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502 THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW 



THE SEFER HA-GALUY. 

I could have wished, for many reasons, that the task of proving 
the Sefer Ha-Galuy not Saadyah's had been undertaken by some one 
else. It has so often been my lot to fail to persuade when another 
would have won the case with a tithe of the evidence. Hence I look 
forward with little confidence to the result of this paper. It will 
in any case have been a pleasure to have passed some time in the 
society of Saadyah, one of the profoundest thinkers, most elegant 
writers, and most upright leaders that the Jewish race has produced, 
and to have endeavoured to clear his memory from what must be 
regarded as a serious blot upon it. 

The statements about Saadyah's writings are based on independent 
examination of the originals, so far as they are at present accessible ; 
the Commentary on the Proverbs forms vol. VI of the (Euvres de 
Saadyah, now publishing in Paris; the remaining volumes of this 
series have also been of use. For the Commentary on the Sefer 
Yetsirah I have used the edition of M. Lambert, Paris, 1891 ; for 
the Imanat that of Landauer, Leyden, 1880; the single reference to 
his translation of the Pentateuch is from Walton's Polyglot ; that 
to his translation of Job from the edition of Dr. John Cohn, Altona, 
1889. Of Saadyah's life the best account is that by Gratz, Geschichte 
der Juden, vol. V, 3rd ed. ; I have in almost all cases verified the 
citations on which his assertions are based. To Dr. Neubauer's 
extraordinary command of Jewish literature I am deeply indebted ; 
his Mediaeval Jewish Chronicles, moreover, place at the disposal of the 
student of Jewish history a collection of materials which render it 
possible to tread safely on ground which, before their publication, was 
often dangerous. However, the documents collected by Dr. Harkavy 
in Part V of his Studien und Mittheilungen, St. Petersburg, 1891, give 
us the surest means of settling the question, and though the result of 
the present paper is at variance with Dr. Harkavy's, I hope I may 
be permitted to admire the industry and ingenuity which his work 
displays. 

The Sefer Ha-Galuy, ostensibly by Saadyah, has recently come into 
prominence in connexion with the Ben-Sira controversy. The form 
in which it is published renders it, unfortunately, inaccessible to 



THE SEFER HA-GALUY 503 

many of those whom that controversy interests ; for not many can 
read the Jewish Arabic of the original, and the Hebrew translation, 
which is the work of a relation of the discoverer Firkovitch, mis- 
represents it seriously in several places. For this no one is to blame. 
The first translator of such a document cannot be expected to get 
everything right; and the editor could not have foreseen that the 
day might come when it would be of importance that the book 
should be correctly rendered. Yet had the Sefer Ha-Galuy been 
published in German or English, it is possible that there would have 
been no Ben-Sira controversy. Its readers, instead of thinking it 
a witness for the authenticity of the Cairene Ecclesiasticus, might 
have been put on their guard against taking such a view. 

Let us first consider the a priori likelihood of Saadyah having pos- 
sessed the original Hebrew of Ben-Sira. The well-known Kitab 
Al-Fihrist 1 was composed in the year 377 A. H. (987 A. D.), at a time 
when many persons who had known Saadyah were still alive 2 . Its 
author obtained a list of the Jewish Scriptures from " a learned Jew," 
and a list of Christian Scriptures that had been translated into 
Arabic from " Yunus the Priest." Between these two lists the author 
of the Fihrist has inserted a catalogue of the chief works of Saadyah 
himself, probably obtained from the same Jew who gave him the list 
of the Jewish Scriptures ; Saadyah being, according to this authority, 
absolutely unequalled as a writer of Hebrew, and the only Jewish 
writer of Arabic works on religion who is worth mentioning. We 
are therefore justified in concluding that the Jew who supplied the 
author of the Fihrist with his information was either a pupil of 
Saadyah, or at any rate a follower of Saadyah. Now the list of Jewish 
Scriptures contains the Canonical Books, with their Hebrew names, 
none of which offers the slightest difficulty in identification. It only 
adds besides the Mishnah, "a vast work ascribed to Moses, written 
partly in Chaldee, partly in Hebrew" (doubtless the word Mishnah 
was meant by this authority to include the Gemara), and the 
Haftaroth, "which are selections from the Sacred Books." Clearly 
then this follower of Saadyah, writing forty-five years (at most) after 
Saadyah's death, knows nothing of so important a monument of 
Hebrew as "the Wisdom of Ben-Sira." 

