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48 The Jewish Quarterly Eedew. 


The object of this article is to say about the dogmas of 
Judaism a word which I think ought not to be left unsaid. 

In speaking of dogmas it must be understood that Judaism 
does not ascribe to them any saving power. The belief in a 
dogma or a doctrine without abiding by iis real or supposed 
consequences {e.g. the belief in creatio ex nihilo without keeping 
the Sabbath) is of no value. And the discussion about certain 
doctrines is not whether they possess or do not possess the 
desired charm against certain diseases of the soul, but whether 
they ought to be considered as characteristics of Judaism 
or not. 

It must again be premised that the subject, which occupied 
the thoughts of the greatest and noblest Jewish minds for so 
many centuries, has been neglected for a comparatively long 
time. And this for various reasons. First, there is Mendels- 
sohn's assertion, or supposed assertion, in his Jerusalem that 
Judaism has no dogmas — an assertion which has been ac- 
cepted by the majority of modern Jewish theologians as the 
only dogma Judaism possesses. You can hear it pronounced 
in scores of Jewish pulpits ; you can read it written in scores 
of Jewish books. To admit the possibility that Mendels- 
sohn was in error was hardly permissible, especially for those 
with whom he enjoys a certain infallibility. Nay, even 
the fact that he himself was not consistent in his theory, 
and on another occasion declared that Judaism has dogmas, 
only that they are purer and more in harmony with reason 
than those of other religions ; or even the more important 
fact, that he published a school-book for children, in which the 
so-called Thirteen Articles were embodied, only that instead 
of the formula " I believe," &c., he substituted " I am con- 
vinced," — even such patent facts did not produce much effect 
upon many of our modern theologians. They were either 
overlooked or explained away so as to make them harmonise 
with the great dogma of dogmalessness. For it is one of the 
attributes of infallibility that the words of its happy pro- 

The Dogmas of Judaism. 49 

prietor must always be reconcilable even when they appear 
to the eye of the unbeliever as gross contradictions.^ 

Another cause of the neglect into which the subject has 
fallen is that our century is an historical one. It is not only 
books that have their fate, but also whole sciences and litera- 
tures. In past times it was religious speculation that formed 
the favourite study of scholars, in our time it is history with 
its critical foundation on a sound philology. Now as these 
two most important branches of Jewish science were so long 
neglected — were perhaps never cultivated in the true meaning 
of the word, and as Jewish literature is so vast and Jewish 
history so far-reaching and eventful, we cannot wonder 
that these studies have absorbed the time and the labour of 
the greatest and best Jewish writers in this century. Indeed, 
we cannot be grateful enough to such scholars as Zunz and 
Graetz, who have furnished us with the history of the Jewish 
literature and people. For what use is it to have a literature 
embracing all branches of human thought without under- 
standing it in the right way, and how shall we recognise 
Judaism in all its glory and significance for the world so 
long as its history remains a secret to us ? 

There is, besides, a certain tendency in historical studies that 
is hostile to mere theological speculation. The historian deals 
with realities, the theologian with abstractions. The latter 
likes to shape the universe after his system, and tells us how 
things ought to be, the former teaches us how they are or 
have been, and the explanation he gives for their being so and 
not otherwise includes in most cases also a kind of justification 
for their existence. There is also the odium theologictim, 
which has been the cause of so much misfortune in the history 
of the world that it is hated by the historian, whilst the 
superficial, rationalistic way in which the theologian manages 
to explain every thing which does not suit his system is 
most repulsive to the critical spirit. 

But it cannot be denied that this neglect has caused much 
confusion. Especially is this noticeable in England, which is 
essentially a theological country, and where people are but 
little prone to give up speculation about things which concern 
their most sacred interest and greatest happiness. Thus 

* Jerusalem, in Mendelssohn's SammtHche Werke (Vienna, 1838), especially 
from page 264 onwards, and a letter by him published in the Monatsschrift, 
1859, p. 173. For Mendelssohn's position, see Graetz, Geschiclite, xi. 86 seq., 
especially p. 88 and note 1 ; Kayserling, Leben und Wirkenoi M., 2nd ed., 
p. 394 ; Steinheim, Moses Mendelssohn (Hamburg, 1840), p. 30 seq. ; Hold- 
heim, Moses Mendelssohn (Berlin, 1859), p. 18 seq. ; L. Lowe's pamphlet, 
JudiscJie Dogmen (Pest, 1871). 


