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I MUCH appreciate the generous welcome with which 
this Society greeted the proposal of a Jewish member to 
read a paper on Life under the Pharisaic Law. I have 
nothing very fresh to tell you ; indeed my purpose is 
rather to protest that what has already been said by 
Jewish apologists should have been wholly overlooked by 
Prof. Schiirer in the new edition of his great book. I may 
claim one accidental qualification for my present task. 
I have lived, and in a sense still live, under the Pharisaic 
Law myself. I have felt its limitations, I have groaned 
under its lack of sensibility to all that we call aesthetic. 
I have resented its narrowness, its nationalism, on the one 
hand, and its claim to the Jew's undivided allegiance on 
the other. It does not apply to all men, yet it asks the 
whole man when it does apply to him. But I have also 
known the Law's manifold joys, its power of hallowing 
life, its sturdy inculcation of right, its sobriety of discipline, 
its laudable attempt to associate ritual with heart service, 
its admission that the spirit giveth life, its refusal to accept 
that the letter killeth. I have known men devoted to the 
minutest ritual details, yet simple, spiritual, saintly. Thus 
I have enough sympathy with the Law to do it justice, not 
enough sympathy to do it the injustice of unqualified 
flattery. The scorn and indignation of Jesus rouse 
answering echoes in my own consciousness, as in the 

' A paper read before the Society of Historical Theology at Oxford on 
Feb. 2, 1899. 


consciousness of all honest Jews. But many modern 
theologians go far beyond Jesus in their onslaught upon 
Pharisaic legalism. They accept the letter of his attack, 
but reject its spirit. He criticized the defects of the Law, 
they attribute a double dose of original sin to the very 
Law itself, under which Jesus was nurtured and from 
which he derived so much inspiration. A Jew has a ready 
heart for the reproof of Jesus, he cannot tolerate the 
Pauline doctrine that the Law is the strength of sin. 
There were many failures among the observers of the 
law, but the cause of the failure was not always the Law 
itself As Prof. Wallace writes : " This we may be sure of, 
that Judaism would not have lasted through the fearful 
ordeal of mediaevalism, had it not been something nobler 
than a mere system of rules, codified into endless multi- 
plicity of detail. Do not let us abuse the Law because of 
the lawyera (some of whom must be bad) ; or charge the 
righteous with the petty conceits of Pharisaism." To 
this I add, that the life which I have lived under the 
Law convinces me that Prof. Cheyne is right in asserting 
that amidst the thorns of legalism there are delightful 
blooms, the efflorescence of the religious spirit of Judaism. 
Against Prof. Schiirer's judgment based on books, I can 
protest an experience based on life. Literature may be 
a criticism of life, but in cases such as this, life is also a 
criticism of literature. 

Of course I do not maintain that a theologian is dis- 
qualified from criticizing the Law unless he be bom and 
bred in the Synagogue. But there is no other branch of 
research in which the evidence of facts is so disregarded as 
in the science of theology. Here we deal with principles 
which affect men's lives, and we rarely turn to those lives 
as the touchstone by which to judge our principles. 
Rabbinic theology is concerned not with an extinct race 
or a primitive and obsolete theory of being. The race 
now numbers more individuals than when Jesus moved 
on earth, the devotion to the theory is greater now than 


ever. Hence, the theologian who would understand the 
Pharisees must cast an occasional glance into the life of 
Judaism to-day. And it is not as though Schurer's 
criticism assumes merely the function of a criticism of 
hooks or even of actions. It is a criticism of motives 
and feelings, of the heart and mind as well as of the social 
organism. Surely the outsider ought to attach some 
importance to the evidence of insiders on questions which 
strike to the inmost root of being. The only reason for 
refusing to listen to Jews about Judaism, as it actually 
affects their consciousness and their conscience, would be 
a conviction that Jews cannot be trusted as witnesses, that 
they are sure to perjure themselves in order to win 
a dialectical victory. But this is a charge which Schiirer — 
who has few scruples of charity where the Pharisees are 
concerned — evidently hesitates to bring. The evidence 
tendered by Jews must indeed be severely cross-examined, 
but it should be heard. An even more serious charge 
against Schiirer and the scholars who blindly follow him 
is this. Granted that they are justified in founding their 
criticism of the Law on books, they ought at least to read 
the books. I think that this Oxford Society will go with 
me in holding that the critics of the Law should qualify 
themselves to read the originals of the documents on which 
they rely. Now Prof. Schiirer seems to confess that he 
has no first-hand knowledge of the Rabbinical writings. 
This confession I infer externally from his citing the 
Mishnah from translations and from his omission of the 
original texts of Mishnah and Talmud from his splendid 
lists of authorities, and internally from his limited know- 
ledge and actual mistakes. This fact, that Schiirer relies 
on second-hand sources, accounts for the remarkable coin- 
cidence that the whole of the section which deals with 
"Das Leben unter dem Gesetz" is exactly and verbally 
reproduced from his former edition. A stray reference or 
two have been added, and a phrase has been modified in 
a foot-note. But in all these years he has not felt impelled 


