of the supreme court (the Sanhedrim). In spite of all its critical shortcomings this learned work is still valuable on account of the rich fund of material it contains.

Saalschütz, Das mosaische Recht, vol. i. 1853, pp. 53–64.

Winer, Realwörterb., arts. Alter, Aelteste; Gericht; Städte.

Schenkel’s Bibellexicon, arts. Aelteste (by Schenkel); Gerichte (by Wittichen); Städte (by Furrer).

Riehm’s Handwörterb. des bibl Altertums, arts. Aelteste; Gerichtswesen; Dorf; Stadt.

Arnold in Herzog’s Real-Enc., 1st ed. vol. xiv. p. 721 (art. Städte).

Leyrer in Herzog’s Real-Enc., 1st ed. vol. xv. p. 324 f. (art. Synedrium).

Kuhn, Die städtische und bürgerl. Verfassung des römischen Reichs, vol. ii. pp. 336–346.

Köhler, Lehrbuch der biblischen Geschichte Alten Testaments, vol. i. 1875, p. 350 f.

Reuss, Gesch. der heiligen Schriften A. T.’s, sec. cxiv.

The strictly Jewish territory—leaving Samaria out of view—consisted of the three provinces of Judaea, Galilee and Peraea, and was enclosed within such boundaries as would naturally be formed by the contiguous portions of the districts belonging to the surrounding Hellenistic towns (comp. above, § 23. I.). The Gentile element in those provinces never formed more at the very outside than a minority of the population, while we may venture to assume that, in the towns, the municipal councils were composed exclusively of Jews. For there cannot be a doubt that, in Jewish towns as well, there were civic representative bodies to whom the management of the public affairs of the community was entrusted. So far back even as the earliest period in the history of Israel we find frequent mention of “the elders of the city” (זִקְנֵי הָעִיר) in the capacity of local authorities (see in general, Deut. 19:12, 21:2 ff., 22:15 ff., 25:7 ff.; Josh. 20:4; Judg. 8:14; Ruth 4:2 ff.; 1 Sam. 11:3, 16:4, 30:26 ff.; 1 Kings 21:8, 11). Of how many members this body was composed we are hardly ever told, but their number must have been something considerable. In Succoth, for example, there were as many as seventy-seven (Judg. 8:14). Those officials represented the community in every department of its affairs and accordingly they were also called upon to act in the capacity of judges (see, for example, Deut. 22:15). But, besides these, “judges” (שֹׁפְטִים) and “officers” (שֹׁטְרִים) are also specially mentioned (both classes in Deut. 16:18; while in 2 Chron. 19:5 ff. the instituting of “judges” is ascribed to Jehoshaphat). Now seeing that the judges are expressly mentioned along with the elders (Deut. 21:2; Ezra 10:14), the two orders of officials are in any case to be regarded as distinct, but probably only to this extent, that the judges were those among the elders to whom the administration of justice was specially entrusted. Similarly the “officers” are also to be regarded as belonging to the number of the “elders,” their special function again being to take charge of the executive department. The organization then that existed in later times is to be assumed as having been substantially identical with the one here in question. We further find that the “elders” of the city are also frequently mentioned during the Persian and Geeek era (Ezra 10:14; Judith 6:16, 21, 7:23 8:10, 10:6, 13:12). As regards the Roman period again, we have evidence of the existence of local tribunals at that time in such a statement, for example, as that of Josephus, where he mentions that Albinus, actuated by greed, liberated for a money consideration certain individuals who, for the crime of robbery, had been sentenced to imprisonment by their respective local courts (βουλή). From what is here stated we can further gather that it was the βουλή itself that discharged the judicial functions. Still it is quite possible that in the larger towns especially there may have been, besides the βουλή, certain other courts of a special kind. Again it is the local Sanhedrims that are to be understood as referred to when, in Matt. 10:17 = Mark 13:9, it is stated that the believers would be delivered εἰς συνέδρια; we may also regard as belonging to the same category those courts that, in Matt. 5:22, are assumed to be inferior in point of jurisdiction to the high court of the Sanhedrim; and similarly with regard to the πρεσβύτεροι of Capernaum (Luke 7:3). But it is in the Mishna above all that the existence of local courts throughout the country of the Jews is presupposed from beginning to end. As regards the number of members of which such courts were composed, some have been disposed to infer from the Mishna that the most inferior ones consisted of not more than three persons. This however is based upon a pure misapprehension. For the passages appealed to in support of this view do nothing more than simply enumerate the various questions for the deciding of which and the various causes for the trying of which three persons were deemed sufficient. Thus three, for example, were considered sufficient to decide an action involving money, or to pronounce judgment in cases of robbery and assault, or to award damages and such like; this number was also sufficient to sentence any one to be scourged, to determine the date of the new moon, and decide as to the intercalary year; also for the laying on of the hands (upon a sin-offering offered in the name of the congregation), and for breaking the heifer’s neck (on the occasion of any person being found murdered). Further cases for the disposal of which only three judges were necessary were those connected with the Chaliza and the refusal of a man to marry the wife of his deceased brother (Deut. 25:7–9), the redemption of the produce of fruit trees during the first four years of their growth, the redemption of the second tithe the value of which had not been previously determined, the purchasing back of certain things that were holy to the Lord, and so on. But nowhere is it said, that there were distinct local courts consisting of only three persons. In what sense we are to understand the statements of the Mishna above referred to may be readily seen from another passage which runs thus: “Actions involving money are decided by three persons. That is to say, each of the two parties in the case chooses a judge and then both the parties or, according to another view, both the judges, choose a third to act along with them.” As matter of fact the most subordinate of the local courts consisted of seven persons. For one can scarcely be far wrong in assuming that the statement of Josephus to the effect that Moses ordained that “seven men were to bear rule in every city, and that two men of the tribe of Levi were to be appointed to act as officers in every court,” was intended to be regarded as a description of the state of things that existed in Josephus’ own time, for there is no mention of anything of this kind in the Pentateuch. This is corroborated by the fact that Josephus himself, when on one occasion he wanted to introduce a model Jewish constitution into Galilee, established a court with seven judges in every town. No doubt from this latter circumstance one might rather infer that this organization had had no existence in Galilee previous to the revolution. But the boast of Josephus, that he was the first to create this the ideal of a Jewish constitution, may be said to be true only to this extent, that he took steps to have it more rigidly put in force. In the Talmud too we find “the seven leading men of the city” (שבעה טובי העיר) referred to on one occasion as forming a public board which, among other things, was entrusted with the management of the financial affairs of the community. What Josephus has stated with regard to two Levites being always appointed to act as ὑπηρέται to the local courts (see above note 41 is not without its analogies at least in the Old Testament. According to the Mishna there were certain special cases in which it was necessary to have priests as judges. In the more populous places the local courts would appear to have been composed of twenty-three members. At least we find a statement in the Mishna to the effect that an inferior Sanhedrim (סַנְהֶדְרִין קְטַנָּה) consisted of twenty-three persons, and that one of this sort was assigned to every town with a population of at least 120 or, according to R. Nehemiah’s view, of at least 230, in order that there might thus be a judge for every ten of the inhabitants. It must be confessed however that here too, as in so many other instances, we have no guarantee that the actual state of things quite corresponded with these regulations. Those courts of twenty-three members were likewise empowered to deal with criminal cases of a serious nature (דִּינֵי נְפָשׁוֹת), for we can also see from Matt. 5:21, 22, that the trying and sentencing of murderers did not belong exclusively to the jurisdiction of the supreme court of the Sanhedrim.

As in the case of the Hellenistic communes, so too within the Jewish domain the villages were subordinate to the towns, and the smaller towns again to the larger ones. The distinction between a town (עִיר) and a village (חָצֵר, seldom כָּפָר) is presupposed from beginning to end of the Old Testament itself; the former, as a rule, being an inhabited place surrounded by a wall, and the latter one that is not so enclosed (see in particular, Lev. 25:29–31); at the same time, towns themselves are also sometimes distinguished as walled and unwalled (Deut. 3:5; Esth. 9:19). Moreover, Josephus and the New Testament uniformly distinguish between the two notions πόλις and κώμη. On one occasion the New Testament speaks of κωμοπόλεις of Palestine (Mark 1:38), i.e. towns which, as regards their constitution, only enjoyed the rank of a κώμη. In the Mishna there are three conceptions of this matter, and these are uniformly distinguished from each other: that of a large city (כָּרָךְ), then that of a city (עִיר), and lastly that of a village (כָּפָר). The distinguishing characteristic in the case of the first two would seem to have been merely the difference in size; for even an ordinary town (עִיר) might be enclosed by a wall, and indeed it usually was so. In the Old Testament there is already frequent allusion to the subordination of the villages to the towns. In the lists of towns given in the Book of Joshua, and above all in the fifteenth and nineteenth chapters, we often meet with the expression, the “cities with their villages” (הֶעָרִים וְחַצְרֵיהֶן). Elsewhere we frequently read of a city and its daughter (בְּנוֹתֶיהָ), Num. 21:25, 32, 32:42; Josh. 15:45–47, 17:11; Judg. 11:26; Neh. 11:25 ff.; 1 Chron. 2:23, 5:16, 7:28 f., 8:12, 18:1; 2 Chron. 13:19, 28:18; Ezek. 16:46 ff., 26:6, 30:18; 1 Macc. 5:8, 65. And in keeping with the idea of the daughter, we also find the term “mother” employed to designate the chief town of a district (2 Sam. 20:19). From all this it is, in any case, clear that the villages were everywhere dependent upon the cities. But it is also highly probable that this was no less true of the smaller towns in relation to the larger ones. For frequently it is not only to villages, but also to smaller dependent towns that the designation “mother” is applied; at least in several instances is this most undoubtedly the case (Num. 21:25; Josh. 15:45–47; 1 Chron. 2:23). And what we thus gather from the Old Testament may be assumed to be no less applicable to later times as well (comp. especially, 1 Macc. 5:8: τὴν Ἰαζὴρ καὶ τὰς θυγατέρας αὐτῆς; ibid. 5:65: τὴν Χεβρὼν καὶ τὰς θυγατέρας αὐτῆς). But it is in the country on the east of the Jordan above all, and in the district of Trachonitis in particular, that capital villages (μητροκωμίαι), i.e. villages holding a position corresponding to that of a capital town, were most frequently to be met with. Thus Phaena, the modern Mismie, is called μητροκωμία τοῦ Τράχωνος. We have another example of a μητροκωμία in the case of Borechath, the modern Breike, which is also situated within the district of Trachonitis. Epiphanius mentions τὴν Βάκαθον μητροκωμίαν τῆς Ἀραβίας τῆς Φιλαδελφίας. Of course those testimonies only date from somewhere between the second and the fourth centuries of our era; moreover, the population of those districts, though of a mixed character, was composed chiefly of Gentiles.

Any notices of a more special kind that we have regarding the subordination of certain provinces to some of the larger cities apply exclusively to Galilee and Judaea, and only date from the Roman period. In Galilee, Sepphoris was the place which Gabinius fixed upon as the seat of one of the five συνέδρια or σύνοδοι; and as the one which sat here was the only one in the province (Antt. xiv. 5. 4; Bell Jud. i. 8. 5), Sepphoris became, in consequence, the centre of an organization that embraced the whole of Galilee. It is true the arrangement of Gabinius here referred to was of but short duration. But in later times as well, and particularly under the Idumaean dynasty, the whole of Galilee was always subordinate to some one capital city, whether Sepphoris on the one hand or Tiberias on the other (see above, notes 3 and 3 Here then we have an instance of a Jewish province being placed in subordination to a capital city that was not of a purely Jewish character.

In Judaea again it is to the division of the province into eleven or ten toparchies, vouched for both by Josephus and Pliny, that a special interest attaches. According to Josephus, Judaea was divided into the following eleven κληρουχίαι or τοπαρχίαι:—(1) Jerusalem, (2) Gophna, (3) Akrabatta, (4) Thamna, (5) Lydda, (6) Ammaus, (7) Pella, (8) Idumaea, (9) Engaddi, (10) Herodeion, (11) Jericho. Of these, the seven printed in italics are also mentioned by Pliny, who, by adding to them the following three: Jopica, Betholeptephene, Orine, brings up the total number of toparchies to ten. The mention of Orine instead of Jerusalem cannot be said to make any material difference. But the mention of Joppa in this instance is quite as erroneous as that of Pella by Josephus, for both of these were independent towns and did not belong to Judaea proper. Bethleptepha, on the other hand, is mentioned by Josephus in another passage, and that as being the capital of a toparchy. We may therefore obtain a correct list if we adopt that of Josephus and substitute Bethleptepha for Pella. In that case the toparchies would be grouped as follows: in the centre, Jerusalem; to the north of it, Gophna and Akrabatta; to the north-west, Thamna and Lydda; to the west, Emmaus; to the south-west, Bethleptepha; to the south, Idumaea; to the south-east, east, Engaddi and Herodeion; to the east, Jericho. It may be assumed as self-evident that this division was made chiefly for administrative reasons and, above all, with a view to greater convenience in the collecting of the revenue. Whether those districts were at the same time districts for judicial purposes as well, it is impossible to say. In any case it is probable that the whole organization does not date farther back than the Roman period, for no trace of it is to be met with previous to that time. The authorities from whom our information is derived exhibit a singular indecision in their conceptions of the political character of the capitals of those districts, inasmuch as at one time they are described as ̔πόλεις, at another as κῶμαι. It is true that here nothing is to be made of the circumstance that Eusebius treats the places in question for the most part as κῶμαι, for by his time matters had undergone an essential change. But Josephus himself is also somewhat undecided. For example, he speaks of Emmaus as being the μητρόπολις of the district in which it stood, and obviously therefore as that of the toparchy; whereas, in speaking of Lydda, on the other hand, he calls it merely a κώμη, thus employing what would appear to be the more correct designation (see above, note 43 We are therefore bound to assume, that from the Romano-Hellenistic point of view none of the places in question were πόλεις in the strict sense of the word, that is to say, they were not civic communities with a Hellenistic constitution; while it was only in deference to Jewish and popular usage that they were spoken of as “cities.” Strictly speaking, they ought rather to be called κωμοπόλεις (see above, note 42 or, viewed in their relation to their respective toparchies, μητροκωμίαι (see above, notes 42

There was only one town in Judaea proper that, according to Romano-Hellenistic ideas, enjoyed at the same time the rank of a πόλις, and that was Jerusalem. To this latter all the rest of Judaea was subordinate, so that it ruled over it (Judaea) ὡς βασίλειον (see note 43 Consequently its relation to Judaea was similar to that in which the Hellenistic cities stood to their respective districts. This among other things is implied in the style of address that is made use of in the imperial edicts issued to the Jews and which run thus: Ἱεροσολυμιτῶν ἄρχουσι βουλῇ δήμῳ, Ἰουδαίων παντὶ ἔθνει, terms precisely similar to those employed in the edicts addressed to the Hellenistic communes where, in like manner, the city with its council ruled over, and therefore was regarded as representing the whole district to which it belonged. It is further probable that the council (the Sanhedrim) of Jerusalem was also responsible for the collection of the taxes throughout the whole of Judaea. Again there is a reminiscence of the circumstance of the “elders” exercising authority over the whole of Judaea still preserved to us in the Mishna. But since the death of Herod the Great at least, the civil jurisdiction of the Sanhedrim of Jerusalem was entirely restricted to Judaea proper. Ever since then, Galilee and Peraea were, as regards their political relations, entirely severed from Judaea, or at all events formed independent spheres of administration, as has been pointed out above with special reference to Galilee. And least of all can we venture to make use of the circumstance that the rebellion in Galilee was directed from Jerusalem as an argument to show, that in times of peace as well, Galilee was under the jurisdiction of the supreme court of the Sanhedrim. For the circumstances here in question are obviously of an exceptional character. It was only in earlier days, and particularly during the Asmonaean period, that the whole land of Judaea could be said to have been really one in a political sense as well (comp. below, chap. iii.). As the council of Jerusalem could scarcely have been able to attend to the administration of justice in all its details, it is antecedently probable that, besides the supreme Sanhedrim, there would be one or more inferior tribunals in Jerusalem. Of this too the Mishna has preserved a reminiscence, though it happens to be a somewhat confused one.

Selden, De synedriis et praefecturis juridicis veterum Ebraeorum, lib. i.–iii., Londini 1650–1655 (comp. above, p. 132).

Meuschen, Novum Testamentum ex Talmudé et antiquitatibus Hebraeorum illustratum (Lips. 1736), pp. 1184–1199: Diatribe de נשיא seu directore Synedrii M. Hebraeorum.

Carpzov, Apparatus historico-criticus antiquilatum sacri codisis (1748), pp 550–600.

Hartmann, Die enge Verbindung des Alten Testaments mit dem Neuen (1831), pp. 166–225.

Winer, Realwörterb. ii. 551–554, art. “Synedrium.”

Sachs, Uber die Zeit der Entstehung des Synhedrin’s (Frankel’s Zetischr.für die religiösen Interessen des Judenth., 1845, pp. 301–312).

Saalschütz, Das mosaische Rechte, 2nd ed. 1853, i. 49 ff., ii. 598 ff. Also his Archäologie der Hebräer, vol. ii. 1856, pp. 249 ff., 271 ff., 429–458.

Levy, Die Präsidentur im Synedrium (Frankel’s Monatsschr. f. Gesch. und Wissenseh. des Judenth. 1855, pp. 266–274, 301–307, 339–358).

Herzfeld, Geschichte des Volkes Israel, vol. ii. (1855) pp. 380–396.

Jost, Geschichte des Judenthums und seiner Secten, vol. i. (1857) pp. 120–128, 270–281. Comp. also pp. 403 ff., vol. ii. (1858) pp. 13 ff., 25 ff.

Geiger, Urschrift und Uebersetzungen der Bibel (1857), p. 114 ff.

Keil, Handbuch der bibischen Archäologie (2nd ed. 1875), pp. 714–717.

Leyrer, art. “Synedrium,” in Herzog’s Real-Encycl., 1st ed. vol. xv. (1862) pp. 315–325.

Langen, Das jüdische Synedrium und die römische Procuratur in Judäa (Tüb. Theol. Quartalschr. 1862, pp. 411–463).

Grätz, Geschichte der Juden, vol. iii. (3rd ed. 1878) pp. 110 ff., 683–685.

De Wette, Lehrbuch der hebräisch-jüdischen Archäologie (4th ed. 1864), pp. 204–206.

Ewald, Geschichte des Volkes Israel (3rd ed. 1864–1868), iv. 217 ff., v. 56, vi. 097 ff.

Kueuen, Over de samenstelling van het Sanhedrin (Verslagen en Mededeelingen der koninkl. Academie van Wetenschappen, Afdeeling Letterkunde, Deel x., Amsterdam 1866, pp. 131–168). Comp. also, De Godsdienst van Israël, ii. (1870) pp. 512–515.

Derenbourg, Histoire de la Palestine (1867), pp. 83–94, 465–468.

Giusburg, art. “Sanhedrim,” in Kitto’s Cyclopaedia of Biblical Literature.

Hausrath, Neutestamentuche Zeitgeschichte, vol. i. (2nd ed. 1873) pp. 63–72.

Wieseler, Beiträge zur richtigen Würdigung der Evangelien (1869), pp. 205–230.

Keim, Geschichte Jesu, iii. pp. 321 ff., 345 ff.

Wellhausen, Die Pharisäer und die Sadducäer (1874), pp. 26–43.

Holtzmann, art. “Synedrium,” in Schenkel’s Bibellexicon, v. 446–451.

Hoffmann (D.), Der oberste Gerichtshof in der Stadt des Heiligthums (Progr. des Rabbiner-Seminares zu Berlin für 1877–1878). Also his Die Prüsidentur im Synedrium (Magazin für die Wissensch. des Judenth. v. Jahrg. 1878, pp. 94–99).

Reuss, Geschichte der heil. Schriften Alten Testaments (1881), secs, ccclxxvl., ccccxcv.

Hamburger, Real-Encyclopädie für Bibel und Talmud, part 2, 1883, art. “Synhedrion;” also the articles “Nassi” and “Abbethdin.”

Stapfer, Le Sanhédrin de Jérusalem au premier siècle (Revue de théologie et de philosophie [Lausanne], 1884, pp. 105–119).

1. Its history. There is no evidence to show that, previous to the Greek period, there existed at Jerusalem an aristocratic council claiming to exercise either supreme, or what was substantially supreme, authority and jurisdiction over the whole Jewish nation. It is true no doubt that Rabbinical exegesis has sought to identify the Sanhedrim of later times with the council of seventy elders that, at his own request, had once been granted to Moses to assist him with its advice (Num. 11:16), and has, in consequence, assumed that this same council continued without interruption from the days of Moses down to Talmudic times. But during the first thousand years of this period we find practically no trace whatever of its existence. For the “elders” that are sometimes mentioned as being the representatives of the people (for example in 1 Kings 8:1, 20:7; 2 Kings 23:1; Ezek. 14:1, 20:1) did not constitute a regularly organized court like the future Sanhedrim. Then again, the supreme court at Jerusalem, the existence of which is presupposed in the Deuteronomic legislation (Deut. 17:8 ff., 19:16 ff.), and the institution of which the author of Chronicles ascribes to Jehoshaphat (2 Chron. 19:8), was merely a court of justice with functions of an exclusively judicial character, and not a council governing, or at all events substantially governing, the country as was the Sanhedrim of the Graeco-Roman age. But further, it is, to say the least of it, uncertain whether any such court as that of the Sanhedrim existed even in the Persian era. No doubt, at that time, the municipal Council of Jerusalem formed the centre of the small Jewish commonwealth very much as it did at a subsequent period. And thus far we might be justified in understanding the “elders” of the Book of Ezra (Ezra 5:5, 9, 6:7, 14, 10:8), and the חוֹרִים and סְגָנִים of the Book of Nehemiah (Neh. 2:16, 4:8, 13, 5:7, 7:5), as corresponding somewhat to the future Sanhedrim. But judging from the whole way in which they are mentioned, it is more probable that the various order referred to are regarded in their individual capacity and not as con stituting an organized body. In any case the existence of a Jewish γερουσία earlier than the Greek period cannot be proved with any degree of certainty. The first occasion on which it is mentioned, and that under this designation, is in the time of Antiochus the Great (223–187 B.C.), so that it must, of course, have been in existence as early as the time of the Ptolemies. Now seeing that, in its desire for reform everywhere and in everything, Hellenism had set itself to reorganize political institutions as well, we are bound to assume that, in all probability, it was just the new Greek rulers who would give to the Jewish γερουσία the form in which it was met with at the period now in question, whether that form were entirely an original one or whether it were simply a reorganization of a similar court that was already in existence under the Persian rule. From the circumstance of the designation γερουσία being applied to it, it is clear that, unlike the majority of Greek councils, this was not a democratic, but an aristocratic body. This same circumstance would seem further to show that, so far as its original institution is concerned, this court dates back to an earlier period, and therefore to the time of the Persian rule. As we may well conceive, its powers would be of a tolerably large and extensive character. For the Hellenistic kings had conceded a great amount of internal freedom to municipal communities, and were on the whole satisfied if the taxes were duly paid and their own supremacy duly recognised. At the head of the Jewish commonwealth, and therefore of the γερουσία as well, stood the hereditary high priest. It was this latter, in conjunction with the γερουσία over which lie presided, that practically regulated the whole internal affairs of the nation.

After the Maccabaean insurrection the old high-priestly dynasty was superseded, its place being now supplied by the new Asmonaean line of high priests, which began with Simon, and which was likewise a hereditary one. Then again the old γερουσια must have been essentially revolutionized through its being purged of every element in it suspected of Greek sympathies and leanings. But the court itself still continued to exist and exercise its functions along with and under the Asmonaean princes and high priests; for even these latter could not venture to go so far as entirely to discard the old nobility of Jerusalem. Hence we find the γερουσία mentioned in the time of Judas (2 Macc. 1:10, 4:44, 11:27; the πρεσβύτεροι τοῦ λαοῦ of 1 Macc. 7:33 being also identically the same thing), of Jonathan (1 Macc. 12:6: ἡ γερουσία τοῦ ἔθνους; ibid. 11:23: οἱ πρεσβύτεροι Ἰσραήλ; ibid. 12:35: οἱ πρεσβύτεροι τοῦ λαοῦ) and of Simon (1 Macc. 13:36, 14:20, 28). Its existence is likewise presupposed in the Book of Judith, which probably belongs to the period now in question (Judith 4:8, 11:14, 15:8). The assumption of the title of king on the part of the Asmonaean princes, and above all the autocratic rule of an Alexander Jannaeus, indicated no doubt an advance in the direction of a pure monarchy. But, for all that, the old γερουσία still continued to assert itself as much as ever. At least in the reign of Alexandra we find τῶν Ἰουδαίων οἱ πρεσβύτεροι expressly mentioned (Antt. xiii. 16. 5).

It is true that, when a new order of things was introduced by Pompey, the monarchy was abolished. But the high priest still retained the προστασία τοῦ ἔθνους (Antt. xx. 10), and therefore it may be presumed that meanwhile the position of the γερουσία would remain essentially the same as before. The existing arrangements however were rather more seriously disturbed by Gabinius (57–55 B.C.), when he divided the whole of the Jewish territory into five σύνοδοι (Bell. Jud. i. 8. 5) or συνέδρια (Antt. xiv. 5. 4). Now, seeing that of those five synedria three were allotted to Judaea proper (viz. those of Jerusalem, Gazara and Jericho) it follows that the jurisdiction of the council of Jerusalem, if it really retained anything of its previous character at all, would extend only to something like a third part of the province. But probably that measure meant rather more than a mere limiting of jurisdiction. For the five συνέδρια established by Gabinius were not municipal councils, but—as indeed we might have supposed from the fact that Josephus uses the term σύνοδοι as a synonymous expression—genuine Roman conventus juridici, “districts for judicial purposes,” into which the Romans were in the habit of dividing every province. And, that being the case, the measure in question must have been neither more nor less than a stricter application to Judaea of the Roman system of provincial government. As things now stood the council of Jerusalem no longer exercised sole jurisdiction within the circuit to which it belonged, but only in conjunction with the other communities within this same district. The arrangements of Gabinius however continued to subsist only somewhere about ten years. For they were in turn superseded by the new system of things introduced by Caesar (47 B.C.). This latter reappointed Hyrcanus II. to his former office of ἐθνάρχης of the Jews (see above, § 13); while it is distinctly evident from a circumstance that occurred about that time, that the jurisdiction of the council of Jerusalem once more extended to Galilee as well. The circumstance in question was the occasion on which Herod when a youth was required to appear before the συνέδριον at Jerusalem to answer for his doings in Galilee (Antt. xiv. 9. 3–5). Here for the first time, as frequently afterwards, the council of Jerusalem was designated by the term συνέδριον. As it is unusual elsewhere to find this expression applied to civic councils, such a use, in this instance, is somewhat strange, but probably it is to be explained by the fact that the council of Jerusalem was conceived of as being above all a court of justice (בֵּית דִּין). For it is in this sense that συνέδριον is specially used in later Greek.

Herod the Great inaugurated his reign by ordering the whole of the members of the Sanhedrim to be put to death (Antt. xiv. 9. 4: πάντας ἀπέκτεινε τοὺς ἐν τῷ συνεδρίῳ). Whether the πάντας here is to be understood quite literally may be left an open question. For, acoording to another passage, Herod is represented as as having ordered the forty-five most prominent personages belonging to the party of Antigonus to be put to death (Antt. xv. 1. 2: ἀπέκτεινε δὲ τεσσαράκοντα πέντε τοὺς πρώτους ἐκ τῆς αἱρέσεως Ἀντιγόνου). In any case the object of this proceeding was either to get rid entirely of the old nobility, who had been somewhat hostile to his claims, or at all events so to intimidate them as to ensure their acquiescence in the rule of the new sovereign. It was of those then that were disposed to be tractable—among whom also were a good many Pharisees, who saw in Herod’s despotic sway a well-merited judgment of heaven—that the new Sanhedrim was now composed. For there is express evidence that such an institution existed in the time of Herod also, inasmuch as one can hardly understand that the “assembly” (συνέδριον) before which this monarch successfully prosecuted his charge against the aged Hyrcanus could be taken as referring to any other court than our Sanhedrim (Antt. xv. 6. 2, fin.).

After Herod’s death Arclielaus obtained only a portion of his father’s kingdom, viz. the provinces of Judaea and Samaria. Nor can there be any doubt that, in consequence of this, the jurisdiction of the Sanhedrim was at the same time restricted to Judaea proper (comp. above, p. 142). This continued to be the state of matters in the time of the procurators as well. But, under their administration, the internal government of the country was to a greater extent in the hands of the Sanhedrim than it had been during the reign of Herod and Archelaus. Josephus distinctly intimates as much when he informs us that, ever since the death of Herod and Archelaus, the form of government was that of an aristocracy under the supreme direction of the high priests. And accordingly he regards the aristocratic council of Jerusalem as being now the true governing body in contradistinction to the previous monarchical rule of the Idumaean princes. So too in the time of Christ and the apostles the συνέδριον at Jerusalem is frequently mentioned as being the supreme Jewish court, above all, as being the supreme Jewish court of justice (Matt. 5:22, 26:59; Mark 14:55, 15:1; Luke 22:66; John 11:47; Acts 4:15, 5:21 ff., 6:12 ff., 22:30, 23:1 ff., 24:20). Sometimes again the terms πρεσβυτέριον (Luke 22:66; Acts 22:5) and γερουσία (Acts 5:21) are substituted for συνέδριον. A member of this court, viz. Joseph of Arimathea, is described in Mark 15:43, Luke 23:50, as a βουλευτής. Josephus calls the supreme court of Jerusalem a συνέδριον or a βουλή, or he comprehends the court and people under the common designation of τὸ κοινόν. While in the Mishna again the supreme court of justice is called בֵּית דִּין הַגָּדוֹל or סַנְהֶדְרִין גְּדוֹלָה, likewise סַנְהֶדְרִין שֶׁל שׁבעיםְֶ יָאחד, or merely סַנְהֶדְרִין. There can be no question that, after the destruction of Jerusalem in the year 70 A.D., the Sanhedrim was abolished, so far at least as its existing form was concerned. The comparatively large amount of self-government that had hitherto been granted to the Jewish people could no longer be conceded to them after such a serious rebellion as had taken place. Hitherto, apart from the short episode in the time of Gabinius, the Roman system of provincial government had not been strictly carried out in Judaea (see above, § 17), but now that Palestine was reduced to the position of a dependent Roman province, it was no longer exempted from the ordinary system of Roman provincial administration. From all this it followed, as matter of course, that a Jewish council, invested with such extensive powers as this one had hitherto exercised, could not possibly continue any longer. It is true, no doubt, that the Jewish people lost no time in again creating for themselves a new centre in the so-called court of justice (בֵּית דִּין) at Jabne. But this court was something essentially different from the old Sanhedrim, inasmuch as it was not a legislative body, but a judicial tribunal, the decisions of which had at first nothing more than a merely theoretical importance. And although this court also came ere long to acquire great power over the Jewish people through exercising over them a real jurisdiction that was partly conceded and partly usurped, still Rabbinical Judaism has evidently never been able to get rid of the feeling that the old “Sanhedrim” had now become a thing of the past.