50 The Jewish Quarterly Review. 

whilst we are exceedingly poor in all other branches of Jewish 
learning, we are comparatively rich in productions of a 
theological character. We have a superfluity of essays on 
such delicate subjects as eternal punishment, immortality of 
the soul, the day of judgment, &c., and many treatises on the 
definition of Judaism. But knowing little or nothing of the 
progress recently made in Jewish theology, of the many pro- 
tests against all kinds of infallibility, whether canonised in 
this century or in olden times, we in England still maintain 
that Judaism has no dogmas as if nothing to the contrary had 
ever been said. We seek the foundation of Judaism in 
national economy, in hygiene, in everything except religion. 
Following the fashion of the day to esteem religion in pro- 
portion to its ability to adapt itself to every possible and 
impossible metaphysical and social system, we are anxious to 
squeeze out of Judaism the last drop of faith and hope, 
and strive to make it so flexible that we can turn it in 
every direction which it is our pleasure to follow. But alas ! 
the flexibility has progressed so far as to classify Judaism 
among the invertebrate species, the lowest order of living 
things. It strongly resembles a certain Christian school which 
addresses itself to the world in general and claims to satisfy 
everybody alike. It claims to be socialism for the adherents 
of Karl Marx and Lassalle, worship of men for the followers 
of Comte and St. Simon ; it carefully avoids the word " God " 
for the comfort of agnostics and sceptics, whilst on the other 
hand it pretends to hold sway over paradise, hell, and im- 
mortality for the edification of believers. In such illusions 
many of our theologians delight. For illusions they are ; you 
cannot be everything if you want to be anything. Moreover 
illusions in themselves are bad enough, but we are menaced 
with what is still worse. Judaism, divested of every higher 
religious motive, is in danger of falling into gross materialism. 
For what else is the meaning of such declarations as " Believe 
what you like, but conform to this or that mode of life," 
what else does it mean but " We cannot expect you to believe 
that the things you are bidden to do are commanded by a 
higher authority; there is not such a thing as belief, but 
you ought to do them for conventionalism or for your own 

But both these motives — the good opinion of our neigh- 
bours, as well as our bodily health — have nothing to do with 
our nobler and higher sentiments, and degrade Judaism to a 
matter of expediency or diplomacy. Indeed, things have 
advanced so far that well-meaning but ill-advised writers 
even think to render a service to Judaism by declaring it to 

The Dogmas of Judaism. 51 

be a kind of enlightened Hedonism, or rather a moderate 

I have no intention of here answering the question, What 
is Judaism ? This question is not less perplexing than the 
problem, What is God's world ? Judaism is also a great In- 
finite, composed of as many endless Units, the Jews. And 
these Unit-Jews have been, and are still, scattered through 
all the world, and have passed under an immensity of in- 
fluences, good and bad. If so, how can we give an exact de- 
finition of the Infinite, called Judaism? 

But if there is anything sure, it is that the highest motives 
which worked through the history of Judaism are the strong 
belief in God and the unshaken confidence that at last this 
God, the God of Israel, will be the God of the whole world ^ ; 
or, in other words, Faith and Hope are the two most promi- 
nent characteristics of Judaism. 

In the following pages I shall try to give a short account 
of the manner in which these two principles of Judaism 
found expression, from earliest times up to the age of 
Mendelssohn ; that is, to present an outline of the history of 
Jewish Dogmas. First a few observations on the position of 
the Bible and the Talmud in relation to our theme. Insuffi- 
cient and poor as they may be in proportion to the import- 
ance of these two fundamental documents of Judaism, these 
remarks may nevertheless suggest a connecting link between 

' This hygienic explanation of the dietary laws is not at all modem. It is 
refuted already by an author -who wrote at about the end of the 13th century. 
See Jellinek's Appendix to the Dialogue of R. Shem-Tob Palquera (Vienna, 
1875). As a modern refutation, we shall only mention here that of Reggio, 

in his book riK'BIDI^'Bni minn (Vienna, 1827), p. 156 seq. See also Joel's 
Beitrdge, I., p. 99, note 2. We cannot here enlarge on this subject, which 
deserves a special study, but shall only direct attention to two passages in 
works of the 13th century. The Zohar, IV. 221a (ed. Krotoschin), runs as 

follows :—NniKna3 N^»n3 pD^'jn psi ivyan no "js p^'yas (D'ijh) jjn 
: poy iNE' ^3t3 nm' nnnni pen rvioan'pa pcVn ji^dn sVnpnNv- 