But in the list of Christian Scriptures translated into Arabic the 
" Wisdom of Huwaisi'a, son of Sirak s " figures. What is remarkable 
about this title is that whereas the Arabic translation is certainly 
made from Syriac, the name of the author is altered to suit the 

1 Ed. Fliigel, ROdiger and Muller, see p. 23. * Ibid. 

' See the editor's note, and Jawaliki's Mu'arrdb near the end. 



504 THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW 

Greek text ; and we learn from the Fihrist that this alteration goes 
back to the middle of the tenth century. As early then as that 
time, the difference between the two primary versions had attracted 
attention. 

It might almost seem as if the author of the Fihrist had purposely 
told the world that in the tenth century the Christians had the 
wisdom of Ben-Sira, whereas the Jews bad not. Let us now hear 
a witness of the early twelfth century. This is the author of Chronicle 
No. VI in Neubauer's first collection, whose date is fixed by the 
editor on what seem good grounds 1 . He is deeply interested in 
literary history, and gives much information about the writers of 
the Jews. But of Ben-Sira he only knows through the Greek trans- 
lation ; for he calls Ecclesiasticus by what is evidently an ingenious 
Hebrew rendering of the name by which it is known in the Christian 
Church 2 ; he calls the author by a modification of his Greek name; 
and he gives the Greek form of the name Onias 8 . Clearly then tbis 
writer knows as little of a Hebrew Ecclesiasticus as the authority 
of the Fihrist. Let us now consider what the Sefer Ha-Galuy says 
about Ben-Sira 4 . 

"The Open Book" (as its title signifies, the words being taken 
from Jeremiah xxxii. 11) professes to be the Preface to a second 
edition of a work in ten chapters B , of which the chapter dealing with 
Saadyah's autobiography was the most important. It was in Hebrew, 
was cut up into verses, pointed and accented. As it met with un- 
favourable criticism, Saadyah, if the Preface is to be believed, reissued 
it with an Arabic translation and Preface. Only the Preface and the 
first few lines of the text are preserved. 

It is very clear that the author of this Preface is greatly interested 
in Ben-Sira's book. At the commencement he justifies his own 
publication of a book on the ground that books had been produced 
by Ben-Sira, Eleazar Ben 'Ira, the five Hasmoneids, and the people 
of Kairawan in the author's own time. Presently he justifies the 

' Loc. cit., xxi, n. 4. 2 'mpvn -\zc ; p. 167, 1. 7 from the end. 

s v;in ibid. = 'nviov. The name is known to the Talmud in this form 
also ; the unpublished Dictionary of R. Tanchum has an interesting 
article on it. 

* Mas'udi (who was personally acquainted with Saadyah, but gets his 
facts from a Karaite), after mentioning that the LXX had often been 
translated into Arabic, speaks of the Jews as possessing twenty-four 
Hebrew books, and so implies the same as the author of the Fihrist. Bibl. 
Geogr. Ar., VIII, 112, 113. 

6 In the list in the Fihrist, where a work in ten chapters is mentioned, 
for amthaX read imanat. 



THE SEFER HA-GALUY 505 

punctuation and accentuation of his own book on the ground that 
these other books had been pointed and accented by their authors. 
And finally before concluding, he treats his readers to some morceaux 
choisis of these books, by far the largest number of quotations being 
taken from Ben-Sira. Now if the contents of the Sefer Ha-Galuy had 
resembled those of Ecclesiasticus, the space occupied by the latter 
work in the Preface would be less surprising ; but since the two books 
have only one subject (the Praise of Wisdom) in common, the reason 
is less obvious. It will, however, be granted that Saadyah, if he be 
the author of this Preface, must, when he wrote it, have been fresh 
from the study of Ben-Sira. 

