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MOVEMENTS IN JUDAISM 

PUBLISHED 

Zionism. By Richard J. H. Gottheil, Ph. D., Profettor of 
Semitic Languages in Columbia University, New 
York City. 

HiLLKNisM. By Norman Bentwich, author of "Philo- 
Judaeus of Alexandria," etc. 

IN PREPARATION 

Mysticism. By Joseph H. Hertz, Ph. D., Chief Rabbi of 
the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. 

Rationalism. By Isaac Husik, Ph. D. 

Reform Judaism. By Samuel Schulman, D. D., Rabbi of 
Temple Beth-El, New York City. 



MOVEMENTS IN JUDAISM 



HELLENISM 



« • a 



• • 



• • V 






• • ■ 



* • I 






• « 



• * 
• » 






COFYKIGNT. 1920. 
BY 

Tub Jswish publication Society op Ambbica 



269050 



V 



TO MY WIFE 
HELEN 

fVho represents for me the perfect union of 

Hebraism and Hellenism 

In Love 



€* 



I remember /tr thee the kindness of 
thy youth, the love of thine espousals; 
how thou v/entest after me in the 
vjilderness, in a land that was not sown,** 



CONTENTS 

PAGB 
PrEFACS II 

I. Introduction 15 

II. The Hellenistic Culture 51 

III. Hellenism in Palestine Till the Destruction of 

THE Temple 85 

IV. Hellenism in the Diaspora .' . . 126 

V. The Hellenistic-Jewish Literature 197 

VI. The Rabbis and Hellenism 250 

VII. The Aftermath 297 

VIII. Conclusion 331 

Notes 361 

Bibliography 377 

Index • • 381 



9 



PREFACE 

The title of this book should be rather Hellenisti- 
cism — if one might coin the word — than Hellenism, 
since it is concerned not with all the culture which 
produced the brilliant civilization of classical 
Hellas, but with its debasement which was spread 
over the world during the three centuries immedi- 
atcly preceding the Christian era. The Jewish 
people both in Palestine and the diaspora were 
constantly in contact with this Hellenistic influence 
which colored every aspect of their thought. In the 
first three centuries of the Christian era they were 
engaged in an incessant struggle with the products 
of that influence which determined the bent of their 
future development and the bent of the religious 
history of the world. The interaction of Judaism 
and Hellenistic culture is then one of the funda- 
mental struggFes in the march of civilization; and 
Hellenistic Judaism is, after the Bible, the most re- 
markable contribution of the Jewish genius to the 
world's thought. 

I have tried to show the relation of this develop- 
ment to the idea of Catholic Judaism, and have con- 

11 



PREFACE 

sidered the Hellenistic Jewish literature and 
philosophy from a standpoint of rabbinical tradi- 
tion. In taking up this position I differ from most 
of those who have treated of this epoch. They have 
been chiefly interested in the relation to Christian- 
ity, and have taken as the criterion of value the 
approximation of the teaching which finally broke 
away from Judaism. Even Moritz Friedlacnder, 
who has dealt with the subject in a number of 
books, professedly from a Jewish point of view, 
fixes his eyes on the Christian Church as the end of 
Hellenistic Judaism, and eulogizes the divergences 
from the rabbinical tradition with an ecstasy of 
which only a faithful convert is capable. It is a 
commonplace with this school to contrast the broad 
universalism of Hellenistic Judaism with the 
narrow legalism of the Pharisees which eventually 
prevailed in Palestine. Their view docs not com- 
mend itself to me. The fusion at which the univer- 
salists were aiming was not with the clear Hellenic 
reason, but with a lower amalgam of Greek and 
Oriental ideas which tended to debase Jewish 
monotheism. Nor was it the ethical teaching of 
Christianity which came from a Hellenistic devel- 
opment, but its dogmatic and gnostic elements. 

The preservation of historic Judaism was the lode- 

12 



PREFACE 

Star of the ancient Rabbis and the sufficient basis 
of their opposition to the strange doctrines. I have 
often found a parallel between the Jewish circum- 
stances of the present day and those which existed 
in the Hellenistic period ; and as this book is meant 
to be rather a popularized than a scholarly presen- 
tation, I have not refrained from pointing out the 
lesson. And I hope that the account of the con- 
flict of Judaism with the culture of the ancient 
world may have a direct interest for the Jewish 
life of our own day. 

The literature on the subject is abundant, though 
naturally the greater part of it is written from a 
Christian point of view. I have set out in the 
bibliography the chief works to which I have re- 
ferred, but there are two works to which I am un- 
der particular obligation : Schiirer's History of the 
Jewish People in the Time of Jesus, which. In spite 
of its title, covers nearly the whole Hellenistic 
period, and Bacher's Agada der Tannaiten, and 
Agada der Paldstinensischen Amor der, which 
form the best guide to rabbinical philosophy and 
theology. 

I have had to write the book at intervals and in 

different places, between legal work, and for the 

greater part of the time I have been away from a 
a 13 



PREFACE 

good Jewish library. I must ask indulgence there- 
fore for the inaccuracies which I doubt not will be 
found. Dr. Solomon Schechter, and my brother- 
in-law, Dr. Israel Friedlaender, made many helpful 
suggestions, and my debt of gratitude is still fresh 
for the more indefinite but more precious guidance 
which they have given me to the whole subject. 

London, SipUmbir, X9X5. 



14 






• •• 



o . •J 'J 



CHAPTER I •' 

INTRODUCTION 



• u c « 



In the first of the blessings which Balasurin prp- 
nounces upon the children of Israel, he cxclairjts^. 
" Lo, it is a people that shall dwell alone, and shall: 
not be reckoned among the nations." * Philo, ex- 
pounding the passage, adds: " Israel shall be apart 
not so much by reason of the separation of their 
homes or the cutting-off of their land, but by reason 
of the peculiarity of their customs; for they shall 
not mix with other peoples, so that they may not 
deviate from their distinctive way of life." * The 
idea of the separation and selection of Israel is the 
constant theme of the prophets, as it was the domi- 
nant motive of the Mosaic legislation. The Law 
not only contained a rigid prohibition against the 
paganism of the surrounding peoples and against 
intermarriage with idolaters, but enacted a way of 
life affecting the daily conduct of the individual, 
which had as its object the isolation of the nation in 
order to fit it for the moral mission. It has been 
said epigrammatically by a modern French writer 
that Judaism is not a religion (a force which binds 

15 



• • • 

* • • • 

► • • • 
• • • 



HEL^EfitlgM 

•*• ••* 

• 

men together) but 'lin/abliffion (a force which 
keeps them sep;i/a\e.]F. And for three thousand 
years it has jfSistVd'the pressure of other creeds. 

The nwiisf'^of the people, indeed, did not always 
remain foy^l to the principles of their teachers 

aj\d, lawgiver. Many a time " they mingled them- 

• • • • 

;'lM*lres with the heathen, and learned their works " ; ' 
• • • 

Vv. and most of the kings of Israel and Judah, indulg- 
ing the more material ambitions for territorial ag- 
grandizement, made alliances with their heathen 
neighbours, and imitated their ways, and were 
faithless to the ideal of a chosen people. But the 
prophets never allowed that ideal to die or to be- 
come obscured. While they denounced the idolatry 
of the backsliders, and foretold the destruction of 
the political power of the kingdom as a punishment 
therefor, they declared that, after the people had 
been chastened in exile, a remnant would return to 
Palestine to form there the centre of a spiritual 
supremacy over mankind. " And it shall come to 
pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that 
remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even 
every one that is written unto life in Jerusalem." * 

At the same time the prophets preached this 
idea of a universal Judaism, and already in tl^ose 

days the " sons of the stranger " were joining 

16 



INTRODUCTION 

themselves to the Lord. Foreseeing the captivity 
of the nation, they declared that Israel was to be 
" a light to the nations," and, taught by him, all the 

» 

families of the earth should come up to do worship 
upon the mountain of the Lord in Jerusalem. " My 
house shall be called a house of prayer for all 
peoples." * 

The destruction of the political kingdom came 
about as the prophets had foretold, and Israel and 
Judah were carried away captive to Assyria and 
Babylon. With other peoples the loss of political 
independence and their enforced exile from the na- 
tional territory have regularly marked the decline, 
and often the death, of their culture ; but with the 
Jewish people the reverse happened. Aroused to a 
consciousness of their transgressions by the national 
disaster, and to a consciousness of their peculiar 
spiritual heritage by closer contact with the idola- 
tries and superstitions of their Chaldean masters, 
the exiles were more receptive to the exhortations 
of the teachers who sought to inspire them. True, 
a section in Babylon thought that exile meant na- 
tional extinction and that assimilation was the only 
course open to them, and exclaimed : " We will be 
like the heathen, like the families of the coun- 

17 



HELLENISM 

tries." • " Our bones are dried up, and our hope 
IS lost; we are clean cut off." ' And the majority, 
though they remained loyal to the^ religion, pre- 
ferred their exile-homes, amid the brilliant material 
civilization of Babylon, to the return to their ruined 
land. But a sturdy remnant, cherishing the convic- 
tion of a national restoration, resisted the blandish- 
ments of their environment, and, when the oppor- 
tunity came, returned to Palestine to re-establish 
the cult of their fathers. So, too, of the large body 
of exiles, who, on the fall of Jerusalem, had gone 
down to Egypt with the prophet Jeremiah, a num- 
ber remained loyal, or rather returned to loyalty, to 
the Mosaic law, and preserved their national way 
of life. The Aramaic papyri, recently found in 
Assouan, establish the existence of Judean com- 
munities in Upper Egypt from the sixth century, 
living their own life separate from the rest of the 
population, worshipping at their own shrine, speak- 
ing their own language, observing the Passover, 
and in close touch with the national centre.* Some 
amount of syncretism colored their beliefs, for 
they seem occasionally to have paid homage to 
other deities besides the God of their fathers; but 
these strange ideas probably disappeared when the 

18 



INTRODUCTION 

whole nationality yielded to Ezra's great reforma- 
tion. 

Without committing oneself to the dogmatic 
speculations of the higher critics who are pleased 
to assign the composition of the Mosaic code to the 
period following the Restoration, it is clear from 
the historical narrative of the books of Ezra and 
Nehemiah that the religious organization of the 
Jewish people was much more thoroughly carried 
out after the return to Palestine than before the 
captivity. At Babylon, where the exiles had con- 
trived to keep the religion alive without the temple 
worship and its ritual, the foundation had been laid 
for two new institutions, the house of prayer and 
the house of study, the Bet ha-Keneset and the Bet 
ha-Midrash. When the faithful remnant returned, 
indeed, they first set about the work of rebuilding 
the temple, but they brought with them the habit of 
meeting for prayer and study, without ritual and 
without sacrifices, in local gatherings. Every vil- 
lage in Judea where a Jewish community was set- 
tled and every place in the dispersion where Jewish 
life flourished had its religious meeting-place and its 
teacher.* While the priests and the Lcvites were 
the hereditary leaders of the cult at the sanctuary, 

in the country scribes, distinguished for their 

19 



HELLENISM 

knowledge of the law and the traditions, were the 
leaders of the religious life. 

The dedication of the temple, the foundation of 
the central authority, known as the Men of the 
Great Synagogue, the definite ordering of the relig- 
ious life, and the restatement of the whole Law are 
alike ascribed to Ezra who came to Judea from 
Persia in the reign of Artaxerxes I (about 450 
B. C. E.). Most famous of the scribes, who were 
the popular teachers, and himself a member of the 
high-priestly family, Ezra stands out as the supreme 
influence in the foundation of a Jewish religious 
democracy. As it is said by the rabbis : " Ezra 
was worthy to be the bearer of the Law to Israel, 
had not Moses preceded him." " By his work, and 
the work of the organization which he called into 
being, the religious ideas and ideals of the prophets 
and the Mosaic law of holiness were woven into the 
life of the people, so that it became in very deed 
" a nation one on the earth," unique in its intense 
religious earnestness and its high moral standard. 
Now more than ever the Jews were a theocracy, a 
people devoted to the single idea of God. Knowl- 
edge of God was their conception of wisdom ; serv- 
; [jct of God their conception of virtue ; their poetry 

fwas the expression of the yearning of the soul for 

20 



INTRODUCTION 

God ; history was a religious drama in which God 
was the protagonist, judging the nations with 
righteousness; the conception of God was their^ 
philosophy — they did not require any other : their J 
faith in God and their religion were strong enough 
to satisfy their desire for knowledge. They felt 
the more deeply for the very limitation of their 
outlook. 

The Judaism of the Mosaic books, as organized 
by Ezra, was the first example in the history of hu- 
manity of a religion which was independent of a 
cult, and which was the basis of both national and 
personal morality. The Torah became a law of life 
to the individual, and the inheritance of the con- 
gregation of Jacob was handed down and amplified 
from generation to generation, and almost the 
whole intellectual activity was centered upon it. 
The scribes determined in its main lines the selec- 
tion of the holy writings which formed the nation's 
special possession. By the constant teaching and 
interpretation of these writings in the houses of 
study the Jews became, in a real sense, " the People 
of the Book." But the scribes were not merely the 
guardians of the tradition, they were active teachers 
who continually sought new themes to inspire the 

21 



HELLENISM 

people with love for their faith and for the Law. 
As Ben Sira writes at a rather later period : 

He that giveth his mind to the Law of the Most High, 

And is occupied in the meditation thereof, 

Will seek out the wisdom of the ancients and be occupied in 

prophecies ; 
He will keep the sayings of the renowned men, 
And where subtil parables are, he will be there also.^ 

The Wisdom of Ben Sira itself, though dating 
from the Hellenistic period, is typical of the literary 
activity of the scribes. The Greek translator rec- 
ommends it in the prologue because it contained 
wise sayings, dark sentences and parables, and cer- 
tain particular ancient godly stories of men that 
pleased God. Describing the origin of the book, he 
relates how his grandfather, Jesus ben Sira, " when 
he had much given himself to the reading of the 
Law and the Prophets and other books of our 
fathers, and had gotten therein good judgment, was 
drawn on also himself to write something pertaining 
to learning and wisdom, to the intent that those 
who are desirous to learn and are addicted to these 
things might profit much more in living according 
to the Law." 

Among the Jews, as among no other people, did 

the thought of its greatest teachers become a living 

22 



INTRODUCTION 

influence upon the mass. The words attributed to 
the Men of the Great Synagogue at the beginning 
of the Sayings of the Fathers: " Make a fence 
around the Torah, and raise up many disciples," 
illustrate the spirit which was working during the 
two centuries of Persian rule. The observance and 
study of the Law were the dominant interests. The 
outward conditions of Palestine conduced to the 
steady strengthening of the religious consciousness. 
For two hundred years the country was free alike 
from political complications and from religious in- 
tolerance. Simultaneously with the preaching of 
the great prophets of Israel, Zarathustra had de- 
nounced the paganism of the Persians, and incul- 
cated the principles of a higher religious belief. 
Hence the Persians hud an inherent sympathy with 
Jewish monotheism, and from the time of Cyrus till 
the fall of the empire they made no attempt to in- 
terfere with the religious observances and beliefs 
of their Jewish subjects 

The Jews of Babylon and Egypt were under the 
same tolerant sway as those in Palestine. In the 
book of Esther, it is true, we read of attempted per- 
secution in Persia itself, based on the charge that the 
people scattered through the dominions of Ahas- 
uerus had " laws diverse from those of every 

23 



HELLENISM 

people; neither keep they the king's laws" ; but 
the issue shows that the attempt was not successful. 
It was the outcome of a personal political intrigue 
and not of permanent popular feeling. On the 
other hand, the Jews were under no temptation to 
assimilate the ideas and manners of the Persians, 
who were mainly concentrated in the eastern parts 
of the empire, and who did not develop a dominant 
intellectual culture. The other subjects of the 
Persian dominions were a mixed multitude, lacking 
a strong national feeling; but the Jews retained 
and deepened their individuality, regarding their 
religious culture as the planks and timbers of which 
the nation was constructed. While the tolerant 
sway of the Persian empire preserved Judea from 
exterior disturbance, the circumstances of the people 
continued to isolate them from the influence of ex- 
ternal culture. The anti-Semites of the first 
century used to make it a reproach to the Jews that 
the Greek writers made no mention of them, which 
proved that they were a mushroom people. Jose- 
phus, in refuting the attack, explains the absence of 
communication with Hellas, in the period that pre- 
ceded Alexander's conquests, by the self-contained 
character of the land. " As for ourselves, there- 
fore, we neither inhabit a maritime country, nor do 

24 



INTRODUCTION 

we delight in commerce, nor in such communication 
with other men as arises from it ; but the places we 
dwell in are remote from the sea, and having a 
fruitful country for our habitation, we devote our- 
selves to its cultivation. Our principal care is this, 
to educate our children well, and we think it to be 
the most necessary business of our whole life to ob- 
serve the laws that have been given us, and to keep 
those rules of piety which have been handed down 
to us. Since, therefore, we have had a peculiar way 
of living, we had no occasion in ancient times for 
mixing with the Greeks, as they had for mixing with 
the Egyptians by their intercourse of exporting and 
importing commodities ; or as they mixed with the 
Phoenicians who lived on the sea-coast, by reason 
of their desire for gain in commerce." " 

Being essentially engaged in agriculture and de- 
voted to their own traditions, the Jewish people in 
Palestine were hot affected in the fifth and fourth 
centuries by the Hellenic civilization which, during 
that period, was spreading over the maritime 
provinces of Asia Minor. A few stray references 
to the Jewish practice of circumcision occur in 
Herodotus" and Aristophanes." The Bible, on 
the other hand, contains references to Javan (the 
Hebrew for Ionia) in Ezekiel (27. 13) where it is 

25 



HELLENISM 

mentioned as a mart of the Phoenicians, and in 
Isaiah (66. 19) where the prophet speaks of 
** Tubal and Javan, and the isles afar off that have 
not heard of the fame of God " ; and in Zechariah 
(9. 13) who speaks of God stirring up the sons of 
Zion against the sons of Javan. Some communica- 
tion, then, between Hellas and Palestine existed 
even in biblical times. As early as Joel," the mer- 
chants of Tyre and Sidon are denounced for having 
sold the children of Judah and Jerusalem unto the 
Greeks. Jewish slaves must have been brought to 
Greece, or at least to the greater Greece established 
on the Asiatic coast, in the heyday of Greek life. 

Nor is it impossible that the monotheistic utter- 
ances of the Ionian philosophers Xenophanes and 
Heraclitus in the fifth century B. C. E. were in some 
indirect fashion influenced by reports of the Jewish 
teaching about God. But if a few philosophers 
picked up some Jewish lore, there was no general 
intercourse or exchange of culture which had any 
permanent effect on thought. As Josephus again 
points out in his refutations of Apion, who charged 
the Jews with aloofness, the Greek city-states in 
their prime were equally aloof, and their culture 
was exclusively national. Plato ordained for his 

ideal Republic that it should not admit foreigners 

26 



INTRODUCTION 

to Intermix with its population, but should keep 
itself pure and consist only of such as persevered in 
their own laws. And this was the standpoint of the 
Hellenes of the classical age who regarded all for- 
eigners as " barbarians." A modem writer, con- 
trasting the work of Israel and Hellas, has said: 
" Both peoples felt themselves a peculiar people 
marked off from the surrounding races by distinc- 
tions more ineffaceable than those of blood — ^by its 
possession of intellectual or religious truths which 
determined the bent and meaning of history. For 
centuries their work went forward at the same time, 
but in disparate spheres, each nation unconscious of 
the other's existence." " Between Greeks and Bar- 
barians, between Israel and the heathen, there could 
be no intimacy, no union. Yet this very spirit of 
exclusiveness was one of the conditions which en- 
abled each to nurture and bring to maturity the 
life-giving germ which it bore within it. " While 
the Jews had developed their sublime idea of God, 
the Greeks were moved by an impulse for a many- 
sided culture. They were achieving in their little 
city-states, each with its intense national life, the 
art, the literature, the science, and the philosophy 
which have ever since been the inspiration of the 
civilized world." 

27 



HELLENISM 

It was not until the semi-Hellenized Macedonian 
prince Philip had destroyed the independence of 
these city-states, and his son Alexander, who suc- 
ceeded him to the sovereignty of Hellas, had con- 
quered the Persian empire, that the period of na- 
tional creation and national exclusiveness gave way 
to a period of international communication and 
cosmopolitan culture. Palestine fell into Alexan- 
der's possession in 332 B. C. E., Egypt a year later; 
and from that time the position of the Jewish peo- 
ple was changed. The aim as well as the effect of 
Alexander's conquests was to link up the East and 
the West not only politically, but also intellectually. 
National feeling hardly existed among the eastern 
peoples, save the Persians and the Jews: it was de- 
caying among the Greeks. Alexander sought to 
bring about a great fusion of ideas in a cosmopolitan 
empire, which, by a combination of racial excel- 
lences and national cultures in some larger expres- 
sion of political life than the Greek city-state, should 
advance the work of humanity and give expansion 
to the Hellenic spirit. Hellenism was to be domi- 
nant, but it was to be brought into contact with 
Oriental systems. The fusion of cultures was pre- 
pared by the physical intermingling of the various 
elements who were to build up together the new 

88 



INTRODUCTION 

civilization. To this end the conqueror established 
cities and colonies at the most vital points of his 
empire, and planted in them groups of his diverse 
subjects and, among others, of the Jews. 

The Talmud" and Josephus" contain several 
stories of the special regard which Alexander con- 
ceived for the Jewish people, but one and all are 
probably apocryphal. Nevertheless, it is not un- 
likely that the great conqueror realized the value 
for his imperial edifice of the one subject people in 
the Persian empire who had preserved in its purity 
a national culture; or that the pupil of Aristotle, 
who possessed a desire for knowledge equal 
to his master's, had some vague notion of the 
peculiar philosophic character of the Jewish belief. 
Plutarch records as one of Alexander's maxims that 
God was the father of all men, and especially of all 
the best men; and he held his mission to be the 
pacification of the whole world. If Josephus 
may be believed, Aristotle had been brought into 
touch with a Jew, and had acquired from him 
some knowledge of his religion. Clearchus, one 
of his disciples, relates a conversation which the 
master had with a man who was a Jew by 
birth, and came from Coele-Syria (the Greek name 
for Palestine). " These Jews," he continues, re- 
3 29 



HELLENISM 

porting Aristotle, " arc sprung from the Indian 
philosophers : they are named by the Indians KaXavoi 
and by the Syrians lovScuoi ; and they took their 
name from the country which they inhabit, Judea : 
but the name of their city is hard to pronounce, 
for they call it Hierousalem. Now this man being 
hospitably treated by the people, and having come 
down from the upper country to the places on the 
coast, became Hellenized, not only in language but 
also in mind ; so that when we were in Asia in the 
places where he resided, he conversed with us and 
the other philosophers and made a trial of our 
skill. And as he had much converse with learned 
men, he rather communicated the wisdom he him- 
self possessed." 

Aristotle, in the cited passage, goes on to tell of 
the remarkable temperance of the Jew in his diet 
and manner of life. Unfortunately, the book of 
Clearchus has not been preserved, and we have no 
other record of Aristotle's reflections on the Jewish 
people." But from this fragment and from that 
of another early Peripatetic philosopher, Theo- 
phrastus, it may be inferred that the Jews were re- 
garded in the school as a singular philosophical 
people worthy of study. The ideas of the Peripa- 
tetics were to some extent the ideas of Alexander; 

30 



INTRODUCTION 

and therefore the favorable treatment which he 
showed a people, materially of little account, may 
be partly due to the respect for their moral and cul- 
tural individuality. Yet, apart from these consider- 
ations, the Jews, on political and economic grounds, 
were a valuable element in his civilizing enterprise. 
They were already dispersed ; settlements of them 
were to be found in Mesopotamia, Persia, Egypt, 
Syria, and the Caucasian provinces, and the Greek 
conqueror was only continuing the policy of the 
Persian kings when he carried a number of them 
to the city at the Delta of the Nile which he designed 
and named after himself. 

Be the motives what they may, the effect of Alex- 
ander's action in transplanting the Jews from 
Palestine to different points of the empire was to ) 
mark a new stage in the extent of the Jewish dis- 
persion and a new epoch in the history of civiliza- 
tion. His action was followed by his successors, 
who split up his empire, but preserved his cosmo- . 
politan outlook. The Jewish colonists carried with j 
them their religious ordering of life and their or- 1 
ganization around the place of assembly and study,/ 
henceforth known by the Greek name of synagogues 
(i. e., assemblage). Recently archaralogists havej 
recovered a monumental record of the foundal 

31 I 



HELLENISM 

tion of a synagogue at Alexandria in 308 B. C. E., 
and similar inscriptions from the following century 
are frequent. Recognized as a separate national- 
ity, the Jews were allotted a special quarter in the 
Hellenistic cities, not by way of restriction, but as a 
privilege; and they were allowed to exercise their 
own autonomous jurisdiction, so that their peculiar 
manner of life might not be infringed.* Alexan- 
der's aim was not to destroy the individual charac- 
teristics of his diverse subjects, or to enforce one 
uniform culture upon them all, but to bring together 
different peoples in order that from the exchange 
of their ideas some fruitful union should arise. 

The first Ptolemy (Lagus), who secured Egypt 
and Palestine in the scramble for empire which fol- 
lowed Alexander's death, increased the numbers of 
the Jewish colony at Alexandria, and distributed 
thirty thousand soldiers from Judea in Egyptian 
garrisons.** The dynasty which he founded, and 
which for over a century ruled over the territory he 
had gained, maintained, with hardly an inter- 
ruption, these principles of tolerance, and thereby 
secured the loyalty of the Jewish population. If 
we are to believe the narrative of the third book 
of the Maccabees, towards the end of the third 
century B. C. E. occurred a persecution of the 

82 



INTRODUCTION 

Egyptian Jews; but, like the attack of Haman, 
the movement was based on temporary political 
animosity, and did not result in any permanent 
dislike. Again, Seleucus I, who at the beginning 
of the third century carved out for himself a 
Syrian empire from the eastern portion of Alex- 
ander's conquests, settled a number of Jews in his 
foundation of Antioch and other less celebrated 
colonies. He accorded them civic rights as well as 
autonomy for their own concerns, and made no at- 
tempt to interfere with their religious liberty." 
Even if, as several scholars hold, the royal decrees, 
quoted by Josephus, should not be authentic, it is 
clear that during the third century the Jewish settle- 
ments in Egypt and Syria were steadily growing in 
importance, and that their privileges were main- 
tained throughout the shifting domination of their 
warring rulers. 

The Jews in that period as to-day were dispersed 
over the civilized world. Strabo, the famous 
geographer, who just before the beginning of the 
Christian era wrote a large historical work, says in 
a fragment about them : " They have penetrated 
already into every state, so that it is difficult to find 
a single place in the world in which their tribe has 

not been received and become dominant." * Strabo 

83 



HELLENISM 

is a careful and accurate writer, and as he was a 
considerable traveller, he could speak from per- 
sonal knowledge. There is the less reason to doubt 
his testimony about the extent of the Jewish dis- 
persion, because it is supported not only by the Jew- 
ish authorities, Philo and Josephus, who doubtless 
are prone to exaggerate the importance of their 
people, but also by documentary evidence which 
cannot lie — ^the inscriptions and epitaphs of the 
age. 

The dispersion had begun seven centuries earlier, 
when the people of Israel were carried off by the 
king of Assyria to the banks of the Tigris and 
Euphrates; and it went on continuously and increas- 
ingly, partly by voluntary and partly by forced 
migrations, whilst the numbers of the Jewish popu- 
lation in the Greek cities were largely augmented 
by the adhesion of proselytes. The ten tribes of 
Israel never returned to their national land,"* but, 
remaining beyond the Euphrates, may have become 
the nucleus of a later Jewish settlement in that re- 
gion. Moreover, only a small section of the Judeans 
returned with Zerubbabel after the Babylonian cap- 
tivity to Palestine, when Cyrus granted the restora- 
tion of the nation and the temple, and many more 
remained in the Persian realm. The chief Jewish 

34 



INTRODUCTION 

centres in the far East were Babylon, Seleucia, 
Nisibis, and Nehardea ; but throughout the country 
they were powerful, and at times they made them* 
selves independent of the civil power. A Baby- 
lonian Jew in the first century B. C. E. founded a 
little kingdom; and some time later two Jews of 
Nehardea, named Asineus and Anileus, gathered 
around them a band of daring spirits, and estab- 
lished a robber-principality which defied the Par- 
thian and the Roman governments." About the 
same period the rulers of Adiabene, a kingdom east 
of the Tigris, and some of their subjects were con- 
verted to Judaism, and threw in their lot with the 
Jewish nation in their struggle for freedom. In an 
eastern direction, then, the Jewish dispersion ex- 
tended as far as and beyond the limits of Greek 
and Roman expansion, and helped to fix the 
boundaries of Hellenistic culture and Roman rule. 
The Jewish population formed a kind of buffer-state 
between the Graeco-Roman world and the Bar- 
barians, a bufler-state in which Hellenistic culture 
had a place, but a subordinate place. 

The first impulse of the Jewish diaspora which 
was set up by the Babylonian captivity was toward 
the East, the second, which was stimulated by Alex- 
ander's conquests, was towards Egypt and Syria. 

36 



HELLENISM 

Their part in the foundation of Alexandria has 
already been noted ; and under the almost unbroken 
favor of the ruling dynasty, their colony continu- 
ally increased. Philo estimates that in his own 
day, I. ^., at the commencement of the Christian 
era, there were one million Jews in Egypt, of whom 
a quarter part were at Alexandria.* Two of the 
five districts into which the city was divided were 
entirely peopled by them. They largely controlled 
the important corn trade of the Nile, and the ala- 
barch, whose function it was to regulate the com- 
merce of the Delta, was frequently chosen from 
their community. Alexandria was the centre of the 
Jewish community in Egypt and the second Jewish 
city in the world ; but there were considerable settle- 
ments stretching up the Nile as far as modem 
Abyssinia. A special Jewish district was estab- 
lished in the Delta around Leontopolis, where, at 
the time of the Seleucid persecution, the exiled 
priest Onias obtained permission to erect a temple to 
be a new centre of Jewish worship. The temple, 
which had its special ritual, outlived the sanctuary 
at Jerusalem by three years, but it never obtained a 
position to rival the authority of the central shrine. 
The account in the Talmud of its foundation, ac- 
cording to which one Rabbi held that Onias built it 

36 



INTRODUCTION 

for the glory of God, while another maintained 
that it was for the propagation of heresy, indicates 
that the sages regarded it with dubious respect." 

Inscriptions have revealed the existence of a Jew- 
ish ccHnmunity at Arthritis * and the dedication of a 
synagogue " to the most high God," which points 
to a congregation which was sympathetic enough 
with Hellenistic ideas to admit subordinate deities. 
The Fayyum papyri likewise show records of 
a synagogue ("iappdnov) of the second century 
B. C* E. 

Westwards the Jewish settlements stretched 
along the African coast. Cyrene, the territory 
neighboring to Egypt which had been scmi- 
Hellenized since the sixth century, had a Jewish 
colony that enjoyed equal rights with the Greeks 
from the time of Ptolemy Lagus. Strabo divides 
the population of the district into four parts : Citi- 
zens (i. e., presumably, persons with the full Greek 
rights), peasants, metics (resident aliens), and 
Jews." Earlier than the colony at Cyrene, earlier 
perhaps than the establishment of any other colony, 
the Jews must have had a settlement in the 
Phoenican city of Carthage. Perhaps some were 
taken there as slaves by the merchants of Tyre and 
Sidon, for the Septuagint translates Tarshish in the 

87 



HELLENISM 

book of Isaiah*" by the word Kapxrfi^v (Car- 
thage), and near Carthage, at the coast town of 
Boricum, a temple was standing in the reign of 
Justinian, which was said to have been founded by 
King Solomon. This indicates the tradition of 
early Jewish settlement in the region ; and recently a 
vast Jewish necropolis has been found near the site 
of the old city. 

In Syria the only Jewish colony of which the 
foundation is specially marked is that of Antioch." 
But the early Seleucid emperors, in furtherance of 
the previous policy, moved the Jews from the plains 
of Mesopotamia, and encouraged their settlement 
in all parts of their realm. They flourished es- 
pecially at the centres of the empire : at Antioch, its 
capital, Apamea, its military headquarters, and 
Tarsus, its chief seat of culture." Further they 
were spread over Asia Minor and the islands off the 
coast. The letters which, according to the author 
of the first book of Maccabees, the Roman consul 
wrote, to the subject-allies and friends of Rome 
to seal the alliance which the Senate had made with 
Simon the Maccabee, were sent ** to Demetrius (of 
Syria), to Attalus (of Pergamus) and to Ariara- 
thes (of Cappadocia) andtoArsaces (of Parthia), 

and unto all the countries, and to Lampsacus (?) 

38 



INTRODUCTION 

and to the Spartans and unto Delos and unto M yn- 
dos and unto Sicyon and unto Caria and unto Samos 
and unto Pamphylia, and unto Lycia and unto Hali- 
camassus and unto Rhodes and unto Phaselis and 
unto Cos and unto Side, and Gortyna and Cnidus 
and Cyprus and Cyrene." ** 

The Roman document (which, if genuine, dates 
from 139 B. C. E. ) > though it does not conclusively 
point to the existence of Jewish communities in all 
these territories, at least argues that they were 
known along the coast of Asia at the time, and also 
in the Greek islands. The journeys of the first 
Christian apostles are evidence that two centuries 
later synagogues did in fact exist in these places. 
Some congregations may have originated with the 
Hebrew slaves who were sold in distant countries 
from the time of the captivity, but a voluntary 
stream of expansion was started by the great na- 
tional and religious revival which the Maccabean 
victories initiated. The Jews, in fact, took the 
place in the Hellenistic and Graeco-Roman world, 
which the Phoenicians had occupied in the Myce- 
naean and Hellenic ages, as an international people, 
with these differences, that they established more 
permanent settlements, adopted more thoroughly 

the surrounding culture, and at the same time ex- 

39 



HELLENISM 

erted a more profound influence upon their en- 
vironment. From the islands and from Alexan- 
dria they made their way to the mainland of Greece, 
and the journeys of the apostle Paul prove the ex- 
tent of their expansion by the first century in this 
direction, as well as along the Mediterranean 
shores. He visited congregations at Thessalonica, 
Beroea, Philippi, Corinth, Athens, and as far west 
as lUyricum. Jerome, some centuries latei^ speaks 
of the Jewish colonies as forming an uninterrupted 
chain from Maurctania (Morocco) to the Indies. 
Scattered though they were over the whole of the 
Hellenistic world and beyond, the Jewish com- 
munities possessed a solidarity lacking to every 
other people. Their settlements Occupied a posi- 
tion which may be contrasted with that of the old 
Greek colonies along the shores of the Mediterra- 
nean Sea. These had been centres of intellectual 
civilization, whereas the Jewish colonies were cen- 
tres of distinctive religious and moral life. The 
bond of unity with the motherland among the 
Greeks had been mainly sentimental, and often dis- 
appeared with conflicting interests; but the Jews of 
the diaspora were linked together with the centre 
of the nation and the religion by the existence of a 

supreme legislative body, the Jerusalem Sanhedrin, 

40 



INTRODUCTION 

and a supreme sanctuary, the Jerusalem temple. 
The institution of the yearly money-offering for 
the temple worship and the three yearly pilgrim- 
ages to Jerusalem at the time of the festivals 
not only symbolized, but consolidated the unity 
of the people. According to Josephus, no less 
than 2,700,000 males gathered together in the 
city at the time of these great pilgrimages," of 
whom by far the larger proportion came from 
the Jewish colonies. And in view of these immense 
gatherings of devotees, one can understand the 
boast of Philo when he calls Jerusalem the capital 
" not of one nation but all nations," " At the same 
time the cohesion of the Jews in each city was 
maintained by the institution of the synagogue, 
and in more important centres by the large 
measure of local self-government which was se- 
cured to them. The synagogues were the meeting- 
places of Jews and those sympathetic to their 
ideas, not merely for prayer and learning but 
for general purposes. They were the centres of 
Jewish life and culture in the broad sense. Their 
organization has many points of resemblance with 
that of the Greek towns, suggesting that they were 
in themselves little townships. As Renan says, 
" The Jews had a patriotism aiming not at the 

41 



HELLENISM 

formation of great compact states, but of little au- 
tonomous communities in the bosom of other 
states." The exact form of the constitution of their 
communities is uncertain ; it has to be reconstructed 
from a number of inscriptions, but it appears to 
have been on the following lines. An indefinite 
number of archons (rulers) regulated the affairs 
of the synagogue with or without a deliberative 
council. Associated, and occasionally identical, 
with the archons were an indefinite number of re- 
ligious heads, entitled archisynagogi, whose duty, 
it is conjectured, was to preach on the sabbath and 
give instruction in Jewish law. The title without 
the duties was given to those who had done good 
service for the congregation, whether born Jews or 
proselytes. Benefactors of the community might 
also receive the right of a special seat ( vpocBpia ) ; 
and sometimes a golden crown, in imitation of the 
habits of Greek cities, was presented to them. 

The Jews then recognized themselves, and were 
recognized by others, as a separate society; and 
where they were numerous, or their settlements were 
of old standing, they occasionally formed an 
autonomous " ethnos," sometimes living in a sepa- 
rate i|iiarter.'' The rights of such an ethnic com- 
munity varied, but in all cases its officers possessed 

42 



INTRODUCTION 

a power of taxation for the purpose of the contri- 
bution to the temple and the local needs, and a civil 
and petty criminal jurisdiction over disputes be- 
tween Jews and on matters of Jewish law." The 
Alexandrian community had powers of taxation 
entirely independent of those of the Greek city. But 
this position was exceptional. It had also its own 
Sanhedrin or Bet Din, which administered the Mo- 
saic law. The organization of archons and council 
was frequently applied to the larger ethnic groups 
as well as to the single synagogues. Thus, in the 
time of Philo the affairs of the Alexandrian com- 
munity were directed by a number of archons and 
a council, probably of seventy-one members (which 
was the number of the supreme council of the nation 
at Jerusalem). Previously one supreme genearch 
or ethnarch had governed the Jews, and " like the 
governor of an independent city enforced the fulfil- 
ment of the national duties and the observance of 
the laws." " Similarly at Antioch a single archon, 
and at Damascus a single ethnarch, was responsible 
for the good order of the community.^ And at 
Cyrene, says Strabo, the Jews had their own gov- 
ernor as if an independent polity. 

In certain favored towns, where their settlements 
were of ancient standing, the Jews had the full po- 

43 



HELLENISM 

litical rights of the city as well as their own autono- 
mous rights. They formed a separate tribe or 
Phyle, and therefore were relieved from taking a 
part in the religious cults which were an important 
feature of Hellenistic municipal life. Elsewhere 
they had special rights as a separate community, but 
were not citizens of the city or the empire (as a 
body). Whether full citizens or not, they pre- 
served, by their organization into synagogues and 
by the organization of their several synagogues 
again within a town, a distinct and separate na- 
tional-religious existence with a strong sense of cor- 
porate life. A powerful religious consciousness 
flourished among their groups, and gave them a 
solid strength which was proof against envy and 
hatred, seduction and force. Jewish separatism 
was the source of the dislike which the natives, and 
especially the Greeks, felt toward them ; but it was 
the foundation of their strength ; it was not so much 
a barrier against the admission of Gentiles to their 
community, as a wall of protection against the in- 
troduction of pagan ideas into their life. They 
contrived to maintain national life in an interna- 
tional diaspora. When other peoples were losing 
their individual stamp through a characterless 

amalgamation of cultures, they preserved intact the 

44 



INTRODUCTION 

distinctive moral and social outlook of Judaism; 
and when the city-state was ceasing to foster any 
high ideal of life, they established a new form of 
association which provided a powerful motive of 
conduct for thousands who had not been born in 
their nation. The synagogal organization of the 
diaspora not only gave Judaism the necessary mould 
for resistance against foreign ideas, but fitted it to 
become a centre of universal idealism amid the de- 
nationalized mass of humanity. 

While, on the one hand, the Jews were dispersed 
by their settlements among the Hellenistic peoples, 
it was jpart of the plan of Alexander, which was 
faithfully maintained by his successors, to introduce 
the Greek people into all parts of the empire. 
Lower Syria, especially, as one of the strategic cen- 
tres, received a large Hellenic population. Instead 
of uprooting the population of the subject countries, 
as Eastern conquerors had done, the Greeks took 
their own country to them. Alexander is said to 
have planted Macedonian colonies at Samaria, at 
Scythopolis (the old Beth-shean), at the east end 
of the plain of Esdraelon where the high road to 
Damascus descended to the Jordan valley, and also 
at Neapolis (Schechem) , the old centre of the king- 
dom of Israel. The Ptolemies went further, and 
4 45 



HELLENISM 

subsequently surrounded the Judean plateau with 
Greek cities. 

Many anthropologists regard the ancient Phil- 
istines as immigrants into Palestine from Crete, 
who brought the culture of the Aegean Islands to 
the East, and in their struggles with the Hebrews 
marked the first clashing of East and West.** The 
new Philistia was more certainly peopled by the 
Greek settlers. Within a century all along the 
Palestinian coast, and likewise in the country east 
and north-east of Jordan, a string of Greek cities 
were organized as semi-independent city-states, and 
beset Judea, as it were, with a wall of Hellenistic 
culture. On the coast were Gaza, Ascalon, Azotus 
(Ashdod), Joppa (the modem Jaffa), ApoUonia, 
Doris, Sycamina Polis (on the site of the modern 
Haifa ) , and Ptolemais or Acco (the modern Acre) ; 
while in the trans-Jordan districts of Peraea, then 
one of the most fertile parts of Asia, a league of ten 
Greek cities, known as the Decapolis, comprised 
Damascus, Gadara, Gerasa, Dium, Philadelphia, 
Pella, Raphia, Scythopolis, Hippo, and Canetha.** 

To this day no part of the eastern world can show 
so many and such striking Greek ruins as the coun- 
try east of the Jordan. The plateau of Judea alone 
remained free from Greek settlements : its soil was 

46 



INTRODUCTION 

not fertile enough to attract Macedonian colonists. 
But the whole of Galilee, which already in the days 
of Isaiah was known as Galilee of the Gentiles,* 
was inhabited by a mixed population in which the 
Jews were at first a minority. The provinces of 
Gaulanitis, Batanea, Trachonitis, and Auranitis, to 
the east of Palestine proper, had likewise Hellen- 
ized, and for the most part non- Jewish, inhabitants. 
In fact. South Judea alone possessed a compact 
Jewish population during the third and the greater 
part of the second century. The Greek cities dis- 
played, superficially, a complete establishment of 
Greek institutions and customs — ^magnificent tem- 
ples to the Greek gods and goddesses, local myths 
about the Greek heroes and heroines, gymnasia, 
public baths, annual celebrations of games, and in 
many cases philosophical schools and academies. 
Archaeology proves the rapid growth of Greek art 
and Greek ideas in the country, and one of the most 
splendid monuments of Hellenistic sculpture, the 
so-called Sarcophagus of Alexander, is from Sidon. 
The Stoic teachers of Ascalon were famous, as were 
its grammarians and historians; while Gadara, on 
the east of the lake of Galilee, produced in the sec- 
ond century a distinguished Epicurean philosopher, 

Philodemus, and a distinguished epigrammatic 

47 



HELLENISM 

poet, Mcleager. Greek was the common language 
throughout the Hellenized districts around Judea, 
and indeed through all the Hellenized kingdoms 
from Macedonia to India — not the pure classical 
idiom of Athens, but a conventionalized dialect 
known as the Koivrj, i. e., the common tongue or 
lingua franca. Thus, by the middle of the third cen- 
tury, when the Hellenizing process had firmly im- 
pressed the vast territory that Alexander had 
brought under his dominion, Judea and the Jews 
were, in large measure, isolated. The central com- 
munity in Palestine and the scattered congregations 
in the dispersion were alike surrounded by a Hellen- 
ized environment, speaking a common language, 
participating in common cults, sharing a common 
way of life, and professing common cosmopolitan 
ideals. A certain national feeling still survived in 
the home of Greek culture, a few remnants of it in 
Egypt; but, for the rest, save in the Jewish com- 
munities without as well as within Judea, there was 
an utter decay of national patriotism, a rush to a 
glittering, soulless cosmopolitanism, a divesting of 
national traditions, and a superficial adoption of a 
new culture. 

It was impossible that the Jews, living in the 

midst of such a disintegrated society, and forming 

48 



INTRODUCTION 

part of a " melting-pot empire," should not be 
affected by the denationalizing tendencies. They 
were encompassed by an influence as subtle as the at- 
mosphere. Little or no attempt was made to compel 
them to uniformity, but the very absence of external 
pressure made the resistance to the surrounding 
ideas the harder. Persecution, as all history has 
shown, is calculated to strengthen the individuality 
of the persecuted, and assimilation is most difficult 
to combat when there is toleration of the differences 
of a minority by a dominant majority. It was only 
the profound working of the synagogue and the re- 
ligious law upon the mass of the people, and the 
consciousness of being a chosen people entrusted 
with a spiritual heritage, that preserved the Jews 
from absorption in the stream of Hellenism which 
dissolved every other form of culture. Some 
amount of assimilation and imitation inevitably 
took place. When it came into contact with tri- 
umphant Hellenism, the Jewish life lacked all that 
elegance and refinement, the beauty of form, and the 
ministration to the aesthetic senses which the 
Greeks had strikingly developed in their national 
life and carried far and wide in their dispersion. 
Moreover, Jewish thought lacked that systematic 

expression of intellectual ideas, the searching out of 

49 



HELLENISM 

nature, and the inquiry into ultimate causes which 
represented the deeper note of the Hellenic spirit, 
and now, to an extent, became the common property 
of the cultured world. Greek manners, Greek 
words, Greek ideas, were introduced into Judea: 
the Greek language and Greek culture made their 
way more thoroughly into the communities of the 
diaspora. The two advances of Hellenization, 
which progressed under different conditions for the 
two main parts of the Jewish people, must be exam- 
ined separately; the outcome in each was different, 
but the struggle in both cases centered around the 
same point: the national religion. The essential 
conflict between Hebraism and Hellenism ih the 
ancient world was a conflict between monotheism 
and paganism. But in order to appreciate the 
nature of the struggle and its importance in the 
history of human development, it is necessary to 
consider the character of the Hellenism with which, 
in the third and second centuries before the 
Christian era, Judaism was brought face to face. 



CHAPTER II 

THE HELLENISTIC CULTURE 

The late Professor Butcher, in a lecture on 
Hebraism and Hellenism, quotes a verse of some 
ancient poet : 

Thus the sharp contrast of the sculptor's plan 
Showed the two primal paths our race has trod* 
Hellas, the nurse of man complete as man, 
Judea, pregnant with the living God. 

This antithesis between Hellenism and Hebraism 
was impressed somewhat differently upon the 
English people by a teacher of the last century, who 
had a remarkable power of fixing general ideas in 
pointed phrases and establishing epigrammatic 
judgments upon the history of civilization. Mat- 
thew Arnold laid down, with an insistence which al- 
most repels question, that " the uppermost idea 
with Hellenism is to see things as they really are, 
the uppermost idea with Hebraism Is conduct and 
obedience." The ruling principle in the one case 
is spontaneity of consciousness; in the other strict- 
ness of conscience. The Greeks were objective, 

51 



HELLENISM 

the Hebrews subjective in their outlook. Now the 
contrast between the Hebrew people, concentrating 
their thought on God and morality, and the 
Hellenic people, developing to their highest ex- 
cellence the human faculties and especially the 
power of reason, is broadly true. While their 
independent city-states flourished from the eighth 
to the third century, the Greeks, or Hellenes, as they 
arc more properly called,* developed a literary, a 
plastic, and a dramatic art, such as no other people 
at any epoch has equalled ; they evolved a system of 
social and political life more harmonious and more 
beautiful than any subsequent development of the 
state; and, lastly, they fostered a freedohi of 
thought and an intellectual searching into the nature 
of things which have been an inspiration to every 
enlightened age. On the other hand, the people of 
Israel and Judah had produced but little of special 
excellence in any of these directions, save a body of 
laws, which they held to be divinely revealed, and a 
collection of writings dealing with God's relation to 
the individual man and to the nation and with the* 
individual and national conception of God. But 
they had organized a system of life based upon 
these laws and writings, which embodied the lofty 

conceptions of their sages, and made the daily con- 

52 



THE HELLENISTIC CULTURE 

duct of the mass an expression of the national phil- 
osophy. There had been no such thorough impreg- 
nation of the Hellenic national life with the thought 
of the philosophers. While the cultivation and ap- 
preciation of beauty were a common possession, the 
search for truth and the acquisition of knowledge 
had been throughout, even in the most brilliant 
periods of culture, the .pursuit of the few. The 
mass of the people retained the primitive notions 
about the nature of the divinity and the rudi- 
mentary ideas of morality, of which the deeper 
thinkers had exposed the falseness. 

Thus, side by side with the most finely-trained 
sense of physical excellence and literary form, a 
crude polytheism and dark superstitious practices 
existed in Hellas. In the heyday of Greek life the 
high standard of public morality which was evoked 
by the sense of the individual's duty to the state, 
checked the lower instincts of paganism. But with 
the decay of patriotism in the city-state, which 
finally led to the conquest of Hellas by the semi-civ- 
ilized Macedonian power, the sanction of public 
morality passed away, and a moral decline was 
bound to follow. " The Greek state," said the late 
Professor Caird, " and the ethical harmony of life 

realized in it, could be regarded only as the creation 

53 



HELLENISM 

of a people of artists, who by a combination of skill 
and good fortune had for once moulded the 
untoward matter of human existence into a political 
work of art." But neither the state, nor the 
ethical harmony of life realized in it was capable of 
transplantation to the Greater Greece which was 
constituted by the conquests of Alexander the Great. 
The Hellenistic culture which was spread over Alex- 
ander's empire was very different from the Hellenic 
culture which had flourished in the communities 
acquired by Philip of Macedon. The outward 
show of the life of the city-state could be repro- 
duced — the temples with their columns and orna- 
ments, the splendid public places of meeting and 
amusement, the gymnasia with their contests, the 
festal processions with their music and dancing, the 
civic theatres with their mythological dramas, and 
the academies with their teachers and scholars — all 
these were multiplied over vast kingdoms. But 
the ideal spirit of struggle for human perfection, 
which had given to Hellenic culture its distinctive 
excellence, was lacking in the imitation, and the 
defect deprived it of the old ennobling influence. 
Just as in the Hellenistic age the creative power in 
art died away, so also the freedom of thought and 
the intellectual eagerness were wanting. " Hellen- 

64 



THE HELLENISTIC CULTURE 

ism properly so-called never passed over into Asia 
. . . . Its living force, productive genius, self- 
organizing power, and active spirit of political com- 
munion were stifled and gradually died out. All 
that passed was a faint and partial resemblance of 
it, carrying the superficial marks of the original." * 
We may think, by way of comparison, of the 
Frenchified civilization of the Levant in our own 
time, which is a poor imitation of the genuine 
French culture. 

It was then, for the most part, a soulless culture 
which the half-Hellenized Macedonians and the 
degenerate offspring of the Hellenic city-state 
brought to the East. Its religious teaching did not 
form an organic element in the life of the citizen, 
and was either an intellectual diversion, or a way of 
salvation for souls weary of the world. And when 
it was mingled with Oriental ideas, it degenerated 
into an altogether bastard growth of sensuality and 
rationalism. The Hellenistic city-state which was 
spread over Alexander's empire, missed the intel- 
lectual and spiritual excellence of its model. The 
mixed population which inhabited it had a varnish, 
as it were, of high culture ; but below the varnish a 
motley mixture of primitive superstitions, barbarous 
fears and feelings, coarse passions, and crude ideas 

65 



HELLENISM 

and beliefs, springing out of the old eastern cults, 
marred the Hellenic conception of life. 

The two deeper influences which the Hellenistic 
civilization conveyed over the Oriental world were : 
i) the religious cults; 2) the philosophical sys- 
tems ; th€ first designed for the masses, the second 
for the select band of intellectuals. Both soon 
showed a remarkable degradation from the spirit of 
Hellenism in its home. Lacking a mould of re- 
sistance to outside influences such as Hebraism pos- 
sessed in its sacred law and its organization in 
synagogues, Hellenism received from its new en- 
vironment many impurities. In order to appreciate 
its decadence in the diaspora, we may briefly con- 
sider the Hellenic religion of the classical age. 

The Olympian hierarchy was primarily an in- 
terpretation of nature. The elements, the celestial 
bodies, and the native forces, which formed the raw 
material of polytheism among every people, were 
invested by the fertile and beautiful fancy of the 
Hellenes with a full personality, and reproduced in 
the heavens all the "passions and pleasures, the 
wishes and quarrels, of the human family." * In or- 
der that man should be at home in the world and 
preserved from fear of the unseen powers about 
him, " all that is unintelligible, all that is alien to 

60 



THE HELLENISTIC CULTURE 

him, has been drawn, as it were, from its dark re- 
treat, clothed in radiant form, and presented to the 
mind as a glorified image of itself." * While the 
Hebraic seer soared straight to the idea of one, 
supreme, transcendental Ruler, ordaining all things 
in heaven and earth, removed above all human 
qualities, yet in close communion with man through 
the law of righteousness which He revealed to them, 
the Hellenic poet transformed every phenomenon 
of nature, black night and rosy-fingered dawn, earth 
and sun, winds and rivers, sleep and death, into 
separate divine and conscious agents, to be propiti- 
ated by prayer, interpreted by divination, compre- 
hended by passions and desires identical with those 
which stir and control mankind. The human pas- 
sions and faculties themselves, which, though part 
of man, seemed to possess him from without, were 
invested by the mythological and plastic mind of 
the Hellene with divine personality. Converting 
nature-powers which his ancestors had brought 
from the East to new spiritual values, he incarnated 
in Aphrodite the passion of love, in Ares the lust of 
war, in Athene wisdom, and in Apollo the arts. 

But as Hellenic life found its highest expression 
in the city, the Hellenic theodicy was closely associ- 
ated with the community. The gods and the divine 

67 



HELLENISM 

heroes were the founders and the sustainers of civil 
society; and not only the community as a whole, but 
its separate minor organs were under the protection 
of patron deities. The state's relation to the gods 
was expressed in ritual and art, in the festal games, 
the dramatic performances, the splendid proces- 
sions, the majestic temples, the idealized statues, of 
which the record and the relics have aroused the 
admiration of every succeeding age. And together 
the Olympian gods were the protectors and guardi- 
ans of Hellenic national life, preserving it from con- 
tamination by the inferior barbarian peoples, and 
animating it with the consciousness of a common 
origin and common beliefs. 