2. Its composition. In accordance with the analogy of the later Rabbinical courts of justice, Jewish tradition conceives of the supreme Sanhedrim as having been merely a collegiate body composed of scribes. This is what, down to the time of the destruction of Jerusalem, it certainly never was. On the contrary, it is certain, from the concurrent testimony of Josephus and the New Testament, that, till the very last, the head of the sacerdotal aristocracy continued to preside over the Sanhedrim. And so we see that all the vicissitudes of time had not been able to efface that original fundamental character of this court in virtue of which it was to be regarded not as an association of learned men, but as a body representative of the nobility. But, of course, it was not to be expected that the power of Pharisaism should continue to grow as it did without ultimately exerting some influence upon the composition of the Sanhedrim. The more the Pharisees grew in importance the more did the priestly aristocracy become convinced that they too would have to be allowed to have their representatives in the Sanhedrim. The first step in this direction would probably be taken some time during the reign of Alexandra, and the matter would doubtless receive no inconsiderable impetus in the time of Herod. For this monarch’s high-handed treatment of the old nobility could not possibly have failed to promote the interests of Pharisaism. The Sanhedrim of the Roman period then would thus seem to have been made up of two factors: that of the priestly nobility, with its Sadducaean sympathies on the one hand, and that of the Pharisaic doctors on the other. It is moreover in the light of this fact that the various matters recorded in the traditions will require to be viewed. According to the Mishna the number of members amounted to seventy-one, clearly taking as its model the council of elders in the time of Moses (Num. 11:16). From the two statements of Josephus, the one in Antt. xiv. 9. 4 (where we are told that Herod, on his accession to the throne, put to death all the members of the Sanhedrim), and the other in Antt. xv. 1. 2 (where again we are informed that he put to death the forty-five most prominent members of the party of Antigonus), one might be disposed to infer that the number of members was forty-five. But the πάντας in the first of those statements is assuredly not intended to be taken literally. On the other hand, we have a great deal that tends to bear out the view that the number of members amounted to seventy-one. When Josephus was planning the rising in Galilee he appointed seventy elders to take charge of the administration of this province. In like manner the zealots in Jerusalem, after suppressing the existing authorities, established a tribunal composed of seventy members. This then would seem to have been regarded as the normal number of members required to constitute a supreme court of justice among the Jews. Consequently the traditions of the Mishna too are in themselves perfectly probable. As to the mode in which vacancies were filled up we know in reality absolutely nothing. But, judging from the aristocratic character of this body, we may venture to presume that there was not a new set of members every year, and those elected by the voice of the people, as in the case of the democratic councils in the Hellenistic communes, but that they held office for a longer period, nay perhaps for life, and that new members were appointed either by the existing members themselves or by the supreme political authorities (Herod and the Romans). The supplying of vacancies through co-optation is also presupposed in the Mishna, in so far as, after its own peculiar way no doubt, it regards the amount of Rabbinical learning possessed by the candidate as the sole test of his eligibility. In any case we may well believe that the one requirement of legal Judaism, that none but Israelites of pure blood should be eligible for the office of judge in a criminal court, would also be insisted on in the case of the supreme Sanhedrim. New members were formally admitted to take their seats through the ceremony of the laying on of hands (סְמִיכָה). With regard to the different orders to which the members of the Sanhedrim belonged we have trustworthy information on that point in the concurrent testimony of the New Testament and Josephus. Both authorities are agreed in this, that the ἀρχιερεῖς in the literal sense of the word were the leading personages among them. In almost every instance in which the New Testament enumerates the different orders we find that the ἀρχιερεῖς are mentioned first. Sometimes οἱ ἄρχοντες is substituted for this latter as being an inter-changeable expression. This is also the case in Josephus, above all, who designates the supreme authorities in Jerusalem either by conjoining the ἀρχιερεῖς with the δυνατοῖς, the γνωρίμοις and the βουλῇ, or by substituting ἄρχοντες for ἀρχιερεῖς, but never by coupling the two together at the same time. On the other hand, the ἀρχιερεῖς often stand alone as being the leading personages in the Sanhedrim. And however difficult it may now be further to determine the exact significance of this term (on this see below, under No. iv.), there can, at all events, be no doubt whatever that it is the most prominent representatives of the priesthood that are here in view. We are therefore to understand that it was always this class that played a leading part in the conduct of affairs. But it is certain that, along with them, the γραμματεῖς, the professional lawyers, also exercised considerable influence in the Sanhedrim. Such other members as did not belong to one or other of the two special classes just referred to were known simply as πρεσβύτεροι, under which general designation both priests and laymen alike might be included (for the two categories in question, see the passages in the New Testament quoted in note 48 Now, as the ἀρχιερεῖς belonged chiefly if not exclusively to the party of the Sadducees, while the γραμματεῖς, on the other hand, adhered not less strongly to the sect of the Pharisees, it follows from all that we have just been saying that Sadducees and Pharisees alike had seats in the Sanhedrim (especially during the Romano-Herodian period with regard to which alone can we be said to have any precise information). This is further corroborated by the express testimony of the New Testament and Josephus. During the period in question the greatest amount of influence was already practically in the hands of the Pharisees, with whose demands the Sadducees were obliged, however reluctantly, to comply, “as otherwise the people would not have tolerated them.” This remark of Josephus gives us a deep insight into the actual position of matters, from which it would seem, that though formally under the leadership of the Sadducaean high priests, the Sanhedrim was by this time practically under the predominant influence of Pharisaism.

There is a casual notice in Josephus which may perhaps be taken as pointing to the existence of an arrangement peculiar to the Hellenistico-Roman period. On one occasion when certain differences had arisen between the Jewish authorities and Festus the procurator about some alteration in the temple buildings, it appears that, with the concurrence of Festus, the Jews sent “the ten foremost persons among them and the high priest Ismael and the treasurer Helkias” as a deputation to Nero (Antt. xx. 8. 11: τοὺς πρώτους δέκα καὶ Ἰσμάηλον τὸν ἀρχιερέα καὶ Ἑλκίαν τὸν γαζοφύλακα). Now, if by the πρῶτοι δέκα here we are to understand not merely the ten most distinguished persons generally, but men holding a specific official position, then we are bound to assume that they were no other than the committee consisting of the δέκα πρῶτοι so often to be met with in the Hellenistic communes, and which can also be clearly shown to have had a place for example in the constitution established by Tiberias (see above, note 39 We are thus furnished with characteristic evidence of the extent to which Jewish and Hellenistico-Roman influences had become intertwined with each other in the organization of the Sanhedrim at the period in question.

As to who it was that acted as president of the Sanhedrim, this is a question in regard to which even Christian scholars down to most recent times and founding upon Jewish tradition, have entertained the most erroneous views conceivable. The later Jewish tradition, which as a rule regards the Sanhedrim in the light of a mere college of scribes, expressly presupposes that the heads of the Pharisaic schools were also the regular presidents of the Sanhedrim as well. Those heads of the schools are enumerated in the Mishna tractate Aboth c. i., and that with reference to earlier times, say from the middle of the second century B.C. till about the time of Christ, and are mentioned in pairs (see below, § 25); and it is asserted, though not in the tractate Aboth, yet in another passage in the Mishna, that the first of every pair had been Nasi (נָשִׂיא), while the second had been Ab-beth-din (אַב בֵּית דִּין), i.e. according to later usage in regard to those titles: president and vice-president of the Sanhedrim. Further, the heads of the schools that come after the “pairs” just referred to, especially Gamaliel I. and his son Simon, are represented by the later traditions as having been presidents of the Sanhedrim. In all this however there is, of course, nothing that is of any historical value. On the contrary, according to the unanimous testimony of Josephus and the New Testament, it was always the high priest that acted as the head and president of the Sanhedrim. Speaking generally, we may say that this is only what was to be expected from the nature of the case itself. Ever since the commencement of the Greek period the high priest had uniformly acted as head of the nation as well. In like manner the Asmonaeans had also been high priests and princes, nay even kings at one and the same time. With regard to the Roman period, we have the express testimony of Josephus to the effect that the high priests were also the political heads of the nation (Antt. xx. 10, fin.: τὴν προστασίαν τοῦ ἔθνους οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς ἐπεπίστευντο). In his theoretical descriptions of the Jewish constitution this historian invariably speaks of the high priest as having been the supreme judge (Apion, ii. 23: the high priest φυλάξει τοὺς νόμους, δικάσει περὶ τῶν ἀμφισβητουμένων, κολάσει τοὺς ἐλεγχθέντας ἐπʼ ἀδίκῳ; Antt. iv. 8. 14: Moses is said to have ordained that, if the local courts were unable to decide a case, the parties were to go to Jerusalem, καὶ συνελθόντες ὅ τε ἀρχιερεὺς καὶ ὁ προφήτης καὶ ἡ γερουσία τὸ δοκοῦν ἀποφαινέσθωσαν). Even from what is here stated we are required to assume that the high priest acted the part of president in the Sanhedrim. But, besides this, we have testimony of the most explicit kind to the same effect. In a document of so early a date as the national decree declaring the combined office of high priest and sovereign to be vested by right of inheritance in the family of Simon the Maccabaean, it was ordained that nobody was to be allowed “to contradict his (Simon’s) orders, or to convene an assembly in any part of the country without his knowledge or consent.” In the few instances in which Josephus mentions the sittings of the Sanhedrim at all, we invariably find that the high priest occupied the position of president. Thus in the year 47 B.C. it was Hyrcanus II., and in the year 62 A.D. it was Ananos the younger. Similarly in the New Testament, it is always the ἀρχιερεύς that appears as the presiding personage (Acts 5:17 ff., 7:1, 9:1, 2, 22:5, 23:2, 4, 24:1). Wherever names are mentioned we find that it is the high priest for the time being that officiates as president. Thus we have Caiaphas in the time of Christ (Matt. 26:3, 57), and Ananias in the time of the Apostle Paul (Acts 23:2, 24:1), both of whom, as we learn from Josephus, were the high priests actually in office at the dates in question. The trial of Jesus before Annas (John 18.) cannot be regarded as in any way disproving this view. For there it was merely a question of private examination. As little can we lay any stress on the fact that Ananos (or Annas) the younger is represented as being at the head of affairs in the time of the war, and that long after he had been deposed. For the circumstance of his occupying that position then was due to the fact of a special decree of the people having been issued at the time at which the revolution broke out. The only passage that might be urged in opposition to our view is Acts 4:6, where Annas (who was only an ex-high priest) is represented as being the president of the Sanhedrim. But this passage is very much in the same position as the parallel one, Luke 3:2. In both Annas is mentioned before Caiaphas in such a way as might lead one to suppose that the former was the high priest actually in office, though in point of fact this was certainly not the case. If therefore we are not at liberty to infer from Luke 3:2 that Annas was still in office as high priest, as little can we conclude from Acts 4:6 that he was president of the Sanhedrim, which would be incompatible with Matt. 26:57–66. We should prefer to explain the matter by saying that, in both cases, there is some inaccuracy about the narrative. That the persons who are mentioned in the Rabbinical traditions were not presidents of the Sanhedrim is further evident from the fact that, wherever those same individuals happen to be mentioned in the New Testament or by Josephus, they always appear merely as ordinary members of the court. Thus Shemaiah (Sameas) in the time of Hyrcanus II., Gamaliel I. in the time of the apostles (Acts 5:34, comp. ver. 27), and Simon ben Gamaliel in the time of the Jewish war.

The Jewish tradition in question is therefore at variance with the whole of the undoubted historical facts. Not only so, but it is itself only of a very late origin, and probably does not belong to so early a period as the age of the Mishna. The one solitary passage in the Mishna in which it occurs (Chagiga ii. 2) stands there in perfect isolation. Everywhere else in this work the heads of the schools above mentioned are spoken of simply as heads of schools and nothing more. Consequently it is extremely probable that the passage in question did not find its way into the text of the Mishna till some subsequent period. Then again, it may be affirmed, unless we have been deceived on all hands, that the titles Nasi and Ab-beth-din as applied to the president and vice-president of the Sanhedrim are foreign as yet to the age of the Mishna. It is true both those terms are to be met with in this work. But by Nasi it is always the actual prince of the nation, specially the king, that is meant, as indeed, is on one occasion expressly affirmed, while the Ab-beth-din again, if we may judge from its literal import, can hardly have been intended to mean anything else than the president of the supreme court of justice (and therefore of the Sanhedrim). Besides this latter title, we sometimes meet with that of Rosh-beth-din, and with precisely the same meaning. It was not till the post-Mishnic age that the titles Nasi and Ab-beth-din were, so to speak, reduced a step by being transferred to the president and vice-president respectively. Finally, the so-called מוּפְלָא, who, on the strength of a few passages in the Talmud is also frequently mentioned by Jewish and Christian scholars as having been a special functionary of the court, was not so at all, but simply the most “prominent” of its ordinary members, i.e. the one who was most learned in the law.

As regards the time of Christ it may be held as certain, from all that has just been said, that the office of president was always occupied by the high priest for the time being, and that too in virtue of his being such.

3. Its jurisdiction. As regards the area over which the jurisdiction of the supreme Sanhedrim extended, it has been already remarked above (p. 142) that its civil authority was restricted, in the time of Christ, to the eleven toparchies of Judaea proper. And accordingly, for this reason, it had no judicial authority over Jesus Christ so long as He remained in Galilee. It was only as soon as He entered Judaea that He came directly under its jurisdiction. In a certain sense, no doubt, the Sanhedrim exercised such jurisdiction over every Jewish community in the world, and in that sense over Galilee as well. Its orders were regarded as binding throughout the entire domain of orthodox Judaism. It had power, for example, to issue warrants to the congregations (synagogues) in Damascus for the apprehension of the Christians in that quarter (Acts 9:2, 22:5, 26:12). At the same time however the extent to which the Jewish communities were willing to yield obedience to the orders of the Sanhedrim always depended on how far they were favourably disposed toward it. It was only within the limits of Judaea proper that it exercised any direct authority. There could not possibly be a more erroneous way of defining the extent of its jurisdiction as regards the kind of causes with which it was competent to deal than to say that it was the spiritual or theological tribunal in contradistinction to the civil judicatories of the Romans. On the contrary, it would be more correct to say that it formed, in contrast to the foreign authority of Rome, that supreme native court which here, as almost everywhere else, the Romans had allowed to continue as before, only imposing certain restrictions with regard to competency. To this tribunal then belonged all those judicial matters and all those measures of an administrative character which either could not be competently dealt with by the inferior local courts or which the Roman procurator had not specially reserved for himself. The Sanhedrim was, above all, the final court of appeal for questions connected with the Mosaic law, but not in the sense that it was open to any one to appeal to it against the decisions of the inferior courts, but ather in so far as it was called upon to intervene in every case in which the lower courts could not agree as to their judgment. And when once it had given a decision in any case the judges of the local courts were, on pain of death, bound to acquiesce in it. In the theoretical speculations of the scribes we find the following specially laid down as cases which are to belong to the jurisdiction of the supreme court of justice: “A tribe (charged with idolatry), or a false prophet, or a high priest is only to be tried before the court of the seventy-one. A voluntary war is only to be commenced after the decision of the court of the seventy-one has been given regarding it. There is to be no enlargement of the city (Jerusalem or the courts of the temple) till after the court of the seventy-one has decided the matter. Superior courts for the tribes are only to be instituted when sanctioned by the court of the seventy-one. A town that has been seduced into idolatry is only to be dealt with by the court of the seventy-one.” Accordingly the high priest might be tried by the Sanhedrim, though the king, on the other hand, was as little amenable to its authority as he was at liberty to become one of its members. At the same time it is not difficult to perceive that all the regulations just referred to have the air of being of a purely theoretical character, that they do not represent the actual state of things, but merely the devout imaginations of the Mishnic doctors. The facts to be gleaned from the pages of the New Testament are of a somewhat more valuable character. We know, as matter of fact, that Jesus appeared before the Sanhedrim charged with blasphemy (Matt. 26:65; John 19:7), and that, before this same tribunal, Peter and John were brought up charged with being false prophets and deceivers of the people (Acts 4 and 5), Stephen with being a blasphemer (Acts 6:13 ff.), and Paul with being guilty of transgressing the Mosaic law (Acts 23).

There is a special interest attaching to the question as to how far the jurisdiction of the Sanhedrim was limited by the authority of the Roman procurator. We accordingly proceed to observe that, inasmuch as the Roman system of provincial government was not strictly carried out in the case of Judaea (see above, § 17), as the simple fact of its being administered by means of a procurator plainly shows, the Sanhedrim was still left in the enjoyment of a comparatively high degree of independence. Not only did it exercise civil jurisdiction, and that according to Jewish law (which was only a matter of course, as otherwise a Jewish court of justice would have been simply inconceivable), but it also enjoyed a considerable amount of criminal jurisdiction as well. It had an independent authority in regard to police affairs, and consequently possessed the right of ordering arrests to be made by its own officers (Matt. 26:47; Mark 14:43; Acts 4:3, 5:17, 18). It had also the power of finally disposing, on its own authority, of such cases as did not involve sentence of death (Acts 4:5–23, 5:21–40). It was only in cases in which such sentence of death was pronounced that the judgment required to be ratified by the authority of the procurator. Not only is this expressly affirmed with regard to the Jews in the Gospel of John (18:31 ἡμῖν οὐκ ἔξεστιν ἀποκτεῖναι οὐδένα), but it follows as matter of certainty, from the account of the condemnation of Jesus as given by the Synoptists. Besides, a reminiscence of this fact has survived in the Jewish traditions. But it is at the same time a fact worthy of note, that the procurator regulated his judgment in accordance with Jewish law; only on this assumption could Pilate have pronounced sentence of death in the case of Jesus. It is true the procurator was not compelled to have any regard to Jewish law in the matter at all, but still he was at liberty to do so, and as a rule he actually did so. There was one special offence in regard to which the Jews had been accorded the singular privilege of proceeding even against Roman citizens according to Jewish law. For if on any occasion one who was not a Jew happened to pass the barrier at the temple in Jerusalem, beyond which only Jews could go, and thus intrude into the inner court, he was punished with death, and that even though he were a Roman. Of course, even in this latter case, it was necessary that the sentence of the Jewish court should be confirmed by the Roman procurator. For we can hardly venture to infer, from the terms used by Josephus in speaking of this matter, that in this special instance, though in this alone, the Jews had an absolute right to carry out the capital sentence on their own authority. Nor would we be justified in drawing any such inference from the stoning of Stephen (Acts 7:5 ff.). This latter is rather to be regarded either as a case of excess of jurisdiction, or as an act of irregular mob-justice. Still, on the other hand, it would be a mistake to assume, as a statement in Josephus might seem to warrant us in doing, that the Sanhedrim was not at liberty to meet at all without the consent of the procurator. But all that is meant by the statement in question is that the high priest had no right to hold a court of supreme jurisdiction in the absence and without the consent of the procurator. As little are we to assume that the Jewish authorities were required to hand over every offender in the first instance to the procurator. This they no doubt did if at any time it seemed to them to be expedient to do so, but that does not necessarily imply that they were bound to do it. We see then that the Sanhedrim had been left in the enjoyment of a tolerably extensive jurisdiction, the most serious restriction to it being, of course, the fact that the Roman authorities could at any time take the initiative themselves, and proceed independently of the Jewish court, as they actually did in not a few instances, as, for example, when Paul was arrested. Further, it was in the power, not only of the procurator, but even of the tribune of the cohorts stationed in Jerusalem, to call the Sanhedrim together for the purpose of submitting to it any matter requiring to be investigated from the standpoint of Jewish law (Acts 20:30; comp. 23:15, 20, 28).

4. The time and place of meeting. The local courts usually sat on the second and fifth days of the week (Monday and Thursday). Whether this was also the practice in the case of the supreme Sanhedrim we have no means of knowing. There were no courts held on festival days (יום טוב), much less on the Sabbath. As in criminal cases a capital sentence could not be pronounced till the day following the trial, it was necessary to take care not to allow cases of this nature to be concluded on the evening preceding the Sabbath or any festival day. Of course all those regulations were, in the first instance, of a purely theoretical character, and, as we know from what took place in the case of Jesus, were by no means strictly adhered to. The place in which the supreme Sanhedrim was in the habit of meeting (the βουλή) was situated, according to Josephus, Bell. Jud. v. 4. 2, close to the so-called Xystos, and that on the east side of it, in the direction of the temple mount. Now, seeing that, according to Bell. Jud. ii. 16. 3, there was nothing but a bridge between the Xystos and this latter, it is probable that the βουλή was to be found upon the temple mount itself, on the western side of the enclosing wall. In any case, it must have stood outside the upper part of the city, for, according to Bell. Jud. vi. 6. 3, we find that the Romans had destroyed the βουλευτήριον (= βουλή) before they had as yet got possession of the upper part of the city. The Mishna repeatedly mentions the לִשְׁכַּת הַנָּוִית as the place where the supreme Sanhedrim held its sittings. Now, seeing that its statements cannot possibly refer to any other period than that of Josephus, and considering, more-over, that by the βουλή of this historian we are undoubtedly to understand the meeting-place of the supreme Sanhedrim, we must necessarily identify the לִשְׁכַּת הַגָּזִית with the βουλή of Josephus. It may be presumed therefore that the designation לשכת הגזית was not meant to imply (as has been commonly supposed) that the hall in question was built of hewn stones (גָּזִית = hewn stones),—which could hardly be regarded as a characteristic feature,—but that it stood beside the Xystos (גָּזִית = ξυστός, as in the Sept. 1 Chron. 22:2; Amos 5:11). To distinguish it from the other לְשָׁכוֹת on the temple esplanade it was called, from its situation, “the hall beside the Xystos.” It is true that the Mishna represents it as having been within the inner court. But, considering how untrustworthy and sometimes inaccurate are its statements elsewhere regarding the topography of the temple, the testimony of the Mishna cannot be supposed to invalidate the result arrived at above, especially as it happens to be corroborated by other circumstances besides. We may regard as utterly useless here the later Talmudic statement, to the effect that, forty years before the destruction of the temple, the Sanhedrim had either removed or had been ejected (גלתה) from the lischkath hagasith, and that after that it held its sittings in the chanujoth (חנויות) or in a chanuth (חנות), a merchant’s shop. This view must be completely dismissed, for the simple reason that no trace of it is as yet to be met with in the pages of the Mishna, which, on the contrary, obviously presupposes that the Sanhedrim still held its sittings in the lischkath hagasith on the very eve of the destruction of the temple. As it so happens that the forty years immediately preceding the destruction of the temple are also regarded as the period during which the Sanhedrim had ceased to have the right to pronounce a capital sentence (see above, note 51 it is probable that what the Talmudic statement in question means, is that during the period just referred to the Sanhedrim was no longer at liberty, or was no longer inclined, to hold its sittings in the usual official courthouse, but met in some obscure place, i.e. in “the merchant’s shops,” or, as the reading with the singular chanuth is perhaps to be preferred, in a “merchant’s shop.” For חָנוּת is the ordinary word for a shop with an arched roof, a merchant’s shop. As in one instance it is stated that the Sanhedrim subsequently removed from the chanuth into Jerusalem, probably we are to conceive of that building as having been outside the city proper. But all further conjectures on the part of scholars as to where it stood are superfluous, for the thing itself is in the main unhistorical. Although on the occasion on which Jesus was condemned to death (Mark 14:53 ff.; Matt. 26:57 ff.) the Sanhedrim happened to meet in the palace of the high priest, we must regard this as an exception to the rule, rendered necessary by the simple fact of its having met during the night. For at night the gates of the temple mount were shut.

5. Judicial procedure. This, according to the account of it given in the Mishna, was as follows. The members of the court sat in a semicircle (כַּחֲצִי גּוֹרֶן עֲגוּלָה, literally, like the half of a circular threshing-floor), in order that they might be able to see each other. In front of them stood the two clerks of the court, one on the right hand and the other on the left, whose duty it was to record the votes of those who were in favour of acquittal on the one hand, and of those who were in favour of a sentence of condemnation on the other. There also sat in front of them three rows of the disciples of the learned men, each of whom had his own special seat assigned him. The prisoner at the bar was always required to appear in a humble attitude and dressed in mourning. In cases involving a capital sentence, special forms were prescribed for conducting the trial and pronouncing the sentence. On such occasions it was the practice always to hear the reasons in favour of acquittal in the first place, which being done, those in favour of a conviction might next be stated. When any one had once spoken in favour of the accused he was not at liberty afterwards to say anything unfavourable to him, though the converse was permissible. Those of the student disciples who happened to be present were also allowed to speak, though only in favour of and not against the prisoner, while on other occasions not involving a capital sentence they could do either the one or the other as they thought proper. A sentence of acquittal might be pronounced on the same day as that of the trial, whereas a sentence of condemnation could not be pronounced till the following day. The voting, in the course of which each individual stood up in his turn, began “at the side,” מִן הַצַּר, i.e. with the youngest member of the court, whereas on other occasions it was the practice to commence with the most distinguished member. For a sentence of acquittal a simple majority was sufficient, while for one of condemnation again a majority of two was required. If therefore twelve of the twenty-three judges necessary to form a quorum voted for acquittal and eleven for a conviction, then the prisoner was discharged; but if, on the other hand, twelve were for a conviction and eleven for acquittal, then in that case the number of the judges had to be increased by the addition of two to their number, which was repeated if necessary until either an acquittal was secured or the majority requisite for a conviction was obtained. But, of course, they had to restrict themselves to the maximum number of seventy-one.

Selden, De successions in pontificatum Ebraeorum, lib. i. cap. 11–12 (frequently printed along with Selden’s other works; for example, in the edition of the Uxor Ebraica, Francof. ad Od. 1673; also in Ugolini’s Thesaurus, vol. xii.).

Lightfoot, Ministerium templi Hierosolymitani, c. iv. 3 (Opp. ed. Roterodam. i. 684 ff.).

Reland, Antiquitates sacrae, par. ii. c. 2 (ed. Lips. 1724, p. 146 f.).

Anger, De temporum in actis apostolorum ratione (1833), p. 93 f.

Ewald, Geschichte des Volkes Israel, vol. vi. 3rd ed. 1868, p. 634.

Schürer, Die ἀρχιερεῖς im Neuen Testamente (Stud. u. Krit. 1872, pp. 593–657).

Grätz, Monatsschr.für Geschichte und Wissensch. des Judenthums, Jahrg. 1877, pp. 450–464, and Jahrg. 1881, pp. 49–64, 97–112.

The most distinctive feature of the Jewish constitution as it existed during the period subsequent to the exile is this, that the high priest was the political head of the nation as well. That he was so at least from the commencement of the Greek era down to the days of the Romano-Herodian rule is regarded as entirely beyond dispute. The high priests of the pre-Maccabaean age as well as those of the Asmonaean line were not only priests, but also princes at one and the same time. And although their authority was restricted on the one hand by the Greek suzerains, and on the other by the gerousia, still it was very greatly strengthened by the fact that their high office was hereditary and tenable for life. The combination of priesthood and royalty as seen in the case of the later Asmonaeans represented the very acme of sacerdotal power and authority. After the Romans came upon the scene, and still more under the Herodian princes, they of course lost much of their power. The Asmonaean dynasty was overthrown, nay was extirpated altogether. The principle of inheritance and life-tenure was done away with. High priests were appointed and deposed at pleasure by Herod and the Romans alike. In addition to this, there was the steady increase of the power of Pharisaism and the Rabbinical school. But even in spite of the combined influence of all the factors we have mentioned, the high-priesthood contrived to retain a considerable share of its original power down to the time of the destruction of the temple. And even after that the high priests continued to act as presidents of the Sanhedrim, and consequently to have the chief direction of the civil affairs of the community as well. Even then there still remained a few privileged families from which the high priests continued to be almost always selected. And accordingly, although under the supreme rule of the Romans and the Herodian princes they no longer formed, it may be, a monarchical dynasty, they yet continued to exist as an influential aristocracy. As we are familiar, from political history, with the series of high priests down to the overthrow of the Asmonaeans, it will be sufficient at present merely to subjoin a list of those belonging to the Romano-Herodian period. Josephus tells us that they numbered twenty-eight in all. Accordingly on collating his different notices with regard to them, we get the following twenty-eight names:—

              (a)              Appointed by Herod (37–4 B.C.):—

              1.              Ananel (37–36 B.C.), a native of Babylon, and belonging to an obscure priestly family, Antt. xv. 2. 4, 3. 1. The Rabbinical traditions represent him as having been an Egyptian.

              2.              Aristobulus, the last of the Asmonaeans (35 B.C.), Antt. xv. 3. 1, 3.

                            Ananel for the second time (34 ff. B.C.), Antt. xv. 3. 3.

              3.              3. Jesus the son of Phabes, Antt. xv. 9. 3.

              4.              4. Simon the son of Boethos, or according to other accounts, Boethos himself, in any case the father-in-law of Herod, he having been the father of Mariamne II. (some time between 24 and 25 B.C.), Antt. xv. 9. 3, xvii. 4. 2. Comp. xviii. 5. 1, xix. 6. 2. The family belonged originally to Alexandria, Antt. xv. 9. 3.

              5.              Matthias the son of Theophilos (5–4 B.C.), Antt. xvii. 4. 2, 6. 4.

              6.              Joseph the son of Ellem, Antt. xvii. 6. 4.

              7.              Joasar the son of Boethos (4 B.C.), Antt. xvii. 6. 4.

              (b)              Appointed by Archelaus (4 B.C.–6 A.D.):—

              8.              Eleasar the son of Boethos (4 ff.), Antt. xvii. 13. 1.

              9.              Jesus the son of Σεέ, Antt. xvii. 13. 1.

                            Joasar for the second time, Antt. xviii. 1. 1, 2. 1.

              (c)              Appointed by Quirinus (A.D. 6):—

              10.              Ananos or Hannas the son of Seth (6–15 A.D.), Antt. xviii. 2. 1, 2. Comp. xx. 9. 1; Bell. Jud. v. 12. 2. This is the high priest so well known in the New Testament, Luke 3:2; John 18:13–24; Acts 4:6.

              (d)              Appointed by Valerius Gratus (A.D. 15–26):—

              11.              Ismael the son of Phabi (some time between 15 and 16 A.D.), Antt. xviii. 2. 2.

              12.              Eleasar the son of Ananos (some time between 16 and 17 A.D.), Antt. xviii. 2. 2.

              13.              Simon the son of Kamithos (somewhere about 17–18 A.D.), Antt. xviii. 2. 2.

              14.              Joseph called Caiaphas (somewhere between 18 and 36 A.D.), Antt. xviii. 2. 2, 4. 3. Comp. Matt. 26:3, 57; Luke 3:2; John 11:49, 18:13, 14, 24, 28; Acts 4:6. According to John 18:13, he was the father-in-law of Hannas = Ananos.

              (e)              Appointed by Vitellius (35–39 A.D.):—

              15.              Jonathan the son of Ananos (36–37 A.D.), Antt. xviii. 4. 3, 5. 3. Comp. xix. 6. 4. He was found still playing a prominent part in public life in the time of Cumanus, 50–52 A.D. (Bell. Jud. ii. 12. 5–6), and was ultimately assassinated at the instigation of Felix the procurator (Bell. Jud. ii. 13. 3; Antt. xx. 8. 5).

              16.              Theophilos the son of Ananos (37 ff. A.D.), Antt. xviii. 5. 3.

              (f)              Appointed by Agrippa I. (41–44 A.D.):—

              17.              Simon Kantheras the son of Boethos (41 ff. A.D.), Antt. xix. 6. 2.

              18.              Matthias the son of Ananos, Antt. xix. 6. 4.

              19.              Elionaios the son of Kantheros, Antt. xix. 8. 1.

              (g)              Appointed by Herod of Chalkis (44–48 A.D.).

              20.              Joseph the son of Kami or Kamedes (= Kamithos), Antt. xx. 1. 3, 5. 2.

              21.              Ananias the son of Nedebaios (somewhere between 47 and 59 A.D.), Antt. xx. 5. 2; comp. xx. 6. 2; Bell. Jud. ii. 12. 6; Acts 23:2, 24:1. In consequence of his wealth he continued to be a man of great influence even after his deposition, although, at the same time, notorious for his avarice (Antt. xx. 9. 2–4). He was put to death by the insurgents at the commencement of the Jewish war (Bell. Jud. ii. 17. 6, 9).

              (h)              Appointed by Agrippa II (50–100 A.D.):—

              22.              Ismael the son of Phabi (about 59–61 A.D.), Antt. xx. 8. 8, 11. He is probably identical with the person of the same name whose execution at Cyrene is incidentally mentioned, Bell. Jud. vi. 2. 2.

              23.              Joseph Kabi, son of Simon the high priest (61–62 A.D.), Antt. xx. 8. 11; comp. Bell. Jud. vi. 2. 2.

              24.              Ananos the son of Ananos (62 A.D., for only three months), Antt. xx. 9. 1. He was one of those who played a leading part during the first period of the Jewish war, but was subsequently put to death by the populace, Bell. Jud. ii. 20. 3, 22. 1–2, iv. from 3. 7 to 5. 2; Vita, 38, 39, 44, 60.

              25.              Jesus the son of Damnaios (about 62–63 A.D.), Antt. xx. 9. 1. and 4; comp. Bell. Jud. vi. 2. 2.

              26.              Jesus the son of Gamaliel (about 63–65 A.D.), Antt. xx. 9. 4, 7. In the course of the Jewish war he is frequently mentioned along with Ananos, whose fate he also shared, Bell. Jud. iv. 3. 9, 4. 3, 5. 2; Vita, 38, 41. According to Rabbinical tradition, his wife, Martha, was of the house of Boethos.