Compare the commentaries on the Haggadoth by R. Salomon ben Addereth, 
edited by Dr. Perles, in his biography of that Rabbi (Breslau, 1863), p. 31a, 

where the following passage occurs :— jD ny'JDH D3 mOKC HCnpn ^hT\^\ 

: n^mp d'nipj i:« v"?!?! p'?n ini«a noisj nniDsn D»bt<on 

* This is the explanation given by the Sifre (ed. Friedmann, p. 73a) on 
the verse " Hear, O Israel," Deut. vi. 4. Compare Rashi's remark on this 
verse. We venture to suggest that on this passage from the Sifrc, is founded 

the prayer from the IH^^S '3T N3n (I. 21), which forms part of the daily 
Liturgy, and in which occur passages relating to the belief in the final recog- 
nition of God by all mankind, and also to the sanctification of His name 
throughout the world. See Oppenheim in Beth Talmud, I., p. 373, on the 
high antiquity of this prayer. 

E 2 

62 The Jewish Quarterly Review. 

the teachings of Jewish antiquity and those of Maimonides 
and his successors. 

We begin with the Scriptures. 

The Bible itself hardly contains a command bidding us 
to believe. We are hardly ordered, e.g., to believe in the 
existence of God. I say hardly, but I do not altogether 
deny the existence of such a command. It is true that we 
do not find in the Scripture such words as : " You are com- 
manded to believe in the existence of God." Nor is any 
punishment assigned as awaiting him who denies it. Not- 
withstanding these facts, many Jewish authorities — among 
them such important men as Maimonides, R. Jehuda Halevy, 
Nachmanides — perceive, in the first words of the Ten Com- 
mandments, " I am the Lord thy God," the command to be- 
lieve in His existence.' 

Be this as it may, there cannot be the shadow of a doubt 
that the Bible, in which every command is dictated by God, 
and in which all its heroes are the servants, the friends, or 
the ambassadors of God, presumes such a belief in every one 
to whom those laws are dictated, and these heroes address 
themselves. Nay, I think that the word "belief" is not 
even adequate. In a world with so many visible facts 
and invisible causes, as life and death, growth and decay, 
light and darkness ; in a world where the sun rises and sets ; 
where the stars appear regularly ; where heavy rains pour 
down from the sky, often accompanied by such grand pheno- 
mena as thunder and lightning; in a world full of such 
marvels, but into which no notion has entered of aU our 
modem true, or false explanations — who but God is behind all 
these things ? " Have the gates," asks God, " have the gates 
of death been open to thee ? or hast thou seen the doors of 
the shadow of death ? . . . Where is the way where light 
dwelleth ? and as for darkness, where is the place thereof ? 
. . . Hath the rain a father ? or who hath begotten the 
drops of dew ? . . . Canst thou bind the sweet influences of 
Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion ? . . . Canst thou 
send lightnings, that they may go, and say unto thee, Here 
we are ? " (Job xxxviii.) Of all these wonders, God was not 
merely the prima causa ; they were the result of his direct 
action, without any intermediary causes. And it is as absurd 
to say that the ancient world believed in God, as for a future 
historian to assert of the nineteenth century that it believed 

' See commentaries to Maimonides' TllSDn "IBD, I., especially E. Simon 
Duran in his ypnn iniT ; cf. also old and modem commentarieB to Ex. zx. 2, 
and the treatises on the division of the Decalogue. 

TJie Dogmas of Judaism. 53 

in the effects of electricity. We see them, and so antiquity 
saw God. If there was any danger, it lay not in the denial of 
the existence of a God, but in having a wrong belief. Belief 
in as many gods as there are manifestations in nature, invest- 
ing them with false attributes, misunderstanding God's rela- 
tion to men, lead to immorality. Thus the greater part of 
the laws and teachings of the Bible are either directed against 
polytheism, with all its low ideas of God, or rather of gods ; 
or they are directed towards regulating God's relation to men. 
Man is a servant of God, or his prophet, or even his friend. 
But this relationship, man obtains only by his conduct. Nay, 
all man's actions are carefully regulated by God, and connected 
with his holiness. The 19th chapter of Leviticus, which is 
considered by the Eabbis as the portion of the Law in which 
the most important articles of the Torah are embodied, is 
headed, " Ye shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy." 
And every law therein occurring, even those which concern 
our relations to each other, is not founded on utilitarian 
reasons, but is ordained because the opposite of it is an 
offence to the holiness of God, and profanes his creatures, 
whom he desired to be as holy as he is.^ 