to revise a single syllable of this, the most dogmatic 
chapter of his great work. " Littera scripta manet." This 
would have been simply impossible were Schiirer a real 
student of Rabbinical literature. That literature is so 
vast, so difficult, so ill-arranged, so beset with contrary 
cun-ents, that no real student of it but would find him- 
self constantly compelled to re-examine his material, to 
recast his conclusions, to amend, to modify, to reconsider, 
to add, to retract. Besides, an opinion about the Rabbinical 
theology sometimes depends on an impression derived from 
extensive reading of the Talmud as a whole, not from 
particular passages cited by controversialists. And what 
is the second-hand material to which Schiirer so often 
trusts? Prof. Dalman in his new work. Die Worte Jesu, 
severely censures the mechanical reliance placed by modern 
theologians on the very class of writers references to whom 
form the staple of Schiirer's notes. Jewish students have 
been crying this out in the wilderness for many a long year. 
Perhaps a hearing will be given now to Dalman's vigorous 
plea against dilettantism — I use Dalman's own word — in 
the ranks of Christian critics of Rabbinism. Lightfoot, 
Schottgen, Eisenmenger, Wettstein, and even the canonical 
Weber, are all pronounced obsolete or inadequate by 
Dalman. Yet if you take these sources away, what is left 
to most theologians who write on the religion of the 
Pharisees ? 

It is, I can assure you, not a pleasant duty to speak 
adversely of Schiirer's great work. There is a Rabbinic 
proverb, " Into a well from which thou hast drunk water, 
cast no stones." I am deeply indebted to Schiirer, as every 
student of his period must be. His new edition converts 
a great book into an even greater. My admix-ation for it 
is not measured or conditioned by my opinion of the one 
particular section to which I am devoting myself this 
evening. Schiirer is a prince of bibliographers, an ideal 
critic and historian. He is learned, he is judicious, and 
only occasionally dogmatic enough to refuse to modify 



a literary opinion such as e.g. on the authenticity of the 
Vita Contemplativa. But when he deals with the Pharisaic 
Law his learning hecomes antiquated, and his judgment 
biassed. His mind is closed against new impressions. 
Even where his statements have been directly challenged he 
does not so much as refer to his challengers. He has been 
taken to task for mistranslations ; these remain unaltered. 
The facts of actual life under the Law have been brought 
to his notice ; he has refused to listen. The heading 
"Irrwege" still figures as the title of one of Schiirer's 
subdivisions on the Law. Wrong ways indeed the Rabbis 
trod, but they never strayed into the "Irrwege" which 
Prof. Schiirer attributes to them. 

Let me first point to some specific mistakes in which 
Prof. Schiirer has persisted. He had a whole chapter on 
the " Reinheitsgesetze," in which he enumerates the baleful 
effects of these laws of ritual cleanness on the daily life of 
the Jews. But Mr. Montefiore in his criticism of Schiirer 
adduced strong evidence to show that these laws applied 
only to priests and to laymen visiting the temple ; that 
under normal circumstances laymen might contract un- 
cleanness without scruple. He further argues, and I quite 
agree with him, that all " those distinctions respecting the 
various capacities of different utensils to contract unclean- 
ness, over which Prof. Schiirer makes merry . . . are merely 
the precipitate of the discussions of the schools, and were 
probably unknown to nine-tenths of the pious and observant 
Israelites in the age of Christ." Of this serious criticism 
Schiirer takes no note, yet it is obvious that if true, as 
I hold it is, it vitiates much of Schiirer's argument. 
Maimonides even contends that the laws of uncleanness 
were designed to " keep people away from the Sanctuary, 
and to prevent them from entering it whenever they 
liked." In other words these ritual minutiae were a safe- 
guard against the danger of making a mechanical ritual 
use of the Temple. 