Now in the prime of Hellas this religious system, 
created by the poetic fancy and the harmonizing 
spirit of the people, had satisfied their minds and 
had given a real inspiration to life. But when 
philosophers began to reflect and speculate about 
the nature of reality, its lack of truth and serious- 
ness and its weakness as a moral influence became 
apparent. The two dominating principles of 
Hellenism, the desire to know the truth of things 
and the desire to harmonize life, were in conflict. 
Hence the greatest poets and philosophers of the 
golden age of Hellenism in the fifth and fourth 

68 



THE HELLENISTIC CULTURE 

centuries protested against the popular religion. 
Aristophanes genially ridicules it; Euripides dra- 
matically impugns its anthropomorphism; finally 
Plato in his ideal Republic proposes to root it out, 
and substitute in its place the idea that '* God is a 
being of perfect simplicity and truth, both in deed 
and in word, and neither changes in himself, nor 
imposes upon others either by apparitions or by 
words, or by sending signs, whether in dreams or in 
waking moments." * 

The Greek sages attained to a lofty conception 
of God, and were fully conscious of the falseness 
and also of the demoralizing influence of the cur- 
rent ipaganism; and the most splendid of them 
formulated a conception of the divine goodness and 
unity which does not fall far short of the Hebraic 
monotheism. They identified God, indeed, with 
some abstract or metaphysical term, and did not 
invest Him with life and personality; and con- 
ceived Him rather as a final than an efficient active 
cause — that toward which all existence moves, more 
than that from which all being comes. Yet they did 
clear away from the idea of the divinity the crude 
material mythology, and associated it with morality. 
But whereas the prophets and the scribes and the 
Men of the Great Synagogue not only swept away 

59 



HELLENISM 

the vestiges of idolatry, but made the belief in one 
universal God and the observance of the law of 
righteousness part of the life of the Jewish people, 
the Hellenic philosophers and poets did not affect 
the ideas of the main body of their fellows. The 
saying that Hellenism paid regard to beauty and 
Judaism to conduct has this amount of truth: in 
Hellas it was the feeling for beauty, in Judea the 
law of righteousness which impregnated the mass 
and determined the distinctive character of the 
people. And when Judaism and Hellenism ex- 
panded outside their national boundaries, these were 
the contrasted ideas which they carried with them 
into the diaspora. 

The Homeric mythology remained the basis of 
the state religion in the Hellenistic empires, but, 
with the spread of rationalism, its hoUowness was 
thinly veiled. The religion of the Greeks, which 
had become the amusement of their scepticism, now 
decayed into an empty ceremonial. The priests 
tried to satisfy the people with fine shows, but made 
no attempt to influence conduct. Even the shows, 
after a time, lost their attraction, and it is signifi- 
cant that the word which originally meant consecra- 
tion came to imply careless performance. 

60 



THE HELLENISTIC CULTURE 

If the philosophers failed to raise the people to 
their higher conceptions, the sophists who were the 
popular lecturers, and, as it were, the journalists of 
the day, did succeed in spreading a cheap and crude 
scepticism which undermined such faith in the old 
divine hierarchy as remained. Rationalism is the 
stamp of the first two centuries of Hellenistic 
culture. But the common people will always re- 
quire some object of worship, and the Hellenistic 
age saw the growth of a number of new cults which 
closely reflect its character. In the confusion which 
accompanied the incessant wars of Alexander's suc- 
cessors, the power that seemed to control things was 
fortune or chance; and to this deity — the Greek 
Tv^py — the most constant court was paid. Pliny, 
in a well-known passage reproducing a Hellenistic 
source, writes : * " Throughout the whole world at 
every hour and place, by every voice. Fortune alone 
is invoked, and her name spoken: she is the one 
defendant, the one culprit, the one thought in 
men's minds, the one object of praise, the one 

cause We are so much at the mercy 

of Chance, that Chance is our God." More 
ominous than the worship of Fortune was the grow- 
ing cult of the stars and planets. 
5 61 



HELLENISM 

Certain dark fears and forebodings, a substratum 
of primitive superstitions, had always lurked be- 
neath the outward brightness of Hellenic life. This 
Hinterland of thought came into prominence when 
the Greeks met eastern civilization. The re- 
ligious systems of Assyria and Chaldea frequently 
conceived of the gods as evil spirits which are to be 
placated; and as, in the general interchange of 
thought, the elements of their civilization pene- 
trated the Hellenic world, the superstitious seeds 
which were already there were nourished, and pro- 
duced a rank harvest. Scepticism and superstition 
are closely allied, and the step was inevitable from 
disbelief in the state gods to gross terror of the 
heavenly powers that seemed " to fix man's destiny 
without regard to human will and human fears." 
One may find a parallel in modern America, where 
the decay of the old faiths has led on to the spread 
of the so-called Christian Science. The faith in 
astrology, spreading from Babylon westwards, be- 
came an obsession of the age; the Jewish sages 
opposed it, and continually denounced it, but many 
of the people devoutly believed in it. The stars 
were regarded as the absolute rulers of the world^ — 
had not Aristotle taught that they were divine 
beings ? — and the influence of the seven planets on 

62 



THE HELLENISTIC CULTURE 

human life was a commonplace of thought. The 
Jewish good-wish is still " Mazzol-Tov " — May 
your planet be good — and our planet-week still 
bears witness to the popularity of the idea. " As- 
trology fell upon the Hellenistic mind as a new 
disease falls upon some remote island people ; and 
the religion of later antiquity was overpoweringly 
absorbed in plans of escape from the prison of the 
Seven Planets." * 

From the fusion of eastern ideas with the old 
Hellenic mystical teaching known as Orphism 
(which probably itself had an Oriental origin) all 
kinds of strange cults arose, ranging from the 
monastic spirituality of the neo-Pythagorean 
brotherhood to the wildest sensualities of the 
votaries of Bacchus and Isis. Men sought desper- 
ately for some union with the divine power, either 
through " ecstasy " — the release of the soul from 
the body — or through " enthusiasm " — the posses- 
sion of the soul by the god. " People have lost 
their soul," said Dr. Johnson in the eighteenth 
century, " out of their body, and now turn hither 
and thither in search of it " ; and his words exactly 
describe the condition of society in the Hellenistic 
period. To recover their souls some people ate 

their god or drank his blood, others swallowed his 

63 



HELLENISM 

name, others sanctified themselves by wild dances. 

, At the same time the belief in the immortality of 
the soul, which in the flush of national life had not 
been widespread, was strengthened, and the " mys- 
teries " were largely concerned with the purification 
of the soul for the future life. The idea of a per- 
sonal redemption through union with the divine 
spirit lay at the heart of all that was vital in the 
religious thought of the Hellenistic age. 

It was a common feature of these mystical cults 
to place a mediator between the devotee and the 

; god whom he seeks. Man could not soar up to the 
abstract godhead direct, so he peopled the celestial 
sphere with manifold spirits and demons who would 
interpose their influence on his behalf, if supplicated 
aright. In order to bring the deity nearer to the 
earth, the figure of man was projected into the god- 
head. Under the influence of the Egyptian wor- 
ship of Isis and Osiris, the conception of the primal 
man gained a footing in philosophy and religion. 
He was distributed through all things, and played 
an important part in the origin of the universe ; he 
was even resolved into one of the fundamental ideas 
of the Stoic philosophy. The influence of eastern 
ideas again was responsible for the deification of 

kings, living and dead. True Hellenism by its 

64 



THE HELLENISTIC CULTURE 

instinctive moderation apprehended the difference 
between man and God. Though the gods were 
conceived in a human likeness, a definite line of de- 
marcation was fixed between their world and human 
beings. But the megalomania and likewise the self- 
debasement of the Oriental were greater; on the 
one hand divine rights were demanded, on the other 
conceded to the rulers. Kings had been worshipped 
in Egypt from the oldest times as the highest gods 
incarnate ; and the Hellenistic sovereigns, adopting 
the Egyptian prerogative, established their worship 
throughout their kingdoms. Hence the idea of the 
incarnation of the divine power was popularized in 
the lands of the East. The marvellous career of 
Alexander gave him some claim to be regarded as 
a God-man ; but the honor which was given to him 
after death was accorded, without the same justifi- 
cation, to the Ptolemies and the Seleucids and their 
spouses in their lives. The Savior, the Benefac- 
tor, the God-manifest, are the titles by which the 
rulers of Egypt and Syria loved to be known to their 
subjects; and most of their subjects were not loth 
to placate them. The Jewish moralists alone 
raised their voices against this degradation of re- 
ligion. From Egypt, too, came the notion of 
trinities of divine powers, which was innate in the 

65 



HELLENISM 

ancient hieratic religion. The mystical connection 
of Isis, Osiris, and Horus is the prototype of a vast 
development of Hellenistic theology. Egypt is the 
hearth of materialistic theology, of the notions of 
the immaculate conception, the divine incarnation, 
the various chambers of the after-world; and 
Hellenistic theology is marked by a gradual sur- 
render of Greek to Egyptian thought. 
/ At Alexandria, then, and throughout the 
j Hellenistic kingdoms, Greek religion lost its ideal 
I element, and became a mixture of universal scepti- 
; cism and empty show, of gross superstitious beliefs 
in magic and astrology, and of Oriental mysticism 
and human abasement. It lacked for the most part 
a moral law, a sincere faith in divine help, a simple 
explanation of the origin of the world, a consola- 
tion in trouble and death. These were the very 
things which Judaism offered to a weary and jaded 
humanity. Is it surprising that it should have be- 
come conscious of its superiority, and have not only 
resisted the assimilation of the surrounding cults, 
but emerged as a vigorous missionary faith? 

The decay of philosophy runs parallel with the 
degeneration of Hellenic religion. Philosophy at 
Athens represented the most splendid efforts of the 

human mind to know the truth, to see things as they 

66 



THE HELLENISTIC CULTURE 

really are. It is true that a Socrates was con- 
demned and put to death by his countrymen for his 
" atheism " and for leading men astray by his dia- 
lectics; but his treatment was exceptional, and pro- 
voked by a peculiar crisis in Athenian public life. 
Each man was ordinarily left free to think out as 
he chose the problems of the universe and to form 
schools of any who wished to follow his teaching. 
Aristotle opens his history of philosophy by a state- 
ment that all men desire to know about things ; and 
his standpoint is characteristic of the Hellene. Else- 
where he expresses very strikingly the love of 
knowledge as it was conceived by the Hellenic 
mind : * " Let us not listen to those who tell us that, 
as men and mortals, we should mind only the things 
of mortality. But so far as we may, we should ! 
bear ourselves as immortals, and do all that in us 
lies to live in accord with the sovereign principle of ! 
Reason, which is our true self, and which is supreme ' 
in capacity and dignity." 

With this expression of Greek passion for 
knowledge we may compare the standpoint of the 
Jewish sages, that man should only seek to know 
the things of this world, as it is said : " The heavens ^ 
are the heavens of the Lord ; but the earth hath He i 
given to the children of men " ; * and again : " For 1 

67 



HELLENISM 

My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are 
your ways My ways " ; " or in the words of Ben 
Sira : " Seek not things that are too hard for thee, 
and search not oiit things that are above thy 
strength." " 

From the sixth to the fourth century, a number 
of philosophical schools flourished in Hellas and 
Ionia, and besides the philosophers proper, the 
sophists, who claimed to know all that there was to 
know or all that was worth knowing, purveyed a 
general culture. The intellectual activity and the 
spirit of inquiry culminated in the teaching of Plato 
and Aristotle. The two supreme figures of ancient 
philosophy, the one the master of those who think, 
the other of those who know, gathered the finest 
thought of Hellas on the nature of being and on the 
pursuit of the good, on the state and the individual, 
on poetry and fine art, on logic and rhetoric, on 
physics and mathematics. The Hellenic mind 
searched into every aspect of human life, and sought 
the truth about it. Ethics and theology were 
always an important part of their philosophical 
systems, and from the time of Socrates they were the 
chief concern; but they were studied without any 
religious preconception. The philosophers were 
conscious of the hoUowness of the popular polythc- 

68 



THE HELLENISTIC CULTURE 

ism, and their object was to provide inquiring minds 
with an account of the universe which should be 
more satisfying than the poetic mythology. Both 
Plato and Aristotle, indeed, attained by reflective 
reason to a conception of the single government of 
the universe. For Plato the ultimate principle is 
the Idea of the Good working through a number of 
subordinate spiritual existences or Ideas which are 
in part ethically conceived. There was an idea, of 
justice, of beauty, of truth, and human excellence. 
Aristotle likewise derives the Cosmos from one 
supreme principle, the Primum Mobile of the 
scholastic philosophy, which has as its ministering 
agencies the divine powers that dwell in the stars. 
The Hellenic genius thus gradually worked its way 
from the multiplicity of causes and deities to the 
idea of one Moving Cause, which was at first ma- 
terially but in the end spiritually conceived. But 
it never reached the notion of a personal God; its 
supreme deity remained a creation of the reflective 
reason, abstract and impersonal, cold and aloof 
from humanity. 

The teachings of Plato and Aristotle were 
handed down, respectively, in the Academic and 
Peripatetic schools. But the spirit of the masters 

did not survive them. Greek philosophy like 

69 



. HELLENISM 

Greek art and Greek religion, was the offspring of 
Greek political life, and with the subjection of the 
city-state the eager search for truth no less than the 
harmony of life was irretrievably lost. Men had no 
stimulus and little leisure for the pursuit of 
knowledge for its own sake during the ceaseless wars 
which followed on the death of Alexander the 
Great; they required practical guidance in life, and 
a certain answer to their questions about the nature 
of reality. Thought became dogmatic, and phil- 
osophy practical. These characteristics mark the 
two post-Aristotelian schools, the Stoics and the 
Epicureans, which ^oon became the most prominent 
: over the Hellenistic world. Ethics rather than 
. the discovery of truth was the chief consideration 
in both ; and the aim was to devise a plan of the good 
life for the individual so that he should be inde- 
( pendent of outward circumstances. To satisfy the 
speculative bent of the Greek people, which still 
insisted on some rational explanation of the uni- 
verse, a system of logic and of physics was attached 
to the ethical doctrine. But, consciously or uncon- 
sciously, the true centre of interest changed. The 
logical and physical teachings of the Stoics and the 
Epicureans were a dogmatic framework designed 

to fit their ethical tenets. The new science, like the 

70 



THE HELLENISTIC CULTURE 

old mythology, was an attempt to make the world 
intelligible and comfortable. Happiness, not truth, i 
was the end. 

Stoicism was the most characteristic, as it was also 
the most powerful, intellectual expression of 
Hellenistic culture. It had its origin in the greater 
Hellas, of which Syria and Palestine formed a part, 
and its founders came from the Hellenized Orient : 
Zeno from Citium in Cyprus, Cleanthes from Assos 
in Asia Minor, while later some of its most famous 
exponents were sprung from Ascalon, Tarsus, and 
Alexandria. Probably it possessed an original in- 
fusion of Semitic thought, and it professed from the 
beginning a cosmopolitan ideal in which national 
differences were to be swept away, and all men were 
to be bound together by brotherly love and one 
common faith. The cosmopolitan tendency was 
one of the features of the time; philosophers pro- 
claimed themselves citizens of the world, and in 
place of the old Hellenic exclusiveness advocated 
the fusion of all cultures. The Jews alone held 
fast to a national way of life. 

Unity and simplicity were the leading motives of \ 
the Stoic system, but they were attained by the 



merging of higher and lower conceptions. The ' 
Stoics conceived the world as the manifestation of j 

71 



HELLENISM 

one principle which was variously described — ma- 
terially as fire, spiritually as reason. This principle 
permeated and comprehended all things : 

All are but parts of one stupendous whole 
Whose body Nature is, and God the soul. 

The religious creed of pantheism finds its finest 
expression in the hymn of Cleanthes to Zeus. The 
writer proclaims the divine element in man: " For 
our race is of Thee; we alone of all the mortal 
things that live and creep on the earth have obtained 
a reflection of speech. To Thee all this universe, 
which revolves around the earth, hearkeneth obed- 
iently, wheresoever Thou directest it, and willingly 
acknowledgeth Thy sway. . . . Thou canst make 
the odd even, and bring order into chaos, and what 
is unlovely may be lovely to Thee." 

Similarly the Stoic ethical doctrine was summed 
up in the single rule that man should follow nature, 
i. e.y the spirit of the whole cosmos, and live ac- 
cording to reason. Negatively he was to eschew all 
emotion, and root out all the passions which carried 
htm away from the rational life. He must be inde- 
pendent and sclf-reJiant, needing neither divine nor 
human help. Positiv\:ly he must try to discover the 
law of nature, and live according to it in harmony 

with the world-process. 

72 



THE HELLENISTIC CULTURE 

In practice, however, the Stoics who aimed at a 
universal religion and almost at a universal church, 
made terms with the popular polytheism, and 
sought to adapt their pantheism to it. They had a 
power of assimilation and adaptation which ren- 
dered them the most successful missionaries of the 
ancient world, the lineal predecessors of the Roman 
Catholic Church. Pantheism can find room for a 
number of gods: it has only to distribute its col- 
lective deity among the various powers it wishes to 
absorb. This is what the Stoics did, and thus be- 
came the champions of Hellenic polytheism against 
a higher conception of God. They distinguished 
between the universal divine power, working as a 
unity in the world, and its individual parts. The 
stars were deified, the air was peopled with demons 
and unseen powers, and the Olympian hierarchy 
received a fresh lease of life as the retinue of the 
supreme divine principle. Among the chief de- 
vices by which their philosophy was adapted to the 
popular ideas was the allegorical interpretation of 
the Greek epic poems. Homer was venerated by 
the Greeks of the Hellenistic age almost as much as 
the Bible by the Jews; and in the desire to show 
that he had anticipated their doctrines, the Stoics 
sought beneath the letter of his verse for hidden 

73 



HELLENISM 

meanings, and prospected with great skill in ety- 
mologies. The motive that prompted them is 
simply stated by one Heraclitus, a famous exponent 
of the allegorist's art: " If Homer used no alle- 
gories, he committed all impieties." 

Characteristically of the new spirit of the age, 
philosophers were impelled to find authority for 
their teaching in the works of the national poets, or 
at least they felt the necessity of reconciling the 
ancient poetry with their doctrine. Socrates and 
Plato had not scrupled to attack Homer and 
Hesiod ; but the Stoics and the other schools did not 
dare to take that bold step, and explained away 
what they could not accept. They were led then to 
find deeper significance in all manner of things on 
which people set store : in Homer and Hesiod words 
and numbers, visions and dreams. Clearness and 
directness of thought had passed away in the deca^ 
of intellectual freedom. While according to their 
strict theory they required that life should be led 
absolutely according to reason, in practice the 
Stoics accommodated their moral doctrine to 
human weakness, and fostered crude superstitions. 
They became the professors of astrology, of divina- 
tion, and of soothsaying; and, upholding, as they 

did, a complete determinism, they laid great stress 

74 



THE HELLENISTIC CULTURE 

on the exposition of celestial influences and the 
interpretation of dreams and visions. At the same 
time, while they made their more vulgar and irra- 
tional concessions to popular ideas, they did un- 
doubtedly exercise a bracing moral influence by 
opposing the sensuality, the self-indulgence, and the 
luxury of a decadent age. Their numerous preach- 
ers spread a kind of ethical culture for the masses, 
not very different from the Ethical Culture of our 
own day ; and the Cynics, who were an extreme band 
of the school, went about like the mediaeval friars 
or the modern apostles of the simple life, exhorting 
the people to self-restraint and continence, insisting 
that virtue was the only happiness, and themselves 
providing an example of reducing material wants 
to their lowest terms. 

Between the Stoics and the Jews there was some- 
thing in common, but more of antipathy. Alike 
they stood for a certain Puritanism, and for the 
moral ordering of lif e ; alike they derived the Cos- 
mos from one principle, and believed in the exist- 
ence of a universal law of conduct, by observing 
which man could attain happiness; but there the 
likeness ended. The Stoics' creed was a material- 
istic pantheism; the Jews maintained a trans- 
cendental monotheism. The Stoics, instead of set- 

76 



HELLENISM 

ting themselves against popular superstition, al- 
lowed their teaching to be contaminated by it, 
became the champions of the pagan deities, and, 
by a system of allegorical interpretation, contrived 
to shelter the many gods under the pantheistic prin- 
ciple. The Jews were rigidly opposed to paganism 
and all its ways, and refused to whittle away their 
pure conception of God by any concession to lower ' 
ideas. The Stoics were determinists and rational- 
ists, and held that man must stand by his own 
strength; the Jews believed that man had freedom 
of will and that the individual could have com- 
munion with God, and through God's grace alone 
attain to blessedness. The Stoics denied the im- 
mortality of the soul ; the Jews upheld resurrection. 
The Stoics taught that the universal law of conduct 
was to be found in the study of nature, but they 
never positively formulated it ; the Jewish law was 
contained in a revealed code and an ordered way of 
life which was taught to all the people. The 
Stoics stood for a cosmopolitan civilization which, 
while it was tricked out with fine phrases about the 
brotherhood of man, meant in reality the impure 
amalgamation of all kinds of creeds and cultures. 
The Jews held fast to their national traditions, and 

fiercely resisted the attempt to fuse their creed. 

76 



THE HELLENISTIC CULTURE 

The physical struggle which the Jews waged with 
the Hellenistic peoples was reflected by the intel- 
lectual contest between Judaism and Stoicism. 
Nevertheless a section of the Jewish-Hellenistic 
people was much influenced by the Stoic doctrine, 
and Jewish-Hellenistic philosophy adopted part of 
the Stoic teaching and Stoic phraseology. 

The hostility of Judaism toward the other great 
post-Aristotelian system, the philosophy of Epi- 
curus, was more obvious and more glaring. The 
name Epicurus became a synonym in the rabbinical 
literature of Judaism for a heretic or a renegade. 
Epicureanism has come to be associated with the 
low ideal of pleasure-seeking as the end of life ; but 
in its purer form its aim was contentment, and in 
some aspects its teaching was higher than that of 
the more blatantly moral Stoicism. Epicurus and 
his followers opposed the popular superstitions: 
they maintained that the gods had no concern with 
the affairs of this world, but formed a happy society 
of their own, and man had neither anything to ob- 
tain nor anything to fear from them. Man's hap- 
piness was to be found in the pursuit of the right 
kind of pleasure, and he must accept all that befell 
him with equanimity. The Epicurean creed in its 

6 77 



HELLENISM 

highest expression Is contained in a Greek couplet 
which runs thus : 

There is nothing to fear in God, 
There is nothing to feel in death: 
That which man desires can be obtained, 
That which man dreads can be endured. 

But Epicureanism was one of those systems which, 
though they spring from lofty conceptions and 
profess a not ignoble aim, are so disposed toward 
human weaknesses that they are inevitably de- 
based in practice, and become the buttress of a de- 
generate and degraded outlook. The denial of 
divine interference in the world was converted to 
atheism ; the wise pursuit of pleasure, which it re- 
garded as the human end, to unrestrained self-in- 
dulgence ; its thorough-going materialism in thought 
to thorough-going materialism in life. Hence, 
naturally enough, to the Jew the Epicurus, the fol- 
lower of hedonism, was a type of what was low and 
godless, what was essentially and fundamentally 
antipathetic to Judaism. 

Besides the two new schools of Stoics and Epicu- 
reans and the two older schools of Academics and 
Peripatetics, other systems of philosophy which had 
an influence on the Jews of the diaspora flourished 

78 



THE HELLENISTIC CULTURE 

in the Hellenistic era. Against the dogmatism of 
the other schools, the Sceptics maintained an alto- 
gether critical standpoint. They questioned the 
basis of knowledge through the senses (which was 
the Epicurean criterion) or through the reason 
(which was the Stoic standard) . They conducted a 
negative polemic both against the popular religious 
polytheism and the quasi-philosophical theology of 
the schools, and advocated for themselves a position 
of agnosticism. Thus they performed part of the 
destructive work of undermining paganism, which 
was to prepare the way for a purer religious 
teaching. 

On the other hand, the desire for a deeper reli- 
gious life than was provided by the state cults found 
a philosophical expression in what is known as the 
neo-Pythagorean school. Pythagoras, among the 
early sages of Greece, had most clearly been stimu- 
lated by eastern influences, and he had grafted the 
eastern longing for the supernatural on the Greek 
longing for knowledge. He travelled in Egypt, 
and, according to the Jewish and Christian apolo- 
gists of an uncritical and inaccurate age, sojourned 
in Palestine and learnt wisdom from Elijah. But, 
putting such myths aside, the fact remains that he 

approached in his teaching of God the Hebraic con- 

79 



HELLENISM 

ception of monotheism, and in his practical ethics 
the Hebraic discipline of life by a system of law 
and the regulation of daily conduct. The Pythago- 
rean school achieved no great prominence during 
the classical period, though their doctrines entered 
as an element into the various Socratic systems. But 
when in the Hellenistic age the scientific ardor di- 
minished and the stimulus of eastern ideas was 
increased, the severe discipline and the mystical 
yearnings which the brotherhood fostered immedi- 
ately responded to man's wants. The more ear- 
nest spirits, sick of material luxury in the Oriental- 
ized Greek cities and without faith in the attainment 
of rational knowledge, attached themselves to a 
school which preached pure ethics and the simple 
life and held out the hope of communion with a 
supernatural, transcendental power. The Pythag- 
oreans intensified the dualism between body and 
soul, which was characteristic of Greek moral phil- 
osophy from the beginning. According to their 
tenets, the soul existed in heaven before its incarna- 
tion, and the body was its prison from which release 
could only be won by a rigorous training. The true 
aim of man was thus to free his soul by ascetic exer- 
cises, and in a mystical ecstasy to attain to spiritual 

bliss. In another part of their teaching they laid 

80 



THE HELLENISTIC CULTURE 

Stress upon the powers of numbers and words; the 
elements of language were well-nigh universally 
regarded as a link between the divine and human, 
and numbers, it was believed, not only symbolized 
but exercized wonderful virtues. 

The first century before the Christian era has 
been termed the most unphilosophical age of ancient 
times ; and if the positive dogmatism of the Stoics 
and Epicureans was the typical teaching of the first 
period of Hellenistic culture, the religious mysticism 
of the neo-Pythagoreanism was the typical product 
of its second stage. Many of its ideas were 
adapted by the other schools, and new combinations 
were made with the religious systems of the Ori- 
ental peoples. It will be shown how Judea did 
not escape the influence, and in the sect of the 
Essenes we have probably a mingling of Jewish and 
Pythagorean ideas. But though in ethical stand- 
point and religious yearning the teachings of 
Pythagoras — both the genuine and the apocryphal 
— reveal something akin to Judaism, even this de- 
velopment of Hellenistic philosophy was antago- 
nistic to the Jewish spirit. Its monotheism was 
tainted with foreign ideas; the dualism between 
body and soul led to a rigorous asceticism which 

contrasted with the sanity and moderation of the 

81 



HELLENISM 

Jewish way of life ; lastly, its outlook on society was 
anti-national and anti-social, since it advocated flight 
from the world and the abandonment of civic duty 
as the way of virtue. 

Moral philosophy was part of the fashionable 
equipment of the Hellenistic age ; and just as Marie 
Antoinette and her court liked to play at the simple 
life amid the pomp and luxury of Versailles, so, 
amid the dissolute and luxurious haunts of Alexan- 
dria and Antioch, jaded men and women loved to 
listen to eulogies on virtue and diatribes on the van- 
ity of riches. The Stoic and Cynic missionary in his 
thread-bare cloak at the street-corners preached the 
self-sufficiency of virtue; the eclectic lecturer on 
moral welfare culled the most attractive ideas from 
all the sages of Hellas and the East, and displayed 
them to an admiring audience. Rhetoric indeed 
was the supreme and most popular art of the 
Hellenistic civilization, and impregnated every 
other form of literature. Poetry, drama, history, 
and philosophy became rhetorical. The lecture- 
hall took the place of the market-place and the 
theatre as the centre of intellectual intercourse, and 
the tract and the oratorical exercise became a 
standard form of writing. The new generation of 
sophists gave their audiences a superficial acquaint- 

82 



THE HELLENISTIC CULTURE 

ance with Hellenic ideas which passed for philoso- 
phy. An appearance of philosophical knowledge 
and fluency in the up-to-date theologies were re- 
quired of every man claiming to be enlightened. 
The schools only affected a comparatively small 
part of the population, but the sophists and rhetors 
gave a smattering of the serious side of Hellenism 
to the whole of the upper and intellectual classes. 
The philosophy which was thus hawked around 
was as poor an image of the thought of the genuine 
Hellas as the Hellenic cults which were set up in 
the cities of Egypt and Syria were a poor reflection 
of the national religion of Athens and Sparta. In ( 
estimating the attitude of the Jewish people toward j 
Greek culture, we have then to remember that the 
civilization they encountered was a second-rate and 
second-hand Hellenism, which had indeed a treas- 
ure of artistic and intellectual achievement to attract 
and inspire, but lackedjaltpgether the eager spirit 
that had created that treasure, and at the same time 
was mingled with all manner of foreign cults and 
cultures — Chaldean astrology, Phrygian mysticism, 
and Egyptian theophanies — in such a way that its 
own inherent weaknesses were emphasized and ex- 
aggerated, and its nobler aspects were hopelessly 

obscured. We must beware of regarding the 

83 



HELLENISM 

Struggle between Hebraism and Hellenism in the 
Hellenistic age as a struggle between a narrow and 
intolerant monotheism, on the one hand, and a 
broad enlightenment and intellectual activity, on 
the other. Rather was it a struggle between an 
established national-religious culture, with a high 
moral standard and large human aspirations, and a 
confused amalgam of cultures, with a low moral^ 
standard, declining intellectual grasp, and vague 
cosmopolitan professions. 



t 



84 



CHAPTER III 

HELLENISM IN PALESTINE TILL THE 
DESTRUCTION OF THE TEMPLE 

Judea was surrounded by Alexander the Great 
and his successors with a girdle of Greek cities. 
Along the coast-lands of ancient Philistia on 
the west, and on the further side of the Jordan on 
the east, these cities formed a close and well-knit 
chain; while to the north, in the country of the 
Samaritans and in Galilee, Samaria, Sepphoris, 
Neapolis, and Scythopolis were inhabited by a 
mixed multitude, which was not slow to adopt the 
manners and cults of the dominant Hellene. On 
the south, where the desert ended, lay the Hellen- 
ized kingdom of Egypt with which Judea was in 
constant contact. Thus the little Jewish territory 
was as a rock around which there beat the waves 
of the Hellenistic sea. Politically it formed part 
of a Hellenistic kingdom from the time that it fell 
into Alexander's possession in 332 B. C. E. till the 
final victory of the Maccabeans, neany two hundred 
years later. 

85 



HELLENISM 

After the death of Alexander, says the Hebrew 
chronicler, " his servants bare rule, every one in his 
place .... and evils were multiplied on 
the earth." * Palestine fell to Ptolemy, the ruler 
of Egypt; his dynasty had frequently to fight for it 
with the Seleucid rulers of Syria, but they kept pos- 
session for one hundred years. Of the inner history 
of the Jewish people in Palestine during the period 
we know scarcely anything directly. Josephus 
fails us for this time, and we must perforce be con- 
tent with conjecture and inference. The coast- 
road, which ran from Egypt to Syria along the 
plain of Sharon and across the vale of Jezreel or 
Esdraelon, was the great highway of the Greek 
armies; and the plain itself was one of the great 
battlefields. Hence the Jewish people as a whole 
must have come into frequent touch with Greek 
soldiery and merchants. At the same time the 
upper classes assimilated more deliberately the 
culture of the surrounding cities. The way to 
success in public life lay through imitation of Greek 
manners, and the temptation to conformity was 
exceedingly powerful. When the darkness is 
illuminated by the record of the Maccabean 
struggle, told soberly and sincerely in the First Book 

of the Maccabees, and oratorically in the epitome 

86 



HELLENISM IN PALESTINE 

of the history of Jason, which is known as the 
Second Book, we are brought face to face with the 
nation ranged into two parties : an advanced Hellen- 
izing section of aristocrats, and a stubborn core of 
the people, bitterly opposed to Hellenism, and sin- 
cerely loyal to the Jewish law. 

The Hellenistic influence had found its way 
gradually from the outward activities of national 
life to its fundamental ideas. As early as 300 
B. C. E., Hecataeus, a Greek historian, speaks of 
Jews who, by mingling with the Persians and Mace- 
donians, had fallen away from their traditional 
wisdom.' The Olympian gods and the myths 
about them were rapidly acclimatized in the Greek 
cities. The story of Perseus and Andromeda was 
located at Joppa, and Heracles, who had a Phoeni- 
cian origin and preserved in the Greek mythology 
the reputation of a great traveller, found a new 
kingdom in the East. At Tyre and at Philadelphia 
(the old Rabbath Ammon, east of the Jordan) he 
was worshipped as the chief deity, and games were 
instituted in his honor. The Samaritans contrived 
to associate him with the Bible story and to prove 
his derivation from Esau ; * and the Second Book of 
the Maccabees narrates how the Graecizing high 

priest Jason sent a deputation to Tyre from Jcrusa- 

87 



HELLENISM 

lem with an offering for the quinquennial games of 
the Greek god. The worship of Astarte was centred 
at Anthedon, near Gaza ; Dionysus was the patron 
deity of Scythopolis, which was called Nysa after 
him, and Pan of the city of Panias, erected by the 
sources of the Jordan. The Greek cities issued 
coins on which were stamped the figure of their pro- 
tecting god or some religious symbol connected with 
the town ; and as these coins were the only currency 
of Palestine, the Jews acquired some acquaintance 
by their agency with Greek religious ideas. 

Palestinian commerce, also, passed largely 
through the Greek coast cities. The Phoenicians 
of old by their trading journeys had brought the 
ideas and the inventions of the East to the 
knowledge of the Hellenes in the West, and now 
the elegant manners and material civilization of 
the West were brought to the knowledge of the Jews 
by the Greek merchants. The large Greek vocabu- 
lary which passed into the Jewish speech, and found 
a permanent place there, contains a number of 
words of commerce, of the common objects of trade 
and of apparel, of furniture and decoration, and 
of administration and law. Commerce brought 
with it an introduction of the arts into the country. 

88 



HELLENISM IN PALESTINE 

After the Restoration from Babylon the Jewish 
way of life had been solemn and sober, lacking in 
grace and refined pleasures; but under the influence 
of the new civilization, the arts of building and 
music made their way into Judea. To the plastic 
arts, however, because of their association with 
pagan mythology, and to the games and athletic 
contests, which were made the occasion for the 
lower pagan ceremonies, the Jewish consciousness 
offered constant resistance. It was marked as a 
special outrage of the Hellenizing party in the time 
of Antiochus Epiphanes that the priests set up a 
gymnasium and theatre in Jerusalem.* 

The book of Ben Sira, which is an invaluable 
record of Jewish social life in the third and begin- 
ning of the second centuries, illustrates the intro- 
duction of a more elegant life and a growing 
appreciation of art. Thus the writer praises music : 
'* Pour not out words when there is a musician, and 
show not forth wisdom out of time; a concert of 
music at a banquet of wine is as a signet of carbuncle 
set in gold. As a signet of emerald set in gold, so 
is the melody of music with pleasant wine." * The 
book of Daniel, again, which dates from the second 

century B. C. E., mentions a number of musical 

89 



HELLENISM 

instruments, unknown in other parts of the Bible : 
the cornet, sackbut, and psaltery, and two of thejn 
with Greek names/ 

Ben Sira's moralizing about the honor due to 
the physician points to the existence in his day of a 
regular medical profession. It was still necessary 
to recommend the use of skilled service ; and there 
were doubtless those who looked with suspicion on 
the introduction of science for the healing of dis- 
ease, lest it should impair faith. The Jewish 
moralist seeks to conciliate the two outlooks : ' 
" Honour a physician," he says, " with the honour 
due to him, for the uses which ye may have of him. 
For the Lord hath created ; for of the Most High 
cometh healing, and he shall receive honour of the 
king. The skill of the physician shall lift up his 
head, in the sight of the great men he shall be ad- 
mired. The Lord hath created medicines out of the 
earth, and he that is wise will not abhor them. . . . 
My son, in thy sickness be not negligent, but pray 
unto the Lord, and He will make thee whole. Leave 
off from sin, and order thine hands aright and 
cleanse thy heart from all wickedness. . . . Then 
give place to the physician, for the Lord hath cre- 
ated him." 

90 



HELLENISM IN PALESTINE 

It is a moot question whether the Palestinian 
literature of the third century bears traces of the 
infusion of the deeper side of Hellenism. Some 
scholars have detected it in the two books of the 
Canon which are supposed to have been written at 
this period, Ecclesiastes and the Song of Solomon.' 
A passage in the latter bears a remarkable corre- 
spondence with a verse in one of the Idylls of 
Theocritus, the most distinguished of the Alexan- 
drian poets, and some see in its wealth of sensuous 
imagery a non-Hebraic influence. But the corre- 
spondence with Theocritus may be due to an Ori- 
ental source common to the two poets, and the lack 
of any clear order in the thought and the luscious 
imagery of the Hebrew song are alien to the 
Hellenic spirit. As regards the book of the 
Preacher, some have seen a reproduction of Greek 
words and phrases in certain novel Hebrew forms ; 
while the well-known passage : " Two are better 
than one. . . . For if they fall, the one will lift up 
his fellow," * corresponds with a maxim of Homer. 
The sceptical attitude, which runs through the 
whole book, and the intellectual standpoint of its 
author more notably reflect intercourse with outside 
culture and the indefinite influence of the Greek 

atmosphere. That Palestinian Jews were ac- 

91 



HELLENISM 

quaintcd with the Greek literature of the time does 
not depend on mere probability, but is vouched by 
several pieces of direct testimony. The books of 
the Maccabees state that some of the loyal 
Hassideans could write as well as read Greek; and 
the Hellenistic historian Eupolemus, who must have 
lived during the second century, speaks of the Greek 
version of the Scriptures as well known to his coun- 
trymen. 

The legends which recount the making of the 
Septuagint Version by seventy sages sent by the high 
priest in Jerusalem to Ptolemy in Alexandria arc 
certainly apocryphal; but it is significant that 
pseudo-Aristeas, who probably wrote not later than 
at the beginning of the first century B. C. E., should 
have conceived such a story, and that the Talmud 
also recounts the sending of sages to write the Law 
in Greek. The first Palestinian Jew recorded as 
bearing a Greek name is Antigonus of Soco, who 
appears in the Ethics of the Fathers " as the imme- 
diate successor of Simon the Just (f. ^., about 250) , 
in the headship of the Great S5magogue. In the 
saying ascribed to him, " Be not as servants who 
minister to their masters for the sake of reward," 
Greek influence has been traced." The introduc- 
tion of the knowledge of Greek was not, however, 

92 



HELLENISM IN PALESTINE 

the danger which aroused the people to bitter re- 
sistance against Greek aggression. Probably the 
scribes and the strict followers of the Law, known 
as the Hasidim (the Pious Ones) and afterwards as 
Perushim (the Separatists), were from the outset 
antagonistic to the Greek language and Greek ideas ; 
but the gradual process of blending the foreign 
culture with the Jewish outlook n\ight have gone on 
for long, and might in the end have sapped Jewish 
individuality, had it not been for the attempt to 
force a cruder and more vulgar Hellenism on the 
masses of the people. 

Posterity loves to pillory an individual for an evil 
of gradual growth; and the individual upon whom 
the odium of this attempt is regularly cast is 
Antiochus Epiphanes, the Seleucid emperor who 
reigned from 175-166 B. C. E. Yet he was less 
the promoter than the instrument of the policy 
which had its roots in the corruption of a part of the 
Jewish people. Nations, it has been said, always 
touch at their summits ; and the aristocracies of all 
countries have a tendency to share common hopes 
and a common outlook. More especially when 
there is one dominant civilization, the ruling classes 
of smaller nationalities are prone to desert their 

own culture for that of the larger world. The 
7 93 



HELLENISM 

tendency asserted itself in the priestly caste of the 
Jewish people, who, if no longer the popular lead- 
ers, were the hereditary holders of power under the 
Ptolemies. The high-priesthood had descended to 
the family of Onias, and a branch of their family, 
the Tobiades, sought by ingratiating themselves 
with the Egyptian sovereign to carve out for them- 
selves a Hellenistic principate in Palestine. They 
built palaces in the Greek style, and they fostered 
Greek influences, until finally, over-reaching them- 
selves, they tried to foist Greek religious cults on the 
community. We may refer to them the words 
in Daniel : " The children of the violent among thy 
people shall lift themselves up to establish the 
vision." " In the time of Antiochus, the faithful 
high priest Onias III drove them out of Jerusalem 
because of their Graecizing ways, and then matters 
hurried to a crisis." 

The Ptolemies had observed the tradition of not 
interfering with the religion of their various sub- 
jects; but when Palestine passed at the end of the 
second century B. C. E. into the power of the 
Seleucids, the statecraft was soon changed. The 
conqueror of the country, Antiochus III, main- 
tained the former liberty, and, according to Jo- 

sephus,^* he even extended fresh privileges to the 

84 



HELLENISM IN PALESTINE 

Jewish community at his capital at Antioch. But 
his son Antiochus, surnamed Epiphanes, usurping 
the throne which belonged aright to his nephew, 
manifested a different temperament. The Se- 
leucid empire was tottering from the blows which 
it had received in disastrous wars with Rome, and 
Antiochus conceived the idea of strengthening it 
by increasing its homogeneity. The Jews were 
the one element among his subjects who resisted 
the assimilation of Hellenistic culture ; their coun- 
try lay on the outposts of his empire, and he deemed 
it desirable to make them like the remainder. 
The aspirations of the Hellenizing Jewish aris- 
tocracy coincided with his plans. One of the 
priestly family, Jason, to satisfy his private ambi- 
tions, led the king to believe that the Hellenizing 
process might be carried through without difficulty, 
and received the appointment of high priest in place 
of the loyal Onias III, who had resisted the dese- 
cration of the temple. The king gave him authority 
" to set up a place for exercise for the training of 
the youth in the fashion of the heathen, and to write 
them of Jerusalem by the name of Antiochians." " 
A section of the priests was ready enough to fol- 
low his lead; they neglected the temple worship, 

and took part in the sports of the gymnasium ; " they 

96 



HELLENISM 

made themselves uncircumcised, and were sold to 
do mischief." " The Greek hat — the petasos — 
was seen about the streets, and Antiochus himself 
visited the renovated Antioch Hierosolyma, as 
Jerusalem was to be called, and was splendidly re- 
ceived by his liege. Envoys were sent to Tyre to 
contribute to the sacrifices to Heracles, but they had 
scruples on the way, and diverted the money to the 
less idolatrous purpose of providing ships of war." 
The loyal party among the priests went into exile 
in Egypt; and Onias III was murdered, according 
to some accounts at Antioch, and according to others 
at Jerusalem. 

The insolence of the Hellenizers was not yet com- 
plete ; and a baser priest than Jason was found, one 
Menelaus, who, outbidding his rival in promises of 
evil-doing, received the royal support in his place, 
and proceeded to stamp out, as he thought, the 
embers of Judaism. The sanctuary at Jerusa- 
lem was converted into a temple of Zeus Olympios, 
and the Samaritan temple on mount Gerizim, with 
the approval of the inhabitants of the place, became 
a temple of Zeus Xenios. All manner of abomina- 
tions were set up in the sanctuary; the observance 
of the sabbath and festivals were forbidden, the 

people were brought by constraint to eat of the 

96 



HELLENISM IN PALESTINE 

sacrifices on the birthday of the king, who had pro- 
claimed his own divinity, and on the day of the 
feast of Bacchus they were compelled to go in pro- 
cession carrying branches of ivy." Throughout 
the country the Jews were compelled to adopt 
paganism and partake of heathen sacrifices, and the 
penalty of death was prescribed for men, women, 
or children who refused. The way had been pre- 
pared by Hellenizing Jews and conciliating pagans 
who, by a bastard kind of comparative religious 
science, identified the Jewish God with Dionysus 
Sabazius or with Zeus. But both the Hellenizing 
Jews and the royal inquisitor had miscalculated 
the spirit of the Jewish people. In reply to perse- 
cution the Hassideans showed a temper which up 
to that time had no parallel either in their own 
or in any other history: they were willing to 
die for their religious beliefs, and to submit to any 
torture rather than be disloyal to their traditional 
Law. The readiness to give up life for a faith, for 
something spiritual and immaterial, was a thing of 
which the Greeks had not dreamt. It marked the 
triumph of the Hebraic principle, and it was the 
measure of the advance of the Hellenizers. 

The heroic struggles of the Maccabean brothers 

converted the passive resistance of the Hasidim 

07 



HELLENISM 

into the rising of a people in defence of its national 
and religious existence. By his exertions Judas 
saved his country from tyranny, and by his example 
he saved civilization from submersion by a second- 
rate Hellenism. In fact, the Maccabean victories 
mark a turning-point in the history of culture; it 
ushers in, as it were, a reversal of the movement 
begun by the victory of the Greeks over the Persians 
at Marathon and Salamis. Hitherto Greek in- 
fluence on the East had been dominant and ag- 
gressive; now a people of the Orient began to 
impose its ideas on the West. The Jews had been 
confronted violently with Hellenism in its de- 
cadence ; they had realized its degradation without 
having experience of its finer aspects; they had 
measured their strength with it, and found it want- 
ing. Henceforth they were aggressive and mili- 
tant, more fully conscious of their mission as a 
chosen people, and determined not only to resist 
the encroachment of foreign ideas, but to spread 
their loftier doctrine for the uplifting of humanity. 
The Maccabean triumph was followed by both 
a political and spiritual awakening of the nation: 
the brothers redeemed for a century not only Judea, 
but almost the whole of Palestine from the Hellenic 
dominance. Judas, Jonathan, and Simon in turn, 

98 



HELLENISM IN PALESTINE 

and after them John Hyrcanus and Alexander 
Jannaeus, carried the war against paganism to the 
east of Jordan and to the north of Samaria : the 
Idumeans, the Itureans, and the Galileans were 
compelled to adopt the victorious creed ; the Greek 
cities were in many cases subjugated, in all deprived 
of their power. Israel conquered anew the Holy 
Land; and it is related with special pride that 
Simon " captured Joppa for an haven, and made an 
entrance to the isles of the sea, and enlarged the 
bounds of his nation." " From this first Jewish 
port Jewish traders went out to carry Jewish teach- 
ing even to the strongholds and the cradle of 
Hellenism. The danger of the domination of the 
vulgar idolatry of the Hellenized peoples over 
monotheism was once for all removed ; and the na- 
tion, exultant in their strength, confirmed in their 
devotion to the Law ; and burning with a desire to 
spread their teaching, became sovereign over the 
Holy Land and powerful beyond it 

Spiritually, one of the immediate effects of the 
Maccabean deliverance was to stimulate the prose- 
lytizing activity of the Jews wherever they were 
settled. We shall deal in the next chapter with the 
missionary movement in the diaspora, but the same 

feeling was manifested, though less strongly, in 

09 



HELLENISM 

Palestine. Palestinian literature of the first 
century 6. C. E., such as it is, has traces of the 
missionary ardor; and the universalisitc conscious- 
ness appears repeatedly in the apocalyptic books, 
which at this period of seething hopes and fears 
gave expression to popular wishes. Of the 
Messiah it is said in the Psalms of Solomon : '' He 
shall make the peoples and the Gentiles serve him 
under his yoke, he shall glorify the Lord by sub- 
mission of all the earth " ; and in the Testaments of 
the Twelve Patriarchs, the writer speaks of " the 
light of the Law which was given to lighten every 
man." "• We read in the Book of Tobit: " All 
nations shall turn and fear the Lord truly, leaving 
their idols " ; and the fourth oracle of the Sibyl, 
which many scholars think to have sprung from 
Palestine, foretells the coming world-wide triumph 
of Israel: " Every land and every sea shall be full 
of them." The Gospel of Matthew, in a later 
epoch, speaks of the Pharisees who " scour sea and 
land to make a proselyte." " 

Moreover, the scanty rabbinic records of the 
times bear witness to the accession of converts; 
Shemaiah and Abtalion, the heads of the schools 
at the end of the second century, were such; and 

Schiirer identifies them with the Sameas and 

100 



HELLENISI^ iN.PALESTINE 

• • • • 
« 

PoUion mentioned by Jbs^p&us." Many of the 
sayings of Hillel, who was th«V)rc^ajd of the Sanhc- 
drin after them, have reference .to proselytes: 
his famous summary of the Law in 'f 5^6 golden rule 
was evoked by the question of a woulS'be'coavert. 
The arrangement of the temple — the centrai'shiHne 
of the whole people — ^bore witness to the i%rgz\ 
hopes and the universal outlook of the Jews. TKc"^. 
expectation that the prophecy of Isaiah would be - 
realized, and all the nations would come up to pray 
on the mount of Jerusalem, was symbolized by 
the court of the Gentiles, which formed the outer- 
most area of the sanctuary. Josephus says that the 
altar was holy to all Greeks and barbarians as well 
as to Jews ; " and offerings were received from 
proselytes who were allowed to come up to the great 
festivals 1 ** While in some aspects the temple 
worship was national and exclusive, in others it was 
cosmopolitan and universal. Inscriptions and di- 
rections in the Greek language were called for by 
the presence at the festivals of embassies from the 
Jewish communities in the diaspora, for whom 
Greek was the native tongue. The seals presented 
to donors of the offerings were inscribed in the 
popular Aramaic; but the chests for the money 
contributions were marked in Greek, because only 

101 



• • • 



H£]^LEKt3M 

• • • • 

» 

the officials who werifc Icohversant with the general 
language of jivH^^tion were concerned with 

them." •••'/*• 

• • • 

Yet, if-/5n^. outcome of the national victory was 
• *• • • 
to fos|ter*t&e missionary spirit, and thus indirectly 

to.hring Palestinian Jewry into close touch with the 
.•ftfTlenistic peoples, a more direct result was to 
. ttrengthen the popular feeling against the infusion 
of Hellenistic culture. The struggle had been 
essentially one of conflicting civilizations, and 
Judaism had proved its inward force. After the 
establishment of the Maccabean dynasty, the 
Jewish people in Palestine were divided into three 
sects, or, one should rather say, two sections and one 
sect: The Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the 
Essenes. The Essenes are a sect properly speak- 
ing, that is, a community separated from the main 
body of the people, with a way of life and tradi- 
tions peculiar to itself. The Sadducees and Phari- 
sees are half political and half religious parties. 
The Pharisees, who were known among themselves 
as onan or associates — one may compare the name 
Friends by which the members of the Quaker 
community know each other — were the successors 
of the Hasidim who had formed the backbone of 

the resistance to the Greek persecution. They 

102 



HELLENISM IN PALESTINE 

represented politically the party of the people which 
desired the Jewish rulers to refrain from interfer- 
ence in foreign affairs, and spiritually the Hebraic 
principle, which stood for the development of Jew- 
ish tradition on its own lines and for separation 
from all denationalizing influence. Positively they 
were the upholders and expanders of the tradition, 
and negatively they were the opponents of alien 
ideas. They formulated a progressive and Catholic 
Judaism, rooted in the observance of the Law, and 
continually developing to meet new needs and new 
thought, but keeping itself pure from admixture 
with non-Jewish conceptions. 

Over against them the Sadducees, so called 
probably after the priestly house of the Zadokites, 
were the aristocratic party, which politically cher- 
ished ambitions to play a part in the affairs of the 
East, and spiritually was for narrowing Judaism 
to a fixed creed contained in the Bible and to a 
rigid conservative Law. According to Josephus, 
they were the party of the rich," and it is likely 
that they are the " proud Jews " attacked in the 
Wisdom of Solomon.*' They included a large 
part of the priestly caste, and they inherited, to a 
certain degree, the outlook of the former Hellen- 
ists. The analogy which Josephus draws between 

103 



HELLENISM 

Pharisees and Stoics is shallow and fallacious; in 
truth, from what we know of their opinions, the 
Sadducees may more reasonably be compared with 
that Greek school. They were essentially mate- 
rialists: they did not share the Messianic hope of 
the people, and put their trust in reason ; their self- 
reliance, their rigidity in enforcing the letter of 
the rabbinical law, and their denial of the resur- 
rection " reflect the spirit of the Stoic. The Jewish 
aristocracy in the Maccabean kingdom continued 
to imbibe the outside culture of the day, and thus 
became estranged from the general populace, till, 
finally, it lost touch with the national feeling. 
From a party the Sadducees became a sect, and 
eventually a name of reproach. With the de- 
struction of the temple they disappeared as a 
political force; and the Sadducees referred to in 
later rabbinical writings are identical with Gnostics 
and other heretical groups." 

The traces of Hellenistic influence on the 
Essenes are clearer, though the influence was de- 
rived from that development of the Greek spirit 
which was in some ways akin to Hebraism. The 
Philonic author of the tract " That every good 
man is free " associates their name with the Greek 

Hosios (pious) ; " but with more probability its 

104 



HELLENISM IN PALESTINE 

origin is to be sought in the Syriac root kdh 
(pious). Kohler," on the other hand, connects 
the word with the Hebrew D^Kcrn (the silent ones), 
who appear in the Mishnah as a body of secret 
saints." The derivation is fathered by a wish 
to support his theory that the Essenes may be 
identified with the saints, the strictest of the 
Pharisees of whom we hear much in rabbinic lit- 
erature. But our only direct authorities for the 
Essene tenets " — Josephus and " Philo " among 
Jews, and Hippolytus and Eusebius among Chris- 
tians — consistently describe them as a sect forming 
an isolated branch of Jewry, and playing no part in 
the national life. Josephus says that they were 
excluded from the temple service, and had secret 
books of their own. It is therefore open to doubt 
whether they can be regarded as the successors of 
the pre-Maccabean Hasidim, and identified with 
the most pious of the Jewish people. They are 
more likely " the saints who waste the world " re- 
ferred to in the Talmud, who practised austerities 
to the extent of not taking part in the duties of 
social life. The statements as to their numbers 
point to a small community, segregated from the 
general population; " Philo " speaks of four thou- 

105 



HELLENISM 

sand living in Syria and Palestine,** and Josephus 
gives similar testimony." 

They were a body of devotees, living either in 
the wilderness or in special villages, under very 
strict and peculiar discipline; they rejected blood 
sacrifices, fostered a high moral standard, and 
eschewed sensual pleasures to the point of asceti- 
cism. In their ascetic practices, as " Philo " did 
not fail to see, they were false to the teachings of 
Judaism. Their doctrine was distinguished by a 
pronounced dualism of body and soul. They 
taught that bodies are corruptible, and that the 
matter of which they are made is not permanent. 
But the souls are immortal, and endure forever. 
They are formed of the most subtle air, and are 
enclosed in bodies as in prisons, into which they 
are drawn by a certain material enticement; when 
they are set free from the flesh, they rejoice at the 
release from a long bondage, and mount upwards.** 

The Christian Hippolytus adds an account of 
their doctrine of resurrection, on which they laid 
particular emphasis." They believe that the flesh 
will rise again and be immortal like the soul, which, 
separated from the body, enters a place of fragrant 
air and radiant light there to enjoy rest. Hippol- 
ytus is at pains to point out that the notions of 

106 



HELLENISM IN PALESTINE 

resurrection were original with the Essenes, and 
together with other doctrines were appropriated 
from them by the Greeks; he asserts also that their 
ascetic life is older than that of any other nation, 
and that Pythagoras and the Stoics borrowed from 
them. The Christian standpoint was that all good 
ideas which were championed by the Church were 
adopted by the Greeks ; but it is suggestive that both 
he and Josephus connect the Esscne teachings with 
those of Greek schools. 