              27.              Matthias the son of Theophilos (65 ff. A.D.), Antt. xx. 9. 7; comp. Bell. Jud. vi. 2. 2.

              (i)              Appointed by the people during the war (67–68 A.D.):—

              28.              Phannias or Phineesos the son of Samuel, and of humble origin, Bell. Jud. iv. 3. 8; Antt. xx. 10.

Owing to the frequency with which those high priests were changed, the number of those who had ceased to hold office was always something considerable. But, although they no longer discharged the active functions of the office, they still continued to occupy an important and influential position, as can still be shown with regard to several of them at least. We know from the New Testament, for example, what an amount of influence the elder Ananos or Hannas (No. 10) had even as a retired high priest. The same may be said of his son Jonathan (No. 15), who, long after he had ceased to hold office, conducted an embassy, in the year 52 A.D., to the Syrian viceroy Umidius Quadratus. This latter then sent him to Rome to answer for certain disturbances that had taken place in Judaea; and when he had got the matter settled in favour of the Jews, he took the opportunity of his being in Rome to request the emperor to send Felix as the new procurator. Then when Felix was found to be causing universal dissatisfaction in consequence of the way in which he was discharging the functions of his office, Jonathan took the liberty of reminding him of his duty, for doing which however he had to answer with his life. Another high priest, Ananias the son of Nedebaios (No. 21), ruled in Jerusalem almost like a despot after he had retired from office. Then the younger Ananos (No. 24) and Jesus the son of Gamaliel (No. 26), although no longer exercising the functions of the high-priest-hood, were found at the head of affairs in the earlier stage of the Jewish war. From all this it is evident that, though not actually in office, those men were by no means condemned to political inactivity. On the contrary, the office was such that it imparted to the holder of it a character indelibilis in virtue of which he retained, even after demitting it, a large portion of the rights and obligations of the officiating high priest, and of course the title of ἀρχιερεύς as well, a title that, in Josephus, is accorded to the whole of the ex-high priests. Consequently wherever in the New Testament ἀρχιερεῖς appear at the head of the Sanhedrim, we are to understand that those referred to are first and foremost the ex-high priests in question, inclusive at the same time of the one actually in office.

But sometimes we read of certain other personages who are described as ἀρχιερεῖς, and yet their names do not appear in the foregoing list. In the Acts (4:6) we have the following enumeration: Ἄννας ὁ ἀρχιερεὺς καὶ Καϊάφας καὶ Ἰωάννης καὶ Ἀλέξανδρος καὶ ὅσοι ἦσαν ἐκ γένους ἀρχιερατικοῦ. In a subsequent passage (19:14) mention is made of a high priest called Sceva with his seven sons. Josephus again mentions a certain Jesus, son of Sapphias, as being τῶν ἀρχιερέων ἕνα, also one Simon ἐξ ἀρχιερέων, who was still young at the time of the war, and consequently cannot be identical with Simon Kantheras (No. 17), and lastly, one Matthias, son of Boethos, τὸν ἀρχιερέα or ἐκ τῶν ἀρχιερέων. Not one of those just mentioned is to be found in our list. Besides there is many a high priest known to the Rabbinical traditions whose name does not appear there. This fact may perhaps be sufficiently accounted for by what we are now going to mention.

Apropos of the irregular appointment of Phannias to the office of high priest, Josephus remarks, that the zealots, by acting as they did on this occasion, “had robbed of their importance those families from which in their order it had been the practice to select the high priests” (ἄκυρα τὰ γένη ποιήσαντες ἐξ ὧν κατὰ διαδοχὰς οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς ἀπεδείκυντο). The high-priesthood would therefore seem to have been vested in a few privileged families. The truth is, one only requires to glance at the foregoing list in order to be convinced that the office was confined to only a few families. To the family of Phabi, for example, belong Nos. 3, 11, 22; to the family of Boethos, Nos. 4, 7, 8, 17, 19, 26; to the family of Ananos (or Hannas), Nos. 10, 12, 14, 15, 16, 18, 24, 27; and to the family of Kamith, Nos. 13, 20, 23. Leaving Ananel, a Babylonian of humble origin (No. 1), Aristobulus the last of the Asmonaeans (No. 2), and Phannias, the high priest of the revolution period (No. 28), out of account, there remain only five (Nos. 5, 6, 9, 21, 25) who cannot be proved to have belonged to one or other of those families, although it is still possible that they did so. Now when one considers how the high-priesthood was thus confined to a few families, and in what high estimation the office was held, it is not difficult to see that the mere fact of belonging to any one of the privileged families in question must of itself have been sufficient to confer special distinction upon a man. And hence we can understand how it should be that Josephus, in a certain passage in which he wishes to tell us particularly who of the notabilities were among those who went over to the Romans, enumerates the υἱοὶ τῶν ἀρχιερέων along with the ἀρχιερεῖς themselves, In the Mishna again, we find that on one occasion the “sons of the high priests” (בְּנֵי כֹהֲנִים גְּדוֹלִים) are quoted as authorities on certain points of matrimonial law, and that too without mentioning their names, seeing that the simple fact of their being high priests’ sons stamped them as men of importance and authority. In another instance, we are informed that letters with unusually large seals had come “to the sons of the high priests” (לבני כהנים גדולים) from distant lands, from which we may again infer that these also enjoyed a certain reputation abroad. But they did not rest satisfied with the mere dignity of rank; so far from that, the members of those high-priestly families also played a prominent part in public affairs. According to Acts 4:6, among those who had seats and a right to speak and vote in the Sanhedrim were ὅσοι ἦσαν ἐκ γένους ἀρχιερατικοῦ, where, from all that has been already stated, it is certain that the γένος ἀρχιερατικόν can only refer to the privileged families now in question. Now, if the members of the high-priestly families occupied so distinguished a position, it is quite conceivable that the designation ἀρχιερεῖς would come to be used in a more comprehensive sense so as to include them as well. That this is what actually took place may be seen, to say nothing of all that has been previously advanced, from the passage in Josephus mentioned above, where after recording the fact that two high priests and eight high priests’ sons were among those who went over to the Romans, he proceeds to include these two categories under the common designation of ἀρχιερεῖς. This will also serve to account for the circumstance of high priests being sometimes mentioned that are not to be found in our list.

Consequently the high priests that, in the New Testament as well as in Josephus, appear as leading personages would consist, in the first instance, of the high priests properly so called, i.e. the one actually in office and those who had previously been so, and then, of the members of those privileged families from which the high priests were taken. In the days of Roman rule they were at the head of the Sanhedrim and of the native government generally, and although the majority of them were unquestionably men of Sadducaean tendencies, yet in the actual conduct of affairs they bowed, however reluctantly, to the wishes of the Pharisees (see above, p. 154).

Lightfoot, Ministerium templi quale erat tempore nostri servatoris (Opp. ed. Rotterdam, i. pp. 671–758).

Lundius, Die alten jüdischen Heiligthümer, Gottesdienste und Gewohnheiten, für Augen gestellet in einer ausführlichen Beschreibung des gantzen levitischen Priesterthums, ete., itzo von neuem übersehen und in beygefügten Anmerckungen hin und wieder theils verbessert, theils vermehret durch Johan. Christophorum Wolfium, Hamburg 1738.

Carpzov (Joh. Gottlob), Apparatus historico criticus antiquitatum sacri codicis (1748), pp. 64–113, 611 ff., 699 ff.

Ugolini, Sacerdotium Hebraicum, in his Thesaurus Antiquitatum sacrarum, vol. xiii. Ibid., still other cognate monographs in vols. xii. and xiii.

Bähr, Symbolik des mosaischen Cultus, 2 vols. 1837–1839), vol. i. 2nd ed. 1874.

Winer, Realwörterb., arts. “Priester,” “Leviten,” “Abgaben,” “Erstgeburt,” “Erstlinge,” “Hebe,” “Zehnt,” “Opfer,” etc.

Herzfeld, Geschichte des Volkes Jisrael, i. 387–424, iii. 106 ff., 162 ff.

Oehler, art. “Priesterthum,” in Herzog’s Real-Enc., 1st ed. vol. xii. 174–187. Ibid. by the same, arts. “Levi,” vol. viii. 347–358; “Nethinim,” vol. x. 296 f.; and “Opfercultus,” vol. x. 614–652. The same articles in the second edition as revised by Orelli.

De Wette, Lehrbuch der hebräisch-jüdischen Archäol. (4th ed. 1864), p. 268 ff.

Ewald, Die Alterthümer des Volkes Israel, Göttingen 1866.

Keil, Handbuch der biblischen Archäologie (2nd ed. 1875), pp. 166 ff., 200 ff., 357 ff., 373 ff.

Haneberg, Die religiösen Alterthümer der Bibel (2nd ed. 1869), pp. 356 ff., 508 ff., 599 ff.

Schenkel’s Bibellexicon, the same articles as in Winer.

Riehm, Handwörterbuch des biblischen Alterthums, the articles relating to our subject.

Graf, Zur Geschichte des Stammes Levi (Merx’ Archiv für wissenschaftl. Erforschung des A. T.’s, vol. i. 1869, pp. 68–106, 208–236).

Köhler, Lehrbuch der biblischen Geschichte, vol. i. 1875, pp. 363–454.

Wellhausen, Geschichte Israels, vol. i. 1878, pp. 15–174 (2nd ed., under the title: Prolegomena zur Geschichte Israels, 1883).

Dillmann, Exegetisches Handbuch zu Exodus und Leviticus (1880), pp. 455–461 and elsewhere.

Reuss, Geschichte der heiligen Schriften Alten Testaments (1881), sec. ccxciv.

THE internal development of Israel subsequent to the exile was essentially determined by the direction given to it by two equally influential classes, viz. the priests on the one hand and the scribes on the other. During the centuries immediately following the exile and till far on into the Greek era, it was, in the first instance, the influence of the priests that was predominant. It was they who had been instrumental in organizing the new community; it was from them that the law had emanated; and to their hands had been entrusted the direction, not only of the material, but also of the spiritual affairs of the whole body of the people. But although originally it was they who were specially versed in the law and were looked upon as its authoritative interpreters, yet by and by there gradually grew up alongside of them an independent order of doctors or men learned in the law. And the importance and influence of these latter would necessarily go on increasing in proportion as the priests grew less and less zealous for the law of their fathers on the one hand, and as the law itself came to acquire a greater value and significance in the estimation of the people on the other. This was the case more particularly after the Maccabaean wars of independence. Ever since then the scribes got the spiritual superintendence of the people more and more into their own hands. And so the age of the priests was succeeded by that of the scribes (comp. Reuss, Geschichte der heiligen Schriften A. T’.s). This however is not to be understood as implying that the priests had now lost all their influence. Politically and socially they still occupied the foremost place quite as much as ever they did. It is true the scribes had now come to be recognised as the teachers of the people. But, in virtue of their political standing, in virtue of the powerful resources at their command, and, lastly and above all, in virtue of their sacred prerogatives—for, inasmuch as they enjoyed the exclusive right of offering Israel’s sacrifices to God, their intervention was necessary to the fulfilment of his religious duties in the case of every member of the community,—in virtue of all this, we say, the priests still continued to have an extraordinary significance for the life of the nation.

Now this significance of theirs was due mainly to the simple fact that they constituted a distinct order, possessing the exclusive right to offer the people’s sacrifices to God. According to the legislation of the Pentateuch, which had been regarded as absolutely binding ever since the time of Ezra and Nehemiah, “the sons of Aaron” were alone entitled to take part in the sacrificial worship. The priesthood was therefore a fraternity fenced round with irremovable barriers, for they had been fixed for ever by natural descent. No one could possibly be admitted to this order who did not belong to it by birth; nor could any one be excluded from it whose legitimate birth entitled him to admission. Now this order, so rigidly exclusive in its character, was in possession of the highest privilege that can well be conceived of, the privilege namely of offering to God all the sacrifices of the nation at large, and of every individual member of the community. This circumstance alone could not but be calculated to invest the priesthood with a vast amount of influence and authority, all the more that civil life was intertwined, in such an endless variety of ways, with the religious observances. But, in addition to this, there was the fact, that ever since the Deuteronomic legislation came into force in the time of Josiah (about 630 B.C.), it was declared to be unlawful to offer sacrifices anywhere but in Jerusalem, the whole worship being concentrated in its sole and only legitimate sanctuary. Consequently all the various offerings from every quarter of the land flowed into Jerusalem and met at this one common centre of worship, the result being that the priests that officiated within it came to acquire great power and wealth. Moreover, this centralization of the worship had the additional effect of uniting all the members of the priesthood into one firmly compacted body.

From what has just been said it follows, as matter of course, that the primary requisite in a priest was evidence of his pedigree. On this the greatest possible stress was laid. The person who failed to produce it could claim no title whatever to the rights and privileges of the priesthood. Even so far back as the time when the first of the exiles returned under Zerubbabel, certain priestly families were debarred from the sacred office because they could not produce their genealogical registers. On the other hand, Josephus assures us, with regard to his own case, that he found his pedigree recorded “in the public archives.” Consequently the family registers would appear to have had the character of public records on account of their importance for the community at large.

With the view of keeping the blood of the priestly stock as pure as possible, there were also certain regulations prescribed with regard to marriage. According to the law given in Lev. 21:7, 8, a priest was forbidden to marry a prostitute, or a deflowered maid, or a woman put away from her husband; consequently he could only choose an undefiled virgin or widow, and of course even then only such as were of Israelitish origin. At the same time there was no caste-like restriction forbidding them to many any but the daughters of priests. Nor were these regulations in any way relaxed in later times, for so far from that they came to be but the more sharply defined. We find, for example, that a chaluza, i.e. a widow whom her brother-in-law declined to marry (according to the law regarding levirate marriage), was also to be treated as one “who had been put away from her husband.” Again a priest was forbidden to marry a woman who had been taken captive in war as being a person that might well be suspected of having been violated. Then, if a priest was already without children, he was forbidden, in marrying again, to marry a woman who was “incapable;” but, in any case, he was never to choose a female proselyte or emancipated slave; nor the daughter of a man who had been formerly a slave, except in those cases in which the mother happened to be of Israelitish extraction. The regulations were still more stringent in the case of the high priest. He was not allowed to marry even a widow, but only an undefiled virgin (Lev. 21:13–15). This, like the former regulations, was also enforced and rendered yet more precise in later times. In affirming, as he does, that the high priest could only marry a virgin belonging to a priestly family, Philo states what is at variance at once with the text of Leviticus and the later standpoint of the law, from both of which it is evident that it was permissible for the high priest to marry any Israelitish virgin, no matter to what family she might belong. Possibly Philo’s view may have been suggested to him by the terms of the passage in Leviticus as it stands in the Septuagint, perhaps also by actual practice, or, it may be, by both combined. The regulation in Ezekiel (44:22), to the effect that a priest was only to marry a virgin, or the widow of a priest, found no place in the law as subsequently developed. Considering the great importance that was attached to the strict observance of those regulations, a priest on the occasion of his marriage was, of course, required to furnish precise evidence of his wife’s pedigree. Josephus has described at length the very careful way in which this was gone about, while in the Mishna it is prescribed how far back the evidence is to extend, and in what cases it may be dispensed with.

Those regulations with regard to marriage are undoubtedly based upon the idea that the priesthood is a sacred order. The same idea has been further embodied in yet other prescriptions. According to the law (Num. 19), every one was defiled who came in contact with a dead body, nay who even entered a house in which such body happened to be lying; but as for the priests, they were forbidden to approach a corpse or to take part in the funeral obsequies, the prohibition being absolute in the case of the high priest, while in the case of the ordinary priests, the only exception was in favour of very near blood relations: parents, children, and brothers or sisters (Lev. 21:1–4, 11–12; Ezek. 44:25–27). It would seem that the priest was not even at liberty to mourn for his own wife. Or are we to understand, although it is not expressly stated, that she is intended, as matter of course, to be included among the exceptions? In no case whatever was a priest to indulge in any token of grief calculated to disfigure the person, such as shaving the head or lacerating the body (Lev. 21:5, 6; comp. Ezek. 44:20), nor was the high priest to uncover his head and rend his garments (Lev. 21:10; comp. 10:6, 7).

Then again it was essential to the sacred character attaching to a priest, that he should be totally free from, every sort of physical defect. If any one had a bodily defect of any kind about him, no matter though he belonged to the “sons of Aaron,” he was thereby disqualified from officiating as a priest. The various kinds of defects are already enumerated with pretty considerable detail in the law as found in Leviticus (21:16–23). And, as was to be expected, this too is one of those points on which a later age has exercised its ingenuity in the way of being minutely and painfully specific. It has been calculated that the number of bodily defects that disqualified a man for the office of the priesthood amount in all to 142. At the same time however the priests who, for the reason now in question, were debarred from exercising any of the functions of the priesthood, were entitled to a share of the emoluments as well as the others, for they too belonged to the ordo.

There is nothing prescribed in the law as to the age at which a priest was to be allowed to enter upon the duties of his office. Perhaps we may venture to assume that it must have been the same as that at which the Levites entered upon theirs. Yet even this latter is given differently in different parts of the Old Testament. The Rabbinical tradition states that a priest was duly qualified for his duties as soon as the first signs of manhood made their appearance, but that he was not actually installed till he was twenty years of age.

And now when all the requirements to which we have referred were found to be satisfied, and when his fitness had been duly established to the satisfaction of the Sanhedrim, the priest was set apart to his office by a special act of consecration. According to the leading passage in the law bearing on this matter, viz. Ex. 29 = Lev. 8, this solemn act consisted of three parts: (1) the washing of the body with water, (2) the putting on of the sacred vestments, and (3) a series of sacrifices the offering of which was accompanied with further ceremonies of a partly special kind, viz. the anointing of various parts of the body with blood, the sprinkling of the person and the garments with oil and blood, the “filling of the hands,” i.e. the taking of certain portions of the victims and laying them upon the hands of the priest with the view of indicating thereby his future duties and rights. In several other passages (Ex. 28:41, 30:30, 40:12–15; Lev. 7:36, 10:7; Num. 3:3) there is superadded to these the pouring of ointment upon the head, an act which, according to the leading passage on the subject, was observed, and that as a mark of distinction, solely in the case of the high priest. The whole ceremony extended over seven days (Ex. 29:35 ff.; Lev. 8:33 ff.). How it fared with this ceremony at a later period has been, so far as several of its details are concerned, a matter of some dispute. It is probable that the pouring of oil upon the head continued to be retained as a mark of distinction in the case of the high priest.

As the priests were so numerous it was simply impossible that they could all officiate at the same time. It was therefore necessary to have an arrangement according to which they could do so in regular rotation. With a view to this the whole body of the priests was divided into twenty-four families or courses of service. The account of the origin and organization of those twenty-four courses of service as given by the Rabbinical tradition is as follows: “Four courses of service (מִשְׁמָרוֹת) came back from the exile, viz.: Jedaiah, Harim, Pashur, and Immer.… Then the prophets that were among them arose and made twenty-four lots and put them into an urn. And Jedaiah came and drew five lots, which, including himself, would therefore make six. And Harim came and drew five lots, which, including himself, would therefore make six. And Pashur came and drew five lots, which, including himself, would therefore make six. And Immer came and drew five lots, which, including himself, would therefore make six.… And heads of the courses of service (רָאשֵׁי מִשְׁמָרוֹת) were appointed. And the courses were divided into houses (בָּתֵּי אָבוֹת). And there were courses consisting of five, six, seven, eight, or nine houses. In a course consisting of five houses, three of them had to serve one day each, while the remaining two had to serve two days each; in a course consisting of six houses, five of them had to serve one day each, while one had to serve two days; where it consisted of seven, each served one day; of eight, six served one day each and two served simultaneously the remaining day; of nine, five served one day each and four served simultaneously during two days.” It is true that what is here stated regarding the origin (or, according to the Talmud, the restoration) of the twenty-four courses of service cannot be said to possess the value of an independent tradition, that, on the contrary, it is based merely upon inferences from certain facts that are mentioned elsewhere. Yet it has so far hit the mark as substantially to represent the actual state of the case. For there returned from the exile, along with Zerubbabel and Joshua, four families of priests, viz.: the children of Jedaiah, Immer, Pashur, and Harim, numbering in all 4289 (Ezra 2:36–39 = Neh. 7:39–42). Further, that these four families comprised the whole body of the priesthood at the time of Ezra’s arrival, and therefore some eighty years afterwards as well, is evident from Ezra 10:18–22, But, along with these mention is also made, as early as the time of Zerubbabel and Joshua (Neh. 12:1–7), of twenty-two classes of priests, with a corresponding number of “heads” (ראשי הכהנים). And those same classes or divisions are also further met with in the time of Joshua’s successor, Joiakim the high priest (Neh. 12:12–21). It is evident therefore that the four families were subdivided into twenty-two classes. Then it is substantially the same arrangement that is still to be met with in the time of Ezra. When this latter arrived with a fresh band of exiles, he brought along with him two more priestly families (Ezra 8:2) and added them to the four that were already in the country (Ezra 10:18–22). But we find that shortly after, the number of classes was once more almost the same as it had been in Zerubbabel’s time, namely twenty-one, as may be seen from the list given in Neh. 10:3–9. However, only fourteen of the names mentioned in this latter passage are to be found in the two earlier lists (Neh. 12:1–7, 12–21), all the rest being different. Consequently the organization of the divisions must, in the meanwhile, have undergone certain alterations of one kind or another, as would no doubt be deemed necessary on account of a fresh accession of priestly families having been brought by Ezra, and for other reasons besides. However, under the new order of things the number of divisions remained the same as before and so continued, substantially at least, on through succeeding ages. In the time of the author of Chronicles, who traces back the arrangement that existed in his day to the time of David, the number of the divisions amounted to twenty-four (1 Chron. 24:7–18). It is true that, in the catalogue of names furnished by this writer, scarcely more than a third of those in the earlier lists are to be found. That being so, we are bound to assume that, in the meanwhile, important changes must have taken place, always supposing that our author has not drawn somewhat upon his own imagination for a number of the names attributed to the time of David. Be that as it may, it is certain that, from that point onwards, the division into twenty-four classes continued to subsist without any alteration whatever. For we learn on the express testimony of Josephus, that it was still maintained in his own day, to say nothing of the fact that some of the names of the division continued to be occasionally mentioned (Joiarib, 1 Macc. 2:1; Abia, Luke 1:5). It is somewhat strange that, in a passage in his contra Apionem,—a passage, however, that has come down to us only in a Latin version,—Josephus should be found speaking of four families or divisions (tribus) of the priests. One might perhaps be disposed to think that here the historian had in view the four families that returned with Zerubbabel. But as the context shows that he is clearly referring to the courses of service, there is nothing for it but to assume that the text has been corrupted, and that for four we ought to substitute twenty-four. Nor can it be said that this view is at once disposed of by the circumstance that Josephus alleges that the number in each division amounted to over 5000 souls. For it is probable that this number included the Levites (who were also divided into twenty-four divisions, every division of the priests having its corresponding division of Levites), and perhaps women and children as well; besides, we know only too well that one cannot depend a great deal on Josephus in the matter of numbers.

Each of the twenty-four main divisions was in turn broken up into a number of sub-divisions. If we may trust the Talmudic tradition quoted above (p. 182), the number of those sub-divisions ranged from five to nine for each main division. The main divisions were known either under the general designation of מַחְלְקוֹת (divisions, so 1 Chron. 28:13, 21; 2 Chron. 8:14, 23:8, 31:2, 15, 16), or, in so far as they were made up of the members of one family, they were called בֵּית אָבוֹת (houses of their fathers, so 1 Chron. 24:4, 6), or, in so far as they had the services of the temple to attend to, they were described as מִשְׁמָרוֹת (watches, so Neh. 13:30; 2 Chron. 31:16). As regards the sub-divisions, for our knowledge of which we are indebted solely to the testimony of post-Biblical literature, they are known by the designation of בָּתֵּי אָבוֹת. And so now it had become the regular practice to distinguish the two by calling the main division a מִשְׁמָר and the sub-division a בֵּית אָב. At the same time this distinction is not necessarily involved in the signification of the words themselves. For as משמר may mean any division for service, so בית אב, on the other hand, may mean any body composed of the members of the same family, no matter whether they consist of few persons or of many. Accordingly, as we have just remarked, the author of the Book of Chronicles is still found to be making use of בית אבות (in Neh. 12:12 shortened into אבות) as one of his expressions for denoting the main divisions or courses. But it would appear that somewhat later the distinction referred to above came to be rigidly observed. In Greek the term for one of the main divisions is πατριά or ἐφημερία or ἐφημερίς, and for one of the sub-divisions φυλή.

Then each of the divisions, the principal and subordinate ones alike, was presided over by a head. In the Old Testament the heads of the main divisions are designated שָׂרִים (princes) or רָאשִׁים (heads). At a subsequent period this latter (ראש המשמר) seems to have become the current designation, just as ראש בית אב came to be the one regularly employed to denote the head of a sub-division. Then, besides these, we sometimes come across the term “elders” in this connection, the זקני כהונה and the זקני בית אב.

The importance and influense of the various divisions was by no means alike. Notwithstanding their formal equality, in so far as they all took part in the services of the sanctuary in regular rotation, still those divisions, from the members of which high priests or other influential functionaries were selected, could not fail to acquire, in consequence, a greater amount of influence and importance. Hence we can quite believe that, as Josephus assures us, it was regarded as a great advantage to belong to the first of the twenty-four classes, i.e. to the class Joiarib, which had the honour of contributing the Asmonaean princes and high priests. Then we find that within the individual classes again influential coteries were formed. The families living in Jerusalem would no doubt understand how to secure for members of their own circle the most important offices about the temple, knowing as they did how much influence they conferred upon those who filled them. But it was in the Roman period above all that the privileged families from which the high priests were drawn (see p. 173, above) were found to constitute a proud aristocracy, claiming to occupy a rank much superior to that of the ordinary priests. The social difference between the one circle and the other was so marked that, toward the close of the period just preceding the destruction of the temple, the high priests could even go the length of wresting the tithes from the other priests by violence, these latter being left to starve. As a consequence of this disparity of rank, their political sympathies were also so widely different that, at the outbreak of the revolution, the ordinary priests favoured this movement, whereas the high priests did everything in their power to allay the storm.

We must be careful to distinguish between the priests properly so called and the Levites, a subordinate class of sacred officials. It is true, no doubt, that this distinction is as yet unknown to the Book of Deuteronomy. There the Levites are all regarded as being as much entitled to share in the priestly functions as the rest, and “priests” and “Levites” are made use of simply as convertible terms (see especially, Deut. 18:5, 21:5; and generally, 17:9, 18, 18:1, 24:8, 27:9). The practice of distinguishing between the two orders is met with for the first time in Ezekiel; and there can scarcely be a doubt that it was precisely this prophet who was the first to introduce it. According to the legislation of Deuteronomy, all places of worship outside Jerusalem were to be suppressed. At the same time the “Levites” who officiated in them, i.e. the priests, were not deprived of their rights as such; all that was asked of them was that they should exercise their priestly functions exclusively in Jerusalem. This state of things however could hardly be expected to last long, In the first place it was too much to expect that the Jerusalem priests would long relish the idea of those colleagues from the provinces having the same right to officiate as themselves; but apart from this, there was the fact that they had been guilty, to a larger extent than the priests of Jerusalem, of blending the service of strange gods with the worship of Jehovah. Consequently Ezekiel now proceeded to push the state of things brought about by the Deuteronomist to what seemed to be its legitimate result: he prohibited the Levites from beyond Jerusalem from celebrating worship altogether. This was now to be the exclusive privilege of the Levites of the house of Zadok, i.e. of the Jerusalem priests. Hereafter none but the sons of Zadok were “to offer the fat and the blood before God,” that is to say, none but these were to minister at the altar or cross the threshold of the inner sanctuary (the temple proper). To the other Levites the more subordinate class of duties was assigned, viz. the keeping watch over the temple, the slaughtering of the victims, and such like. An arrangement such as this had, at the same time, this further advantage, that it was now possible entirely to dispense with those Gentiles whom it had been necessary to employ for the purpose of performing the more menial services connected with the temple (see in general, Ezek. 44:6–16). The order of things thus introduced by Ezekiel was the one that in all essential respects came to be permanently adopted. The distinction which he had established between priests and the other Levites is treated in the code of the priests as one that had already come to be regularly recognised. In this code the distinction between “the sons of Aaron,” i.e. the priests, and the rest of the Levites, is rigidly observed. According to its enactments it is only the former who are to enjoy the right of ministering at the altar and within the sanctuary itself (Num. 18:7). The Levites, on the other hand, are merely to act as assistants to the sons of Aaron “in all the service of the tabernacle” (Num. 18:4). Accordingly, what they are allowed and are called upon to do is to help the priests by performing a great many duties and services of the most varied character in connection with the temple, such as taking charge of the revenues and the sacred property, the bringing forward and preparing of all the different materials required for the celebration of worship, and others of a like nature (for more on this matter, see Part III.). We also find that the duty of slaughtering and further preparing the victims was still assigned to them in later times precisely as it had been in that of Ezekiel. Only they were debarred from taking part in the ministrations at the altar and within the walls of the sanctuary (Num. 18:3; see in general, Num. 3:5–13 and 18:1–7).

Then, like the priests, the Levites came to form a strictly exclusive order, the privilege of belonging to which was based upon natural descent. Their origin was now ascribed to Levi, one of the twelve patriarchs of Israel (Ex. 6:17–25; Num. 3:14–39, 4:34–49, 26:57–62; 1 Chron. 5:27–6:66, and 23). Consequently in their case too as well as that of the priests it was birth that decided the claim to participation in the rights and functions of their order. The “priests” stood to them very much in the relation in which a privileged family stands to the whole stock to which it belongs. For the origin of the priestly order now came to be ascribed to Aaron, a great-grandson of Levi (Ex. 6:17 ff.).

But there is nothing that shows so plainly as just the history of the Levites itself how elastic and unsubstantial those genealogical theories were. In the post-exilic period, for example, we find that the “Levites,” in the sense in which the term has been hitherto understood, were still strictly distinguished from the musicians, doorkeepers and temple servants (Nethinim, originally, at all events, slaves); this continues to be the case therefore not merely in the time of Zerubbabel, but also between eighty and a hundred years later, viz. in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah (see especially Ezra 2:40–58 = Neh. 7:43–60; further Ezra 2:70, 7:7, 24, 10:23, 24; Neh. 7:1, 73, 10:29, 40, 12:44–47, 13:5, 10). But gradually the musicians and the doorkeepers came to be included among the “Levites” also. For example, the circumstance of the musicians being now merged in the Levites is presupposed in several remodelled portions of the Book of Nehemiah. Later on, a similar distinction seems to have been accorded to the doorkeepers as well, for we find the author of Chronicles taking special pains to let it appear that both of the classes here in question belonged to the order of the Levites, and also to show that they too were descended from Levi. The musicians again were afterwards advanced a step higher still, in so far as, shortly before the destruction of the temple, King Agrippa II., with the concurrence of the Sanhedrim, conferred upon them the privilege of wearing linen robes similar to those worn by the priests.

The Levites, like the priests, were also divided into courses of service. But their history is involved in still greater obscurity than that of the courses of the priests. Among those who returned from exile with Zerubbabel and Joshua there were but very few “Levites” in the stricter sense of the word, only seventy-four in all; while in addition to these there were 128 singers and 139 doorkeepers (Ezra 2:40–42, the numbers in the corresponding passage, Neh. 7:43–45, diverging somewhat from those just given). Then at length when Ezra came he managed to bring with him only thirty-eight “Levites,” and even these could be persuaded to accompany him only after serious expostulation (Ezra 8:15–20). The disinclination to return thus shown by the Levites was owing to the subordinate place that had now been assigned them. It may be safely assumed however that those who did return would ere long receive considerable accessions to their ranks from those of their order that had never left their native country. For there cannot be a doubt that, as the “Levites lived scattered all over the land, far fewer of them, comparatively speaking, were carried into captivity than of the “priests,” by whom at that time only the priests of Jerusalem were meant. And hence we are enabled to account for the fact that, in the catalogue of Levites and singers in the time of Zerubbabel and Joshua as given in Neh. 12:8, we find a few more families than are to be met with in the catalogue of those who returned with Zerubbabel (Ezra 2:40 f.; Neh. 7:43 f.). In a list belonging to the time of Ezra and Nehemiah seventeen families of Levites in the stricter sense of the word are already enumerated (Neh. 10:10–14 and Bertheau’s note). In another, probably referring, like the former, to the time of Nehemiah as well, it is only the number of the Levites dwelling in Jerusalem that is given, inclusive of course of the singers, and it estimates that there were 284 of them (Neh. 11:15–18). It is to be presumed that the number of those who lived beyond the city, in the towns and villages of Judaea, would be considerably larger (Neh. 11:20, 36). It would appear that, in the time of the author of Chronicles, the division into twenty-four classes was not confined to the priests, but had been adopted in the case of the Levites as well. This writer, although including the musicians and doorkeepers among the Levites, nevertheless distinguishes between three leading groups: the Levites who did service about the temple generally, then the musicians, and lastly the doorkeepers (1 Chron. 23:3–5). He then proceeds in 1 Chron. 23:6–24 to give, in the case of the Levites or first group, a list of the houses of their fathers (בית אבות), which, after one or two corrections have been made, probably amount to twenty-four. As for the musicians again, he expressly divides them into twenty-four classes or courses (1 Chron. 25). With regard to the post-Biblical period we have testimony to the effect that at that time the division now in question had been regularly established in the case of the Levites generally, so that, in fact, each class of priests had now its corresponding class or course of Levites. As in the case of the priests, so also in that of the Levites, each of the various divisions or courses was presided over by a head (שָׂרִים or רָאשִׁים).