Even worse is it with Schiirer's treatment of the Rabbinic 


legislation regarding vows and oaths. He not only ignores 
the patent facts that Jesus' famous " Yea, yea ; Nay, nay " 
is exactly paralleled in the Talmud, that the Rabbis held 
the breach of one's spoken word as grievous a sin as 
idolatry, that such an oflfence estranged the offender from 
the Divine presence ; not only does Schiirer refuse to notice 
this side of the oath question at all, but on the basis of 
assured mistranslations he founds the charge that the 
Pharisees departed from morality and ignored the"H6chste 
Pietatspflicht " in the matter of vows and oaths (pp. 493-4). 
To prove the former charge Schiirer cites the Mishnah 
Shebuoth iv. 13, but he confounds patur, i. e. free from 
legal penalty, with w,utar, i. e. morally lawful. To prove 
the second charge he adduces Mishnah Nedarim ix. i, 
which he both mistranslates and misintei-prets. These 
errors have been long ago brought to Schiirer's notice by 
Prof. Schechter, but the passage remains unaltered in 
Schiirer's new edition. 

This is the method not of the historian but of one 
determined to formulate an indictment. Schiirer does not 
criticize the Law, he condemns it. He passes the severest 
sentence without any recommendation to mercy. Why 
should he be merciful when he can see no extenuating 
circumstances ? He does not analyse the good and evil of 
the Rabbinic system, for to him it is wholly evil. Toy and 
Wendt agree that Jesus was directing his anger at excep- 
tional villains, but Schiirer, when he condescends for 
a moment to admit that there were a few good Pharisees, 
proceeds at once to qualify his admission by a vigorous 
repetition of his general condemnation. And what a con- 
demnation it is ! The Jew obeyed the Law from the meanest 
motives of reward, his religious and moral life was com- 
pletely externalized, his conscience was silenced, he could 
not distinguish between the highest moral truth and the 
trivialities of a ceremonial ritual. Formal accuracy in 
carrying out the law, not the doing of the good as such, 
was the end aimed at. The Jew was crushed under a 

XX a 


burden of duties; the Sabbath and everything elae was 
subjected to the minutest and most wearisome regulations. 
Even prayers were only uttered to fulfil a duty, and thus 
all living piety was destroyed. Fasting was an external- 
ized means of putting pressure on God. A composition 
with the letter of the Law was sought at the sacrifice of 
honesty. At every step, at every hour, throughout his 
life, the Jew was tortured by dead and deadening formulas. 
Life was a torment to the earnest man, while those who 
attained to mastership in the Law almost inevitably sank 
into the vice of pride and self-righteousness. And this is 
Prof. Schurer's whole account of Life under the Law ! In 
his Apologetics, if I remember aright, Dr, Brace discusses 
Jewish legalism as one of God's experimental failures in 
the evolution of a perfect religion. If Prof. Schiirer has 
given a true account of that legalism, the experiment 
must have been devised not by God but by the devil. 

Underlying Prof. Schurer's whole case against the 
Pharisaic religion is the assumption that a life of the 
spirit is incompatible with a very fully developed ritual. 
He makes little effort to prove that this incompatibility 
actually manifested itself; he rather assumes it as a logical 
necessity. Because the letter often casts out the spirit, he 
concludes that letter and spirit can never nest together. 
But there is no church without ritual, letter and spirit 
always coexist. That ritual meets a real need of the 
spirit, follows from its universality in all forms of religion. 
The question as to the result of the combination of spirit 
and letter can therefore never be solved a priori, but must 
in each case be submitted to the test of experience and of 