Unfortunately, no extant work can be definitely 
attributed to an Essene ; some have so ascribed the 
book of Jubilees, others the Testament of Job, 
others the greater part of the apocalyptic litera- 
ture; but all this is guess-work. Yet, from the 
descriptions of the Christian historians and the 
Jewish apologists, the influence of foreign thought 
on their doctrines is manifest, and the first Jew of 
modem times who studied Hellenistic- Jewish lit- 
erature, Azariah dei Rossi, said they were Greek- 
speaking Jews." The probable conclusion is that 
the dualism of the Essenes is due to an interchange 
of thought with the neo-Pythagorean school, 
which was actively missionary in the second and 
first centuries B. C. E. It may be that other 
foreign influences from Persia and even from India 

107 



HELLENISM 

entered into their system, and that they represent 
an early example of a large religious syncretism. 
But the correspondence with the Hellenistic Puri- 
tans, who acknowledged Pythagoras as their 
master, stands out prominently. The Essenes 
share with them not only the dualistic doctrine of 
body and soul, but the striving for bodily purity, 
the practice of ablutions, the rejection of blood 
offerings, the encouragement of celibacy, the belief 
in prophetic powers, the striving after ecstacies and 
mystical visions, and, lastly, the divorce of religion 
from national and social life. At the same time 
the Jewish character is manifested in their close 
attachment to the Mosaic law, and notably in their 
strict observance of the sabbath and of the feast of 
Pentecost, to which they attributed peculiar 
holiness. 

It is likely that they were a body which sprang 
up under Greek influence in the second century, 
during the bitter days before the strength of the 
Jewish revival against Hellenism had asserted 
itself, having as their object the realization of an 
ascetic idea of life and importing the pessimistic 
Greek religiosity into Palestine. They bear wit- 
ness to the possibility of combining Hellenism and 
Hebraism in an intense religious spirit, while their 

108 



HELLENISM IN PALESTINE 

remoteness from the mass of the people throws 
light on the general aversion toward such move- 
ments. They reached the height of their develop- 
ment in the first century B. C. E., when from their 
midst sprang a preacher of singular piety, John the 
Baptist, and they passed out of Jewish history a 
little later to exert a large influence on the history 
of the Church. The Ebionites, who were the 
Jewish element in early Christendom, were their 
successors in Palestine, and took over many of their 
ceremonies and customs and doctrines.** 

While Hellenistic rationalism affected the ideas 
of the Sadducees, and Hellenistic dualism, with its 
corollary of the ascetic life, characterized the ideas 
of the Essen es, another Hellenistic influence may 
be traced in a peculiar Jewish literature of the 
period, which flourished inside as well as outside 
Palestine. The apocalyptic and pseudepigraphic 
books reflect many characteristics of Hellenistic re- 
ligion. They were very numerous : the passage in 
the fourth book of Ezra (the second book of Esdras 
in the Protestant Apocrypha) counts the sacred 
writings as ninety-four, or, according to one variant 
reading, as two hundred and four. Of this total, 
twenty-four are in our Hebrew Canon, which 
leaves at least seventy apocryphal works. Some of 

S 109 



HELLENISM 

these were certainly Christian productions, but a 
large number were of Jewish authorship; and 
while the majority had their origin among the 
Greek-speaking communities of the diaspora, sev- 
eral that are extant bear the marks of Palestinian 
birth. Not one has completely survived in its 
original Hebrew form. They never received the 
sanction of the Rabbis, and at the crisis of the 
national religious life they were cast out of Jewish 
tradition as of dubious value or mischievous. 
They have been preserved by Christians in Syriac, 
Greek, Armenian, Slavonic, Coptic, or Latin trans- 
lations, in which they could influence the writers of 
the Church, but could not exercise any hold over 
the congregation of Israel. The heads of the Jew- 
ish schools, in their struggle to preserve Judaism 
intact after the loss of national independence, per- 
ceived the danger of this literature, and banned 
it not only from the Canon of Scripture but from 
the house of study. But in the time preceding the 
national catastrophe the books enjoyed a certain 
amount of popularity. 

The pseudepigraphic literature falls into three 
classes: Apocalypses, or revelations of the unknown 
world; Testaments, which are largely summaries 
of universal history in the form of prophecies ; and 

110 



HELLENISM IN PALESTINE 

haggadistic or legendary elaborations of the 
Bible record. They are all of the genus of 
religious fiction. Typical of the first class is the 
book of Enoch, of the second the Testaments of 
the twelve Patriarchs, of the third the Book of 
Jubilees. The three were probably written by Pal- 
estinian Jews in Hebrew. They have this in com- 
mon that they contain much fantastic and imagina- 
tive speculation about the Messiah and angels and 
the future world, and profess to reveal a secret or 
inner knowledge which is not contained in scriptural 
history. The motive which underlies their com- 
position is that, besides the knowledge of God and 
the history which is revealed in the Bible, a deeper 
and more recondite wisdom exists which may be 
divulged to the saints. This conception of a twofold 
wisdom — one for the mass of the people, and the 
other for the sage — was part of Hellenistic, espe- 
cially Pythagorean thought, which distinguished be- 
tween the esoteric and exoteric doctrines of the phi- 
losophers. From the Hellenistic world it made its 
way into Judaism. But the secret speculation was 
early felt to be alien to the true spirit of the re- 
ligion. An ingenious suggestion of Krochmal 
refers the last warning of Ecclesiastes against the 

making of many books to the secret doctrines;" 

111 



HELLENISM 

and Ben Sira more clearly utters the warning : * 
" Reflect on that which is permitted, but busy not 
thyself with secret things. Rebel not against that 
which is beyond thee: too great for thee is the 
vision ; for many are the thoughts of man, and false 
imaginations lead astray. A presumptuous man 
shall have an evil end, and he who loves visions of 
good shall be carried away by them." 

The content of the secret literature was likewise 
somewhat alien to the spirit of Judaiwn: it was 
mainly concerned with heaven and the life to come, 
and the general outlook was pessimistic about the 
affairs of this world. It is true that visions about 
the celestial kingdom are to be found in Ezekiel 
and several of the later prophets, as well as in 
Daniel, whose book is the one fully-developed 
example of apocalypse in the Hebrew Canon; but 
these very examples illustrate the semi-foreign 
character of such speculations, since they arose 
from the mixture of Babylonian and Persian with 
Hebrew beliefs. The teachings about angels, 
the topography of the. heavenly world, and the 
pseudo-prophetic visions of past events had begun to 
find their way into Jewish thought before the large 
syncretism of the Hellenistic age had taken place. 
But a great impulse in this direction was g^ven by 

112 



HELLENISM IN PALESTINE 

the new conditions which followed on the founda- 
tion of a cosmopolitan culture. 

The contact of Hellenistic thought with eastern 
civilization had the effect of emphasizing the 
gloomy and mystical elements which underlay the 
rational thought of classical Greece, and of bring- 
ing into light the undergrowth of primitive beliefs 
and speculations which had come down from Ori- 
ental sources. In the horror of death which seized 
on men after the city-state was broken up, a de- 
mand grew up for knowledge of the after-world; 
and in the distrust of human reason, which was 
consequent on the decay of intellectual activity, 
crude and wild imaginings were eagerly accepted. 
The Hebraic and Hellenistic- Jewish Apocalypses 
display the same temper, and are the outcome of 
the same spirit as prompted the Hermetic writings 
of Egjrpt, the neo-Pythagorean Cosmogonies, and 
the Visions and Testaments of ApoUonius of 
Tyana." 

It was rather a Graeco-Egyptian or Graeco- 
Syrian than a Hellenic influence which in this secret 
teaching modified Jewish monotheism and the re- 
ligion of the Torah. The Pharisees, and through 
them the Synagogue, were alive to the dangers of 

such syncretism for the religion of Israel, and 

113 



HELLENISM 

hence, prolific as was the literature even in Pales- 
tine, it did not vitally affect the thought of the main 
body of the Jewish people. It is probable that it 
appealed particularly to the Galilean 'Am ha-Arez, 
the common populace of the north, and to the 
mixed population of the Hellenistic cities which 
had been only partially converted to Judaism. 

The national consciousness nourished by the 
Torah had an instinctive aversion to whatever was 
not true to the cardinal points of Judaism; and 
therefore the doctrines of mediating angels and 
heavenly journeys, and the other theosophical 
speculations of the Testaments and Apocalypses 
and Assumptions were never organically united to 
Catholic Judaism. They were ** external " things, 
an Oriental leaven which played a large part in the 
composition of Christianity, but left only a small 
impress on rabbinic theology, and that in a sifted 
and expurgated form. Palestinian Judaism, for 
the most part, kept itself aloof from those mixed 
beliefs as well as from the more vulgar form of 
polytheism and paganism; but in Alexandria, Anti- 
och, and Tarsus, and other centres of the Hellenistic 
diaspora, they became subversive of a pure mono- 
theism and a temptation to the abandonment of the 

Torah. 

114 



HELLENISM IN PALESTINE 

But although the main body of the Jewish people 
rejected Hellenism and its ways, intercourse with 
the Greek peoples and the use of the Greek 
language was by no means eschewed. At this 
period the Palestinian teachers regarded the Greek 
translation of the Scriptures with favor, as an in- 
strument for carrying the truth to the Gentiles,* 
and it was even said that Greek was the only 
language into which the Bible could be properly 
translated,** and again that the Aramaic Targum 
was made from the Greek.** Greek translations of 
parts of the Bible seem to have been made in Pales- 
tine itself; for if the preface to the Septuagint 
version of Esther is to be believed, that book was 
done into Greek in Jerusalem by Lysimachus, son 
of Ptolemy, and brought into Egypt by one 
Dositheus in the fourth year of Ptolemy and Cleo- 
patra. The date has been generally identified with 
114 B. C. E. Supposing the statement true, 
Lysimachus may have been an Egyptian, and there- 
fore a Hellenistic Jew sojourning in Palestine. 
That there was a constant coming and going be- 
tween the Jewish community under the Ptolemies 
and the independent Jewish kingdom during the 
whole period of national existence is shown by 

many circumstances. The dispossessed high priest 

115 



HELLENISM 

Onias IV flees to Egjrpt from the Seleucid persecu- 
tion, and nearly a hundred years later the leaders of 
the Pharisees likewise flee to the same refuge from 
the persecution of Alexander Jannaeus. In the 
time of Herod, again, the Alexandrian family of 
Boethus became high priests. Aristobulus, one of 
the earliest Alexandrian-Jewish philosophers, ac- 
cording to the book ascribed to him, came from 
Palestine, and the grandson of Ben Sira, whose 
statements are above suspicion, went down to 
Egypt when Euergetes was king (i. e., 132 
B. C. E. ) , and continued there some time, and 
found " a book of no small learning." This means 
probably that he found a book of the same kind as 
his grandsire's in vogue among the community, 
which may be the book we know as the Wisdom of 
Solomon. " Therefore I thought it necessary for 
me to bestow some diligence and to interpret it (i. e., 
the work of his grandfather) and set it forth for 
them also which in a strange country are willing to 
learn, being prepared before to live according to 
the Law." 

In the opinion of Zunz,** likewise the Greek 
original of the first apocryphal book of Esdras, 
which is a kind of Targum and Midrash of the 
biblical books of Ezra and Chronicles, is derived 

116 



HELLENISM IN PALESTINE 

from Palestine. The Palestinian literature of the 
second and first centuries before the Christian era 
has come down to us almost entirely in Greek 
translations from the Hebrew, and, on the other 
hand, Hellenistic ideas have been traced in the 
earliest rabbinic records. 

The political independence of the Jewish 
kingdom involved acquaintance with the para- 
mount cosmopolitan culture no less than the former 
subjection to a Greek empire. One of the qualifi- 
cations for membership of the Sanhedrin was a 
knowledge of languages, including Greek; ^ and 
the influence of Greek law has been traced in the 
Jewish legal system. Diplomatic intercourse was 
carried on through Greek, and the Jews had 
friendly relations with some of the Greek peoples. 
Almost all the terms of public life and government 
which are found in the Talmud are Greek translit- 
erations, and the institutions of the religious life 
likewise were clothed in a new dress. The Hel- 
lenistic term ^wtBpiov (Sanhedrin) supplanted the 
Hebrew nSnan now ; and though in Palestine the 
house of prayer and assembly still preserved its 
Hebrew name Bet ha-Keneset, the Hellenistic 
" synagogue " replaced It in the language of the 

Graeco-Roman world. 

117 



HELLENISM 

It is Striking, too, that the officer of the Syna- 
gogue, who is still called Parnass, owes his name 
to a Greek word (Upovow " man of foresight "), 
and that the raised platform where the prayers were 
read is called in Talmud the Bima, from a Greek 
word; and the ark is Tik from the Greek ftyiciy, and 
in the Aramaic Targum, which represents the popu- 
lar speech, the word tsitsith is translated Kraspedin 
from the Greek word * for fringes. 

Language then provides many indications of the 
Hellenistic influence on the Jewish ritual. A less 
permanent memorial of that influence is to be 
found in the coins of the Maccabean dynasty, 
which from the beginning of the first century often 
bear a Greek legend. The gathering at Jerusalem, 
on the three yearly festivals, of deputations from 
all the Hellenistic and Greek-speaking communities 
must have made Greek a familiar language in the 
Jewish metropolis. At the beginning of the 
Christian era there was a synagogue at Jerusalem 
for the Greek-speaking Jews, the Libertines, i. e., 
the Jews of Rome who were libertini or freed- 
men, the Cyrenians, the Alexandrians, and those 
of Cilicia and Asia.* Possibly there was one large 
synagogue for these communities, divided up into 
various chapels, after the manner of the old 

118 



HELLENISM IN PALESTINE 

Sephardic synagogues in the East, and the Talmud 
contains a reference to the synagogue of the Alex- 
andrians at Jerusalem." The community of 
Hellenistic Jews living at Jerusalem in the first 
century were to some extent divided from the gen- 
eral body. They had Greek names such as Stephen 
and Philip, and many of them doubtless were 
converts. Nicolaus, one of the seven appointed to 
dispense charity among the Greek community, is 
described as a proselyte of Antioch." 

The development of the Christian heresy shows 
that these Graecized Jews and Judaized proselytes 
were prone to follow Hellenistic teachings which 
derogated from pure monotheism. Greek influ- 
ences, however, no longer exercised a disinte- 
grating influence as in the days before the Macca- 
bees. Various attempts from without were made 
to foster a Hellenistic revival in Palestine, but they 
failed. After his conquest of Syria and Asia in 
60 B. C. E., Pompeius tried to restore to power and 
independence the Greek city-states in Palestine, as 
a means of weakening Jewish national solidarity; 
he succeeded in re-establishing in some degree their 
material prosperity, but their culture made little 
or no impression on the Jewish people. The sages 
met the attack by strengthening the command 

119 



HELLENISM 

against participation in heathen festivals and as- 
semblies. When a little later the semi-Judaized, 
semi-barbarian Herod tried, in the manner of 
Antiochus Epiphanes, to set himself up as the patron 
and champion of Hellenism, he gained the good- 
will of the Roman Cassars, but alienated the 
sympathy of his people. He founded splendid 
Greek cities," such as Sebaste on the site of the old 
Samaria, Capernaum and Tiberias by the sea of 
Galilee, Caesarea and Antipatris on the coast ; and 
settled in them a mixed population of Greeks and 
Jews ; he endowed lavishly Greek gymnasiums and 
temples, he instituted Greek games at Jerusalem, he 
sent magnificent embassies to Greek festivals at 
Athens and Olympia — in fact he was more Hellen- 
ist than the Hellene. But his actions had little 
effect on the Jewish national life, and were not the 
expression of any tendency of the Jewish people. 

The mass of the nation was solidly welded to- 
gether by its religion and its law. Did a section, 
such as the Sadducees and the Essenes, modify its 
ideas through the blending of Hellenistic notions, 
it gradually dropped out of the national life. Did 
a king seek to foster, or a Roman conqueror seek to 
impose, a more vulgar Hellenism, the people found 

strength and consolation in their schools and their 

120 



HELLENISM IN PALESTINE 

synagogues, and in cryptic prophecies denounced 
the coming vengeance upon the wrong-doers, and 
the ultimate universal triumph of the Jewish law. 
Did Hellenistic notions find their way into the 
Palestinian schools, they were transformed by the 
Jewish spirit, or, if they could not be so digested, 
they were rejected. The national religious 
consciousness was proof against the temptation to 
assimilate, no less than against the pressure of 
armed force. Hence, while the upper classes were 
conversant with Greek, while Jerusalem was, in 
many ways, one of the most cosmopolitan cities of 
the world, and the temple was one of the seats of 
the world's worship, still Hellenism only col- 
ored, without undermining Palestinian Judaism, and 
Greek as a language never ousted the native 
Aramaic as the speech of the people, or Hebrew 
as the vehicle of literature. Paul is compelled to 
speak Hebrew in Jerusalem, and Titus summons 
the people to surrender in Aramaic." The extent 
to which Greek was a foreign language even to the 
cultivated Jew of Palestine is illustrated by the ex- 
ample of Josephus. The most famous of the 
Palestinian Hellenists, who was born in 37 C. E. 
of a priestly family of Jerusalem, and therefore 

belonged to the upper classes, admits that he could 

121 



HELLENISM 

not speak Greek with sufficient exactness, though 
he had taken great pains to obtain the learning of 
the Greeks and understand the elements of the 
Greek language. " For," says he, " our nation 
does not encourage those that learn the languages 
of many nations, and so adorn their discourse with 
the smoothness of their periods ; because they look 
upon this sort of accomplishment as common not 
only to all sorts of freemen, but to such servants as 
care to learn them. But they give him the reputa- 
tion of being a wise man, who is fully acquainted 
with our laws and is able to interpret their mean- 
ing." ** He wrote his first work, on the Wars 
of the Jews, originally " in the language of our 
own writing," i. e., Hebrew or Aramaic, and sent 
it thus to the " Upper Barbarians " — as he so calls 
the Jews in Parthia and Babylonia who presumably 
did not understand Greek. For the benefit of 
the Gentiles and the Greek-speaking communities 
he translated the books into the common language 
of culture; " but he did not acquire the command of 
that language till after he had been brought as a 
prisoner to Alexandria by Vespasian. 

It would be rash to infer from the autobio- 
graphical remarks of Josephus that the habit of 

Greek speech was unknown to the Palestinian com- 

123 



HELLENISM IN PALESTINE 

munity; and circumstances point against such a 
conclusion. But other facts corroborate his state- 
ment that the command of Greek was rare among 
the people and not prized by them. The Pales- 
tinian culture therefore was in its main lines 
essentially and exclusively national. From the 
time of the Maccabees the definite individual stamp 
which had distinguished it ever since the Restora- 
tion from Babylon is emphasized. The introduc- 
tion of Greek ideas, which had at first made head- 
way among a section of the people, was stoutly and 
successfully resisted; attempts at fusion and 
syncretism were distrusted by the sages of the 
Sanhedrin and the leaders of the Synagogue, and 
merely affected small sections which were converted 
into sectaries. Between Judaism and paganism there 
was open war, and in Palestine the Jews were the 
aggressors. Outside Palestine indeed the Hellen- 
istic theology made large inroads into Jewish 
doctrines, and considerably modified the Jewish 
monotheism, but in Palestine it was almost as 
rigidly excluded as idolatry. The universalistic 
standpoint, which was common to the Jews in their 
own land and those in the diaspora, cannot fairly 
be ascribed to Hellenistic influence. It is 

splendidly and repeatedly proclaimed by the 

123 



HELLENISM 

prophets of Israel, and must be accounted as part 
of the Hebraic genius. The ideal, as the greatest 
teachers understood it, was to be attained not by 
the abandonment of national life and tradition, but 
by their expansion. According to Hillel — the out- 
standing interpreter of the Law before the loss 
of national independence — ** the kingdom of right- 
eousness would be established not by merging 
Judaism in a broad humanitarianism, but by mak- 
ing Judaism itself an embodiment of the principles 
of humanity." " 

Palestine, then, was the cradle of an intense 
Hebrew life, which, amid the ever-increasing 
welter of civilizations and cultures in the Graeco- 
Roman world, maintained a pure and distinct 
national character. And it preserved Judaism 
and the national life of the Jews, not only for its 
own community, but for the people all the world 
over. The congregations of the diaspora could 
be allowed to assimilate more freely the Hellenistic 
culture, because at the centre the clear standard 
was upheld and the Hebraic outlook was undefiled. 
Lastly, during the two hundred years, in which 
Judaism was continually expanding and consoli- 
dating its teaching on its own soil, the individuality 

of the people was so confirmed that, when the centre 

124 



HELLENISM IN PALESTINE 



was violently broken up, and the political forms of 
national existence were taken away, the spirit re- 
mained strong and enabled the national religious 
life to hold out both against internal disintegration 
and outward compulsion. 



126 



CHAPTER IV 

HELLENISM IN THE DIASPORA 

The influence of Hellenistic thought on the 
Jewish communities of the diaspora was naturally 
larger and more direct than on Palestinian Jewry; 
for in the dispersion the Jews were not merely 
surrounded by, but living in the midst of, a Greek- 
speaking cosmopolitan population. And they 
lacked the solidarity and the power of resistance 
to foreign ideas which is the outcome of a con- 
centrated national life in a separate territory. The 
centrifugal tendency was bound, therefore, to be 
more pronounced, and to grow as their identifica- 
tion with the life of the country in which they were 
settled became more complete. Strong as was their 
consciousness of being a peculiar people, they rap- 
idly assimilated Greek thought. The process can 
be best studied at Alexandria, because the literary 
records of Alexandrian Jewry are the fullest. The 
first and the fundamental step toward the intro- 
duction of the outside culture was the adoption by 
the Jews of the Greek language as their mother- 
tongue ; and, accordingly, the first sign of Hellenism 

126 



\ 



HELLENISM IN THE DIASPORA 

and the basis of its influence was the translation 

of the Scriptures into Greek. The translation 

probably had two motives : a desire of the Jews to 

make their holy books known to the people about 

them, and the substitution of Greek for Hebrew 

or Aramaic as the language of reading the 

Scriptures in the synagogue, which was rendered 

necessary by the growing Hellenization of the 

community. 

Legend soon gathered itself about an event 

fraught with such importance to the destinies of 

the Jewish people and to the whole of civilization. 

The Hellenistic writers, Aristeas, Josephus, and 

Philo, and likewise the Talmud/ recount a story 

of seventy-two sages sent by the high priest from 

Judea to Alexandria at the request of King 

Ptolemy Philadelphus (about 250 B. C. E.) and 

lodged in the island of Pharos opposite Alexandria, 

each in a separate cell, till they had completed the 

translation of the five books. Each of the 

versions, it is said, agreed word for word, which 

proved the divine inspiration of the translation and 

its authoritative character. The story bears the 

impress of tendenz fiction, no less than another 

legend recorded in the Talmud — which originated 

some centuries later, when bitter experience had 

127 



HELLENISM 

given a new significance to the event — that while 
the translation was being made, a plague of dark- 
ness hung over Palestine/ The one story reflects 
the remarkable attachment which the Greek- 
speaking Jews showed to the version for three 
centuries; the other the misgivings, which were 
engendered later among the Rabbis, of the 
Hellenizing movement that started from it. In- 
ternal and external evidence, indeed, point to the 
conclusion that the first two books of the Penta- 
teuch were translated at Alexandria about the era 
of Ptolemy Philadelphus, to whose instigation the 
legend ascribed the origin of the whole work. This 
early section of the translation is written in the 
common Greek dialect of the Hellenistic era, but is 
full of Hebraisms and is innocent of literary artifice 
or style. In time the other books of Moses, the 
historical books, the books of the Prophets, and the 
Holy Writings were translated — in the case of the 
last-named, with certain haggadic additions which 
do not appear in the Hebrew Canon, but which arc 
parallelled in the Aramaic Targum. 

The first literary work of the Hellenistic Jews 
was the translation, the next the expansion, of their 
Scriptures. From references in the fragments of 

Hellenistic- Jewish historians preserved in the col- 

128 



HELLENISM IN THE DIASPORA 

lection of Alexander Polyhistor (flourished about 
80 B. C. E.) it is certain that the greater part of 
the translation had been completed by the begin- 
ning of the first century before the civil era. The 
form is a little less crude in the later parts, but the 
version of the prophetic books shows little literary 
sense or Greek literary influence. Still less does it 
exhibit the impress of the knowledge of Greek 
philosophy, though ingenious critics, with theories 
to prove, have made it a favorite hunting-ground 
for traces of Stoic and Platonic teaching. Neverthe- 
less, if the Septuagint itself does not manifest any 
considerable modification of Hebraic ideas, the 
effect of studying the Scriptures in Greek, and of 
not studying them in Hebrew, was momentous for 
the Judaism of the diaspora. Gradually but 
surely the Jews began to assimilate the religious 
ideas of the people about them, and to look on 
the Scriptures under the influence of those ideas. 
Words stand rooted in a national soil; and if the 
terms of Greek theology came with a new meaning 
to the Jewish mind which impressed them with its 
own stamp, on the other hand, as the Greek trans- 
lator of Ben Sira recognized, " things originally 
spoken in Hebrew have no longer the same force 

when they are translated into another tongue ; and 

129 



HELLENISM 

not only these (the maxims of his grandfather), 
but the Torah, the Prophets, and the other Books 
of the Bible have no small difference when they 
are spoken in their original language." 

The Greek version could not convey just the 
same conception of monotheism as the Hebrew 
Bible, and there was, moreover, a conscious avoid- 
ance of anthropomorphism. Thus, when the He- 
brew text says that Moses saw God on His throne, 
the Septaugint renders it that he saw the place which 
God inhabits.* God speaks to Moses not " face to 
face," as in the original, but in a vision.* Again, a 
desire to glorify and justify the Jewish people led 
to the insertion of additions to some of the later 
books (Esther, Daniel, etc.). On the other hand, 
the desire to conceal what might be made a reproach 
by their enemies led to the omission of a few 
passages, such as the story of Judah and Tamar. 
The Talmud * mentions that thirteen passages were 
altered in the Septuagint translation for the sake of 
King Ptolemy; and the process of making altera- 
tions to suit Greek taste was practised on a large 
scale by the later commentators and adapters of the 
Greek Bible. Hence, partly by the unconscious in- 
fluence of a change of language, partly by deliber- 
ate modification, the seeds of an impure Judaism 

130 



HELLENISM IN THE DIASPORA 

were sown in the Bible and the Synagogue of the 
diaspora. 

We have but sparse records of the development 
of the Alexandrian or any other Hellenistic com- 
munity between the beginning of the third and the 
middle of the second centuries. Our main sources 
of knowledge are inscriptions and fragments of 
pagan historians, and we have to infer the internal 
development from our fuller knowledge of the 
subsequent period. The anti-Jewish chronicles of 
Manetho, an Egyptian historian of the second 
century B. C. E., argue the existence of a passive 
enmity between the semi-Hellenized Egyptians and 
the Jews ; but the exalted positions filled by Jews at 
the court of the Ptolemies prove that the govern- 
ing powers did not share the prejudice. Moreover, 
the writings of the worthier Hellenistic historians 
indicate that the monotheism of the Synagogue won 
the respect of the philosophical classes. The 
knowledge and command of Greek were doubtless 
gaining steadily among the Jews, and the elimina- 
tion of Hebrew from the religious service must 
have been slowly going on. At the same time the 
earlier Hellenistic-Jewish literature affords scant 
suggestion of the introduction of foreign ideas. 

181 



HELLENISM 

After the Septuagint, the Chronicles of 
Demetrius are the oldest historical work of the 
diaspora of which we can judge, and they are 
faithful in substance to the Scripture narrative. 
Again the story of the Seleucid persecution and the 
Maccabean struggle written by Jason of Cyrene, 
of which an epitome exists in the Second Book of 
the Maccabees, if less reliable than the record of 
the Hebrew book, is impregnated by the same spirit 
of loyalty to the religion, and by an equal national 
pride.* The prefatory letters which introduce the 
epitome, as also the preface of the translator of 
Ecclesiasticus, reveal the close kinship of feeling 
between the Palestinian and Alexandrian communi- 
ties. Nor is it without significance that the loyal 
members of the priesthood, when they fled for 
refuge from the tyranny of Antiochus Epiphanes 
and the Hellenizers, and a little later Onias IV, 
when he failed to be elected high priest of Jerusa- 
lem, turned to Egypt, and established a new 
sanctuary. Political considerations of the enmity 
of the Ptolemies to the Seleucids doubtless influ- 
enced them ; but in Egypt they could find a staunch 
body of their brethren devoted to the temple 
service. 

132 



HELLENISM IN THE DIASPORA 

That the cruder side of Hellenism, the religious 
cults, affected a section of Jewry in the diaspora as 
in Palestine is but natural : in every age and place 
there are Jews who desire to drop their individu- 
ality. One monument records a contribution of 
money by a Carian Jew, Jason, towards the festival 
of Dionysus, another, found in a temple of Pan 
in Upper Egypt, records the thanks of two Jews to 
the Greek god for their deliverance,^ another from 
Delphi an offering of an emancipated Jewish slave 
to Apollo. These, however, are but isolated ex- 
amples, and the anti-Jewish scribblers are never 
wearied of reproaching the Jews with misanthropy 
and ** atheism " because of their aloofness and re- 
ligious Puritanism in a period of free exchange of 
divinities. The mass of the people rigidly main- 
tained their separateness and their resistance to 
paganism. Whereas to-day the charge is made 
that the Jews are cosmopolitan in a national 
society, then the current complaint was that they 
were national in a cosmopolitan society. 

Nevertheless, the more intellectual and more 

refined Hellenism, contained in the philosophical 

thought of the Greek masters, gradually affected 

a section of the people. The two alleged pre- 

Maccabean writings which exemplify such an influ- 

133 



HELLENISM 

ence are demonstrably later forgeries. Both the 
Letter of Aristeas and the fragments of the " Exe- 
gesis " of Aristobulus, which have been preserved 
by various Church fathers, do not date before the 
first century; and the exact harmony of Jewish and 
Greek thought ascribed to these early Hellenistic- 
Jewish worthies represents the notions of a later 
age.* But there is no reason to doubt that Aristeas 
and Aristobulus were early exponents of a Hellen- 
istic-Jewish reconciliation between the rational 
ethics of Greece and the revealed moral law of 
Israel: the pioneers of a Jewish moral philosophy. 
The Maccabean triumph marks a turning-point 
in the history alike of Hellenistic and Palestinian 
Judaism. The vindication of Jewish independ- 
ence prompted in the dispersed Jewish community 
a feeling of pride in their special culture, and an 
intense desire to impart it to the nations; and 
henceforth they are essentially an active rather 
than a passive factor in the Hellenistic world. 
Their apologists teach the defensive, and adopt the 
offensive by attacks on paganism. The conscious- 
ness of a religious mission to the world, which had 
been aroused in the crisis of the first captivity, was 
revived with redoubled force by the crisis through 

which the people passed; and the prophecy that 

134 



HELLENISM IN THE DIASPORA 

Israel should be a light among the nations could 
now be made a living and practical ideal. What 
had been a vision to the prophets was now a mission 
to the people. Two conditions favored the ex- 
pansive movement in the diaspora. The Jews were 
in close contact with the Hellenistic world, and by 
the assimilation of the general culture of the age 
could express their message in an intelligible form. 
Moreover, the Hellenistic welter of peoples, owing 
to the decay of their religion and the growing 
disbelief in pagan polytheism, were groping for 
some religious teaching which should afford a 
sanction for morality and give to life a purpose and 
a hope. The day had come of which the prophet 
Amos * had spoken, when there should be "a 
famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a 
thirst for water, but a famine for hearing the words 
of the Lord." Hellenism, which had lost its fresh- 
ness as soon as it was transplanted, was more and 
more obscured by Oriental elements; philosophy 
did not satisfy the masses, and the Greek paganism, 
which for a time attracted the world by its beauty, 
was found lacking upon the moral and spiritual side 
of religion for which the East has always felt a 
longing. 

186 



HELLENISM 

At Alexandria especially a great burst of Jewish 
literary activity was directed toward the pagan 
masses ; and a Jewish ethical literature was forecast 
which had as its purpose the propagation of He- 
brew monotheism in the educated Gentile society 
and the glorification of the Jewish law as a form of 
natural and rational religion. Much of the litera- 
ture has disappeared, but enough has survived to 
give us an adequate idea of its tone and character. 
The propagandist writings which were intended to 
recommend Judaism to the masses were of two 
kinds: Hellenized versions of the Bible-stories, 
tricked out in the rhetorical style of the day and 
embroidered with numerous falsifications; and 
moral exhortations to the heathen disguised behind 
the mask of famous Greek sages and poets. Of the 
first some improve the stories of Genesis and 
Exodus in prose; others in verse. Artapanus, a 
historical romancer, seeks to magnify the greatness 
and the miraculous power of the patriarchs, of 
Joseph and of Moses, ascribing to them with reck- 
less bravado the invention of the Egyptian arts and 
sciences. One Ezekiel, who is called by the Church 
fathers the " poet of Jewish tragedies," among 
other poetic works composed a drama in iambic 
trimeters on the Exodus, in which he seems to have 

186 



HELLENISM IN THE DLASPORA 

contented himself with paraphrasing the biblical 
narrative in yene, and arranging dramatically the 
inddents of Moses* Ufe. His woii^ was probably 
intended for reading and not for action, seeing that 
the Jews altogether eschewed the theatre. It is 
possible, however, that reli^ous plays were given 
at the Jewish festivals for the benefit of the prose- 
lytes. Another writer named Philo composed a 
narrative poem in hexameter verse about the his- 
tory and beauties of Jerusalem. The fragments of 
it show that his ignorance of the laws of scansion 
is equalled by his love for the Holy City. But he 
drew more on his imagination than on knowledge. 
Describing the water-supply of Jerusalemi he 
writes of some mjrsterious spring : " 

For flashing from on high, the joyous stream. 
Flooded by rain and snow, rolls swiftly on 
Beneath the neighboring towers; and spreading o'er 
The dry and dus^ ground far shining, shows 
The blessings of that wonder-working fount. 

And, depicting the high priest's fountain : 

A headlong stream, by channels underground, 
The pipes pour forth. 

The Letter of Aristeas, more prosaically but not 
less imaginatively, describes the wonders of Jerusa- 
lem which must have been a commonplace of Alex- 
ia? 



HELLENISM 

andrian-Jewish heroics. With a different kind of 
inventiveness the anonymous author of the history 
of Jannes and Jambres compiled a fictitious account 
of the magical powers of Moses, which were pitted 
triumphantly against the arts of the famous 
Egyptian wizards. A regular battle of false books 
raged in Egypt ; the enemies of the Jews composing 
scandalous and grotesque accounts of their origin 
and practices, the Jews retorting with this spurious 
aggrandizement of their ancestors. 

The popular recommendation of the one God 
and the moral law to the pagan, though carried on 
under false colors, had a higher motive. To 
bring the teachings of the Bible to the knowledge 
of the populace, who required something more 
attractive than the bald narrative of the Scptuagint 
or the rhetorical chronicles of the historian, some 
bolder spirits foisted monotheistic verses on pre- 
historic pagan seers, such as Musaeus and Orpheus, 
and above all on the Sibyl, who described herself as 
a divine prophetess of the orders and counsels of 
the gods concerning the fates of cities and king- 
doms." Others interpolated passages into the 
maxims of the ancient moralist Phocylides and the 
" dark philosopher " Heraclitus, and into the 
tragedies of Sophocles and Euripides and the 

138 



HELLENISM IN THE DLASPORA 

comedies of Menander. The pqpular Jewish 
writers in Falesdne ascribed their books to the pre- 
historic fathers of Israel; but the Jewish writers of 
Alexandria ascribed their poems to the misty 
prophets of Hellas, who were already used as the 
vehicle of reli^ous and ethical teaching by Greek 
philosophical schools. 

To-day, when the distinction between fiction and 
history has been considerably developed, literary 
forgeries may appear not only contemptible but 
immoral. That distinction was unrecognized in 
the Alexandrian age ; and when people cared little 
about the true authorship, provided the appearance 
of age was given, they were adopted as a vehicle of 
every reforming movement which aimed at moral 
teaching. By the side of the Jewish Sibyllines may 
be placed the spurious poems which the neo- 
Pythagoreans ascribed to the founder of their 
school, and the spurious dialogues which the 
Platonists added to their master's works. The 
feeling for truth and exactitude altogether was 
weak. Spurious literature was a habit of the time, 
similar in design and conception to our historical 
and religious novel, by which the doctrines of a 
later epoch are put into the mouth of historical 
characters, not so much with a view of deceiving 

189 



HELLENISM 

the people about their origin, as with the hope of 
winning a greater acceptance for them by the 
seductive association. The purpose of these writ- 
ings was less to convert the Gentiles than to pre- 
pare their minds for a favorable reception of the 
Jewish teaching which was delivered in the syna- 
gogues by word of mouth. They must have been 
intended for the less intellectual part of the Greek 
reading population. Although the critical standard 
of the age was low, it cannot be imagined that men 
who had received a literary training were deceived 
about the origin of this literature; but didactic 
hexameter verse was the form of writing which 
would appeal to the half-educated and half- 
Hellenized natives among whom Jewish activities 
were largely exercised. Spurious literature only 
has an influence when the ideas to which it seeks to 
give authority are in accord with the demands of 
the people ; and to this extent it reflects more cer- 
tainly the popular opinion than the works of aristo- 
cratic literary circles. As Ossian met the demand 
of the eighteenth century for more naturalism in 
poetry, so the false Sibyl met the demand of the 
Hellenistic world for more spirituality in reli^on, 
and her oracles were a kind of Tracts for the 
Times, 

140 



HELLENISM IN THE DIASPORA 

It is commonly accepted that the earhcst of 
these Sibylline oracles extant is the third, part of 
which is dated in the second century. In an intro- 
duction, which forms a prologue to the series of 
Jewish Sibyllines, the writer denounces the 
heathen, and proclaims the unity of God : " Ah, 
mortal men, creatures of flesh, how full are ye of 
self-importance, and reck not that your life must 
end? Neither do ye tremble at the God who rules 
over you, the supreme God who knows, sees, and 
understands all things. He is the Creator who 
preserves all, and sent His sweet spirit into every 
being and made it rule over all men. There is one 
God alone. He is very great, omnipotent, unbe- 
gotten, invisible. He sees everything, but cannot 
be seen by any mortal. For what flesh can behold 
with his eyes the heavenly and immortal Being, 
since mortal man cannot even bear to gaze on the 
beams of the sun ? Give worship unto Him, the 
only God, the Ruler of the universe, who exists 
alone from everlasting to everlasting." Through- 
out the passage no Hellenic influence appears save 
in the form of the poetry: the thought is undi- 
luted, unmodified Hebraism; even the phrase 
about ** sending the spirit " is merely a repro- 
duction of a verse in the Psalms," and so through- 
lo 141 



HELLENISM 

out the oracle the spirit is everywhere Hebraic. 
Pointing the lesson that righteousness exalteth 
the nation, the writer menaces with doom the 
Greek kingdoms, unless they put aside their 
idolatry and their wickedness.** An obvious simi- 
larity exists between his outlook and that of the 
author of the Hebrew apocalypses; but whereas 
the latter offered encouragement and consolation to 
his own people, the Greek writer preached to the 
Gentiles. The popular Hellenistic-Jewish litera- 
ture is directed outwards, not inwards. " The 
Jewish religion," says Gibbon," " was admirably 
fitted for defence, but was never designed for con- 
quest, and it seems probable that the number of 
proselytes was never much superior to that of 
apostates The Jews eschewed mis- 
sionary activity, and were flattered by the opinion 
that they were alone the heirs of the covenant ; and 
they were apprehensive of diminishing the value of 
their inheritance by sharing it too easily with the 
strangers of the earth." The statement of this his- 
torian expresses the exact reverse of the truth as re- 
gards the Hellenistic era of Judaism. For two 
hundred years and more, from the time of the Mac- 
cabees till the loss of national independence, the 

Jews were preeminently a missionary people. Not 

142 



HELLENISM IN THE DIASPORA 

only their own historians Philo and Josephus, but 
the classical authors of the period record the strik- 
ing success of their mission. Jewish practices were 
spread wherever there was a Jewish community, 
and the synagogues attracted thousands and 
hundreds of thousands of converts," being, as Philo 
describes them, ** schools of prudence, justice, 
piety, holiness, and in short, of all virtues by which 
things human and divine are well-ordered." " 

For a considerable time the admission of prose- 
lytes did not have the effect of weakening the re- 
ligion or the national cohesion; before the Gentiles 
were received as full members of the congregation, 
they had to adopt the national way of life. Some 
of the staunchest Jews were not born in the faith. 
But in the end the missionary activity exposed its 
dangerous side in weakening the hold of the Torah. 
In order to win over the Gentiles, the Jewish 
preachers tended to lay stress on the inner as 
against the literal meaning of the law, to color 
Judaism with the current ethical notions, and to 
explain away what might appear tribal or exclusive ; 
and naturally the newcomers, for the most part, 
had not the same feeling for the tradition as those 
who had for generations lived under it. They 
were prone also to interpret the doctrine they 

143 



HELLENISM 

learnt in the light of ideas strange to it, and to de- 
judaize the fundamental conceptions of the religion. 
Many of them did not become full members of the 
congregation, but remained on the outskirts of the 
Synagogue, and were known as ** the fearers of the 
Lord," accepting the beliefs but not the law of 
Judaism. 

The infusion of Greek ideas into Jewish teach- 
ing is signally illustrated by the development of 
the mission of a higher intellectual order, which 
was addressed to the cultured classes, unsatisfied 
with the philosophical systems. Already in the 
second century attempts were made to reconcile 
Jewish belief and Jewish law with Greek theology 
and Greek ethics, and to recommend Judaism as a 
philosophical religion. But it was not till the first 
century before the common era that that movement 
took on large proportions. The ethical schools of 
the Stoics and the Epicureans were effete and in 
decay, losing their individuality in a floating 
eclecticism, and seeking some consolation in the 
weariness of existence. On the other hand, the 
school of Pythagorean thinkers was groping its 
way toward a religious philosophy, and seeking to 
satisfy men's spiritual and intellectual wants by a 

system of mystical idealism. The Jews, with their 

144 



HELLENISM IN THE DIASPORA 

sincere conviction of a divine unity and their 
possession of a divinely revealed law, began to de- 
velop a philosophy of their own, which they offered 
to the Hellenistic world as a better and an older 
explanation of the universe than that of any Greek 
thinker, and a surer guide to happiness than any 
other system. The motive of their philosophical 
writing was thus, in part, missionary ardor. The 
mastery of Greek doctrines and the mastery of 
Greek literary artifices were steadily increasing. 
But they did not merely assimilate the intellectual 
culture of their environment; their Jewish spirit 
was paramount, and their appeal to the Gentiles 
retained a distinctive literary form. 

Two anonymous books which have survived 
from this semi-philosophical Jewish literature, the 
Wisdom of Solomon and the so-called Fourth Book 
of the Maccabees, both probably date from the 
beginning of the first century B. C. E., and spring 
from Alexandria. In the Wisdom the ideas of 
the Greek philosophers only appear incidentally. 
Its main theme is a warning against ungodliness, 
and in form it has a certain correspondence with 
Proverbs and Ben Sira and the other Hebrew ex- 
amples of the Wisdom literature. But throughout 

the book images and concepts show the influence 

145 



HELLENISM 

of Hellenistic culture. It is indeed half a polemic 

against the idolatry and materialized ethics of 

paganism, half a panegyric of Wisdom, which is 

advanced to a new power by the blending of 

philosophical ideas with the religious conception 

of the Bible. The author vividly describes the creed 

of the so-called Epicureans who say: ** Short and 

sorrowful is our life; and there is no healing when 

a man comes to his end. By mere chance were 

we born, and hereafter we shall be as though we 

had never been. . • . , Come therefore, let 

us enjoy the good things that are present, and let 

us use the creation with all our soul as youth's 

right Let us fill ourselves with 

costly wine and ointments, and let no flower of the 

spring pass us by. Let us crown ourselves with 

rosebuds before they be withered. Let none of us 

go without his share in the revelry. Let us leave 

tokens of our joyfulness in every place." " 

Against this creed he sets up the Hebraic view 

of life. ** God created man to be immortal, and 

made him to be an image of His own eternity. The 

souls of the righteous arc in the hands of God, 

and there shall no torment touch them. .... 

For even if in the sight of men they be punished, 

their hope is full of immortality; and having borne 

146 



HELLENISM IN THE DIASPORA 

a little chastening, they shall receive a great 

good." " 

He speaks here with a certainty of the reward 

of the righteous, of which Job and the Preacher had 

been in doubt. Later he attacks the idolatrous 

paganism which corresponds with materialism in 

thought. " Surely vain are all who are ignorant of 

God, and could not out of the good things that are 

seen know the true Being. Neither by considering 

the works did they acknowledge the artificer, but 

deemed either fire, or wind, or the swift air, or the 

circle of the stars, or violent water, or the lights of 

heaven, to be the gods which govern the world." " 

And expanding the images of Isaiah, he denounced 

those ** who call them gods which are the work of 

the man's hands; gold and silver to show art in, and 

resemblances of beasts, or a stone good for nothing, 

the work of an ancient hand. But Thou, O Lord, 

art gracious and true, long-suffering, and in mercy 

ordered all things. For to know Thee in perfect 

righteousness, yea, to know Thy power is the root 

of immortality." ** The assurance of immortality 

as the basis of the theodicy is a striking feature of 

the Wisdom of Solomon, and distinguishes it from 

the Wisdom books of the Bible. It has often been 

pointed out that the Hebrew Scriptures are silent 

147 



HELLENISM 

upon such a hope. A few passages indeed suggest 
a conviction of the reward of the righteous after 
death, as when the Psalmist utters his personal 
faith:** 

Thou wilt not abandon my soul to the nether-world . , • 
Thou makest me to know the path of life; 

which contrasts with the verse : " 

For in death there is no remembrance of Thee; 
In the nether-world who will give Thee thanks? 

Or again : " 

As for me, I shall behold Thy face in righteousness; 
I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with Thy likeness. 

But the belief in a retribution in after-life seems 

to have played no part in the popular faith. Even 

the later books of the Bible do not breathe any trust 

in personal immortality, but rather question it. 

" If a man die," says Job, " may he live again? " ** 

And Ecclesiastes proclaims on the vanity of human 

life : " The wise man, his eyes are in his head; but 

the fool walketh in darkness. And I also perceived 

that one event happeneth to them all." " Ben Sira 

maintains the biblical outlook: ** Who shall give 

praise to the Most High in Hades, in place of them 

that live and return thanks ? Thanksgiving perish- 

cth from the dead as from one that is not. All men 

148 



HELLENISM IN THE DIASPORA 

are earth and ashes." " The doctrine of reward in 
after-life is plainly stated indeed by Daniel : ** And 
many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth 
shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some 
to reproaches and everlasting abhorrence. And 
they that are wise shall shine as the brightness of the 
firmament; and they that turn the many to right- 
eousness as the stars for ever and ever." " Since, 
however, the date of Daniel is within the Hellenistic 
era, the passage is no index of the Hebraic attitude 
before that period, but only goes to prove that in 
the second century the Palestinian as well as the 
Alexandrian Jews accepted the doctrine of the im- 
mortality of the soul. 

The doctrine of individual immortality is fore- 
shadowed rather than realized in the Bible. But 
in the Hellenistic literature it is definite and promi- 
nent; and if not wholly derived from Hellenistic 
influence, it was certainly nourished by it. It is 
likely that Persian thought influenced both the 
Hebrew and Greek teaching of immortality, and 
the circumstances of the age made the foreign seed 
productive. In the Hellenic city-state and in the 
Hebraic kingdom the sufficient reward for a man's 
work was found in the survival of the nation, and 

the life of the individual was merged in the com- 

149 



HELLENISM 

munity. But when the close national life was 
broken up, and the dispersion of the Jews and 
Greeks was accomplished, the individual assumed a 
new importance, and the salvation of his soul be- 
came the special care of religion and reflective 
thought." Thus the promise or rejection of im- 
mortality is a matter of supreme concern in Hellen- 
istic philosophy. The Epicureans and Stoics 
denied it, the Pythagoreans affirmed it; and the 
Mysteries, which played an important part in the 
religious life of the time, inculcated the belief by an 
elaborate ritual. 

For the Jews, during the crisis of the struggle 
for independence, the teaching of immortality be- 
came a new stronghold of the religious conscious- 
ness against the attacks of materialism and rational- 
ism. In Palestine, where it was established during 
the second century, it took the distinctive form of a 
belief in resurrection of the body. The acceptance 
or rejection of that belief was one of the main 
points of contention between the Pharisees and 
Sadducees. Whether the Sadducees altogether 
denied the immortality of the soul, or merely re- 
jected resurrection, is not certain." But it is sig- 
nificant that, even when the idea of individual im- 

150 



HELLENISM IN THE DIASPORA 

mortality was established, the Hebrew intuition of 
the unity of body and soul persisted in the teaching 
of a second life for the body as well as for the soul. 
In the diaspora, however, and more especially at 
Alexandria, where Jews and Greeks were brought 
into contact with the ancient eschatological teach- 
ing of Egypt, the antithesis between body and soul 
was accepted, and the doctrine that appears in the 
Jewish Hellenists is of the soul's after-life. The 
writer of the Wisdom of Solomon describes the 
soul as existing before it is placed in the body, which 
is but an earthly tabernacle for the heavenly Nous, 
and must restore the soul like a loan. His doctrine 
is still somewhat vague and tentative, as though he 
were preaching something that was not generally 
accepted. Yet he develops the foreshadowing of 
the Psalmist to a clearer belief. 

In the later Hellenistic literature, such as the 
apocalyptic Book of Enoch, to be dated probably 
at the end of the first century B. C. E., a vulgariza- 
tion comes with greater certitude, and the details 
of the future life are depicted with an assurance 
which is in marked contrast with the reserve of 
the pseudo-Solomon. The distinction which the 

Rabbis drew between the visions of Isaiah and the 

151 



HELLENISM 

Visions of Ezekiel may be applied to the different 
conceptions of the next life in the Hellenistic age. 
The author of the apocryphal book speaks as a 
metropolitan resident, the author of the apocalypse 
speaks as a villager. 

The ethics and the teaching of immortality 
which are found in the Wisdom of Solomon mani- 
fest the Hebraic consciousness of God and the seri- 
ousness of the Hebraic outlook upon life, unim- 
paired and strengthened and deepened by the 
knowledge of outside culture and the larger intel- 
lectual experience. But what may be called the 
lyrical theology of the book, which describes God's 
relation with the world, blends the ideas of 
philosophy with the Hebraic images, so as to form 
conceptions that mark a new direction of Hellen- 
istic Judaism. The Wisdom books of the Old 
Testament, outlining the primitive reflection of the 
Hebrews on the nature of the divine, pictured 
Wisdom as a link between God and man. Wisdom 
in her perfection is alone with God,** and exists 
with Him before the creation. She is the divihe 
purpose, the divine scheme of human life, and 
man's goal is to seek the apprehension of the divine 
ideal. 

153 



HELLENISM IN THE DIASPORA 

The Lord made me as the beginning of His way, 
The first of His works of old. 
I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning. 
Or ever the world was. 

Then I was by Him, as a nursling; 
And I was daily all delight, 
Playing always before Him.*^ 

The conception of Wisdom is somewhat ex- 
panded in the book of Ben Sira, but essentially it 
remains true to the biblical character. The author 
proclaims her divine origin in the opening chapter 
of the book: ** All wisdom cometh from the Lord, 
and is with Him for ever. Wisdom hath been 
created before all things, and the understanding 
of prudence from everlasting." " And later, in 
another lyrical hymn, he personifies her, and makes 
her speak thus :" 

Wisdom shall prove herself. 

And shall glory in the midst of her people: 

I came out of the mouth of the Most High, 

And covered the earth as a cloud. 

I dwelt in high places, 

And my throne is in the pillar of cloud. 

He created me from the beginning before the world, 
And I shall never fail. 
In the holy tabernacle I served before Him, 
And so was I established in Zion. 

158 



HELLENISM 

The personification may be more elaborate 
than in the Bible, and the faint suggestion of 
metaphysics is creeping into Hebraic fancy, but the 
root of the conception is the Wisdom of Proverbs 
and Job. And the identification of the Law with 
Wisdom is preserved. He that hath possession of 
the law shall obtain wisdom.** 

A further development from poetry to theology 
is made in the Alexandrian literature. The Hellen- 
istic Jews, through their acquaintance with the 
Greek philosophers, began to be conscious of the 
problem raised by the transcendence and perfection 
of God, on the one hand, and His immanence in 
the world. His constant control of human affairs, 
and the existence of evil, on the other. They 
found in the Greek schools spiritual doctrines about 
the divine Reason and the divine Wisdom which 
governed and ordered all things, and detected in 
them a close relation with the Bible teaching of the 
Wisdom and Word of God. Desiring to display 
Judaism as a philosophical faith, they were naturally 
led to associate the Hellenistic attributes of Sophia 
and Logos with the images of Hokmah and the 
Dabar. The Wisdom of Solomon exhibits the 
first stage of this philosophical-religious syncretism : 

" Wisdom reachcth from one end of the world to 

154 



HELLENISM IN THE DIASPORA 

the Other with strength, and ordereth all things gra- 
ciously She is the artificer of all things; more 

mobile than any motion she pervadeth and pene- 
trateth all things. For she is a breath of the 
power of God, and a clear effluence of His glory. 
Therefore can no defiled thing fall into her. For 
she is the brightness of the everlasting light, the 
unspotted mirror of the power of God, and the 
image of His goodness. And she, being one, hath 
power to do all things, and remaining in herself, 
reneweth all things. And in all ages entering into 
holy souls, she maketh them friends of God and 
prophets." " 

Elsewhere, she is depicted as manifest in the pil- 
lars of fire and cloud. The author of Proverbs had 
indeed personified Wisdom ** building her house,"" 
but the imagery of the Alexandrian author is dif- 
ferent in kind as well as degree. He attributes 
to " Sophia " the properties which the Greek 
philosophers attached to the monistic impersonal 
principle that they held to govern the universe. 
Consciously he applies the intellectual ideas of 
Hellenism to the poetical ideas of Hebraism, and 
fuses the two. So, again, when he pictures the 
Logos or Word executing judgment upon the 
Egyptians, though his imagery is here Hebraic, the 

155 



HELLENISM 

personified conception of a divine instrument marks 
an advance from primitive theology toward the 
philosophical teaching which became the distinctive 
feature of the Alexandrian school. " Thine 
almighty Word leaped from Heaven, out of Thy 
royal throne, as a fierce man of war into the midst 
of destruction, and brought Thy unfeigned com- 
mandment as a sharp sword, and standing filled 
all things with death, and it touched the heaven, 
but it stood upon the earth." " He associates the 
word by which God made all things with the Wis- 
dom. The one like the other is the divine instru- 
ment, and is on its way to being treated as a separate 
being. 