The question as to where the priests and Levites resided is one with regard to which we have very little information of a reliable kind; for we must here entirely dismiss from view the legislation with reference to the forty-eight Levitical cities, which never was more than a mere theory (Num. 35; Josh. 21). One thing however is certain, and that is, that under the new order of things that obtained subsequent to the exile, only a fraction of the priests and Levites lived in Jerusalem itself, while the rest were scattered over the towns and villages of Judaea, the majority of them being probably within a short distance of the capital and the centre of worship. In the list in Neh. 11:10–19, to which reference has been already made, the number of priests who lived in Jerusalem is stated to have been 1192, that of the Levites and musicians 284, and that of the doorkeepers 172. But the sum-total of the whole priests of the land amounted to something like five times that number, if not more (see note 5 while in the case of the other categories the proportion of those living beyond the city to those within it may have been greater still. In any case, the general fact that priests as well as Levites had their residences in the towns and villages of Judaea is confirmed by repeated and unquestionable testimony. But we are left with little or no information with respect to details.

The emoluments which the priests received from the people for their subsistence were, down to the time of the exile, of a very modest and rather precarious kind. But subsequent to this latter period they were augmented almost beyond measure. This fact enables us to see, in a peculiarly striking manner, what a vast increase of power and influence the priesthood had acquired through the new order of things that was introduced subsequent to the exile. And this increase of power was, no doubt, the cause of the loftier pretensions of the order, just as, on the other hand, it was in turn also the effect of the augmenting of the temporalities. Nor was it ever in the power of the scribes, who came after and who in themselves were not always favourably disposed toward the priests, to do anything in the way of altering this state of matters, now that the priestly law had been for so long the acknowledged law of God. Nay, it was for this very reason that the scribes only found themselves in the position of contributing towards the yet further increase of the priests’ emoluments. For proceeding as they did on the view that a man always secured for himself the divine approval in proportion to the punctuality and readiness with which he conformed to the requirements of the law, they almost invariably interpreted its prescriptions in a sense favourable to the priests. And so we have the singular spectacle of an age that had already begun to regard the priests with distrust, helping nevertheless to confirm and increase their power.

In the times previous to the exile there were as yet almost no imposts in the strict sense of the word at all, that is to say, none which were not connected with sacrifice, none which had the character of a pure tax. Allowances to the priests were only exacted on the occasion of sacrifices being offered, and only in connection with these, The person who came to sacrifice brought the choicest portions of the produce of his fields and the first-born of his cattle to offer to Jehovah. Of this one part was consumed upon the altar, another fell to the officiating priest, but the most of it was made use of by the offerer himself, who was required to hold a sacrificial feast with it in the presence of Jehovah. It is in this sense that we are to understand the requirement already met with in the earliest (Jehovistic) legislation, to the effect that the best of the produce of the field and the first-born of the cattle were to be brought before Jehovah (firstlings of the field, Ex. 22:28, 23:19, 34:26; the first-born of the cattle, Ex. 13:11–16, 22:29, 34:19, 20). The prescriptions in Deuteronomy bearing on this matter are perfectly plain and unequivocal. This book knows nothing whatever either of the exacting of the tithe, or of the first-born on the part of the priests. It was required no doubt that the tithe of the fruits of the field was to be separated and conveyed to Jerusalem to the sanctuary. But there it was not given to the priest, but consumed by the owner of it himself; and it was only every third year that it fell to the Levites, i.e. the priests, and to the poor (Deut. 14:22–29, 26:12–15; comp. also 12:6, 11, 17–19). It was precisely the same in the case of the firstlings of the sheep and oxen. These too, and that such of them as were males, were required to be brought to the sanctuary at Jerusalem, but they were consumed there by the owner himself in sacrificial feasts (Deut. 15:19–23; comp. also 12:6, 17–19, 14:23). Of all the things here mentioned the priests received only certain portions, that is to say, of the fruits of the field that were presented they got only the רֵאשִׁית, i.e. the best (Deut. 18:4, 26:1–11), while of the animals offered, they got merely the shoulder, the two cheeks and the stomach of each (Deut. 18:3), Beyond this there is no mention of anything else that was required to be given to the priest except a part of the fleece at the sheep-shearing (Deut. 18:4). As corroborative of what we have been saying we would point to the prescriptions of Ezekiel (44:28–30). Although a priest himself and showing an undoubted disposition to favour rather than to discourage the pretensions of his order, still he says quite as little about a tithe and the first-born being required to be given to the priests. The claims he makes on behalf of these latter are no doubt somewhat higher than those of Deuteronomy, still, on the whole, they move on the same lines. While Deuteronomy assigns to the priests only two portions of the victims, Ezekiel requires the whole of the sin-offerings and trespass-offerings (which as yet are quite unknown to Deuteronomy) to be given to them, and similarly with regard to the meat-offerings as well (Ezek. 44:29); also every “dedicated thing” (44:29); and lastly, the reshith, i.e. the best of the first-fruits, the choicest portions of offerings of every description, and of the dough in baking (44:30).

But we find a considerable advance upon all the exactions we have just been referring to when we come to those contained in the priest-code, which, in its enumeration of the various emoluments of the priests as given in Num. 18:8–32, coincides in many respects with Ezekiel, only it introduces in addition what constitutes a most important innovation, the tithe and the first-born. Like Ezekiel, the priest-code also assigns the sin-offerings, the trespass-offerings and the meat-offerings, at least the greater portion of the latter, to the priests (Num. 18:9, 10; for fuller details, see Lev. 1–6). Of those sacrifices which their owners themselves were at liberty to make use of in furnishing the sacrificial feast (the so-called זִבְחֵי שְׁלָמִים), the priests were to get the breast and the right shoulder (Lev. 7:30–34), thus obtaining considerably choicer portions than those assigned to them in Deuteronomy. Again, as in Ezekiel so also in the priest-code, the priests are to get everything “dedicated” (Num. 18:14), and the choicest portions (the reshith) of the produce of the soil: the oil, the wine and the wheat (Num. 18:12). But to the reshith, the first-fruits, בִּכּוּרִים, are further added (Num. 18:13) as an impost of a different sort; then, in the last place, comes the most important item of all, one that considerably exceeded in value all the former ones, viz. the tithe (Num. 18:20–32) and the first-born (Num. 18:15–18). The tithe however belonged, in the first instance, to the “Levites,” who in turn were required to pay a tenth part of it to the priests. With regard to the portion of the dough that was to be given to the priests, though omitted in the leading enumeration of the emoluments, it too is mentioned in the priest-code, but in a different place (Num. 15:17–21). We find that in Nehemiah’s day those enactments were already in full force. According to Neh. 10:36–40, it was already the practice at that time for the priests to receive the first-fruits or bikkurim (10:36), the choicest portions of the fruits of the soil, which here, precisely as in the priest-code, are clearly distinguished alike from the first-fruits and the tithe (10:38), then the tithe after the manner described in the priest-code (10:38–40), then the first-born (10:37), and lastly, the portion of the dough (10:38). By the tithe here we are always to understand the tithe of the fruits of the ground and of the trees. But there is one passage in the priest-code where, in addition to the tithe just mentioned, that of the cattle is also exacted (Lev. 27:32, 33). But it may well be presumed that this requirement, standing there as it does in so entirely isolated a fashion, did not originally form part of the code. It would seem that the tithe of the cattle was actually exacted and paid in the time of the author of Chronicles; or possibly we have only to regard it as forming part of this writer’s conceptions of what ought to be (2 Chron. 31:6). In post-Biblical times the whole passage, Lev. 27:30–33 has been understood as referring to a tithe in the sense of the one demanded by Deuteronomy.

The legal prescriptions of Deuteronomy and of the priests’ code have not only been blended together so as to form one whole in a literary sense, but they would also appear to have been combined with each other in actual practice. Consequently we find that the law in its later developments has considerably augmented the already heavy imposts of the priest-code. With the Levites’ tithe of this code there was now conjoined, and simply as “a second tithe” the one prescribed in Deuteronomy, and which was to be consumed by the owner himself before Jehovah. The discrepancy between the prescriptions of the code and those of Deuteronomy, with respect to the portions of the victims that were to be given to the priests, was now got rid of by regarding the former as referring exclusively to the victims offered in sacrifice, and the latter to such animals as were slaughtered for ordinary use, Of the former of these the priests, according to Lev. 7:30–34, were to receive the breast and the right shoulder, while of the latter they were to get, according to Deut. 18:3, a fore-leg, the cheeks, and the stomach. Lastly, to all the imposts of the priest-code there was further added the portion of the fleece at the sheep-shearing as prescribed in Deuteronomy (18:4). From this process of amalgamation there resulted the following list of the priests’ emoluments, which we may venture to regard as the one that was in force in the time of Christ.

(I.) Of the victims the following portions fell to the priests:—(1) The sin-offerings in their entirety, at least as a rule, for only two, and that of a particular sort, were required to be burnt without the camp. (2) The trespass-offerings in their entirety also. In both instances it was only the fat that was burnt upon the altar, the flesh belonged to the priests. (3) Of the meat-offerings again they got by far the larger portion, for as a rule only a small part of it was reserved to burn upon the altar, while the rest fell to the priests. All the sacrifices we have just mentioned were of very frequent occurrence, particularly the meat-offerings, which might not only be offered independently by themselves, but which also formed a necessary accompaniment to the majority of the animal sacrifices. To the same category we have further to refer (4) the twelve cakes of shewbread, a fresh supply of which was placed in the temple every week, while that which was taken away became the property of the priests. All the four classes of offerings now mentioned were “most holy,” and as such could only be consumed in a holy place, i.e. within the inner court of the temple, and exclusively by the priests themselves (and not by their relations as well).

The regulations were not so stringent with regard to the two following offerings, viz. (5) the thank-offerings and (6) the burnt-offerings. Of the former, the זִבְחֵי שְׁלָמִים, i.e. those offerings which were consumed by the offerers themselves, and by Luther rendered “Dankopfer,” or as it should rather be “Mahlopfer,” the priests received two parts of each, viz. the breast and the right shoulder. These might be eaten in any “clean place” and therefore not within the sanctuary as in the previous instances, and that not by the priest alone, but by all who were connected with the priestly order as well, even by their wives and daughters. Lastly, of the burnt-offerings (6), the priests received comparatively speaking least of all, for they were entirely consumed upon the altar. But even of these they got the skins at least, and, considering how frequently sacrifices of this sort were offered, it was certainly not without good reason that Philo estimated the amount of revenue from this source also as something very considerable.

II. But considerable as the amount derived from those offerings no doubt was, still it formed but the smaller portion of the sacerdotal revenues, while for the most part it was only available for the officiating priests. The real bulk of the priests’ emoluments, on the other hand, consisted strictly speaking of what was derived from those dues that were paid independently of the sacrifices altogether, and which consequently possessed the character of a genuine tax for the maintenance of the priesthood. These dues were levied partly upon the produce of the soil and partly upon the offspring of the cattle, and they had to be paid partly in kind, although in some instances they might also be ransomed for their equivalent in money. The dues derived from the produce of the soil were of a varied character, and had to be separated (with a view to payment) in the following order: (1) The first-fruits, בִּכּוּרִים. These offerings were taken from the socalled “seven kinds,” i.e. from the principal products of the soil of Palestine as enumerated in Deuteronomy (8:8), viz. wheat, barley, vines, fig-trees, pomegranates, olives and honey. Those who lived in the vicinity of Jerusalem offered fresh fruits, while those living farther away brought them in a dried form. In going up to present their offerings the people went in common procession, and according to Philo and the Mishna it was made an occasion of merry-making. It was the practice for those living in the country to assemble in the principal towns of the districts to which they belonged and thence to go up to Zion in one merry company, marching to the music of the pipes. At the head of the procession was led the ox that was to form the festive offering, with its horns gilded and a garland of olive branches placed upon them. In Jerusalem the most eminent members of the priesthood came to meet the procession as it approached the sanctuary. The owners of the offerings then put wreaths round the baskets containing the first-fruits and carried them on their shoulders up the temple mount as far as the court. This was done even by the most distinguished personages; it had been done even by King Agrippa himself. As soon as the procession entered the court the Levites welcomed it with the singing of the thirtieth Psalm. And now each person proceeded to hand his basket to the priest, and as he did so, repeated the confession of Deut. 26:5–10, whereupon the priest took it and put it down beside the altar. (2) Then came the so-called terumah (תְּרוּמָה). This was distinct from the first-fruits, and in so far as the offering of these latter had always rather more of a symbolico-religious significance, it hardly could be said to have belonged to quite the same category with them. The terumah possessed the character of a pure payment in kind toward the maintenance of the priests, for Rabbinical Judaism understands it in the more restricted sense of the term (terumah in the more comprehensive sense of the word meaning every “heave” whatsoever, i.e. everything paid to the sanctuary) as denoting the giving of the choicest of the fruits of the ground and of the trees to the priests. This impost was levied not only upon the “seven kinds,” but upon every species of fruit, and that whether the fruits of the ground or the fruit of trees, Here as before the most important of them were wheat, wine and oil. The amount to be given was not regulated by any fixed measure, weight, or number, but was to be, on an average, one-fiftieth of the whole yield, the person who gave one-fortieth being regarded as giving liberally, while he who gave only one-sixtieth was considered to have given somewhat stingily. Whatever had once been set apart as a terumah could be lawfully made use of only by the priests. (3) After the materials of the two classes of offerings we have just mentioned had been duly separated, the largest and most important item of all now fell to be deducted, viz. the tithe. We know, from what the Gospels tell us, with what painful scrupulosity the prescriptions of the law in regard to this matter were observed, and how common it was to pay tithe even of the most insignificant and worthless objects, such as mint, anise, and cummin (Matt. 23; Luke 11:42). The principle laid down in the Mishna with respect to this is as follows: “Everything which may be used as food and is cultivated and grows out of the earth is liable to tithe.” The revenue derived from the source now in question must have been very large indeed. Yet the greater proportion of it was intended not so much for the priests as for the more subordinate class of sacred officials, viz. the Levites. It was to these latter, in the first instance, that the tithe had to be paid, while they had in turn to hand over a tithe of that again to the priests. After separating this Levites’ tithe from his produce, the owner had to deduct another one still, the so-called second tithe. But this, in common with several other imposts of a similar kind, was made use of by the owner himself in the way of furnishing a sacrificial feast at Jerusalem; consequently they were not for the benefit of the priests, and so do not fall to be considered here. (4) Then the last of the offerings taken from, the products of the soil was the so-called challah (חַלָּה), i.e. the offering from the kneaded dough (ἀπαρχὴ τοῦ φυράματος, Rom. 11:16). According to the Mishna, offerings of this sort required to be given in the case of dough that happened to be made from any one of the five following kinds of grain: wheat, barley, spelt, oats, and rye (?). The offering was not to be presented in the form of flour or meal, but required to be taken from the dough, i.e. as prepared for making bread. The quantity to be given was, in the case of private individuals, one twenty-fourth part, and, in the case of public bakers, one forty-eighth part of the whole piece.

Then there was a second leading class of regular offerings, viz. those derived from the rearing of cattle. These were of three different kinds: (1) The most important of them was that consisting of the male first-born of the cattle (that is to say therefore, the first-born whenever it happened to be a male). As far back as the earlier Jehovistic and Deuteronomist legislation we find that the male first-born of the cattle was required to be dedicated to God, i.e. was to be used in sacrifice and for sacrificial feasts (Ex. 13:11–16, 22:28, 29, 34:19, 20; Deut. 15:19–23). This the priestly legislation has converted into an allowance to be given to the priests (Ex. 13:1, 2; Lev. 27:26, 27; Num. 18:15–18; Neh. 10:37). Both legislations add to this the firstborn among men as well, for these two were regarded as, properly speaking, belonging to God, and consequently they required to be ransomed. Further, as a distinction had to be made between clean and unclean cattle, we accordingly have the following more specific regulations with respect to the first-born: (a) the first-born of the cattle that were clean and suitable for sacrificial purposes, i.e. oxen, sheep and goats, were to be given in natura. If they were free from blemish they were to be treated as sacrifices, i.e. the blood was to be sprinkled upon the altar and the fat consumed in the altar fires. The flesh could be eaten by all who were connected with the order of the priests, even by their wives, and that in any part of Jerusalem (Num. 18:17, 18; Neh. 10:37; Ex. 22:29, 34:19; Deut. 15:19, 20). But if, on the other hand, the animals had any blemish about them, they belonged no less to the priests, only they were to be treated as unconsecrated food (Deut. 15:21–23). (b) The first-born of unclean animals above all, according to Philo, those of the horse, the ass, and the camel—and here too as in every other instance only the male ones—were to be ransomed by the payment of a certain sum of money fixed by the priest with a fifth part added (Num. 18:15; Neh. 10:37; Lev. 27:27). An ass was to be exchanged for a sheep (Ex. 13:13, 34:20). According to Josephus, the ransom would appear to have been effected by the payment of a fixed sum of one shekel and a half for each beast. (c) The first-born of man, i.e. the first child that happened to be a male, required to be “ransomed” as soon as it was a month old by the payment of five shekels (Num. 18:15, 16; comp. Num. 3:44 ff.; Neh. 10:37; Ex. 13:13, 22:28, 34:20). It was not necessary that the boy should be presented at the temple on the occasion of his being ransomed, as has been supposed, for the most part on the strength of Luke 2:22. As is expressly stated in the passages just referred to, the shekels in question were to be those of the Tyrian standard. This tax was imposed upon poor and rich alike.

(2.) Of all the flesh that was slaughtered generally the priests were to receive three portions, viz. the shoulder, the two cheeks, and the stomach. This is the sense in which Deut. 18:3 was understood, and was therefore taken as referring, not to animals offered in sacrifice, but to those slaughtered for ordinary use. According to the later interpretation of it, this prescription was also regarded as applying exclusively to such animals as were suitable for sacrifices, viz. oxen, sheep and goats.

(3.) Again, a portion of the proceeds of the sheep-shearing had to be given to the priests, only in those cases however in which a person owned more than one sheep—according to the school of Shammai, when he owned two, according to Hillel’s school, on the other hand, not unless he owned five. This offering was said to amount to five Jewish (= ten Galilaean) sela.

III. Besides the regular offerings, there also fell to the priests a considerable number of an irregular and extra-ordinary character. To this category belonged, fundamentally at least, a large number of sacrifices offered on an almost endless variety of occasions (see p. 195 f. above); but besides these they also received the following offerings: (1) The consecration vows, or votive offerings. These might be of a very varied character. One could dedicate oneself or some other person to the sanctuary (to the Lord). In such cases it was usual to pay a certain sum of money by way of ransom, viz. fifty shekels for a man and thirty for a woman. But one could also dedicate animals, houses, or lands to the sanctuary. If the animals happened to be such as could be offered in sacrifice, then they had to be given in natura. But in the case of unclean animals and in that of houses and lands, a money ransom could be paid as before, though on certain conditions specified in the law. (2) A special form of consecration vow called the ban, i.e. something irredeemably devoted to the sanctuary. Whenever anything was devoted to the sanctuary in this form (as something banned, חֵרֶם) it fell to it, i.e. to the priests in natura, whether it were in the shape of a person, cattle, or lands. (3) Lastly, in those cases in which any one had appropriated or otherwise unlawfully got possession of anything, and in which it was no longer possible to restore the property to its rightful owner, a certain indemnity had to be paid, and this also fell to the priests. With regard to the two things last mentioned, the law distinctly states that they were to belong to the priests personally, whereas the votive offering, on the other hand, would appear to have been devoted as a rule to purposes connected with the services of the sanctuary generally. At the same time Josephus distinctly affirms that the ransom of fifty or of thirty shekels to be paid in those cases in which any one had devoted him or herself to God formed part of the priests’ emoluments. Further, the Rabbinical theologians hold that, besides the cherem and the indemnity offering, “the inherited field,” consecrated as a votive offering (Lev. 27:16–21), was also to be included among the twenty-four different kinds of offerings that fell to the priests.

To what extent all the offerings to which we have referred were contributed by the Jews of the dispersion as well it is no longer possible to say with any degree of certainty in regard to any one of them in particular. In any case a large number of them was paid by those of the dispersion as wall, while the amount derived from all those sources was of so handsome a character that the priests always had a comfortable provision. As little are we any longer in a position always to form anything like a distinct conception of the mode in which those offerings were paid. Many of them, such as the challa and the three portions to be given on the occasion of slaughtering an animal, were of such a nature that they did not admit of being kept long. Consequently to carry these and such as these to Jerusalem for the purpose of presenting them there would be simply impossible. At any rate, in all those places in which there happened to be priests, they were given to them directly. But so far as it was at all practicable, the administration of the offerings was centralized in Jerusalem. Thither they were conveyed and handed over to those appointed to receive them, and from thence again they were distributed among the priests.

This central administration on the part of the priests extended to the tithe as well, which in point of fact was delivered, not to the Levites, but to the priests, in whose hands the further disposal of it was then left.

Nor were those priestly gifts made use of merely by the priests themselves, but the privilege of participating in the enjoyment of them was extended to those connected with them as well. The only things that had to be partaken of exclusively by priests were those known as “most holy” (see p. 236, above). All the others might be enjoyed by the whole of the members of a priest’s household—his wife, his daughters and his slaves, with the exception however of hired workmen and daughters married to other than priests. But, in every instance, only those were at liberty to participate who were in a condition of Levitical purity. With regard to the priests no distinction was made, on this occasion, between those duly qualified to officiate and those debarred from doing so in consequence of some physical defect or infirmity. These latter might be allowed, when the division to which they belonged happened to be serving, to go even the length of participating in the “most holy” things themselves.

All the offerings to which we have hitherto been referring only went to form the personal emoluments of the priests. From these are now further to be distinguished those imposts which were directly intended to defray the expenses connected with public worship. The most important of them was the half-shekel or didraehma-tax. There was no tax of this description anterior to the exile, for down to that period it had been the practice for the kings to provide the public sacrifices at their own expense (Ezek. 45:17 ff., 46:13–15, according to the Septuagint). It was in existence however as early as the days of Nehemiah, although at that time it amounted only to a third of a shekel (Neh. 10:33, 34). The raising of it to half a shekel cannot have taken place till subsequent to Nehemiah’s time. Consequently, the passage in the Pentateuch (Ex. 30:11–16), in which the half-shekel tax is prescribed, must be regarded as a later modification of the terms of the priest code, which moreover is probable for yet other reasons. The actual payment of this tax in the time of Christ is placed beyond a doubt by the unquestionable testimony of various authorities. Then again it was one that had to be paid by every male Israelite of twenty years of age or upwards, no matter whether he were rich or poor, and that, in common with all sacred tribute, in money of the early Hebrew or Tyrian (Phoenician) standard.

The time for payment was the month Adar (somewhere about the month of March); while the mode of procedure on that occasion was to have the whole of the contributions payable by one community gathered together and then sent on to Jerusalem, there to be duly paid over in name of that community. This tax was spent mainly in defraying the expense of the daily burnt-offering, and of all the sacrifices generally that had to be offered in the name of the people, as well as for other objects of a public character. After the destruction of Jerusalem the didrachma had for a long time to be paid toward the support of the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus in Rome. It is true that in the reign of Nerva the calumnia fisci Judaici was put an end to, but the tax itself was not repealed.

Over and above the half-shekel tax, and as forming a matter of regular tribute for the temple, there was, above all, the furnishing of so much wood every year as fuel for the altar of burnt-offering. As early as the time of Nehemiah it was ordained that the priests, the Levites and the people were at certain periods of the year to furnish the necessary supply of wood for the altar, all of them according to the houses of their fathers, their turn being decided by lot (Neh. 10:34, 13:31). At a later period the “wood offering” took place, for the most part, on the 15th of the month Ab, a day which, for this very reason, came to acquire a certain festive character. However, at this same period wood was also furnished by certain families on other days besides the one just mentioned. Every species of wood was allowable except that of the olive and the vine.

Then, in the last place, freewill offerings formed a copious source of wealth for the temple. We have already stated that probably the largest share of the vows did not fall to the priests personally, but was used to defray the expenses incurred in connection with the services of the sanctuary (see p. 247, above). But however this might be, that was certainly the case with regard to those vows that were formed for some particular purpose, as well as those other voluntary gifts which did not assume exactly the character of a vow. Very often objects were presented that could be turned to account either in connection with the services of the temple or in the way of ornamenting it. For example, to mention just a single instance, one could present so much gold in the shape of a few leaves, or grapes, or clusters of grapes, with a view to the enlargement of the golden vine that was placed over the entrance to the temple; the wealthy Alabarch Alexander of Alexandria provided the gold and silver with which the gates of the court were covered; nor was it uncommon for distinguished Gentiles to present gifts to the temple (on this see close of present paragraph). As a rule, however, the gifts were bestowed in the shape of money, and then even the poor widow’s mite was not unwelcome (Mark 12:41–44; Luke 21:1–4). In the treasury of the temple thirteen trumpet-shaped boxes were erected, and into these the money was dropped that was intended for the various purposes connected with the religious services. No fewer than six of those boxes were for the reception of “voluntary gifte” pure and simple, without the object for which they were intended being further specified; and the whole of these latter were expended, at least so the Mishna affirms, in the purchase of burnt-offerings (just because it was supposed that in these most benefit would, so to speak, accrue to God).

As the priests were so numerous, their emoluments so plentiful, and their functions so varied, it was necessary that there should also be an extensive apportioning among them of the different departments of the service. As we have already pointed out in a previous section, the whole priest-hood was divided into twenty-four families, each of which formed a distinct body, with presidents and elders at its head. But apart from this social organization of the entire order, there was further, the organism of the special functions connected with the multifarious services of the sanctuary. Of those special offices there were two that (at least during the last century of the temple’s existence, to which period the following account is to be understood as applying) were conspicuous above all the others, and to these we will here assign the foremost place.

1. The head of the whole priesthood was the supreme, or as we usually designate him, the high priest, כהן גדול, ἀρχιερεύς. The characteristic feature about the position of this distinguished functionary was the combining in one and the same person of both a civil and a sacred dignity. Not only was he the supreme religious functionary, the one to whom alone pertained the privilege of performing certain acts of worship of the highest religious significance, such as, above all, the offering of the sacrifice on the great day of atonement, but he was also, at the same time, the supreme civil head of the people, the supreme head of the State, in so far, that is, as the State was not under the sway of foreign rulers. In the days of national independence the hereditary Asmonaean high priests were priests and kings at one and the same time; while, at a later period again, the high priests were, at least the presidents of the Sanhedrim, and even in all political matters, the supreme representatives of the people in their relations with the Romans (for details, see § 23. IV., above). As was to be expected, considering the distinguished social position which he held, the high priest did not officiate except on festival occasions. He was, in fact, legally bound to do so only on the great day of atonement, when he was called upon to offer before the Lord the great sin-offering of the people (Lev. 16); though, according to later usage, he was further required to offer the daily sacrifice during the week immediately preceding the great day of atonement. Otherwise he was left perfectly free to sacrifice only when he felt disposed to do so. According to the testimony of Josephus, he officiated, as a rule, every Sabbath day, and on the occasion of the new moons or other festivals in the course of the year. We must beware of confounding with the sacrifices just mentioned, and which he offered as representing the people and in their name, the daily meat-offering which he required to offer purely on his own account (Lev. 6:12–16). But on those latter occasions it was not so much required that he himself should officiate (which he seldom did) as that he should defray the cost of the offerings. The somewhat unique character of the high priest’s position found further expression in the special purity and holiness that were expected of him (see pp. 211, 214, above), as well as in the gorgeous official attire which he wore when exercising his sacred functions. Only at that part of the service on the great day of atonement at which he entered the holy of holies, he wore a simple white dress, which however was made of the most expensive Pelusian and Indian linen (or cotton?).

2. Next to the high priest in point of rank came the סָגָן or סֶגֶן, Aramaic סְגַן, regarding whose functions the conceptions of the Rabbinical authorities are anything but. clear. They seem to think that he was simply the representative of the high priest, and that his chief function was to act as the substitute of this latter, should he happen to be disqualified for taking part in the worship in consequence of Levitical defilement; and this view has also continued to be the prevailing one among Christian scholars down to the present day. But it is undoubtedly erroneous. Among all the passages in the Mishna in which the סגן is mentioned there is not one that throws any further light whatever upon his official position. All they can be said to tell us is that he stood next to the high priest in point of rank. When the high priest drew the lot, in the case of the two he-goats, on the great day of atonement, the סגן stood at his right hand, while the president of the division or course that happened to be serving (ראש בית אב) was at his left. Again, when he had occasion to read a portion from the Scriptures, the president of the synagogue handed the roll to the סגן, who in turn passed it to the high priest. Also when he happened to offer the daily sacrifice, the סגן was still found at his side. From all this however we are not at liberty to infer that the segan (I prefer this Aramaic form because we are unable to say for certain what the Hebrew form of the singular was) was intended to act as the high priest’s substitute on those occasions on which he was prevented from officiating himself. Such an inference would be decidedly wrong. For what the Mishna says with regard to this matter of the substitute is rather to this effect: “Seven days before the great day of atonement it is customary to appoint some other priest (כהן אהר) to be ready to take the place of the high priest in the event of any accident happening to the latter calculated to interrupt the service.” This would surely have been extremely superfluous if there had been a permanent official whose duty it was to act as the high priest’s representative or substitute. It appears to me that we need have no difficulty in arriving at a true and distinct conception as to what was the real position of the segan, if we will only take due note of the way in which the term סגנים is rendered in the Septuagint. For we find that there it is almost invariably represented by στρατηγοί. Consequently, the סגן can have been no other than the στρατηγὸς τοῦ ἱεροῦ, the captain of the temple, whom we find frequently mentioned in the Greek sources, both in Josephus and the New Testament. To this functionary was entrusted the chief superintendence of the arrangements for preserving order in and around the temple. And so when we consider the very important nature of this office, we can quite easily understand how the priest who had the honour to hold it should have been regarded as second only to the high priest himself.

Besides the segan or στρατηγός in the singular, we also meet with the plural form סגנים or στρατηγοί. When the festive processions of the country people went up to Jerusalem with the first-fruits, it was usual for the foremost among the priests to go out to meet them, namely the פַּחוֹת and סְגָנִים and גִּזְבָּרִים. The two first of those categories, the פַּחוֹת and the סְגָנִים, correspond to the οἱ ἀρχιερεῖς καὶ στρατηγοί of Luke 22:4, 52. What we are to understand by the ἀρχιερεῖς has been already pointed out at p. 201 ff. above. But the סגנים or στρατηγοί are in any case, so far as the nature of their office is concerned, of the same order as the סגן or στρατηγός, only holding a somewhat lower rank, and therefore captains of the temple police as much as, though subordinate to, the chief στρατηγός.

In the lists of the priests that are given in several passages in the Talmud those who rank next to the high priest and the segan are the presidents of the courses of service, those at the head of the twenty-four leading divisions (ראש המשמר) being mentioned first, and those at the head of the sub-divisions (ראש בית אב) coming next. The functions of those presidents had however no immediate reference to the worship, but to the priesthood as a corporate body, in which aspect we have already had occasion to speak of them at p. 220 f. The sacred functions, properly so called, which still fall to be mentioned here besides those of the high priest and the segan, are those that related partly to the administration of the possessions and stores belonging to the sanctuary, partly to the superintendence of the temple police, and partly to the religious services themselves. All that we know with respect to those three categories is substantially as follows.

I. A very important function was that of the administration of the vast amount of property belonging to the temple. The store-chambers of the sanctuary were filled with possessions of multifarious kinds piled in masses one upon another. First there were the utensils employed in the sacrificial worship, which of themselves represented a handsome sum, and consisting of a whole host of gold and silver basins, cups, pots and articles of a like kind used for such purposes as catching up and sprinkling the blood, for offering the frankincense and the meat-and drink-offerings, etc. Again there were large quantities of curtains, and priests’ garments, and of the materials required for making them. And there were, in particular, vast collections of natural products, viz.: flour and oil for the meat-offerings, wine for the drink-offerings, fragrant substances with which to make the frankincense, and in addition to these things, the offerings contributed for the benefit of the priests. But, above all, there were also thelarge sums of money that were deposited in the store-houses of the temple, and which were of such a colossal character that they not unfrequently tempted greedy foreign potentates to plunder them, and yet it would appear that they were always speedily replaced. Then, in the last place, there fall to be added to the heaps of money stored in the temple the various sums deposited there by private individuals; for it was quite common to lodge such deposits in the temple from a feeling that the sacredness of the place afforded the best possible guarantee for their security. All the money and the various articles of value were kept in separate repositories (γαζοφυλάκια) in the inner court of the temple, and not only did they require to be constantly watched, but in consequence of the receiving on the one hand and giving out on the other that were continually going on, it was necessary that they should be under careful administration.