Schiirer, assuming a prion that spirit and letter are 
mutually exclusive, is incapable of putting Rabbinism to 
this test. He cannot find anything spiritual in Rabbinism, 
because he has decided that nothing spiritual can be there. 
And when anything that betokens inwardness forces itself 
upon his notice, he feels justified, nay bound, to explain it 


away. Christian theologians give to every saying of Jesus 
the widest and most generous extension that the sayings 
can possibly bear. And it is right to do so. No Jew 
should seek to belittle any of the great and inspiring 
utterances of the Prince of Peace. The world must make 
the most and not the least of its spiritual treasures. But 
when a Rabbi says a good thing, theologians will only 
allow to it the minimum of meaning that the words extort 
from them. On the one side generosity, on the other 
grudging. It would need, however, the whole evening 
to illustrate this double dealing as between the Law and 
the Gospel. We are told that the Jewish God was a King 
exacting homage, but when the Gospel uses the Jewish 
expression "the Kingdom of Heaven," Dr. Fairbau-n rightly 
points out that the Divine paternity and the Divine 
sovereignty are complementary ideas. The Jewish God 
is far oflf because he is located in heaven, but when the 
Lord's prayer addresses " our father in heaven," Canon 
Gore comments, " not in heaven because he is far oif, but 
because he is raised above all the ignorance and pollution 
of man." The Jew, we are told, had a communal not 
a personal soul, but when the Lord's prayer opens "our 
father," Mr. Gore remarks, " I must begin with losing my 
selfishness, with recollecting that I am only one of the 
great body of God's children." But not only are Rabbinic 
expressions pressed against Rabbinism with an uncritical 
rigour, but its good things are treated with the sneer of the 
special pleader. When in the Pirke Ahoth Antigonos of 
Socho said, " Be not as slaves that minister to the master 
with a view to receive recompense," Schiirer declares that 
this "is by no means a correct expression of the ground 
principle of Pharisaic Judaism." Mai-ti, by the way, calls 
the same saying " abnorm." This is like the Bible ci-itics 
who pronounce Jonah a freak, but Esther typically Jewish. 
Yet Jonah is read in every Synagogue on the day of 
Atonement, and Antigonos' saying is more often on 
a Jewish preacher's lips than any other Rabbinic maxim. 


Again, when R. Eleazer inveighs against those who make 
of prayer an appointed duty, a denunciation repeated over 
and over again in the Rabbinic literature, Schiirer brushes 
it aside as an inconsistency. It is an inconsistency with 
Pharisaic Judaism as it is conceived by Schiirer, not with 
Pharisaic Judaism as it really is. Just as the writers of 
some of the most spiritual Psalms in the Psalter loved the 
Temple and its ritual with an intense affection, just as 
Hillel could present at once the ideal of spirituality and 
the ideal of devotion to the technicalities of legalism, just 
as in mediaeval times Ibn Gebirol could write that purest, 
most spiritual of meditations, " the Royal Crown " and then 
proceed to draw up a metrical survey of the 613 command- 
ments of the Pentateuch, so have I known a modern Jew, 
who refused to knock at his own door on the Sabbath, yet 
died in early manhood a martyr to his spiritual aspirations. 
This is the essential fact about the Jewish legalism. 
Together with the trivial, the legal, the ritual, which 
Schiirer treats as the whole of Pharisaism, there were the 
spiritual, the ennobling, the joyous elements which Schiirer 
discards as abnormal or inconsistent. 

Many Pharisees undoubtedly held an external view of 
the Law as something imposed from without, and they 
regai'ded themselves as bound to obey it because it was 
the Law. This unfortunately applies to all revealed 
religions, for the ideal " Not my will but thine " is to many 
Christians an ideal, I fear, only because it is written in 
a text. But the external view of the Law was not the 
final statement of the belief of the higher Jewish mind. 
The Pharisees attempted to reduce the Law to general 
principles. One expounded it as the outcome of such 
fundamental morals as "Love thy neighbour as thyself." 
Another held that the Law was summed up in the great 
saying of Micah, " What does the Lord require of thee but 
to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy 
God." This betokened a sense that the Law itself requu-ed 
a sanction. In his new treatise Die Ethik des Judenthv/nis, 


