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Critical Notices. 327 

article in the Muhit al Muhlt, where the form "OD3 is mentioned. 
P. 6, 1. 3 from the bottom, read HD^niK. P. 16, 1. 1, T»""U is good 
Arabic, and has the signification of "PDn, sufficient for thee ; see 
Muhit. P. 30, 1. 15, read J/Onjna ; p. 31, last line, is lorn preferable. 
P. 33, line 15, til*?** is right, the waw being mater lectionis, which is 
quite a common occurrence in Jewish-Arabic texts. P. 37, 1. 6 from 
the bottom, *7N is quite right, because JKn viii. is always followed by 
that preposition. Ibid. 1. 3, HDJDJ need not be altered. P. 45, 1. 8, 
*"n3 is certainly given in the dictionaries. Freytag, it is true, says 
only nomen plantce, but see Muhit, I., p. 80, first column, 1. 7, etc. 

The remarks attached by the editor, both to the Arabic and Hebrew 
text, are carefully thought out, and the table of figures helps greatly 
towards the understanding of the Commentary. 


Religion and Morals: A Short Catechism Jor (lie Use of Jewish Youth. 
By the Rev. J. Strauss, D.D., Rabbi. Second edition. 

A catechism is perhaps one of the most difficult books to write, 
and one of the most easy to criticise. The difficulty of writing 
it and the ease of criticising it are increased when the catechism is a 
short one. There are obviously so many different ways of imparting 
to children the elementary truths of a religion, and there are so many 
different views as to what precisely constitute the religious essentials, 
that no two catechisms will be compiled quite on the same plan. The 
work before us lays emphasis on spiritual religion, and not upon 
ritualism. The Rev. Dr. Strauss has taken pains to teach his youthful 
readers that the fundamental principle of Judaism is the belief in the 
existence, eternity, unity, omnipotence, omnipresence, and infinite 
wisdom of God. These are long words, it is true, for the compre- 
hension of a child, but they are each referred to a note of explanation. 
The explanation embodies a passage from the Bible, which sets forth 
the doctrine which the word signifies. Thus, the term " belief " is 
referred to the passage in Isaiah xliv. 10, 11 : " Ye are my witnesses, 
saith the Eternal, and my servant whom I have chosen ; that ye may 
know and believe and understand that I am He ; before me there was 
no God formed, neither shall there be after me. I, even I am the 
Eternal, and beside me there is no Saviour.'' 

The word " unity " has beneath it the obvious quotation, " Hear, 
O Israel, the Eternal our God, the Eternal is One " (Deut. vi. 4). 
It is just questionable whether these words from the Bible are of a 


328 The Jewish Quarterly Review. 

sufficiently explanatory character. The task of explaining the 
answers to the questions is left exclusively to Scripture texts. This 
no doubt is a strong test of the intelligibility of Scripture phrases. 
The answers do not attempt to explain the quotations. Question 3 
is, "What relation does God bear to man ?" Answer : " The relation 
that God bears to man is this — God is the loving and just Father 
of all mankind." Then come the quotations under the adjectives, 
' ' loving '' and " just.'' A very apt quotation is here given from Jer . 
xxxi. 3 : "I love thee with an everlasting love, therefore with loving 
kindness I have drawn thee." As children are not Biblical critics, 
it matters not to them whether these words were addressed to man- 
kind at large, or only to the " families of Israel." The same may be 
said of the accompanying quotation from Malachi : ' Have we not 
all one Father, and hath not one God created us ?" (Mai. iii. 10). The 
Ten Commandments and the Shemah are given with somewhat more 
minute explanations embodied in the answers to the questions upon 
them. This is, perhaps, the most satisfactory part of the little book. 
It emphasises the meaning of each commandment by expressing it in 
words less formal and more homely than those of the Decalogue. 
The sixth commandment, which, in its bald five words, " Thou shalt 
do no murder," does not forbid much that an ordinary child is likely 
to infringe, is elaborated in the following answer : — " We are enjoined 
by the sixth commandment to avoid everything that can injure or 
destroy life, either in others or ourselves, and to use all lawful 
endeavours to preserve life." Flies and caterpillars might have been 
mentioned as creatures that children ought not to destroy. The 
doctrine of rewards and punishments is tactfully treated in the last 
question and answer thus : " What is our belief concerning retribu- 
tion ? " Answer : " Our belief concerning retribution is that the good 
will be rewarded and the wicked punished either in this world or in 
the world to come." Then follow texts which support either theory. 
That is a perfectly safe statement as far as it goes, and few children 
will be found to misunderstand it. At the same time a more satis- 
factory teaching on this point might have been a direct reference to 
the conscience. The conscience deserves a more prominent place than 
it obtains in most catechisms, because it is the one thing which comes 
within the spiritual experience of every child. On the whole this 
catechism is better than many others, because it is more concise. It 
may be of much value to those who are teaching children, as a guide 
to the rudimentary ideas of faith and morals. 

0. J. Simon.