The treasurers, to whom the administration in question was entrusted, were called γαζοφύλακες in Greek and גִּזְבָּרִים in Hebrew. Nor were the functions of those officials confined merely to the money in the temple, but extended to the administration of all the possessions generally, that fell under any of the categories just mentioned. They had the custody of the sacred utensils, the veils, and the priests’ garments; they took charge of the flour for the meat-offerings and of the wine for the drink-offerings; it was their duty to take delivery of things consecrated (or things presented to the temple), or to return them again on the ransom being duly paid; and they also purchased wood and gathered in the half-shekel tax. Of course among the treasurers too there were once more gradations of rank. According to the statements of the Old Testament, it would seem as though the whole of those offices had been in the hands of the Levites, This may have been actually the case so far as the more subordinate duties were concerned, but there can be no doubt whatever that the more important ones were in the hands of the priests. The fact is there is mention in Josephus of a particular occasion on which the γαζοφύλαξ (perhaps the chief one of his class) is put immediately on a level with the high priest, from his being regarded as one of the most distinguished of the temple officials. We also find that elsewhere the גִּזְבָּרִים are reckoned among the higher functionaries of the temple. When the Mishna affirms that there must have been at least three גִּזְבָּרִים in the temple, it is certain that it can have had in view only the head treasurers and not the entire staff of officials that were required for the administration of the treasury.

It is probable that, under the category of treasury officials, we should also include the amarkelin (אמרכלין), who are mentioned once in the Mishna without any hint whatever being given as to the nature of their functions, the consequence being that the Rabbinical writers indulge merely in empty conjectures on the point, conjectures based, to some extent, upon trivial etymological conceits. The term itself is of Persian origin, and means a “member of the chamber of accounts, or an accountant.” Consequently in the Targum of Jonathan we find that in 2 Kings 12:10 and 22:4, for example, the term אמרכליא is substituted for the Hebrew expression שֹׁמְרֵי הַסַּף, “keepers of the threshold,” by whom the priestly treasurers are meant. We have a term in every way identical with the one now in question in the Armenian expression hamarakar, which in like manner denotes an official having charge of the accounts (a chief treasurer). It is true no doubt that our term also occurs elsewhere in the Targums in the more comprehensive sense of chiefs or heads generally. But seeing that, as a rule, the priestly אמרכלין are mentioned along with the גזברין, we may venture to regard it as certain that they also belonged to the same category as the treasurers. It is possible that they were among the subordinate officials of this department; but perhaps the distinction between the gisbarim and the amarkelin was something like this, that while to the former was assigned the duty of receiving and taking charge of the various treasures, the latter, on the other hand, were entrusted with the task of distributing among the priests the gifts and offerings that were intended for them. Besides the two classes just mentioned, the Jerusalem Talmud mentions yet a third, viz. the קתוליקין (καθολικοί), of whom however the Mishna knows nothing whatever.

II. For the duties connected with the police department, for which a very large staff of officials was required, it was mostly Levites that were employed. In early times indeed, and down even to the days of Ezra and Nehemiah, the “gate-keepers” (שֹׁעֲרִים) did not belong as yet to the order of the Levites, but were of a somewhat lower rank; it was the author of the Chronicles who was the first to include these officials also among the number of the Levites (see p. 224, above). In the inner court the duty of keeping watch and ward was discharged by the priests themselves. The author of the Chronicles, and subsequently Philo and the Mishna, have furnished us with several details regarding the organization of the department now in question. We learn from the first-mentioned authority that there were twenty-four wards in all, under four chiefs or captains, and that they were posted on the east, west, north and south sides of the temple (1 Chron. 26:12–18, also 9:17, 24–27). The statements of this writer are to be understood as applying to the temple of Zerubbabel. But the area of the temple esplanade, or the so-called outer court, was afterwards very much enlarged, especially by Herod, so that it now formed a large quadrangle, its longer side being that which extended from north to south. Within this large square again there was an oblong quadrangular space enclosed by strong walls, the longer side, in this instance, running from west to east; this was the so-called inner court, or “the court” in the strict sense of the word. This court was approached by a flight of steps, and at the foot of this stair was a railing within which no Gentile was allowed to pass. Any Gentile who ventured to pass this boundary and set foot within the inner court was punished with death; and the Roman authorities respected the scruples of the Jews in regard to this matter to such an extent that they sanctioned the execution of this sentence even in those cases in which Roman citizens had been the offenders. To this railing notices were attached at certain distances from each other, with the prohibition and the penalty for infringing it inscribed upon them in Greek and Latin. According to Philo, there were keepers in his day not only at the entrances to the inner court, but likewise at the gates of the outer one as well, one of their principal duties being to see that the prohibition in question was rigidly complied with. In addition to these there were watchmen patrolling all round by night and by day to make sure that nothing of an unseemly character was going on anywhere. According to the Mishna, there were twenty-one points at which the Levites kept watch (at night), and three at which the priests did so. The Levitical keepers were stationed partly at the gates and the corners of the outer court (inside of it), and partly at the gates and corners of the inner court (outside of it), while the priestly guards again had charge of the inner court. It was usual for a captain of the temple to go round at night to see that the guards were not sleeping at their posts. This captain was known under the designation of אִישׁ הַר הַבַּיִת. Besides this official, there is also occasional mention of an אִישׁ הַבִּירָה. Now, seeing that the Mishna knows of no other designation for the whole space around the temple—even in cases where it is to be distinguished from the inner court—but the expression הַר הַבַּיִת, we are accordingly to understand by the איש הר הבית, a captain who had charge of the outer court, and by the איש הבירה, on the other hand, the one who had the surveillance of the temple itself. For the בִּירָה cannot possibly have been intended to refer to Fort Antonia, seeing that this latter was under the charge of a Roman φρούραρχος, but only to the temple itself. The two kinds of officials now mentioned would therefore be identical with the סגנים or στρατηγοί to whom we have already had occasion to refer.

It was also part of the watchmen’s duty to open and close the whole of the gates of the courts, all of which were shut during the night; and accordingly there was also an officer appointed whose special duty it was to superintend “the shutting of the gates.” According to Josephus, the services of two hundred men were required every time the gates were shut, and the heavy brazen gate in the east of the court took twenty men itself. Then as for the gate of the temple, we are told that when it was opened, so loud was the creaking, that it could be heard as far away as Jericho. The keys of the gates of the court were kept by the elders of the particular division of priests whose turn it was to be on watch duty within the court for the time being. When the divisions were changed, the one that retired handed them over to the one that came in to take its place. The morning sacrifice, as we know, required to be offered at daybreak, and that being the case the gates would of course have to be open some little time before; while at the Passover season they were open even so early as midnight.

III. It is true the acts of worship properly so called, i.e. the offering of the sacrifices with all the accompanying ceremonial, devolved as a whole upon the entire priesthood, who were divided into twenty-four courses, each of which conducted the worship by turns, and that for a week at a time (on this see next paragraph). Yet even here special stated officials were also necessary for certain particular functions. We get some idea of the multifarious nature of those functions from a passage in the Mishua in which are enumerated, though in a very confused and unsystematic order, the names of those persons who at a particular period (evidently in the closing years of the temple’s existence) happened to fill the most important offices in connection with the worship of the sanctuary. From that passage it will be seen that there was, for example, a special official “over the lots” (No. 3), on whom devolved the duty of superintending the daily casting of the lots for determining the particular parts of the service that were to be apportioned to the various officiating priests. Then there was another functionary who was “over the seals” (No. 1), and another again “over the drink-offerings” (No. 2). For, with a view to simplifying matters, an arrangement had been adopted according to which “seals” or tokens were issued corresponding to the various kinds of drink-offerings, on presenting which people could get the particular drink-offering indicated upon them. The mode of proceeding was first of all to purchase a token from the official who was “over the seals,” then to hand this to the one who was “over the drink-offerings,” who in return would give to the person tendering it the amount of drink-offering requisite for the particular occasion for which it was wanted. There was a similar arrangement for the convenience of those who wished to be promptly supplied with birds for sacrificial purposes. All that was necessary was to drop the money into a box, whereupon it became the duty of the official who was “over the winged sacrifices” (No. 4) duly to purchase with it, as speedily as possible, the requisite offerings. Many of the offerings were of such a nature that they required a certain amount of skill to prepare them properly, a skill which belonged by inheritance to particular families. Accordingly the family of Garmu (No. 12) had charge of the preparing of the shewbread, that of Abtinas (No. 13) had the preparing of the frankincense. Then again the chief charge of the psalmody was entrusted to an official specially appointed for the purpose (No. 11). There was another whose duty it was to sound a cymbal (צלצל) by way of letting the Levites know when to commence the music (No. 10). There were besides a temple physician (No. 5), a master of the wells (No. 6), a herald (No. 7), whose voice was so powerful that it could be heard as far away as Jericho. Then further, as the veils in the temple required to be frequently renewed, there was an official appointed to see to the making of them, and to take charge of the store in which they were kept (No. 14). And lastly, there was an official whose special duty it was to take charge of the priests’ garments (No. 15).

A very numerous class of functionaries connected with the worship of the sanctuary was that of the sacred musicians, whose duty it was to accompany the offering of the “daily burnt-offering” and the other solemn services with singing and playing upon stringed instruments, and who were called in Hebrew מְשֹׁרִרִים (frequently so in Ezra and Nehemiah), and in Greek, ψαλτῳδοί, ἱεροψάλται, ὑμνῳδοί, κιθαρισταί τε καὶ ὑμνῳδοί. They formed a separate and exclusive order, to which none were admitted but those descended from a particular family, and down even to the time of Ezra and Nehemiah they were distinguished from the Levites, although at a subsequent period they were included amongst them (see above, p. 225 f.). They were divided into three families, those of Heman, Asaph and Ethan or Jeduthun (1 Chron. 6:16–32, 15:16–19, 25 the entire chapter; 2 Chron. 5:12), and the whole were sub-divided again into twenty-four courses of service (1 Chron. 25). The principal part of their duty was to sing, playing on an instrument being regarded merely in the light of an accompaniment to the singing. The musical instruments made use of for this purpose were chiefly the three following:—(1) The cymbal (מְצִלְתַּיִם, κύμβαλα), an instrument played by striking the one plate upon the other, and resembling the warning cymbal (צלצל), with which the signal was given for commencing the singing. As the dual form already serves to indicate, this instrument consisted of two large shallow plates made of brass, which, when struck the one upon the other, emitted a loud sound. Of a somewhat more musical and harmonious character were (2) the נֵבֶל, νάβλα, Luther: “psalter,” and (3) the כִּנּוֹר, κινύρα, Luther: “Harfe.” Both were stringed instruments, the νάβλα, according to Josephus, having twelve and the κινύρα ten strings. The νάβλα was played with the hand, whereas, according to the same authority just referred to, the κινύρα was played with the plectrum (in the earlier Biblical times the כִּנּוֹר was also played with the hand). A good deal has no doubt been written in which the nature of those instruments is fully discussed, but still no certain result has been arrived at. According to the Mishna, the number of נְבָלִים employed in the temple choir was never fewer than two and never more than six, whereas with regard to the כִּנּוֹרוֹת, there required to be nine of them at the very least, and their number might be multiplied ad libitum. From all this one might venture to infer that the כִּנּוֹר was the chief, the leading instrument, while the נֵבֶל was rather intended to serve as an accompaniment to it. Besides the three instruments just referred to, reed pipes, חֲלִילִים, were also introduced into the choir on the occasion of the high festivals that occurred in the course of the year (Passover, Pentecost and the feast of Tabernacles).

But in addition to this, trumpets (חֲצוֹצְרוֹת) were in regular use, and while the playing upon the instruments hitherto mentioned was left entirely to the Levites (the traditions hesitating somewhat only with regard to the reed-pipes), the blowing with trumpets, on the other hand, was performed by priests. This latter was also an accompaniment above all of the offering of the daily burnt-offering, and of other parts of the service as well. The dawn of the Sabbath was likewise announced by some of the priests blowing trumpets from the roof of the temple.

The services of a more menial kind were performed, in the time of Zerubbabel, Ezra and Nehemiah, by temple slaves (נְתִינִים). It is true that נְתִינִים still continue to be mentioned in the literature of a later period, but it is no longer possible to make out with certainty what the nature of their duties now was. Instead of them we now meet with what are called “servants” (חַזָּנִים); nay we find that, in Philo, the cleaning and sweeping of the temple are mentioned along with the duty of watching as being all of them performed by the νεωκόροι, i.e. the Levites. There were also a good many functions that were left to be performed by boys belonging to the families of the priests (פִּרְחֵי כְהֻנָּה).

The daily worship of the sanctuary was conducted by the twenty-four divisions of the priests (see p. 216 ff. above), each division taking its turn and officiating for a week at a time. The divisions were changed every Sabbath day, the arrangement being that the retiring one should offer the morning sacrifice and the extra Sabbath offerings (according to Num. 28:9, 10) before leaving, while the one that came in to take its place was to offer the evening sacrifice and put the fresh shewbread upon the table. On the occasion of the three leading festivals of the year (Passover, Pentecost, and the feast of Tabernacles) the whole twenty-four courses officiated simultaneously. The attempts made by Christian scholars to make out on chronological grounds the week during which the course of Abia happened to serve in the year of our Lord’s birth (Luke 1:5) have no tenable historical basis on which to rest. Every weekly division again was broken up into somewhere between five and nine sub-divisions, each of which officiated on an average for a single day the one after the other. If the sub-divisions happened to be fewer than seven, then some of them required to take their turn twice; but if, on the other hand, there happened to be more than seven, then on some of the days two of them officiated at the same time (see p. 216, above). But further, as never more than a fraction of the priests belonging to a sub-division were required to officiate at the regular daily offering of the public sacrifices, it was necessary to determine by lot those on whom the active duties of the day were to devolve. Like the priests, the Levites were also divided into twenty-four courses of service (see p. 227 f., above), which in like manner relieved each other every week. But lastly, in addition to this there was an analogous division of the people themselves into twenty-four courses of service (מִשְׁמָרוֹת), each of which had to take its turn in coming before God, every day for a whole week, by way of representing the whole body of the people while the daily sacrifice was being offered to Jehovah. The division actually engaged in the performance of this duty was known under the designation of מַעֲמָד, “a station.” At the same time the case of the ordinary Israelites differed from that of the priests and Levites in this respect, that unlike these, the entire division did not require to go up to Jerusalem when its turn came. Instead of this the persons belonging to it met together in the synagogues in the towns in or near which they resided and there engaged in prayer and the reading of Scripture; probably in every instance it was merely a deputation of them that actually went up to Jerusalem to be present at the offering of the sacrifice. In that case it was this deputation that, in the strict sense of the word, constituted the מַעֲמָד, which “stood by” while the sacrifice was being offered.

The officiating priests wore, during the service, a special official dress, which consisted of the four following article:—(1) מִכְנָסִים, i.e. short breeches covering merely the hips and thighs, and made of byssus (probably not cotton, but fine white linen). Then over these (2) the כְּתֹנֶת, a long, somewhat close-fitting coat, reaching down to the feet, with narrow sleeves, and also made of byssus. This coat was fastened together somewhere about the breast with (3) a girdle (אַבְנֵט), which mostly consisted of byssus also, only it had ornaments of purple, scarlet and blue embroidered upon it. It was therefore the only part of the attire that had any colour about it, all the rest being pure white. Then the covering for the head was (4) the מִגְבָּעָה, a kind of cap or turban. Shoes are nowhere mentioned, and it may be regarded as certain that the priests always officiated without having anything on the feet.

As the white attire was a symbol of purity, so the officiating priests required to be men characterized by temperance and Levitical purity. During the period of their service they were prohibited from drinking wine or any other intoxicating beverage. Nor were they allowed to enter the court for the purpose of officiating unless they were Levitically clean. Nay more, even those who were so were, in every instance, required to take a formal bath previous to their entering upon the services of the day. But besides this, they had then to go and wash the hands and feet in the brazen laver (כִּיּוֹר) that stood in the open air between the temple and the altar of burnt-offering.

As regards the sacrifices that were offered every day, they are to be distinguished into two classes, the public and the private sacrifices. The former were offered in name of the people, and were purchased with a portion of the people’s own offerings, especially the half-shekel tax; while the latter again were those in which only private individuals were concerned, and which might be offered on a vast variety of occasions, some of them being voluntary and others of them being, for some particular reason or other, compulsory. Both those categories again were sub-divided into different sorts, varying according to the particular objects for which they were offered, though they all admit of being classified under the three following heads:—(1) the burnt-offerings, the essential characteristic of which lay in the fact that the whole victim was consumed upon the altar; (2) the sin- and the trespass-offerings, in the case of which only the fat was burnt upon the altar, while the flesh fell to the priests; (3) the peace-offerings (זִבְחֵי שְׁלָמִים), according to Luther, “thank-offerings,” in the case of which again it was only the fat that was burnt upon the altar, while the flesh was used by the owner of the sacrifice himself as material for a jocund sacrificial feast. As was only natural, it was the numerous private offerings of so many different kinds that constituted the bulk of the sacrifices. However, as it is with giving au account of the regular daily worship of the sanctuary that we are here concerned, it is only the public sacrifices that fall to be considered by us, and especially the most important of them all, the people’s daily burnt-offering.

In order that the reader may be in a better position for understanding what is to follow, it will be well, before proceeding farther, to offer here one or two topographical observations. The inner court, within which the whole of the worship was celebrated, was divided by means of a wall into two divisions, a western and an eastern. The latter was called “the court of the women,” not however because none but women were admitted to it, but because women as well as men were allowed to enter it. The beautiful gate-way in the east side of this court, with its elaborate two-leaved gate made of brass (ἡ θύρα ἡ λεγομένη ὡραία, Acts 3:2), formed the principal entrance to it; and hence it was that beggars were in the habit of sitting here (Acts 3:2). The western division again was reserved exclusively for male Israelites, and within it stood the temple proper. Comparatively speaking, this was not a large, but a handsome edifice. The interior, which was probably almost quite dark, was divided into two divisions, the larger one being to the front, and the other, which was only half as large, being at the back. The latter formed the “holy of holies,” which was trodden by human foot only once in the year, and that by the high priest on the great day of atonement. In the front (and therefore eastern) division stood those three sacred articles, the punctual ministering at which on the part of the officiating priests formed one of the principal parts of the worship, viz.: (1) in the middle the golden altar of incense (מִזְבַּח הַזָּהָב), known also as the “inner altar” (מִזְבֵּחַ הַפְּנִימִי), upon which incense had to be offered every morning and evening; (2) to the south of the latter the golden candlestick with seven branches (מְנוֹרָה), which had to be kept constantly burning; and (3) to the north of the altar of incense the golden table for the shewbread, on which twelve fresh loaves had to be placed every Sabbath day. The front of the temple looked toward the east. Before it and in the open air stood the great altar of burnt-offering, or “the altar” κατʼ ἐξοχήν, at which, with the exception of the burning of the incense, every act of sacrifice had to be performed. It was a high four-square erection of large dimensions, being, according to the Mishna, thirty-two cubits square at the base (while for the sake of comparison it may be mentioned that the interior of the temple was only twenty cubits wide). It diminished in size toward the top in such a way as to form several stages or landings round it, although on the top it still measured as much as twenty-four cubits by twenty-four. The whole structure was built of unhewn stones which no tool had ever touched. Then, on the south side, there was a gradual ascent leading upward to the top of the altar, and this was likewise formed of unhewn stones. The fire upon this altar had to be kept continually burning by night as well as by day. Between the temple and the altar of burnt-offering there stood, and likewise in the open air, the brazen laver (כִּיּוֹר) already referred to, in which the priests were required to wash their hands and feet previous to their engaging in the worship of the sanctuary. To the north of the altar, and still in the open air, was the place for slaughtering the victims, where there were rings fastened in the ground to which the animals were tied when about to be slaughtered; while there were pillars at hand on which to hang the victims after they were killed, as wall as marble tables on which to skin them and wash the entrails. The temple, along with the altar of burnt-offering and the place for slaughtering, was surrounded by an enclosure within which, as a rule, none but priests were allowed to enter, ordinary Israelites being permitted to do so only “when it was necessary for the purpose of the laying on of hands, or for slaughtering, or waving” (תְּנוּפָה).

Now, as regards the regular worship of the sanctuary, the most important part of it was the daily burnt-offering offered in the name of the people at large, the עֹלַת הַתָּמִיד, or simply הַתָּמִיד, “the standing one.” The practice of offering regular daily sacrifice is, comparatively speaking, of very ancient date. But it underwent certain modifications at different periods; not only in so far as, previous to the exile, the kings were in the habit of defraying the cost of the sacrifices (Ezek. 45:17 and 46:13–15, Sept. version), whereas they were subsequently provided at the expense of the people, but also as regards the character and number of the sacrifices themselves. In the time of Ahaz the morning sacrifice consisted only of a burnt-offering, and the evening one of simply a meat-offering (2 Kings 16:15). This had become so much of an established practice that various parts of the day took their names from it. To speak for example of anything as happening at the time “when the meat-offering was presented was equivalent to saying toward evening (1 Kings 18:29, 36). Not only so, but this mode of denoting the hour of the day had become so completely established that it continued in use even long after the practice had been introduced of offering a burnt-offering in the evening as well (Ezra 9:4, 5; Dan. 9:21). It would appear that this had not been introduced as yet in Ezekiel’s time. Yet in his day there must have been already an advance upon the older practice, in so far as, according to this prophet, both a burnt-offering and a meat-offering would seem to have been offered in the morning (Ezek. 46:13–15). On the other hand, by the time the priest-code came to be in force it was prescribed that both a burnt-offering and a meat-offering should be offered every morning and every evening as well, and further, that on every occasion they should also be accompanied with a drink-offering (Ex. 29:38–42; Num. 28:3–8). And so we find that, in the time of the author of the Chronicles, the practice thus established of offering a burnt-offering twice every day in the course of the daily service was looked upon as one of long standing (1 Chron. 16:40; 2 Chron. 13:11, 31:3). This then formed the true heart and centre of the whole sacrificial system of worship. In no circumstances whatever could it be allowed to be dispensed with. We find, for example, that in the year 70 Jerusalem had for a considerable time been invested by the Romans, and that, in consequence, the scarcity of food had reached a climax, but for all that the daily sacrifices continued to be regularly offered; and it was felt by the Jews to be one of the heaviest calamities that could have befallen them when, on the 17th of Tammuz, they at last found themselves in the position of having no more to offer.

The following are the more specific prescriptions contained in the priest-code with regard to the Tamid (Ex. 39:38–42; Num. 28:3–8). Every morning and evening alike a male lamb of a year old and without blemish was to be offered as a burnt-offering, and in doing so all those regulations were required to be observed that apply to burnt-offerings generally, particularly those contained in Lev. 1:10–13 and 6:1–6. Not only so, but on every occasion a meat-offering and a drink-offering were to be offered along with the burnt-offering, as it is prescribed by the priest-code that these were to accompany all burnt-offerings without exception (Num. 15:1–16). In cases in which the victim happened to be a lamb, the meat-offering was to consist of one-tenth of an ephah of fine flour (סֹלֶת), which was to be mixed (בָּלוּל, therefore not baked] with a quarter of a hin of pure oil; while the corresponding drink-offering was to consist of a quarter of a hin of wine. The time at which the morning sacrifice was to be offered was early dawn; that for the evening sacrifice again was to be, in Biblical phraseology, בֵּין הָעַרְבַּיִם, i.e. in the evening twilight, though at a later period it had become the practice to offer the evening sacrifice so early as the afternoon, or according to our mode of reckoning, somewhere about three o’clock.

It was also the regular practice to offer the daily meat-offering of the high priest in conjunction with the daily burnt-offering of the people. For, according to Lev. 6:12–16, the high priest was required to offer a meat-offering every day (תָּמִיד), both morning and evening, and one too which differed from that offered in the name of the people along with their burnt-offering, not only in respect of quantity, but also as regards the mode in which it was prepared. It consisted altogether of only the tenth of an ephah of fine flour, of which one half was offered in the morning and the other half in the evening; and not only was it mixed with oil, but after being so it was baked in a flat pan (מַחֲבַת); the cakes thus prepared were then broken into pieces, oil was poured over them, and then they were duly offered (Lev. 6:14; comp. Lev. 2:5–6). Owing to the circumstance of its being made read in a מַהֲבַת, it was known at a later period simply as the חֲבִיתִים, “the baked (the cakes), which is the designation already given to it, directly or indirectly, by the author of the Chronicles, and subsequently by the Mishna in particular. Now as the presenting of this offering was incumbent upon the high priest, we are, of course, justified in speaking of him as offering a daily sacrifice. At the same time it must be borne in mind that here the high priest is to be regarded as the offerer of the sacrifice only in the same sense in which the people is so in the case of the daily burnt-offering, i.e. he causes it to be offered in his name and at his own expense, but it was by no means necessary that he himself should officiate on the occasion. In fact the expression used in connection with this matter in Lev. 6:15 is not יקריב but merely יעשח. We learn from Josephus that the high priest officiated as a rule on the Sabbath and on festival days (see p. 255, above). But on ordinary occasions the meat-offering of the high priest, in common with the sacrifices of the people, was offered by the priests who happened to be officiating for the time being; and when the lots were drawn with the view of deciding who were to take the various parts of the service for the day, one was always drawn at the same time to determine who was to be entrusted with the duty of presenting the חֲבִיתִין, i.e. the meat-offering of the high priest. Nay more—seeing that the law speaks of this offering as being an offering of Aaron and his sons (Lev. 6:13),—there is no reason why it should not also be conceived of as a sacrifice which the priests offered for themselves.

Besides the offering of the sacrifices just referred to, the priests in the course of the daily service were also called upon to perform certain functions inside the temple in connection with the altar of incense and the candlestick. On the former incense had to be offered every morning and every evening alike (Ex. 30:7, 8), that offered in the morning being previous to the offering of the burnt-offering, and that in the evening, on the other hand, coming after it, so that the daily burnt-offering was, as it were, girt round with the offering of incense. Then further, with regard to the candlestick, it had to be attended to every morning and every evening. In the morning the lamps were trimmed and replenished with oil, when one or more of them (according to Josephus three) were allowed to burn throughout the day. In the evening again the rest of them were lighted, for it was prescribed that during the night the whole seven were to be burning (see especially Ex. 30:7, 8; 2 Chron. 13:11; and in, general, p. 281, above).

Then lastly, with the view of imparting greater beauty to the worship, it was also deemed proper to have vocal and instrumental music. When the burnt-offering was being presented the Levites broke in with singing and playing upon their instruments, while two priests blew silver trumpets (2 Chron. 29:26–28; Num. 10:1, 2, 10). While this was going on the people were also assembled in the temple for prayer. At the pauses in the singing the priests sounded a fanfare with their trumpets, and as often as they did so the people fell down and worshipped. There was a special pealm for every day of the week, the one for Sunday being the 24th, for Monday the 48th, for Tuesday the 82nd, for Wednesday the 94th, for Thursday the 81st, for Friday the 93rd, and for the Sabbath the 92nd.

The form of the daily service in the temple which we have just been describing, is the same as that which had been already delineated with so much fondness by the son of Sirach (Sir. 50:11–21). A very circumstantial account of the morning service, founded evidently on sound tradition, is given in the Mishna in the tractate Tamid, the substance of which may here be subjoined by way of supplement to what we have already said.

The officiating priests slept in a room in the inner court. Early in the morning, even before daybreak, the official who had charge of the lots for deciding how the different functions for the day were to be apportioned came, and, in the first place, caused a lot to be drawn to determine who was to perform the duty of removing the ashes from the altar of burnt-offering. Those who were disposed to offer themselves for this task were expected to have taken the bath prescribed by the law previous to the arrival of the above-mentioned official. The lots were then drawn, and one of those who thus presented themselves was in this way told off to perform the duty in question. This person then set to work at once while it was still dark, and with no light but that of the altar fire. The first thing he did was to wash his hands and feet in the brazen laver that stood between the temple and the altar, after which he mounted the altar and carried away the ashes with a silver pan. While this was being done, those whose duty it was to prepare the baked meat-offering (of the high priest) were also busy with their particular function. Meanwhile fresh wood was laid upon the altar, and, while this was burning, the priests, after they had all in like manner washed their hands and feet in the brazen laver, went up to the lischkath ha-gasith (on this see p. 191, above), where the further drawing of the lots took place.

The official who had charge of this matter then caused lots to be drawn in order to determine—(1) who was to slaughter the victim; (2) who was to sprinkle the blood upon the altar; (3) who was to remove the ashes from the altar of incense; (4) who was to trim the lamps on the candlestick; further, who were to carry the various portions of the victim to the foot of the ascent to the altar, viz. who (5) was to carry the head and one of the hind legs; (6) who the two forelegs; (7) who the tail and the other hind leg; (8) who the breast and the neck; (9) who the two sides; (10) who the entrails; (11) who the offering of fine flour; (12) who the baked meat-offering (of the high priest); and (13) who the wine for the drink-offering. The next step was to go out to see whether there was as yet any symptom of daybreak. Then as soon as the dawn appeared in the sky they proceeded to bring a lamb from the lamb-house and the ninety-three sacred utensils from the utensil-room. The lamb that was thus to form the victim had now some water given to it from a golden bowl, whereupon it was led away to the slaughtering place on the north side of the altar. Meanwhile the two whose duty it was to clean the altar of incense and trim the lamps proceeded to the temple, the former with a golden pail (טְנִי) and the latter with a golden bottle (כּוּז). They opened the great door of the temple, went in, and proceeded, the one to clean the altar of incense, and the other to trim the lamps. In the case of the latter however the arrangement was, that if the two that were farthest east were found to be still burning they were in the meantime to be left undisturbed, and only the other five were to be trimmed. But should it so happen that the two that were farthest, east were out, then they were, in the first place, to be trimmed and relighted before the trimming of the others was proceeded with. And so having finished their task, the two priests now retired, but they left behind them in the temple the utensils which they had been using.

While the two just referred to were thus occupied within the temple, the lamb was being slaughtered at the slaughtering place by the priest to whose lot this duty had fallen, another at the same time catching up the blood and sprinkling it upon the altar. The victim was then flayed and cut up into a number of pieces. The entrails were washed upon marble tables that were at hand for the purpose, There were whole six priests appointed to carry the pieces to the altar, one piece being borne by each priest. Then a seventh carried the offering of fine flour, an eighth the baked meat-offering (of the high priest), and a ninth the wine for the drink-offering. All the things here mentioned were in the first instance laid down on the west side of the ascent to the altar and at the foot of it, and then seasoned with salt, whereupon the priests betook themselves once more to the lischkath ha-gasith for the purpose of repeating the schma.

After they had repeated the schma, the lots were again drawn. In the first instance they were drawn among those who as yet had not been called upon to offer up incense in order to determine which one amongst them should now be entrusted with this duty. Then another was drawn to determine who were to lay the various parts of the victim upon the altar (which, if we are to believe Rabbi Elieser ben Jacob, was done by the same priests who had formerly carried them to the foot of the altar). Those on whom no lot fell upon this occasion were now free to go away, and accordingly they took off their official attire.

The priest to whose lot the duty of offering the incense had fallen now went and took a golden saucer (כַּף) covered with a lid, and inside of which again there was a smaller saucer (בָּזָךְ) containing the incense. Another priest took a silver pan (מַחְתָּה), and with it brought some live coal from the altar of burnt-offering and then emptied it into a golden pan. This being done, both entered the temple together. The one emptied the coals that were in his pan on to the altar of incense, prostrated himself in an attitude of devotion, and then withdrew. The other took the smaller saucer containing the incense out of the larger one, then handing this latter to a third priest, he emptied the incense out of the saucer on to the coals upon the altar, whereupon it ascended in clouds of smoke. This being done, he, like the other, fell down in an attitude of devotion, and then left the temple. But, previous to these latter having entered, the two who had charge of the cleaning of the altar of incense and the trimming of the lamps had also come back and entered for the second time, the former merely to bring away his utensils (the טְנִי), the latter in like manner to bring away his (the כּוּז), but also for the additional purpose of trimming the more easterly of the two lamps that had not yet been so; the other being allowed still to burn in order that with it the others might be lighted in the evening. If it, too, happened to be out, then it was trimmed like the others, and lighted with fire taken from the altar of burnt-offering.

The five priests who had been thus occupied inside the sanctuary now proceeded with their five golden utensils in their hands to the steps in front of the temple, and there pronounced the priestly benediction over the people, in the course of which the name of God was pronounced as it spells (therefore יהוה, not אדוני).