Materials for dating this Preface, at any rate roughly, are easy to 
find. The first edition must have been issued after the quarrel 
between Saadyah and David B. Zakkai had broken out. The com- 
mencement of the dispute has been fixed by the researches of Gratz 
for the year 930 A. D. 1 But Saadyah and David were completely 
reconciled in 936, and Saadyah to the end of his life exhibited 
affectionate loyalty to David and his descendants. Now the Preface 
before us shows that Saadyah is by no means reconciled to David, 
who is severely attacked in it, and whom the author apparently 
hopes by the violence of his lampoons to frighten into better ways 2 . 
Therefore the Preface is not later than 936. 

Attention must, however, be called to some difficulties. The author, 
quite early in his Preface, speaks of his residence in Irak as an event 
in the past. "I too, when in Irak 3 , composed, at the suggestion of 
one who was chief at the Capital, a Book, &c," Now when was 
Saadyah not in Irak? Only, it would seem, before his migration 
from Egypt. For that Irak cannot mean Baghdad in this sentence 
is clear; that is termed "the Capital 4 ." The locality of Sora is 
known ; Pumbadita has been identified by the researches of Neubauer 
and Ainsworth s with Jubbah ; and these two places are juxtaposed 
in some of the works of the Arabic geographers, as in the Sawad or 
Irak 6 . Hence it seems clear that after 928 Saadyah was to the end 
of his life in Irak. But we have seen that the Preface cannot have 
been written before 930. Thus this unlucky " when I was in Irak " 
seems to wreck the credit of the Preface. 

We must, however, consider the probability of the book in question 

1 Gratz, p. 462. 2 P. 155, 1. 19. 

3 P. 151, 21. For the grammatical point see Vernier, § 965. 

4 See Bibl. Geogr. Arab., VI, 236, 21. 

5 Narrative of the Euphrates Expedition, I, 435. 

6 See Yakut, s. vv., Bibl. Geogr. Arab., loo. cit., 237 ; De Goeje, ibid., VIII, 
427, 432 ; also I, 85, 4 a. f, II, 166. 



506 THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW 

being written when Saadyah was in Irak. The Letter of Ibn Meir ', 
to which that book was an answer, bears date 923 2 . Saadyah is 
violently abused in it, but it also claims for the Western community 
certain rights over the Eastern community. While therefore it was 
natural that Saadyah should reply to it, he could scarcely do so 
without the authorization of the " Head of the Captivity at Baghdad," 
i.e. David Ben Zakkai. This he appears to have done in a book 
bearing date 926, as we shall presently see. If Saadyah was still 
in Egypt, the length of time between Ibn Meir's missive and Saadyah's 
answer is accounted for by the number of cross-communications 
required. And that Saadyah only went once to the East to remain 
there, appears from the statements of the historians. David Ben 
Zakkai "sent to Egypt to fetch him in 928'." The time when he 
was in Fayyum is spoken of as the time "before he went to 
Assyria V 

This matter is not rendered clearer, but more obscure, by the 
scandalous document which forms the last of Harkavy's supplements. 
It is a fragment of a history of Saadyah's struggle, evidently by 
a violent partisan. In virulence and obscenity it exceeds anything 
of the sort I have ever seen— the manifesto of the Spaniards at the 
time of the Armada scarcely comes near it. In this chronicle 
the charges are brought against Saadyah which the Preface professes 
to answer. "He wrote a scroll in imitation of the prophets, and 
falsified his lineage, saying, ' 1 am of the sons of Judah "... Then 
he said, ' Why did you not claim to be of the tribe of Judah these 
thirteen years?*' 1 " The answer in the Preface is, as will be seen, 
a ridiculous quibble, but the supposed Saadyah distinctly states that 
he had previously no occasion to give his pedigree e . This being so, it 
would seem that the terminus a quo of the thirteen years must be 
either Saadyah's birth, or his migration to the East. But it cannot 
be the former; therefore it must be the latter. According to the 
ordinary view which makes Saadyah come to the East in 928 for 
the first time, this charge will be brought in 941, five years after the 
quarrel had been patched up, and about a year after David B. Zakkai's 
death ! But if we make Saadyah come to the East in 923, we get 
936 as the date of the charge, which is too late ; 930 7 is probably the 

1 Identified by Harkavy. a P. 219, 6. 

3 R. Sherira, in Neubauer's Chronicles, I, 40. Juliasin, ed. Filipowski, 
p. 206. Gratz, p. 258. Cp. Pinsker, Lik. Kad., p. 22, ult. 

