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Zur Genesis der Agada von Dr. N. I. Weinstein. II. Theil. Die 
Alexandrinische Agada. Frankfurt, 1901. 276 pages. 

This work consists of three main chapters, entitled : On the origin 
of the Agada ; The Minim ; Opposition of the Patriarchate (Jewish) 
to the introduction of polytheistic ideas into the learned circles of 
Palestinian Judaism. 

The Agada was indirectly a consequence of Alexander's conquest 
of Judaea, and of his planting out a colony of Jews in Alexandria 
of Egypt. In contact with the schools of Greek philosophy, especially 
with the Platonic, the Jews of the diaspora not merely translated 
their scriptures into Greek, but substituted for Hebrew monotheistic 
conceptions others which were not Hebrew, nor at bottom even 
monotheistic. According to Hebrew ideas it was God himself who 
gave the law to Moses, God himself that was in direct personal 
contact with his people and their leaders throughout their history. 
No less directly was God himself the author and fashioner of nature. 

Of this primitive monotheism the Alexandrine Wisdom and Logos 
theory, elaborated first in the Wisdom of Solomon, and afterwards in 
the works of Philo, was in the history of Judaism a most dangerous 
solvent; and Judaism is to be congratulated in that through the 
steadfast resistance to its inroads, first of the great Palestinian 
teachers, like Gamliel, and a thousand years later of the great 
Talmudist Maimonides, it finally threw off the incubus of it and 
escaped the taint. 

Dr. Weinstein rightly traces the Logos teaching to Plato's Timaeus, 
in chap. 28 c of which is a passage which, as he remarks, contains 
the gist of that teaching : " Now the maker and father of this All 
(or universe), it were a hard task to find, and having found him, 
it were impossible to declare him to all men . . . Granting this, it 
must needs be that this universe is an image (or likeness) of 

In the Wisdom of Solomon there is as yet no " second God," no 
hypostasis of wisdom apart from God. She is the mind of God as 
planning and as creating. In Philo, the mind of God emerges as 
an independent person detached from him, acting and willing for 


itself, an eternal Son alongside of the father, a second God inter- 
posed between the Supreme Father on one side, and nature and 
man on the other, a link or mediator between the human and divine, 
between the seen sensible and the unseen spiritual. 

In his first chapter Dr. Weinstein takes one by one the characteristic 
positions of the Wisdom of Solomon, and also of Philo, not forgetting 
also the speculations of the book of Henoch, and he produces cor- 
responding passages from the earlier portions of the Talmud. These 
correspondences of the Talmud with the Greek documents of so 
early a date are often very close, and barely to be explained except 
by the hypothesis that the Talmudists embody traditions of great 
antiquity. They are not likely to have directly consulted the Greek 
sources later than 150 a.d. 

In his second chapter Dr. Weinstein explores the problem of who 
the " Minim " were, and concludes that the name was at first given 
to the remnant of the tribe of Simeon which fell away from the 
Temple-cult and, scattered over Arabia, took to pagan or quasi-pagan 
cults. The name— one of opprobrium — was next assigned to the 
Hellenistic Jews of the diaspora, especially of Egypt, where the rival 
temple of Onias had been established. These Jews were considered 
to have given up true monotheism, and taken to a cult of inter- 
mediary beings, angels and logoi interposed between God and Moses. 
Dr. Weinstein appositely cites the speech of the Martyr Stephen 
in the Acts of the Apostles, wherein Moses is represented to have 
communed not with God on Sinai, but only with an angel. His book 
is confined to tracing out the ravages wrought inside Jewish mono- 
theism by the idea of intercalated Powers or minor divine agencies, 
otherwise it might have also been shown in detail how the same 
Logos idea was appropriated by the Messianic followers of Jesus 
in explanation of his position as a Eevealer of God to man. And 
the work of confusion was so rapid, especially when his cult spread 
over pagan communities accustomed to the deification of human 
beings, that almost within a generation the man Jesus was acclaimed 
by his votaries as the creator and maintainer of the universe, hardly 
distinguishable from God himself. 

In his third chapter Dr. Weinstein details the struggle of the old 
naif and direct monotheism of Israel with the quasi-polytheism, of 
which the leaven had crept into Judaism during the season of its 
Hellenization. Christianity, of course, was now in the foreground 
of the Jewish imagination — an apotheosis of a mere man, a persecuting 
superstition, a warning to the Jew, now de-Hellenized and driven 
in upon himself, of the risks attaching to the Platonizing of the 
Old Testament. Dr. Weinstein, however, does not do more than 


hint at this aspect of the subject which he has at heart ; nor doe3 
he notice how Mohammedanism was, at the bottom, a return of the 
nations from the Greek cult of a man foisted into the place of God 
to the worship of the Supreme Jehovah. 

Dr. Weinstein has written a valuable and suggestive book, and 
his tracing of the ideas, and even of the phrases, of the Greek Wisdom 
and Logos writings in the Talmud, is just what was needed. The 
entire work illustrates in the fullest and best of ways the relation 
of Philonean speculation to Jewish monotheism. The Talmud cannot 
be understood apart from Philo, nor Philo apart from it. It is only- 
regrettable that the Greek citations are printed by Dr. Weinstein 
with so much carelessness, and that he halves the utility of his work 
by giving us neither an index of subjects, nor even a synopsis of 
its contents. 



The edition of Josephus lately published by Niese, in conjunction 
with Destinon, is a monument of research and scholarship, and must 
undoubtedly rank henceforth as the standard edition of that author. 
It differs from earlier editions in being based on a set of MSS. 
little used by previous editors, but shown to be superior to all the 
others. As might be expected, it throws important light on several 
difficult and disputed passages. One of these is the passage in Wars, 
Y, ch. v, 7, which contains the description of the high priest's vest- 
ments. After mentioning the eight robes prescribed in Exodus xxviii, 
it goes on : Tavrrjv ptv oSv tt)v evdrJTa ovk (<j>6pei rbv aXKov xp° vov t 
XiTorepav 5' avihapfiavev, oirore 8" elaloi els to aSvrov. This is translated 
by Whiston — and it can scarcely bear any other interpretation — 
"These vestments the high priest did not wear at other times, but 
a more plain habit; he only did so when he went into the most 
sacred part of the temple," which was once a year, on the day of 

Josephus is here speaking of the second temple, of a scene which 
he must often have witnessed with his own eyes ; and if this is what 
he means, it constitutes a serious difficulty. The Mishna (Tr. Yoma)