And now, at this point, the offering of the burnt-offering was proceeded with, the priests who had been appointed to this duty taking up the portions of the victim that lay at the foot of the ascent to the altar, and after placing their hands upon them, throwing them on to the altar. In those cases in which the high priest officiated, he caused the pieces to be given to him by the ordinary priests, and then placing his hands upon them he threw them on to the altar. And now, in the last place, the two meat-offerings (that of the people and that of the high priest) and the drink-offering were presented. When the priest was bending forward to pour out the drink-offering a signal was given to the Levites to proceed with the music. They accordingly broke in with the singing of the psalm, and at every pause in the music two priests blew with silver trumpets, and every time they blew the people all fell down and prayed.

The evening service was exactly similar to the morning one, which has just been described. The only difference was that in the former the incense was offered after the burnt-offering instead of before it, while in the evening again the lamps were not trimmed, but simply lighted (see p. 290 f. above).

Those two daily public sacrifices formed the substratum of the entire worship of the temple. They were also offered, and that in the manner we have described, on every Sabbath and every festival day. But with the view of distinguishing them above ordinary occasions, it was the practice on those days to add further public offerings to the ordinary tamid. The addition on the Sabbath consisted of two male lambs of a year old, which were offered as a burnt-offering along with two-tenths of an ephah of fine flour as a meat-offering, and a corresponding amount of wine as a drink-offering. Consequently the sacrifices offered at a single service on the Sabbath would be exactly equivalent to the daily morning and evening sacrifices put together. On festival days again the additional offerings were on a still more extensive scale. On the occasion of the feast of the Passover, for example, there were offered as a burnt-offering, and that daily during the whole seven days over which the festival extended, two young bullocks, a ram, and seven lambs, along with the corresponding meat- and drink-offerings, and in addition to all this, a he-goat as a sin-offering (Num. 28:16–25); and on the feast of Weeks again, which lasted only one day, there were offered the same sacrifices as on each of the seven days of the feast of the Passover (Num. 28:26–31). Then on the occasion of the feast of Tabernacles, which, as being the festival that took place when the harvest was over, would naturally be celebrated with special tokens of thankfulness, the number of sacrifices was much greater still. On the first day of this feast there were offered; as a burnt-offering, thirteen young bullocks, two rams, and fourteen lambs, along with the corresponding meat- and drink-offerings, and over and above all this a he-goat as a sin-offering; while on each of the six following festival days, all those sacrifices were repeated, with this difference, that every day there was one bullock fewer than on the preceding day (Num. 29:12–34). Similar supplementary sacrifices and offerings, at one time on a larger at another on a smaller scale, were also prescribed for the other festivals (the new moon, the new year, and the great day of atonement) that occurred in the course of the year (see in general, Num. 28–29). Then to those sacrifices which merely served to indicate in a general way the festive character of the occasions on which they were offered, there were further added those special ones that had reference to the peculiar significance of the feast (on this see Lev. 16 and 23).

But copious as those public sacrifices no doubt were, they still seem but few when compared with the multitudes of private offerings and sacrifices that were offered. It was the vast number of these latter—so vast in fact as to be well-nigh inconceivable—that gave its peculiar stamp to the worship at Jerusalem. Here day after day whole crowds of victims were slaughtered and whole masses of flesh burnt; and when any of the high festivals came round, there was such a host of sacrifices to dispose of that it was scarcely possible to attend to them all notwithstanding the fact that there were thousands of priests officiating on the occasion. But the people of Israel saw in the punctilious observance of this worship the principal means of securing for themselves the favour of their God.

Considering the wall of rigid separation which, as regards matters of religion, the Jews had erected between themselves and the Gentiles, it would not readily occur to one that these latter were also permitted to take part in the worship at Jerusalem. And yet that such was the case is a fact as well authenticated as any fact could be. Nor are we thinking here of the large body of proselytes, i.e. of those Gentiles who, to some extent, professed their adherence to the faith of Israel, and who on this account testified their reverence for Israel’s God by sacrificing to Him. No, we have in view such as were real Gentiles, and who, in sacrificing at Jerusalem, would by no means care to acknowledge that in so doing they were professing their belief in the superstitio Judaica. There is however but one way of understanding this singular fact, and that is by reflecting how formal and superficial the connection often is, in practical life, between faith and worship,—a connection that originally was of so very intimate a character,—and also how this was peculiarly the case at the period now in question, The presenting of a sacrifice with a view to its being offered in some famous sanctuary was very often nothing more than an expression, on the part of the offerer, of a cosmopolitan piety, nay, in many instances a mere act of courtesy toward a particular people or a particular city, and not in the least intended to be regarded as indicating the man’s religious creed. And if this was a thing that occurred in the case of famous sanctuaries elsewhere, why should it not take place at Jerusalem as well? There was no reason why the Jewish people and their priests should discountenance an act intended to do honour to their God, even though it were purely an act of politeness. As for the offering of the sacrifice, that was really the priests’ affair; it was for them to see that this was gone about in proper and due form. And if the sacrifice were provided, there did not seem to be any particular reason for caring at whose expense it was so. In any case the Jew was not called upon, through any religious scruple, to decline a gift of this nature even from one who did not otherwise yield obedience to the law. And accordingly we find the Old Testament itself proceeding on the assumption that a sacrifice might be legitimately offered even by a Gentile (בֶּן נֵכָר). And so the Judaism of later times has also carefully specified what kinds of sacrifices might be accepted from a Gentile and what might not: for example, all were to be accepted that were offered in consequence of a vow or as freewill offerings (all נְדָרִים and נְדָבוֹת); while, on the other hand, those of an obligatory character, such as sin-offerings, trespass-offerings, and those presented by those who had issues, and by women after child-birth and such like, could not be offered by Gentiles. The offerings therefore which these latter were permitted to present were burnt-offerings, meat-offerings, and drink-offerings. Hence it is, that in enumerating the special legal prescriptions relating to offerings, there is frequently a reference, at the same time, to the sacrifices of the Gentiles as well.

The general fact, that sacrifices were offered by and in the name of Gentiles, is one that is vouched for in the most explicit way possible by Josephus, who informs us that on the occasion of the breaking out of the revolution in the year 6 A.D., precisely one of the first things done was to pass a resolution declaring that it was no longer lawful to take sacrifices from Gentiles. By way of protesting against such a proceeding, the opposite conservative party took care to point out that “all their forefathers had been in the habit of receiving sacrifices at the hands of Gentiles;” and that if the Jews were to be the only people among whom a foreigner was not to be allowed to sacrifice, then Jerusalem would incur the reproach of being an ungodly city. History records at least several remarkable instances of the matter now in question. When we are told, for example, that Alexander the Great once sacrificed at Jerusalem, the truth of this fact no doubt depends on how far it is historically true that this monarch ever visited that city at all. But be this as it may, the simple fact of such a thing being even recorded goes to prove that Judaism looked upon such a proceeding as perfectly legitimate and proper. Then Ptolemaeus III. is likewise alleged to have offered sacrifices at Jerusalem. Again, Antiochus VII. (Sidetes), while he was at open feud with the Jews and was in the very act of besieging Jerusalem, went so far as, on the occasion of the feast of Tabernacles, to send sacrifices into the city, presumably with the view of disposing the God of the enemy in his favour, while the Jews on their part cordially welcomed the sacrifices as a token of the king’s sympathy with their faith. Further, when Marcus Agrippa, the distinguished patron of Herod, came to Jerusalem in the year 15 B.C., he there sacrificed a hecatomb, consequently a burnt-offering consisting of no fewer than a hundred oxen. Once more, Josephus tells us with regard to Vitellius, that he came to Jerusalem at the Passover season in the year 37 A.D., for the purpose of offering sacrifice to God. How frequent such acts of courtesy or cosmopolitan piety were may be further seen from the circumstance that Augustas expressly commended his grandson Caius Caesar, because on his way from Egypt to Syria he did not stay to worship in Jerusalem. Tertullian is therefore perfectly justified in saying that once upon a time the Romans had even honoured the God of the Jews by offering Him sacrifice, and their temple by bestowing presents upon it. Nor are we to suppose that it is merely proselytes that are in view when Josephus describes the altar at Jerusalem as “the altar venerated by all Greeks and barbarians,” and says of the place on which the temple stood, that it “is adored by the whole world, and for its renown is honoured among strangers at the ends of the earth.”

In the class of sacrifices offered for and in the name of Gentiles should also be included the sacrifice for the Gentile authorities. As previous to the exile the Israelitish kings were in the habit of defraying the cost of the public sacrifices, so Cyrus in like manner is said to have given orders that whatever means and materials might be required for this purpose should be furnished out of the royal exchequer, at the same time however with the view of prayer being offered “for the life of the king and his sons” (Ezra 6:10). The fact of a sacrifice being specially offered in behalf of the sovereign (ὁλοκαύτωσις προσφερομένη ὑπὲρ τοῦ βασιλέως) is further confirmed by still more explicit testimony belonging to the time of the Maccabaean movement (1 Macc. 7:33). Consequently we see that even then, at a time when a great proportion of the people was waging war with the king of Syria, the priests were still conscientiously offering the sacrifice that, as we may venture to suppose, had been founded by the Syrian kings themselves. In the Roman period again this sacrifice, offered on behalf of the Gentile authorities, was precisely the only possible form under which Judaism could furnish something like an equivalent for that worship of the emperor and of Rome that went on throughout all the other provinces. We learn indeed from the explicit testimony of Philo, that Augustus himself ordained that, in all time coming, two lambs and a bullock were to be sacrificed every day at the emperor’s expense. It was to this sacrifice offered “in behalf of the emperor and the Roman people” that the Jews expressly pointed in the time of Caligula, when their loyalty happened to be called in question in consequence of their having opposed the erection of the emperor’s statue in the temple. And we are further informed that it continued to be regularly offered down till the time when the revolution broke out in the year 66 A.D. Then we have it, on the authority of Philo, that it was not merely a sacrifice for the emperor, but one that had been also instituted by him; a step which, in spite of his strong antipathy to Judaism, Augustus would probably deem it prudent to take from political considerations. It is true, no doubt, that Josephus affirms that the expenses connected with the sacrifice now in question were defrayed by the Jewish people themselves. Possibly however this historian himself was not at the time aware that the money to pay for the sacrifice came actually from the emperor. At the same time it would appear that, on special occasions, very large sacrifices were offered in behalf of the emperor at the public expense; as, for example, in the time of Caligula, when a hecatomb was offered on each of three different occasions, first on the occasion of that emperor’s accession to the throne, then on that of his recovery from a serious illness, and lastly at the commencement of his campaign in Germany.

Besides offering sacrifices, it was also very common for Gentiles to bestow gifts upon the temple at Jerusalem. Pseudo-Aristeas, for example, gives a very minute account of the splendid presents which Ptolemaeus Philadelphus gave to the temple on the occasion of his requesting the Jewish high priest to send him a number of persons who would be sufficiently competent to take part in a translation of the Old Testament into Greek, the articles presented being twenty golden and thirty silver cups, five goblets, and a golden table of elaborate workmanship. Although this story may belong to the realm of the legendary, still it may be regarded as faithfully reflecting the practice of the time. For, apart from this, we have it vouched for elsewhere over and over again that the Ptolemies frequently gave presents to the temple of Jerusalem. Nor was it different in the Roman period. When Sosius, in conjunction with Herod, had suceeded in conquering Jerusalem, he presented a golden crown. Marcus Agrippa too, on the occasion of his visit to Jerusalem to which we have already referred, presented gifts for the further embellishment of the temple. Among the vessels of the temple which John of Gischala caused to be melted during the siege were the wine goblets (ἀκρατοφόροι) that had been presented by Augustus and his consort. Altogether it was not in the least unusual for Romans to dedicate gifts to the temple. And so, strange to say, in this way even the exclusive temple of Jerusalem became in a certain sense cosmopolitan; it too received the homage of the whole world in common with the more celebrated sanctuaries of heathendom.

THE fact most essentially conclusive for the religious life of the Jewish people during the period under consideration is, that the law, which regulated not only the priestly service but the whole life of the people in their religious, moral and social relations, was acknowledged as given by God Himself. Its every requirement was a requirement of God from His people, its most scrupulous observance was therefore a religious duty, nay the supreme and in truth the sole religious duty. The whole piety of the Israelite consisted in obeying with fear and trembling, with all the zeal of an anxious conscience, the law given him by God in all its particulars. Hence the specific character of Israelitish piety during this period depends on the acknowledgment of this dignity of the law.

The age of this acknowledgment may be determined almost to the day and hour. It dates from that important occurrence, whose epoch-making importance is duly brought forward in the Book of Nehemiah, the reading of the law by Ezra, and the solemn engagement of the people to observe it (Neh. 8–10). The law, which was then read, was the Pentateuch in essentially the same form as we now have it. Isolated passages may have been subsequently interpolated, but with respect to the main substance, these need not be taken account of. Henceforward then the law given by God through Moses was acknowledged by the people as the binding rule of life, i.e. as canonical. For it is in the very nature of the law that its acceptance eo ipso involves the acknowledgment of its binding and normative dignity. Hence this acknowledgment was from that time onwards a self-evident assumption to every Israelite. It was the condition without which no one was a member of the chosen people, or could have a share in the promises given to them. “He who asserts that the Thorah is not from heaven (אין תורה מן השמים), has no part in the future world.” It is however in the nature of the thing that this notion should, as time went on, be held with increasing strictness and severity. While its original meaning was only that the commands of the law were in their entirety and in their details the commands of God, the assumption of a divine origin was gradually referred to the entire Pentateuch according to its whole wording. “He who says that Moses wrote even one verse of his own knowledge (מִפֶּי עַצְמוֹ) is a denier and despiser of the word of God.” The whole Pentateuch was thus now regarded as dictated by God, as prompted by the Spirit of God. Even the last eight verses of Deuteronomy, in which the death of Moses is related, were said to have been written by Moses himself by means of divine revelation. Nay at last, the view of a divine dictation was no longer sufficient. The complete book of the law was declared to have been handed to Moses by God, and it was only disputed, whether God delivered the whole Thorah to Moses at once or by volumes (מְגִלָּה מְגִלָּה).

After the law and as an addition to it, certain other writings of Israelite antiquity, the writings of the prophets and works on the older (pre-exilian) history of Israel, attained to similar authority. They were for a long time respected and used as a valuable legacy of antiquity, before their canonization was thought of. Gradually however they appeared beside the law as a second class of “sacred Scriptures,” and the longer their combination with the law became customary, the more was its specific, i.e. its legally binding dignity, and therefore its canonical validity, transferred to them. They too were regarded as documents in which the will of God was revealed in a manner absolutely binding. Lastly, at a still later stage there was added to this body of the “prophets” (נביאים) a third collection of “writings” (כְּתוּבִים), which gradually entered into the same category of canonical Scriptures. The origin of these two collections is quite veiled in obscurity. The most ancient testimony to the collocation of both collections with the Thorah is the prologue to the Book of Wisdom (second century B.C.). We cannot, however, determine from it that the third collection was then already concluded; on the other hand, it is very probable that in the time of Josephus the canon had already assumed a lasting form, and indeed the same which it has to this day. Josephus expressly says, that there were among the Jews only twenty-two books acknowledged divine (βιβλία … θεῖα πεπιστευμένα); that all the others were not esteemed of equal credit (πίστεως οὐχ ὁμοίας ἠξίωται). He does not, indeed, separately enumerate them, but it is very probable that he means by them the collected writings of the present canon, and these only. For the Fathers, especially Origen and Jerome, expressly say, that the Jews were accustomed so to count the books of the present canon as to make their number twenty-two. It was only with respect to certain books, especially the Song of Solomon and the Book of Ecclesiastes, that opinion was not yet quite decided in the first century after Christ. Yet in respect of these also the prevailing view was already that they “defile the hands,” i.e. are to be regarded as canonical books. It cannot be proved of other books than those of our present canon, that they was ever reckoned canonical by the Palestinian Jews, although the Book of Wisdom was so highly esteemed that it was some times cited “in a manner only customary in the case of passages of Scripture.” It was only the Hellenistic Jews who combined a whole series of other books with those of the Hebrew canon. But then they had no definite completion of the canon at all.

Notwithstanding the combination of the Nebiim and Kethubim with the Thorah, they were never placed quite on a level with it. The Thorah always occupied a higher position as to its religious estimation. In it was deposited and fully contained the original revelation of the Divine will. In the prophets and the other sacred writings this will of God was only further delivered. Hence these are designated as the “tradition” (קַבָּלָה, Aramaean אַשְׁלֶמְתָּא), and cited as such. On account of its higher value it was decided that a book of the law might be purchased by the sale of the Holy Scriptures, but not Holy Scriptures by the sale of a book of the law. In general, however, the Nebiim and Kethubim participate in the properties of the Thorah. They are all “Holy Scriptures” (כִּתְבֵי הַקֹּדֶשׁ); with respect to them all it is determined, that contact with them defiles the hands (so that they may not be touched inconsiderately, but with reverent awe). They are all cited by essentially the same formulas. For although special formulas are sometimes used for the Thorah, yet the formula, which most frequently occurs, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר, “for it is said,” is applied without distinction to the Thorah and the other Scriptures; as also in the sphere of Hellenism (comp. the N. T.), the formula γέγραπται and the like. Nay the Nebiim and Kethubim are sometimes quoted as “the law” (νόμος). And there is perhaps nothing more characteristic of the full appreciation of their value on the part of the Jews, than the fact that they too are not first of all to Jewish conviction didactic or consolatory works, not books of edification or history, but also “law,” the substance of God’s claims upon His people.

Ursinus, Antiquitates Hebraicae scholastico-academicae. Hafniae 1702 (also in Ugolini’s Thesaurus, vol. xxi.).

Hartmann, Die enge Verbindung des Allen Testaments mit dem Neuen (1881), pp. 384–413.

Gfröer, Das Jahrhundert des Heils, i. (1838) pp. 109–214.

Winer, RWB. ii. 425–428 (art. “Schriftgelehrte”).

Jost, Das geschichtliche Verhältniss der Rabbinen zu ihren Gemeinden (Zeitschr. für die historische theologie (1850), pp. 351–377).

Levysohn, Einiges über die hebräischen und aramäischen Benennungen für Schule, Schüler und Lehrer (Franke’s Monatsschr. für Gesch. und Wissensch. des Judenth. (1858), pp. 384–389).

Leyrer, art. “Schriftgelehrt,” in Herzog’s Real-Encycl., 1st ed. vol. xiii. (1860) pp. 781–741.

Klöpper, art. “Schriftgelehrte,” in Schenkel’s Bibellexicon, vol. v. pp. 247–255.

Ginsburg, art. “Scribes,” in Kitto’s Cyclopaedia of Biblical Literature.

Plumptre, art. “Scribes,” in Smith’s Dictionary of the Bible.

Weber, System der altsynagogalen paläslinischen Theologie (1880), pp. 121–143.

Hamburger, Real-Encycl. für Bibel und Talmud, Div. ii., arts. “Gelehrter,” “Lehrhaus,” “Rabban,” “Schüler,” “Sopherim,” “Talmudlehrer,” “Talmudschulen,” “Unterhalt,” “Unterricht.”

Strack, art. “Schriftgelehrte,” in Herzog’s Real-Encycl., 2nd ed. xiii. (1884) pp. 696–698.

With the existence of a law is naturally involved the necessity of its scientific study, and of a professional acquaintance with it. Such necessity exists at least in proportion as this law is comprehensive and complicated. An acquaintance with its details, a certainty in the application of its several enactments to everyday life, can then only be attained by its being made a matter of professional occupation. In the time of Ezra, and indeed long after, this was chiefly the concern of the priests. Ezra himself was at the same time both priest and scribe (סוֹפֵר). The most important element of the Pentateuch was written in the interest of the priestly cultus. Hence the priests were at first the teachers and guardians of the law. Gradually however this was changed. The higher the law rose in the estimation of the people, the more did its study and exposition become an independent business. It was the law of God, and every individual of the nation had the same interest as the priests in knowing and obeying it. Hence non-priestly Israelites more and more occupied themselves with its scientific study. An independent class of “biblical scholars or scribes,” i.e. of men who made acquaintance with the law a profession, was formed beside the priests. And when in the time of Hellenism the priests, at least those of the higher strata, often applied themselves to heathen culture, and more or less neglected the law of their fathers, the scribes ever appeared in a relative contrast to the priests. It was no longer the priests, but the scribes, who were the zealous guardians of the law. Hence they were also from that time onwards the real teachers of the people, over whose spiritual life they bore complete sway.

In the time of the New Testament we find this process fully completed; the scribes then formed a firmly compacted class in undisputed possession of a spiritual supremacy over the people. They are usually called in the New Testament γραμματεῖς, i.e. “learned in Scripture,” “the learned,” corresponding to the Hebrew סוֹפְרִים, which in itself means nothing more than homines literati (men professionally occupied with the Scriptures). That such occupation should concern itself chiefly with the law was self-evident. Besides this general designation, we also meet with the more special one νομικοί i.e. “the learned in the law,” “jurists” (Matt. 22:35; Luke 7:30, 10:25, 11:45 sq., 52, 14:3); and inasmuch as they not only knew, but taught the law, they were likewise called νομοδιδάσκαλοι, “teachers of the law” (Luke 5:17; Acts 5:34). Josephus calls them πατρίων ἐξηγηταὶ νόμων, or in Graecized fashion σοφισταί, also ἱερογραμματεῖς. In the Mishna the expression סוֹפְרִים is only used of the scribes of former times, who in the times of the Mishna had already become an authority. Contemporary scribes are always called חֲכָמִים in the Mishna. The extraordinary respect paid to these “scholars” on the part of the people was expressed by the titles of honour bestowed upon them. The most usual was the appellation רַבִּי, “my master;” Greek, ῥαββί (Matt. 3:7 and elsewhere). From this respectful address the title Babbi was gradually formed, the suffix losing its pronominal signification with the frequent use of the address, and רַבִּי being also used as a title (Babbi Joshua, Babbi Eliezer, Eabbi Akiba). This use cannot be proved before the time of Christ. Hillel and Shammai were never called Babbis, nor is ῥαββί found in the New Testament except as an actual address. The word does not seem to have been used as a title till after the time of Christ. רַבָּן, or as the word is also pronounced רַבּוֹן, is an enhanced form of רַב. The first form seems to belong more to the Hebrew, the second to the Aramaean usage. Hence רַבָּן is found in the Mishna as the title of four prominent scribes of the period of the Mishna (about A.D. 40–150), and in the New Testament, on the other hand, ῥαββουνί (רַבּוֹן or רַבּוּן) as a respectful address to Christ (Mark 10:51; John 20:16). In the Greek of the New Testament Rabbi is represented by κύριε (Matt. 8:2, 6, 8, 21, 25 and frequently) or διδάσκαλε (Matt. 8:9 and frequently); in St. Luke also by ἐπιστάτα (Luke 5:5, 8:24, 45, 9:33, 49, 17:13). Πατήρ and καθηγητής (Matt. 23:9, 10) are also mentioned as other names of honour given to scribes. The latter is probably equal to מוֹרֶה, “teacher.” The former answers to the Aramaic אַבָּא, which also occurs in the Mishna and Tosefta as the title of several Rabbis.

The Rabbis required from their pupils the most absolute reverence, surpassing even the honour felt for parents. “Let thine esteem for thy friend border upon thy respect for thy teacher, and respect for thy teacher on reverence for God.” “Respect for a teacher should exceed respect for a father, for both father and son owe respect to a teacher.” “If a man’s father and teacher have lost anything, the teacher’s loss has the precedence (i.e. he must first be assisted in recovering it). For his father only brought him into this world. His teacher, who taught him wisdom, brings him into the life of the world to come. But if his father is himself a teacher, then his father’s loss has precedence. If a man’s father and his teacher are carrying burdens, he must first help his teacher and afterwards his father. If his father and his teacher are in captivity, he must first ransom his teacher and afterwards his father. But if his father be himself a scholar, the father has precedence.” The Rabbis in general everywhere claimed the first rank. “They loved the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues and greetings in the markets, and to be called of men Rabbi, Rabbi” (Matt. 23:6, 7; Mark 12:38, 39; Luke 11:43, 20:46).

All the labours of the scribes, whether educational or judicial, were to be gratuitous. R. Zadok said: Make the knowledge of the law neither a crown wherewith to make a show, nor a spade wherewith to dig. Hillel used to say: He who uses the crown (of the law) for external aims fades away. That the judge might not receive presents was already prescribed in the Old Testament (Ex. 23:8; Deut. 16:9). Hence it is also said in the Mishna: “If any one receives payment for a judicial decision, his sentence is not valid.” The Rabbis were therefore left to other sources for obtaining a livelihood. Some were persons of property, others practised some trade as well as the study of the law. The combination of some secular business with the study of the law is especially recommended by Rabban Gamaliel III., son of R Judah ha-Nasi. “For exertion in both keeps from sin. The study of the law without employment in business must at last be interrupted, and brings transgression after it.” It is known that St. Paul, even when a preacher of the gospel, practised a trade (Acts 18:3; 1 Thess, 2:9; 2 Thess. 3:8). And we are told the like of many Babbis. In such a case their occupation with the law was of course esteemed the more important, and they were cautioned against over-estimation of their secular business. The son of Sirach already warns against a one-sided devotion to handicraft, and extols the blessing of scriptural wisdom (Wisd. 38:24–39, 11). R. Meir said: Give yourselves less to trade and occupy yourselves more with the law; and Hillel: He who devotes himself too much to trade will not grow wise.

The principle of non-remuneration was strictly carried out only in their judicial labours, but hardly in their employment as teachers. Even in the Gospel, notwithstanding the express admonition to the disciples, δωρεὰν ἐλάβετε, δωρεὰν δότε (Matt. 10:8), it is also said that a labourer is worthy of his hire (Matt. 10:10; Luke 10:7), to which saying St. Paul expressly refers (1 Cor. 9:15) when he claims as his right—although he but exceptionally used it—a maintenance from those to whom he preached the gospel (1 Cor. 9:3–18; 2 Cor. 11:8, 9; Phil. 4:10–18. Comp, also Gal. 6:6). If such was the view of the times, it may be supposed that the Jewish teachers of the law also did not always impart their instruction gratuitously, nay the very exhortations quoted above, not to practise instruction in the law for the sake of selfish interest, lead us to infer that absence of remuneration was not the general rule. In Christ’s censures of the scribes and Pharisees their covetousness is a special object of reproof (Mark 12:40; Luke 20:47, 16:14). Hence, even if their instruction was given gratuitously, they certainly knew how to compensate themselves in some other way. The moral testimony borne to them by Christ was by no means of the best: “All their works they do to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries and enlarge the borders of their garments (Matt. 23:5), and love to go in long garments” (Mark 12:38; Luke 20:46).

The headquarters of the operations of the scribes was of course Judaea until A.D. 70. But we should be mistaken if we expected to find them there only. Wherever zeal for the law of the fathers was active they were indispensable. Hence we meet with them in Galilee also (Luke 5:17), nay in the distant Dispersion; for γραμματεῖς are frequently mentioned in Jewish epitaphs in Rome of the later imperial period (see above, note 2 and the Babylonian scribes of the fifth and sixth centuries were the authors of the Talmud, the chief work of Rabbinic Judaism.

After the separation of the Pharisaic and Sadducaean tendencies the scribes in general adhered to the former. For this was nothing else but the party, that acknowledged as an authoritative rule of life the maxims, which had in the course of time been developed by the scribes, and sought to carry them strictly out. Inasmuch however as the “scribes” were merely “men learned in the law,” there must have been also Sadducaean scribes. For it is not conceivable that the Sadducees, who acknowledged the written law as binding, should have had among them none who made it their profession to study it, In fact those passages of the New Testament, which speak of scribes who were of the Pharisees (Mark 2:16; Luke 5:30; Acts 23:9), point also to the existence of Sadducaean scribes.

The professional employment of the scribes referred, if not exclusively, yet first and chiefly, to the law, and therefore to the administration of justice. They were in the first instance Jurists, and their task was in this respect a threefold one: (1) the more careful theoretical development of the law itself; (2) the teaching of it to their pupils; (3) its practical administration, that is, the pronunciation of legal decisions as learned assessors in courts of justice.

1. First the theoretic development of the law itself. This indeed was immovably fixed as to its principles in the Thorah itself. But no codex of law goes into such detail as to be in no need of exposition, while some of the appointments of the Mosaic law are expressed in very general terms. Here then was a wide field for the labours of the scribes. They had always to develop with careful casuistry the general precepts given in the Thorah, that so a guarantee might exist, that the tendency of the precepts of the law had been really apprehended according to their full extent and meaning. In those points for which the written law made no direct provision a compensation had to be created, either by the establishment of a precedent, or by inference from other already valid legal decisions. By the diligence with which this occupation was carried on during the last centuries before the Christian era, Jewish law became gradually an extensive and complicated science; and this law not being fixed in writing, but propagated by oral tradition, very assiduous study was required to obtain even a general acquaintance with it An acquaintance however with what was binding was but the foundation and prerequisite for the professional labours of the scribes. Their special province was to develop what was already binding by continuous methodical labours into more and more subtle casuistic details. For all casuistry is by its very nature endless.

The object of all these labours being to settle a system of law binding on all, the work could not be performed in an isolated manner by individual scribes. It was necessary that constant mutual communication should be going on among them for the purpose of arriving, upon the ground of a common understanding, at some generally acknowledged results. Hence the whole process of systematizing the law was carried on in the form of oral discussions of the scribes among each other. The acknowledged authorities not merely gathered about them pupils, whom they instructed in the law, but also debated legal questions among themselves, nay discussed the entire matter of the law in common disputations. Of this method of giving structure to the law, the Mishna everywhere testifies. To make this possible, it was needful that the heads at least of the body of scribes should dwell together at certain central localities. Many indeed would be scattered about the country for the purposes of giving instruction and pronouncing judicial decisions. But the majority of those authorities, who were mainly of creative genius, must have been concentrated at some one central point—till A.D. 70 at Jerusalem, and afterwards at other places (Jabne, Tiberias).

The law thus theoretically developed by scholars was certainly, in the first place, only a theory. In many points it also remained such, the actual historical and political circumstances not allowing of its being carried into practice. In general however the labours of the scribes stood in an active relation to actual life; and in proportion as their credit increased, did their theory become valid law. In the last century before the destruction of Jerusalem the Pharisaic scribes bore already such absolute spiritual sway, that the great Sanhedrim, notwithstanding its mixed composition of Pharisees and Sadducees, adhered in practice to the law developed by the Pharisees (see above, p. 179). Many matters were besides of such a nature as not to need any formal legislation. For the godly would observe religious institutions, not on account of formal legislation, but by reason of a voluntary subjection to an authority which they acknowledged as legitimate. Hence the maxims developed by the scribes were recognised as binding in practice also, so soon as the schools were agreed about them. The scribes were in fact, though not upon the ground of formal appointment, legislators. This applies in a very special manner to the time after the destruction of the temple. There then no longer existed a civil court of justice like the former Sanhedrim. The Rabbinical scribes, with their purely spiritual authority, were now the only influential factors for laying down a rule. They had formerly been the actual establishes of law, they now were more and more acknowledged as deciding authorities. Their judgment sufficed to determine what was valid law. As soon then as doubt arose concerning any point, or it was questioned whether this or that course of action should be embraccd, it was customary to bring the matter “before the learned,” who then pronounced an authoritative decision. And so great was the authority of these teachers of the law, that the judgment of even one respected teacher sufficed to decide a question. New dogmas, i.e. new rules legally valid, sometimes even differing from what had hitherto been customary, were laid down, without even such special occasion. In such cases however it was always assumed that the decision of the individual agreed with the decision of the majority of all the teachers of the law, and was accepted by them (see No. 3). Hence it might happen that the decision of a single teacher would be subsequently corrected by the majority, or that even an eminent teacher would be obliged to subordinate his own view to those of a “court” of teachers.

The legislative power of the Rabbis was a thing so self-evident in the time of the Mishna, that it is often without further ceremony assumed also for the time before the destruction of Jerusalem. It is said quite naturally that Hillel decreed this or that, or that Gamaliel I. enacted this or that. And yet not Hillel or Gamaliel I., but the great Sanhedrim of Jerusalem, was then the ultimate resort for decision. For thence proceeded, as is said in the Mishna itself, “the law for all Israel.” The truth in this representation is, that in any case the great teachers of the law were already the deciding authorities.