Contact with Greek philosophy has tended to 
deepen the Hebrew consciousness of the author of 
the Wisdom, nor does he feel the necessity to ex- 
plain or allegorize away anything in the Scriptures. 
Among a considerable section of Hellenistic 
Jewry, however, the influence of Greek culture did 
tend to the neglect of the Torah, and to exclusive 
attention to the hidden meanings. The need was 
felt for conciliating religion with philosophy; and 
in order to effect this object, the Bible was made 
the pretext for all kinds of fancies and speculations, 

and the obligation of the Law was rejected. The 

166 



HELLENISM IN THE DIASPORA 

Alexandrian Jews believed that all wisdom was 
contained in Israel's divine revelation. Therefore 
the philosophical tenets which they had been wont 
to admire must be hidden there and must have 
originated in the Bible. Allegorical interpretation 
which aimed at extracting doctrines from the text 
that were not to be found in its literal sense was 
the distinctive literary product of Alexandrian 
Judaism. The master of this interpretation and 
the chief figure of Hellenistic-Jewish philosophy is 
Philo-Judaeus, who is likewise the highest type of 
Jewish missionary. Philo, indeed, who lived from 
about 40 B. C. E. to 40 C. E., sums up Hellenistic 
Judaism, representing both its strength and its 
weakness, its splendid aims and its latent dangers, 
its groundwork of Hebraism and its unconscious 
adoption of incompatible Hellenistic conceptions. 

Allegorical interpretation is an art peculiarly 
fitted to flourish in a society which is harmonizing 
the cultures of different ages and different peoples, 
since its purport is to trace a more abstract and a 
profounder doctrine beneath a simple record. 
Allegory is a literary device by which some ulterior 
purpose is conveyed in the form of a story; alle- 
gorical interpretation is the converse method, by 
which a secondary meaning is read into a story. 
II 157 



HELLENISM 

Allegory has been a regular habit of thought 
among the Oriental peoples, and the Bible shows 
not a few traces of it; but the philosophical inter- 
pretation of ancient records as allegory is essentially 
the product of a sophisticated community. The 
allegorist is an apolopst seeking to bring out an 
agreement between his ancient traditions and the 
culture of his environment. There must be a 
conscious cleavage between the two, and a conscious 
desire to bridge it, before allegorism can flourish." 
Its pursuit was stimulated at Alexandria by the 
advance of Greek thought; but it is not perhaps 
altogether fanciful to suggest that the influence of 
the Egyptian monuments favored the habit of 
allegorical interpretations in the Egyptian com- 
munity. It is the principle of ancient Egyptian 
thought that all ideas are represented by a material 
symbol or hieroglyph; and to those living amongst 
the wonders of Egypt it became natural to regard 
the concrete as the symbol of the abstract. 

Alexandrian Jews acquired from their Hellen- 
istic environments not only the intellectual culture 
which they desired to harmonize, but also the 
machinery of conciliation. The Stoics applied 
allegorical exegesis to Homer and Hesiod in order 
to deduce their philosophical tenets from the 

158 



HELLENISM IN THE DIASPORA 

poems. The neo-Pythagoreans likewise, who had 
their chief seat at Alexandria, were prone to alle- 
gory. From these Greek models Phllo and his 
predecessors learnt the art of reading philosophy 
into the books of Moses. Allegorical interpreta- 
tion of the Bible was not, however, the exclusive 
pursuit of the Alexandrian Jews; it may well be 
that, while they derived their methods from their 
pagan contemporaries, they inherited the seeds 
of the habit from their fathers. The oldest 
halakic Midrashim, such as Sifre and Mekilta, 
make mention several times of a certain school 
of interpreters called rvDW^ ^is^'^n;** and the in- 
terpretations quoted in their name are regularly 
allegorical or rather symbolical. The meaning 
of Reshumot appears to be signs or symbols, and 
the peculiar method of the Dorshe Reshumot was 
to see in the words of the Scriptures symbols which 
should be taken in a figurative sense, not in their 
plain and literal meaning. The method is also 
known as Mashal. Such interpretations of 
Scripture go back to the prophets of the Bible them- 
selves. Thus Hosea** says of Jacob's struggle with 
the angel that it was a struggle in prayer; and Micah 
(7. 20) takes the patriarchs as types or symbols, 

Abraham of kindness, Jacob of truth. 

159 



HELLENISM 

It is from these simple beginnings that the 
Dorshe Hamurot seem to have developed. When 
they found a passage in the Bible that in its literal 
meaning conveyed anthropomorphic ideas, or when 
they could point some higher moral teaching by 
taking the concrete words of the Bible as tokens of 
something spiritual, they introduced allegorical 
interpretations. They explained the verse in 
Exodus : " And they went three days in the wilder- 
ness, and found no water," * to mean that the 
Israelites did not find the words of the Law, which 
are symbolized by water, as it is said, " Ho, 
every one that thirsteth, come ye for water." ** So, 
too, in the Exodus verse which follows : " And the 
Lord showed him a tree, and he cast it into the 
waters," * they interpreted ** tree " as the Torah ; as 
it is written: ** She (the Torah) is a tree of life to 
them that lay hold upon her." ** It is noteworthy 
that Philo, interpreting the same verse,* explains 
the tree as a medicine for the soul, causing it to 
love labor; and several times in his allegories he 
expounds water as a symbol for the divine Word or 
Logos.* 

Palestinian and Alexandrian allegorists alike 

sought for symbolical values in the proper names 

of the Bible, and were not unwilling to make a 

160 



HELLENISM IN THE DIASPORA 

change in the word of the text if they might thereby 
extract a lesson from it. The Dorshe Reshumot 
interpreted Rephidim (the place where Amalek 
fought with Israel) as on^ ]VDi*' , the weakness 
of the hands. The passage then suggests that 
Amalek attacked Israel because of their neglect of 
the Law. And in the Ethics of the Fathers * the 
names of two stages in the journeying of the Israel- 
ites *niDaSK»SmoiSK^Sn3n3n)DOi are given a symbolic 
value : " Whosoever labors in the Torah, behold, 
he shall be exalted; as it is said: ' From the gift of 
the Law man attains to the heritage of God, and by 
that heritage he reaches heaven.' " Philo regu- 
larly finds a significance in biblical names; and as 
he traces it from the Hebrew form of the word, 
he must be drawing upon a Hebrew and Palestinian 
source for this part of his allegorizing. Israel is 
" the man who sees God " ; " Reuben ** the son of 
insight " ; " Jerusalem " the sight or threshold of 
peace." " 

The primitive allegorical system, then, from 
which the development at Alexandria appears to 
have sprung, was the interpretation of the words 
of the Torah as symbols. Whether the Pales- 
tinian school devised certain rules for the alle- 
gorical commentary which were handed down to 

161 



HELLENISM 

the Alexandrians is less certain; but some canons 
are undoubtedly common to them and to Philo. 
Yet while allegorical interpretation of the Bible 
had its counterpart in the Palestinian schools, the 
dangers of its excessive use were recognized there, 
and its progress was checked. Mashal, indeed, is 
included among the methods of haggadic interpre- 
tation in the rules composed by Rabbi Eliezer ; but 
it is added that the method is only to be used in in- 
terpreting passages which do not state a law or 
commandment. Allegorical skill was not to 
whittle away the Torah, however laudable it was 
in relation to other parts of the Bible. According 
to the author of the treatise, ascribed to Philo, 
" That every good man is free," the Essenes were 
distinguished by their habit of treating the words 
of the Law as symbols ; but in this, as in other re- 
spects, they betrayed the influence of foreign 
standards, and were not true to the principles of 
Palestinian Judaism. The stress remained in 
Palestine on the literal sense of the Hebraic tradi- 
tion ; in Alexandria a new emphasis was laid on the 
allegory and the spiritual interpretation of the Law. 
The fact that a large part of the Mosaic civil and 

criminal law was not practically operative in the 

162 



HELLENISM IN THE DIASPORA 

diaspora doabdess assisted the tendenqr to look for 
nMHal philosophy beneath the legislation* 

Philo is the only Alexandrian-Jewish writer who 
has left a systematic allegorical commentary on the 
Bible ; but he refers frequently to predecessors who 
composed moralizing interpretations of ritual com« 
mands, and who considered the utterance of the 
Law to be the ** manifest symbols of things in* 
visible, and hints of things inexpressible.^^ * Several 
scholars of recent times held that he was merely 
the culminating point of an Alexandrian- Jewish 
school of philosophers; but later research has 
caused a modification of this idea. Of definitely 
philosophical writers there is no trace before Philo ; 
but, on the other hand, a large floating body of alle- 
gorical teaching existed, in the form of an Alexan- 
drian Midrash, as it may be called, which he worked 
into his system. This Midrash may have sprung 
from the interpretations of preachers in the syna- 
gogue sounding the spiritual and ethical depths of 
the biblical reading of the week; and Philo*8 
achievement was to weld these occasional utterances 
and scattered traditions into a philosophical doc- 
trine. His work is certainly not very systematic; it 
is largely a collection of homiletical addresses, 
united in the form of a continuous allegorical com- 

168 



HELLENISM 

mentary on the books of Moses ; but it is the nearest 
approach which a Jewish writer made in the ancient 
world to an ordered philosophy of Judaism. It 
is fortunate, then, that a considerable part of it 
remains — greater in volume indeed than the rest 
of the Hellenistic-Jewish literature together — so 
that we can form a fairly complete idea of his 
teaching and of the outlook of the society for which 
he wrote. 

Philo was one of the most distinguished Greek 
writers of his time. He commanded the whole of 
the classical literature, and he gathered ideas from 
every philosophical school. Bom of an aristocratic 
Jewish family at Alexandria — his brother was 
ethnarch of the community — from his youth up- 
wards he was devoted to study; and in his desire to 
perfect himself and attain to the knowledge of 
God, he appears to have joined for a time one of 
those ascetic brotherhoods of Therapeutae or 
devotees, who, following Pythagorean examples, 
eschewed all civil concerns, and sought to obtain 
bliss by sublimating the soul in ecstasy. " I 
feasted," he says in characteristic prose-poetry, 
" with the truly blessed mind which is the object of 
all desire, communing continually in joy with the 

Divine Word and Doctrine." Philo's understand- 

164 



HELLENISM IN THE DIASPORA 

ing of philosophy was to acquire the knowledge of 
God for himself and to spread it among his fel- 
lows. He was true in purpose to the Hebraic 
spirit which regards the knowledge of God as the 
end of wisdom, but in his mental equipment and in 
the form of his thought he was some way re- 
moved from the type of Jewish sage. He must have 
received the Greek secular education (1} cyicuicAios 
voiScta) which included Greek literature and the 
sciences ; ** and he passed on to the study of Greek 
philosophy. While it is probable that he knew 
some Hebrew, it is certain that it was at best a 
foreign language to him. He never wrote in it, 
and he habitually studied the Scriptures in the 
Greek. He knew the traditional teachings of his 
people, likewise, which had been gathered around 
the Scriptures, through their Greek version, and 
thus the Hebraic inheritance, which formed the 
groundwork of his system, was moulded by Hellen- 
istic association. Occasionally, even, he contrasts 
the Hellenic (Alexandrian) Jews with the bar- 
barian Hebrews, i. ^., the Palestinians." Doubt- 
less in such passages he is addressing pagans, but 
the distinction is none the less significant. Yet the 
literary form of his works corresponds with the 

Jewish Midrash and not with the Greek philo- 

166 



HELLENISM 

sophical treatise ; save for one or two minor writ- 
ings in the form of Greek dialogues, his allegories 
are all strung on biblical texts. 

Unfortunately, the best of the Hellenistic culture 
of Alexandria in Philo's time was decadent and 
confused. The purity of the Hellenic thought no 
less than of the Hellenic language, despite the in- 
fluence of the great Museum of Alexandria, had 
been irreparably lost in Egypt through the ad- 
mixture of Egyptian and Oriental elements, which 
contrived to veil in mystery what they could not 
explain by reason. The moral sublimity of the 
Hebraic imagination was paramount in Philo's 
system, so that he prevailed to a great extent over 
the intellectual debasement of his environment, and 
welded his ideas into a remarkable philosophy of 
monotheism. Yet dangerous leanings toward 
theosophy lurked in his expression and in his out- 
look. These leanings, derived from contact with 
the surrounding culture, had already led many of 
his contemporaries away from a pure and simple 
Judaism, and they were so exaggerated by the gen- 
erations that followed him that his works became 
the buttress of heresy. Thus he represents the 
acme of the Hellenistic development of Judaism; 

but, as is the fate both of nature's work and human 

166 



HELLENISM IN THE DIASPORA 

creation, the mature fruit conceals the seeds of 
decay. 

Philo's work has two aspects. On the one hand, 
he formulates a Jewish system of philosophy for 
those Hellenistic Jews who were attracted by the 
intellectual ideas of the Greek teachers and who 
tended to reject Judaism because it seemed to lack 
an equally high doctrine. On the other hand, he 
presents Judaism to the Greek-speaking world as a 
philosophical system of religion, in order that he 
may attract to it the earnest spirits who were dis- 
contented alike with the religion and the philosophy 
of the time. Two principal motives again un- 
derlay his allegorical habit. He desired, in the 
first place, to explain away the biblical passages 
where anthropomorphic expressions were applied 
to God, and to find a universal value in such 
passages as, in their literal meaning, described the 
details of a tribal history or the minutiae of a 
ritual; in the second, to draw from the Holy 
Scriptures doctrines of ethics and psychology and 
theology such as the Greek schools had elaborated. 
Some Alexandrian Jews sought rather for physical 
and astronomical wisdom ; but Philo opposes them, 
and substitutes for their explanations a more 
spiritual exegesis." 

167 



HELLENISM 

He describes three diverse attitudes toward the 
Law, which were held at Alexandria in his day. 
Some regarded it as merely traditional custom and 
the Bible as a literary record which constituted the 
** mythology " of the Hebrews. Others despised 
the positive Law as such, and derived from it a 
purely spiritual cult and from the biblical narrative 
purely spiritual teaching. Finally there were those 
who combined respect for the positive Law and 
the spiritual cult, observing the commandments, but 
seeking by means of the allegorical method an 
inner and profounder sense." Elsewhere he associ- 
ates the first class with the Ammonites, the second 
with the Moabites,. and the third with the pious 
sage Melchizedek." Philo attacks the first class, 
the extreme literalists who attend only to externals, 
and actually derive polytheism from the Holy 
Scriptures. They included those who took the 
anthropomorphic expressions about God to justify 
pagan worship. Such perhaps also were the 
Alexandrian conciliators, who tried to impress the 
HcUenized Egyptian by ascribing to Joseph and 
Moses the exploits and attributes of the Greek 
heroes. Philo attacks likewise the second class 
who anticipated the antinomian outlook of the 

Christians, and menaced, as he clearly saw, the in- 

168 



HELLENISM IN THE DIASPORA 

tcgrity and purity of the Jewish religion. In a 
famous passage he thus speaks of them : " " Such 
men I would blame for the shallowness of their 
mind. For they ought to give good heed to both — 
to the accurate investigation of the unseen meanings 
but also to the blameless observance of the visible 
letter. But now, as if they were living by themselves 
in a desert, and were souls without bodies, and 
knew nothing of city or village or house or inter- 
course with men, they despise all that seems valu- 
able to the many, and search for bare and naked 
truth as it is in itself. Such people the sacred Scrip- 
ture teaches to give good heed to a good reputation, 
and to abolish none of those customs which greater 
and more inspired men than we instituted in the 
past. For because the seventh day teaches us sym- 
bolically concerning the power of the uncreated 
God, and the inactivity of the creature, we must not 
therefore abolish its ordinances, so as to light a fire, 
or till the ground, or bear a burden, or prosecute a 
lawsuit, or demand the restoration of a deposit, or 
exact the repayment of a loan, or do any other 
thing, which on week-days is allowed. Because 
the festivals are symbols of spiritual joy and of our 
gratitude to God, we must not therefore give up the 

fixed assemblies at the proper seasons of the year. 

169 



HELLENISM 

Nor because circumcision symbolizes the excision 
of all lusts and passions, and the destruction of the 
impious opinion according to which the mind 
imagines that it is itself capable of production, must 
we therefore abolish the law of fleshly circumcision. 
We should have to neglect the service of the 
temple, and a thousand other things, if wc were to 
restrict ourselves only to the allegorical or symbolic 
sense. That sense resembles the soul, the other 
sense the body. Just as we must be careful of the 
body, as the house of the soul, so must we give heed 
to the letter of the written laws." Elsewhere he 
says in reference to the commandments: " Thou 
shall not add thereto {the Law), nor diminish 
from it.^ If we add anything great or small to 
piety, the queen of virtues, or take anything away 
from it, we mar it and change its form. Addition 
will engender superstition, and diminution impiety, 
and true piety will disappear. . . . . Fur- 
ther Moses lays down another command: Thou 
shalt not remove the boundary-stone of thy neigh- 
bour's landmark, which thy ancestors have set up^ 
This, methinks, does not refer merely to inherit- 
ances and the boundaries of land, but it is ordained 
with a view to the preservation of old customs. 

For customs are unwritten laws, the decrees of men 

170 



HELLENISM IN THE DIASPORA 

of old .... engraved upon the soul of the 
generations who through the ages maintain the 
chosen community." " 

Philo foresees the chaos that the innovators in 
religion and those who break from tradition will 
produce. Chaos in fact already loomed and 
pointed to an internal disease. The Jewish sects 
that existed in Palestine had their counterpart in 
Alexandria, with this distinction that the influence 
of Greek philosophy upon them was stronger and 
more direct. Among Philo's apologetic works 
was a treatise on the Essenes, of which Eusebius, 
the Church historian, has preserved a few frag- 
ments. Another treatise has come down to us 
in his name, under the title " On the Contem- 
plative Life," which describes the life and doctrines 
of a peculiar Alexandrian offshoot, the Thera- 
peutae. Several scholars claim that they were a 
Christian sect, but the better opinion is that they 
were a local development of the Essenes. The 
book describes the observances of a monastic com- 
munity which lived on the shores of Lake Mareotis, 
near Alexandria. Many authorities aoe of opinion 
that it belongs to a later date than the time of 
Philo, and strong philological grounds militate 

against his authorship. But there is no reason to 

171 



HELLENISM 

doubt that a Jewish sect of the nature described 
flourished in Egypt during the first century of the 
Christian era. Their way of life resembled that 
of the Essenes, but was carried to a further degree 
of contemplation. They share with the Essenes the 
dualistic view of body and soul and the affection 
for the secret doctrine which underlies the literal 
word of the Scriptures. The author, after describ- 
ing how they pray twice a day, speaks thus of their 
learning: "The interval between morning and 
evening they devote wholly to the contemplation 
and practice of virtue; they take up the sacred 
writings, and philosophize about them, investi- 
gating the allegories of their national wisdom ; for 
they look upon the literal expressions as symbols of 
some secret meanings of nature which are intended 
to be conveyed in these figurative, forms. They 
have also writings of ancient sages who, having in- 
stituted this or that doctrine, have left behind them 
many records of the allegorical interpretations. 
These they take as a model and imitate the general 
fashion of their teaching. They do not, however, 
occupy themselves solely in contemplation, but com- 
pose psalms and hymns to God in every possible 
kind of metre and melody. Thus during six days 

each of the members, retiring into solitude, philoso- 

172 



HELLENISM IN THE DIASPORA 

phizes by himself in one of their so-called retreats, 
never going, never even looking outside the thresh- 
old of the outer court." At the sacred assembly on 
the sabbath — " the day of perfect holiness and the 
most complete festival "—one of the elders inter- 
preted with profound care the meaning of the laws. 
Our author recounts also the nature of their com- 
munions, and especially the rites with which they 
celebrated the feast of Pentecost which, because of 
its association with the number 50, was treated with 
particular veneration. 

The Therapeutae, like the Essenes, left no 
permanent trace on Jewish life, while, on the other 
hand, their semi-monastic communities were the 
prototype of a large development in the Christian 
Church. The emphasis on individual salvation and 
the breaking away from the national life and the 
national law, which are their predominant charac- 
teristics, and are the resultant of the fusion of 
Hellenistic ethics with Jewish religion, cut off these 
sects from the Jewish people, and led to their ab- 
sorption into the anti-national Christian body, so 
soon as it had made itself distinct. 

In passages which are undoubtedly genuine, 
Philo reproaches the ascetics " for their savage en- 
thusiasm." " " Truth," he says, " will properly 
la 173 



HELLENISM 

blame those who without discrimination shun all 
concern with the life of the State." ** Disapprov- 
ing both of excess of spirituality and of excess of 
religious exercise, he was the champion of those 
who were conservative in the observance of the 
national law, and at the same time were anxious to 
extract from Holy Writ philosophical and mystical 
doctrines, who prized both the literal and alle- 
gorical sense. He aspired to universalize the 
Jewish law by showing that its individual precepts 
embody the highest ethical teaching, and in their 
entirety constitute the law of nature, and to uni- 
versalize the Hebrew Scriptures by showing that 
the historical narrative of the Mosaic books 
enshrines a sublime philosophy. 

Philo gave a new bent to the Greek philosophy 
which he assimilated. His purpose was not to 
make an intellectual analysis of things or a scientific 
investigation of nature, but to bring about a union 
of the human soul with God. True to the cardinal 
principle of Jewish monotheism, he regards God 
as the one reality, the one cause, the one goal. All 
thought and all being are His direct creation : the 
universe is brought into existence by His will ; the 
human soul is an emanation from His spirit; 

human knowledge is an inspiration from His 

174 



HELLENISM IN THE DIASPORA 

power. " Through God, God is known, for He is 
His own light " ; * and as man's soul and 
knowledge are from God, so man's final good is to 
be joined with God. Man could attain this state in 
superhuman ecstasy. The Hebraic doctrine of the 
Shekinah, th€ divine Presence, which possessed 
the saint, is clothed by Philo with a Greek dress. 
" When the divine light shines upon the mortal 
soul, the mortal light sinks; our reason is driven 
out at the approach of the divine spirit." " The 
various aspects of Greek thought which form the 
material of his system are transformed into a re- 
ligious philosophy by this root idea of God and His 
relation to man. At the same time the Hebraic 
principles of his theology are largely modified 
through the influence of Greek conceptions. He 
contrives to show how the transcendental God who 
is utterly spiritual and incorporeal comes into rela- 
tion with the physical world and the human soul, 
and hence his whole system depends on, or rather 
develops into, a doctrine about the divine nature. 

The seeds of a formal theology, which are con- 
tained in the Wisdom books of the Bible, and 
fructified in Alexandrian soil, come to full fruition 
in his mind. His outstanding conception is the 

Word or the Lx>gos, which is the instrument of 

175 



HELLENISM 

God's activity and His immanent manifestation in 
the universe. It is impossible to pick out any clear 
and definite conception of the Logos and say: 
" This is Philo's notion of it." It is described in 
endless metaphors and associated with a number of 
attributes, now as the Creator of the universe, now 
as its noetic model, now as its soul ; as the seat of 
the Ideas or immaterial patterns after which all 
material things are created, and as the law of 
Nature binding all things together through its 
various forces; as the universal rule of conduct, the 
revealed Torah, which guides the whole of human- 
ity; as the divine effluence in the soul, which it is 
man's highest function to cultivate, and as the prin- 
ciple of conscience which is placed in us to guide, 
to warn, and to reprove. In other passages it is 
personified as the high priest, the heavenly man, 
the intercessor, the offspring of God, and His 
wisdom, in others it is identified with Melchizedck 
and the Manna. The presentation combines 
Hebraic and Hellenic concepts and, in addition, a 
number of floating ideas of divine intermediaries 
which were derived from the ancient Egyptian 
religion and were current in Alexandria. 

Philo indeed constantly asserts the perfect unity 

of God. Monotheism is the key-note of his 

176 



HELLENISM IN THE DIASPORA 

philosophy; but in his desire to provide stages in 
the upward march of the human soul to the 
knowledge of the Godhead, and under the influence 
of the culture around him, he elaborated this half- 
poetic, half-philosophical development of the 
divine instrument. The Platonic system of 
philosophy forms the dominant clement in his syn- 
cretism. It was said about a century later : " Either 
Philo Platonizes or Plato Philonizes " ; and there 
is in truth a profound sympathy between the Greek 
and the Jewish philosopher. " The aim of Plato's 
philosophy," said Macaulay, " is to exalt man into 
a God " ; the aim of Philo's theology is to bring 
man into perfect communion with the one God. 
The greatest philosophical genius of the Hellenes 
possessed in a remarkable degree the Hebraic spirit 
which is zealous for God and makes for righteous- 
ness. The religious and spiritual aspects of Plato's 
teaching had, however, been neglected for three 
centuries; they were made fruitful by the contact 
of the Hebrew mind. As in nature a plant is 
fertilized by pollen brought from a strange flower, 
so in human culture a thought of one people is often 
made fruitful by the infusion of the ideas of 

another. 

177 



HELLENISM 

The cosmology of Philo is based on the Platonic 
idealism, i. e., the doctrine that between the su- 
preme Being and the material world a kingdom 
exists of spiritual archetypes, eternal, incorporeal, 
recognized by mind alone, which preceded the crea- 
tion of the material world.*" He who denies their 
existence is impious and godless. Sometimes 
Philo declares that the whole of this ideal world 
is contained in the divine Logos which orders all 
things ; * sometimes he equates it with the angels 
in the Bible. He associates with the Platonic 
Ideas, which are embraced altogether in the Word, 
features taken from the pantheistic system of the 
Stoics. By the school of the Porch the divine 
substance was presented as the Logos or reason: 
and syncretizing this with the Hebrew dabar, he at- 
tributed to the divine power some of the material 
qualities which the Stoics attached to their panthe- 
istic principle. He speaks of it as most mobile and 
fiery, stretched through the universe and using an 
intense motion ; in one or two places he describes it 
as the seed-bearing Logos. These expressions are 
of course metaphorical, but they illustrate his 
tendency to adopt images and doctrines from 
schools to whose general outlook he was funda- 
mentally antagonistic. From the Stoics, too, he 

178 



HELLENISM IN THE DIASPORA 

adopted a distinction between the thought in the 
mind and its expression in words, the first being 
known as the stored-up Logos; the second as the 
enunciated Logos. Elaborating this idea, he was 
led to personify the Logos as God's first-born son. 
The change of the patriarch's name from Abram — 
exalted father — to Abraham" — father of sound, 
suggests this allegory: " If we are to explain ac- 
curately, it is plain that the mind is the natural 
father of the uttered word, because it is the prop- 
erty of the father to beget, and the word is begotten 
from the mind." From this analysis of speech, it 
was a natural step to speak of the creative word of 
God as the divine offspring. The passage exempli- 
fies the poetic and personifying character of Philo's 
allegorical interpretations which had its dangerous 
aspect. Max Miller's theory that language has 
created all theology is to-day somewhat discredited. 
But in an age when thought was as loose and mysti- 
cism as rampant as in the first century of the 
Christian era, language most certainly nourished 
theology. 

The current philosophy of Alexandria was full 
of ideas derived from Egyptian and Oriental 
sources which engendered various divine genealo- 
gies and baffling theories of mediation. The Di- 

179 



HELLENISM 

vine Wisdom, the Ideal Man, the immaculate 
conception of the virtues, the mediation of 
Hermes — the interpreter between man and the 
Absolute — these were the floating beliefs, begotten 
of the union of decadent mythology and decadent 
philosophy, which left their impress on Philo's 
doctrine of the Divine Powers. Thus in one place 
he makes the Divine Wisdom the mother of the 
Logos; " and in another he writes: " The Creator 
who has made this universe is the Father of the 
creation; and its mother is the Wisdom of the 
Creator. God uniting Himself to her has sown 
becoming not in human fashion; she having re- 
ceived the divine seed, has in perfect travail given 
birth to His son, sensible, only-begotten, and be- 
loved — this visible world." " And, again, he 
speaks of God's union with the truly virgin Wis- 
dom." The notion of an ideal man appears 
several times in his allegories of the story of the 
creation. God, he conceives, first created a Man 
who is immaterial intelligence, the type of per- 
fection; and from this ideal being the terrestrial 
man came into existence. Developing Hebraic 
ideas in the books of Ezekiel and Enoch, which 
represent Adam as the perfect type of humanity, 

he separates the heavenly archetype from its ter- 

180 



HELLENISM IN THE DIASPORA 

restrial copy, and sets the two in contrast. This 
mystical conception received great prominence in 
the mediaeval system of Jewish mysticism in the 
form of the Adam Kadtnon. 

It would be out of place to dwell on the de- 
tails of Philo's doctrine of intermediary powers, 
or of an ideal creation midway between God and 
the material world, or of his resolution of the 
angels into single words or ideas. We can but note 
the element of un-Jewish ideas and foreign 
gnosticism which crept into his philosophical 
allegories. It does not indeed supplant loyalty to 
the Law, and it is subordinate to his deeply spiritual 
and truly religious nature, which makes him humble 
before God and preserves much of the simple 
Jewish relation to the Deity; but with others such 
doctrines were to become subversive of the cardinal 
principles of Judaism. 

Philo in a sense represents the high-water mark 
of Hellenistic influence upon the Jewish-Alexan- 
drian culture. No other Jewish writer achieved so 
thorough a combination of Jewish and Greek wis- 
dom, or developed an elaborate system of alle- 
gorical commentary. Yet he stands out as the con- 
servative champion of Judaism against several 

schools, which went much further in the adoption of 

181 



HELLENISM 

Greek ideas and the Greek standpoint. On one 
side were the thorough-going materialists. Over 
and over again he attacks the followers of a philos- 
ophy which deifies the human reason and yet pre- 
tends to honor God." These extreme Hellenizers 
assumed the attitude that man was the measure of 
all things, and that he must stand by his -reason 
alone. On the other side were the thorough-going 
spiritualists, those who carried to its extreme con- 
sequence the allegorical interpretation of the Law, 
and used it as a justification for abandoning practi- 
cal observance. Claiming to be spiritual, they were 
really antinomian: professing a rational religion, 
they tended to gnosticism. Philo calls them the 
children of Cain, who was the symbol of impious 
pride ; and it may be that he is attacking the proto- 
type of a Cainite sect which in the second century 
of the Christian era held gnostic doctrines. Any- 
how, by the opening of the Christian era Hellenistic 
philosophy had planted the seeds of gnostic heresy 
in the Alexandrian community. Sectarianism in 
the general community is apt to produce a sectarian 
development among the Jews. The Muslim sects 
of the Arabs and Persians, in the tenth century, had 
their counterpart in Jewry, and the uncounted re- 
ligious groups among the Graaeco-Romans, in the 

182 



HEUEXISM IX THE DL^FORA 

first and second ocnturics, were matched by a 
medley of tenets sprung from Hellenistic Judaism. 
Philo endearoured to maintain a Judaism which, 
while liberal and free in diou^t, was catholic in 
practice; to formulate a mystical philosophy of 
Judaism which, adopting many of the ideas of the 
Greek sages, should still be true to the fundamental 
points of Jewish monotheism. But mysticism aU 
ways runs to excess. The balance was unstable in 
his day, and it could not be fairly maintained a 
little later. His was a sophistical rather than a 
philosophical age, lacking the sense for the beauty 
of the simple; and his own harmony of Hebraism 
and Hellenism was not established on a sure basis. 
The notions derived from Greek philosophy of in- 
termediary beings between the supreme God and 
man, though in passing through the mintage of his 
mind stamped with a wholly spiritual character, 
were, nevertheless, hardly consistent with the Jew- 
ish faith ; and the syncretism which had been charac- 
teristic of Alexandrian culture throughout its 
development, though designed by him to serve a 
sublime purpose, led away to confused theosophies, 
on the one hand, and to the division of the Godhead, 
on the other. Both the Gnostics and the early 

Christian theologians look to him as their chief 

188 



HELLENISM 

laws, and will not accept the laws of another; but 
the Jewish law attracts and links together all 
peoples, barbarians and Greeks, those who live on 
the mainland, and those who live on the Islands." 

The Stoics conceived a law of nature providing 
a rule of conduct for all peoples, but they were 
unable to specify its provisions. They contented 
themselves with the assertion of general phrases, 
to the effect that man should deny pleasure and fol- 
low virtue. Philo, identifying revealed and natural 
religion, the Greek Logos with the divine Word, 
proclaims the Mosaic legislation as the universal 
law of the one God, which was designed for the 
cosmopolis. The five books of Moses begin with 
the account of the creation, " in order to establish 
two great lessons : first, that He who is the Father 
and Creator of the world is also its Legislator, and 
secondly, that He who obeys those laws will follow 
the path of nature and will live in accordance with 
the order of the universe, so that there will be true 
harmony between theory and practice." Philo 
interprets the specific enactments of the Jewish law 
universally; he points a moral lesson as well as a 
historical value in each festival and each national 
observance; and in each enactment of the civil law 
he elucidates an ethical principle which gives it a 

186 



HELLENISM IN THE DIASPORA 

claim to the obedience of humanity. So far from 
being narrow and prescribing exclusivencss, the 
Jewish law in its every detail and its whole outlook 
enjoins the love of one's neighbor. The service 
of God is carried out by the service of humanity; 
in particular slavery is discouraged, and its con- 
ditions are constantly mitigated by the law. This 
belief in the ultimate acceptance of Judaism is thus 
expressed : " This is the supreme aim of the in- 
spired prophet throughout his legislation, to ensure 
concord and good understanding and the harmony 
of different characters, so that families and entire 
nations and countries, and indeed the whole race of 
mankind, might advance to perfect happiness. Up 
to the present time, indeed, this is only a hope, but 
that it will come to pass I am firmly convinced, and 
facts show irrefutably, for God increases the har- 
vest of virtue year by year." 

That the Jewish mission at that time was an 
immense force in the diaspora is proved by the 
testimony of Jew and Gentile. " There is not any 
city of the Greeks," says Josephus" — doubtless 
with some rhetorical exaggeration, but, yet with 
a kernel of truth — , " nor any of the barbarians, 
nor any nation whatsoever to which our habit 
of resting on the seventh day has not been intro- 

187 



HELLENISM 

duced, and by whom our fasts and our prohibitions 
as to food are not observed. As God Himself per- 
vadeth the universe, so hath our law passed 
through the world." And Seneca, the Roman 
philosopher, spoke of subject Judea having taken 
victorious Rome captive. 

The outward expansion of Hellenistic Judaism 
was greater than its inward cohesion, and be- 
came in time a danger. In order to appeal to the 
Gentile peoples, Jewish law and Jewish belief were 
re-interpreted in terms of Greek thought. The 
idea of God was obscured with notions, derived 
from Hellenistic theology, of His division into 
several powers which were interposed between Him 
and the world. The direct relation between God 
and man, which was the goal of Jewish piety, was 
transformed into mystical progressions through 
attributes to the Godhead; speculation about the 
immanence of God led on to the acceptance of the 
Hellenistic notion of incarnation; and the Mes- 
sianic hope of a world-wide kingdom of God was 
exchanged for the individual ideal of personal re- 
demption in union with the Son of God. The New 
Testament illustrates the part which Hellenistic 
Jews throughout the diaspora played in the earliest 
disruptive development of the Christian teaching. 

188 



HELLENISM IN THE DIASPORA 

Even at Jerusalem one of the " Grecian Jews," 
Stephen, proclaimed that the Law and all outward 
ceremonies were ordained to last but for a time," 
and thereby roused the resentment of the other dis- 
ciples. Jews of Cyprus and Cyrene were the first 
disciples at Antioch to preach to the Greeks, and to 
constitute the followers of the teachings of Jesus a 
separate sect." At Ephesus the Alexandrian Apol- 
los turned from preaching Judaism to preaching 
the new Gospel to the Gentiles. Lastly, the mis- 
sion of Paul marks the radical- conversion of the 
ethical Hebraic teaching of Jesus into a new Hel- 
lenistic religion, in which the theology of the ad- 
vanced Alexandrian reformers takes the place of 
the life according to the Jewish law as the basis 
of union. *' The letter which is the law kills and 
leads to death. The spirit which is the Lord gives 
life and leads Godwards." 

. The elements of a new religious system were con- 
tained in the Hellenistic communities. The use of 
Hebrew disappeared, and with it much of the He- 
braic spirit. The observance of the Torah, which 
was the spontaneous expression of the national- 
religious life in Palestine, came to be regarded, 
under the influence of Greek ethics, as an obstacle 

to the spiritual life. The Judaism of the diaspora 
13 189 



HELLENISM 

was colder and less happy than that of Judea." 
Instead of welcoming the Torah with joy, the 
Hellenistic Jew invented theories, and sought to 
justify his religion. Something of the same con- 
trast exists to-day between the Judaism of the 
ghetto and the Judaism of the emancipated Jew- 
ries of the West. The interpretation of the Scrip- 
tures was raised to a kind of philosophy by alle- 
gorizing away the historical meaning and the literal 
precept, and by substituting for them eclectic doc- 
trines of Greek schools and Oriental speculations. 
Lastly, the belief in the arising of a national Mes- 
siah of the house of David was displaced by the 
idea of the incarnation of a divine Power who 
should judge men at the end of days. Allegorical 
development and its destructive effects did not stop 
with Philo. Within a century of his death, the 
unity of Alexandrian Judaism was irretrievably 
marred, and sectarianism was dissolving the Jew- 
ish communities of the West. 

Of the three great bonds of the Jewish people, 
which hitherto had held them together in the dias- 
pora, two had been broken, and the other was 
seriously weakened. The triple cord consisted of 
the language, and the land, and the law. The sub- 
stitution of Greek as the language of prayer and 

190 



HELLENISM IN THE DIASPORA 

biblical study involved a growing estrangement of 
thought between Hellenistic and Palestinian Juda- 
ism. And though outside Egypt there is little direct 
evidence that Greek had replaced Hebrew in the 
synagogue (Mommsen's suggestion that Greek 
was a compulsory language has been refuted), the 
rapid growth of Christian heresy at Antioch and 
other Jewish centres shows that the synagogue 
there had lost its national character and its national 
strength. The love of Palestine and the regard for 
the sanctuary at Jerusalem as the centre of the 
religious nationality remained an influence of su- 
preme importance so long as the nation preserved 
its autonomy. Philo bears witness to the deep 
affection of the Alexandrian community for the 
temple service," and those pilgrimages to Jerusa- 
lem at the great festivals, when deputations came 
up to worship together from Parthia, Media, and 
Babylonia, Mesopotamia, Cappadocia and Asia, 
Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and Cyrene, 
Greece and Rome," were a powerful means of 
strengthening the unity of the house of Israel. 
When Jerusalem and the temple were razed by 
Titus, with the possible purpose of destroying the 
bond of cohesion, Hellenistic Judaism lost one of its 

great bulwarks against disintegration. In Pales- 

191 



HELLENISM 

tine the strengthening of the Law more than coun- 
terbalanced the loss of national independence and 
of a national centre. But in the diaspora the hold 
of the Law was already threatened, and the weak- 
ening of the centripetal forces assisted the en- 
croachment of gnostic and antinomian ideas from 
the environment. Christianity in its Palestinian 
origin had but few Hellenistic elements; but when 
it spread to the diaspora, it was transformed by the 
notions of its Greek-speaking and Greek-thinking 
adherents. The doctrine of Jesus in the Gospels is 
Hebraic ; the doctrine about Jesus in the Epistles is 
Hellenistic. Judaism contributed to the new creed 
the social and moral ideal, Hellenic the ideal of 
individual redemption.*' The Hellenistic writers 
of the New Testament, such as the authors of the 
Epistle to the Hebrews, or the Gospel according to 
St. John — ^both, it is surmised, Alexandrians — 
prove how far, in the second century, foreign ideas 
had undermined the pure Jewish standpoint. Their 
use of allegorical interpretation is illuminating in 
this connection. The manna and the brazen ser- 
pent represent for the Palestinian symbolists the 
Law and faith; by Philo they are associated with 
the Logos ; by the writer of the fourth Gospel they 

arc identified with Jesus incarnate." Again, the 

192 



HELLENISM IN THE DIASPORA 

writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews, giving a new 
turn to Philo's personification of the Logos as high 
priest and as Melchizedek, speaks of Jesus as '' a 
high priest who passed into heaven, who was in all 
points tempted as we are, yet was without sin " ; 
and later he writes : " After the similitude of Mel- 
chizedek there ariseth another priest .... and 
this man, because he continueth ever, has an un- 
changeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able to 
save them to the uttermost that come unto God by 
him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for 
them." " The ideas of the incarnation of God in 
human form and of human redemption by a divine 
individual, both in antipathy to the Jewish con- 
ception of God, and derived from the Hellenistic 
mysteries, are emphatically marked. When the 
fundamental bonds of unity were loosened, the 
beliefs which Jewish separateness was designed to 
preserve were likewise impaired. The doctrines of 
the Logos and the Powers were in the first and 
second centuries of the common era so developed, 
that the unity of the Jewish God and His divine 
communion with man was lost in the speculations 
about intermediaries and trinities and in " a phan- 
tasmagoria of angels and demons." The move- 
ment which began with the Septuagint translation 

103 



HELLENISM 

of the Bible ended with the Epistles of the New 
Testament and the Creeds of the Christian Church. 
Theological Christianity, with its rejection of the 
Law and the national hope, its background in the 
ideas of the Greek mysteries, and its dogmas of the 
incarnation and redemption by the Savior, was 
the last outcome of Alexandrian allegory. It was 
the final stage in the syncretism of Judaism with 
foreign cultures, which, up to a point, had nour- 
ished and fructified Jewish thought, but when it 
passed that point, produced a new religious species. 
Alexander's hope for the marriage of Europe and 
Asia was consummated in the field of religion, and 
the New Testament is the offspring of the union.** 
The Jewish communities of Alexandria and 
other Hellenistic centres did not disappear with the 
spread of Christianity. The Alexandrian colony 
persisted till the beginning of the fifth century, 
when it was violently expelled by the Christian 
bishop. But the congregations of the diaspora 
were no longer clearly distinguished from the 
catholic body of Judaism. From the end of the 
first century no extant literature marks a division 
between the Greek-speaking and the other Jews. 
But from the same period date numerous writings 

194 



HELLENISM IN THE DIASPORA 

of Christians and Gnostics, whose doctrines were, 
in large measure, a development of Hellenistic 
Judaism. Those who remained Jews accepted the 
rabbinic authority. They adopted the Palestinian 
Canon of the Bible, and rejected the additions to 
the biblical books and the apocryphal works which 
were contained in the Septuagint translation. The 
Christian Origen (flourished about 220 C. E.) 
refers to the books of Tobit and Judith and the 
additions to Daniel and Esther as being no longer 
in the Jewish Canon.** A large part of Hellenistic 
Jewry must have been absorbed in the new religious 
bodies, and Hellenistic Judaism perished as a dis- 
tinct branch of the religion. The Palestinian 
teachers sought to defend Judaism against Hellen- 
ism, the Alexandrian teachers to defend it with 
Hellenism. The alliance, however, was dangerous, 
and in the early centuries of the Christian era, when 
the crisis came, Hellenistic Judaism was saturated 
with so many strange doctrines that it lost its centre 
of gravity and was unable to stand the shock, and 
its traditions and ideals were transformed through 
the intermingling of Oriental ideas into various 
heresies. The sublime faith of Hebraism and 

the clear reason of Hellenism were lost in the 

195 



HELLENISM 

blended product. Neither Jewish nor Hellenistic 
religion prevailed in the fusion of cultures, but they 
were absorbed in a cosmopolitan creed which com- 
bined elements from many sources in an impure 
syncretism. 



196 



CHAPTER V 

THE HELLENISTIGJEWISH 
LITERATURE 

The history of the Hellenistic movement in Juda- 
ism is mainly to be sought in literature ; and we have 
already dealt with several monuments which mark 
its progressive stages: the Septuagint translation, 
the books of the Maccabees, the Wisdom of Ben 
Sira, the Wisdom of Solomon, and the culminating 
achievement in the works of Philo-Judaeus. 
Much of the product of the blending of the two 
cultures has disappeared, and is known to us either 
by name only, or in fragments; but in addition to 
the books mentioned several others have survived 
which illustrate the progress of Hellenization both 
in Palestine and the diaspora, and mark different 
aspects of its mfluence and its effect. The Rabbis, 
indeed, when the dangerous consequences of re- 
ligious syncretism were apparent, contrived to ex- 
clude the whole of the literature from the works 
used for public reading or public teaching in the 
schools, so that it played scarcely any direct part 

in later Jewish thought. It was preserved, how- 

197 



HELLENISM 

ever, by the early Christians, and it lived on under 
the protection of the Church fathers and Christian 
monks who regarded it with great veneration, for 
the same reason that the Rabbis discountenanced 
it — that it contained the germs of Christian 
teaching. 

That some Jews, as early as the latter part of the 
fourth century B. C. E., were well acquainted with 
Greek, is proved by the comments upon Judaism 
of certain pagan authors, which must have been 
derived, if not from translations of portions of the 
Scriptures, at any rate from verbal information. 
But it is the Septuagint translation which marks 
the entrance of Judaism into the stream of the 
world's culture. Round it is grouped the whole of 
the Jewish literary output in Greek during the 
third and second centuries: the books of the 
Apocrypha and the Apocalypses, the poetical and 
literary paraphrases of the Bible, the apologetic 
and propagandist writings. The two aims that run 
through the writings of the period are: first, to 
strengthen the hold of Judaism upon the Jewish 
people by developing and expanding its religious 
ideas, and showing their harmony with the intel- 
lectual civilization of the environment; secondly, 

to make Judaism known to the Gentiles and hon- 

198 



THE HELLENISTIC-JEWISH LITERATURE 

ored in their eyes, and to rebut calumnies about its 
sacred books and beliefs. When Greek was spoken 
by all cultured people, each nation was anxious to 
write its history in that language, so that it should 
be available for all. Literature like society was 
cosmopolitan. The Septuagint translation of 
Scripture, however, if we have regard only to its 
linguistic character, was fitted for the study rather 
of the Jewish community than of their Gentile 
neighbors. As Schiirer says, it was written in a 
new language, swarming with such strange He- 
braisms that the Greeks could hardly understand it. 
Short and concise histories of Jewish antiquities 
were composed in more intelligible Greek for the 
general public. The earliest Jewish historian 
of the kind, of whom we have fragments, is 
Demetrius, who lived about the end of the third 
century. The remains of his work, with those of 
most of the early Hellenistic Jewish writers, are 
preserved in the collection of Alexander Poly- 
histor, a voluminous author of the first century, 
which again has come down to us through ex- 
cerpts in the Ecclesiastical History of Eusebius.* 
Demetrius, it seems, was a jejune chronicler, 
who set out in chronological order the leading 
events of the history of Israel and Judah from 

199 



HELLENISM 

the time of Abraham. Eupolemus, who wrote 
a book on the kings of Judah, has more pretence 
to literary skill. He freely handles the scriptural 
history, and he makes Moses the inventor of the 
art of alphabetical writing which was handed on 
by the Jews to the Phoenicians, and by them to 
the Hellenes. Freudenthal ingeniously identifies 
him with the Eupolemus whom Judas Maccabeus 
sent on one of his embassies to Rome ; and his awk- 
ward Greek style makes it probable that he was a 
Palestinian Jew, while his use of the Hebrew, in- 
stead of the Septuagint text of the Bible, and his 
freedom from any allegorical embellishment of the 
Scripture narrative suggest that he was a loyal 
. Judean unaffected by Greek influence. These 
early historians are Greek only in language, not in 
thought; and even their language is a foreign me- 
dium in which they are by no means at home. 

On the other hand, traces of a crude religious 
syncretism are found in the slender fragments of 
two Samaritan historians which are preserved in 
the same source. Malchos Cleodemos associates 
Abraham's offspring by Keturah with Heracles, the 
Greek and Phoenician hero-god; while pseudo- 
Eupolemus * identifies Abraham with Nimrod and 
Belos, and speaks of Argerizim (i. ^., Mount Geri- 

200 



THE HELLENISTIC- JEWISH LITERATURE 

zim) as the mount of the highest deity. And Theod- 
otus, a poet who wrote an epic on Shechem, the 
holy city of the Samaritans, ascribes the city's foun- 
dation to one Sicimos, a son of the Greek god 
Hermes. Among the half-Jewish Samaritans, 
then, in the second century a distinct movement 
existed toward the adoption of the cosmopolitan 
Hellenistic religion which was in vogue throughout 
the East. The presence of a Greek colony both 
in Samaria and Shechem doubtless fostered the 
movement. A different kind of syncretism is con- 
tained in the writings of pseudo-Artapanus, of 
which our remnants are more considerable. He 
wrote a history of the Jews, and is especially con- 
cerned with the story of Israel in Egypt. He cer- 
tainly was an Egyptian Jew, and his knowledge of 
Greek literature is greater than that of the writers 
hitherto mentioned, extending to the composition of 
lines in different Greek metres. He is master, too, 
of the more obvious devices of rhetoric, and he has 
something of the skill of the writer of fiction. The 
general principle of his writing may be defined as 
confounding the chronology and perverting the 
Scriptures, in order to associate the Hebrew heroes 
with the heroes of the nations. According to his 

improved Exodus, the leader of Israel was the 

201 



HELLENISM 

same person as Musaeus, the legendary teacher of 
Orpheus; he was the inventor of philosophy and of 
hieroglyphics, and a great warrior and builder to 
boot; he built the city of Hermopolis, and he even 
established the Egyptian religion. The Egyptians 
called him Hermes because of his skill in herme- 
neutics. The patriarchs likewise founded Egyptian 
cults, and Abraham instructed the Pharaoh of his 
time in astrology. The author was writing not for 
the Jewish but for the pagan community, and he 
was writing not history but apology, which is his- 
tory with a purpose and without a conscience. 

From the beginning of the second century a feud 
raged between the Hellenized Egyptians and the 
Jews, which was largely fought with the weapons 
of literary falsehood. The Jews thought fit to 
defend themselves against the calumnies of their 
detractors, who spread scurrilous accounts of their 
origin and their beliefs, by spreading equally false 
accounts of the glorious part their ancestors had 
played in Egyptian civilization. The syncretism 
of a pseudo-Artapanus then is not a sincere ex- 
pression of opinion, but a conscious pose, designed 
to impress the ruder section of the population 
among whom the Jews lived. It betrays the not 

very happy influence of Hellenistic models upon the 

202 



THE HELLENISTIC-JEWISH LITERATURE 

Jewish litterateurs of Alexandria. They imbibed 
a disregard of truth, together with the capacity 
to write ornate periods, and acquaintance with 
poetical mythology led them to turn their own 
sacred records into fiction. 

Freudenthal, on the strength of certain corre- 
spondences between the fragments of Artapanus 
and the Letter of Arisjteas, ascribes the famous let- 
ter to the same author. Further he attributes to 
him a large part of the Jewish pseudepigraphic 
literature which was composed in Greek verse. His 
thesis savors of the method of the Bacon-Shakes- 
peare controversialists; but whether he is right or 
only ingenious, whether one bold man was respon- 
sible for the fictitious version of Exodus, for the 
imaginative record of the origin of the Septuagint 
translation, for the monotheistic tags that are ap- 
pended to Sophocles and Orpheus, and for the ex- 
hortations to Judaism which the Sibyl utters in hex- 
ameters full of false quantities and sound doctrines, 
or whether a school of literary forgers divided the 
work between them, undoubtedly a common trend 
runs through all the apologetic literature, and a 
single spirit prompted its composition. The pur- 
pose was to glorify Judaism and the Jewish people 
in the eyes of the Hellenistic population by the 

203 



HELLENISM 

adoption of Hellenistic standards and the use of 
Hellenistic forms. To effect this object, accuracy 
and truth might be sacrificed, and the intrinsic 
excellence of the teaching might be tricked out 
with fictitious testimonials of Greek thinkers. The 
apologetic literature has a curious blend of the mis- 
sionary and advertising spirit. But it is absurd 
to attribute its fiction to the inherent vice of the 
Jew. Scaliger, the seventeenth centry scholar, 
spoke of falseness as " Judaeorum natura insita," 
but in truth the Jewish writers were only copying 
what others had done for Chaldean, Egyptian, and 
Hellenistic antiquities.' 