Thus the whole structure of the Bible is built upon the 
visible fact of the existence of a God, and upon the belief 
in the relation of God to men, especially to Israel. In spite 
of all that has been said to the contrary, the Bible does lay 
stress upon belief, where belief is required. The unbelievers 
are rebuked again and again. " For all this they sinned 
still, and believed not for His wondrous work," complains 
Asaph. (Ps. Ixxviii. 32.) And belief is praised in such exalted 
words as, " Thus saith the Lord, I remember thee, the kind- 
ness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou 
wentest after me in the wilderness, in a land that was not 
sown." (Jer. ii. 2.) The Bible, especially the books of the 
prophets, consists, in great part, of promises for the future, 
which the Rabbis justly termed the " Consolations." ^ For 
our purpose, it is of no great consequence to examine what 
future the prophets had in view, whether an immediate 
future or one more remote, at the end of days. At any rate, 
they inculcated hope and confidence that God would bring 
to pass a better time. I think that even the most ad- 
vanced Bible-critic — provided he is not guided by some 
modern Aryan reasons — must perceive in such passages as, 
" The Lord will reign for ever and ever," " The Lord shall 

' Sifra (ed. Weiss), pp. 86b and 93b. 
* Baba Bathra, 14b. Compare Fiirst, £anon, p. 15. 

64 The Jetoish Quarterly Review. 

rejoice in his works," and many others, a hope for more 
than the establishment of the "national Deity among his 
votaries in Palestine." 

We have now to pass over an interval of many 
centuries, the length of which depends upon the views 
held as to the date of the conclusion of the canon, and 
examine what the Rabbis, the representatives of the 
prophets, thought on this subject. Not that the views of 
the author of the " Wisdom of Solomon," of Philo and Aristo- 
bulus, and many others of the Judaeo-Alexandrian school 
would be uninteresting for us. But somehow their influence 
on Judaism was only a passing one, and their doctrines never 
became authoritative in the Synagogue. We must here 
confine ourselves to those who, even by the testimony of their 
bitterest enemies, occupied the seat of Moses. 

The successors of the prophets had to deal with new 
circumstances, and accordingly their teachings were adapted 
to the wants of their times. As the result of manifold 
foreign influences, the visible fact of the existence of God 
as manifested in the Bible had been somewhat obscured. 
Prophecy, as the highest degree of direct communion of 
God with man, ceased, and the Holy Spirit (U71pn mi) 
which inspired a few chosen ones took its place. After- 
wards this influence was reduced to the hearing of a Voice 
from Heaven, which was audible to still fewer. On the 
other hand the Eabbis had this advantage that they were 
not called upon to fight against idolatry as their prede- 
cessors the prophets had been. The evil inclination to worship 
idols was, as the Talmud expresses it allegorically, killed by 
the Men of the Great Synagogue, or, as we should put it, 
it was suppressed by the sufferings of the captivity in 
Babylon. This change of circumstances is marked by the 
following fact: — Whilst the prophets mostly considered 
idolatry as the cause of all sin, the Eabbis show a strong 
tendency to ascribe sin to a defect in, or a want of, belief on the 
part of the sinner. They teach that Adam would not have 
sinned unless he had first denied the " Root of all " (or the 
main principle), namely, the belief in the Omnipresence of 
God.^ Of Cain they say that before murdering his brother 
he declared : " There is no judgment, there is no judge, there 

' Synliedrin, 38b. The phrase ^P'J>3 nB3 occurs for the first time in the 
Sifra, 111b. See also Pessikta {ed. Buber), 163b, and Mechilta (ed. Fried- 
mann), 22b. In this last case it is doubtful whether we should read ^B^ or 
^S^^. in another version of this Baraitha, the whole passage is wanting. 
Compare Hofmann, Magazine, xiii. 192. 