2. The second chief task of the scribes was to teach the law. The ideal of legal Judaism was properly, that every Israelite should have a professional acquaintance with the law. If this were unattainable, then the greatest possible number was to be raised to this ideal elevation. “Bring up many scholars” is said to have been already a motto of the men of the Great Synagogue. Hence the more famous Rabbis often assembled about them in great numbers, youths desirous of instruction, for the purpose of making them thoroughly acquainted with the much ramified and copious “oral law.” The pupils were called תַּלְמִידִים, or more fully תַּלְמִידֵי חֲכָמִים. The instruction consisted of an indefatigable continuous exercise of the memory, For the object being that the pupils should remember with accuracy the entire matter with its thousands upon thousands of minutiae, and the oral law being never committed to writing, the instruction could not be confined to a single statement. The teacher was obliged to repeat his matter again and again (with his pupils. Hence in Rabbinic diction “to repeat” (שָׁנָה = δευτεροῦν) means exactly the same as “to teach” (whence also מִשְׁנָה = teaching). This repetition was not however performed by the teacher only delivering his matter. The whole proceeding was, on the contrary, disputational. The teacher brought before his pupils several legal questions for their decision and let them answer them or answered them himself. The pupils were also allowed to propose questions to the teacher. This form of catechetical lecture has left its mark upon the style of the Mishna, the question being frequently started how this or that subject is to be understood for the purpose of giving a decision. All knowledge of the law being strictly traditional, a pupil had only two duties. One was to keep everything faithfully in memory. R. Dosthai said in the name of R. Meir: He who forgets a tenet of his instruction in the law, to him the Scripture imputes the wilful forfeiture of his life. The second duty was never to teach anything otherwise than it had been delivered to him. Even in expression he was to confine himself to the words of his teacher: “Every one is bound to teach with the expressions of his teacher,” חַיָּב אָדָם לוֹמַר בִּלְשׁוֹן רַבּוֹ. It was the highest praise of a pupil to be “like a well lined with lime, which loses not one drop.”

For these theoretical studies of the law, whether the disputations of the scribes with each other or instruction properly so called, there were in the period of the Mishna, and probably also so early as the times of the New Test., special localities, the so-called “houses of teaching” (Heb. בֵּית הַמִּדְרָשׁ, plur. בָּתֵּי מִדְרָשׁוֹת). They are often mentioned in conjunction with the synagogues as places, which in legal respects enjoyed certain privileges. In Jabne a locality which was called “the vineyard (כֶּרֶם) is mentioned as a place of meeting of the learned, from which however we cannot infer, that כֶּרֶם was in general a poetic term for a house of teaching. In Jerusalem indeed the catechetical lectures were held “in the temple” (ἐν τῷ ἱερῷ, Luke 2:46; Matt. 21:23, 26:55; Mark 14:49; Luke 20:37; John 18:20), i.e. in the colonnades or some other space of the outer court. The pupils sat on the ground during the instruction (בְּקַרְקַע) of the teacher, who was on an elevated place (hence Acts 22:3: παρὰ τοὺς πόδας Γαμαλιήλ; comp. also Luke 2:46).

3. A third duty, which equally belonged to the calling of the scribes, was passing sentence in the court of justice. Their acquaintance with the law being a professional one, their votes could not but be of influential importance. It is true that at least during the period under consideration, a special and scholarly acquaintance with the law was by no means essential to the office of a judge. Any one might be a judge, who was appointed such through the confidence of his fellow-citizens. And it may be supposed, that the small local courts were for the most part lay courts. It was nevertheless in the nature of things, that confidence should be placed in a judge in proportion as he was distinguished for a thorough and accurate knowledge of the law. So far then as men learned in the law were to be found, it is self-evident that such would be called to the office of judge. With respect to the great Sanhedrim at Jerusalem, it is expressly testified in the New Testament, that γραμματεῖς also were among those who were its members (comp. above, p. 177 sq.). After the fall of the Jewish State, A.D. 70, the authority of the Rabbis increased in independent importance in this respect also. Being now recognised as independent legislators, they were also regarded as independent judges. Their sentences were voluntarily acquiesced in, whether they gave judgment collectively or individually. Thus it is e.g. related, that R. Akiba once condemned a man to 400 sus (denarii) as compensation for uncovering his head to a woman in the street.

This threefold activity of the scribes as men learned in the law formed their chief and special calling. But the Holy Scriptures are something besides law. Even in the Pentateuch narrative occupies a wide space, while the contents of other books are almost exclusively either historical or didactic. This fact always remained, customary as it was to look upon the whole chiefly from the view-point of law. These Scriptures then being also deeply studied, it was impossible not to let history be spoken of as history and religious edification as such. What however was common in the treatment of these Scriptures and those of the law was, that they too were dealt with as a sacred text, a sacred standard, which was not only to be deeply studied, but which had also to be subjected to a complete elaboration. As the law was more and more developed, so also was the sacred history and the religious instruction further developed, and that always in connection with the text of Scripture, which just in its quality of a sacred text silently invited to such deep investigation. In such development the notions of subsequent times had, of course, a very important influence in modifying results. History and dogma were not merely further developed, but fashioned according to the views of after times. This gave rise to what is usually called the Haggadah. It is true that it did not belong to the special province of teachers of the law to occupy themselves therewith, But since the manipulation of the law and that of the historical religious and ethical contents of the sacred text arose from a kindred exigency, it was a natural result, that both should be effected by the same persons. As a rule the learned occupied themselves with both, though some distinguished themselves more in the former and others more in the latter department.

In their double quality of men learned in the law and learned in the “Haggadah,” the scribes were also qualified above others for delivering lectures and exhortations in the synagogues. These were not indeed confined to appointed persons. Any one capable of so doing might stand up to teach in the synagogue at the invitation of the ruler (see § 27). But as in courts of justice the learned doctors of the law were preferred to the laity, so too in the synagogue their natural superiority asserted itself.

To the juristic and haggadic elaboration of Holy Scripture, was added a third kind of occupation therewith, viz. the care of the text of Scripture as such. The higher the authority of the sacred text, the more urgent was the necessity for its conscientious and unadulterated preservation. From this necessity originated all those observations and critical notes subsequently comprised under the name of the Massora (the computation of verses, words and letters, orthographical notes, critical remarks on the text, and such like). This work however was mainly the labour of a later period. During that with which we are occupied its first beginnings had at most been made.

Surenhusius, Βίβλος καταλλαγῆς in quo secundum veterum theologorum Hebraeorum formulas allegandi et modos interpretandi conciliantur loca ex V. in N. T. allegata (Amstelodami 1713), especially pp. 57–88.

Wachner, Antiquitates Ebraeorum, vol. i. 1743, p. 353 sqq.

Döpke, Hermeneutik der neutestamentliclien Schriftsteller, part i. 1829.

Hartmann, Die enge Verbindung des Alten Testaments mit dem Neuen (1831), pp. 384–731.

Zunz, Die gottesdienstlichen Vorträge der Juden, historisch entwickelt, Berlin 1832.

Hirschfeld, Der Geist der talmudischen Auslegung der Bibel. Erster Thl. Halachische, Exegese 1840. The same, Der Geist der ersten Schriftauslegungen oder die hagadische Exegese, 1847.

Frankel, Vorstudien zu der Septuaginta (Leipzig 1841), pp. 163–203, especially pp. 179–191. The same, Ueber den Einfluss der palästinischen Exegese auf die alexandrinische Hermeneutik, Leipzig 1851 (354, p. 8). The same, Ueber palästinische und alexandrinischen Schriftforschung, Breslau 1854 (42, p. 4).

Welte, Geist und Werth der altrabbinischen Schriftauslegung (Tüb. Theol. Quartalschrift, 1842, pp. 19–58).

Reuss, Gesch. der heil. Schriften Neuen Testaments, § 502–505 (über die Auslegung des A. T. bei den Juden).

Diestel, Gesch. des Alten Testamentes in der christlichen Kirche (1869), pp. 6–14.

Herzfeld, Geschichte des Volkes Jisrael, iii. 137 ff., 226–263.

Jost, Geschichte des Judenthums und seiner, Secten i. 90 ff., 227–288.

Geiger, Urschrift und Uebersetzungen der Bibel in ihrer Abhängigkeit con der inneren Entwickelung des Judenthums, Leipzig 1857.

Pressel, “Rabbinismus,” in Herzog’s Real-Encycl., 1st ed. vol. xii. (1860), pp. 470–487.

Hausrath, Neutentamentl. Zeitgeschichte, 2nd ed. i. 80–113.

Freudenthal, Hellenistische Studien (1875), pp. 66–77 (on the influence of Hellenism upon the Palestinian Midrash, see also Geiger, Jüd. Zeitschr. xi. 1875, p. 227 sqq.).

Siegfried, Philo von Alexandria (1875), p. 142 sqq. (on the mutual influence of the Palestinian and Alexandrian theology and exegesis).

Bacher, Die Agada der babylonischen Amoräer, 1878.

Bacher, Die Agada der Tannaiten (Grätz’ Monatsschrift für Gesch. und Wissensch. des Judenth. 1882–1884). Also separately under the title, Die Agada der Tannaiten, vol. i. From Hillel to Akiba, Strasbourg 1884.

Weber, System der altsynagogalen palästin. Theologie (1880), especislly pp. 88–121.

Reuss, Gesch. der heiligen Schriften Alten Testaments (1881), § 411–416, 582–584.

Hamburger, Real-Enc. für Bibel und Talmud, Div. ii. (1888) art, “Agada” (pp. 19–27), “Allegorie” (pp. 50–53), “Exegese” (pp. 181–212), “Geheimlehre” (pp. 257–278), “Halacha” (pp. 388–358), “Kabbala” (pp. 557–603), “Mystik” (pp. 816–819), “Rabbiniemus” (pp. 944–956), “Recht” (pp. 969–980).

1. The Halachah

The theoretical labours of the scribes were, as has been already remarked in the preceding section, of a twofold kind,—1. the development and establishment of the law, and 2. the manipulation of the historical and didactic portions of the Holy Scriptures. The former developed a law of custom, beside the written Thorah, called in Rabbinical language the Halachah (הֲלָכָה, properly that which is current and customary). The latter produced an abundant variety of historical and didactic notions, usually comprised under the name of the Haggadah or Agadah (הַגָּדָה or אֲגָדָה, properly narrative, legend). The origin, nature and contents of both have now to be more fully discussed.

Their common foundation is the investigation or exposition of the Biblical text, Hebr. דָּרַשׁ. By investigation however was not meant historical exegesis in the modern sense, but the search after new information upon the foundation of the existing text. The inquiry was not merely what the text in question according to the tenor of its words might say, but also what knowledge might be obtained from it by logical inference, by combination with other passages, by allegorical exegesis and the like. The kind and method of investigation was different in the treatment of the law and in that of the historical and dogmatico-ethic portions, and comparatively stricter in the former than in the latter.

The Halachic Midrash (i.e. the exegetic development of passages of the law) had first of all to regard only the extent and range of the several commands. It had to ask: to what cases in actual life the precept in question applied, what consequences it in general entailed, and what was to be done, that it might be strictly and accurately observed according to its full extent. Hence the commandments were split and split again into the subtlest casuistic details, and care was taken by the most comprehensive precautionary measures, that no kind of accidental circumstance should occur in observing them, which might be regarded as an infringement of their absolutely accurate fulfilment. The legal task was not, however, exhausted by this analysis of the existing text. There were also many difficulties to solve, some arising from internal contradictions in the legal code itself, some from the incongruity of certain legal requirements with the actual circumstances of life; others, and these the most numerous, from the incompleteness of the written law. To all such questions scholars had to seek for an answer; it was their business to obviate existing discrepancies by establishing an authoritative explanation; to point out how, when the observance of a precept was either impossible, difficult, or inconvenient, by reason of the actual relations of life, a compromise might nevertheless be made with the letter of its requirements; and lastly, to find for all those cases of actual occurrence, which were not directly regulated by the written law, some legal direction when the need for such should arise. This last department especially furnished an inexhaustible source labour for juristic discussion. Again and again did questions arise concerning which the written or hitherte appointed law gave no direct answer, and to reply to which became therefore a matter of juristic discussion For answering such questions two means were actually at their disposal, viz. inference from already recognised dogmas and the establishment of an already existing tradition. The latter, so far as it could be determined, was of itself decisive.

Scientific exegesis (Midrash) was thus by no means the only source for the formation of a legal code. A considerable portion of what subsequently became valid law had on the whole no point of connection with the Thorah, but was at first only manner and custom. This or that had been done thus or thus, and so imperceptibly custom grew into a law of custom. When anything in the legal sphere had been so long usual that it could be said, it has always been thus, it was law by custom. It was then by no means necessary that its deduction from the Thorah should be proved; ancient tradition was as such already binding. And the recognised teachers of the law were enjoined and competent to confirm this law of custom.

From these two sources there grew up in the course of time a multitude of legal decisions by the side of, and of equal authority with, the written Thorah. These were all comprised under the common notion of the Halachah, i.e. the law of custom. For what was discovered by scientific investigation was, when it obtained validity, also law by custom, הֲלָכָה. Hence valid law now included two main categories, the written Thorah and the Halachah, which, till at least towards the close of the period with which we are occupied, was propagated only orally. Within the Halachah there are again different categories: (1) single Halachoth (traditional enactments) decidedly traced back to Moses; (2) the great body or Halachah proper; (3) certain enactments which are designated as the “appointments of the scribes” (דִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים) All three categories are of legal obligation. But their authority nevertheless differs in degree according to the above sequence, those of the first class being highest, and those of the third relatively lowest. For while the Halachah in general was regarded as having been at all times valid, there was with regard to the דִּבְרֵי סוֹפְרִים the conviction, that they were first introduced by the successors of Ezra, viz. by the סוֹפְרִים. There was in general, in the period of the Mishna, a perfect consciousness that many traditional ordinances had no kind of foundation in the Thorah, and that others were connected with it by the slightest of ties. Nevertheless the law of custom was quite as binding as the written Thorah; nay, it was even decided that opposition to the דברי סופרים was a heavier transgression this opposition to the decrees of the Thorah; because the former, being the authentic exposition and completion of the latter, were therefore in fact the ultimate authority.

It was in the nature of the Halachah that it never could be a thing finished and concluded. The two sources, whence it arose, were continually flowing onwards. New enactments were always being evolved by successive scientific exegesis (Midrash), and new customs might always arise as usage differed. Both, when they had attained prescriptive right, became Halachah, the extent of which might thus be enlarged ad infinitum. But at each stage of development a distinction was always made between what was already valid and what was only discovered by the scientifie inferences of the Rabbis, between הֲלָכָה and דִּין (to judge). Only the former was legally binding, the latter in and of itself not as yet so. Not till the majority of the learned had decided in their favour were such tenets binding and henceforth admitted into the Halachah. For the majority of those distinguished for learning was the decisive tribunal. Hence the דִּבְרֵי חֲכָמִים were also to be kept as binding. It is self-evident however, that this principle applies only to such cases as were not decided by an already valid Halachah. For concerning any matter for which a Halachah is in existence this must be unconditionally obeyed, though ninety-nine should be against and only one for it. By the help of this principle of the majority the great difficulty which arose through the separation of the schools of Hillel and Shammai was overcome (see No. IV). So long as the differences between the two were not reconciled, the conscientious Israelite must have been in great perplexity which to adhere to. The majority here too gave the final decision, whether it was that the schools themselves compared numbers, and that one was outvoted by the other, or that subsequent scholars settled differences by their final decision.

The strictness with which the uuchangeableness of the Halachah was in general proclaimed might induce one to suppose, that what was once valid must remain unaltered. But there is no rule without exception, nor was, this so. Nor indeed are the cases few in which laws or customs were afterwards altered, whether on purely theoretical grounds, or on account of altered circumstances, or because the old custom entailed inconvenience.

Widely as the Halachah differed from the written Thorah the fiction was still kept up, that it was in reality nothing else than an exposition and more precise statement of the Thorah itself. The Thorah was still formally esteemed as the supreme rule from which all legal axioms must be derived. Certainly the Halacha had its independent authority, and was binding, even if no scriptural proof was adduced. Hence, though its validity did not depend upon success in finding a scriptural proof, it formed part of the business of the scribes to confirm the maxim of the Halachah by the Scriptures. More absolute was the demand for satisfactory confirmation in the case of newly advanced or disputed maxims. These could only obtain recognition by methodical Midrash, i.e. by, being deduced in a convincing manner from passages of Scripture, or from other already acknowledged propositions. The method of demonstration which was in such cases applied, was one which, though it indeed appears somewhat strange to us, has its rules and laws. A distinction was made between the proof proper (רְאָיָה) and the mere reference (זֶכֶר). Hillel is said to have laid down for the proof proper seven rules, which may be called a kind of Rabbinical logic. These seven rules are as follows: (1) קַל וָחוֹמֶר, “light and heavy,” i.e. the inference a minori ad majus; (2) גְּזֵרָה שָׁוָה, “an equal decision,” i.e. an inference from the similar, ex analogia; (3) בִּנְיַן אָב מִכָּתוּב אֶחָד, “a main proposition from one passage of Scripture,” i.e. a deduction of a main enactment of the law from a single passage of Scripture; (4) בִּנְיַן אָב מִשְּׁנֵי כְתוּבִים, “a main proposition from two passages of Scripture;” (5) וּפְרַט וּכְלַל בִּלַל וּפְרַט, “general and particular,” and “particular and general,” i.e. a more precise statement of the general by the particular, and of the particular by the general; (6) כּיוֹצֵא בוֹ בְמָקוֹם אַחֵר, “by the similar in another passage,” i.e. a more precise statement of a passage by the help of another; (7) דָּבָר הַלָּמֵד מֵעִנְיָנוֹ, “a thing which is learned from its connection,” a more precise statement from the context. These seven rules were subsequently increased to thirteen, the fifth being specified in eight different manners, and the sixth omitted. The laying down of these thirteen Middoth is ascribed to R. Ismael. Their value for the correct interpretation of the law was so highly esteemed on the part of Rabbinic Judaism, that every orthodox Israelite recited them daily as an integral element of his morning devotions.

The matter which formed the subject of juristic investigation on the part of the scribes was in effect furnished by the Thorah itself. The precepts concerning the priestly sacrifices and religious usages in general occupy the largest space therein. For the peculiarity of the Jewish law is, that it is pre-eminently a law of ritual. It seeks in the first place to establish by law in what manner God desires to be honoured, what sacrifices are to be offered to Him, what festivals are to be kept in His honour, how His priests are to be maintained, and what religious rites in general are to be observed. All other matters occupy but a small space in comparison with this. The motive whence all the zealous labours of the scribes arose corresponded with this content of the law: it was the desire to make sure by an accurate expression of the law, that none of the claims of God should be violated in even the slightest particular, but that all should be most conscientiously observed to their fullest extent. The endeavours of the scribes were therefore directed chiefly to the development of (1) the precepts concerning sacrifices, the various kinds of sacrifice, the occasions on which it was to be offered, the manner of offering, and all connected therewith, i.e. of the entire sacrificial ritual; (2) the precepts concerning the celebration of holy seasons, especially of the Sabbath and the annual festivals—Passover, Pentecost, Tabernacles, the Day of Atonement, the New Year; (3) the precepts concerning tribute for the temple and priesthood—first-fruits, heave-offerings, tithes, the first-born, the half-shekel tribute, vows and freewill offerings and whatever related to them—their redemption, valuation, embezzlement, etc.; and lastly (4) the various other religious appointments, among which the precepts concerning clean and unclean occupy by far the largest space. The appointments of the law in this last respect were an inexhaustible source for the exercise of the most minute and conscientious acuteness on the part of the scribes. The statutes by which it was determined, under what circumstances uncleauness was incurred, and by what means it might be obviated, were truly endless and incalculable. Such religious decrees however by no means formed the exclusive matter of the labours of the scribes. For the law of Moses contains also the principles of a criminal and civil law; and the practical requirements of life offered occasion enough for the further development of these materials also. Of course the materials in question were not all equally elaborated. The laws concerning marriage were the most completely developed, partly because the marriage law gave more opportunity, and partly because this subject was the most closely connected with religion. The other departments of civil life are not treated with quite the same fulness in the Mishna (in the treatises Baba kamma, Baba mezia, and Baba bathra), and still less is the criminal law worked out (in the treatises Sanhedrin and Makkoth). The department of public law is as good as completely ignored. It is true that the Thorah furnished but extremely little opportunity for its development, and that such labour as was expended on it would have been utterly useless by reason of political circumstances.

2. The Haggada

The Haggadic Midrash, i.e. the elaboration of the historical and didactic portions of Holy Scripture, is of an entirely different kind from the Halachic Midrash. While in the latter the treatment is pre-eminently a development and carrying on of what is actually given in the text, the Haggadic treatment does not take for the most part its content from the text, but interpolates it therein. It is an amplification and remodelling of what was originally given, according to the views and necessities of later times. It is true, that here also the given text forms the point of departure, and that a similar treatment to that employed in passages from the law takes place in the first instance. The history is worked up by combining the different statements in the text with each other, completing one by another, settling the chronology, etc. Or the religious and ethical parts are manipulated by formulating dogmatic propositions from isolated prophetic utterances, by bringing these into relation to each other, and thus obtaining a kind of dogmatic system. But this stricter kind of treatment is overgrown by the much freer kind, which deals in a perfectly unrestrained manner with the text, and supplements it by additions of the most arbitrary and manifold kind. In other words, the treatment is Midrash in its stricter sense in only the smaller portion, and is on the contrary and for the most part a free completion by means of אֲגָדוֹת, i.e. legends.

A canonical book of the Old Testament, viz. the Book of Chronicles, furnishes a very instructive example of the historical Midrash. A comparison of its narrative with the parallel portions of the older historical books (Kings and Samuel) will strike even the cursory observer with the fact that the chronicler has enlarged the history of the Jewish kings by a whole class of narratives, of which the older documents have as good as nothing, viz. by narratives of the merit acquired, not only by David, but by many other pious kings through their maintenance of, and more abundant provision for, the priestly ritual. The chronicler is especially solicitous to tell of the conscientious care of these kings for the institutions of public worship. In the older documents scarcely anything is found of these narratives which run through the whole of Chronicles. It may be said that their absence in the books of Kings and Samuel is no proof of their non-historical nature, and that the chronicler obtained them from other sources. But the peculiarity is, that the very institutions for the maintenance of which these kings are said to have been distinguished, belong in general to the post-exilian period, as may, at least in the main points, be still proved (see § 24). Evidently then the chronicler dealt with the older history from a stated point of sight, which appeared to him very essential; and as public worship was the most important matter in his own eyes, the theocratic kings could not but have been distinguished by their interest in it. At the same time he pursues the practical object of pointing out the just claims and high value of these institutions by showing the attention, which the most illustrious kings devoted to them. The notion that this was any adulteration of the history, was probably one which never occurred to him. He thought he was improving it by treating it according to the needs of his age. His work, or rather the larger work from which our Books of Chronicles are probably but an extract, is therefore, properly speaking an historical Midrash, as indeed it is expressly designated (מִדְרָשׁ) by its editor and abbreviator (2 Chron. 13:22, 24:27).

The method of dealing with the sacred history here described continued its exuberant growth to later ages and went on striking out over bolder paths. The higher the credit and importance of the sacred history rose in the ideas of the people, the more thorough was the labour bestowed upon it, and the more urgent was the impulse to give more accuracy, more copious elaboration of details, and to surround the whole with a more complete and brighter halo. Especially were the histories of the patriarchs and the great lawgiver more and more adorned in this fashion. The Hellenistic Jews were particularly active in this manner of working up history. Nay, one might almost have supposed that it had originated with them, but that the Books of Chronicles furnish proof to the contrary, and that the whole method of this Midrash so entirely corresponds with the spirit of Rabbinical scholarship. The literature, in which the remains of this Haggadic treatment of history are still preserved is comparatively copious and varied. We find such in the works of the Hellenists Demetrius, Eupolemus, Artapanus (see concerning them, § 33); in Philo and Josephus, in the so-called Apocalypses, and generally in the pseudepigraphic literature; much also in the Targums and Talmud, but most in the Midrashim proper, which are ex professo devoted to the treatment of the sacred text (see above, § 3). Among these the oldest is the so-called Book of Jubilees, which may rank as the specially classic model of this Haggadic treatment of Scripture. The whole text of the canonical Book of Genesis is here reproduced in such wise, that not only are the particulars of the history chronologically fixed, but also enlarged throughout in contents, and remodelled according to the taste of after times. By way of illustrating this branch of labour on the part of the scribes, the following few specimens are given.

The history of the creation, e.g., is completed in the following manner: “Ten things were created in the twilight on the evening before the Sabbath—1. the abyss of the earth (for Korah and his company); 2. the opening of the well (Miriam’s); 3. the mouth of the ass (Balaam’s); 4. the rainbow; 5. the manna in the wilderness; 6. the rod of Moses; 7. the shamir, a worm which spits stones; 8. alphabetic writing; 9. the writing of the tables of the law; 10. the stone tables. Some reckon with these: the evil spirits, the grave of Moses, and our father Abraham’s ram; and others the first tongs for the preparation of future tongs. A copious circle of legends, with which we are acquainted by means of their deposits and continuations in later Jewish literature, was formed concerning the life of Adam. Enoch, who was miraculously translated to heaven by God, seemed especially adapted for revealing heavenly mysteries to men. Hence a book of such revelations was ascribed to him towards the end of the second century before Christ (see § 32). Later legends praise his piety and describe his ascension to heaven. The Hellenist Eupolemus (or whoever else may be the author of the fragment in question) designates him as the inventor of astrology. It is self-evident that Abraham, the ancestor of Israel, was a subject of special interest for this kind of historical treatment. Hellenists and Palestinians took equal pains with it A Hellenistic Jew, probably as early as the third century before Christ, wrote, under the name of Hecataeus of Abdera, a book concerning Abraham. According to Artabanus, Abraham instructed Pharethothes, king of Egypt, in astrology. He was in the eyes of Rabbinic Judaism a model of Pharisaic piety and a fulfiller of the whole law, even before it was given. He victoriously withstood—it is computed—ten temptations. In consequence of his righteous behaviour, he received the reward of all the ten preceding generations, which they had lost by their sin. Moses the great lawgiver and his age are surrounded with the brightest halo. The Hellenists, in works designed for heathen readers, represent him as the father of all science and culture. He was, according to Eupolemus, the inventor of alphabetical writing, which first came from him to the Phoenicians, and from them to the Greeks. Artapanus tells us that the Egyptians owed to him their whole civilisation. It is therefore something less, when it is only said in the Acts, that he was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians (Acts 7:22), though even this goes beyond the Old Testament. The history of his life and work is dressed up in the most varied manner in Hellenistic and Rabbinic legends, as may be seen even from the representations of Philo and Josephus. The names of the Egyptian sorcerers, who were conquered by Moses and Aaron, are known (2 Tim. 3:8). In the march through the wilderness, the Israelites were not merely once miraculously provided with water from a rock, bat a rock pouring forth water accompanied them during their whole wandering in the wilderness (1 Cor. 10:4). The law was not given to Moses by God Himself, but reached him by the means of angels (Acts 7:53; Gal. 3:19; Heb. 2:2). It was part of the perfection of his revelation to have been written in seventy languages on stones set up upon Mount Ebal (Deut. 27:2 sqq.). The two unlucky days in the history of Israel being Tammus 17 and Ab 9, the unfortunate events of the Mosaic age must of course have taken place on one of these two days; on Tammus 17 the tables of the law were broken, and on Ab 9 it was ordained that the generation of Moses should not enter the land of Canaan. The strange circumstances at the death of Moses also furnished abundant material for the formation of legends (Deut 34). It is known that Michael the Archangel contended with Satan for his body (Jude 9). The history too of the post-Mosaic period was manipulated by historical Midrash in the same manner as the primitive history of Israel. To give only a few examples from the New Testament. In 1 Chronicles and Ruth there occurs in the list of David’s ancestors a certain Salma or Salmon, the father of Boaz (1 Chron. 2:11; Ruth 4:20 sq.). The historical Midrash knows, that this Salmon had Rahab for his wife (Matt. 1:5). The drought and famine in the days of Elijah lasted, according to the historic Midrash, three and a half years, i.e. half of a week of years (Luke 4:25; Jas. 5:17). The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews mentions among the martyrs of the Old Testament those who were sawn asunder (Heb. 11:37). He means Isaiah, of whom the Jewish legend says that this was the manner of his death.

As in the case of the sacred history, so also in that of the religious and ethical matter of the Scriptures, the manipulation was of two kinds. On the one hand there was a dealing by combination, by inference and the like, with what was actually given; on the other there was also a free completion by the varied formations of creative religious speculation. And the two imperceptibly encroached one upon the other. Not a few of the doctrinal notions and ideas of after times actually arose from the circumstance, that the existing text of Scripture had been made a subject of “investigation,” and therefore from reflection upon data, from learned inferences and combinations founded thereupon. Imagination freely employing itself was however a far more fertile source of new formations. And what was obtained in the one way was constantly blended with what was arrived at in the other. With the results of investigation were combined the voluntary images of fancy, nay the former as a rule always followed, either consciously or unconsciously, the same lines, the same tendency and direction as the latter. And when the free creations of speculation had gained a settled form, they were in their turn deduced from Scripture by scholastic Midrash.

These theological labours, which were always investigating old, and incessantly creating new material, were extended over the entire religious and ethical department. It was owing to them that the whole circle of religious ideas in Israel had received in the times of Christ on the one hand a fanciful, on the other a scholastic character. For the religious development was no longer determined and directed by the actual religious productivity of the prophets, but in part by the action of an unbridled imagination, not truly religious though dealing with religious objects, and in part by the scholastic reflection of the learned. Both these ruled and directed the development, in proportion as really religious life lost in inward strength.

It was in entire consistency with this tendency of the whole development, that special preference was shown for dealing with such objects as lay more at the circumference than in the centre of religious life, with the temporally and locally transcendent, with the future and the heavenly world. For the weaker the power of genuine religion, the more would fancy and reflection move from the centre to the circumference, and the more would such objects be detached from their central point and acquire an independent value and interest The grace and glory of God were no longer seen in the present earthly world, but only in the future and heavenly world. Hence on the one side eschatology, on the other mythological theosophy, were cultivated with the greatest zeal A copious abundance of notions concerning the realization of the salvation of Israel in a future period of the world’s history was the growth of scientific investigation and unfettered religious fancy. The conditions, the premisses and the accompanying circumstances, under which the means and forces by which this salvation would be realized, were stated, and most especially was it declared wherein it would consist and how surpassing would be its glory; in a word, Messianic dogma was more and more carefully cultivated and extensively developed. So too was there much solicitous occupation with the heavenly world: the nature and attributes of God, heaven as his dwelling-place, the angels as His servants, the whole fulness and glory of the heavenly world; such were the objects to which learned reflection and inventive fancy applied themselves with special predilection. Philosophic problems were also discussed: how the revelation of God in the world was conceivable, how an influence of God upon the world was possible without His being Himself drawn down into the finite, how far there was room for evil in a world created and governed by God, and the like. Two portions of Holy Scripture in particular gave much scope for the development of theosophic speculation, these were the history of the creation (מַעֲשֵׂה בְרֵאשִׁית) and the “chariot” of Ezekiel (מֶרְכָּבָה), i.e. the introductory vision of Ezekiel, chap. 1. In the explanation of these two portions, profound mysteries which, according to the view of scholars, ought to form an esoteric doctrine, were dealt with. “The history of the creation might not be explained before two, and the chariot not even before one, unless he were a scholar and could judge of it from his own knowledge.” In these thus carefully guarded expositions of the history of the creation and of the chariot, we have the beginnings of those strange fancies concerning the creation and the spiritual world, which reached their climax in the so-called Kabbala of the Middle Ages.

The exposition and further development of the law was a process under comparatively strict regulations, but an almost unbridled caprice prevailed in the province of religious speculation. Rules and method, except in a very figurative sense, were here out of question. One thing especially, which made the development of the law so continuous and consequent, viz. the principle of a strict adherence to tradition, was here absent. The manipulator of the religious and ethical matter was not bound, like the interpreter of the law, to a strict adherence to tradition. He might give his imagination free play, so long as its products would on the whole admit of being inserted in the frame of Jewish views. A certain tradition was indeed formed in this sphere also, but it was not binding. Religious faith was comparatively free, while action was all the more strictly shackled. With the absence moreover of the principle of tradition in this department all rules in general ceased. For there was really but one rule for the “investigator,” viz. the right of making anything of a passage, which his wit and understanding enabled him. If nevertheless certain “rules” are laid down even for Haggadic interpretation, it was only that caprice here became methodical. A number of such rules for Haggadic exposition are met with among the thirty-two Middoth (hermeneutical principles) of R. Joses ha-Gelili, the age of which cannot indeed be more particularly determined. Later Judaism discovered that there is a fourfold meaning of Scripture, which is indicated in the word פר״דס (Paradise), viz. 1. פְּשַׁט, the simple or literal meaning; 2. רֶמֶז (suggestion), the meaning arbitrarily imported into it; 3. דְּרוּשׁ (investigation), the meaning deduced by investigation; and 4. סוֹד (mystery), the theosophistic meaning.