The Letter of Aristeas, which has survived in 
its integrity, professes to be a contemporary ac- 
count of the translation of the Pentateuch into 
Greek in the time of Ptolemy Philadelphus (285- 
277). It purports to be sent to Philocrates by his 
brother Aristeas, who was an official at the court, 
and went on an embassy to Jerusalem to induce the 
high priest to send sages who should make the ver- 
sion of the Hebrew Scriptures for the royal library. 
Possibly the writer assumes the name of Aristeas in 
order to identify himself with a Jewish historian 
of that name, of whom a short fragment dealing 
with the story of Job is preserved. But scholars * 

204 



THE HELLENISTIC-JEWISH LITERATURE 

agree that letter cannot be contemporary with the 
events described. The writer naively betrays his 
later date in several particulars, as when he says 
that the arrangement for the reception of foreign 
guests at the Alexandrian court may still be seen 
in operation, and that " all histories used to be 
translated by these kings," i. e., the Ptolemies. 
Scholars agree also that he must have been an 
Alexandrian Jew. The balance of evidence as to 
his approximate date is in favor of the end of the 
second century B. C. E. The story of the embassy 
to Jerusalem, of the choosing of sages for the 
translation, " who had not only acquired proficiency 
in Jewish learning but had also given profound 
study to that of the Greeks," of their reception at 
Alexandria, and of the miraculous outcome of their 
labors, has already been touched upon. The narra- 
tive contains also several romantic letters which 
passed between Ptolemy and Eleazar, the high 
priest, a detailed description of the royal presents to 
the temple, and a gorgeous but shadowy description 
of Jerusalem, bespeaking the literary craftsman 
rather than the eye-witness. But what is more 
notable for the study of Hellenistic thought is the 
apologetic account of the Law which is put into the 
mouth of Eleazar. It is, perhaps, the first example 

14 205 



HELLENISM 

of the propagation of the Mosaic legislation in the 
light of Greek ethical ideas. " I believe," says the 
writer by way of introduction to this section of his 
work, " that most men have some curiosity about 
the regulations of the Law concerning meats and 
drinks and the animals which are considered 
unclean." * Eleazar, having first expounded the 
monotheistic principle of Judaism and contrasted 
it with the lower ideas of God held by other 
peoples, explains that these laws are designed to 
secure the purposive separateness of the Jews. 
" To the intent then that we should not become per- 
verted through joining in the pollution of any 
people • ... he fenced us round on all sides 
with laws of purification of meat and drink and 
hearing and seeing. For, speaking generally, all 
these, if viewed in the light of their inward mean- 
ing, are directed by a single power; and in every 
detail there is a profound reason for the things 
which we abstain from using, and those of which we 
make use." * 

The method of Aristeas is like that of the Dor- 
she Hamurot of Palestine; but he extends to the 
Halakah the symbolical interpretation which they, 
for the most part, confined to narrative passages. 
He points out a symbolical value in the various 

206 



THE HELLENISTIC-JEWISH LITERATURE 

dietary laws. " The winged creatures of which 
we partake, such as doves, geese, and the like, are 
tame and distinguished by cleanly habits, using 
wheat and pulse for their sustenance. On the other 
hand, those that are forbidden are wild and car- 
nivorous, and use their powers to oppress the 
remainder of their kind. Hence the lawgiver sig- 
nified that those for whom the laws are ordained 
must be outwardly righteous and oppress none 
through confidence in their strength, but must direct 
their lives by righteous motives." Symbolism is 
closely akin to allegory, and the apologist offers 
other interpretations of the Mosaic law which arc 
more distinctly allegorical. The parting of the 
hoof and the dividing of the claws " symbolize dis- 
crimination in directing every action to a good 
end ; for the strength of the whole body, in order 
to display itself in action, is dependent on the arms 
and legs. Again, the chewing of the cud to thought- 
ful minds clearly indicates memory; for it is noth- 
ing else but a calling to mind of one's life and ex- 
istence." " 

In the last part of the letter the writer describes 
a symposium between the king and the translators, 
extending over seven days, which gives him an op- 
portunity of bringing out the supreme wisdom of 

207 



HELLENISM 

the Jewish sages. This section of the work recalls 
the stories in the Talmud about Alexander's dis- 
course with the wise men of Judea ; but its distinc- 
tive feature is the combination of the Hebraic idea 
of righteousness with Hellenic ethics. All wisdom 
is derived from God, and the prince of Aristeas is 
counselled to secure the prosperity of his realm by 
godliness. Again, when the king asks what is the 
greatest glory, he receives the reply: " To honour 
God, and that not with gifts and sacrifices, but with 
purity in the soul, and in the devout conviction that 
all things are fashioned and directed by God m ac- 
cordance with His will." ' When he asks : " Can 
wisdom be taught? " (a famous Greek question), 
he replied: " The soul is through God's power so 
adapted as to accept all that is good, and reject what 
is contrary thereto." Throughout, insistence is laid 
on faith; and trust in God is emphasized as the 
foundation of wisdom and virtue. There is clearly 
a tacit controversy with the position of the Greek 
schools, and more especially of the Stoics who, 
making man the measure of all things, placed su- 
preme reliance on reason. The Jewish sages " far 
excelled the philosophers, in that they took God 

for their starting-point." 

208 



THE HELLENISTIC-JEWISH LITERATURE 

The Letter of Aristeas is a specimen of the 
didactic novel ; and another monument of Hellenis- 
tic Judaism, the so-called Fourth Book of the Mac- 
cabees, is a specimen of the artistic homily. The 
title given to the latter by its author was ** On the 
Supremacy of Pure Reason " ; it is on the face of 
it not a historical narrative, but a moral exhorta- 
tion or series of sermons supported by historical 
argument and embellished by rhetorical ornament, 
designed to point out the excellence of the life under 
the Torah, and drawing its examples from the 
Seleucid persecution. In default of a known au- 
thor, it was long ascribed without good reason to 
Josephus. Freudenthal * suggests with more 
plausibility that it is based on the history written 
by Jason of Cyrene, of which our Second Book of 
the Maccabees is an epitome. But whoever its 
author and whatever its date, it constitutes in a 
way one of the most perfect blendings of Hellen- 
ism and Hebraism which have come down from the 
period. The f)urpose of the homily, like that of 
the Letter of Aristeas, is to glorify the Jewish Law 
and the Jewish way of life; but it is carried out 
with greater loyalty to the spirit of Judaism. 
Doubtless the difference in standpoint is partly 
due to the fact that the preacher is addressing Jews 

209 



HELLENISM 

or proselytes in a synagogue, while the Letter was 
addressed to the Gentiles outside the synagogue. 
Though he wrote with full mastery of the arts of 
Greek rhetoric, he is in his ideas a loyal Pharisaic 
Jew, full of national pride and of love for his re- 
ligion. Nor does he allow his knowledge of Greek 
philosophy to weaken in any way his faithfulness 
to legal observance : rather it confirms and deepens 
it. Judaism remains for him the best system of life. 
" For our philosophy " (i. c, the Law), he says, 
" teaches us temperance, so that we master our 
pleasures and desires, and it exercised us in forti- 
tude so that we willingly undergo every toil. And 
it instructs us in justice, so that in all our behaviour 
we give them what is due; and it teaches us to be 
pious, so that we worship the only living God in a 
manner becoming His greatness." 

He makes an ethical defence of the dietary laws 
which, then as now, were the target for a type of 
shallow rationalism. " When we long," he says, 
** for fishes and fowls and four-footed animals, and 
every kind of food which is forbidden to us by the 
Law, it is through the mastery of pious reason that 
we abstain from them. For the affections and ap- 
petites are restrained and turned into another 

direction by the sobriety of the mind, and all the 

210 



THE HELLENISTIC- JEWISH LITERATURE 

movements of the body arc kept in check by pious 
reason." In this fashion he sets up the Mosaic 
code as the embodiment of a loftier reason than the 
pleasure-seeking, self-indulgent materialism which 
was based upon a superficial acquaintance with 
Greek philosophy. Yet it is a sign of Greek in- 
fluence that he feels compelled to find an ethical 
justification for the prescriptions of the Law. He 
invokes the Greek idea of reason as the foundation 
of virtue; but he avoids the allurements of sym- 
bolism and allegory. The Mosaic code as a whole 
is the rule of reason; and wisdom, which is the 
knowledge of affairs both human and divine and 
of their causes, is attained by the discipline and 
instruction of the law. Aristotle had taught in hi» 
Ethics how moral virtue based on good habit must 
precede intellectual excellence, which was the goal 
of human endeavor. The author of our homily, 
applying this teaching, acclaims Judaism as a posi- 
tive system of the best life. The commandments 
not to reap the corners of the field, and not to 
cut down the trees of the enemy in war, bear witness 
to its humanitarian character. And for the prac- 
tical influence of the Law he points to the story of 
Hannah and her sons, which is embellished with all 

the artifice of the accomplished rhetorician. 

211 



HELLENISM 

His reflections manifest the influence of Stoic 
thought, which is also apparent in the Wisdom of 
Solomon and the works of Philo. Many of his 
philosophical concepts are directly taken from Stoic 
writings, but he adopts only those elements of 
Stoicism which are in harmony with the Jewish out- 
look. The impersonal Providence of the Greek 
school becomes with him the Providence which 
protected the patriarchs; and he asserts the union 
between the body and the soul in the creation of 
God. He holds fast to Jewish moderation, and 
shows no favor to asceticism and other-wordli- 
ness. Piety consists in strong self-control, not in 
flight from the world. Jewish faith is deepened 
by contrast with pagan godlessness ; and the heroic 
deeds of the Maccabean martyrs are illuminated 
by the light of Hellenistic ethics. 

A third apology for the Jewish law, of which 
we know not the real author, is preserved in frag- 
ments under the name of Aristobulus." The pas- 
sages profess to come from a treatise on " The 
Interpretation of the Holy Laws," written by that 
Aristobulus " who appears at the beginning of the 
Second Book of Maccabees as a leading man 
among the Egyptian Jews and the teacher of 

Ptolemy. If the work were properly ascribed to 

212 



THE HELLENISTIC- TEWISH LITERATURE 

him, It would date from the beginning of the second 
century B. C. E. ; but though it is possible that the 
historical Aristobulus was an early exponent of an 
eclectic Graeco- Jewish philosophy, the internal evi- 
dence points to an origin some three centuries later. 
The fragments reveal a more advanced stage of 
Hellenization than is shown by the Letter of Aris- 
teas, and the Fourth Book of the Maccabees. The 
book is first referred to by Clement of Alexandria 
who flourished about 200 C. E., and modern schol- 
ars have concluded that it is later than the works of 
Philo whom the writer copies, though often not 
understanding him aright." The position assumed 
is that Greek philosophy is derived from the He- 
brew wisdom ; and the thesis is supported by spu- 
rious quotations from popular Greek poetry of pre- 
historic times. These ideas and methods were 
commonly accepted in the second century, the golden 
age of literary forgery, by early Christian scholars, 
and through them passed into the thought of the 
Middle Ages. Several of the fragments contain 
justifications of the Mosaic law, based on allegori- 
cal interpretations or the attachment of Greek con- 
ceptions. Thus a passage on the meaning of the 
Sabbath contains a Pjrthagorean dilation on the 

power of the number seven, which may be com- 

213 



HELLENISM 

pared with the treatment of the Book of Jubilees." 
The apologists whom we have hitherto considered 
were essentially concerned with the defence of the 
Mosaic laws by their interpretation according to 
Greek notions. Aristobulus is partly engaged on 
the same object, but he is also anxious to asso- 
ciate the Hebraic idea of God with the theology 
of the Greek philosophers, and at the same time 
to explain away the anthropomorphisms of the 
biblical narrative. These were the motives also of 
the Philonic allegory; and though not nearly as 
elaborate as the doctrine of the Logos in Philo, the 
conception of God's activity which appears in Aris- 
tobulus is the same in kind. Commenting on the 
narrative of the creation, he said : " It may all be 
ascribed to the Wisdom ; for all light cometh from 
her ; and some of the Peripatetics have said that she 
is the torch-bearer." He warns Ptolemy against 
taking literally the passages of Scripture which as- 
cribe to the purely spiritual God hands and arms 
and face and feet ; and calls on him to attend to the 
philosophical interpretation; for Moses often hid 
his meaning beneath allegories. The physical 
miracles which attended the decalogue are ecstatic 
illusions of the assembled Israelites ; and when the 
Bible speaks of the hand of God being heavy on the 

214 



THE HELLENISTIC-JEWISH LITERATURE 

Egyptians, it signifies the divine power, because all 
power and energy are conceived to lie in the hand. 
We must now turn back to the more popular 
Jewish propaganda which was spread by pseudepi- 
graphical works, partly in prose and partly in the 
guise of archaic Greek poetry. There is little to 
guide us to the authors or the age of its various 
components. As to the most famous part, the 
Sibylline oracles, it is clear that their composition 
was spread over a long period, and represents sev- 
eral religious standpoints. They cover, indeed, the 
whole progress of the Jewish advance against 
paganism, from its original outburst after the Mac- 
cabean triumph to its final transformation into 
Christianity. Among the pseudo-historical glorifi- 
cations of Judaism the most remarkable are two 
books on the Jews and on Abraham which were 
composed in the name of Hecataeus of Abdera. 
The genuine Hecataeus was a court historian of 
Ptolemy Soter (about 280 B. C. E.) who wrote a 
history of Egypt, dealing not only with outward 
events but with the beliefs and laws of the peoples 
who were brought under the Ptolemaic sway. A 
Greek historian, Diodorus, has preserved frag- 
ments of his description of the Jews in which he 
recognizes their lofty idea of divinity and their 

216 



HELLENISM 

Staunchness to their ancestral faith, though in 
characteristic Greek fashion he represents that the 
heavens were theit* sole God. But the spurious 
Hecataeus, who is first quoted in the Letter of 
Aristeas and may be the creation of the writer of 
the letter, far outdoes his model in praise of the 
Jews. " They undergo," he says, " with exemplary 
courage all manner of tortures and the most cruel 
deaths rather than break the institutions of their 
ancestors." The motive for their settlement in 
Alexandria was that Alexander wished to honor 
their courage and their loyalty. He explains the 
absence of any mention of the people of Israel in 
the ancient writers on the ground that the teaching 
of the holy books of the Jews was too pure and too 
sacred to be understood. Lastly he quotes a num- 
ber of apocryphal verses of the Greek tragedian 
Sophocles in favor of the divine unity, and others 
purporting to be from the comic poet Philemon 
about the punishment of hidden sins by the all- 
knowing and just God. In brief, pseudo-Hecataeus 
says just the things which the Jewish apologists 
wanted the Greeks to believe of their creed, and 
provides just that evidence which the Jewish apolo- 
gists required to impress the Hellenistic world. 

216 



THE HELLENISTIC-JEWISH LITERATURE 

The Judaizing poem ascribed to Phocylides, a 
famous Greek moralist of early times, is similar 
in purport. Already in the seventeenth century 
Scaliger, the scholar who took a harsh view of the 
morality of this literature, pointed out that the 
poems revealed either a Hellenistic-Jewish or a 
Christian author; and the later researches of Ber- 
nays " have proved that the former is the true al- 
ternative. Occasionally, as the text stands, notions 
appear which are derogatory to pure monotheism ; 
but Bernays has shown ingeniously that these pas- 
sages contain glosses or mistakes, and can be 
emended so as at once to get rid of the offending 
words and improve the sense. The moralist em- 
phasizes those aspects of the Mosaic law which ob- 
viously breathe a broad humanitarian spirit, and he 
forbears from denouncing pagan degradation. He 
says nothing of the sabbath or of sacrifices, but 
expatiates on the commandment against the taking 
of a mother-bird with her young from the same 
nest," or the eating of anything torn from wild 
animals. Writing perhaps at a period when the 
Jewish mission was not yet self-confident, he docs 
not directly attack the worship of idols, but, on the 
other hand, he speaks of God as a unity. Tenta- 
tively and covertly he propagates the Jewish teach- 

217 



HELLENISM 

ing as " the mysteries of righteousness," conveying 
his medicine, so to say, in a tasteless pill, and invest- 
ing it with the attraction of a secret cult. 

The Jewish sages of the Middle Ages distin- 
guished between the statutes and ordinances which 
have a validity for mankind and those which are 
the special heritage of Israel and concern ritual. 
The pseudo-Phocylides, in the same spirit, selects 
only the former for recommendation to the Gen- 
tiles whom he wished to affect. It probably is not 
that Hellenistic influence led him to disregard the 
national observances of Judaism ; but in preaching 
broadcast a moral mission, it was expedient to keep 
them in the background and to emphasize the 
ethical precepts. 

A bolder standpoint marks the earliest of the 
Sibylline Oracles, which is generally admitted to 
be the third of our numbering. The present collec- 
tion comes from a Christian monk of the sixth cen- 
tury, and is in hopeless disorder. It contains four- 
teen books all in hexameter verse, and dating from 
the second century before the Christian era to the 
time of Constantine (about 300 C. E.). The 
Judaizing purpose and doctrine of some of the 
oracles are so thinly veiled that even the critics of 

antiquity recognized a Jewish Sibyl. Pausanias, 

218 



THE HELLENISTIC-JEWISH LITERATURE 

the famous archaeologist of the third century, in 
discussing the various Sibyls, says : *' One of them 
was an oracle-giving seeress on behalf of Palestine, 
named Sabbe ; some called her, too, the Babylonian, 
others the Egyptian Sibyl." " The greater part of 
the third oracle and the prologue of the first, which 
appear to be the work of one author, have demon- 
strably an Egyptian origin, because there is a delib- 
erate and sustained attack on the Egyptian worship. 
Animated with greater daring than the writer who 
used the mask of Phocylides, the poet at once bursts 
into an invective against idolatry: "Are ye not 
ashamed, ye mortals, to make gods of cats and 
brutes, fools to adore snakes, dogs, weasels, and 
birds of air, and creeping things of earth and images 
of stone, statues made by hand, and cairns by the 
roadside?" He passes on to praise the Jewish 
people, not by name, but by clear indications: 
" There is a race of pious men, who live about the 
temple of Solomon and have their origin from Ur 
of the Chaldees. They do not worship the sun or 
the moon, nor pay heed to miracles or sorcerers or 
astrologers. They practise justice and virtue, and 
have no greed for money; they have just weights 
and measures ; they do not rob each other, nor re- 
move the landmarks of their neighbours. The rich 

219 



HELLENISM 

man does not oppress the poor or afflict the widow, 
but gives them part of his harvest according to the 
sacred law of God." " The Sibyl claims to be the 
true prophetess sprung from Babylon, and she at- 
tacks Homer for the false doctrines which he will 
utter in times to come to the Greeks, suggesting, 
forsooth, that Homer was the plagiarist, and she 
the original writer of hexameter verse. " A false- 
writing seer will appear among them • . . . who 
will master my words and my verses." Without a 
doubt the Jewish writer had his fair share of hutz- 
pah. He passes judgment upon the other nations, 
Babylon, Egypt, Gog and Magog, Rome and Libya, 
and foretells their downfall in the spirit of a He- 
brew prophet. He is equal to making a play on 
words in Greek, 

Samos sLall be sand, and Delos deleted, and Rome a ruin,^* 

where he adroitly imitates the assonance in 
Zephaniah (2. 4) : 

For Gaza shall be forsaken 
And Ashkelon a desolation. 

If, as can hardly be doubted, the writer had the 
Hebrew model before him, it shows how fully Jew- 
ish he was in mind and training. The promise of 
the Messianic kingdom and the description of the 

220 



THE HELLENISTIC-JEWISH LITERATURE 

Messianic age likewise follow the traditional He- 
brew ideas : " From the East God will send a king 
who will put an end to all war on earth, killing 
some, and fulfilling the prophecies for others. And 
he will act not according to his own counsels, but in 
obedience to the righteous commands of God. 
Peace shall prevail among the kings of the earth, 
and God shall set up an eternal kingdom over all 
men." " Throughout the poem he offers little in- 
dication of Hellenistic thought, save that he be- 
trays a special affection for Hellas, and associates 
the Greek myth of the giants with the Bible story 
of the flood. But in his conclusion, where he fore- 
tells the ultimate triumph of the Jewish return, 
and the Paradise that awaits the righteous, his 
voice is the voice of a Jeremiah or a Malachi, 
though his meter is the meter of Homer. " The 
glorious restoration of Jerusalem, and the ac- 
knowledgment by the whole world of the religious 
doctrines of the Jews, are to him not matters of 
faith but certainty." " 

The fourth oracle is likewise, in all probability, 
the work of an Alexandrian Jew. It praises the 
Jewish people by allusion, in the manner of the 
earlier poem : " Happy shall be those who love the 
great God, praising Him before meat and drink. 
IS 221 



HELLENISM 

Nought have they to do with sanctuaries and altars, 
the scat of dumb stones soiled with the blood of 
animals. Other peoples imitate not their piety 
and their ways, but in their folly sneer and mock, 
imputing to them their own evil doings." The 
fifth oracle, though in its present form it contains 
considerable Christian interpolations, has been as- 
cribed to a Palestinian Jew. Written after the 
destruction of the temple, it is full of lamentations 
for the national disaster, but it breathes a hope in 
the coming reappearance of a savior, who is de- 
scribed in the allusive manner of the apocalypses 
of the time. " An excellent man will come from 
Heaven, the best of the Hebrews, whose hands 
approached the fruitful rod; who once stayed the 
sun (comp. Joshua, lo. 1 2 ), and spoke with beauti- 
ful speech and holy life." 

Possibly the expected savior is Joshua, whom 
the Samaritans especially revered, and in that case 
the author would be a Samaritan Jew. Many of 
the succeeding oracles are by Christians who early 
adopted this form of propaganda, and were dubbed 
by Celsus in reproach " Sibyllistae," so fond were 
they of using it for missionary purposes." But as 
late as the fourth century of the Christian era there 
are prophecies of the restoration of Jerusalem 

222 



THE HELLENISTIC-JEWISH LITERATURE 

which must be the work of the Jews. Sibylline 
verses were co-terminous with the Jewish mission- 
ary activity, and formed one of its most notable 
expressions. 

The Sibylline Oracles and the apocalypses, it 
has been said, are twins ; but they are twins easily 
distinguished in character and appearance. The« 
Sibyllines were addressed to the pagan masses 
by way of exhortation and warning, the various 
apocalypses to the Jewish people by way of en- 
couragement; the Sibyllines are uniformly com- 
posed in Greek hexameter verse, the apocalypses 
are written either in prose or in the prose-poetry 
of the prophetic books of the Bible. In times of 
trouble and stress, such as were frequent from the 
time that the Jews came under Roman sway, part 
of the Jewish people, more particularly the less 
educated and the less staunch, desired the Messianic 
visions and glorious promises of Israel's future in 
the books of the prophets to be expanded for them. 
In their longing for a knowledge of the working 
of God, they required accounts of the creation more 
detailed than the opening of Genesis; and affected 
by the astrology and mystical lore of the time, they 
loved to hear accounts of the celestial wonders 

which were stored up in the heavens above. Lastly, 

223 



HELLENISM 

legends which appear in later Midrashim. But 
what gives the book its title, and what is peculiar 
to it, is the holiness which is predicted of certain 
numbers, notably of seven and fifty, and the elab- 
orate attempt to formulate a chronology by them. 
The mystical veneration of numbers was a com- 
monplace of Hellenistic culture and typical of its 
looseness of thinking. Derived from Chaldea, and 
fostered by the Pythagorean brotherhoods, it 
seized on the civilized world as a cardinal principle 
of thought. Philo and Aristobulus as well as the 
author of Jubilees are affected by it in their treat- 
ment of the Sabbath, but with the difference that 
they point out the virtue of numbers in relation to 
universal things, while he does so in relation to 
Jewish observance and beliefs. There are seven 
days of Passover and Tabernacles, and seven days 
of Holy Convocation. The Fast of Atonement is 
observed in the seventh month; there are seven 
pieces of holy furniture in the Tabernacle, and seven 
branches of the Holy Candelabra. Seven is the 
number of forgiveness, of the covenant, of holiness, 
perfection, and rest. Of other Hellenistic influ- 
ences in the book there is little indication, and, on 
the other hand, the writer emphasizes the separate- 
ness of the Jewish people. Israel may not asso- 

226 



THE HELLENISTIC-JEWISH LITERATURE 

ciate or intermarry with the Gentiles because they 
sacrifice to the dead and worship evil spirits; be- 
cause their ways are unclean, and they will be 
destroyed from the earth. The original language 
was probably Hebrew or Aramaic. With the rest 
of the apocalyptic literature it dropped out of gen- 
eral Jewish tradition in the second or third century; 
but it was known to the writers of Midrash and of 
the gaonic period, and also to the Karaites, and it 
remained a holy book to the remote branch of the 
people in Abyssinia which has survived in the 
Falashas. 

Another apocalypse preserved through the ven- 
eration of the Abyssinian sect is the Book of Enoch, 
of which an Ethiopic version came to light in 1773. 
Enoch was a favorite figure with the authors of 
revelations, because of the mysterious saying of 
the Bible about him : " And Enoch walked with 
God, and he was not; for God took him." " Besides 
the Ethiopic book, which itself is a compilation of 
five sources, a " Book of the Secrets of Enoch " 
is preserved in the Slavonic. The older Book of 
Enoch, it is conjectured, is derived from a pre- 
Christian Hebrew original. It is the most com- 
prehensive of the apocryphal books; it reveals the 

secret of the creation of the world, of the kingdom 

227 



HELLENISM 

of the angels, of the last judgment, of the Messianic 
age, and of the cataclysms in nature which are to 
precede it. The secrets are conveyed in visions 
which Enoch receives in his passage through 
heaven; the vision of Wisdom, where he imparts 
in the form of parables the revelation of the spirit- 
ual world, and also an explanation of the great 
natural phenomena based on a confused medley of 
the physics of the day; the vision of the revolution 
of the lights of heaven, which is likewise a rambling 
recital, in poetic language, of the popular astron- 
omy; and the vision of the historical world-process, 
which is in the normal manner of prophetic teach- 
ing. The vision of the Messiah manifests a blend- 
ing of Hebraic and Hellenistic conceptions. The 
Anointed of the pure Jewish conception, who ap- 
pears first in Isaiah's prophecies, was to be a na- 
tional hero of the house of David, ushering in the 
era of righteousness and peace : 

And there shall come forth a shoot out of the stock of Jesse, 
And a twig shall grow forth out of his roots.*^ 

Now the development of the conception under the 
stimulus of foreign persecution during the Macca- 
bean period is clearly shown in the Psalms of Solo- 
mon, a liturgical composition of the first century be- 
fore the common era. " God will raise up a prince 

228 



THE HELLENISTIC- JEWISH LITERATURE 

of the house of David to rule over Israel, to crush 
their enemies, and to purify Jerusalem from the 
heathen .... The heathen nations will serve 
him, and come to Jerusalem to see the glory of the 
Lord. He is a righteous king, taught of God, and 
there shall be no unrighteousness in his days." " 
This form of the Messianic hope found permanent 
expression in one of the earliest prayers of the 
liturgy, the Eighteen Benedictions, and was adopted 
in Pharisaic Judaism as an integral part of Jewish 
belief. But Hellenistic speculation fostered the no- 
tion of a more etherealized and, so to say, theolog- 
ical Messiah. The Primal or Divine Man, who 
plays a large part in the work of creation, was one 
of the fixed ideas of the current theology. He is the 
central figure in Orphic eschatologies ; and perhaps 
through this source, perhaps by a less direct fusion 
of thought, he found his way into the circle of Jew- 
ish apocalyptics, and changed the notion of the Mes- 
siah from a terrestrial king to the celestial being. 
So Enoch, who in one verse tells of the coming of the 
national redeemer, in another passage sees dwelling 
in heaven the Righteous One, " the Elect who is 
chosen and hidden before God before the creation 
of the world, and will be before Him for ever- 
more.'* " He is spoken of variously as " the Son of 



HELLENISM 

Woman " or " the Son of Man," " and many of 
the attributes of the Wisdom and the Logos are 
transferred to him : " His name was called by God 
before the sun and the signs of the zodiac were 
created .... He sits on the throne of God; the 
source of Wisdom pours forth from the thoughts 
of his mouth." " The Heavenly Man in the Greek 
myth is the intermediary of creation; in the Jew- 
ish apocalypse he is the divine agent at the end of 
the world-process. " At the end of time the Lord 
will reveal him to the world, in order that he may 
judge all creatures in accordance with the end to 
which God has chosen him from the beginning." " 

Side by side with the idealized conception of 
the Messiah, the Book of Enoch and the Ascen- 
sions contain materialistic pictures of the after- 
world, from which the finer instinct of the old 
Hebrew prophecy held back. Sensuous earthly 
hopes find expression in the description of Para- 
dise; foreign elements taken from Egyptian and 
Chaldean sources are combined with prophetic 
images, and jumbled together in a confused pic- 
ture we have " green meadows and sulphurous 
abysses; white horses and frightful beasts." 
Strange again to the simple Hebraic idea of God's 

working is the introduction of evil angels, Azazel, 

230 



THE HELLENISTIC-JEWISH LITERATURE 

who has the functions of a Power of Darkness, and 
Peniel, who tempts men with dangerous gifts,*" in- 
cluding the gift of writing. We may find parallels 
for these features in the contemporary religious 
literature; and in general it may be said that the 
apocalyptic literature is impregnated with elements 
borrowed from the ethical-religious philosophy and 
the realistic theosophy of the environment, and 
imperfectly fused with the Jewish teaching which 
formed the basis of the vision. The Alexandrian 
sages syncretized Greek philosophy with the 
Torah; the authors of the Palestinian apocalypse 
syncretized Hellenistic mysticism with Jewish 
prophecy. 

A section of theosophists and gnostics went be- 
yond the standpoint of the author of our apoc- 
alypse, as is shown by his denunciation of " those 
who altered the words of truth, and treated the 
words of the holy and great One as lies." They 
perpetrated lying works, and wrote books about 
their speech; and they abandoned the inheritance 
of their fathers which endureth for ever. They were 
akin, it seems, to those excessive followers of the 
allegorists of Alexandria, attacked by Philo, who 
made their spiritual interpretation a ground for re- 
jecting the observance of the Law. These cxtrava- 

231 



HELLENISM 

gant searchers into the secret doctrines were so in- 
tent on the affairs of heaven and the orbits of angels, 
that they ceased to regard the law of conduct in this 
world. They established a dualism between 
heaven and earth, and sought to fill the gulf they 
had created by intermediary powers. In this they 
wandered from the spirit of Judaism, and opened 
the way to dangerous heresy. The pseud- 
epigraphlc Enoch enlarges quaintly upon the dan- 
gers of writing, by which these disloyal teachers are 
able to perpetuate their doctrines.*^ 

The Slavonic Book of Enoch, which is derived 
from a Greek original (though parts of the work 
may have been founded on Hebrew writings) , bears 
unmistakable traces of Greek influence not only in 
doctrine but in certain suggestive details. Thus 
Adam's name is derived from the initial Greek let- 
ters of the four quarters of the world : " " And I 
gave him a name from the four substances, the 
east, the west, the north, and the south." " As 
the root Adam has only three letters in the He- 
brew, the fancy here must be Greek. Moreover 
the writer several times follows the Septuagint In 
preference to the Hebrew Bible, and he reproduces 
the words of Ecclesiasticus, apparently from the 

Greek version : ** God made man in His own image 

232 



THE HELLENISTIC-JEWISH LITERATURE 

after His own likeness, and placed in him eyes to 
see, and ears to hear, and a head to undrestand." " 
His doctrine is occasionally reminiscent of the spec- 
ulations of Philo and the Wisdom of Solomon, as 
when he says that the existent was created from the 
non-existent, and the visible from the invisible ; and 
that every soul was created eternally before the 
creation of the world. Is it strange that these 
books, with their mingling of Greek and Jewish 
cosmology and with their strange doctrines of 
angels, incurred the disfavor of the Rabbis ? Like 
the sensational fiction of our day, they filled their 
readers with wild ideas, and nourished dangerous 
expectations. 

Another work of this class, but recently dis- 
covered in the Syriac, is the Apocalypse of Baruch, 
which seems to be a translation of a lost Greek 
version. It may have sprung from a Palestinian 
original, for it contains few traces of Hellenistic 
philosophy; and parallel passages are found in the 
'Midrash on Lamentations. The writer, indeed, em- 
phatically declares for the creation of the earthly 
before the heavenly sanctuary: ** Dost thou think 
that this is the city of which I said * by the palm3 pjf 
my hands have I graven thee ' ? It is not this build- 
ing which is now built in your midst. It is that which 

233 



HELLENISM 

will be revealed with all that was prepared before- 
hand, from the time when I took counsel to make 
Paradise, and showed it to Adam himself before he 
sinned." But the notion of an ideal creation pre- 
ceding the material world, if indeed it did not 
spring from native Hebraic fancy, was known early 
to Palestinian theology. 

The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs " was 
probably in origin a Hebrew product. But we have 
it only in its Greek version, filled with Christo- 
logical interpolations. Greek influence shows itself 
in the feature that each patriarch typifies a particu- 
lar virtue. Joseph stands for moderation; Naph- 
tali for natural goodness; Gad for hatred. The 
habit of associating a biblical character with a 
special attribute is distinctively, if not exclusively, 
Hellenistic; and the influence of Greek models is 
shown in the form of the addresses of each patri- 
arch, which are exhortations after the style of the 
moral tract known as the " diatribe." 

Another Hellenistic composition which has been 
handed down full of Christological interpolations, 
but probably was Jewish in its original form, is the 
book of the Odes of Solomon. The Odes have not 
as marked a national character as the Psalms of 
Solomon, which are undoubtedly the work of a 



I 



THE HELLENISTIC-JEWISH LITERATURE 

Palestinian Jew; but on the strength of references 
to the temple at Jerusalem, scholars tend to the 
opinion that they were written before the destruc- 
tion of the sanctuary." The writer has carried to 
a further point than any contemporary Jew the 
tendency to symbolism and the use of Hellenistic 
imagery. His odes resemble the Graco-Egyptian 
hymns such as we find in the Hermetic literature, 
and parallels with many of his specific images may 
be found in Fhilo. 

Philonic doctrine is recalled in another book of 
revelation, the Assumption of Moses, which ii 
preserved only in a Latin version. As Philo identi- 
fies Moses with the divine Logos, so in the Assump- 
tion Moses declares of himself: " From the be^n- 
ning of the world I have been stored up with God 
to be the mediator of His Law." Notions of medi- 
ating powers and their Incarnation in human form 
were subsequently to play a large part in Christian- 
ity. The raw material of Christian theology, in- 
deed, is to be found in either the apocalyptic litera- 
ture of Palestine or the allegorical exegeiis of 
Alexandria, whidi were fused together in the 
second century. 

The most attractive and the most sublime crea* 
tion of the whole apocalyptic class is die Bode of 



HELLENISM 

Ezra, generally designated as the Fourth.** It was 
written in Hebrew, though now surviving only in 
versions, and it is true almost throughout to the 
Pharisaic standpoint of Judaism. Composed 
shortly after the destruction o^;thc temple by 
Titus, it offers an admirable contrast to the 
outlook of the prophets of the Restoration, and 
indicates the new elements which Judaism had ab- 
sorbed into its creed from its contact with the world 
since the Babylonian captivity. The soul of the 
prophet, after much struggle and questioning, re- 
ceives through a series of celestial visions assurance 
of God's grace and justice, and of the coming 
of the blessed age of the Messiah. The mes- 
sages are conveyed sometimes directly by God, 
but for the most part by angels, in allegories and 
parables. The book is full of profound national 
sentiment. The question which Job in his agony 
had asked in relation to the individual righteous 
man, Ezra, after the fall of the second tem- 
ple, asks in relation to the righteous nation : Why 
has God afflicted His chosen people? " Are they 
of Babylon better than they of Zion? Or is there 
any other people that knoweth Thee beside Israel ? 
Or what generation hath so believed Thy cove- 
nants as Jacob? And yet their reward appeareth 

236 



THE HELLENISTIC-JEWISH LITERATURE 

not, and their labour hath no fruit" " The angel 
Uriel makes answer: " Thy heart hath gone too 
far in the world, and thinkest thou to comprehend 
the way of the Most High? " In a second vision 
Ezra asks : " Why hast Thou given this one 
people unto many, and upon the one root hast 
Thou prepared others ? And why hast Thou scat- 
tered Thy only people among many? If Thou 
didst so much hate Thy people, yet shouldest Thou 
punish them with Thine own hand." And the 
angel asks in answer: " Lovest thou that people 
better than He that made them? " He calls on 
the prophet to show him " the image of a voice 
. . . . then I will declare to thee the thing that 
thou labourest to know." The last judgment and 
the solution of all these problems shall be the work 
of God Himself. 

After seven days' fasting Ezra has a third vision. 
Having declared the wonder of creation, and 
his faith that this was performed for the sake 
of God's people, he asks: ** Why do not we pos- 
sess an inheritance with the world ? " " To this the 
angel answers that the people now tread a straight 
and difficult road, but at the end of it good things 
are laid up for them. A Christological passage, 
which is an interpolation, follows in our text, stat- 

i6 287 



HELLENISM 

ing that the coming age will be ushered in by God's 
own anointed son.** Then Ezra offers up beauti- 
ful prayers for mercy, in the style of a Selihah ; " 
and the angel consoles him by the assurance that a 
remnant shall be saved. " For as the husbandman 
soweth much seed upon the ground and planteth 
many trees, and yet the thing that is sown good in 
his season cometh not up ... . even so, of them 
that are sown in the world, they shall not all be 
saved." " This theme is repeated in the next 
vision : " The earth giveth much mould, whereof 
earthen vessels are made, but little dust that gold 
cometh of." ** Very striking, too, is the simile 
about the immortality of the Law of Israel, which 
survives the nation. ** For though it is a custom 
when the ground hath received seed or the sea a 
ship .... that that being perished wherein it 
was sown or cast into, that thing also which was 
sown or cast therein doth perish .... Yet with 
us it hath not happened so. For we that have re- 
ceived the Law perish by sin, and our heart also 
which received it. Notwithstanding the Law per- 
isheth not, but remaineth in its force." ** The con- 
solation in the national calamity is found in the con- 
viction of a second life, wherein the good and evil 
shall receive their due reward. The ways of the 

238 



THE HELLENISTIC- JEWISH LITERATURE 

future world are broad and safe, and yield the fruit 
of immortality.*' Those that contemned the Law 
" shall not obtain entrance into the mansions of 
the Highest; but shall stray without in bitter an- 
guish, sorrowing with a sevenfold sorrow." And 
those that followed God's will in this life " shall 
behold with joy unspeakable the transcendent 
might of Him Who hath caught them up to be with 
Himself, where their joy shall be sevenfold in- 
creased." ** 

The search for secret wisdom did not serve to 
weaken in the writer the love of his people and the 
veneration for the Law. In the following chap- 
ters he turns away from the national tragedy, and 
bursts into prophecies about the Last Judgment; 
and in the seventh and last vision, where he de- 
scribes the revelation of the Sacred Writings to 
himself, he throws a flood of light upon the motive 
and the origin of the apocryphal and apocalyptic 
literature. Ezra is chosen by God to make known 
to His people the whole of the divine wisdom, of 
which part was given to Moses that he should re- 
veal and part that he should keep secret. To- 
gether with the acceptance of an oral law, which 
supplemented the written law and was afterwards 
embodied in Mishnah and Talmud, the people held 

230 



HELLENISM 

a belief in a secret doctrine of God and His works 
which supplemented the Torah and the Prophets. 
Ezra, who, according to tradition, was the first to 
write down the Bible, is appointed also to write the 
whole of the secret lore ; but he is to publish only 
a part, and part he is to show secretly to the wise. 
With the aid of five chosen men he writes ninety- 
four books,*^ and is ordered to publish the first 
twenty- four books (L e., the Bible) " that the wor- 
thy and unworthy may read it " ; but to keep the 
seventy last " that thou mayest deliver them on 
to such as be wise among the people . . • • F^r 
in them is the spring of understanding, the fountain 
of wisdom, and the stream of knowledge." Philo, 
in the same spirit, constantly speaks of his alle- 
gories of the Law as divulged only to the wise and 
those initiated by piety and study into the inner 
mysteries. Revelations in Palestine and theosophy 
in Alexandria were in theory reserved for the 
chosen few; but in fact they were vulgarized by 
being committed to writing. 

Apart from the apocalyptic literature and a num- 
ber of the Sibylline Oracles, Palestinian Jewry pro- 
duced during the Hellenistic period several works 
which manifest more distinctly the influence of 
Greek thought and Greek models. The one 

240 



THE HELLENISTIC- JEWISH UTERATURE 

Palestinian Hellenist of lasting repute was Jo- 
sephus, the historian and apologist. But he was not 
the sole writer of Jewish history in Greek who 
sprang from Palestine. Nicholas of Damascus, in 
the generation before him, was the chronicler 
laureate of Herod and one of the chief sources 
which Josephus used for his work. It is well-nigh 
certain, however, that Nicholas was not a Jew, but 
one of the Greeklings whom Herod liked to gather 
around him. But Josephus had a hated rival in 
Justus of Tiberias, who, having opposed him as 
soldier, afterwards as historian competed for the 
favor of the Graeco-Roman world. Justus wrote 
an account of the Roman wars and a chronicle of 
the Jewish people from the time of Moses to the 
death of Herod. We can form no independent 
judgment of its value, since not even fragments 
have been preserved. Photius, the bibliographer 
of the ninth century, praises its conciseness of style. 
Josephus, not an impartial critic, attacks its perver- 
sion of the truth. It speaks somewhat at least for its 
usefulness that it survived by the side of the An' 
tiquities and the Wars, which were so much fa- 
vored of the Church, till the time of Photius. 
Josephus himself has gained renown less from 

his intrinsic excellence as a writer, or his reliability 

241 



HELLENISM 

as a historian, than from the fact that he was the 
sole authority for a period of Jewish history in 
which the Christian Church was especially inter- 
ested. He is a striking example of a conscious and 
artificial Hellenist who acquired a foreign culture 
with the fixed purpose of ** Hellenizing his com- 
patriots " and of spreading a truer knowledge and 
a more favorable idea of his countrymen among 
their conquerors. Reared with a Jewish education, 
and never master of Greek speech, he set himself 
in middle life to represent Jewish history and 
Jewish life " sub specie Graecitatis." He lived in 
Alexandria for some time after his surrender to the 
Romans,** and while resident there was brought in 
touch with Hellenistic-Jewish literature. But he 
did not gain more than a varnish of Greek culture ; 
Greek philosophy seems to have remained a sealed 
book to him, and his works show little knowledge 
of the profounder Jewish Hellenism. Apologetics 
are the limit of his constructive powers. At the end 
of the Antiquities he proclaims his intention to 
write three books concerning Jewish opinions 
" about God and His essence, and about our laws; 
why according to them certain things are permitted, 

while others are prohibited "; but he did not carry 

242 



THE HELLENISTIC- JEWISH LITERATURE 

out his intention, and probably wc are not much 
the poorer. 

There is little that is original in the apologetics 
of the Antiquities, which are a Hellenized version 
of the Bible and post-biblical history. The most 
remarkable of his writings from this point of 
view are the two books commonly entitled 
" Against Apion," but known to some of the 
Church fathers as " To the Hellenes." In one of 
these he establishes the antiquity of the Jewish 
people; in the other he refutes with force and 
knowledge the calumnies of Apion the anti-Jewish 
writer of Alexandria, and expounds the profound 
religious foundation, the broad humanity, and lofty 
morals of the Jewish legislation. He explains in 
an illuminating passage the superiority of the Mo- 
saic law over other systems."* The Greek philoso- 
phers, he says, only disclosed their lofty ideas to a 
few, " but our legislator who made conduct agree 
with the laws, not only prevailed upon the people 
of his own time to accept his ideas, but imprinted 
the faith in God so firmly on all their posterity that 
it never could be removed. The reason why this 
legislation was better directed to the common weal 
than any other was, that Moses did not make re- 
ligion a part of virtue, but ordained other virtues 

243 



HELLENISM 

to be part of religion. I mean, justice, fortitude, 
temperance, and a general concord of the members 
of the community with one another. For all our 
actions and studies and words have a reference to 
piety towards God. He has left nothing indefinite 
or undetermined. There are two ways of arriving 
at any sort of doctrine and a moral conduct of life : 
the one is by instruction in words, the other by 
practical exercise. Now other lawgivers have sep- 
arated these ways in their systems: choosing one, 
they neglected the other. But our legislator skil- 
fully combined the two methods of discipline, 
neither leaving the practical exercises to go on 
without theory, nor the hearing of the law without 
exercise; but from the earliest infancy and from 
the ordering of the daily diet, he left nothing of 
the smallest consequence to be done at the pleasure 
and whim of the individual." Josephus gives here 
a clear exposition of the fundamental feature of 
Judaism as a religion of daily conduct as well as 
ethical teaching, which seeks to sanctify the com- 
mon actions of life. And no other Jewish apologist 
of antiquity put it so well. For the most part, how- 
ever, his writings leave the impression rather of an 
industrious and learned literary worker than of an 

original personality like Ben Sira or Philo, or the 

244 



THE HELLENISTIC-JEWISH LITERATURE 

author of the Fourth Ezra or the Wisdom of Solo- 
mon. He may be taken, in fact, as the type of the 
assimilating Jew who has lost the Jewish intensity 
without gaining the deeper spirit of Hellenism. 
Doubtless there were many of his kind, if not of 
equally remarkable talents, and like the assim- 
ilating Jews of other epochs, who have not seldom 
sought fame in writing the history of their people 
or rebutting the attacks of anti-Semites, he is in 
no way representative of Jewish thought. He 
dropped out of the knowledge of the community 
till the Middle Ages, and his influence was mainly 
external. The Alexandrian Hellenists were ex- 
pressing their own culture, which, if confused, was 
sincerely and passionately felt. Josephus, on the 
other hand, merely imitated the ideas of a foreign 
culture, and wrote to please in a medium which 
was so strange to him that he had to get friends to 
assist him in making his composition correct." 

After the loss of the national independence and 
the consequent intensification of Jewish life in Pal- 
estine, a Palestinian Jewish Hellenist becomes al- 
most inconceivable; and literary monuments in 
Greek cease from the country which still remains 
the centre of Jewish culture and Jewish learning. 
More remarkably, however, we have few subse- 

245 



HELLENISM 

quent records of Hellenistic Judaism, hitherto so 
prolific in literary work. For about one hundred 
years the Jews in different parts of the diaspora 
were engaged in a desperate struggle for life against 
heresies within and enemies without. They required 
all their energy for that struggle ; the polemic that 
was called for was of a sterner sort than an Arta- 
panus or a Josephus had provided. Apologetics at 
such a crisis would have been ridiculous : the times 
did not invite to philosophy and poetry. The cul- 
tured Jew often figures in the Christian dialogues, 
and controversies between Jews and Christians 
must have been frequent in the Hellenistic world, 
but no literary record of them from the Jewish point 
of view has survived. Probably the monks took 
care of that. As the Hellenistic-Jewish literature 
began with the Septuagint version, so it virtually 
ceased with two translations of the Scriptures. 
The first Greek version came to be regarded as the 
holy text by the Christian sect and the other here- 
sies which sprang up in the second century. For 
this reason alone it would have been suspect to the 
Rabbis; but it was, moreover, not a faithful repro- 
duction of the Hebrew. More particularly in the 
version of the later books, the translators had 

allowed themselves a wide license both of addition 

246 



THE HELLENISTIC- JEWISH LITERATURE 

and modification. Their work was rather ** Tar- 
gum " than exact translation of the Hebrew, em- 
bracing much of the floating Haggadah which 
gathered around the Bible characters. When the 
mischief caused by the Hellenistic movement be- 
came apparent, the Rabbis traced its origin to the 
Septuagint translation; and since it was requisite 
still to have a Greek version of the Bible for the 
large numbers of Greek-speaking Jews — there were 
some in Palestine itself — they had the work done 
afresh under their guidance. 

The Revised Version was made by Aquila, a 
proselyte from Pontus and a pupil of Rabbi Akiba, 
who together with Rabbi Eleazar and Rabbi 
Joshua supervised its preparation."^ So pleased 
were the sages with the work, that they applied to it 
the verse: "Thou art fairer than the children 
of men; grace is poured upon thy lips";" but a 
more impartial literary judgment has stated of 
its language that ** it is such awkward Greek 
that it is almost good Hebrew." " Aquila's object 
was not to provide a translation which should find 
favor with the Greeks, but to give an accurate ren- 
dering from one language into the other, word for 
word, which was accommodated to the halakic 

tradition. So strict was his standard that, regard- 

247 



HELLENISM 

less of Greek syntax, he inserted the word <nw 
(with) where the Hebrew particle nw occurred in 
the text. Here he was very clearly following the 
Rabbis, who, emphasizing the importance of every 
letter in the Hebrew text, in the first verse of 
Genesis laid particular stress on the particle as the 
refutation of heretical teaching.** The other trans- 
lator of Scripture, Theodotion, who, according to 
the Church fathers, was a Jew of Ephesus, pur- 
sued the same aim. But he was not so concerned to 
differ from the Septuagint. He left, however, 
many Hebrew words untranslated. His version 
had little influence on the Jewish people; and so 
far as a Greek Bible was required, Aquila, who had 
rendered only the books of the Hebrew Canon, took 
the place of the Septuagint among the loyal body 
of Jews." His translation is frequently referred 
to in the Talmud in a favorable manner." It is due 
to the abiding influence of his work that the Amo- 
raim down to the third century expound not a few 
biblical passages by the Greek equivalent of the 
Hebrew word. 

The two translators of the Hebrew Bible in the 
second century came from the Asiatic diaspora. 
Whether the Rabbis distrusted the Jewish culture 

of Alexandria, or whether Hebrew there was so 

248 



THE HELLENISTIC-JEWISH LITERATURE 

Utterly neglected that nobody was able to make a 
new version, it seems that from the second cen- 
tury the Alexandrian hegemony over Hellenistic- 
Jewish thought passed away. The catechetical 
school at the Egyptian capital was the nursery of 
Christian theology; but the Jewish school of phi- 
losophy comes to an end. Professor Krauss has un- 
earthed from the buried ruins of neo-Platonic phi- 
losophy a Jewish neo-Platonist, Domninus, who 
hailed from Egypt in the fourth century; " and pos- 
sibly one Atticus, another minor philosopher of 
the same period, who wrote to show that the doc- 
trines of Plato agreed, and the doctrines of Aris- 
totle disagreed, with the teachings of Moses, was 
also an Alexandrian Jew." But these single in- 
stances only serve to show the general literary 
barrenness of Alexandrian Judaism after the fall of 
the nation. The product of Hellenistic culture on 
Hebraic soil during the second and third and fourth 
centuries must be looked for in the New Testa- 
ment, the patristic philosophy, and the gnostic out- 
pourings. The Epistles, the Homilies, the Cos- 
mogonies and the Pleroma were the aftermath of 
the Septuagint, the apocalypses, the Wisdom of 
Solomon, and Philo. 



840 



CHAPTER VI 

THE RABBIS AND HELLENISM 

It is a bitter irony of history that the Jewish hero 
who fought to deliver his people from the Seleucid 
yoke was the first to bring them into relation with a 
power which in the end placed a heavier yoke upon 
them. Rome was a dangerous friend, for she had 
a way of making alliance a prelude to conquest. 
She was, too, a harsh conqueror, intolerant of na- 
tional life in her subjects, and an adept at breaking 
down the spirit of a people. The maxim that her 
greatest poet gave her was : " To spare the con- 
quered and war down the proud " ; it was her im- 
perial policy throughout to crush any spirit of inde- 
pendence. The Jews who were first her allies were 
soon to feel her Iron heel. In 63 B. C. E., Pom- 
peius, called into Judea through the civil strife of 
two claimants for the throne, outraged their feel- 
ings upon entering Jerusalem by forcing his way 
into the Holy of Holies. From that time forward 
they maintained a passive resistance, which burst 
out at intervals into open conflict, until the final 
hundred years' struggle for national independence 

250 



THE RABBIS AND HELLENISM 

began. The Roman statecraft at the outset sought 
to break up the cohesion of the Jewish nation by 
supporting the Hellenized Syrians against them. 
Pompeius restored the Greek cities of Philistia and 
the Decapolis ; and Herod, the perfect Romanizer, 
found favor with his patrons by encouraging Greek 
culture and introducing Greek fashions into his 
kingdom. Julius Caesar, indeed, who had a larger 
vision than the typical Roman ruler, was not only 
tolerant, but actually careful, of Jewish individu- 
ality. He saw to it that the Jewish communities 
throughout the empire enjoyed their full privi- 
leges and their separateness ; but the harsher anti- 
national imperialism reasserted itself among his 
successors. From the beginning of the common 
era the Palestinian Jews were faced with a new 
struggle, fiercer than any they had yet encountered. 
They had to fight at once against the external forces 
of Rome and against internal enemies ; at once for 
national existence, and for the preservation of their 
religion and their culture. Rome did not come like 
Hellas with the bait of a brilliant civilization, but 
with an administrative tyranny which she tried to 
force on her subject peoples. And Judea was the 
single country within her far-flung empire which 

so stubbornly resisted her " peace.'* 

251 



HELLENISM 

It is in the light of this renewed struggle for 
existence that we must regard the rabbinic attitude 
towards Hellenistic culture in the civil era. We 
have not any full record of the opinions of the 
Palestinian schools before the first century; and 
by that time the Jews were already putting on their 
armor, so to say, against the intellectual aggres- 
sion as well as the military force of Hellenized 
Rome, They were suspicious of anything which 
seemed to facilitate disintegration. Yet indica- 
tions are not wanting that at an earlier period the 
Rabbis looked with favor on the Hellenistic de- 
velopment of Judaism. They applied the verse in 
Genesis, " God enlarge Japhet, and He shall 
dwell in the tents of Shem," * to the translation of 
the Scriptures into Greek; and in the same spirit 
it was said that the Torah cannot be adequately 
translated except into Greek.* The Gemara relates 
that an Aramaic Targum was made from the 
Greek, and it is with reference to Aramaic 
rather than Greek versions that some of the Tan- 
naim expressed their disapproval.* Some have 
even thought that the Targum Onkelos — the Ara- 
maic paraphrase of the Bible — ^was so-called be- 
cause based on the Greek translation of Aquila. 
The scrolls of the law * and the bill of divorce * 

262 



THE R^BIS AND HELLENISM 

might be written in Greek. So, too, with the 
lituigy, the Rabbis allowed the Shema*, the grace 
after meals, and the Eighteen Blessings to be 
recited in Greek, and indeed in any language. 
According to Rabbi Simon ben Gamaliel, the Scrip- 
tures may be written in Greek only (besides 
Hebrew).* 

The only early attack upon Greek is the curse 
which, it is related, was uttered against the teaching 
of " Greek Wisdom " during the civil war between 
the Maccabean princes, which led to Pompeius' in- 
vasion of Palestine.* The Rabbis were seldom 
particular about chronology, and as the same story 
is told of a period two hundred years later, there 
is probably an anachronistic reference, designed to 
point the lesson that the Hellenistic leanings of a 
section of the people led to the national catas- 
trophe. If the prohibition were made at the time 
stated, it would have been a " war-emergency " 
measure, directed to the special need of the mo- 
ment. The record of the life and thought of the 
oldest Tannaim, or masters of the tradition, bears 
witness to the early tolerance of Pharisaic Juda- 
ism to the Greek language. Sparse as is our knowl- 
edge of these sages, it indicates that they were in 
regular communication with the Jews of the dias- 

17 253 



HELLENISM 

pora. At the beginning of the first century before 
the common era, whence we date the oldest parts 
of Mishnah and Midrash, the heads of the San- 
hedrin were Simon ben Shetah and Judah ben 
Tabbai. The former, during the persecution of the 
Pharisees by Alexander Jannaeus, fled for refuge 
to Alexandria, where he answered a number of 
problems which were put to him by the community. 
Simeon and Judah were succeeded in the headship 
of the schools by Shemaiah and Abtalion, both, 
according to tradition, proselytes,* and therefore in 
all probability in touch with Greek thought. We 
may infer their teachings from the records of their 
most famous successors, Hillel and Shammai.' If 
any man can be said to represent that which is best 
in rabbinical and Pharisaic tradition, it is Hillel. It 
is therefore the more striking that he is excelled by 
no teacher of his age, or perhaps of any age, in his 
recognition of the universal value of Jewish law 
and its ethical aspects. His maxims are sufficient 
answer to those commentators who assert that the 
preaching of a universal Judaism was the special 
characteristic of Hellenistic Jewry, and due to 
Hellenistic influence, and that the benighted Phari- 
sees of Palestine merely added precept to precept. 