Prof. Lazarus offers ample proof that some Rabbis held the 
Law not moral because it was commanded, but commanded 
because it was moral. The commandments were not 
commandments because they were written, but they were 
written because they were commandments. So when pre- 
existent, creative wisdom is in Ben Sira identified with the 
Law, the Law is law because it flows from the fount of 
wisdom, not wise because it is Law. Hence, again, the 
doctrine found in early Rabbinical writings that the Law 
was revealed because it was necessary, not necessary 
because it was revealed. There were laws indeed which 
were only known from revelation — these were the cere- 
monies, but there were laws which, without revelation, 
man must have discovered for himself. These included 
the fundamentals of social morals, the prohibition of murder, 
robbery, adultery, Schlirer seems to be quite oblivious of 
this distinction, but it became an established principle in 
Jewish theology. Maimonides explains it in the sixth of 
his eight chapters on Ethics, while Ibn Ezra in his Founda- 
tion of Morah distinguishes as primary those laws of 
morality which are ingrained in the human heart and 
not derived from revelation. Though one usually thinks 
of the Decalogue as the expression of revelation par 
excellence, Ibn Ezra actually includes among the primary, 
self-discoverable laws the whole of the Decalogue with the 
exception of the ordinance of the Sabbath. To Ibn Ezra 
there were three revelations, of God in nature, of God in 
the conscience, of God in the Law. 

There was another idea which helped to save the Law 
from becoming a merely mechanical system, and this idea 
was already to the fore in Pharisaic Judaism. Pi'of. Schiirer 
says nothing of the spiritualizing effect of the idea of the 
Imitatio Dei, which pervades the Rabbinical theology. 
God is holy, be thou holy ; God is merciful, be thou 
merciful. I^ has, perhaps truly, been said, that only 
a Christian can understand a Christian's passion for Christ. 
I think that only a Jew knows the Jew's passion for God, 


the depth of his love, the joy of his service. To God the 
Phai'isee ascribed all the virtues ; stem justice, the tenderest 
mercy ; God was the object of reverence, the object of love ; 
king, saviour, father ; the monarch on high, the familiar 
friend on earth. Man's ideal was to attain to something of 
the Godly nature, and the Law was the means to that end. 
The Pharisee's love for it led him to childish absurdities, 
to the most trivial excesses. But so conceived, on the one 
hand as the expression of the divine will, on the other as 
the expression of man's moral nature, the Law brought the 
human soul into relation with God, and it could never 
become the mere code of external observances which it 
seems to Schiirer. " An unchaste thought is a sin ;" "the 
thought of sin is even worse than sin itself." "The AU- 
Merciful desires man's heart " ran another familiar phrase. 
The inwardness of the religious ideal is brought out in the 
comments of the Sifre on the text, " And thou shalt love 
the Lord thy God with all thy heart. With all thy heart, 
with thy good and evil inclinations, let not thy heart be 
divided but whole towards God. . . . With all thy soul. 
Love him even to the surrender of thy soul. . . . With all 
thy might. Whatever measure God metes out to thee, be 
it the measure of happiness, be it the measure of sorrow, 
love him with all thy might." But perhaps this religious 
inwardness comes out best in such a passage as the follow- 
ing Pesikta : " Good and upright is the Lord, therefore will 
he instruct sinners in the way. They asked wisdom what 
is the punishment of the sinner ? Wisdom answered, Evil 
shall pursue him. They asked prophecy and were told, 
The soul that sinneth shall die. They asked the Law. 
The Law said. Let him bring a trespass offering and be 
absolved. They asked God himself. God answered. What 
is the punishment of the sinner ? Let him repent of his sin 
and receive my pardon." 

All this did not save average Judaism from the pitfall of 
mechanical obedience, but it was a constant corrective to 
the danger and was by no means without effect. The 


Archbishop of Canterbury, in his Charge, argues that the 
Pharisee did good but was not good, that he always applied 
a rule, and thus experienced none of that moral struggle 
which accompanies the application of the conscience to 
questions of morality. But this is no argument against 
Pharisaism, it simply is the redudio ad absurdum of the 
theory of the nature of Rabbinism which the Archbishop 
shares with Schiirer. The Pharisee had his moral conflicts, 
like every other human being ; duties sometimes pulled 
him two ways, and for all such cases he had no guide 
but his own sense of right or wrong, his own moral nature 
built up by obedience to the Law. Detailed as the Jewish 
Law was, it did not, it could not, prescribe in advance for 
a tithe of the moral decisions that he must daily make. 
" But," Prof. Schiirer would reply, " I am not so sure of 
that. Even the prayers were minutely controlled, and if 
the prayers why not the conscience?" Certainly there 
were many prescriptions as to the hour at which the 
Shema might be said, and the liturgical ordinances were 
sufficiently comprehensive. But again this is not the whole 
truth. There was some fluidity in the contents of the 
liturgy. In the Talmud there are numerous private prayers 
which were composed and used by individual Eabbis. 
Just as at an earlier date new Psalms easily found their 
way into the Canon, so, right up to the age of printing, 
new hymns found their way into the Synagogue. The 
Midraah on Psalm 4 says, "Pray in the synagogue, or in 
the field, or in thy house, or on thy bed, or if thou canst 
not pray on thy bed. let thy heart meditate a prayer and 
be thou silent. Be silent from the sin thou wast about, 
and if thou dost this, what says the text in the next vei-se : 
Offer sacrifices of righteousness. I shall esteem it as though 
thou hadst built an altar and oflfered thereon a multitude 
of sacrifices." In a score of places the Pharisaic Rabbis 
insist that pi-ayer must be heart, not lip worship. All this 
did not save many Jews from praying mechanically, from 
using words without thought. Worse still was this when 