It would be a superfluous task to give examples in illustration of this kind of exegetical method, since we are sufficiently acquainted with it from the New Testament and the whole body of ancient Christian literature. For together with Holy Scripture itself, its own mode of exegetical treatment was transferred by Judaism to the Christian Church. In saying this however it must also be remarked, that the exegetic method practised in the New Testament, when compared with the usual Jewish method, is distinguished from it by its great enlightenment The apostles and the Christian authors in general were preserved from the extravagances of Jewish exegesis by the regulative norm of the gospel. And yet who would now justify such treatment of Old Testament passages, as are found e.g. in Gal. 3:16, 4:22–25; Rom. 10:6–8; Matt. 22:31–32? Jewish exegesis however, from which such a regulator was absent, degenerated into the most capricious puerilities. From its standpoint, e.g. the transposition of words into numbers, or of numbers into words, for the purpose of obtaining the most astonishing disclosures, was by no means strange, and quite in accordance with its spirit.

With the comparatively great freedom allowed to development in the sphere of religious notions, it is not to be wondered, that foreign influences also made themselves felt with more or less power. Palestine had already been for a long time open to the general intercourse of the world. So early as the foundation of the great world-powers of the Assyrians, Chaldaeans and Persians, influences of the most varied kind had passed over the land. When it lay for two centuries under Persian supremacy, it would indeed have been very surprising if this fact had left behind it no kind of trace in the sphere of Israelitish intellectual life. Nor could it, with all its struggles for intellectual isolation, have possibly withdrawn itself entirely from the supremacy of the Greek spirit Hence it cannot be denied that on the one hand Babylonian, on the other Greek influences are especially discernible in the development of Israel’s religious notions. The amount of this influence may indeed be disputed. A careful investigation of details, especially in respect of the influence of Parseeism, has not as yet been made. This influence may perhaps have to be reduced to a comparatively small proportion. The fact however, that both Babylonian and Greek influences asserted themselves, is undeniable. At first sight indeed it seems strange, nay enigmatical, considering the high wall of partition which Judaism erected in respect of religion between itself and heathenism. There is however no need of appealing, in explanation to the circumstance, that such influences were felt at a time when this wall of partition was as yet no unscaleable one, for they continued to be exerted in later times also; nor to the fact, that no wall of partition is strong enough to resist the power of intellectual influences. The deepest reason that can be offered in explanation is, on the contrary, that legal Judaism itself laid the chief stress upon correctness of action, and that comparatively free play was therefore permitted in the sphere of religious notions.

The older Hebrew works on the Mishna teachers in Wolf, Biblioth. Hebr. ii. 805 sq. Fürst, Biblioth. Judaica, ii. 48 sq.

Ottho, Historia doctorum misnicorum qua opera etiam synedrii magni Hierosolymitani praesides et vice-praesides recensentur. Oxonii 1672 (frequently reprinted, e.g. also in Wolf’s Biblioth. Hebr. vol. iv., and in Ugolini’s Thesaurus, vol. xxi.).

Joh. Chrph. Wolf, Bibliotheca Hebraea, ii. 805–865 (gives an alphabetical catalogue of the scholars mentioned in the Mishna).

Herzfeld, Geschichte des Volkes Jisrael, iii. 226–263. The same, Chronologische Ansetzung der Schriftgelehrten von Antigonus von Socho bis auf R. Akiba (Monatsschr. für Gesch. und Wissensch. des Judenth. 1854, pp. 221–229, 273–277).

Kämpf, Genealogisches und Chronologisches bezuglich der Patriarchen aus dem Hillel’schen Hause bis auf R. Jehuda ha-Nasi, den Redacteur der Mischnah (Monatsschr. f. Gesch. und Wissensch. des Judenth. 1853, pp. 201–207, 231–236; 1854, pp. 89–42, 98–107).

Jost, Geschichte des Judenthums und seiner Secten, vols. i. ii.

Gräte, Geschichte der Juden, vols. iii. iv.

Derenbourg, Essai sur l’histoire et la géographie de la Palestine d’après les Thalmuds et les autres sources rabbiniques. P. i.: Histoire de la Palestine depuis Cyrus jusqu’à Adrien. Paris 1867.

The works, written in Hebrew, of Frankel (1859), Brüll (1876) and Weiss (1871–1876). For farther details concerning them, see the literature on the Mishna, § 3.

Friedländer, Geschichtsbilder aus der Zeit der Tanaiten und Armoräer, Brunn 1879 (a careless performance, see Theol. Litztg. 1880, p. 433).

Hamburger, Real-Encyclopädie für Bibel und Talmud, Div. ii., the several articles.

Bacher, Die Agada der Tanaiten (Monatsschr. für Gesch. und Wissensch. des Judenth. 1882–1884). Also separately, Die Agada der Tanaiten, vol. i. 1884.

It is not till the period of the Mishna, i.e. about 70 A.D., that we have any detailed information concerning individual scribes. Of those who lived before this time, our knowledge is extremely scanty. This too is almost the case in respect of Hillel and Shammai, the famous heads of schools; for, setting aside what is purely legendary, our information concerning them is comparatively small and unimportant The names and order of the most celebrated heads of schools since about the second century after Christ have been handed down to us chiefly by the 1st chapter of the treatise Aboth (or Pirke Aboth), in which is enumerated the unbroken succession of individuals, who were from Moses till the time of the destruction of Jerusalem the depositaries of the traditions of the law. The whole chapter runs as follows:—

1. Moses received the law upon Sinai, and delivered it to Joshua; he to the elders; the elders to the prophets; and the prophets delivered it to the men of the Great Assembly. These laid down three rules: Be careful in pronouncing judgment! bring up many pupils! and make a fence about the law! 2. Simon the Just was one of the last of the Great Assembly. He said: The world subsists by three things—by the law, the worship of God, and benevolence. 3. Antigonus of Socho received the tradition from Simon the Just. He said: Be not like servants who serve their master for the sake of reward, but be like those who do service without respect to recompense; and live always in the fear of God.

4. Joses ben Joeser of Zereda and Joses ben Johanan of Jerusalem received the tradition from them. Joses ben Joeser said: Let thy house be a place of meeting for the wise, dust thyself with the dust of their feet, and drink eagerly of their teaching. 5. Joses ben Johanan of Jerusalem said: Let thy house be always open (to guests), and let the poor be thy household. Avoid superfluous chatter with women. It is unbecoming with one’s own wife, much more with the wife of, another. Hence the wise also say: He who carries on useless conversation with a woman, brings misfortune upon himself, is hindered from occupation with the law, and at last inherits hell.

6. Joshua ben Perachiah and Nithai of Arbela received the tradition from these. The former said: Procure a companion (in study), and judge all men according to the favourable sida. 7. Nithai of Arbela said: Depart from a bad neighbour; associate not with the ungodly; and think not that punishment will fail.

8. Judah ben Tabbai and Simon ben Shetach received the tradition from these. The former said: Make not thyself (as judge) an advocate. When both sides stand before thee, look upon both as in the wrong. But when they are dismissed and have received sentence, regard both as justified. 9. Simon ben Shetach said: Test the witnesses well, but be cautious in examination, lest they thereby learn to speak falsehood.

10. Shemaiah and Abtalion received from them. Shemaiah taught: Love work, hate authority, and do not press thyself upon the great 11. Abtalion said: Ye wise, be cautious in your teaching, lest ye be guilty of error, and err towards a place of bad water. For your scholars, who come after you, will drink of it, die, and the name of God be thereby dishonoured.

12. Hillel and Shammai received from these. Hillel said: Be a disciple of Aaron, a lover of peace, a maker of peace, love men, and draw them to the law. 13. He was accustomed also to say: He who will make himself a great name, forfeits his own. He who does not increase his knowledge diminishes it, but he who seeks no instruction is guilty of death. He who uses the crown (of the law) (for external purposes) perishes. 14. The same said: Unless I (work) for myself, who will do so for me? And if I do so for myself alone, what am I? And if not now, when else? 15. Shammai said: Make the study of the law a decided occupation; promise little and do much; and receive every one with kindness.

16. Rabban Gamaliel said: Appoint yourself a teacher, you thus avoid the doubtful; and do not too often tithe according to mere chance.

17. His son Simon said: “I have grown up from early youth among wise men, and have found nothing more profitable for men than silence. Study is not the chief thing, but practice. He who speaks much only brings sin to pass.”

18. Rabban Simon ben Gamaliel said: The world subsists by three things—by the administration of justice, by truth, and by unanimity. (Thus also it is said, Zech. 8:16: “Let peace and truth judge in your gates.”)

So far the Mishna. Among the authorities here specified, those which chiefly interest us are “the men of the great assembly,” or of the great synagogue (אַנְשֵׁי כְנֵסֶת הַגְּדוֹלָה). They appear here as the depositaries of the tradition of the law between the last prophets and the first scribes known by name. Later Jewish tradition ascribes to them all kinds of legal enactments. Very recent, indeed really modern, is, on the other hand, the opinion, that they also composed the canon of the Old Testament. As no authorities tell us who they really were, there has been the more opportunity for the most varying hypotheses concerning them. The correct one, that they never existed at all in the form which Jewish tradition represents, was already advocated by older Protestant criticism, though it was reserved for the conclusive investigation of Kuenen to fully dissipate the obscurity Testing upon this subject The only historical foundation for the idea is the narrative in Neh. 8–10, that in Ezra’s time the law was solemnly accepted by a great assembly of the people. This “great assembly” was in fact of eminent importance to the maintenance of the law. But after the notion of a great assembly had been once fixed as an essential court of appeal for the maintenance of the law, an utterly non-historical conception was gradually combined therewith in tradition. Instead of an assembly of the people receiving the law, a college of individuals transmitting the law was conceived of, and this notion served to fill up the gap between the latest prophets and those scribes to whom the memory of subsequent times still extended.

Together with the notion of the great synagogue may be dismissed also the statement, that Simon the Just was one of its latest members. This Simon is, on the contrary, no other than the high priest Simon L in the beginning of the third century before Christ, who, according to Josephus, obtained the surname ὁ δίκαιος. Undoubtedly this name was conferred on him by the Pharisaic party on account of his strict legal tendencies, while most of the high priests of the Greek period left much to be desired in this respect. It was on this very account also that he was stamped by Jewish tradition as a vehicle of the tradition of the law.

The most ancient scribe of whom tradition has preserved at least the name is Antigonus of Socho. Little more than his name is however known of him. The information too given in the Mishna of the subsequent scribes down to the time of Christ is extremely scanty and uncertain, as is indeed evident from the externally systematic grouping of them in five pairs. For there could hardly be historical foundation for such a fact as that in each generation only a pair of scholars should have specially distinguished themselves. It is likely that just ten names were known, and that these were formed into five pairs of contemporaries, after the analogy of the last and most famous pair, Hillel and Shammai. In such a state of affairs, of course, only the most general outlines of the chronology can be determined. The comparatively most certain points are the following. Simon ben Shetach was a contemporary of Alexander Jannaeus and Alexandra, and therefore lived about 90–70 B.C. Hence the first pair must be placed two generations earlier, viz. about 150 B.C. Hillel is said, according to Talmudic tradition, to have lived 100 years before the destruction of Jerusalem, and thus to have flourished about the time of Herod the Great. His supposed grandson, Gamaliel I., is mentioned in the Acts (5:34, 22:3), about 30–40 A.D. It has been already stated (p. 180 sq.) that subsequent tradition makes the whole five pairs presidents and vice-presidents of the Sanhedrim, and the utter erroneousness of this assertion is there pointed out They were in fact nothing more than heads of schools.

The first pair, Joses ben Joeser and Joses ben Johanan, is only mentioned, besides the chief passage in the treatise Aboth, a few times more in the Mishna, and still less frequently do we meet with the second pair, Joshua ben Perachiah and Nithai of Arbela. Of the third pair only Simon ben Shetach has a somewhat tangible form, though what is related of him is for the most part of a legendary character. There is no mention of any of these in Josephus. On the other hand, he seems to speak of the fourth pair, Shemaiah and Abtalion, under the names Σαμέας and Πωλίων. He tells us that when, in the year 47 B.C., the youthful Herod was accused before the Sanhedrim on account of his acts in Galilee, and all owners of property were silent through cowardly fear, that a certain Sameas alone raised his voice, and prophesied to his colleagues that they would yet all perish through Herod. His prophecy was fulfilled ten years later, when Herod, after his conquest of Jerusalem in the year 37, had all his former accusers executed. Only the Pharisee Pollio and his disciple Sameas (Πωλίων ὁ Φαρισαῖος καὶ Σαμέας ὁ τούτου μαθητής) were spared, nay highly honoured by him, because during the siege by Herod they had given counsel, that the king should be admitted into the town. The Sameas here mentioned is expressly identified by Josephus with the former. Lastly, Pollio and Sameas are mentioned by Josephus, and again in the same order, in a third passage. Unfortunately however we obtain no entire certainty as to time. For he informs us that the followers of Pollio and Sameas (οἱ περὶ Πωλίωνα τὸν Φαρισαῖον καὶ Σαμέαν) refused the oath of allegiance demanded of them by Herod, and were not punished on this account, “obtaining indulgence for the sake of Pollio” (ἐντροπῆς διὰ τὸν Πωλίωνα τυχόντες). Josephus relates this among the events of the eighteenth year of Herod (= 20–19 B.C.). It cannot however be quite certainly determined from the context, whether this occurrence really took place in that year. Now the two names Σαμέας and Πωλίων so strikingly coincide with שְׁמַעְיָה and אַבְטַלְיוֹן that the view of their being identical is very obvious. The chronology too would about agree. The only thing that causes hesitation is, that Sameas is called the disciple of Pollio, while elsewhere Shemaiah stands before Abtalion. Hence we might feel tempted to identify Sameas with Shammai, but that it would then be strange, that Josephus should mention him twice in connection with Abtalion, and not with his contemporary Hillel. If however by reason of this connection we take Hillel and Shammai to be meant by Pollio and Sameas, there is against this identification, first the difference of the names Pollio and Hillel, and then the designation of Sameas as the disciple of Pollio, while Shammai was certainly no disciple of Hillel. All things considered, the connection of Sameas and Pollio with Shemaiah and Abtalion seems not only the more obvious, but the more probable.

Hillel and Shammai are by far the most renowned among the five pairs. An entire school of scribes, who separated, if not in principle, yet in a multitude of legal decisions, in two different directions, adhered to each of them. This circumstance certainly makes it evident, that both are of eminent importance in the history of Jewish law. Both indeed manifestly laboured with special zeal and ingenuity to give a more subtle completeness to the law, but it must not therefore be supposed, that their personal life and acts stand out in the clear light of history. What we know of them with certainty is comparatively very little. In the Mishna, the only trustworthy authority, they are each mentioned barely a dozen times. And what we know of them from later sources bears almost always the impress of the legendary. Hillel, called “the elder,” הַוָּקֵן, to distinguish him from others, is said to have sprung from the family of David, and to have immigrated from Babylon to Palestine. Being poor he was obliged to hire himself as a day-labourer to earn a living for himself and his family and to meet the expenses of instruction. His zeal for study was so great that on one occasion, not being able to pay the entrance-fee into the Bethha-Midrash, he climbed up to the window to listen to the instruction. As this happened in winter, he was frozen with cold, and was found in this position by his astonished teachers and colleagues. Tradition tells strange things of the learning he acquired by such zeal. He understood all tongues, and even the language of the mountains, hills, valleys, trees, plants, of wild and tame animals and of daemons. At all events he was the most celebrated jurist of his age, but he was no more president of the Sanhedrim than was any other learned scribe of the time. The leading features of his character were the gentleness and kindness of which singular proofs are related. It is manifested in the first of the maxims given above: “Be a disciple of Aaron, a lover and maker of peace, love men and attract them to the law.” Shammai, noted for sternness, and also called “the elder,” הַוָּקֵן, was the antipodes of the gentle Hillel. The following example of his rigorous zeal for the literal observance of the law is given in the Mishna. When his daughter-in-law brought forth a child on the feast of Tabernacles, he had the ceiling broken through and the roof over the bed covered with boughs, that the newborn child also might keep the feast according to the precept of the law.

The tendencies of their respective schools correspond with the mildness of Hillel and the strictness of Shammai. The school of Hillel decided legal questions in a mitigated, that of Shammai in an aggravated sense. As they are however only minutiae on which the difference turns, it will not be worth while to follow the contrast into further details. Some examples may suffice. The command to prepare no food on the Sabbath was extended to laying-hens, and hence it was debated, whether and under what conditions an egg laid upon a holy day might or might not be eaten. Or it was discussed, whether fringes (Zizith) were needful or not to a square linen night-dress; or whether on a holy day a ladder might be carried from one pigeon-house to another, or might only be slanted from one hole to another. Of ideas of reformation, which Jewish self-love would so willingly have us believe in, there is not, as we see, a single word. In practice the milder school of Hillel gained in the course of years the upper hand, though in many points it voluntarily relinquished its own view and assented to those of the school of Shammai, while in others neither the opinion of Hillel nor that of Shammai was subsequently followed.

An enactment, contrary indeed to the law, but authorized by the state of things, and certainly of salutary results, is connected with the name of Hillel. The legal appointment of a release of all debts every seventh year (Deut. 15:1–11) entailed the evil consequence, “that people hesitated to lend each other money,” although the law itself warned against backwardness in lending on account of this institution (Deut. 15:9). In order then to do away with this evil, the so-called Prosbol (פְּרוֹזְבּוֹל = προσβολή), i.e. the delivery of a declaration, or as we should say a registered declaration, was introduced by Hillel’s influence. It was, that is to say, allowed to a creditor to make in court a declaration to the following effect: מוֹסֵר אֲנִי לָכֶם אִישׁ פְּלוֹנִי וּפְלוֹנִי הַדַּיָּנִים שֶׁבְּמָקוֹם פְּלוֹנִי שֶׁכָּל חוֹב שֶׁיֵּשׁ לִי שֶׁאֶגְבֶּנּוּ כָל זְמָן שֶׁאֶרְצֶה, “I so and so deliver to you the judges of such and such a place (the declaration), that I may at any time I choose demand the payment of all my outstanding debts.” Such a reservation made before a court secured the creditor even during the Sabbath year, and he needed not to be backward in lending money on its account. Thus credit was again laid upon a more solid foundation.

A Simon, said also to be the father of Gamaliel I., is generally named by both Jewish and Christian scholars as the son of Hillel. The existence of this Simon, and with him the whole genealogical relation, is however very questionable. We do not reach a really historical personage till Gamaliel I., רַבָּן גַּמְלִיאֵל הַוָּקֵן, as he is called in the Mishna, in distinction from Gamaliel II. It was at his feet that the Apostle Paul sat (Acts 22:3); and it was he who once gave counsel in the Sanhedrim to release the accused apostles, since their work, if it were of man, would come to nought, while if it were of God, it was in vain to oppose it (Acts 5:34–39). Christian tradition has in consequence of this represented him as being a Christian, while Jewish tradition glorifies him as one of the most celebrated teachers. “Since Rabban Gamaliel the elder died there has been no more reverence for the law (כְּבוֹד הַתּוֹרָה); and purity and abstinence (טָהֳרָה וּפְרִישׁוּת) died out at the same time.” That he was as little the president of the Sanhedrim. as Hillel was, appears from Acts 5:34 sqq., where he figures as a simple member of it. Much confusion concerning him has arisen, especially among Christian scholars, by attributing to him matters which apply to Gamaliel II., e.g. labours at Jabne and elsewhere.

His son Simon also enjoyed extraordinary fame as a scribe. Josephus says of him: Ὁ δὲ Σίμων οὗτος ἦν πόλεως μὲν Ἱεροσολύμων, γένους δὲ σφόδρα λαμπροῦ, τῆς δὲ Φαρισαίων αἱρέσεως, οἳ περὶ τὰ πάτρια νόμιμα δοκοῦσι τῶν ἄλλων ἀκριβείᾳ διαφέρειν. Ἦν δʼ οὗτος ἀνὴρ πλήρης συνέσεώς τε καὶ λογισμοῦ, δυνάμενός τε πράγματα κακῶς κείμενα φρονήσει τῇ ἑαυτοῦ διορθώσασθαι. He lived at the time of the Jewish war, and during its first period (A.D. 66–68) took a prominent part in the conduct of affairs. Still neither was he at any time president of the Sanhedrim.

Of profound importance to the further development of scribism was the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the hitherto relative independence of the Jewish commonwealth. The ancient Sanhedrin, at the head of which had stood the Sadducean high priests, now for ever retired from the stage. The Pharisaic teachers of the law, who during the last century before the destruction of the temple had already actually exercised very great influence, became the sole leaders of the people. Hence the direct result of the political fall was an increase of Rabbinical power and an exaltation of Rabbinical studies. Henceforth our authorities became more copious,—the first codification of Jewish law having been undertaken by men directly connected with the generation which survived the fall of the city.

Jamnia or Jabne, which had since the Maccabaean period been chiefly inhabited by Jews, became after the destruction of the holy city a chief seat of these studies. The most distinguished of those scholars, who survived the fall of Jerusalem, seem to have settled here. Lydda or Lud is besides mentioned as an abode of eminent scribes. later on, perhaps subsequent to the middle of the second century after Christ, Tiberias became a centre of scribism.

The most important scribe in the decade after the destruction of Jerusalem was Rabban Johanan ben Sakkai. The period of his activity is evident from the circumstance, that he altered several legal enactments or customs “after the temple was destroyed.” His place of residence seems to have been chiefly Jabne. But Berur Chail (ברור חיל) is also mentioned as a scene of his labours. And he must likewise have temporarily sojourned in Arab (ערב), where various legal questions were propounded for his decision. Among his legal innovations perhaps the most prominent is his doing away with the water of bitterness to be drunk by one accused of adultery. How closely connected he still was with matters as they were before the destruction of Jerusalem, is seen by the fact of his disputing concerning legal questions with Sadducees, who soon after it disappear from history. He is also the vehicle of ancient traditions which are referred to Moses himself. Legend tells us of him what Josephus tells us, of himself, viz. that he predicted to Vespasian his future elevation to the imperial dignity. R. Elieser ben Hyrkanos, R. Joshua ben Chananiah, R. Joses the priest, R. Simon ben Nathanael and R. Eleasar ben Arach are named in the Mishna as his five disciples. The best known and most eminent are the two first named, R. Elieser and R. Joshua.

R. Zadok, or as his name would be more correctly pronounced, R. Zadduk, was about contemporary with Rabban Johanan ben Sakkai. He is said to have lived before the destruction of the temple, and also to have held intercourse with Gamaliel II., Joshua and Elieser. He is in fact often mentioned in conjunction with them in the Mishna. In certain passages, according to which the date of his life would have to be considerably postponed, a subsequent R. Zadok is probably intended.

To the first decades after the destruction of the temple belongs also a distinguished priestly scribe, R. Chananiah, “president of the priests” (סגן הכהנים). He relates what his father had done, and what he had himself seen in the temple, and appears in the Mishna almost entirely as a narrator of the details of the priestly ritual. It is characteristic of him as an eminent priest, that he exhorts to prayer for the welfare of the heathen authorities.

R. Elieser ben Jacob also belongs to the first generation after the destruction of the temple. For it is very probable that a former scribe of the same name must be distinguished from the considerably later R. Elieser ben Jacob so frequently quoted in the Mishna. He flourished not long after the destruction of the temple, in which his uncle had ministered as a Levite, and he is frequently quoted as an authority in the treatise Middoth; nay, subsequent tradition even ascribes to him the composition of the whole treatise. It can no longer be decided in particular cases which passages are to be attributed to him and which to R. Elieser ben Jacob the younger. Perhaps the statements on circumstances of ritual may be referred to the elder.

Rabban Gamaliel II., son of Simon and grandson of Gamaliel I., the most renowned scholar of the turn of the century (about A.D. 90–110), lived only a few decades later than Johanan ben Sakkai. The tribunal at Jabne, of which he was the head, was in his days generally acknowledged as the chief authority in Israel. The most famous scholars were here assembled about him, and in this respected circle Gamaliel was reckoned the decisive authority. Among the scholars in close intercourse with him, R. Joshua, about his equal in age, and R. Akiba, his junior, were the most eminent. On the other hand, Gamaliel does not seem to have entered into close relations with his famous contemporary R. Elieser ben Hyrcanus. At least there is no trace of this in the Mishna, while subsequent tradition on the contrary relates that Elieser was excommunicated by Gamaliel (see below). Gamaliel once undertook in conjunction with R. Joshua, R. Akiba and the equally renowned R. Eleasar ben Asariah, a sea voyage to Rome, which obtained a certain celebrity in Rabbinical literature. He is said to have been on one occasion removed by the seventy-two elders from the presidential dignity on account of his too autocratic dealings, and R Eleasar ben Asariah to have been appointed to replace him. Gamaliel was however, on showing contrition, soon reinstated in his office, which Eleasar voluntarily vacated. The elevation of Eleasar by the seventy-two elders to the headship of the school is at any rate evidenced by the Mishna. In his legal decisions Gamaliel followed the school of Hillel; it is mentioned as an exception, that in three things he decided in an aggravated sense, according to the school of Shammai. In general he is characterized as much by legal strictness on the one hand, as on the other by a certain amount of worldly conformity, nay of candour of judgment.

The two most celebrated contemporaries of Gamaliel were R. Joshua ben Chananiah and R. Elieser ben Hyrcanus, both pupils of Johanan ben Sakkai. We frequently find them disputing with each other on legal questions, and Akiba the younger taking part in these discussions. With Gamaliel however Joshua only, and not Elieser, seems to have been in familiar intercourse. According to later tradition this would be explained by the fact that Elieser was excommunicated by Gamaliel. R. Joshua was descended from a Levitical family. He was of a gentle and yielding disposition, and hence submitted to the unbending Gamaliel. “Since the death of R. Joshua, there is no longer any kind-heartedness (טוֹבָה) in the world.” His motto was, “Envy, evil desire and hatred bring a man out of the world. Pekiin or Bekiin (עקיעין, בקיעין), is named as the place of his labours. His close relations with Gamaliel however lead to the conclusion that he also resided partly at Jabne. Tradition relates of him, among other things, that he had various conversations with the Emperor Hadrian on religious subjects. In contrast with the yielding Joshua, Elieser was of a firm, unbending character, and a very strict adherent to tradition, over which, by reason of his faithful memory and extensive scholarship, he had more influence than any other. His teacher Johnnan ben Sakkai boasted of him, that he was like a well coated with lime, which does not loose a single drop. He was not to be moved by any reasons or representations from what he knew as tradition. Hence his strained relations with Gamaliel, although he is said to have been his brother-in-law. His dwelling-place was Lydda. The strange opinion of a modern scholar, that he was inclined to Christianity, nay was secretly a Christian, rests upon a legend which really proves the contrary. Elieser is at one time brought before a heathen tribunal, and looks upon this as a just punishment of God for his having been pleased with the ingenious solution of a legal question, which a Jewish Christian had communicated to him as having been derived from Jesus.

R. Eleasar ben Asariah, a rich and eminent priest, whose genealogy is traced back to Ezra, also occupies an honourable position together with those last mentioned. His wealth was so great, that it was said that after his death there was no longer any wealth among the learned. His relations with Gamaliel, Joshua and Akiba, his journey with them to Rome, his elevation by the seventy-two elders to the office of president, and his voluntary relinquishment of this position have been already spoken of. It is evident even from these personal circumstances that he must have laboured in Jabne, a fact also testified elsewhere. He was also in personal relation with R. Ishmael and R. Tarphon, the contemporaries of Akiba.

R. Dosa ben Archinos (or Harkinos) was another contemporary of Gamaliel and Joshua, Of him it is especially stated, that he induced Joshua to submit to Gamaliel.

Among the later men of this generation is also Eleasar ben Zadok, son of the already mentioned R. Zadok. The son was, as well as the father, intimately acquainted with Gamaliel, and hence gives information concerning his enactments and the legal customs of his house.

R. Ishmael occupies an independent position among the scribes of the time. We find him indeed occasionally in Jabne. He was also intimate with his renowned contemporaries R. Joshua, Eleasar ben Asariah, Tarphon, and Akiba. His usual dwelling was however in the south of Palestine on the borders of Edom, in the village of Kephar-Asia (כפר עזיז), where Joshua once visited him. He seems, judging from his age, to have stood in nearer relation to Tarphon and Akiba than to Joshua; he questioned Joshua, and went “behind him” (like a pupil), while he was on equal terms with Tarphon and Akiba. It would be of special interest, if his father really did, as tradition asserts, also exercise the functions of high priest. The matter is however more than questionable, and only so far probable that he was of priestly descent. In the history of the Halachah, Ishmael represents a special tendency: in opposition to the artificial and arbitrary exegesis of Akiba, he adhered more to the simple and literal meaning of Scripture, but this must be understood in only a very comparative sense. The laying down of the thirteen Middoth, or exegetic rules for Halachic exegesis, is ascribed to him. A large portion of the exegetic material contained in two of the oldest Midrashim (Mechilta on Exodus, and Sifre on Numbers and Deuteronomy) comes from him and his disciples, even if these are not, as tradition asserts, the exclusive production of his school. According to the legend, Ishmael, like most of his contemporaries, is said to have died as a martyr in the Barkochba war.

Among those scribes who also had intercourse with Gamaliel, Joshua and Elieser, but stood more or less in a relation of discipleship to them, by far the most celebrated was R. Akiba ben Joseph. He flourished about A.D. 110–135. His relations with Gamaliel, Joshua and Elieser have already been spoken of (notes 19 20 20 He surpassed them all in influence and reputation. None gathered about him so large a number of pupils; none was so glorified by tradition. It is scarcely possible however to pluck the historically true from the garland of myths. Not even the place of his labours is known with certainty; from the Mishna it seems to have been Lydda, while the Babylonian Talmud names Bene-Barak (בני ברק). Such sentences of his as have been handed down are not only characteristic of his rigidly legal standpoint, but also show that he made dogmatic and philosophic questions the subjects of study. Like the ancient Zealots, he combined national patriotism with religious zeal. Hence he hailed the political hero Barkochba as the Messiah, and is said to have suffered martyrdom as one of the most eminent sacrifices for the national cause. Of his exegetic method it can only be said, that it is an exaggeration and degeneration of that which prevailed among the Rabbis in general, “it is the art of deducing heaps of Halachoth from every jot of the law.” To attain this, the principle was acted on, that no word of the text was superfluous, that even the slightest, the most apparently superfluous elements of the text contain the most important truths. It is of much more value than these exegetical tricks, and of real epoch-making importance in the history of Jewish law, that in the time of Akiba, and probably under his direction, the Halachah, which had hitherto been only orally propagated, was for the first time codified. The various materials were arranged according to the point of view of their actual matter, and what was current law was recorded in writing together with adductions of the divergent views of all the more eminent scribes. This work forms the foundation of the Mishna of R. Judah ha-Nasi, which has been preserved to us.

R. Tarphon, a priestly scribe, who is said to have been very much in earnest about his priestly duties and privileges, so far as this was possible after the destruction of the temple, was a contemporary of Akiba. He lived at Lydda, and was chiefly in intercourse with Akiba, but took part in a disputation with Eleasar ben Asariah, Ishmael and Joshua. Subsequent tradition makes him, like all the scribes of his time, a martyr in the Barkochba war. As this is however of just the same value as the Christian tradition, which makes all the apostles martyrs, he may very well be identical with that Trypho with whom Justin met, and who said of himself that he had fled from Palestine on account of the war. It is peculiar that hard words against the Gospels and against the Christian faith should have been reported exactly of him.

Beside R. Tarphon there remain to be mentioned as contemporaries of R. Akiba, R. Johanan ben Nuri, who lived also in the time of Gamaliel II., Joshua and Elieser, but is most frequently spoken of as in intercourse with Akiba; R. Simon ben Asai, or merely Ben Asai, who is famed for being specially indefatigable in study; R. Johanan ben Beroka, who was an associate of Joshua and Johanan ben Nuri; R. Joses the Galilean, who is mentioned as the contemporary of Eleasar ben Asariah, Tarphon and Akiba; R. Simon ben Nannos, or only Ben Nannos, also a contemporary of Tarphon and Akiba.

To the same period belongs also Abba Saul, who indeed gives an account even of a saying of Johanan ben Sakkai, and is repeatedly quoted as an authority concerning the arrangements of the temple, but cannot have been of earlier date than Akiba, since he frequently reports his sayings also. Also R. Judah ben Bethera, who is mentioned on the one hand as a contemporary of Elieser, on the other as a contemporary of R. Meir, and who must consequently have flourished in the period between the two, i.e. in the time of Akiba.

R. Judah, R. Joses, R. Meir and R. Simon, men of the next generation, are more frequently mentioned in the Mishna than all those hitherto named. Their labours however, having taken place in the middle of the second century, fall outside the limits of the period here dealt with.

Copyright ©1999-2016 e-Catholic2000.com