254 



THE RABBIS AND HELLENISM 

The sayings which have been preserved in 
the name of Hillel suggest that he was directly 
or indirectly acquainted with Greek doctrines. It 
is related of him that he paid special care to the 
health of the body, saying that the body was the 
image of the divine." The maxim represents the 
standpoint of Greek ethics, though it has biblical 
support in the text that " God created man in His 
own image." Noteworthy, also, are the questions 
of religious philosophy which were disputed be- 
tween him and Shammai. So long did they argue 
whether heaven was created before the earth, that 
the Shekinah came down and inspired them to ac- 
cept the belief in a simultaneous creation of heaven 
and earth." The Talmud relates elsewhere that 
Alexander the Great asked the same question of the 
wise men of the South ; " and in Plato's Timaeus — 
the Gospel of the neo-Platonists and the Gnostics — 
it is written: " The earth is the oldest of all dei- 
ties which have been created within the heaven." " 
Beneath the surface of the dispute lay the question 
whether an ideal creation preceded the physical, 
which is one of the central doctrines of the philos- 
ophy of Philo. This was the point upon which 
Hillel and Shammai must have been at variance; 

and while Hillel said earth was created before all 

265 



HELLENISM 

(f. e., there was no intermediate step between God's 
will and the bringing into existence of the world), 
Shammai maintained that heaven was created first 
(f. e., an ideal plan preceded). A similar differ- 
ence of opinion between Hillel and Shammai is ex- 
pressed in relation to another controversy upon the 
period of day at which God accomplished the crea- 
tion. According to Shammai, the plan of creation 
was made by night and the creation itself took place 
by day; Hillel, on the other hand, said that both 
took place together in the day. 

It is further related that for three years the two 
schools discussed '^ whether it is better for a man 
to be born, or not to be born." " Again the subject 
of their dispute was the subject of a famous Greek 
controversy. One of the oldest Hellenic poets had 
declared : " Best of all is it not to be bom." The 
question, it may be, arises among all peoples in their 
reflective stage, and it is raised in the apocryphal 
book of Esdras ; but these broad philosophical prob- 
lems were, not less than questions of religious law, 
matters of the deepest interest to the Pharisaic 
school at the beginning of the Christian era. Lastly, 
a rival piece of allegorical exegesis, ascribed to Hil- 
lel and Shammai, shows that they were in the habit 

of deriving symbolical lessons even from the ritual- 

S66 



THE RABBIS AND HELLENISM 

Istic points of the Torah. Shammai traced an alle- 
gorical value in the two lambs of the daily sacri- 
fice : that they pressed down the sins of Israel, the 
word for lamb being identical with the root for 
to press. Hillel, however, objecting that what is 
pressed down rises up, and reading D3d for j^id, 
derived from the word the value that the sacrifices 
washed clean the sins of Israel." 

The extant Midrash, which may be regarded as 
a condensed edition of the oral tradition, pre- 
serves numerous speculations about an ideal crea- 
tion. Instead then of a rigid separation between 
Alexandrian and Palestinian Jewry, or between the 
philosophical and the legalistic exegesis, which is 
postulated by some critics anxious to decry the 
Pharisaic narrowness and to exalt Hellenistic uni- 
versalism, the fact seems to be that a regular com- 
munication of thought existed between the two 
branches of Jewry, and that speculation about cos- 
mology and the ultimate nature of things was a 
favorite study among the Pharisees as well as 
among the Hellenists, albeit more thoroughly 
Judaized by the former body. 

The philosophical doctrines of the Palestinian 

school were embodied particularly under two 

heads : the Mdaseh Bereshit and the Maaseh Mer- 

267 



HELLENISM 

kabah; the first representing Ideas about the crea- 
tion or cosmology, the second ideas about the 
heavenly kingdom and theology and angelology. 
A modern writer" has endeavored to trace in 
them, respectively, " a doctrine of ideas " and 
" a doctrine of emanations." We have not the 
material from which to derive such a theory, and 
it is hardly consonant with the general nature of the 
Jewish Haggadah to attribute definite philo- 
sophical divisions to the Palestinian Tannaim. 
The Jewish mind was essentially imaginative and 
intuitive and averse to exact metaphysics or close 
reasoning; the fragments of philosophical thought 
from the early Midrash contain not a few indica- 
tions of the influence of Hellenistic speculation, 
which, however, is converted from metaphysical 
doctrine into poetical fancy, from dogma to litera- 
ture. While the imaginative ideas of the Hebrew 
prophet or poet were transformed at Alexandria 
under Greek influence into a theology more or less 
systematic, that theology, when it passed through 
the mind of the Palestinian Tanna and Amora, 
was again resolved into a number of striking but 
unsystematic fancies. The Jewish genius, that is, 
when not moulded by foreign culture, instinctively 

avoided casting its thought about God and creation 

268 



THE RABBIS AND HELLENISM 

into a formal and definite doctrine, because it 
realized the danger of dogma for a pure religious 
monotheism. Theology remained a matter for 
individual study and pursuit, but not a part of the 
discipline of the school or of the national tradition. 
Mystical and gnostic speculations, however, were 
popular among the sages. The Talmud and the 
Midrash record many fancies about the pre-ex- 
istence of certain holy things created before 
the rest of the world, a conception which was 
probably induced by acquaintance with the ideal- 
istic philosophy of the Hellenists. According to 
some, six things existed before the creation, accord- 
ing to others, seven, viz.: the Torah, the name 
of the Messiah, Gehenna, the Garden of Eden, 
The Throne of Glory, the Sanctuary, and Re- 
pentance." Again, the Midrash knows the doc- 
trine of the pre-natal life of the soul," that " our 
birth is but a sleeping and forgetting,'' which came 
perhaps through the Alexandrian Wisdom of Solo- 
mon from the Platonic and neo-Pythagorean tra- 
dition. An angel, it is said, causes the soul to for- 
get before birth the whole Torah in which it had 
been educated. So, too, the Book of Enoch " says 
that every soul was created before the foundation of 

the world. Again, the Talmud contains references 

259 



HELLENISM 

to the doctrine of the creation of an upper and a 
lower world, and of a celestial and earthly Adam, 
which give a new coloring to the Alexandrian 
speculation about the kingdom of Ideas and the 
Primal Man. These doctrines were possibly de- 
rived from Babylon, and had thence entered the 
thought both of the Jewish and Hellenistic peoples. 
The influence of these doctrines can already be 
traced in an early prayer which is recorded in the 
Talmud: " May it be Thy will, O Lord, to make 
peace in the family above and the family below." ** 
Several fancies are derived from the variation 
in the second chapter of Genesis in the spelling of 
the Hebrew fVayyizer ("and He formed"); 
where the creation of man is spoken of, it is spelt 
with two Yods, and where the reference is to the 
creation of the brute, it is spelt with one." The two 
Yods, it is said, point to the duality of human life, 
in this world and the next world, or to the original 
dual formation of man from the lower and the up- 
per beings (i. e,, the angels). Here we have a par- 
allel with Philo's teaching that the races of men are 
twofold : one is the heavenly man and the other the 
earthly man. The first man, said the Rabbis, was 
cp-^xtcnsiv^ with the universe : his dust was gath- 

?6Q 



THE RABBIS AND HELLENISM 

ered from the whole world, and he stretched from 
the earth to the firmament." 

The doctrine of creation by Wisdom also finds a 
place in Palestinian tradition. The Targum Yeru- 
shalmi gives as a translation, or rather as an inter- 
pretation, of the first verse of Genesis : " With 
wisdom God created the world," and it frequently 
ascribes God's action to the Memra or Word. The 
Midrash enumerates as the seven Middot, or at- 
tributes of God, which carry out His will and, as 
it were, form divine powers : Wisdom, Righteous- 
ness, Justice, Kindness, Pity, Truth, Peace; and 
Rab, a famous Babylonian teacher, spoke of ten 
Middot by which God achieved the creation. 
When Philo interprets the seven cities of refuge as 
the seven various stages in the knowledge of God, 
the upward progress of man to the complete com- 
munion with the deity through apprehension of 
His attributes, it would seem that he is developing 
to a new value a poetical tradition of his people. 
But the central figure of Palestinian idealism is not 
the Primal Man or the Wisdom, or the Memra, 
or the attributes, but the Torah itself, which is 
already the subject of a psalm in the book of Prov- 
erbs. Many are the fancies in which its divine 

nature is expressed — as many as Philo's images of 

861 



HELLENISM 

the Logos. The Torah is God's counsellor and 
agent, His plan in the creation, His desirable in- 
strument by which the world was created. " God 
looked on the Torah and then created the world." " 
Another interpretation of the first words of Genesis 
makes the Torah declare : " By me, the beginning 
(n^BTKi ^a), God created Heaven and Earth."** 
The verte in Proverbs (8. 30), " Then I was by 
Him, as a master-workman (pow) ; and I was 
daily all delight, playing always before Him," was 
applied to the Torah's part in the creation. The 
sages explained the word ]TOK variously : some held 
it equivalent to juis, schoolmaster (Greek wauBa- 
ywyo?) ; others to a workman; and others under- 
stood it as hidden away or covered. The latter 
interpretation may reflect Egyptian influence, for 
the name of the great Egyptian deity Amon 
meant ** hidden." Like the Wisdom or the Logos in 
Alexandrian literature, or the Messiah in the 
apocalypses, the Torah is conceived as a divine 
power stored with God before the creation. Ben 
Sira " already has this fancy when, identifying the 
Law with Wisdom, he says God created her and 
saw her, and poured her out on all His works. The 
doctrines of Greek idealism were thus adapted in 

Palestine by the sages to glorify the divine Law, 

262 



THE RABBIS AND HELLENISM 

There can be no doubt that the sages were in- 
fluenced by Hellenistic literature, which is shown 
by the mere fact that in many of the cosmological 
and even legal passages of the Midrash Greek 
words are found in abundance; but it is incorrect 
to give the name of philosophy to their fancies, 
and the Greek thoughts, when moulded afresh in 
the Hebrew mind, were expressed in terms of relig- 
ious poetry. 

The secret teachings embodied in the Mdaseh 
Merkabah had, as their special feature, a theo- 
sophical gnosis such as appears in a cruder form in 
the apocalypses and testaments, and in its finer de- 
velopment in the esoteric writings of Philo.** These 
ideas were part of the common thought of the time, 
and were especially popular at Alexandria. They 
reached the height of their favor in Palestine 
during the first century, when the trials and mis- 
eries of the nation induced men to seek hope and 
consolation in the inner religion and secret teach- 
ings. Rabbi Johanan ben Zaccai, who, after the 
destruction of the temple, held the Jewish people 
together at the crisis by means of his school — the 
famous vineyard of Yabneh — was, according to 
the Midrash, a devotee of such speculations. Many 

stories illustrate his fondness for them; and most 

263 



HELLENISM 

of his disciples, who were the Tannaim of the next 
generation and played a great part in the organi- 
zation of Jewry in exile, imbibed it from him. That 
he acquired the love of gnostic speculation from a 
knowledge of Hellenistic literature is made the 
more probable by another characteristic reported 
of his teaching. He was a marster of the form of 
exegesis known as inn or "ion po , which was culti- 
vated by a special school." The word means, ac- 
cording to some scholars, " a string of pearls," 
and according to others, " the essential " ; but, be 
this as it may, the school of interpreters were those 
who, like the Dorshe Reshumot, ** the searchers of 
symbols," " looked for a deeper meaning under- 
lying the letter of the law, and allegorized the com- 
mandments. Few of their interpretations have 
been preserved, but it is striking that those we have 
correspond with suggestions which occur in Philo." 
Thus the command " And his master shall bore his 
ear, " " referring to the treatment of the slave who 
would not accept his proffered freedom in the year 
of release, was interpreted by R. Johanan accord- 
ing to the method of Homer as follows: " ** Why 
has the ear been distinguished from all other or- 
gans of the body to be bored? The Holy One 

said : The ear that heard my voice on Sinai crying : 

264 



THE RABBIS AND HELLENISM 

For unto Me the children of Israel are servants — " 
and not servants to other servants — shall be bored 
through, when this man takes a master for him- 
self." The true significance of the law, which tal- 
lies with Philo's interpretation, is to impress on the 
slave the lesson of freedom." The talmudic pas- 
sage goes on to say that Rabbi Simon the son of 
Rabbi Judah the Prince interpreted the following 
words: " His master shall bring him to the door- 
post," in similar fashion. The door and the door- 
post were chosen because they were the witnesses 
of the divine redemption of Israel in Egypt, when 
God passed over the lintel and the two side-posts. 
The Tosefta ** quotes five other sayings of Rabbi 
Johanan ben Zaccai in the same method, of which 
the most striking is the homily on the law : " An 
altar of stones shalt thou build ; thou shalt lift up 
no iron tool upon them." " The law forbids the 
use of iron because the sword is made of iron, and 
the sword is the symbol of punishment and revenge, 
while the altar is a symbol of forgiveness and recon- 
ciliation. Stones cannot hear, nor see, nor speak; 
yet because they bring about conciliation between 
the people of Israel and their Father in Heaven, 
the law forbids us to lift an iron tool upon them. 

These passages bespeak the preacher's homily; 

365 



HELLENISM 

and the allegorizers of Palestine equally with the 
allegorizers of Alexandria may have developed 
their ideas in sermons for the synagogue. The 
correspondence with the Hellenistic school is strik- 
ing not only in their method, but in their detailed 
interpretation of the few biblical verses of which 
the Midrash has preserved the record. The Dor- 
she Reshtttnot looked for symbols in the narrative 
but not in the legal parts of the Torah; but the 
Dorshe Hamurot, following the Alexandrian 
habit, applied allegory equally to the Law. 

At the crisis of the struggle, in the second cen- 
tury, between Judaism and the Hellenistic syn- 
cretism, the leaders of the Palestinian schools de- 
tected the danger of this allegorical development, 
as well as of other importations from Hellenized 
Judaism. The Mishnah prohibits the moralizing 
method in reference to the command against tak- 
ing the mother with its young from a nest." By 
laying stress on the moral idea which the law was 
alleged to symbolize, as against the positive pre- 
script, the allegorizer tended to whittle away the 
observance, or to provide an excuse for its neglect. 

The New Testament proves that the method 
could be, and was in fact, applied, on the one hand, 
to abolish the fundamental practices of Jewish life, 

266 



THE RABBIS AND HELLENISM 

circumcision, the Sabbath, the dietary laws, and, 
on the other, to undermine the binding force of the 
Torah altogether. Several passages in the Pauline 
Epistles mark this extreme but logical develop- 
ment of the antinomian tendency. Thus Paul, 
allegorizing the story of Abraham and Hagar, 
says : " For it is written that Abraham had two 
sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a free- 
woman. But he who was of the bondwoman was 
born after the flesh, but he of the free-woman was 
by promise. Which things are an allegory; for 
there are the two covenants, the one from the 
mount Sinai which gendereth to bondage which is 
Hagar. For this Hagar is mount Sinai in Arabia, 
and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in 
bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which 
is above is free, which is the mother of us all." " 
In the same spirit again he declared : " For he is not 
a Jew that is one outwardly, neither is that circum- 
cision which is outward in the flesh. But he is a 
Jew which is one inwardly; and circumcision is of 
the heart, in the spirit and not in the letter, whose 
praise is not of men but of God." " The observance 
of the law was not so much an inferior way for the 
extreme antinomian as a stumbling-block in the 
right way. " For as many as are of the works of 

267 



HELLENISM 

the Law are under the curse '* ; and again : " Christ 
hath redeemed us from the curse of the Law.'* * 
It remained only for Barnabas and Marcion, the 
GnosticSt to take the further step^ and deduce from 
allegorical interpretation that the Jewish God was 
the power of evil against which Christ, the good 
power, had to struggle, and that the observance of 
the Law is the seduction of the devil; ^ or that the 
Jewish worship, exacted by the ceremonial Law, ex- 
hibited the peculiar depravity and iniquity of the 
people.* The rejection of the Law naturally ap- 
pealed to the Greeks to whom the Christians 
preached, and within a century became the basis of 
a cleavage in the Christian sect, so that Clement 
could write: " If the Gentile carries out the Law, 
he is a Jew; if he neglects it, he is a Greek (Chris- 
tian)."- 

A radical discrepancy existed between the alle- 
gorizing habit, when applied to the Torah, and the 
spirit of Judaism. For Judaism essentially holds 
its members together by law and observance. It 
allows freedom of speculation in the region of 
ideas and large freedom of doctrine; its firm an- 
chorage is in a fixed way of life, and to that an- 
chorage it must hold if it is not to be shattered. 
Warned by the spread of heresies in the second 

268 



THE RABBIS AND HELLENISM 

century, the Rabbis detected in the outlook of 
the allegorical interpreters a destructive and dis- 
integrating force. Blasphemous interpretations** 
called into question the sacredness of Scripture. 
Just as in art symbolism is a good servant but a 
bad master, so in religion: for, in either case, 
the symbolical habit tends to run to excess and 
sweep away sane thought. The Palestinian Rab- 
bis therefore cut out of the tradition these inter- 
pretations of the Torah. The works of the 
prophets and ** the Writings," such as the Song 
of Songs, which were part of the traditional lore 
of the nation, might be treated as allegories; but 
the Torah itself, the divine revelation in a special 
sense and the national way of life, must not be 
made the text for humanitarian homilies and mys- 
tical reflections, lest it should be degraded to the 
mere pretext for them, and cease to be a law. Ac- 
cording to the thirty-two canons of exegesis drawn 
up by R. Eliezer ben R. Jose of Galilee, they al- 
lowed allegorical exegesis to be applied to the 
Torah in the case of three verses only, where the 
literal meaning had been definitely supplanted in 
practice. The menace was felt the more in Pales- 
tine, because there heresy made greater strides than 
in Babylon, and the Jewish teachers were engaged 

i8 269 



HELLENISM 

in frequent polemics with Hebrew and Gentile 
Christians and Gnostics, who regularly appealed to 
allegorical interpretations in arguing the su- 
periority of their beliefs. Clement of Alexandria 
and Origen, the two founders of Church philoso- 
phy, not only summon the method in general to the 
support of Christian theology, but use the particu- 
lar interpretations of Philo as weapons against the 
religion which he was endeavoring by these means 
to propagate among the Gentiles. An extraor- 
dinary national-religious instinct prompted the 
Rabbis to discard part of the heritage of even the 
most revered teachers of a former generation, be- 
cause it threatened the centre of gravity of Juda- 
ism. Johanan ben Zaccai was dear to them, but 
dearer still was the preservation of Judaism in its 
integrity. 

The speculation into the secrets of the Torah, 
which contained many foreign elements, was also 
discouraged. Johanan ben Zaccai, though he was 
famous as a master of mystical doctrine and spoke 
of it as " the great subject," uttered the warning 
against undue reflection upon the mysteries of the 
universe. When questioned on such things by his 
pupil R. Eliezer ben Hyrcanus, who had mystical 

leanings, he replied : ** " What answer gave the 

270 



THE RABBIS AND HELLENISM 

Bat'Kol (the heavenly voice) to that wicked one 
who said : ' I will ascend above the heights of the 
clouds; I will be like the Most High.' "? " And 
R. Eliezer in turn repeated the warning against 
speculation, saying: " Keep it far from thy house." 
Other followers of Rabbi Johanan, nevertheless, 
did not succeed in observing the mean he laid down. 
The Gnostic crisis, if we may so call the struggle 
between Pharisaic or Catholic Judaism and the 
mystical ideas professed by some of the foremost 
teachers, reached its turning-point about the middle 
of the second century. Judaism was beset by dan- 
gers within and without. The desperate attempt 
to recover national independence in the reign of 
Trajan was put down with ruthless severity; the 
Christian heresy was rapidly spreading among the 
communities of the diaspora; it was marking it- 
self off more and more clearly from the Jewish 
people, and taking up a hostile attitude to the 
Torah and the national hope. Syrian and Persian 
religious cults with their fantastic theosophies were 
seizing hold of the Graeco-Roman empire. The 
devotees of Gnosticism, who hitherto had indulged 
their ideas in esoteric circles, were openly abandon- 
ing the law, spreading their heresy, and exhibiting 

separatist tendencies. Lastly, some of the most 

271 



HELLENISM 

distinguished Rabbis of the schools were so carried 
away by the attraction of the secret wisdom, that 
they introduced strange notions into Jewish mono- 
theism, and modified the Jewish idea of creation on 
the lines of Hellenistic cosmogony. 

The Mishnah describes the dangerous trend of 
the time in the form of a characteristic allegory: 
** Ben Zoma, Akiba, Ben Azzai, and Elisha ben 
Abuyah entered Paradise together. Ben Zoma 
looked and became demented ; to him they applied 
the verse: * Hast thou found honey? eat so much 
as is sufficient for thee, lest thou be filled therewith, 
and vomit it' ^ Ben Azzai looked and perished ; to 
him they applied the verse : * Precious in the sight 
of the Lord is the death of His saints.' " Ben 
Abuyah plucked up the plants; of him they said: 
* Suffer not thy mouth to bring thy flesh into guilt' " 
Akiba alone passed through scatheless; of him they 
said : ** * Draw me, we will run after thee.' " " 
Paradise (omi)) is a name given by the sages to 
theosophical speculation and secret wisdom; and 
the story has reference to the mystical movement 
of the period. Three of the four sages who in- 
dulged in it fell a victim to its blandishments. Ben 
Zoma, though celebrated for his erudition in the 
Halakah, was devoted to cosmological speculation. 

272 



THE RABBIS AND HELLENISM 

He reported to R. Joshua the result of his medita- 
tion upon the creation in these words : "I looked 
between the upper and the lower waters, and I saw 
that between both there is only three fingers' 
breadth." "* From this it may be inferred, perhaps, 
that he held that the world was not created ex 
nihilo, but that water was the primitive element; 
which had been the starting-point of Greek philos- 
ophy. R. Judah ben Pazzi, in the next generation, 
declared likewise that the world was originally 
water in water: the water became snow, and the 
snow became earth." Akiba, on the other hand, 
is recorded to have uttered the warning on enter- 
ing Paradise not to say: " Water, water," " i. e., 
not to accept the Greek theory of a primeval stuff. 
R. Joshua said of Ben Zoma, in relation to his 
mystic speculation : " He is still * outside.' " " The 
spoken as well as the written word which fostered 
gnostic leanings was external to the tradition. He 
was termed the last of the Darshamm (the 
preachers) ; and Ben Azzai, famous for his piety 
as Ben Zoma for his scholarship, was termed simi- 
larly the last of the Shakdanim (i. e., diligent 
expounders). A mystical interpretation concern- 
ing the revelation, that God's voice took the form of 

the angel Metatron, is ascribed both to him and 

273 



HELLENISM 

Ben Zoma. He was also an ascetic, holding that 
the flesh was an impure vessel with which the divine 
element in man could not be associated. Possibly 
the statement of the Midrash that he died prema- 
turely from his excessive devotion to mystical specu- 
lation has reference to his extreme asceticism. 

The tragedy of Ben Abuyah was graver. He was 
the Jewish Faust, the type of the scholar lost by his 
eagerness for knowledge. A maxim, prophetic of 
his fate, is ascribed to him : '* Knowledge without 
observance is like a horse without a bit, which 
throws its rider." " He became a definite apostate, 
and his name was not even uttered by the Rabbis, 
who referred to him as A her (" the other"), to 
mark his exclusion from the congregation of Israel. 
The exact form of his heresy is not recorded, but it 
seems to have extended over doctrine and practice. 
It is related that Greek songs were continually in 
his mouth, and heretical books dropped from his 
lap in the schools ; and that when he entered Para- 
dise, he saw Metatron by the throne of God and 
exclaimed : " There are two divine powers." " 
Metatron is the supreme angel who occurs fre- 
quently in the talmudic and later apocalyptic litera- 
ture; some explain the word as the Hebraized form 
of fi€Tct Opovov {by the throne) ; others as the He- 

274 



THE RABBIS AND HELLENISM 

braized form of the Latin " Metator " (dividtr)j 
and suggest a connection with the dividing Logos 
of Philo, or the Horus of Eg3rptian theurgy. Any- 
how, under the influence of Hellenistic and Mani- 
chean culture, Ben Abuyah seems to have adopted a 
form of dualistic theology in place of the pure 
Hebrew monotheism. Of his apostasy in regard to 
Jewish practice, the Talmud relates that he rode on 
the Sabbath, and plucked fruit on the Day of Atone- 
ment." 

It is clear from passages in the Talmud, and 
is confirmed by others in the Midrash, that Akiba 
himself had theosophical leanings. He declared 
that a throne is set for the Messiah by God — a doc- 
trine which is popular in the apocalytic literature—; 
and Jose of Galilee, hearing this, cried out against 
him : " How long wilt thou profane the Shekinah I " 
{i. e., the Glory of God)." The great systema- 
tizer of the law of conduct had a philosophical 
mind. The saying in Pirke Abot attributed to him 
deals with the metaphysical problem of the free- 
dom of the will. " All is foreseen, yet freedom 
of the will is given." " He regarded the Song of 
Songs as a complete allegory, and the profoundest 
book of Scripture ; * and according to the Chris- 
tian scholar Origen, his mystical exegesis was sub- 

275 



HELLENISM 

sequently forbidden in the schools to those who 
were not of mature years.* In virtue of his fame 
as a master of the mysteries of the Law, several of 
the earlier kabbalistic works which date from the 
eighth and ninth centuries, the Sefer Yezirah and 
a cosmogonical Alphabet, were ascribed to him. 

Pre-eminence at once in secret wisdom and in 
halakic teaching marked a contemporary of Akiba, 
R. Ishmael. He it was who drew up the famous 
thirteen rules of halakic interpretation of Scrip- 
ture ; and from him are derived a large part of the 
halakic Midrash to Leviticus and to Deuteronomy, 
the Mekilta and Sifre. But at the same time he 
was renowned as a master of the Kabbalah. Later 
tradition ascribed to him the theosophical He- 
kalat (" Halls of Heaven "). R. Hai Gaon (died 
1038) quotes both a greater and a smaller Hek- 
alot; and the books that have been preserved deal 
with the ordering of the heavens and the heavenly 
hosts, the Messiah, the description of the throne 
and the celestial temple, and theories of the cos^ 
mogony. The attribution of these particular doc- 
trines to Ishmael may be spurious, but it is sugges- 
tive that tradition pointed to the two most dis- 
tinguished jurists among the Tannaim as masters 

276 



THE RABBIS AND HELLENISM 

of the secret lore. In the golden age of rabbinic 
wisdom the mystic and the legalist were combined. 
Nevertheless, the outstanding greatness of Akiba 
was not his mystical speculation but his purification 
of Judaism. Tradition says that he was sprung 
from non-Jewish parents, but he inherited from his 
master Joshua ben (lananiah a profound concep- 
tion of Judaism and an instinct for what was false 
to its teaching, which made him at the crisis of its 
fate the great bulwark of its integrity. Joshua ben 
Hananiah, who flourished in the preceding genera- 
tion, appears in midrashic legend as the brilliant 
champion of Jewish wisdom against Hellenism; 
and he began that spiritual fight against Hellenistic 
contamination of Judaism in which Akiba was the 
protagonist. The latter is described paradoxically 
as Scholasticos, the Greek word for scholar being 
used in the sense of champion of the Law." The 
Midrash Ekah contains a collection of tales illus- 
trating how Jewish Hokmah prevailed over the 
Greek dialectics. Elsewhere Joshua's dialogues with 
Hadrian about the nature of God and of his victory 
over the philosophers of Athens arc reported." 
The Jews of Alexandria put to him twelve ques- 
tions which he brilliantly answered : three on prac- 
tical observances, three on Haggadah, three on 

277 



HELLENISM 

Derek Erez (or worldly wisdom), and three prob- 
lems.** These stories typify the conscious antago- 
nism and struggle which were renewed between 
Hellenism and Hebraism after the loss of national 
independence. 

The circumstances of Akiba's life and times were 
such as to reinforce the spirit which he inherited 
from his master, and to deepen the recognition of 
that antagonism. He took, as is well known, a 
leading part in the rising under Bar Cochba against 
Hadrian, when the Jews made a desperate attempt 
to recover their independence ; and he was one of 
the martyrs in the campaign of slaughter which 
followed it. The agony of Israel in this conflict 
may be gathered not only from the Talmud and 
the Midrash Ekah (which are full of harrowing 
tales of the war), but from the reports of the 
Church chronicler Eusebius, and the pagan his- 
torian Dio Cassius." At first the Jews prevailed 
over the Greeks, both in the diaspora and in Pales- 
tine, and, if the accounts are true, killed tens of 
thousands of their foes. But the whole strength 
of the Roman empire was brought against them. 
Severus was summoned from Britain, and after 
three years of heroic resistance the revolt collapsed. 

Hundreds of thousands of Jews were massacred 

278 



THE RABBIS AND HELLENISM 

in Cyrcne, Egypt, Palestine, and Mesopotamia: 
600,000 are said to have perished at Palestine 
alone ; some provinces lost the whole of their Jew- 
ish population, and the attempt was made to ex- 
terminate a people who could not be subjugated. 
The plague within was as terrible as the sword 
without. The decay of national life, the atrophy 
of human reason, and the incursion into the Graeco- 
Roman world of " Orientalism " produced such a 
welter of superstitions and heresies as has never 
been before or since. All creeds were in the melt- 
ing-pot ; the one national-religious system that sur- 
vived was endangered for a time by the centrifugal 
tendency. Israel did not go into exile, it was said, 
till twenty-four orders of heretics were formed."* 
The Judeo-Christians scoffed in the synagogue. 
Gnostics sought to warn the people against the ob- 
servance of the Law, syncretistic creeds with their 
troops of angels and mediating powers offered to 
a world that was fast losing its reason and its hope 
a seductive consolation in misery. The peril was, 
in truth, graver than that which threatened Ju- 
daism three centuries before in the time of the Mac- 
cabees. Against compulsion to idolatry it was easy 
to rally the forces of the Jewish nation, but the 
sages of the second century had to fight with spirit- 

279 



HELLENISM 

ual weapons against the invitation to a universal 
spiritualism which was leading some of the best 
minds away from the Jewish teaching of God. 

Akiba was the leader of the Puritan movement. 
Paul had travelled through the diaspora to carry 
his mission to the Gentiles, and Akiba travelled 
through the scattered communities of Israel to 
strengthen them in their loyalty to the Law. He 
was at Rome, in Mesopotamia, in Egypt, and 
Arabia. It was necessary, in the first place, to get 
rid of the peril of Gnosticism, and the basis of his 
teaching was " Back to the Torah," the pure 
source from which Judaism had sprung. An apo- 
logue told of him is characteristic." When the 
Jews were prohibited by the Roman emperor from 
studying their Law. Akiba refused to abandon his 
studies. In reply to Pappos ben Judah, who warned 
him of the danger, Akiba told him the fable of the 
fishes who, being perturbed in the water, were in- 
vited by a fox to come to land. The Torah was 
Israel's element," and if they left it because of outer 
disturbance, they would stand in peril of their salva- 
tion. Similarly, when asked by his nephew whether, 
having learnt all the Torah, he might now 
study the Greek wisdom, R. Ishmael quoted to 

him the verse : ** And thou shalt meditate therein 

280 



THE RABBIS AND HELLENISM 

day and night." * " If," he added, " thou canst 
find an hour which is neither day nor night, then 
thou mayest study Greek." '* 

For a time, indeed, Greek books and Hebrew 
books written under Greek influence, were alto- 
gether eschewed. The literature which the Jews 
had composed in the Hellenistic period was none 
of it holy, and much of it in the eyes of the sages 
dangerous in tendency, in that it opened the way 
for foreign non-Jewish influences to affect the Jew- 
ish belief and the Jewish way of life, and was 
freely used by the heretics for their purposes. The 
extreme consequences of Hellenistic allegory and 
mystical speculation had been drawn, and were 
proved to amount to the repudiation of Judaism. 
Hence, to preserve their heritage, the Rabbis de- 
termined to cut out the impurity root and branch. 
The external books, that is, the books not admitted 
by the Synagague to be holy or to be included in 
the Canon, were prohibited in the schools. The 
sage might read them for himself, but they were 
not for the study of the scholars. It was said, in 
the hyperbolical fashion of the Mishnah, that those 
who read external books are excluded from the 
future life." And again : " He who brings to his 
house any other than the twenty-four books of the 

281 



HELLENISM 

Bible, such as the book of Ben Sira or Ben La anah, 
brings confusion into it." " Speculation has been 
unable to settle what is meant by the book of 
Ben La anah, or by the books of Ben Togla and 
Homeros, which are elsewhere classed in the same 
category of forbidden literature. Homeros may 
be a general term for Greek poetry ; but it has been 
suggested that it is a transliteration of the Greek 
Himcros, and refers to Greek books of light litera- 
ture." Elsewhere the books of the Sadducees are 
placed together with Ben Sira among those which 
may not be read.** 

Though the books now included in the Protes- 
tant Apocrypha never formed part of the He- 
brew Canon, the wisdom of Ben Sira was often 
quoted by the early sages." Some desired to 
withdraw from public reading (na) other books 
which were commonly recognized as holy. Thus 
it is said that the scribes intended to withdraw 
from public use Ecclesiastes and Proverbs and 
the Song of Songs," until the Great Synagogue 
arose and interpreted them ; " and that Hana- 
niah ben Hezekiah prevented Ezekiel from being 
withdrawn." These suspected books were to form 
a class reserved for the study of scholars ; and the 

name Apocrypha (i. e., things hidden away) is per- 

282 



THE RABBIS AND HELLENISM 

haps derived from the Sefarim Genuzim of the 
Jewish sages. The rabbinical term, however, is 
applied to works which, with one exception, were 
included in the Canon." The twenty-four books 
which were finally admitted as holy are the books 
of the Hebrew Bible as we have it now, and are 
commonly called the Hebrew Canon. They cor- 
respond to the twenty-four writings which pseudo- 
Ezra is told to reveal to all the people, and to 
the twenty-two books which Josephus — either 
joining Ruth and Judges, and Jeremiah and 
Lamentations, or dividing the historical books 
differently — declares to comprise the Hebrew 
Scriptures." 

The Jewish people recognized no definite list of 
holy writings before the second century. In the 
Hellenistic age the Alexandrian Bible mixed up 
indiscriminately with the books of the Hebrew 
Canon writings now regarded as apocryphal, the 
Maccabees and the Wisdom of Solomon; and on 
the other hand, discussion still raged in the Pales- 
tinian schools as to the final admission of certain 
books. There was a fresh trial and judgment at 
the crisis of the struggle with Gnosticism. The 
Books of Ecclesiastes and the Song of Songs were 
those longest in suspense, perhaps because they 

283 



HELLENISM 

were suspected of having their origin in the Hel- 
lenistic period, but in the main because of their 
peculiar doctrines." Of the apocaljrptic literature 
Daniel alone was included in the Canon, and that, 
because the first part of the book was regarded as 
historical. The other books of the kind, even those 
composed in Hebrew, the Testaments of the Pa- 
triarchs, the Assumptions of the Prophets, the 
Enoch writings, were rejected, and dropped out of 
the tradition, but did not altogether disappear from 
private study. Their infusion of gnostic ideas and 
their somewhat crude eschatology compromised 
pure monotheism ; and the fact that they were re- 
garded with special favor by the various Minim 
or sectarians, especially by the Christians, and were 
interpolated by them in their polemics, caused the 
Rabbis to look on them with suspicion. They 
became a source of false doctrine, and their new 
service emphasized their dangerous tendency. 

A section of the Mishnah of Hagigah indicates 
the collective rabbinical attitude toward cosmo- 
logical and theological speculation. '* It is for- 
bidden," runs the law, " to study the mystery 
of creation, except alone, and the mystery of the 
Merkabah, not even alone, unless the individual is 

able himself to form a judgment. He who busies 

284 



THE RABBIS AND HELLENISM 

himself with four things, what is above and what 
below (the earth), what before and what after 
(life), better were it for him that he had not been 
bom ; and better were it that he who has no thought 
for the glory of his Maker had not been bom." " 
The doctrines of the Pleroma and Hell, of the 
pre-natal state and the last judgment, were the 
peculiar interests of gnostic wisdom, and the pas- 
sage is really a warning against the gnostic leanings 
in the schools. The Jewish position was that the 
limits of human knowledge were fixed; and it was 
dangerous for the ordinary scholar to try to tran- 
scend them. 

Judged from this standpoint, the apocalypses 
were antagonistic to true humility. During the 
first century of the Christian era the power of 
reason universally decayed, so that philosophy 
meant not rational but mystical speculation. Yet 
man will always want to peep through the partition 
between the two worlds, and, despite the rule of the 
Mishnah, Jewish sages continued to enquire what is 
above and below, before and after. Bar Kappara, 
a contemporary of R. Judah, the compiler of the 
Mishnah, is said to have expounded the Maaseh 
Bereshit; and the secret doctrine remained popular 

in the schools both of Babylon and Palestine." The 
19 285 



HELLENISM 

writers of apocalypses, however, were concerned 
overmuch with such things, and, therefore, their 
influence upon the people tended to heresy. It was 
said in the name of R. Eleazar, that after the fall 
of the temple, the standard of thought of the whole 
nation was lowered : " The sages became as 
scribes, the scribes as attendants in the synagogue 
(Hazzanim) ; the Hazzanim as students, and the 
students as the 'Am ha-Arez, and the 'Am ha-Arez 
became feeble, no one questioning, and no one in- 
vestigating. Our help is in God in heaven." "* 
Hence the common people were the more easily 
attracted by the apocalyptic appeals, and swelled 
the ranks of the heretics. According to the Chris- 
tian Jerome, the Ebionites — the Christian sect of 
Jewish origin which held that the Mosaic law was 
binding on them — ^were so called because they were 
poor in understanding (o^Ji^aK). Another early 
Christian writer, Tatian, claimed that learning was 
a bar to true faith. 

The resolution to purify Judaism of foreign ad- 
mixture and to preserve it from the heretical fever, 
which sprang from foreign influences and from the 
confused theosophy of the time, prompted the 
prohibition against teaching Greek culture. The 
study of the Greek language also was prohibited," 

286 



THE RABBIS AND HELLENISM 

but only during the crisis of the struggle against 
the Graeco-Roman armies. It was a measure or- 
dained during the war of Quietus (in the time of 
Trajan) to prevent informing. At that period 
the Gentiles aimed at nothing less than the extir- 
pation of the Jewish people, and the Jews were 
compelled to the most desperate measures to pre- 
serve a remnant. But when the pressure was re- 
duced, knowledge of the Greek language became 
regular again among the Palestinian Rabbis; it is 
expressly recorded that even during the crisis the 
Rabbis allowed the school of Gamaliel II, the head 
of the Sanhedrin, to study Greek." Gamaliel's 
son. Rabbi Simon, relates that in his father's house 
five hundred pupils were instructed in the Torah 
and five hundred in Greek. A half-century later 
R. Judah recommended that in Palestine the people 
should speak either Hebrew or Greek; and Aquila's 
Greek translation of the Bible was made under the 
auspices of the great Tannaim." Greek as a lan- 
guage was not long under the ban, and a rabbinical 
saying has come down : " The language is hon- 
ored the literature is rejected (noDm ninS n^iv \wh 

ninS n^jv)."" 

During the three centuries which had elapsed 

since the Maccabean rising, the degradation of that 

287 



HELLENISM 

culture in the East had steadily continued, till now 
it was a travesty of the civilization of Athens and 
Ionia. No Hellene could have recognized in the 
fantastic trinities, theosophies, and cosmogonies of 
the Gnostics and neo-Platonists a development of 
the philosophy of Plato and Aristotle. Baffling 
mysticism displaced clear reason; moderation of 
thought gave place to limitless extravagance, the 
desire for scientific truth to utter distrust of the 
intellect and self-abandonment. The force of 
Hellenism spent itself by the second century, and 
was then overpowered by the Oriental reaction. 
The gulf between God and man, which Hellenic 
philosophy had tried to bridge, was now widened 
by the sublimation of the Godhead into an abstract 
negation, and by the depreciation of this world and 
the life of the flesh. Instead of relying on reason 
and contemplation, man yearned for redemption 
and expiation by means of angels and demons. 
The Rabbis instinctively recognized a canker in this 
medley. Their legal sense, moulded by a study of 
the Halakah, gave them an aversion to its con- 
fusion of ideas; their religious sense made them 
rise above its clouded conception of God. It was 
not Pharisaic narrowness on their part, but a clear 
intuition of the essence of Judaism and of the 

288 



THE RABBIS AND HELLENISM 

overpowering necessity of preserving its outlook 
uncontaminated, which led them to set up fences 
against foreign incursion. They were opposed not 
to freedom of thought, but to free play for demor- 
alizing influences; and if their attitude was one- 
sided, at the moment one-sidedness was necessary 
to sanity. 

In this spirit of distrust of the Hellenistic move- 
ment they said figuratively that the making of the 
Septuagint translation — which marked the intro- 
duction of Hellenism into Jewish life — was com- 
parable with the making of the golden calf; and 
they appointed a fast-day (the eighth day of 
Tebeth) to mark the calamity." They expressed 
their feeling of bitterness at the contamination of 
the Scriptures in the saying that God would not let 
Moses write the oral law for fear that it should be 
translated and appropriated by the Gentiles, as it 
is said : " I have written to him the great things 
of My Law, but they were counted as a strange 
thing." " The Mishnah was God's mystery which 
He revealed only to His saints." Greek culture, 
in the sense of philosophy and theology, was ban- 
ished from the schools from the end of the second 
century. Exceptionally we find a teacher who must 
have studied it for himself and used it polemically 

289 



HELLENISM 

against Minim and pagans; and the knowledge of 
the Greek language was to continue in Palestine for 
more than two centuries. Yet the study of secu- 
lar science, and more especially of astronomy and 
medicine which was derived from Greek science, 
continued both in Palestine and Babylon ; according 
to the doctrine of R. Eleazar Hisma, recorded in 
the Ethics of the Fathers, it was to be regarded as 
an after-course of Wisdom," i. e., to be pursued 
only after a complete mastery of the Torah was 
attained. 

The exclusion of Greek thought from education 
corresponded with the exclusion of idolaters and 
heretics from Jewish society. In either case the 
motive was to preserve Judaism in its integrity. 
The rabbinical laws against association with pa- 
gans are set out in the tractate Abodah Zarah. The 
regulations about what things may not be sold to or 
bought from Gentiles seem excessive in our day, but 
when it is remembered that they are directed solely 
against pagans to prevent the introduction of idola- 
trous practices, the reason for the stringency is 
clear. As tor the desirability of separating the 
Jews from the pagan society of the time, the de- 
scription of Grasco-Roman life by the pagan 

290 



THE RABBIS AND HELLENISM 

satirists Juvenal and Persius provides ample 
support. 

The struggle of the Jewish teachers against the 
Minim was more assiduous than that against the 
pagans. They were fighting in the one case against 
an open and visible foe ; in the other they had to deal 
with heretics in their own midst. Both the meaning 
and the derivation of the word Min are disputed. 
Some have held it to be a form of ^wd, and to 
stand for Manichee or a follower of Oriental dual- 
ism; others say that it is connected with ]^dkd, and 
was applied to those who believed in gnostic creeds. 
But, whatever its original meaning, it was certainly 
applied in the Talmud to various orders of here- 
tics in general, and to Judeo-Christians in particu- 
lar. Some kinds of Minut were known before the 
spread of Christianity. The embryo of the later 
sects, as has been seen, existed in Philo's time." The 
Cainites chose as their hero the biblical character 
who was bound by no law, and their doctrine seems 
to have been an organized religious anarchy- — a 
teaching which finds its devotees even to-day. The 
Sethites, who made Seth their ideal figure, the 
Ophites, who regarded the serpent as the divine 
power, and the Hypsistanae, who recognized a su- 
preme god ruling over a number of powers, each 

891 



HELLENISM 

professed certain peculiarities of theology and cos- 
mogony, but were allied with the Cainites in reject- 
ing or neglecting the Law. When they appear as 
organized and distinct heresies, they are treated as 
Christian-gnostic sects; but it is likely that they 
derived their tenets from Jewish Gnostics who 
sprang from the heretical hotbed of Alexandria. 

The Minim began to be prominent in rabbinic 
literature from the time of the destruction of the 
temple, and the Midrash contains endless stories 
of polemical controversy with them. The rise of 
Christianity, coming at the same time as the shock 
to the national life inflicted by the destruction of 
the temple, emphasized the peril of Minut. The 
Gentile Christians under the influence of Paul had 

4 

early adopted an extreme antinomian outlook, and 
the fourth Gospel and, still more, the apocryphal 
Christian writings are full of gnostic theories. 
Many of the Judeo-Christians at the same time 
professed to remain members of the Jewish com- 
munity, and faithfully practised its observances. 
The danger of the infection was thereby increased, 
and to meet the crisis, the Rabbis took measures to 
excommunicate the heretics. The supplication 
against slanderers (do^btSoSi) directed against 

Minim was added to the Eighteen Benedic- 

292 



THE RABBIS AND HELLENISM 

tions.** . Warning was given not to admit into the 
schools those whose inner ideas were not in harmony 
with their outer practice. Their scrolls and books 
were to be burnt, and though they contained God's 
names, they were not to be rescued from the fire. 
** Let them burn with their incantations ( nnDm ) ," 
it was said in the name of R. Tarphon and Ishmael ; 
** heretics only sow hatred, jealousy, and dissen- 
sion between God and Israel." " 

The Christians, indeed, once the cleavage be- 
tween them and the Catholic body of Judaism had 
asserted itself, rapidly widened the breach. They 
welcomed Hellenistic influence and syncretistic con- 
ceptions as much as the Rabbis discountenanced 
them. All those elements of Alexandrian mysti- 
cism, which had been fluid in Philo, became crystal- 
lized in the early patristic teaching, passing from 
literature to dogma : and the antinomianism which 
Philo had impugned as involving Chaos in re- 
ligion was presented as a step towards salvation. 
As Judaism became more thoroughly Judaized, 
Christianity was more and more Hellenized. As 
the one strengthened the national-religious hold, 
the other expanded its cosmopolitan appeal. The 
contrast between the two movements is shown in 

the favor which the Church showed to the store of 

293 



HELLENISM 

apocryphal and apocalyptic literature, on the one 
hand, and the exclusion of it from the Synagogue 
and Bet ha-Midrash, on the other; in the Greek 
rendering of the whole of the New Testament, on 
the one side, and the abandonment of the Greek 
development of Judaism, on the other; in the use 
of the Septuagint by the Church, and its replace- 
ment by the translation of Aquila in the Synagogue. 
The dialogue between Trypho and the Jew, 
which is ascribed to Justin, though probably a 
spurious work, is an early record of the Christian 
polemic, and illustrates the development by the 
Church of the Alexandrian- Jewish theology as an 
engine of attack upon monotheism. Wisdom is 
presented as an independent power existing before 
the creation of the world, and the writer attacks 
those who do not regard it as separate from God. 
The Gospel ascribed to St. John shows a similar 
application of Alexandrian theology counter to 
Jewish monotheism; and its opening decisively 
marks the introduction of the idea of the incarna- 
tion that was to become the foundation of dogmatic 
Christianity : " In the beginning was the word, 
and the word was with God, and the word was God. 
The same was in the beginning with God .... 

And the word was made flesh, and dwelt among U3, 

894 



THE RABBIS AND HELLENISM 

and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only 
begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." 
The writer of the book, almost certainly an Alex- 
andrian, represents the transition of Jewish-Hellen- 
istic speculation about God into Trinitarian mys- 
ticism. Hellenism had produced a double off- 
spring, Christianity and Gnosticism : both repudi- 
ated the Law, both compromised Hebraic mono- 
theism. The Church itself was soon like to be 
engulfed in the witches' cauldron of gnostic fancies, 
and engaged in a life-struggle with hydra-headed 
heresies. All the aberrations from the Judaism of 
the diaspora which were produced by the mingling 
with the degenerate syncretism of the time found 
their way into one or other of the opposing camps ; 
but Palestinian and Babylonian Judaism, preserved 
in its integrity by the Word of the Law and by the 
devotion of the Rabbis, confirming the solidarity 
of the people, continued to hold aloft, though in 
isolation, the Hebraic ideal. 

Deprived of their temple, of their national cen- 
tre in Judea, and to some extent of their inde- 
pendent organization and their autonomy, and 
reduced to the level of a subject population, the Jew- 
ish people were compelled to draw tight the cords 

of their tent, and to give over for a time their hopes 

296 



HELLENISM 

of universal expansion. But the loss of the exter- 
nal bonds and the outward forms of nationality led 
them to increase the strength of the inner ties and 
the moral and religious unity. Their more com- 
plete dispersion among the Hellenistic peoples in- 
duced a firmer hold on their national culture and 
resistance to foreign influences. The downfall of 
the sanctuary Increased the power of the syna- 
gogue; the intensity of the national crisis aroused 
the spiritual forces of the people; the combined 
invasion of Hellenism and Orientalism was met by 
the intensification of the Hebraic spirit. 



896 



CHAPTER VII 

THE AFTERMATH 

By the end of the second century, the severity of 
the struggle against Rome and against Hellenism 
had passed. The Jews settled down to their life in 
exile, hoping indeed that a Messiah would soon 
arise to deliver them from the foreign yoke, but 
no longer bursting out in desperate rebellion. They 
had won from their conqueror by their heroic re- 
sistance the privilege of being a religio licita, a 
recognized denomination possessing a large mea- 
sure of self-government; and partly through the 
central Sanhedrin which was still established in Pal- 
estine, and partly through the organization of the 
Synagogue in all parts of the Roman empire and 
beyond, they strengthened their internal cohesion. 
The Jewish communities, if no longer colonies of 
an independent nation, were branches of a distinct 
and separate nationality; and the loss of a territo- 
rial centre was compensated by the more complete 
ordering of conduct upon a national basis. Amid 

contempt and persecution they cherished their lan- 

297 



HELLENISM 

guage and law, their history and poetry, with all 
their old pride and devotion. 

Largely as a safeguard against heretical inter- 
pretations of the To rah, R. Jadah (about 200 
C. E.) compiled the Mishnah, which formed the 
authoritative text of the oral law, binding on all 
sections of the people and supplementing the 
Torah. The consolidation of the Halakah (the 
way of life) strengthened the hold of the national 
tradition. At the same time the fear of disinte- 
gration and denationalization led to the gradual 
withdrawal of the Jewish people into itself, and to 
the diminution of the proselytizing which had been 
in the main the work of Hellenistic Jewry. The 
Jews were to attract the Gentiles by their example, 
not to proselytize.* The progress of Christianity 
and the triumph within the Church of the antino- 
mian and anti-national tendency, pointed the dan- 
gerous side of the missionary activity to the Rabbis. 
But it must not be thought that the activity ceased ; 
the Haggadah of the Tannaim and Amoraim is full 
of beautiful thoughts about proselytes, among 
which the saying of Simon ben Yohai is typical: 
" Of the pious it is said they love God; but of the 
proselytes : God loves them. Hence we learn that 

the proselytes are more excellent than the pious.*' * 

298 



THE AFTERMATH 

Another teacher declared that the whole world was 
made for the sake of " those that fear God," * and 
Rabbi Eleazar thought that God dispersed the 
Jews to aid the work of conversion. Nevertheless, 
the influence on the Jewish congregations of the 
Greek-speaking fearers of God gradually dimin- 
ished. 

Palestine remained, for more than two centuries 
after the destruction of the temple, the chief cen- 
tre of the Jewish people, and the seat of Jewish 
learning. The Sanhedrin and the great rabbinical 
schools were established there, and it is mainly of 
the Palestinian Tannaim and Amoraim that we have 
record in the older parts of Talmud and Midrash. 
Even more completely than while they enjoyed 
national independence, the Jews were living amid 
a Greek-speaking and a Hellenized population. 
Driven from Jerusalem and Judea, they had con- 
centrated in Galilee, which was largely settled by 
non-Jews. Moreover, as the Christian teaching 
spread, large numbers of Christians made Pales- 
tine their home. Greek-speaking and Hellenized 
like the pagans, they were prone to engage in po- 
lemics with the Jews, and formed an intellectual 
leaven in Jewish life. Especially at places like 

Caesarea and Lydda, which were Christian bish- 

299 



HELLENISM 

oprics and prominent centres of Christian scholar- 
ship, Jews were thrown together with them, and 
engaged in frequent controversy. The campaign 
of Akiba and his followers against Hellenism and 
the prohibition of the study of Greek wisdom did 
not involve the cessation of intercourse between the 
Aramaic-speaking Jew and the Greek-speaking 
Gentile. Rather the reverse was the case: the 
warnings and prohibitions were called for by the 
temptation to mingle. Discussion between Rabbis 
and Greek philosophers in Palestine is frequently 
recorded in the Talmud and Midrash, and most of 
the supposed traces of the influence of Greek phi- 
losophy on rabbinical thought occur in the Hagga- 
dah of the Rabbis who flourished later than the 
second century. It may be that these doctrines 
had already entered into the current thought of the 
schools, and were not derived from direct contact 
with Greek writings ; but it is also possible, and in 
some cases probable, that the Palestinian teachers 
themselves studied the Greek wisdom. Although, 
too, the Hellenistic and apocryphal literature had 
been placed under the ban, considerable traces of 
the ideas contained in it appear in the Midrash, and 
preserved an abiding impression of the Hellenistic- 
Jewish movement. 

300 



THE AFTERMATH 

The most striking result of the national struggle 
was not the elimination of Hellenic ideas in Pal- 
estinian Jewry, but the dwindling of the importance 
of Hellenistic Jewry. The communities of Alex- 
andria, Cyrene, and Libya never recovered from 
the decimation which followed the risings against 
Trajan and Hadrian. Estranged from the main 
body of Jews by their neglect of Hebrew, and rent 
by heresy and faction, their reduced numbers were 
little by little won over to gnostic and Christian 
ideas. Marcus Aurelius, the philosopher-emperor, 
spoke contemptuously of the Jewish rabble at Alex- 
andria ; and what had once been the most produc- 
tive centre of Hellenistic-Jewish literature gave not 
a single Jewish record to the world after the second 
century. Christian scholarship, on the other hand, 
soon took up its chief abode in Alexandria; and 
when the city again became celebrated as a seat of 
philosophy and learning, it was through the patris- 
tic school of Christian writers. The destruction of 
the temple and the consequent disappearance of the 
deputations, which had used to come up to Jerusa- 
lem at the great festivals, would have tended to 
cut off the stream of influence that had passed from 
the diaspora to Palestine ; and the disintegration of 
20 301 



HELLENISM 

the Alexandrian community itself widened the 
breach. 