The Dogmas of Judaism. 55 

is no world to come, and there is no reward for the just, and 
no punishment for the wicked."^ 

In another place we read that the commission of a sin in 
secret is an impertinent attempt by the doer to oust God 
from the world. But if unbelief is considered as the root of 
all evil, we may expect that the reverse of it, a perfect faith, 
would be praised in the most exalted terms. So we read : 
Faith is so great that the man who possesses it may hope to 
become a worthy vessel of the Holy Spirit, or, as we should 
express it, that he may hope to obtain by this power the 
highest degree of communion with his Maker. The Patriarch 
Abraham, notwithstanding all his other virtues, only became 
" the possessor of both worlds " by the merit of his strong 
faith. Nay, even the fulfilment of a single law when accom- 
panied by true faith is, according to the Rabbis, sufficient to 
bring man nigh to God. And the future redemption is also 
conditional on the degree of faith which will be shown by 

It has often been asked what the Rabbis would have 
thought of a man who fulfils every commandment of the 
Torah, but does not believe that this Torah was given by 
God, or that there exists a God at all. It is indeed very 
difficult to answer this question with any degree of certainty. 
In the time of the Rabbis people were still too simple for 
such a diplomatic religion, and conformity in the modem 
sense was quite an unknown thing. But from the foregoing 
remarks it would seem that the Rabbis could not conceive 
such a monstrosity as atheistic orthodoxy. For, as we have 
seen, the Rabbis thought that unbelief must needs end in sin, 
for faith is the origin of all good. Accordingly, in the case 
just supposed, they would have either suspected the man's 
orthodoxy, or would have denied that his views were really 
what he professed them to be. 

Still more important than the above cited Aggadic passages 
is one which we are about to quote from the Tracteite 
Synhedrin. This tractate deals with the constitution of the 
supreme law-court, the examination of the witnesses, the 
functions of the judges, and the different punishment to be 
inflicted on the transgressors of the law. After having 
enumerated various kinds of capital punishment, the Mish- 
nah adds the following words : " These are (the men) who 
are excluded from the life to come : He who says there is no 

' Targum Jertishalmi, Gen. ir. 8. 

^ Mechilta, 33b. Inntunerable passages of a similar character occur in the 
Babbinic literature. 

56 The Jewish Quarterly Review. 

resurrection from death ; he who says there is no Torah 
given from heaven, and the Epikoros." ^ This Mishnah was 
considered by the Eabbis of the Middle Ages, as well as by 
modem scholars, the locus classicus for the dogma question. 
There are many passages in the Rabbinic literature which 
exclude man from the world to come for this or that sin. 
But these are more or less of a poetic legendary (Aggadic) 
character, and thus lend themselves to exaggeration and 
hyperbolic language. They cannot, therefore, be considered, 
as serious legal dicta, or as the general opinion of the 

The Mishnah in Synhedrin, however, has, if only by its 
position in a legal tractate, a certain Halachic character. 
And the fact that so early an authority as R. Akiba made 
additions to it guarantees its high antiquity. The first two 
sentences of this Mishnah are clear enough. In modern 
language, and, positively speaking, they would represent 
articles of belief in Resurrection and Revelation. Great 
difficulty is found in defining what was meant by the word 
Epikoros. The authorities of the middle ages, to whom we 
shall again have to refer, explain the Epikoros to be a man 
who denies the behef in reward and punishment; others 
identify him with one who denies the belief in Providence ; 
while others again think the Epikoros one who denies 
Tradition. But the parallel passages in which it occurs 
incline one rather to think that this word cannot be defined 
by one kind of heresy. It implies rather a frivolous treatment 
of the words of Scripture or of Tradition. In the case of the 
latter (Tradition) it is certainly not honest difference of 
opinion that is condemned; for the Rabbis themselves differed 
very often from each other, and even mediaeval authorities 
did not feel any compunction against explaining Scripture 
in variance with the Midrash, and sometimes they even went 
so far as to declare that the view of this or that great 
authority was only to be considered as an isolated opinion 
not deserving particular attention. What they did blame 
was, as already said, scoffing and impiety. We may thus 

' The -words minn }D are undoubtedly a later interpolation, though it is 
not impossible that Rashi had them in lus text of the Mishnah. See Rab- 
binowitz, Variae Lectiones, IX., p. 247, note 1 . The Cambridge MS., published 
by Mr. Lowe, also omits these two words. See also Weiss, Beth Talmud, II., 
p. 287. 