Hebrew, though not familiarly known, remained the 
language of the liturgy. But the Synagogue has hardly 
done worse in this respect than the Roman Catholic 
Church. The fault must not be entirely assigned to the 
Law. It is a fault incident to all liturgies. You bid 
man pray when his heart dictates, but you fix an hour for 
public worship. You put the words into the mouth of 
him who prays, yet you ask him to pray as though the 
words were his own. You wish him to use his heart, yet 
you are bound to give him a prayer-book. Even in 
churches where there is no fixed liturgy, I am told that 
after a few weeks' experience of the pastor, a watchful 
member can perfectly well anticipate the exact formulae 
which the pastor's extemporized outpourings will use. 
Happily for Church and Synagogue alike, we can always 
fall back on the Psalter which use cannot stale nor blunt. 
One would almost suppose from Sehiirer that the Pharisees 
had forgotten the Psalms. 

Externalism, according to Sehiirer, attached even to the 
motives and the results of obedience to the Law. The 
Pharisee obeyed because he expected rewards, but he felt 
obedience to be a grievous burden. And the expecta- 
tion was of the most arithmetical and mechanical 
character. Forcing against him a metaphor which is 
echoed also in the Gospels, the critic tells the Pharisee 
that he was a chafferer who basely demanded God's 
tat for his own tit. Like Robinson Crusoe he cast up 
accounts of profit and loss ; so many good works, so much 
rewards. It is not easy to reconcile this picture with the 
theory usually raised on the authority of James ii. 10, that 
the Pharisees considered a single failure in obedience 
sufficient to undo all their piety, sufficient to rob all their 
piled-up works of their saving value. The Pharisees indeed 
held that righteousness would be rewarded, they held act 
and consequence to be causally connected. They could not 
conceive God as just and yet indifferent to the justice of 
man's conduct. Moreover they believed in the Covenant, 


and steadfastly trusted in God's fidelity to it. But their 
theory of Eetribution did not begin and end with the 
principle of measure for measure. God's fidelity to the 
Covenant was an act of divine grace, calling for Israel's 
responsive obedience but not signed or sealed by Israel's 
merits. They held that God rewarded, but that man must 
not serve him because of the reward. The saying of 
Antigonos which Schiirer thinks abnormal underlies the 
whole Rabbinic theology. " He who fulfils a command- 
ment and expects a reward is a sinner." " None shall 
do the commandments to win reward, but all that ye do 
must be done from love." "Blessed is the man who 
delighteth in his commandments. R. Joshua ben Levi says 
the meaning is that man only desires to do the command- 
ments but does not want the rewards connected with them." 
Add to this the remarkable Rabbinical doctrine of the 
Chastisements of Love, and the evidence is complete that 
though the Pharisees believed that in a just world God 
must proportion happiness to merit, must indeed pay 
measure for measure, yet they were not slaves who served 
God for reward. This conclusion is fully confirmed by the 
Jewish liturgy. If the Covenant is appealed to it is not on 
the ground of present righteousness, but on the ground of 
the idealized righteousness of the fathers. Man is always 
described in the Jewish liturgy as utterly empty of works, 
as altogether destitute of righteousness, and as dependent 
for salvation solely and only on the infinite mercies of God. 
I will spend fewer words still over Schiirer's other count. 
He thinks that the Law was a burdensome yoke. The 
controversy is again between logic and fact. Logic is with 
Schiirer, fact is with the Law. A pnori, obedience to the 
Rabbinic Law should have been unspeakably wearisome, 
actually it was an ineffable joy. Against Schiirer's logic 
there is the evidence of twenty-five centuries of Jewish 
literature, liturgy, and life. The most wondrous feature 
of life under the Law — its irrepressible joyousness — is 
obliterated by Schiirer by a stroke of the pen. 