The Haggadah attributed to the generation 
which succeeded R. Akiba reveals but little trace of 
foreign thought. The antipathy toward the Greek 
people and everything Greek was still too strong, 
the need for emphasizing what was Jewish still 
overpowering. Thus R. Meir, the most distin- 
guished disciple of R. Akiba, who had also learnt 
from the apostate Ben Abuyah, emphasizes the self- 
sufficiency of God's chosen people. Israel is the 
metropolis in which everything is gathered; from 
his midst come priests, prophets, and writers, as it is 
said : " Out of him came forth the comer-stone, out 
of him the stake." * That is to say, the Jews needed 
not to learn anything from other peoples : their cul- 
ture was complete in itself. A similar separatist ten- 
dency is shown in his prohibition to visit the Greek 
theatres. They were the seats of the scoffers, and R. 
Meir ' applied to them the verse of the Psalmist : " I 
hate the gathering of evil-doers, and will not sit with 
the wicked." ' The antipathy to the theatre and cir- 
cus and amphitheatre is a commonplace of rabbini- 
cal literature. Nehunyah ben ha-Kanah, who be- 
longed to an earlier generation, thanked God that 
his lot was among those who sit in the synagogue 

302 



THE AFTERMATH 

and not among those who sit in the theatre/ The 
places of amusement of the degenerate and demor- 
alized populace of the erhpire, in which human be- 
ings were made to kill each other, or were devoured 
by wild beasts in order to provide a thrill for specta- 
tors, typified all that was low and base in the pagan 
civilization, and aroused the disgust of the Puritan 
conscience of the Jews. To frequent them was in 
public life what Minut was in thought — a denial 
of God. 

R. Meir, however, albeit a stem upholder of the 
Jewish spirit, was celebrated for his mystical specu- 
lation, and engaged in intercourse with a noted 
Greek philosopher, Oenomaus of Gadata,* who 
knew the Jewish Scriptures, no longer a rare thing 
for a pagan philosopher. A Syrian neo-Platonist of 
the same period, Numenius of Apamea, is the re- 
puted author of the striking saying: "What is 
Philo but Moses speaking in Attic Greek? " and he 
referred to the opening chapter of Genesis in sup- 
port of his cosmological doctrines. Truth, he said, 
must be obtained by a comparison of the holy 
records of the Jews and Persians with the teachings 
of the Greek philosophers. So, too, the unknown au- 
thor of the famous treatise " On the Sublime," 
which is the most striking piece of literary criticism 

308 



HELLENISM 

that has come down from the period, quotes from 
the beginning of Genesis, and classes Moses with 
Homer as a master of style. " In the same way 
{i. e., like Homer at his best) ," he writes, " the leg- 
islator of the Jews, no mean man, wrote at the very 
beginning of the Laws : ' God said.' What? * Let 
there be light, and there was light; let the earth be, 
and the earth was.' " * While Jewish teachers were 
rejecting the current syncretism, Gentile philoso- 
phers were endeavoring to fuse Judaism with 
their systems. Tolerance had become a fetish, and 
on all sides there was an outcry against Jewish par- 
ticularism. Celsus, the famous pagan impugner of 
Christianity, complains: " If the Jews were content 
to observe their laws, nobody would reproach them ; 
but since they pride themselves upon perfect knowl- 
edge and refuse to mix with other men, they are in 
the wrong. For their religious ideas are not pe- 
culiar to them, nor is there any indication that they 
enjoy the esteem and love of God to a higher 
degree than others, or that they alone have the priv- 
ilege of receiving messages from heaven." " The 
taunt at the Jews on account of their lowly position 
is a commonplace among the Christian apologists, 
and represents the current opinion of the enlight- 
ened world. But the Jew held to his aloofness, 

804 



THE AFTERMATH 

conscious that he stood for something truer than 
the dominant easy-going conciliation of everything. 

The one teacher of R. Meir's age who shows 
in his mystical teaching a correspondence with Hel- 
lenistic ideas is R. Judah ben Ilai. To him the 
saying is ascribed: "God looked at the Torah 
when he created the world." ^ Another piece of 
poetical mysticism, which reflects Hellenistic specu- . 
lation, is his conceit that this world and the future 
world were created by the two letters of God's 
name. A remarkably large number of Greek 
words occur in the Haggadah which has come down 
in his name; and it is probable that he sojourned 
for some time in Alexandria. He uses the Nile as 
the image of a moral lesson, and the description of 
the beauty and size of the great Alexandrian syna- 
gogue is ascribed to him." 

While social intercourse with their Hellenistic 
neighbours was forbidden to the Jews, and the 
study of Hellenistic literature was discouraged, 
yet, even during the period of stress, no attempt 
was made in Palestine to prohibit the use of the 
Greek tongue. The praise which R. Judah be- 
stowed on the Greek language has already been 
mentioned. When the danger of the Hellenization 

of Judaism was passed, the Rabbis found it possible 

805 



HELLENISM 

to admire the excellence of the Greek tongue, as the 
earliest teachers had done before the danger was 
apparent. It was spoken of as ^^ that which had 
no fault." ** Compared with Latin, the language 
of the cruel Christian and Roman persecutors, 
Greek gained a new charm. Rab Huna (about 
250 C. E.) said: "The Greek kingdom was su- 
perior to the Roman in three things : in law, science, 
and language." " Latin was essentially the language 
of brute materialism and of idolatry; whereas 
Greek fitted philosophical and spiritual ideas. 
Another late Amora, R. Jonathan of Eleutheropo- 
lis, said in the same spirit that the Greek language 
was excellent for poetry, Latin for war. 

The vocabulary of the rabbinical writings like- 
wise bears witness to Greek influence. It has been 
calculated that there are three thousand borrowed 
words, mostly Greek, in the Talmud; Greek tran- 
scriptions are used not only for official and legal 
terms, but for names of animals and plants, for 
abstract and scientific ideas, and even for synonyms 
of the most cherished Jewish institutes, as Nc^/aos for 
the Torah. Some scholars have maintained that 
there existed in Palestine and in the western Jewish 
communities a Judeo-Greek dialect, comparable 

306 



THE AFTERMATH 

with the Judeo-Arabic of later centuries, or with the 
Jiidisch-Deutsch of more modem times." 

We have further proof that many of the Tan- 
naim and Amoraim (though they spoke and wrote 
in Aramaic), knew the foreign language, in that 
they frequently resort to an interpretation of biblical 
words based on a Greek transliteration of the He- 
brew, in order to draw some improving homily or 
some striking meaning. Joel has ingeniously shown 
how the Rabbis detected a peculiar value in the 
Greek translation when they came to attach the 
traditional lore to the text. Holy Writ had a 
meaning in other languages as well as Hebrew; 
and to the Torah-intoxicated mind of the com- 
mentator the assonance of the Greek equivalent 
with some other Hebrew word could not be an acci- 
dent." One Rabbi explains the name Jeremiah 
as^ derived from the Greek Eremia — desolation; 
and another associated the Torah with Theoria, 
the Greek word for contemplation. Doubless the 
use of Aquila's translation suggested some of the 
interpretations, which are due not to indifferent phi- 
lology of the Rabbis, though the Rabbis were 
neither exact philologists nor exact theologians, but 
to their zeal in the search for homilies. Other indi- 
c;itions of knowledge of Greek occur where a Greek 

307 



HELLENISM 

image is used; as when R. Hanina compares the 
soul leaving the body to a cable threaded through 
a mast — z translation of a Greek proverb—," or 
when R. Eleazar ben Pedat quotes a Greek maxim, 
" unwritten law is before the king," in support 
of God's excellence, which is shown in that God, 
unlike a king, obeys His own laws." Possibly 
the maxim was written up above the Basilica, i. e., 
the law-court of the city in which the Rabbi lived. 
Again, R. Simon ben Lakish quotes the words of 
a prayer in Greek : " Thou hast sent abundant 
rain, O Lord." " 

The sudden appearance of Greek phrases in the 
Talmud is not rare, and single Greek words are as 
common as Latin tags in eighteenth century En- 
glish. A few of the Rabbis of the later period not 
only patronized the Greek language, but also 
showed favor to Greek culture. R. Johanan bar 
Nappaha, one of the Amoraim of the generation 
following R. Judah, in commenting on the story of 
Noah and his sons, placed Shem, the ancestor of 
the Jews, and Japheth, the ancestor of the Greeks, 
on an equality. Shem has obtained the Tallith, 
the emblem of religious zeal, Japheth the pallium, 
the philosopher's mantle. The Jewish Haggadist 

thus anticipated the English essayist in distinguisb- 

30S 



THE AFTERMATH 

ing the functions of the two great civilizing peoples. 
His contemporary Bar Kappara, a famous mystical 
teacher, whose knowledge of Greek is vouched for 
in the record of his tradition, interpreted the same 
verse in a way still more favorable to .the Greek 
tongue. Playing on the Hebrew na' he said: 
" The words of the Torah shall be recited in the 
speech of Japheth (i. e., Greek) in the schools and 
synagogues." * 

In the generation of the Patriarch Judah's dis- 
ciples (i. e,, the first part of the third century), 
several facts suggest a partial breaking-down of the 
wall of seclusion between Jews and Gentiles, and a 
closer acquaintance among the Jewish sages with 
Hellenistic ideas. The bitterness of the era of 
conflict was mitigated, and the Jew, confirmed in 
his religious faith, could afford to mingle with the 
Christian apologist or the pagan philosopher. R. 
Johanan is said, on the authority of R. Abbahu, to 
have taught his sons and daughters Greek. He ex- 
plained, in justification to those who expressed sur- 
prise, that a knowledge of Greek protected a man 
from slander and was an ornament for an educated 
woman, and that the prohibition against learning 
it was a temporary measure designed to prevent 

informing during the struggle against the Roman 

309 



HELLENISM 

commanders* Another Rabbi of the third cen- 
tury, R. Levi bar Haitah, reports that he heard the 
Shema* recited in Greek at Cxsarea, and a ruling 
was given that the Shema* might be recited thus, so 
that the commandment of understanding its mean- 
ing might be fulfilled." 

Caesarea, the foundation of Herod and the 
chief port of Palestine during the early centuries 
of the common era, was the principal city in which 
Jewish teachers were in contact with Hellenistic 
civilization, and intercourse between Jews and 
Gentiles was particularly fostered. After the de- 
struction of Jerusalem it became the capital of 
Palestine, and it rivalled Alexandria as a meeting- 
place of cultures. The Rabbis called it the metrop- 
olis of kings," but it was rather a metropolis of 
scholars. Origen, the most distinguished of the 
earlier Christian apologists, and the compiler of 
the Hexapla Bible, recounts that he conversed there 
with Jews. He must have derived from them his 
not over-abundant Hebrew knowledge, as centuries 
later Luther derived from the Rabbis of Germany 
acquaintance with the Hebrew Bible. It is a happy 
conjecture of Graetz that among the Jewish sages 
whom Origen consulted was R. Hosha ya, a dis- 
ciple of Bar Kappara (whose favor toward Greek 

810 



THE AFTERMATH 

has been quoted). The Midrash records dia- 
logues which R. Hosha*ya held with a philosopher. 
They discussed, among other things, the reasons 
for the necessity for circumcision** — one of the 
subjects on which the Church was ever ready to 
contend with the Synagogue. It may well be that 
the philosopher was none other than Origen." To 
R. Hosha*ya tradition ascribed the passage at the 
opening of the Midrash on Genesis, which says 
that God created the world by the aid of the Torah, 
in the same way as a king employs an architect to 
draw plans of his palace. The image of the archi- 
tect and plan corresponds strikingly with a pic- 
ture which Philo gives of the creation; and as 
Origen was a faithful follower of Philo's allegori- 
cal method, and possessed at Caesarea manuscripts 
of all his works, it is possible that the Midrash is 
an indirect adaptation of the Alexandrian alle- 
gory, induced by ideas which passed from Origen 
to R. Hosha*ya. 

R. Joshua ben Levi is another Amora who in- 
troduced pieces of religious idealism, which may 
perhaps be adapted from a Hellenistic source. He 
declares that all things were originally created by 
God in their perfection " — a poetical variation of 

the theory of creation through ideal archetypes. 

811 



HELLENISM 

R. Joshua, as well as R. Hosha*ya, lived and taught 
at Caesarea; and thus may have come to know 
Alexandrian teaching, either directly or indirectly 
through Christian disputants. The Christian 
teachers in Palestine, who loved to find — or foist — 
Christological passages in the Hellenistic litera- 
ture, were not slow in confronting the Jews with 
the allegorical interpretations in the religious phi- 
losophy of Philo and Aristobulus and the other 
writers of the Alexandrian school whom they had 
adapted to their own ends. The works of Origen 
and Clement are full of passages from these books 
which pointed, as they held, to the truth of Chris- 
tianity. And that Christian scholars argued on 
these things with loyal Jews is clear enough, on the 
one hand, from the dialogues, which have come 
down to us, between Justin and Trypho and Jason 
and Pasiphaos, and, on the other, from the fre- 
quent reports in the Midrash of disputes between 
the Rabbis and philosophers or Minim or Roman 
emperors." If only for the purpose of contro- 
versy, it was necessary for the Jewish sages to have 
a knowledge of the literature on which their op- 
ponents relied ; and hence some influence of Hellen- 
istic Judaism crept surreptitiously into rabbinic 

312 



THE AFTERMATH 

Judaism, and colored the religious cosmology and 
the theology of the Midrash. 

References to Greek renderings of biblical pas- 
sages appear in the Haggadah of the fourth century 
teachers, such as R. Joshua, R. Reuben, and R. 
Judah. Thus the contact with Greek was never 
entirely suspended in the rabbinical schools till the 
Christianizing of the Roman empire and the con- 
sequent persecution and isolation of the Jews. The 
infiltration of Greek knowledge was not restricted 
to the Palestinian colleges. Babylon began to vie 
with Palestine as the home of Jewish learning from 
the beginning of the third century, and many of the 
most famous heads of the schools in Palestine came 
originally from the East. Greek culture cannot 
have been as firmly established in Mesopotamia as 
in Galilee, and little by little it was supplanted, as 
the Roman power weakened and the Persian pre- 
vailed. Yet the Babylonian Amoraim not only used 
Greek words frequently, but adapted Hellenistic 
conceptions to their Hebraic outlook. 

Perhaps because the danger of contamination by 
foreign influence was less strong than in Palestine, 
the mystical and allegorical teachings of the Hel- 
lenistic epoch were not as severely repressed in the 

Babylonian schools. Rabbah, a great Babylonian 

813 



HELLENISM 

Halakist of the earlier part of the third century, 

was the author of the idea that God accomplished 

the creation by means of ten ideas or attributes: 

Wisdom, Understanding, Justice, Love, etc. To 

him also is ascribed a certain Midrash about Be- 

zalel — the artificer of the tabernacle — ^which shows 

a remarkable correspondence with the idealistic 

allegories of Philo. Interpreting BezalePs name 

according to its Hebrew etymology as " the shadow 

of God," Philo says: " The shade of God is really 

His wisdom with which He made the world " ; " 

while Rabbah explains that Bezalel knew how to 

combine letters by which the heavens and the earth 

were created." The notion of creation by letters 

occurs in another midrashic fancy that this world 

is the work of the n , and the world hereafter the 

work of the ' in the divine name." Such fancies 

concerning creation by means of letters appear to 

be the prototype of those kabbalistic notions which 

took strong hold of a section of the Jewish people 

in the early part of the Middle Ages. The mystic 

doctrine of cosmology and the myths about angels, 

which had been produced, or at least stimulated, 

by the combination of Hebrew religious feeling 

and Greek speculation, were current in Palestine 

before the Christian era. The lore was partly 

8U 



THE AFTERMATH 

preserved in the esoteric teachings of the rabbinical 
schools which were not committed to writing, and 
partly turned into the rank growth of heresies 
which sprang out of the soil of HcUenized Juda- 
ism. Struck out of the public teaching of the 
schools, it was never entirely eliminated, either 
in Palestine or Babylon, from Jewish tradition, and 
was nourished from time to time by the outside 
influence of syncretistic culture. Those Rabbis 
who were reputed masters of the secret wisdom, 
such as R. Judah ben Ilai and Bar Kappara, and 
manifest also a knowledge of Greek, formed a kind 
of liberal school in the colleges, and no attempt 
was made to prohibit their speculation. 

The mystical teaching was established as part of 
the thought of the people; and when the struggle 
with Hellenism had ended, there was not the same 
necessity for excluding the record of it from the 
Midrash. Yet, as late as the fourth century, the 
warning is uttered by R. Ami not to disclose the 
secrets of the Torah save to him who is a leader 
and pre-eminent in wisdom and understanding." 
It was only after the hold of the Law had been 
strengthened by centuries of discipline that the 
speculation into thp before and after became an 

interest of the general body; and then it could no 

816 



HELLENISM 

longer work the mischief which it had threatened 
at the crisis of the Jewish Puritan Reformation. 
It plays a large part in the later Midrashim and the 
so-called neo-Hebraic apocalypse, which date from 
the seventh century; a much larger part, indeed, 
than is allotted to it in the earlier Haggadah. But 
there is no reason to doubt that, though the last 
section of the tradition to be written down, these 
Midrashim had their origin in early speculation. 
The permanent influence of Hellenistic ideas on 
Jewish tradition lies in the mystical notions, which 
are not prominent in the older collections of rab- 
binical wisdom, just because they were treated as a 
secret and higher wisdom which was not to be 
divulged. They find expression occasionally in the 
Midrash of the Tannaim and Amoraim through 
some fancy about the Torah, or the creation, or 
the wisdom of God ; and occasionally the less mys- 
tical idealism of Hellenistic Judaism is reproduced 
in the rabbinic theology. Dr. Neumark has at- 
tempted" to trace a definite and systematic phi- 
losophy running through the Haggadah, divided in 
proper form into a doctrine of Ideas and a doctrine 
of Emanations (the Mdaseh Bereshit and Maaseh 
^Merkabah, respectively), and derived in regular 

succession from Hillel and Johanan ben Zaccai, like 

816 



THE AFTERMATH 

the teachings of the Greek schools ; but this attempt 
is more heroic than convincing. 

Jewish tradition preserved from the Hellenistic 
era rather a mystical than a philosophical doctrine. 
Mysticism is the outcome of the fusion of the re- 
ligious with the inquiring sense; the attempt to 
transcend by vision what cannot be attained by 
reason; and thus it represents the natural conse- 
quence of the combination of Hebraism and Hel- 
lenism. How it developed in Palestine and Baby- 
lon between the time of Philo and eight hundred 
years later when we begin to get a full record, we 
cannot tell; but that it was sustained through all 
that period is shown first by the constant refer- 
ences to mystical and gnostic teaching in the age 
of the Tannaim, by the considerable fragments of 
mystic doctrine which occur in the Haggadah of 
many of the Amoraim, and finally by the Hel- 
lenistic and mystical coloring of the later Mid- 
rashim. The war which R. Akiba declared upon 
Greek wisdom and external books was an episode 
rendered necessary by the storm and stress of the 
time and the machinations of heretics, and it saved 
Judaism from disintegration. But if he and his 
successors effectively checked the excess of gnosti- 
cism, and succeeded in establishing the Law and 
21 817 



HELLENISM 

the Halakah as the solid basis of Jewish life in 
the dispersion, they did not succeed — and they 
could hardly have desired to succeed — in cutting 
out the mystical yearnings of the people for a 
closer communion with God, and a fuller under- 
standing of His workings. At any rate those yearn- 
ings persisted ; they lay hidden for a time under the 
great growth of the legal literature ; but when Juda- 
ism again came out into the light, and new in- 
fluences from without were introduced to fertilize 
its teaching, they received fuller play. They out- 
lived the time when Hellenistic development of 
Judaism was already forgotten in the schools, and 
when Greek had become an unknown language not 
only to the masses but to the sages of the people. 

In the course of time the knowledge of Greek 
disappeared in the East, though it was main- 
tained in the schools and communities of the West. 
The centre of Jewish learning, however, was now 
fixed in Mesopotamia, where the Persian kings 
gave the Jews a large measure of autonomy; and a 
new Erez Israel was formed to give a glamor to 
the exile. Knowledge of the foreign language 
gradually dwindled in these schools, far removed 
from Greek influence. But Greek culture, like the 

phoenix, was immortal; and from its ashes in the 

818 



THE AFTERMATH 

Orient a few centuries later another creation arose, 
which fructified Jewish thought, and led it to pro- 
duce a new philosophical literature. 

In the West it was not so much the barbarians 
as barbarity which cut off Jews from contact with 
the Greek-speaking world. The emperors had 
maintained a consistent attitude of tolerance until 
Christianity was established as the creed of the em- 
pire. Severus, indeed, was dubbed " archisyna- 
gogus " — president of the synagogue ; and he 
placed in his bed-chamber texts from the book of 
Genesis. Even Constantine, who by imperial re- 
script made the revolutionary change in the State 
religion, declared that it was impossible to force 
belief on anybody. But that idea was not restored 
in Europe till the day of Voltaire. As Christianity 
prevailed, the position of the Jews became worse; 
the bitterest of wars raged between Church and 
Synagogue, though war it can hardly be called, since 
the Christians had at their back the whole force of 
the empire, and the Jews had only their Torah. 
The tradition of tolerance, which was inherited 
from the pagan times, mitigated the oppression 
for a time ; and the short-lived advent of the pagan 
emperor Julian brought relief to the Jewish people. 

He it was who summed up his opinion of Chris- 

819 



HELLENISM 

tianity in the words avcywuv, hfvtov, jcarcyvftiv, " I read, I 
knew, I condemned," and in hatred of the Church 
he proposed to restore the Jewish temple at Jeru- 
salem. But the favor of the pagan emperors was 
the measure of the hatred of the Christian patri- 
archs and bishops, who, from the beginning of the 
fifth century, were for the most part supreme in the 
counsels of the empire. Ambrosius, the celebrated 
father, demanded insistently that the Jews should 
be completely isolated, and should not be allowed to 
hold converse with Christians. The mission which 
was still preached from the synagogue in Greek, 
was a hated competitor of the Church ; the very ex- 
istence of the synagogue was an eyesore and a 
menace. The Jews must be allowed to survive as 
" a witness " to the truth of the Church's teaching; 
but their life must be made miserable for the same 
end, Cyril, the " most Christian " bishop of 
Alexandria, expelled all Jews from the city of Alex- 
andria, and persecuted them bitterly when any were 
found in the land of Egypt. Thus the greatest 
Jewish community of the Hellenistic diaspora was 
finally broken up. Augustine at Rome, who was 
under the influence of Ambrosius, and who stamped 
his ideas upon European civilization during the 

Dark and Middle Ages, taught that the Jews had 

820 



THE AFTERMATH 

no place in the Christian state: their law was 
a ''most baneful schoolmaster" {moles tissimus 
paedagogus)y their synagogues must be put down. 
The campaign of the teachers of the Church pro- 
duced the bitter anti-Jewish legislation of Theo- 
dosius and Justinian in the fifth and sixth centuries. 
No new synagogue might be built, and an attempt 
was made to close those which existed. It was de- 
clared a capital offence for a Jew to proselytize, and 
for a Gentile to be converted to Judaism. Jews 
were forbidden to hold slaves of any other na- 
tionality, and marriage between Jew and Christian 
was stringently prohibited. Thus the isolatioa of 
the Jews was gradually accomplished, not, as is 
often supposed even by Jews, by the meticulous 
regulations of rabbinical law, but by the calculated 
hostility of the Church which claimed to be univer- 
sal and to bring with it an Evangel of Peace for 
all mankind. 

Down to the time of Justinian many Jews of the 
Byzantine empire must have been in the habit of 
reading the Bible in Greek as well as in Hebrew. 
The emperor in the year 553 issued a famous 
Novel concerned with Jewish ritual, which is the 
first legislative attempt by an external power to fix 

Jewish belief and practice, and is a document of the 

821 



HELLENISM 

first importsince upon the attitude of the Jews of 
the later empire both to the Greek language and 
the rabbinical tradition. The Novel recites that, 
according to reports, some of the Jews hold exclu- 
sively to the Hebrew speech and desire to use it for 
the reading of Scripture, while others claim to use 
the Greek language as well for the liturgy. The 
champions of the tradition were opposed to this 
usage, but the emperor ordains complete liberty to 
either party to follow their desire and to use any 
language for the reading of Scripture in the syna- 
gogue, so that all may understand. He threatens 
capital punishment and confiscation of their prop- 
erty against any dignitaries of the Jewish clergy 
who excommunicate or punish those who read the 
Bible in any language but the Hebrew. Further, he 
restricts the Greek texts which may be used to two : 
the Septuagint and Aquila's version; and strongly 
recommends the former " which is far more exact, 
and is remarkable for the fact that, though the 
translators were separated and gave their inter- 
pretation in different places, they nevertheless all 
reached one result. And though the Seventy lived 
long before Jesus, they yet presaged his coming, and 
inserted the tradition of it by a kind of prophetic 
grace • • • • But in order not to exclude alto- 

822 



THE AFTERMATH 

gethcr the other renderings, we give them liberty 
to use that of Aquila, though he was a proselyte, 
and does not accord well with the Seventy in regard 
to certain meanings." The imperial preference 
for the Septuagint contrasts with the rabbinical 
favor toward Aquila. 

The Christian legislator was in more direct oppo- 
sition to Jewish tradition and feeling in prohibiting 
absolutely the use in the synagogue of the oral law, 
which, he declared, had blinded them to the Chris- 
tian teaching. " By abandoning themselves to their 
insensate interpretations, they have wandered away 
from the true light. We ordain, therefore, that 
they have liberty to come together in their syna- 
gogues and read the sacred books in the Greek 
tongue, but that no liberty is to be given to the 
interpreters among them, who hand down only a 
Hebrew tradition, to pervert that according to their 
own sweet will, and to cover their false doctrine 
under the ignorance of the mass. That second 
edition, as they call it, we prohibit altogether, 
because it has no connection with the Scriptures. 
It has not been transmitted to us by the prophets, 
but it is an invention of men who spoke only of 
earthly things, and had not the divine spark." " 
Some have inferred from the Novel the existence of 

323 



HELLENISM 

a Greek translation of the Mishnah; but the pro- 
hibited " second edition " is more probably to be 
identified with the Haggadah ; nor is it at all clear 
that this " edition " referred to existed in a Greek 
form.** What may be deduced, however, is that the 
struggle between Hebrew and Greek was still main- 
tained in the Synagogue to the sixth century, and 
that in some countries, despite the rabbinical ban, 
a section desired the Scriptures to be read solely 
in the version of the Septuagint or of Aquila, 
unaccompanied by the recital of the rabbinical com- 
mentary. The imperial legislator saw that in the 
Hebrew Bible and its Hebrew or Aramaic interpre* 
tation lay the strength of Judaism, while the Sep- 
tuagint version of the Old Testament was a step 
toward Christianity. Justinian went on to menace 
with exile and the extreme penalties of the law all 
Jews who dare to maintain that there is neither 
resurrection nor last judgment, or that the angels 
are not divine beings. It would seem that a party 
in the Jewish communities persisted in maintaining 
the standpoint of the ancient Sadducees, and formed 
a link between them and the Karaites. And the 
emperor was an enemy of heretical teaching among 

the despised Jews ; for heresy was infectious. 

824 



THE AFTERMATH 

The Jews were more completely thrown back 
on their rabbinical tradition as the Church began to 
press them in more narrowly by the construction of 
ghettos. In remote corners of the civilized world, 
in the far west of the North-African coast, in Abys- 
sinia, and in the vicinity of the great African desert, 
a few Hellenistic colonies remained out of the 
reach of Christian oppression; preserving not in- 
deed the Greek tongue, but some of the syncretistic 
ideas and beliefs which had sprung up during the 
Hellenistic period. Greek, indeed, was still spoken 
by Jewish congregations in the Provence in the Mid- 
dle Ages. But otherwise the knowledge of Greek 
seems to have completely disappeared among the 
Jews. 

Intercourse with Hellenistic thought was again 
brought about in the Jewish schools in the eighth 
century. The first half of the gaonic period, when 
the law was arranged and codified and the Tal- 
mud was written down, manifested little or no 
movement toward the production of philosophical 
and mystical literature. But the conquest of the 
Persian dominions by the Arabs and the develop- 
ment of Arabic culture in the Jewish environment 
brought anew, though indirectly, into Jewish litera- 
ture a vigorous Hellenistic influence. Under the 

825 



HELLENISM 

wise rule of the Abbasid Caliphs, the Arabs de- 
veloped a remarkable philosophical culture, and 
assimilated a great part of the literature of the 
classical and Hellenistic age, which had been trans- 
lated into Syriac. The Jews, quick to take part in 
the intellectual revival, again became acquainted 
through Arabic writings with outside culture, and, 
at second hand, with the thoughts of their people 
which, before the Dark Ages had fallen, had sprung 
from the mixture of Hellenism and Hebraism. 
The apocalypses and the mystical wisdom had not 
entirely passed out of knowledge; and under the 
fresh impulse, their study revived. A new Hebrew 
apocalyptic literature was composed, claiming in- 
deed to be ancient, and imitating and reproducing 
the ideas of the Old Testatment visions. A Hebrew 
book of Enoch, a Hebrew Assumption of Moses, 
the Mystery of R. Joshua ben Levi, containing 
revelations supposed to have been received from 
Elijah, and apocalypses of Elijah and Zerubbabel, 
have survived from the period. The divine Power 
plays a large part in most of these books, and the 
idea of a heavenly hierarchy and of a series of 
heavens is common to them all. Enoch, who had 
been the favorite figure of the older apocalypse, 

appears with a new prerogative as a divine agent in 

826 



THE AFTERMATH 

creation. He is identified with Metatron — ^the 
archangel and divine potency — and the Sefer Heka- 
lot, in which Metatron plays the chief role, is also 
called the Book of Enoch. 

From the eighth and ninth centuries also date the 
pseudepigraphic books of the Secret Tradition, or 
Kabbalah, as it was simply called, which claimed 
the authorship of the great Tannaim, but mani- 
festly was not composed before the gaonic period. 
The secret doctrines about the Creation and the 
Chariot, which had hitherto been handed down 
orally, were now committed to writing and embel- 
lished with current images of divine beings and 
demons, and fancies about angels, and cosmogony 
by letters. This mediaeval speculation shows the 
influence of neo-Platonic philosophy, which was it- 
self the outcome of the mixture of Oriental with 
Greek thought. The most celebrated of the Kab- 
balist books is the Sefer Yezirah, described as the 
first philosophical book written in Hebrew; and 
others of the same genus are the Greater and 
Smaller Hekalot, the Book of Raziel, and the 
Sefer ha-Yashar. It is said at the beginning of the 
Sefer Yezirah: " By thirty-two wonderful paths 
the Eternal has created the world in three forms : 

number, letter, and speech; ten numbers self- 

827 



HELLENISM 

contained and twenty-two letters." The mystical 
cosmogony was characteristic of the thinking of the 
age, and led on to the more philosophical doctrine 
of Sefirot or emanations, which appears later in the 
more developed kabbalistic literature. 

The latest of the Midrashim, the Midrash Tad- 
she and the Midrash Konen, were compiled during 
the same period. The first purports to be the work 
of the saintly Tanna R. Phineas ben Jair, and has 
remarkable correspondence with the Book of Jubi- 
lees and also with some writings of Philo." The 
inference is that it was composed of floating alle- 
gorical and mystical teachings which were derived 
from a time when the Hellenistic influence was 
strong on Judaism. The second book, which de- 
rives its title from the verse in Proverbs (3. 19), 
"The Lord by wisdom founded the earth; by 
understanding He established (po) the heavens," 
portrays the pre-existence of the Messiah, and its 
descriptions of Hell and Paradise betray Arab- 
Greek influence. The later kabbalistic literature 
derives largely from these sources, but includes in 
addition a large amount of neo-Platonic theology. 

Of higher intellectual value than this mystic 
literature was the new development of Jewish phi- 
losophy. Fostered likewise by Arabic writers, it 

828 



THE AFTERMATH 

Starts with Saadya in Egypt in the tenth century, 
reaches its zenith with Ibn Gebirol and Judah 
ha-Levi in Spain in the eleventh, and cubninates 
with Maimonides in Egypt in the twelfth, and 
Crescas in Spain in the fourteenth century. The 
Judeo-Arabic school borrowed their system, in large 
measure, from the Muhammedan philosophers who 
had adapted and combined the Aristotelian and 
neo-Platonic systems to be an intellectual support of 
Islam. They knew no Greek themselves, but they 
acquired their knowledge through the Arabic trans- 
lators and adapters. And while a great part of 
the Hellenistic-Jewish literature was unknown to 
them, and the very name of Philo never occurs in 
their writings, yet indirectly the influence of Hel- 
lenistic-Jewish thought affected them through its 
absorption in the later Greek and early Christian 
schools, from which their own masters started. 
Hellenistic-Jewish theology had, in fact, by the 
Middle Ages become part of the world's intel- 
lectual possession. Saadya knows of the book of 
the Maccabees, the Wisdom of Ben Sira (which 
he refers to as the Book of Instruction), and the 
Book of Jubilees." Perhaps the Hebrew text or an 
Aramaic translation of the apocryphal works had 

829 



HELLENISM 

been preserved in Egypt, where Jewish learning 
was never altogether extinguished. 

A new epoch of Jewish thought began when the 
mediaeval masters of Jewish learning sought — as 
the Alexandrians had done — to defend Judaism 
with the aid of Hellenism, to recast the substance 
of the one in the form of the other. The conflict 
between Hebrew and Greek culture seemed for a 
time to have ended with the victory of the Jewish 
religion; for Greek wisdom in the Middle Ages 
was its humble servant. Hellenic speculation was 
used to bolster Hebraic belief, and Greek ethics to 
justify the Jewish Torah. 



880 



CHAPTER VIII 

CONCLUSION 

At the end of the fourth century of the Christian 

era the wheel of civilization, which seven hundred 

years previously had been turned in the direction of 

a cosmopolitan culture, seemed to have achieved a 

full circle. The Jews were more isolated and more 

exclusively national than at the end of the fourth 

century before the Christian era, when they were 

first brought into relation with Hellenism and began 

their expansion. They had indeed given to the 

civilized world a large part of their heritage, and 

spread their moral teaching far and wide ; they had 

inspired the neo-Platonic philosophy, and provided 

the basis for a world-religion, but they seemed to 

have received little in return save hatred. An 

outside observer surveying the position might 

judge the Hellenistic movement to have left no 

trace on the religion of Israel, and to have been an 

aberration rather than a development; but if we 

look over the field more closely, we shall find that 

that view is not altogether correct. 

331 



HELLENISM 

The Jews and the Hellenes stand out from the 
other peoples, at the beginning of the period, by 
their strongly marked national character and their 
contrasted ideals, which were the outcome of gen- 
erations of national life disciplined in a particular 
way. Hebraism was devoted to conduct, or, as a 
Jew would say, to the Torah ; Hellenism to the full 
development of all human faculties. The accep- 
tance by the people of a lofty moral law constituted 
the greatness of the one ; the harmonious ordering 
of life by the individual devoted to the state, the 
greatness of the other. Virtue to the Jew meant 
righteous life; to the Hellene, physical and intel- 
lectual and moral excellence. Both nations were 
eager for knowledge ; but the Jew sought for knowl- 
edge of God, the Hellene for knowledge of nature. 
Both again were conscious of a high purpose which 
raised them above other peoples; but the Greeks 
were filled with the idea of intellectual superiority, 
the Jews with the conviction of a moral and relig- 
ious mission. To the Greek philosophical specu- 
lation about the causes of things was of supreme 
interest; to the Jew, the study of his history, in 
which he traced the working of a personal God ex- 
ecuting the law of righteousness on the nations. By 
the conquests of Alexander the Great, Hellenism 

332 



CONCLUSION 

expanded beyond the national society which had 
produced it. It was deliberately spread, as a 
Church militant, over the eastern world, through 
the foundation of Hellenistic cities and colonies on 
the pattern of the city-states of Hellas ; but the con- 
ditions of its expansion caused its rapid deteriora- 
tion. The culture of the Hellenic people was the 
immediate and direct expression of a political na- 
tional life, and the spirit that had thrilled it died 
when that life ceased. Pure Hellenism — the Greek 
spirit — ^was never brought to Palestine, and was 
never imbibed by the Jews; what did come, and 
what was imbibed by some classes, was a mixed 
product of Hellenic wisdom and Oriental civiliza- 
tion, which presented much of the outward show of 
Greek life, but did not offer what was most precious 
in it. 

Had the Jews met Hellenism on its own soil and 
in its prime, a true harmony between the two might 
possibly have resulted and produced a civilization 
more splendid and more complete than the world 
has yet known. But Providence did not work in 
that way, and in fact the Jews encountered a Hel- 
lenism debased by transplantation to a strange soil. 
The Greek culture with which they came in contact 

in Palestine was contaminated by Hellenized 
22 333 



HELLENISM 

Syrians with their crude materialism and mysticism. 
Judaism, on the other hand, was in the stage of 
vigorous development, and strongly entrenched in 
its national life, which gave it a mould of resistance 
to foreign ideas. But it was not yet fully self- 
conscious, and had not reflected on the basis of its 
religious intuitions. 

The superiority of the external products of the 
Greek people, of their art, their pleasures and their 
literature, and the glamor of their political and 
military prowess were strong enough to exercise 
a large influence in Judea. The Greeks had con- 
quered the East, and the tendency Is always for the 
subject to imitate the manners of the ruler. Hence, 
there was much outward imitation of Greek fash- 
ions, and among some circles an inward assimila- 
tion of the Greek point of view. But when the 
attempt was made to hasten the process, and to ex- 
tend it from manners to morals and from morals to 
religion, the deep-seated feelings of the people were 
roused, and the struggle between the two cultures 
began. The core of the nation was sound; they 
resisted with heroism the endeavor of Greeks and 
Graecizing Jews to coerce them, and prevailed. 
The struggle ended in the utter rejection of the 

334 



CONCLUSION 

foreign culture in Judea, and its discomfiture in the 

whole of Palestine. 

Tested in the trial of moral strength, Judaism 

had become self-conscious, and the Jew had gained 

a fresh pride in his religion, a fresh consciousness 

of his mission. The conception of the unity of 

God and the hold of the Law were strengthened by 

contrast with the paganism which the Hellenizers 

had tried to substitute for it. The Jews passed 

from passive resistance to aggressive iconoclasm, 

and in turn spread their ideas beyond the limits ot 

their country. But traces of the Syrian Hellenism, 

wEidi had been implanted among the less educated 

masses, endured ; and the victorious Judean people 

harbored a growing semi-Hellenized crowd who 

had neither grasped the pure Hebraic faith, nor 

received the pure Hellenic spirit. This populace 

fostered the apocalyptic literature with its fantastic 

and yet somewhat materialistic spirituality, which, 

while it was largely an expression of the Hebraic 

mind and a development of the prophetic vision, 

shows the marked impress of foreign doctrine. A 

more distinct relic of foreign ideas in their spiritual 

form remained in the sect of the Essenes, who 

represented the ascetic attitude, which had sprung 

up in the Greek society out of the decay of national 

335 



HELLENISM 

life and Intellectual contemplation. But the bulk 
of the people were confirmed in their ancestral 
faith, and the renewal of the independence of na- 
tional life, together with the teaching of the Phari- 
sees, strengthened the hold and deepened the con- 
ception of Judaism. 

In the diaspora, where the Jews formed a con- 
siderable and well-knit element in the midst of a 
Greek-speaking population, their relation with 
Hellenism proceeded otherwise. They pursued 
their own learning in the synagogues, but at the 
same time they became eager to know the ideas of 
their neighbors. More particularly at Alexandria, 
which from its foundation was at once the principal 
seat of cosmopolitan culture and a great Jewish 
centre, they had about them a purer and more genu- 
ine Hellenism than had been imported into Pales- 
tine. By their munificient patronage of art and the 
organization of their museum and library with its 
fifty thousand books, representing the literatures of 
all peoples, the Ptolemies contrived to bring to 
their capital the best of the Hellenic genius of the 
Silver Age. On the other side, the hold of his na- 
tional culture could not be as strong on the Jew in 
dispersion as on the Jew in his own land. Hence, 
though the Jewish mind had not acquired that imi- 

386 



CONCLUSION 

tative skill and assimilative capacity which are 
characteristic of it to-day, the Alexandrian com- 
munity felt the attraction of Hellenism more rap- 
idly and more deeply than the Palestinian. They 
adopted the language of their environment, and 
endeavoured to adjust their religious ideas and 
observances to the intellectual standpoint of the 
dominant culture. The translation of the Scrip- 
tures into Greek was a vital step in the adjustment. 
A further step is marked by the abundant apolo- 
getic literature, in which the Jewish Law is inter- 
preted as a code of rational ethics, and a deliberate 
attempt is made to adopt Greek theology to the 
support of Judaism. 

Knowledge of Greek philosophy stimulated the 
Jews to fresh development of their religious ideas. 
At the same time the Maccabean triumph and ac- 
quaintance with the weak side of Hellenistic cul- 
ture aroused an aggressive missionary spirit. They 
preached and propagated Judaism to the Gentiles 
about them, and denounced the surrounding pagan- 
ism and immorality with a zest which did not 
scruple to use fictitious authorities for the purpose 
of moving the populace. Not only at Alexandria, 
but in Mesopotamia, in Syria, in Asia, and in the 
islands and cities of Hellas itself, the Jewish com- 

337 



HELLENISM 

munlties gathered around their synagogues a num- 
ber of proselytes or ** fearers of the Lord," and 
inculcated the moral teachings of the Mosaic law 
in those who were not willing to become full con- 
verts to the national religion. But as the semi- 
Judaized and semi-Hellenized populace of Pales- 
tine was a source of weakness to Jewry, because of 
the impure notions to which it clung, so the crowd 
of converts and semi-converts who were gathered 
around the synagogues of the diaspora were a dan- 
ger to the integrity of the Jewish faith. They 
retained, to a large extent, their earlier habit of 
mind, and they brought into the Jewish congrega- 
tion doctrines which were not in harmony with 
pure monotheism. The literature which was de- 
signed to win them shows frequent trace of the 
impurities and of the compromizing spirit to which 
Pharisaic Judaism was a stranger. A large part 
of Hellenistic Jewry remained true to the Torah 
and the ancestral way of life, but a part, under the 
influence of foreign ideas, tended to whittle away 
the national-religious heritage in a vague univer- 
salism. 

The finer aspect of the heightened Jewish self- 
consciousness showed itself not in the popular mis- 
sionary movement, but in the development of Jew- 

838 



CONCLUSION 

ish philosophy, in which the religious Jewish idea 
dominates intellectual conceptions derived from the 
Greek thinkers. The Alexandrian teachers ad- 
hered to the study of the Torah as their proper and 
sufficient wisdom, but looked to the interpretation 
of Scripture not simply for new didactic lessons, 
but for the indication of philosophical ideas. One 
splendid figure, who sums up the deepest aspira- 
tions of Hellenistic Judaism, achieves something 
approaching a harmony between Jewish religion 
and Greek wisdom. Philo does not harmonize 
the spirits of Hebraism and Hellenism — that was 
impossible in his day — ^but he does fuse the spirit- 
ual teachings of the two, and that not in an artificial 
and conscious way, but sincerely and spontaneously. 
He created something new in literature and 
thought. His philosophical mysticism, expressed 
in a poetical prose, was the most striking combina- 
tion of the religious and the intellectual ideals 
which the ancient world produced, and represented 
the resultant of the union of the Greek searching 
for knowledge of causes and the Jewish yearning 
for God. 

The Jew created no original philosophical sys- 
tem, but he used the intellectual forms of others 

for the expression of his distinctive outlook. Under 

839 



HELLENISM 

the dominance of the religious spirit, the trans- 
formation of Greek philosophy was bound to end 
in mysticism, the Jewish adoption of Greek intel- 
lectual contemplation ( OtiapU) in a longing for 
ecstasy. 

Mystical thought is, however, always exposed 
to the danger that it tends to leave the firm anchor- 
age of reason and the law of conduct. Philo points 
out the existence of such an excess in his day. He 
himself held fast to the Law while he indulged his 
philosophical ardor, and contrived to find a true 
balance between national religion and universal 
mysticism. But the influence of Hellenistic philos- 
ophy was to lead away a large class of his contem- 
poraries from the national manner of life into that 
maze of mystical ideas which is called gnosticism. 
The observance of the national-religious law was 
endangered by the inordinate desire of the indi- 
vidual to penetrate into the secrets of the universe ; 
men sought to transcend reason in wild visions 
and imaginations. Moreover, the Hellenistic 
thought which the Alexandrian sage endeavored 
to fuse with Judaism was mixed with a number of 
speculations and notions which were fundamentally 
opposed to the genuine Jewish outlook. Egypt, the 

cradle of mythology, has always been antipathetic 

340 



CONCLUSION 

to Judaism in its religious conceptions, and the 
intermediary powers and divine hypostases, which 
were the product of the syncretism of Graeco- 
Egyptian and Hebraic theology, were brought into 
the Hellenistic-Jewish philosophy with dangerous 
consequences. They were held by Philo in a loose 
solution, and in such a way as not to impair the 
worship of the one God of the Hebrew conscience ; 
but they were crystallized and defined by his suc- 
cessors and became the basis of hybrid sects and 
heresies. Graeco-Roman society in the first and 
second centuries was lapsing into an extreme of 
irrationalism, and its thought was in process of 
degradation. The Jewry of the diaspora, weak- 
ened by its proselyte following, was not proof 
against the influence. By the abandonment of He- 
brew as the language of its literature and its ritual, 
it gradually lost touch with the Catholic Jewish 
feeling; and when the temple service was brought 
to an end, the centrifugal tendency became more 
pronounced. Hellenistic Jewry became a medley of 
struggling heresies and sects. Animated by the 
desire to convert the Gentiles, it had sacrificed its 
particularism and weakened its defences; and by 
the reception of a large number of converts with 

a foreign outlook, and by the infusion of non- 
841 



HELLENISM 

Jewish notions in its theology and philosophy, it 
lacked the cohesion which preserved the strength 
and individuality of the Palestinian community. 

When the Christian teaching of the Messiah 
come to redeem humanity — ^which was itself de- 
rived from the Hellenized literature of apocalypse 
— ^was disseminated among the Jewi^ conununities, 
it was Greek-speaking Jews who were prominent 
in developing it, and Greek-speaking converts and 
" fearers of the Lord " to whom it mainly appealed. 
It accorded with their opposition to the Law, with 
their desire for a universal creed for all people, 
with their notions of an intercessor between man 
and God. Hellenistic Jews, on the other hand, 
introduced into the simple doctrine of the redeem- 
ing Messiah, which was the starting-point of the 
Christian doctrine, many of their theological ideas, 
and thus started the radical modification of Jewish 
monotheism which was to culminate in the Trin- 
ity of the Church. The history of Christianity 
ceases to be a part of Jewish history from the time 
when the mythical and metaphysical element, de- 
rived from Alexandrian decadence, obtained the 
ascendancy.^ 

Hellenism in the diaspora, then, nurtured a 

creed which was true neither to the cardinal points 

842 



CONCLUSION 

of the Hebraic or the Hellenistic genius, nor 
to the intuitive apprehension of the one God of 
history, nor to the eager search for truth and knowl- 
edge. The strange doctrines had been less forcibly 
resisted there than in Palestine, and obtained a 
firmer lodgment ; but no stable and lasting synthesis 
with Judaism had been accomplished. At the time 
of the first preaching of Christianity mystical ideas 
were prevalent also in Palestine. They were 
brought possibly by the Greek-speaking Jews who 
were constantly coming to and from the Holy 
Land; possibly they were the outcome of the Or- 
iental Hellenism which still survived in the Jewish 
environment. Whatever their origin, they threat- 
ened the growth of heresy similar in kind to the 
heretical efflorescence in Egypt and Syria. The 
inner disintegration coincided with the last des- 
perate struggle to preserve the national indepen- 
dence ; and the failure of that struggle emphasized 
and deepened the crisis in the spiritual life. While 
a national centre with a standard of Judaism en- 
dured, esoteric speculation could be allowed so long 
as it did not undermine the loyalty and faith of the 
main body. But it became an element of disso- 
lution when the outward bond of cohesion was 

343 



HELLENISM 

rent asunder, and had to be repressed in order to 
preserve a Catholic Judaism. 

The greatest crisis in the struggle between Hel- 
lenism and Judaism was reached when Hellenistic 
syncretism threatened, as three centuries before 
Hellenistic paganism had threatened, Jewish mono- 
theism and the observance of the law. In 
face of the peril the Jewish spirit made a supreme 
effort. A Puritan revival, parallel with that 
which had been experienced in Babylon, marked the 
beginning of the Roman exile. The heads of the 
schools perceived that the heretical teachings had 
their origin in the introduction of Greek theology 
and Greek forms of thought into the Jewish mind. 
The Greek culture of the time was fatal to Hebraic 
religion, and therefore they blamed it rather than 
compromise their Judaism in any way. Mystical 
teaching, which bore the stamp of foreign influence, 
and the allegorical interpretation, which sought to 
C9mbine it with the Bible, were discouraged. The 
Hellenistic- Jewish literature, which harbored non- 
Jewish elements, though preserved by the Gentiles 
to play a part in the intellectual development ot 
Europe for over a thousand years, was cut out of 
the Pharisaic tradition. Jewish culture was pruned 

of its luxuriant growth, in order that it might re- 

844 



CONCLUSION 

tain its strength and withstand the storm which beat 
about it 

In the thorough purgation of Judaism, the 
Rabbis showed a true appreciation of the conflict 
which existed between Hellenistic theology and 
Jewish monotheism. That theology was in fact 
but a reincarnation of the old pagan mythology; 
and when Christianity ceased to be a Jewish heresy, 
it proceeded to incorporate with its Jewish element 
a large part of the myths of the Aryan and Semitic 
peoples. The abiding paradox of metaphysics has 
been pointed out by Anatole France. " Any ex- 
pression," he says, '^ of an abstract idea can only 
be an allegory. By an odd fate the very meta- 
physicians who think to escape the world of appear- 
ance are constrained to live perpetually in alle- 
gory. A sorry sort of poets, they attack the colors 
of the ancient * fables, and are themselves but col- 
lectors of fables. Their output is mythology, an 
anaemic mythology without body or blood." The 
early Greek philosophers had endeavored to de- 
stroy the myths of the popular religion, but their 
successors weaved around their philosophical re- 
flections about God the same mythology in another 
form. And the Jewish Hellenists had been be- 
guiled by them into compromises of monotheism, 

845 



HELLENISM 

They had sought greater exactitude by allegorical 
interpretation, contained in a vague metaphysic, 
which, as it became stereotyped, was made the 
basis of a non-Jewish mythology. The image and 
sjmibol were taken for reality, and obscured in the 
coarser thinking of the later age the ideas they were 
designed to explain. The Rabbis, interpreting 
more truly the genius of Judaism, eschewed the 
dialectic of the metaphysician and the reasoning of 
the theologian. When they desired to describe the 
divine attributes or the transcendental nature, they 
turned frankly to fable and allegory. 

Nevertheless, though the Hellenistic branch was 
lopped off from the trunk of Judaism, though the 
Hellenistic theology was rejected, and the Hellenis- 
tic wisdom placed under the ban, the mystic doc- 
trine, which had been fructified by Hellenistic 
influence, lived on in the background, or rather 
underground, of Jewish thought. The written 
record of Hellenistic Judaism was discarded, but 
an oral tradition of esoteric speculation endured in 
Palestine as well as the diaspora. Greek ideas were 
transfixed in this wisdom, and thus entered into 
the 'thought of the people, coloring the Jewish 
intuition of the one transcendental God with 
something of the Greek Gnosis or search for 

846 



CONCLUSION 

knowledge. The undercurrent of mystical thought, 
of which we know little but hear much in the early 
Haggadah of the Talmud, outlived the Alexan- 
drian influence which had nourished it. But it did 
not find a permanent literary expression till a fresh 
stream of Hellenistic influence was brought into the 
Jewish world in the early part of the Middle 
Ages. 

Cut off from the outer intellectual world for 
some five hundred years, and engaged in a constant 
struggle to preserve their individuality, the Jews 
had no leisure for philosophical speculation. But 
they were again brought, in the tenth century, into 
relation with it through the Arabic culture which 
flourished about them in Egypt and in Spain. The 
Renaissance in the East preceded that in the West. 
While Europe was sunk in the obscurantism of the 
Dark Ages, the systems of Aristotle and the neo- 
Platonists were stimulating the Arabs to philoso- 
phy, and, through the Arabic medium, came again 
to affect Jewish ideas. Indeed, Saadya Gaon, the 
first Jewish philosopher who deserves the title, 
recognized the logical hegemony of Aristotle, but 
contrived to distinguish between the Jewish and the 
philosophical outlook. His successors embraced 

the Greek metaphysics more whole-heartedly. The 

847 



HELLENISM 

revived Hellenism, however, which entered into 
Jewish mediaeval thought, was not a dangerous 
dissolvent. In the first place, it was, so to say, in a 
strait waistcoat, subjected already to the service of 
religion by the Muslim philosophers from whom 
the Jews derived it. Moreover, it no longer stood 
for a theory of life, nor was it associated with a 
competing religious outlook, but it was simply a 
body of knowledge and reflection about physics and 
metaphysics. Jewish life and thought, on the other 
hand, were even more thoroughly consolidated and 
organized than they had been in the period of the 
great struggle. A thousand years of life under the 
Law, together with the constant study of the ever- 
growing mass of tradition in Mishnah, Talmud, 
Midrash, and later commentaries, had made the 
mind of the people proof against the seduction of 
foreign doctrine. In the Golden Age of Spain the 
influx of Hellenism aroused the emulation of the 
Jewish spirit, and served to deepen it, without pro- 
ducing any aftermath in the form of heresy and 
sectarianism. The expansion of the mystical teach- 
ing led, indeed, to a cleavage between two sections 
of Jewry; and the introduction of Greek philosoph- 
ical ideas into the interpretation of the Bible was 

strenuously Opposed by some of the greatest 

848 



CONCLUSION 

thinkers of the time. But the religious philoso- 
phies of Ibn Gebirol, Maimonides, and Gersonides, 
though they evoked opposition, were accepted into 
Jewish literature, and brought permanent influence 
of Hellenistic metaphysics into the Jewish schools 
which endured through the Middle Ages to modem 
times. 

The new Hellenism was a stimulating force, and 
it was harnessed to the service of the Jewish re- 
ligion; but it had, from one aspect, an untoward 
effect on Jewish thought. The Greek master, to 
whom most of the Arab-Jewish school looked up, 
was Aristotle, who was the greatest logician and 
rationalist of the ancient world. So deep was their 
respect that they endeavored to attach him to 
Judaism. According to one account,' he was a 
pupil of Simon the Just, the high priest at the time 
of Alexander the Great; according to another, 
which more boldly disregarded chronology and lo- 
cality, he was associated with Gamaliel when the 
latter visited Rome in 96 C. E. A third account, 
still bolder, declared him a Jew of the tribe of Ben- 
jamin, who took away the secret books of wisdom 
from Solomon's palace when Jerusalem was cap- 
tured. Similar stories had been told by the 

Christian scholars, Clement of Alexandria, and 
21 849 



y 



HELLENISM 

Eusebius; but it was in the revival of Jewish 
thought in Spain that they first found acceptance 
among the Jews. 