* A collection of "such passages may be found in Schlesinger's notes to his 
German translation of the Ikkarim (Frankfurt, 1844), p. 677 seq. ; but his 
list is incomplete, and might be largely extended by quotations from the 
Sifre, etc. 

The Dogmas of Judaism. 57 

safely assert that reverence for the teachers of Israel formed 
the third essential principle of Judaism.^ 

I have still to remark that there occur in the Talmud 
such passages as " the Jew, even if he has sinned, is still a 
Jew," or " He who denies idolatry is called a Jew." These 
and similar passages have been used to prove that Judaism 
was not a positive religion, but only involved the negation of 
idolatry. But it has been overlooked that the statements 
quoted have more a legal than a theological character. The 
Jew belonged to his nationality even after having committed 
the greatest sin, just as the Englishman does not cease to be 
an Englishman — in regard to treason and the like — ^by having 
committed a heinous crime. But he has certainly acted in 
a very un-English way, and having outraged the feelings 
of the whole nation wiU have to suffer for his misconduct. 
The Rabbis also did not maintain that he who gave up the 
belief in Revelation and Resurrection, and treated irreverently 
the teachers of Israel, severed his connection with the Jewish 
nation, but that, for his crime, he was going to suffer 
the heaviest punishment. He was to be excluded from the 
world to come. 

Still, important as is the passage quoted from Synhedrin, it 
would be erroneous to think that it exhausted the creed of the 
Rabbis. The liturgy and innumerable passages in the Mid- 
rashim show that they ardently clung to the belief in the 
advent of the Messiah. All their hope was turned to the 
future redemption and the final establishment of the Kingdom 
of Heaven on earth. Judaism, stripped of this belief, would 
have been for them devoid of meaning. The belief in reward 
and punishment is also repeated again and again in the old 
Rabbinic literature. A more emphatic declaration of the 
belief in Providence than is conveyed by the following pas- 
sages is hardly conceivable. " Everything is foreseen, and 
free will is given. And the world is judged by grace." ^ Or 
" the born are to die, and the dead to revive, and the living 
to be judged. For to know and to notify, and that it may be 
known that He (God) is the framer and He the Creator, and 
He the Discerner, and He the Judge, and He the Witness," etc' 

' Besides the ordinary commentaries to the Mishnah, account must be 
taken of the remiarks of Chasdai Crescas, Duran, Albo, and Abarbanel on the 
subject. Of modem writers, I mention Kampf, in the Monatssclirift, 1863, 
pp. 144 and 376 ; Oppenheim, ihid., 1864, p. 144 ; Friedmann, Beth Talmud, 
I., pp. 210 and 296. Compare also Rapoport, Erech Millin, p. 181, and Talm. 
diets, sub voce Dmp'QN. The explanation I have adopted agrees partly 
with Friedmann's, partly with Oppenheim's view. 

2 ^6(.^7(, III.,9. 

» Ahoth, IV., 22. 

58 The Jewish Quarterly Review. 

But it must not be forgotten that it was not the habit of the 
Rabbis to lay down either for conduct or doctrine rules which 
were commonly known. When they urged the three points 
stated above there must have been some historical reason for it. 
Probably these principles were controverted by some heretics. 
Indeed, the whole tone of the Mishnah is a protest against 
certain unbelievers who are threatened with punishment. 
Other beliefs, not less essential, but less disputed, remain 
unmentioned, because there was no necessity to assert them. 

It was not till a much later time, when the Jews came into 
closer contact with new philosophical schools, and also new 
creeds, that were more liable than heathenism was to be con- 
fused with Judaism, that this necessity was felt. And thus 
we are led at once to the period when the Jews became 
acquainted with the teachings of the Mohammedan schools. 
The Karaites came very early into contact with non- Jewish 
systems. And so we find that they were also the first to for- 
mulate Jewish dogmas in a fixed number, and in a systematic 
order. It is also possible that their separation from the 
Tradition, and their early division into little sects among them- 
selves, compelled them to take this step, in order to avoid 
further sectarianism. 