In my criticism of Prof. Schiirer I have more or less 
followed Mr. Montefiore's and Prof. Schechter's lines. The 
gravamen of my charge is that Schiirer's third edition is in 
this section identical with the second, that the criticism 
levelled against it has been entirely unnoticed. It is true 
that any revision would have been very inconvenient. 
These chapters of Schiirer have been so extensively used 
and relied on, that were Schiirer to admit himself wrong 
in any point, he would upset the structures of many 
a disciple and copyist. 

Is this to go on? Is the Law to be searched for no 
other purpose than to find justifications for Paul? Are 
the Rabbinical sayings to be examined simply as foils to 
the Gospel ? Or is the Law to be studied as a whole, with 
no other aim than to get at the truth, to underatand its 
excellences on its own lines as well as its notorious faults 
when absolute tests are applied ? The only book in which 
I have read a real attempt to get at the truth about the 
effects of the Law on Jewish life and character is Anatole 
Leroy Beaulieu's Ibrael among the Nations. He castigates 
the Jews, but he discriminates. Jews do not expect 
a wholly favourable verdict, they do not expect that the 
Law will be pronounced an altogether good thing. They 
know themselves that it is not an altogether good thing, 
they do not believe at all in religious finality. But Jews 
have the right to demand that there shall be what 
Prof. Cheyne calls a fresh investigation of essential 
Judaism. This investigation must be made by Christians 
if it is to win due authority ; most Jews indeed who are 
thoroughly conversant with the Talmud know nothing of 
current theology. But the investigation must be made by 
men who will study faithfully the original sources, who 
will immerse themselves in the Rabbinic world and know 
its highways and byways as they know their own city, 
who will at every turn test their theories by comparison 
with actual results in the Jewish life of the past and of 
to-day. These investigators, if they refuse the evidence 


of Jewish lovers of the Law, must also refuse the evidence 
of those who hate the Law, whether these adversaries be 
canonical Apostles or German Professors. Why is it that 
a man like Mr. Montefiore has been moved to such unwonted 
heat when dealing with Schiirer's charges against the Law ? 
It was because the Law is criticized with a harshness, 
a one-sidedness, an ignorance, an injustice seldom paralleled 
in the history of theology. What would you think were 
a Jew to tell you that the war of ritual now raging in the 
English Church is a war of external ceremonies, and that 
this is the only subject that really interests Anglican 
Christians'? Yet this is how the Pharisees are treated. 
That my complaint is just you may see from this. I and 
many Jews with me have no resentment whatever 
against the general spirit of the criticism to which the 
Law was subjected by Jesus, against his healthy on- 
slaught against externalism. W^hen Jesus overturned 
the money-changers and ejected the sellers of doves from 
the Temple he did a service to Judaism for which 
Judaism may one day be adequately grateful. But 
were the money-changers and the dove-sellers the only 
people who visited the Temple? And was every one who 
bought or sold a dove a mere formalist ? Last Easter I was 
in Jerusalem, and along the fa9ade of the Church of the 
Holy Sepulchre I saw the stalls of the vendors of sacred 
relics, of painted beads and inscribed ribbons, of coloured 
candles, gilded crucifixes, and bottles of Jordan water. 
There these Christians babbled and swayed and bargained, 
a crowd of buyers and sellers in front of the Church sacred 
to the memory of Jesus. Would, I thought, that Jesus 
were come again to overthrow these false servants of his, 
even as he overthrew his false brothers in Israel long ago. 
But I will also tell you what I did not think. I did not 
think that the buying and selling of sacred relics was the 
sole motive which had brought thousands of pilgrims to 
Jerusalem, I did not say, Here is the whole of the Gospel, 
this is its inevitable end, its sure outcome. I knew that 


there is more in Christianity than this, that there are other 
Christians than these. Nay, as I turned away I thought 
that perhaps if I had the insight to track a dealer in relics 
to his inmost soul, I might after all find there a heart warm 
with the love of Christ. 

I Abba HAMS.