Certain correspondences could be detected be- 
tween the Aristotelian theology and the Jewish 
creed. Aristotle, at the end of his Metaphysics, 
declared for monotheism ; and he believed in a tele- 
ological ordering of Nature which harmonized 
with the demand of the religious consciousness. He 
could be made then to give rational support to the 
intuitional Jewish conception of God. But the con- 
ciliation was more apparent than real. Judah 
ha-Levi, who vigorously opposed the new Hellen- 
ism and asserted the right of Judaism to ** autono- 
mous intellectual existence," pointed out the 
contrast between the Jewish personal God of his- 
tory and the Greek impersonal principle of being, 
the Prime Mover. " By no means is the God of 
Aristotle the God of Abraham ; the way to the lat- 
ter lies through emotion and the inner living feel- 
ing, and for Him the soul aspires. The way to the 
former is through abstract thought, and the heart 
beats not for Him." Aristotle, in truth, with his 
intense rationalism, was further removed from the 
religious soul than Plato whose teaching had in- 
spired the Alexandrian-Jewish philosophy, and was 

850 



CONCLUSION 

the basis of the neo-Platonic speculation of an Ibn 
Gebirol and a Crescas. His influence, which pre- 
vailed from the eleventh till the sixteenth century, 
tended to formalize Jewish theology and to invest 
it with a rational severity to which it had hitherto 
been a stranger. The tendency was to an extent 
redressed by the mystical movement which derived 
from the Jewish neo-Platonists, but rationalism 
remained the dominant tone.* 

The first Jewish scholar of modern times to at- 
tack the rationalizing movement was Samuel David 
Luzzatto, one of the founders of the new Hebrew 
school, who flourished in the first half of the nine- 
teenth century. He denounced Maimonides, the 
chief Jewish Aristotelian, for disloyalty to the 
Jewish intuitive standpoint, and following the line 
of ha-Levi, he broadly pointed the contrast between 
Hebraism and Hellenism — or Atticism, as he called 
it.* All the philosophy derived from the Greeks is 
for him a root of gall and wormwood. Atticism is 
progressive, Judaism is stationary. Atticism is 
constantly assuming new forms, Judaism is im- 
movable and seems old and ugly. But human 
nature harbors an inextinguishable love of the 

good which Judaism, or its spirit, alone can satisfy. 

861 



HELLENISM 

Its teaching makes people happy, while Greek phi- 
losophy renders them pessimistic. 

Luzzatto, however, though he impugned the 
scholastic Jewish philosophy of the Middle Ages, 
paid little heed to the earlier Jewish Hellenistic 
literature. But nearly three hundred years before 
he wrote, another Italian Jew had made that 
literature the subject of study, and tried to show its 
relation to Jewish tradition. Azariah dei Rossi is 
the pioneer in the ** Science of Judaism," and he had 
no successors for three centuries. He translated 
the Letter of Aristeas into Hebrew under the title 
of Hadrat Zekenim (" Glory of the Ancients ") ; 
and in his Meor 'Enayim he dealt with the works of 
Philo and Josephus and other Hellenists, and at- 
tacked Philo for his allegorical interpretation of 
the narrative and legal parts of the Bible, on the 
ground that they were false to the spirit of Judaism. 

Dei Rossi lived before his time : he was one of 
the few Jews of his age to imbibe the spirit of the 
European Renaissance that opened up to humanity 
the Hellenic treasury. No Jew continued his his- 
torical investigations till the time of Luzzatto. 
Then, however, Krochmal, the devoted student of 
Galicia, basing his work on the researches of the 

German scholar Neander, gave a critical account 

362 



CONCLUSION 

of the Hellenistic- Jewish development in his Guide 
of the Perplexed of the Time, and restored it to 
the knowledge of the Jewish scholars. The Esscne 
speculations and the relation of Fhilo to the Mid- 
rash received special consideration. He was depen- 
dent on second-hand sources — for he had no 
Greek — but his work was fruitful in that it formed 
the foundation of the scientific study of the German 
school. Bernays, Zunz, Frankel, Graetz, and Jel- 
linek were masters of Greek, and possessed the ex- 
ternal equipment necessary for independent judg- 
ment. The place of Hellenistic literature in Jew- 
ish thought and its influence on the world's history 
were at last elucidated in their writings from the 
Jewish point of view. Enough and to spare of 
Christian divines had searched in it for the source 
and justification of Christian dogmas, and had 
loved to contrast for their own purposes Its broad 
universalism and ethical spirit with the narrow 
legalism of the Talmud — which most could not 
read. Historical justice began to correct these easy 
views, and it has not yet completed its part. The 
work of Zunz and his contemporaries has been 
continued and amplified by a large band of Jewish 
scholars, many of them still living and actively 
prosecuting their researches. 



I 



HELLENISM 

A new relation has been set up between Hebraism 
and Hellenism in the present age. The Renais- 
sance of the sixteenth century let free on western 
European society an overpowering stream of Hel- 
lenism, not the impure medley of Alexandrian 
civilization, but the pure inspiration of the Classi- 
cal Age. ** We are all Greeks," exclaimed Maine. 
Our ideas of law, of politics, of philosophy, of 
ethics, in short, of life are largely determined, on the 
one hand, by the ideas of the classical Hellas which 
form the foundation of our higher education, and, 
on the other, by the doctrines of the Hellenistic- 
Jewish syncretism which, as we have traced, formed 
the basis of the Christian Church. As the centuries 
went by, the stream of the Renaissance continued 
to modify the Christian civilization enshrining the 
ideas of the Alexandrian culture. It could not 
reach for a time the Jewish community which was 
cribbed, cabined, and confined in its narrow ghettos, 
and forcibly isolated from its environment. Its 
appeal for clearer thought and the search for truth 
reached a few individuals only, who burst the 
bonds which fettered them, notably Spinoza, who, 
by his synthesis of Greek intellect and Jewish in- 
tuition, laid the foundation of modem philosophy. 

But when the French Revolution heralded the dawn 

864 



CONCLUSION 

of emancipation for the Jews of the West, the in- 
fluence of outside thought became of commanding 
importance. The position of the Jews was now 
in many ways like that which existed when Alex- 
ander conquered Palestine and opened to them the 
Greek world. Only the attraction of the outside 
culture was more powerful, because the Jews had 
not now, as they had then, a national centre where 
their own standard of life and thought flourished 
in competition with the universal appeal of their 
environment. The Jewish life in the ghetto was 
intense, but it was not inspiring as the life of the 
people was in Judea. The position again was quite 
different from that which existed in the period of 
emancipation under the Moors and Arabs. Then, 
although free, the Jews preserved their national or- 
ganization amid a friendly population, and the Hel- 
lenism which they invoked to the support and pro- 
gressive development of their religion was not part 
and parcel of the thought of the people, or organ- 
ically fused with life, but a philosophical system 
known to the few, and strictly limited by them 
to the purpose of providing a rational basis for 
theology. 

During the nineteenth century the isolation of 

the ghetto in the West was more completely broken 

355 



HELLENISM 

down, the mingling with the Gentile population was 
more thorough, and the assimilation more rapid. 
The spread of printed books and the facilities 
for communication increased the force of the ex- 
ternal culture. Centuries of persecution also 
caused Jewish thought to be obsolete in certain 
of its concepts, and weakened the power of the 
Jew to resist foreign ideas. His traditions seemed 
narrow and mediaeval by the side of the new civ- 
ilization in which he could now play a part. 
They lacked the elegance and the many-sidedness 
of European thought. Hence it is not surpris- 
ing that many of the Jews of talent during the 
century assimilated so fully the outlook of their 
environment that they rejected altogether the na- 
tional aspect of Judaism, neglected altogether its 
literature, and proclaimed abroad the principle that 
Judaism was simply a matter of religious creed 
which asked nothing of its followers save assent to 
certain articles of belief. Not a few were willing 
and even eager to transform that religious creed 
with ideas taken from outside ; a new form of Minut 
began to flourish, as dangerous to the integrity of 
Judaism as the old heresies; and the attempt was 
made again to dissociate the religion from the law 
and the language. The feeling of race and nation- 



CONCLUSION 

ality was indeed reawakened among a few who had 
at first felt most strongly the attraction of foreign 
ideas. The most distinguished Jewish Hellenist of 
the period, Heinrich Heine, could write in his Con- 
fessions : " There was a time when I did not like 
Moses overmuch, probably because the Hellenic 
spirit predominated in me, and I could not forgive 
the law-giver of the Jews his hatred of images and 
of plastic art. I did not see that, in spite of his 
hostility to the arts, Moses himself was a great 
artist. My preference for Hellas has since de- 
clined : I see now that the Greeks were only beauti- 
ful youths, but that the Jews have ever been men — 
strong, invincible men." The recantation which 
Heine made may be repeated by his people. 

Most of Heine's generation, however, could not 
perceive what his genius grasped, that, despite the 
blandishments of Hellenic civilization, the Jewish 
outlook remained something sublime, distinctive, 
and worth preserving. The assimilation progressed 
in the second half of the nineteenth century from 
principle to principle, until at last it received a 
shock like that which awakened the nation to full 
self-consciousness in the Maccabean period. The 

revival of brutal anti-Semitism in eastern Europe 

S57 



HELLENISM 

and of social anti-Semitism in several countries 
of the West reminded the Jews, in many cases 
against their will, that whatever their assimilation, 
other peoples still regarded them as strangers. The 
loyal spirits among them at the same time saw with 
dismay that the absorption of the people and the 
disappearance of their individual outlook were 
threatened by an assimilation such as the Hellen- 
izers had sought to force on Palestine two thousand 
years earlier. The struggle to preserve Jewry 
from destruction by the Hellenism of our day has 
its closest parallel in the epoch of Jewish thought 
which we have been considering. The nationality 
indeed was then in a stronger position, because of 
its physical and spiritual centre in Palestine and its 
well-knit organization in the diaspora. But if the 
outward conditions of the Jews are different, the 
inner struggle and the genius of Judaism remain 
the same. And the harmony of Hebraic and Hel- 
lenic ideas, which was not accomplished in that 
epoch because of the debasement of the trans- 
planted Hellenism, may be achieved in the future 
by a self-conscious Jewish people which will imbibe 
those elements of outside thought that are ennob- 
ling, but will transmute them by the dominating 

858 



CONCLUSION 

Hebrew spirit, j Our civilization, which is based 
partly on Hellenic, partly on Hebraic creations, 
is continually progressing to such a harmony, and 
without it humanity will never be tranquil, and 
culture will not be complete. 



859 



NOTES 

** Comp. Josephus, Antiquities, XI. 2. at dkHiKa ^v\al ii^pai el^i^ 
Ei4>piTev IcM Mpo, /ivpUid€S Awtippi, 
''Ibid,, XVIII. 9. 
"C. Flaocum 8. 
"^Menahot 109b. 
"Reinach, Bulletin de Correspondence Hell., XIII. 

* See Mahaffy, Athenaum, 3527, p. 712. 

"^Strabo 14. 7. 2; comp. Josephus, Contra Apionem, 11. 4. 

"^Isaiah 2. 16. 

** Josephus, Bellum Judaicum, VII. 3. 3. 

" Comp. Pliny, Leg. 33. 

*'I Maccabees, 15. 22. 

" Josephus, Bellum Judaicum, VI. 9. 7. 

** De Vita Mosis II. 104, and De Legatione, II. 587. 

"^ Josephus, Bellum Judaicum, II. 18. 7; Antiquities, XIV. 10. 24. 

**Ibid,, Antiquities, XIV. 10; Corinth. 11. 24; Philo, Legum, 23 ; 
comp. Sanhedrin 32b. 

** Strabo quoted by Josephus, Antiquities, XIV. 7. 2. 

^ Josephus, Bellum Judaicum, VII. 2. 3 ; Acts of Apostles 9. 2. 

^Cf. Macalister, Civilization in Palestine. The Greek ver- 
sion renders the word Philistines in Isaiah 9. (11) 12 by Hellenes. 

*■ Pliny, Natural History, V. 18.74. 

^ Isaiah 8. 23. 

Chapter II 
THE HELLENISTIC CULTURE 

(pp. 51-84) 

^ Greece is the name which the Romans gave to the conquered 
land of Hellas, because they first came into contact with a tribe 
of Graeci; just as Palestine is the name given to the land of 
Israel, because the conquerors first came into contact with 
Philistia. But the classical Greeks always called themselves 
Hellenes, and their culture Hellenism. 

* Grote, History of Greece, vol. XII. 

' Comp. Lowes-Dickinson, The Greek Vievi of Life. 

362 



NOTES 

* Ibid. 

' Plato, Republic, II. 382. 

* Natural History, II. 22. 

^ Gilbert Murray in The Hibbert Journal, 191a 
' Nicomachean Ethics, X. 

* Psalm 115. 16. 
^Isaiah 55.8. 

" Ben Sira 3. 21. 

Chapter III 

HELLENISM IN PALESTINE TILL THE DESTRUCTION 

OF THE TEMPLE 

(pp. 85-125) 

^ I Maccabees i. 8. 9. 

* Fragment preserved by Diodorus, XL. 3. 
' See Freudenthal, Hellenistische Studien, 

* I Maccabees 1. 14, and II Maccabees 49. 
'Ben Sira 24. 3-6. 

* Daniel 3. 5, 10. 

^ Ben Sira 38. i, seq. 

■ Comp. MahaflFy*8 Greek Literature, voL I, p. 417. 

*Comp. Ecclesiastes 4.9. 

"Pirke Abot i. 3. 

** Comp. Hamburger, Real-Encyclopadie, II s. t. Griechen- 
thum. 

"Daniel iz. 14. 

" Josephus, Bellum Judaicum, I.^ i* 

" Antiquities, XVII. 2. i. 

"II Maccabees 4. 7. 

"I Maccabees 1. 13. 

" II Maccabees la 19. 

"Comp. II Maccabees 6. A remarkable example of'^rclig- 
ious syncretism of the time has recently come to light at Gezer, 
a city not far from the village of Modin, which was to play such 
an important part in the national redemption. A pillar has been 

863 



NOTES 

found there, the one side of which is inscribed with a votive 
offering to Heracles, while the other bears the name of Jehovah 
in Greek letters. (Macalister, Side Lights on the Bible,) 

"I Maccabees 14. 5. 

" Testament of Levi XIV. 4. 

"^ Gospel according to Matthew 23. 15. 

"Antiquities, XIV. 9. 4, and XV. i, i, i. 

" Bellum Judaicum, V. 1. 3. and IV. 4. 3. 

**Mishnah Shekalim i. 3; 3. 2; Gospel According to John 
12. 20. 

" Comp. M. Joel, Blicke, II, p. 170. 

"* Antiquities, XIII. 10. 8 ; XVIII. i. 4. 

" 1. 16; 11.22. 

"Sanhedrin 90b; Mark 12. 12. 

" Sanhedrin, loc, cit, 

^8ia\4KTov *EXXi7i'tic^f vaptivvfiot hfftSn^Tos (chapter 13). 

*^ Jewish Encyclopedia, s. v. Essenes, 

" Shekalim 5. 6. 

** Antiquities, XVIII, and Bellum Judaicum, II. 8. 5. 

•* Quod Omnis Probus Liber Sit, XII. 

** Antiquities, XVIII. 2. i. 

" Josephus, Bellum Judaicum, II. 8. 7. 

"^Refutation of all Heresies, 9. 20, seq, 

" Meor 'Enayim, Cassel's edition, II, p. 32. 

■• Comp. Historia Ecclesiastica, 11. 17. 

*^ Moreh Nebuke ha-Zeman, II. 8. 

** Ben Sira III. 20. 

^Apollonius is a typical character of the period, a mixture 
of religious philosopher and miracle-monger, who travelled 
over the East collecting all kinds of magical lore. A modern 
scholar has seen a corruption of his name in the title of the book 
of " Ben T a*anah," which was barred by the Rabbis from public 
reading. If the conjecture is correct, it would show that Hel- 
lenistic apocalypses were studied by Palestinian Jews. 

*• Sotah 7. 3 ; Megillah i. 9. 

^Yerushalmi Megillah 71c. 

364 



NOTES 

''Ibid. 

*• Gottesdienstliche Vortrdge, p. 105. 
*^Sanhedrin 17a. 

*Comp. Yerushalmi Megillah 73a. 
**Acts 6. 19. 

"* Yerushalmi Megillah 73d. 
" Acts 6. 4. 

^ Comp. Josephus, Bellum Judaicum, i. 21. 
""Acts 21.40; 22.2; Josephus, Bellum Judaicum, V. 9. 2: 
VI. 2. 1. 
"^Antiquities, XX. 11. 2. 
" Josephus, Bellum Judaicum, I. i. 
"'Aspects of the Je<wish Genius (edited by L. Simon). 

Chapter IV 
HELLENISM IN THE DIASPORA 

(pp. 126-169) 

^Soferim 1.8; Megillah 9a. 

' Megillat Ta'amit (Hebrew supplement), Neubauer, Media- 
val Jewish Chronicles, II, p. 24. See Joel, Blicke, I., p. 6, seq. 

* Exodus 24. 10. 

* Ibid. 33. II. 

'Yerushalmi Megillah 7id; comp. also Babli 9a. 

*It is suggested that the description of the creation of the 
world ^K yi.^hvroi (from the non-existent. III Mace. 7.28) re- 
flects Greek philosophical teaching; and the emphasis laid on 
the immortality of the soul may also be due to the foreign in* 
fluence. 

* Corpus Inscriptionum Graecarum 4838. 

* Compare Joel, op, cit., I, p. 80, seq, 
'Amos 8. II. 

^Eusebius, Praeparatio, 20, seq, translated by Gaisford. Iti 
Ben Sira there is also a reference to the making of a reservoir 
for the city of Jerusalem (50.3). 

*^See Sibylline Oracles, i. 811. 
24 365 



NOTES 

"Psalm 104.30. 
*■ See later, chapter VI. 

^ The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, chapter XV. 
" Comp. Josephus, Contra Apionem, II. 37. 
"• Philo, De Vita Mosis, II. 28. 
" Chapter 2. 1-9. 
" Chapter 4. 1-6. 
*• Chapter 13. 
"Wisdom of Solomon 15. 
''Psalm 16. 10, II. 
" Ibid, 6. 6. 
^Ibid. 17. 15. 
■• Job 14. 14. 
" Eoclesiastes 2. 14. 
"•Ben Sira 17.27, 32. 
" Daniel 12. 2, 3. 

** See, on this point, Ahad Ha'am's essay on " Flesh and 
Spirit" {Selected Essays^ translated by L. Simon, p. 146). 
" Comp. A hot de-Rabbi Natan, edited Schechter, p. 26. 
" Job 28. 

" Proverbs 8. 22-30. 
"Ben Sira i. 
** Ibid. 24. I, seq. 
^ Ibid, 15. 1. 
"Wisdom 7. 21, seq, 
"Proverbs 9. i. 
" Wisdom of Solomon 18. 14. 
" Ibid. 9. 1, 2. 

"Comp. Bacher's Worterbuch der Tannaiten. 
" Hosea 12. 4, 5. 
^ Exodus 15. 22. 
" Isaiah 55. z. 
"Exodus 15.25. 

^Proverbs 3. 18; comp. Mekilta 53a. 
" De Posteritate Caini, 45. 

" Comp. Legum Allegoriae, II. 21 ; De Somniis, II. 31, 38. 

366 



NOTES 

"* Mekilta de-Rabbi Shim*on 82. 

• Pirke Abot 6. 2. 
*■ Numbers rei. 19. 

"* Legum Allegoriae, III. 6. 

^De Congressu Eruditorum Causa, i. 54. 

■ De Somniis, i. 5. 

"Comp. De Migratione Abrahami, 20. 20; De Specialibus 
Le gibus, III. 32. 

'^ Legum Allegoriae, i. 135. Philo, quaintly enough, states that 
Moses received in Egypt this encyclic education from Greek 
teachers. 

^ De Congressu Eruditorum Causa, 34. 

"Comp. Quis Rerum Divinarum Heres, 300; De Cherubim, 
ai-27. 

^ De Ebrietate, 33. 

"Legum Allegoriae, I. 102. 

" De Migratione Abrahami, 12. 

*• Deuteronomy 13. i. 

•* Ibid* 19. 14. ^ 

" De Justitate, II. 360. 

** Quod Deterius Potiori Insidiatur, 7. 

•• De Fuga et Inventione, 5. 

" De Migratione Abrahami, 5. 

•• Quis Rerum Divinarum Heres, 53. 

" De Vita Mosis, II. 26a 

•• De Mundi Opificio, 24. 

* Quaestiones in Genesis, III. 45. 
^ De Somniis, II. 242. 

^ De Gigantibus, 30. 

^ Legum Allegoriae, III. 119. 

" Comp. De Migratione Abrahami, 24. 

'* De Vita Mosis, I. 2. 

" Josephus, Contra Apionem, II. 16. 

" Acts of the Apostles 7. 

"/^fV. II. 

" Comp. Montefiore, Judaism and St. Paul, 

** De Monarchia, II. 2. 

307 



NOTES 

"Comp. Acts 2.5. 

"■ Comp. Bacon, The Making of the New TestameuL 

" Comp. John 3. 14 ; 6. 3. 

" Hebrews 7. 15, 24, 25. 

** Comp. Bacon, op, cit, 

**Epistola ad Africanum, II. 3. 13. 

Chapter V 
THE HELLENISTIC JEWISH LITERATURE 

(pp. 197-^49) 

* Historia Ecclesiasiica, I. 23. 

'This Eupolemus is confused by Polyhistor with the Jewish 
writer of that name, but is obviously writing from a different 
standpoint 

'Writers like Artapanus were really trying to square the 
data of world-history known to them with their national pre- 
possessions and traditions. When a modern historian does 
the same thing, it is called Scientific Research. 

* Comp. Jewish Quarterly Review, vol. XV, p. 337. 
'Letter of Aristeas 128. 

* Ibid, 142, seq. 
^ Ibid. 150, seq* 

* Ibid, 234. 

* Das Vierte Makkabaerbuch. 

^ Comp. Eusebius, Praeparatio Evangelica, 7. 13 ; 8. 10; Clem., 
Strom. V. 14, 97; XIII. 12. 

"II Maccabees i. 10; comp. Eusebius, Praeparatio Evangelica, 
8. 10. 

" Elter, De Gnomologia Graecorum Historia, p. 221 ; Brehier, 
Philo, p. 48 ; comp., too, Joel, op, cit. I, p. 74. 

" See later, p. 225. 

" Ueber das Phokylidische Gedicht, 

"It is noteworthy that the Rabbis expressly deprecated the 
deduction of general moralizing lessons from this conmiand. 
See later, chapter VI, p. 266. 

868 



NOTES 

^ Descriptio Graeciae, X. 121, 9. 

"Sibylline Oracles, III. 218, seg, 

^* ''Eo'rat Kal ^d/ios Afi/Aos : itreirat A^Xos &87j\os I xat h&li'ii I^^M-V^ 

^ Ibid, 652, seq. 

*• Hirsch, The Jewish Sibylline Oracles, 

** Comp. Origen, Versus Celsum, V. 61. 

** It is referred to in the recently discovered Hebrew frag- 
ments concerning a Jewish sect, presumably of the first century, 
as the ** Book of the Division of Time by Sabbatical Years and 
Jubilees." Comp. Schechter, Fragments of Jewish Sectaries 
{Introduction). 

"Genesis 5.24. 

''Isaiah 11. i. 

"Psalms of Solomon 17. 

" Enoch 48. 6. 

" Ibid, 62. 5 ; 69. 29. For the title " Son of Man " comp. Yeru- 
shalmi Yoma 42c. 

" Enoch 51.3. 

"Ibid. 45.3,4. 

** Ibid. 8. 1 ; 69. 9. 

" Ibid. 69. 9, seq. 

** dyaroXifif diJo'cs, ApKTOS, /uajifippla. 

"Ibid. 30. 13. 

** Ibid. 65. 2; comp. Ben Sira 17. 3. 

"Like Jubilees this book is referred to in the recently dis- 
covered Hebrew document of the supposed Zadokite sect. 

"• Comp. Revue des Etudes Juives, July, 191 1. 

" In the Protestant Apocrypha the book is known as Esdras II. 

"II Esdras 320, seq. 

" Ibid. 6. 60. 

" Ibid. 7. 27. 

^ Ibid. 8.29, seq, 

"/3i^.8.4i. 

** Ibid. 9. 2a 

**Ibid. 9.33. 

^Ibid. 7. 13. 

869 



NOTES 

*• Ibid. 9. 3. 

^According to an alternative reading, the oumber of books 
is two hundred and four. 
*■ Josephus, Vitdt 75. 

* Josephus, Contra Apionem, II. iS. 
"Josephus, Bellum Judaicum, Preface. 
"^ Yerushalmi Kiddushin 59c. 

" Psalm 45. 3. See Yerushalmi Megillah yic 
"Quoted in Schechter's Studies in Judaism, Second Series^ 
p. 23. 
"'Hagigah 12a. 

" Origen, Epistola ad Africanum, 2. 
"Yerushalmi Shabbat 6.4; Yoma 3.8; Sukkah 3.5. 
" Je^sh Quarterly Review, VII, p. 275. 
" Jewish Quarterly Review, New Series, IV, p. 9. 

Chapter VI 

THE RABBIS AND HELLENISM 

(pp. 250-296) 

* Genesis 9. 27. 

'Yerushalmi Megillah 71c; comp. Joel, Blicke, I. 5. 

* Yerushalmi Megillah 71c; Shabbat 115a; comp. JoSl, op, cit., 
pp. 64, 65. 

* Yerushalmi Megillah 71a. 

* Gittin 9. 8. 

* Megillah i. 8. 

* Baba Kamma 82b ; comp. Joel, op. cit, 
' Josephus, Antiquities, XV. 10, 4. 

*It has been suggested that Abtalion's warning, not to be 
exiled to a place of evil waters lest those who follow be cor- 
rupted, refers to Alexandria, where he had probably lived in 
exile with Judah, and that he was pointing to dangerous Alex- 
andrian heresies. But ** the place of evil waters " is better taken 
figuratively. 

" Wayyikra Rabbah 34. 3. 

370 



NOTES 

"Pirkc de-Rabbi Eliczer i8. 

"Tamid 32a. 

" Timaeus, 8. 4a 

"Erubin 13b. 

"Pesikta Rabbati, Friedmann's edition, pp. 84a, 195a. 

^ Neumark, Geschichte der Jiidishen Philosophie, vol. i, p. 70. 

^^Pesahim 54a. 

" Bereshit Rabbah 14. 

^* Enoch 4. 4. 

**Berakot i6l. 

" Bereshit Rabbah 14. 

"Sanhedrin 38a; Hagigah laa. 

''Bereshit Rabbah 1.2. 

** Yalkut 2. 

'"Ben Sira i. 9; comp. above, chapter IV, p. 154. 

''It may be noted that one of Philo's treatises, in which he 
develops his mystical doctrine, is entitled " Cherubim," and 
starts from the description of the angels stationed at the en- 
trance of the Garden of Eden. 

** Comp. Bemidbar Rabbah 9. 39. 

"See above, chapter IV, p. 159. 

""Comp. Lauterbach, Jewish Quarterly Reviev), New Series, 
vol. I, p. 503, seq. 

** Exodus 21.6. 

"^Kiddushin 22b. 

" Leviticus 25. 55. 

^ De Posteritate Caini, 22. 

**To8efta Baba Kamma 7. 6. 

* Deuteronomy 27. 5. 
''Ibid., 22. 6, 7. 

" Galatians 4. 22. 
"* Romans II. 28. 

* Galatians III. 10-13. 
'"Epistles 9. 

** Justin, Dialogue, 40-46. 
^Clement, 11. 2Z. 

871 



NOTES 

^Sanhedrin 99b. 

^Hagigah 13 a. 

** Isaiah 14. 14. 

*• Proverbs 25. 16. 

** Psalm 116.15. 

^ Ecclesiasticus 5. 5. 

* Song of Songs i. 4. 

'*Hagigah 14b; Yerushalmi Hagigah 2.1. 

"^Hagigah 15a. 

** Yerushalmi Hagigah 2. i. 

** Hagigah 14b. 

** Ibid, 15 a. 

" Ibid. 

" Ibid. 

" Ibid. 

^ Ibid. 14a. 

" Pirke Abot 3. 19. 

"• Yerushalmi Yadayim 3. 5. 

•* Song of Songs, Homily IV. 

** Yerushalmi Sotah 24a. 

**Hullin 60a; Bekorot 8b. 

•* Niddah 69b. 

•• Historia Ecclesiastica, IV. 2. Dio, LXXVII. 32. 

** Sanhedrin la 5. 

"Berakot 6ib. 

" Deuteronomy 30. 20. 

"Joshua I. 8. 

*• Menahot 99b. 

"Sanhedrin 11. 1. (Joel, Blicke, I, p. 72, seq.) 

" Midrash Kohelet 12. 13. Joel(o^. cit, p. 74) ingeniously sug- 
gests, however, that Ben Sira is here a mistake for Ben Satda 
(Christian books). Ben Sira belonged to the class of external 
books which was not for common study, but not to the class which 
was altogether reprobated. 

^Jewish Quarterly Review, III, 541. 

*^ Sanhedrin loob. 

372 



NOTES 

" Comp. Schechter, Jewsh Quarterly Review, III, 682. 

** Shabbat 30a. 

"Abot de-Rabbi Natan. (Schechter's edition, pp. 2, 3.) 

"Shabbat 13b; Menahot 4sa. 

"It is noteworthy that Ben Sira obtained in the Christian 
Church the name of Ecclesiasticus, just because it was deemed 
fit for reading in Church (Eoclesia). Together with the other 
books of the Apocrypha, it was retained in the public ritual as 
possessing a moral value, though not invested with independent 
dogmatic authority. % 

** Contra Afionem, I. 8. 

•* Yadayim 3. 5. 

" Hagigah 2. i. 

" Yerushalmi Hagigah 2. i. 

** Sotah 49a. 

*• Tosefta Sotah 5. 8. 

'^Yerushalmi Megillah 71c. 

" Sotah 49b. 

"Soferim i. 7; Megillat Ta*anit (Hebrew supplement), Neu- 
bauer, Mediaval Jewish Chronicles, II, p. 24. 

^ Hosea 8. 12. 

*^Tanhuma Wayyera. 

"* Pirke Abot 3. 23. 

"Comp. Quod Deterius Potiori Insidiatur 191, 197; Legum 
Allegoriae, I. 102. 

••Berakot 28b. 

"Shabbat 11 6a. 

Chapter VII 

THE AFTERMATH 

(pp. 297-330) 

^ Yerushalmi Sanhedrin 29b. 

' Mekilta 22. 20. 

' Berakot lob. Renan deprecates the suggestion of the impor- 
tance of the Christian version as against the Jewish at this 
period. 

2S 373 



NOTES 

^Zechariah 10.4. 
'Yerushalmi Sanhedrin 20c. 
^Psalms 26. 5. 

* Yerushalmi Berakot yd. 
' Bereshit Rabbah 65.16. 

* Longinus, chapter 9. 

" Comp. Origen, yersus Celsum, j. 43. 

" Bereshit Rabbah i. 2. 

"Sukkah 51b. 

^Megillah 9b. 

^* Genesis Rabbah 16. 7. 

" Sec Juster, Les Juifs dans VEmpire Romain, vol. I, p. 366. 

*• Joel, op, cit., I, p. 52, seq, 

" Moed Katon 28b : ia% aweipa h ffrSfiari tarov, 

^Yerushalmi Rosh ha-Shanah 57a: wph fidatXetas 6 v6tios 06 

^'Yerushalmi Nedarim 38a: iroXd, K^tpie, l/?/»et(af. 

^ Bereshit Rabbah 36. 12. 

^ Yerushalmi Sotah 24c 

" Ibid, 2ib. 

" Megillah 6a. 

^Bereshit Rabbah 11. 7. 

" Comp. Jewish Quarterly Review, III, 357. 

""Hullin 60a. 

"The words philosopher and Min are used almost synony- 
mously for a person who disputed Jewish monotheism. 

^ Legum Allegoriae 3. 134. 

*• Berakot 55 a. 

** Yerushalmi Hagigah 77c. 

"Hagigah 13 a. 

" Geschichte der Judischen Philosophie, 

"^ Novel 146. 

■* See Zunz, Gottesdienstliche Vortrdge, p. 301. Comp. also on 
this question Juster, op. cit, I, p. 374. 

" Comp. Epstein, Revue des Etudes Juives, vol. XXI. 

374 



NOTES 

"•Comp. Steinschncider, Je<wish Quarterly Review, vol. XVI, 
p. 390, seq. 

Chapter VIII 
CONCLUSION 

(PP- 331-359) 

^ Comp. James Darmesteter's " Essay on the History of the 
Jews." 

'Comp. Horowitz, Die Stellung des Aristotels bei den Juden 
des Mittelalter, 

*An interesting study of the mediaeval Jewish attitude 
toward Greek philosophy is to be found in an essay on " Mai- 
monides and Halevi/' by H. Wolfson, Jewish Quarterly Review, 
New Series, II, p. 297, seq. 

* " Atticism and Judaism " in IDHJ n]n«. 



875 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

1. BOOKS DEALING WITH THE WHOLE SUBJECT 

The Apocrypha. 

Schurer, E., History of the Jewish People in the Time of Jesus. 

Wellhausen, J., Jewish History. 

Graetz, H., History of the Jews, vols. II and III. 

Renan, £., The Origins of Christianity. 

Hamburger, Real-Encyclopadie fur Bibel and Talmud. 

Juster, Jean, Les Juifs dans TEmpire Romain. 

Friedlaender, M., Zur Entstehung-Geschichte des Christenthums. 

Die Judische Apologctik. 

Die Religiose Bewegungen der Juden im Zeitalter Jesus. 
Wendland, Die Hellenistisch-Romische Kultur in ihrem Bezug 

zu Judenthum und Christenthum. 
Hastings, Dictionary of the Bible, s, v. Apocrypha, Diaspora, etc 
Bauer, Von Griechenthum zu Christenthum. 
Friedlander, G., Hellenism and Christianity. 

XL BOOKS DEALING. WITH SPECIAL ASPECTS OF THE 

SUBJECT 

(a) Hellenistic Culture 

Lowes-Dickinson, The Greek View of Life. 

Zeller, E., History of Greek Philosophy: Stoics, Epicureans, 

and Sceptics. 
Murray, Gilbert, Hellenistic Religion. (Hibbert Journal, 1910.) 
Bevan, E. A., The First Contact of Hellenism with the East 

{Quarterly Review, 1910.) 
Butcher, S. H., Harvard Essays. 

877 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

(b) Hellenism in Judea 

Smith, G. A., Jerusalem. 

The Minor Prophets. 
Freudenthal, Hellenistische Studien. 

W'llrich, Juden und Griechen in der Vor-Makkabiischen Zeit. 
Bevan, £. A., The Seleucid Empire. 
Kautzsch, £., Pseudepigraphen der Juden. 

(c) Hellenism in the Diaspora 

Philo, Edited by Cohn and Wendland. 

Siegfried, Philon als Ausleger des Allen Testaments. 

Br6hier, Les Idees Philosophiques et Religieuses de Philo. 

Drummond, The Alexandrian-Jewish Philosophy. 

Mahaffy, J. P., The Silver Age of Greece. 

Bacon, The Making of the New Testament 

(d) Hellenstic- Jewish Literature 

Josephus, Edited by Niese. 

Eusebius, Praeparatio Evangelica, edited by Gifford. 

Reinach, Th., Textes des auteurs grecs et romains relatifs au 

Juda'isme. 
Bernays, Gesanmielte Schriften. 
Thackeray, H. St. J., The Letter of Aristeas. 
Charles, R. H., The Book of Enoch. 

The Slavonic Book of Enoch. 

The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs. 

The Assumption of Moses. 
Duff, The Books of Esdras. 
Rendel-H arris. The Odes of Solomon. 
Hirsch, S. A., Sibylline Oracles (Collected Essays). 
Zunz, L., Gottesdienstliche Vortrage der Juden. 



878 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

(e) The Rabbis and Hellenism 

Graetz, Gnosticism in Judenthum. 
Taylor, C, Sayings of the Jewish Fathers. 
Bacher, W., Agada der Tannaiten. 

Agada der Amoraer. 

Worterbuch der Tannaiten. 
Joel, M., Blicke in die Religionsgeschichte zu Anfang des Zweiten 

christlichen Jahrhunderts. 
Krauss, S., Lehnworter. 
Strack, Tractat Aboda Zara. 
Krochmal, N., Moreh Nebuke ha-Zeman. 
Neumark, D., Geschichte der Jiidischen Philosophie. 
Harnack, A., The Expansion of Christianity, vol. I. 
Lauterbach, J. Z., The Ancient Jewish Allegorists. (Jrwish Quar- 
terly Review, New Series, vol. i.) 
Montefiore, C. G., Judaism and St. Paul. 



879 



INDEX 



Abbahtt, amora, 309. 

Abtalion, tanna, 100, as4, 370. 

Adam Kadtnon, 181. 

Ahad Ha'am, 366. 

Ahasuerus, 23. 

Ahett 274; see also Elisha ben 

A buy ah. 
Aldba, tanna, J47, aya, 373, 375, 

376, a77, 378, 380, 300, 30J, 

317. 
Alexander the Great, 34, 38, 39, 

30, 31* 3^* 33* 35. 45* 47* 48, 

54, 55. 61. 6s, 70, 8s, 86. 308. 

ai6, 3S5, 33a, 349, 355. 
Alexander Jannaeus, 99, 116, 3S4. 
Alexander Polyhistor, 139, 199; see 

also Polyhistor. 
'Am ha-AreM, Galilean, 114. 
Ambrosius, 330. 
Ami, amora, 315. 
Amos, 135. 

Anileus, a Jew of Nehardea, 35. 
Antigonus of Soco, tanna, 93. 
Antiochus III, 94. 
Antiochus Epiphanes, 89, 93, 94, 

9S, 96, I30, 133. 
Antoinette, Marie, 83. 
Aphrodite, 57. 
Apion, 36. 

Apocalypse of Baruch, the, 333. 
Apocalypses, the, 198, 333. 
Apocalyptic literature, 109-1x7, 333. 
Apocalyptics, the, 334, 33s, 337, 

339. 
Apocrypha, the, 198. 
Apollo, 57, 133. 
Apollonius of Tyana, 1x3, 364. 
Aquila, 347, 248, 353, 387, 394, 307, 

333, 333. 334. 



Arcs, 57. 

Aristeas, 137, 134, 304, 306, 308. 
Letter of, X34, 137, 303, 304, 309, 

3x3, 3X6, 3S3. 
Aristobulus, 134, 3x3. 
Aristobulua, Alexandrian Jewish 

philosopher, 116. 313, 313, 3x4. 
Aristobulus, " Exegesis " of, 134, 

336. 
Aristophanes, 3S, 59, 361. 
Aristotle, 39, 30, 63, 67, 68, 69, 3 11, 

349. a88, 347, 349, 3S0. 
Arnold, Matthew, si* 
Artapanus, a historical romancer, 

136, 368. 
Artaxerxes I, 30. 
Asineus, a Jew of Nehardea, 35. 
Assouan, Aramaic papyri found at, 

x8. 
Assumption of the Prophets, the, 

284. 
Assumption of Moses, the, 335. 
Astarte, worship of, 88. 
Athene, S7- 
Atticus, philosopher of fourth 

century, 349. 
Augustine, 330. 



Bacchus, 63, 97. 

Bacher, W., 13, 366. 

Bacon, 368. 

Balaam, blessings of, 15. 

Bar Cochba, the rising of, 378. 

Bar Kappara, 38s, 309, 310, 315. 

Barnabas, gnostic, 368. 

Ben Azzai, tanna, 373, 373. 

Ben La'anah, the book of, 383, 364. 

Ben Satda, 379. 



3S1 



INDEX 



Ben Sira, 22, 68, 89, 90, ixa, 116, 

148, 197, a6j, a8j. 
Ben Toglah, the book of, a8a. 
Ben Zoma, tanna, 272, 273, 274, 

2S0. 
Bernays, 217, 353. 
Boethus, Alexandrian family, 116. 
Book of Enoch, 227, 330, a3J, 359, 

3^7- 
Book of Erra, the, J35, 345. 
Book of Jubilees, 225-227, 328, 329. 
Book of Raziel, the, 327. 
Br^hier, 368. 
Butcher, S. H., 51, 361. 

Caesar, Julius, asi. 

Cain, symbol of impious pride, i8a. 

Cainites, the, 291, 292. 

Caird, Professor, 53. 

Celsus, pagan impugner of Christi* 

anity, 222, 304. 
Chance, worship of, 6x. 
Christian Science, spread of, 6a. 
Cleanthes, Stoic, 29, 30, 71, 72. 
Clement of Alexandria, 213, 268, 

a7o, 3x3, 349. 
Cleodemos, Malchos, 200. 
Cleopatra, 115. 

Constantine, emperor, 2x8, 3x9. 
Crescas, 329, 35 x. 
Cynics, the, 72, 75. 
Cyril, bishop of Alexandria, 320. 
Cyrus, 23, 34. 

Darmsteter, James, 375. 

dei Rossi, Azariah, X07, 35'. 

Demetrius, Chronicles of, X32, X99. 

Dio Cassius, 278. 

Diodorus, Greek historian. 2x5, 363. 

Diogenes, X85. 

Dionysus, festival of, 133. 

Dionysus, patron deity of Scytho- 

polis, 88. 
Dionysus Sabazios, 97. 
Divine Presence, doctrine of, X75. 



Domninus, Jewish neo-PIatonist, 

^49. 
Dorshe Hamurot, x6o, 206, 264, 

265. 
Dorshe Reshumot, X59, x6i, 266. 
Dositheus, xxs. 

Ebionites, the, 109, 286. 
Eighteen Benedictions, 229, 292. 
Eleazar, tanna, 205, 206, 247, 286, 

a99. 
Eleazar Hisma, 290. 
Eleazar ben Pedat, 308. 
Eliezer ben Hyrcanus, 270, 271. 
Eliezer ben Jos6 of Galilee, 269. 
Eliezer, tanna, 162. 
Elijah, teacher of Psrthagoras, 79. 
Elisha ben Abuyah, 272, 274, 275, 

302. 
Elter, 368. 

Epicureans, the, 70, X44, X46, X50. 
Epicureanism, 77, 78. 
Epicurus, 77» 78, 8x, X85. 
Epstein, 374. 
Essenes, the, 81, loa, X04, xos, 107, 

X08, X09, lao, X62, 17X, 172, 

173* 335> 353. 
Euergetes, king of Egypt, 116. 
Eupolemus, Hellenistic historian, 

92, 200, 368. 
Euripides, 59, 138. 
Eusebius, 105, 17X, 199, 278, 350, 

36s. 368. 
Ezekiel, Jewish Greek writer, X36. 
Ezra, reformation of, X9. 

Falashas, the, 227. 
France, Anatole, 345. 
Frankel, Z., 353. 
Freudenthal, aoo, 203, 209, 363. 
Friedlaender, Israel, X4. 
Friedlaender, Moritz, xa. 
Fortune, worship of, 6x. 



Gainsford, 365. 

Galilean *Amha-AreM, XX4. 

382 



INDEX 



Gamaliel, 349. 

Gamaliel II, 287, 

Gersonides, 349. 

Gibbon, £., 142. 

Graetz, Heinrich, 3x0, 353. 

Greek version, 130, 246, 247; see 

also Septuaguit, the. 
Grote, historian, 362. 

Hadrian, 301. 

Hai Gaon, 276. 

Haman, attacks of, 33. 

Hananiah ben Hezekiah, 282. 

Hanina, amora, 308. 

Hasidim, the, 93, 97, 102, 105. 

Hassideans, 92, 97. 

Hebrew Canon, the, 109, no, 112, 

128, 195, 225, 248, 281, 282, 

283, 284. 
Hecataeus, Greek historian, 87, 

2X5, 216. 
Heine, Heinrich, 357. 
Heraclitus, Ionian philosopher, 26, 

74. 138. 
Heracles, Phoenician origin of, 87, 

96, 200. 
Hermes, mediation of, 180, 201, 

202. 
Hermetic writings, X13. 
Herod, 116, 120, 251, 310. 
Herodotus, 25, 361. 
Hesiod, 74, X58. 
Hillel, tanna, loi, 124, 254, 255, 

256, 267, 3x6. 
Hippolytus, 105, 106. 
Hirsch, S. A., 369. 
Homer, 73, 74, 91, 158, 220, 221, 

304. 
Homeric mythology, 60. 
Homeros, the books of, 282. 
Horowitz, 375. 
Horus, 66. 

Hosha'ya, amora, 3x0, 3xx, 312. 
Huna, Rab, amora, 306. 
Hypsistanae, the, 291. 



Ibn Gebirol, 329, 349, 351. 
Ishmael, tanna, 276, 280, 293. 
Isis, 63, 64, 66. 

Jannes and Jambres, history of, 
•138. 

Jason, 87, 95, 96. 

Jason, a Carian Jew, 133. 

Jason of Cyrene, X32, 209. 

Jellinek, A., 353. 

Jerome, church father, 40, 286. 

Jesus, 189, 192, 193. 

Joel, M., 307, 364, 368, 370, 374. 

Johanan, amora, 309. 

Johanan bar Nappaha, 308. 

Johanan ben Zaccai, tanna, 263, 
264, 265, 270, 271, 316. 

Johanan of Eleutheropolis, 306. 

John the Baptist, 109. 

John Hyrcanus, 99. 

Johnson, Samuel, 63. 

Jonathan, 98. 

Jose of Galilee, 275. 

Josephus, 24, a6, 29, 33. 34, 41. 86, 
94, loi, 103, 105, X06, 107, 
121, 122, 127, X43, 187, 209, 
24i-a4S, 283, 352, 36X, 362, 
364, 365, 366, 367, 370. 

Joshua, amora, 313. 

Joshua ben Hananiah, 247, 273, 
277. 

Joshua ben Levi, 311, 312; Mystery 
of, 326. 

Judah, amora, 313. 

Judah ben. Hai, 305, 315. 

Judah ben Pazzi, 273. 

Judah ben Tabbai, 287. 

Judah ha-Nasi, 285, 298, 308, 309. 

Judah ha-Levi, 329, 350, 35 x. 

Judas Maccabeus, 98, 200. 

Julian, emperor, 3x9. 

Juster, Jean, 374. 

Justinian, anti-Jewish legislation 
of, 321. 

Justus of Tiberias, 241. 

Juvenal, 29 x. 



383 



INDEX 



Kmbbalah, the. 3^7. 
Karaites, the. 324. 
Krauss, S., 249. 
Krochmal, N., xii, 35s. 

Lauterhach, J. Z., 371. 

Levi bar Haita, 310. 

Libertioi, the, 118. 

Luther, Martin, 310. 

Luszatto, Samuel David, 351, 3Sa. 

Lytimachus, ton of Ptolemy, 115. 

Ma'aseh Bereshit, as 7, J85. 
Ma*aaeh Merkabah, 257, a63. 
Macalister, 362, 364. 
Macaulay, 177. 

Maccabees, Second Book of, S09, 
jij; Fourth Book of, J09, si 3. 
Mahaffy, 36a, 363. 
Maimonides. 3'9> 349f 35 x. 
Maine, 354. 

Manetho, Egyptian historian, 131. 
Marcion, gnostic, s68. 
Marcus Aurelius, 301. 
Margolis, M. L., 361. 
MoMMol'ToVt the Jewish goodwish, 

63. 
Meir, tanna, 30a, 303, 305. 
Meleager, 48. 
Men of the Great Synagogue, ao, 

^3. 59- 
Menander, comedies of, 139. 
Menelaus, 96. 

Metatron, angel, 373, 274, 337. 
Midrash Konen, the, 328. 
Midrash Tadshe, the, 328. 
Minim, the, 284, 290, 291, 292. 312, 

374. 
Minut, 29i» 392, 303, 356. 
Mommsen, Th., 191. 
Montefiore, C. G., 367. 
Moses, 20, 130, 184, 185, 200. 
Muller, Max, 179. 
Murray, Gilbert, 363. 
Musaeus, verses on, 138; identified 

with Moses, 202. 



Neaader, 35 a. 

Nehunyah ben ha-Kanah, 302. 
Neo-Platonists, the, 79. 
Neo-Pythagorean brotherhood, 6j. 
Neo-Pythagorcan school, 79, 81. 

107, 139, X44» 150, 158. 
Neumark, David, 316, 371. 
Nicholas of Damascus, 241. 
Numbers, veneration of. 225. 
Numenius of Apamea, 303. 

Odes of Solomon, the, 234. 

Oenomaus of Gadata, 303. 

Olympian gods, 58, 87. 

Olympian hierarchy, 56, 73. 

Onias, 36. 

Oniaa, family of, 94. 

Onias III, 94> 95i 96. 

Onias IV, 1x6, 132. 

Ophites, the, 291. 

Origen. church father, 195, 370, 
275. 310, 31 If 3xa. 369, 370, 
374. 

Orpheus, verses on, 138, 202, 203. 

Orphism, Hellenic mystical teach- 
ing, 63. 

Osiris, 64, 66. 

Ossian, 140. 

Pan, patron deity of Panios, 88. 

Pan, temple of, 133. 

Paul, apostle, 40, X2i, 267, 280, 

292. 
Pauline Epistles, 267. 
Pausanias, 2x8. 
Perseus and Andromeda, story of, 

87. 
Persius, 291. 
Perushim, the, 93. 
Pharisees, the, xoo, 102, 104, 105, 

XX3. X16, X20, 150, 336. 
Philemon, Greek comic poet, 2x6. 
Philip the Macedonian, 28, 54. 
Philo-Judseus, 15, 34, 3^, 4i» 43. 

127, 143, 157-187, X90, 191, 

192, I93» I97> «i«f 2X3. 214, 



884 



INDEX 



aa6, ajx, aja, 235, a40, 344* 
249, 2^> 26if ^^3» 264* ^^5* 
^70, 275, a9i, 293, 303> 3ix> 
312, 3X4> 3i7> 328* 329. 339> 
340, 34X> 352> 3S3> 370. 

"Phao," 105, 106. 

Philo, author of a narrative poem 
in Greek, 137. 

Philocrates, 204. 

Philodemus, 47. 

Phineaa ben Jair, 328. 

Phocylides, 138, 217, 219. 

PhotittS, 24 X. 

Plato, 26, 59, 68, 69, 74, 177, 249. 
355, a88, 351, 363. 

Platonists, the, 139. 

Pliny, 6x, 362. 

Plutarch, 29. 

FoUion, xox; see Abtalion. 

Polyhistor, 368. 

Pon^peius, 1x9, 250, 251, 253. 

Porch, tchool of the, 178. 

Psalms of Solomon, 228, 234. 

Fseudo-Aristeas, 92. 

Pseudo-Artapanus, 20 x, 202. 

Pseudo-Eupolemus. 

Fseudo-Hecataeus, 2x6. 

Pseudo-Phocylides, 218. 

Pseudo-Solomon, 151. 

Fseudepigraphic literature, 109- 
X17, 203. 

Ptolemy, 32, 37, 86, 92, 115. 

Ptolemy Philadelphus, 127, 128, 
X30, 204, 205. 

Ptolemy Soter, 215. 

Ptolemies, the, 45, 65, 94, ii5> 131* 
X32, 205, ai2, 314, 336. 

Pythagoras, 79, 81, 107, xo8, X85. 

Pythagorean school, 80, 8x. 

Pythagoreans, the, 80. 

Quietus, 287. 

Rab, amora, 26 x. 
Rabbah, amora, 313, 3i4« 
Reinach, 362. 



Renan, Ernest, 4X, 373. 
Reuben, amora, 313. 

Saadya, 339, 347- 

Sadducees, the 102, 103, 104, X09, 

150, 324; see also Zadokites. 
Sameas, xoo; see Shemaiah. 
Scaliger, 204, 217. 
Sceptics, the, 79. 
Schechter, Solomon, 14. 366, 369. 

373. 
Schurer, £., 13, 100, X99. 
Scriptures, Greek translation of, 

1x5, X27, 128, 129; see also 

Septuagint Version. 
Sefer ha-Yashar, $27. 
Sefer Hekalot, 326, 327. 
Sefer Yegirah, 327. 
SeHrot, doctrine of, 328. 
Seieucus I, 33. 

Seleucids, the, 65, 86, 94, X32. 
Seneca, Roman philosopher, 188. 
Septuagint Version, 92, 115, X29, 

130, 13a, X38. 195, 197, 198, 

199, 200, 203, 346, 247, 289. 

294, Z22y 323, 324, 337. 
Sethites, the, 291. 
Severus, 278, 319. 
Shammai, 254, 255, 256, 257 
Shekinah, doctrine of, X75. 
Shemaiah, tanna, xoo, 254. 
Sibyl, the, X40, 203. 
Sibyl, verses on the, X38, 218. 
Sibylline oracles, the, 141, 215, 218, 

223. 
Sibyllistae, the, 222. 
Sicimos, son of Hermes, 20 x. 
Simon the Just, 9ii, 349. 
Simon ben Gamaliel, 253, 287. 
Simon ben Judah, 265. 
Simon ben Lakish, 308. 
Simon ben Shetah, 254. 
Simon ben Yohai, 298. 
Simon, L., 365, 366. 
Socrates, 67, 68, 74, 185. 
Socratic system, 80. 

885 



INDEX 



Sophocles, 138, ao3, J16. 

Spinoza, Baruch, 354. 

Steinichneider, M., 375. 

Stephen, one of the "Grecian 
Jews," 189. 

Stoics, the, 70, 71. 73, 74. 75. 7«, 
78, 79. 81, 8j, 104, 107, 144, 
150, 158, 178, 186, 208, ax I. 

Stoicism, 71, ^^t ^n* 

Strabo, 33, 37, 43. 36*. 

Targum, the, 115, 118, 128. 

Targum Onkelos, 25^* 

Tarphon, tanna, 293. 

Tatian, 286. 

Testaments of Twelve Patriarchs, 

the, J34. 284. 
Theocritus, idylls of, 91. 
Theodosius, anti- Jewish legislation 

of, 321. 
Tkeodotion, 248. 
Theodotus, 201. 

Theophrastus, 30. • 

Therapeutae, the, 164, 171. 17J. 



Titus, iJx, xpx. 
Tobiades, the, 94, 
Trojan, 287, 301. 

Vespasian, 122. 
Voltaire, 319. 

Wisdom of Solomon, 14 5- x 47, 151, 
152, 154. 197, 233. 24s, 249. 
259. 983. 

Xenophanes, Ionian philosopher, 
26. 

Yabneh, the vineyard of, 263. 

Zadokites, the, X03; s€e also Sad- 

ducees. 
Zarathustra, 23. 
Zeno, Stoic, 71. 
Zerubbabel, 34. 
Zeus, 7a, 97. 
Zeus Olympios, 96. 
Zeus Xcnios, 96. 



C(e lord (0afHtnore fpxu% 

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