The number of their dogmas amounts to ten. According to 
Jehuda Hadassi (1150), who would appear to have derived 
them from his predecessors, their dogmas include the follow- 
ing articles : — 1. Creatio ex nihilo ; 2. The existence of a 
Creator, God ; 3. This God is an absolute unity as well as 
incorporeal ; 4. Moses and the other prophets were sent by 
God ; 5. God has given to us the Torah, which is true and 
complete in every respect, not wanting the addition of the so- 
called Oral Law ; 6. The Torah must be studied by every 
Jew in the original (Hebrew) language ; 7. The Holy Temple 
was a place elected by God for His manifestation ; 8. Resur- 
rection of the dead ; 9. Punishment and reward after death ; 
10. The Coming of the Messiah, the son of David.^ 

How far the predecessors of Hadassi were influenced by a 
certain Joseph Albashir (about 950), of whom there exists a 
manuscript work, "Rudiments of Faith," I am unable to say. 
The little we know of him reveals more of his intimacy with 
Arabic thoughts than of his importance for his sect in particular 
and for Judaism in general.^ After Hadassi I shall mention 

1 I have followed the exposition of the late Dr. Frankl, the greatest 
Karaitic soholar.of our time. See his article " Karaiten " in the Encyclopddie 
of Ersch and Gruber, section II., vol. 83, p. 18. Compare Jost's GesehicMe, 
II., oh. 13, where the articles of Bashazi are given. 

' Concerning this author see Frankl's Ein Mutazilitischer Kalam, and his 
Beitrage znr Liter aturgeschichte der Karder (Berlin, 1887). 

The Dogmas of Judaism. 59 

here Elijah Bashazi, a Karaite writer of the end of the 
15th century. This author, who was much influenced by 
Maimonides, omits the second and the seventh articles. In 
order to make up the ten he numbers the belief in the 
eternity of God as an article, and divides the fourth article 
into two.^ In the fifth article Bashazi does not emphasize 
so strongly the completeness of the Torah as Hadassi, and 
omits the portion which is directed against Tradition. It 
is interesting to see the distinction which Bashazi draws 
between the Pentateuch and the Prophets. While he thinks 
that the five books of Moses can never be altered, he 
regards the words of the Prophets as only relating to 
their contemporaries, and thus subject to changes.^ As I 
do not want to anticipate Maimonides' system we must 
refrain from giving here the articles laid down by Solomon 
Troki in the beginning of the 18th century. For the articles 
of Maimonides are copied by this writer with a few slight 
alterations so as to dress them in a Karaite garb.' 

We must dismiss the Karaites with these few remarks, my 
object being chiefly to discuss the dogmas of the Synagogue 
from which they had separated themselves. Besides, as in 
everything Karaitic, there is no further development of the 
question. As Bashazi laid them down, they are still taught by 
the Karaites of to-day. We return to the Rabbanites. 

As is well known Maimonides (1130 — 1205) was the firet 
Rabbanite who formulated the dogmas of the Synagogue, 
But there are indications of earlier attempts. R. Saadjah 
Gaon's (892 — 942) work, " Creeds and Opinions," shows 
such traces. He says in his preface, " My heart sickens 
to see that the belief of my co-religionists is impure and 
that their theological views are confused." The subjects he 
treats in this book, such as creation, unity of God, resurrec- 
tion of the dead, the future redemption of Israel, reward and 
punishment, and other kindred theological subjects might 
thus, perhaps, be considered as the essentials of the creed 
that the Gaon desired to present in a pure and rational form. 
R. Chananel, of Kairowan, in the first half of the 11th century, 
says in one of his commentaries that to deserve the eternal 
life one must believe in four things : in God, in the prophets, 
in a future world where the just will be rewarded, and in the 
advent of the Redeemer.* From R. Jehuda Halevy's " Kusari," 

1 See IHvS nnS, (Groslow, 1835) p. 48, where whole passag:es are verbally- 
copied from Maimonides. 
- Encyclopadie, p. 16. 

^ See JTIDN, p. 17a, edited by Dr. Neubauer, and our Appendices A and B. 
* Rapoport, liikkvre Haittim, XII., p. -18. 

60 The Jetcish Quarterly Review. 

written in the beginning of the 12th century, we might argue 
that the belief in the election of Israel by God was the cardinal 
dogma of the author. Abraham Ibn Daud, a contemporary 
of Maimonides, in his book " Emuna Ramah," speaks of rudi- 
ments, among which, besides such metaphysical principles as 
unity, rational conception of God's attributes, &c., the belief in 
the immutability of the Law, &c., is included.-^ Still, all these 
works are intended to furnish evidence from philosophy or 
history for the truth of religion rather than to give a definition 
of this truth. The latter task was undertaken by Maimonides. 

I refer to the thirteen articles embodied in his first work, 
" The Commentary to the Mishnah." They are appended to 
the Mishnah in Synhedrin, with which we dealt above. But 
though they do not form an independent treatise, Maimonides' 
remarks must not be considered as merely incidental. 

That Maimonides was quite conscious of the importance of 
this exposition can be gathered from the concluding words 
addressed to the reader : " Know these (words) and repeat 
them many times, and think them over in the proper way. 
God knows that you would be deceiving yourself if you think 
you have understood them by having read them once or even 
ten times. Be not, therefore, hasty in perusing them. I have 
not composed them without deep study and earnest reflection." 

The result of this deep study was that the following 
Thirteen Articles constitute the creed of Judaism. They are : — 

1. The belief in the existence of a Creator. 2. The belief 
in his Unity. 3. The belief in his Incorporeality. 4. The 
belief in his Eternity. 5. The belief that all worship and 
adoration are due to him alone. 6. The belief in Prophecy. 
7. The belief that Moses was the greatest of all Prophets, 
both before and after him. 8. The belief that the Law was 
revealed to Moses on Mount Sinai. 9. The belief in the 
Immutability of this revealed Torah. 10. The belief that 
God knows the acts of men. 11. The belief in Reward and 
Punishment. 12. The belief in the coming of the Messiah. 
13. The belief in the Resurrection of the dead.''^ 

' See HDT nJIDS, pp. 44 and 69. Compare Gutmann's essay on this 
author in the Moiiatsschrift, 1877-8, especially 1878, p. 304. 

^ For the various translations of the Thirteen Articles, which were 
originally composed in Arabic, see Steinschneider, Cat. Bod., p. 1887, where 
references to modern literature may be found. Compare Rosin, Ethik des 
Maimonides, p. 30, note 4. In Appendix A will be given the version of 
Alcharizi from an Oxford MS. See also Chajoth, D^X^IJ miD, and his 

nCD*? mNSn, p. 17a. His reading of Article 13, given on De Rossi's 
authoritv, is an interpolation from Maimonides' CDDn n"nn "IDND. See 
n''3'y niND ed. Cassel, p. 93. Compare Weiss, Beth Talmud, I., p. 330, Ben 
Chananjah, 1863, p. 942, and 1864, pp. 648 and 697. See also Dr. N. M. 
Adler's Introduction to ^3'? nVriJ, ch. 4. 

The Dogmas of Judaism. 61 

The impulse given by the great philosopher and still greater 
Jew was eagerly followed by succeeding generations, and 
Judaism thus came into possession of a dogmatic literature 
such as it never knew before Maimonides. Maimonides is the 
centre of this literature, and I shall accordingly speak in the 
remainder of this essay of Maimonists and Anti-Maimonists. 
These terms really apply to the great controversy that raged 
round Maimonides' " Guide of the Perplexed," but I shall, 
chiefly for brevity sake, employ them in these pages in a 
restricted sense to refer to the dispute concerning the 
Thirteen Articles. 

Among the Maimonists we may probably include the great 
majority of Jews, who accepted the Thirteen Articles without 
further question. Maimonides must indeed have filled up a 
great gap in Jewish theology, a gap, moreover, the existence 
of which was very generally perceived. A century had 
hardly elapsed before the Thirteen Articles had become a 
theme for the poets of the Synagogue. And almost every 
country where Jews lived can show a poem or a prayer 
founded on these Articles.^ R. Jacob Molin (1420) speaks of 
metrical and rhymed songs in the German language, the 
contents of which were the Thirteen Articles, and which 
were read by the common people with great devotion.^ The 
numerous commentaries and homilies written on the same 
topic would form a small library in themselves. But on the 
other hand it must not be denied that the Anti-Maimonists, 
that is to say those Jewish writers who did not agree with 
the creed formulated by Maimonides, or agreed only in part 
with him, form also a very strong and respectable minority. 
They deserve our attention the more as it is their works 
which brought life into the subject and deepened it. It is not 
by a perpetual Amen to every utterance of a great authority 
that truth or literature gains anything. 

\To ie concluded.'] 

1 In Appendix B will be given a collection of such poems both from MSS 
and rare printed books. Appendix A will contain a bibliographical account 
of the commentaries on the Thirteen Articles from similar sources. 

* See Maharil, ed. Sahionetta, 113a. Compare Landshut, Amude Jla- 
Ahoda, p. 231.