4 Dunash B. Tamim, ap. Gratz, p. 457. 

5 P. 229. 6 P. 165, 16. 

T According to Nathan Babli (Neubauer, Chronicles, II, 81), the date of the 
Ifcrem must have been 930. And the charge is brought before the Serem. 



THE SEPER HA-GALUY 507 

latest possible date for it. But if we make him come to the East in 
917, we shall require either three visits to the East, or a visit of seven 
years' duration for the first. Moreover the supposition of two or more 
visits conflicts with the assertion of the Herem that Saadyah was an 
unknown man when he came to the East, whose pious airs took 
people in \ The true solution seems clearly to be that the author 
of the virulent chronicle has by mistake made Saadyah's opponent 
count from the time of Saadyah's arrival in the East to the time of his 
death. 

For the present purpose the rough dating from 930 to 936 may be 
provisionally accepted for the Sefer Ha-Galuy; the date of the real 
work was probably 934 or 935. For Abraham B. Chiyyah in his 
MegUlath Ha-Megalleh 2 mentions the books in which Saadyah dealt 
with Eschatology in the following order : the Commentary on Daniel, 
the Imanat, and the Sefer Ha-Galuy. There might be some ground 
for putting the first (as one of a series) out of its proper order ; but 
the order of the other two should be chronological. The time of 
Saadyah's forced retirement would be the natural time for him to 
write memoirs. And since he could scarcely have made the mistake 
about his being in Irak in 926, we have already a double presumption 
against the genuineness of the Preface. 

Let us now look at Saadyah's writings, and see what we can glean 
from them of his acquaintance with Ben-Sira. We go first to his 
Commentary on the Proverbs, where we should expect to find fre- 
quent reference to Ecclesiasticus, since we are told in this Preface 
that Ecclesiasticus resembles Proverbs. But we are disappointed ; 
there is not a single reference to Ben-Sira. Yet in this Commentary 
he is not unwilling to illustrate the Proverbs from extra-Biblical 
sources. On p. 48 he cites successively several Talmudic Tractates. 
On p. 160 he quotes Aboth three times. On p. 174 he borrows an 
apophthegm from a Mohammedan atfaft-book. A comparison of 
the descriptions of Wisdom in Ecclesiasticus, especially in c. xxiv, 
with that of Proverbs viii, would have an interest for any one familiar 
with both books; but Saadyah makes no allusion to Ben-Sira's 
description. 

Next we come to the Commentary on the Sefer Yetsirah, finished 
930 a.d. There is no reference in it to Ben-Sira ; but, since several 
pages of this book are devoted to the fixing of grammatical rules from 
pointed texts, it is difficult to explain the absence of any such refer- 
ence, if the author believed himself to possess a text of Ecclesiasticus 
actually pointed by Ben-Sira. However, he cites from the Talmud 

1 P- 234. 

• Gratz, p. 463. I have verified the citation in a Bodleian MS. 



508 THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW 

two passages which have reference to the lawfulness of metaphysics 
(p. 6), and one of these, which is really Ben-Sira's (iii. 21), is ascribed 
by him to Eleazar Ben 'Ira. The natural inference would be that 
this was a slip of memory on the part of either Saadyah or his 
scribe, not surprising in the case of a name of no great note 1 . 

In the Religious Philosophy (Al-Imanat), composed in 933, the sub- 
ject of the lawfulness of metaphysics recurs on p. 21, but the passage 
of " Eleazar Ben 'Ira " is omitted, though the other Talmudic pas- 
sage is quoted. This looks as if Saadyah's mistake had excited 
censure ; and indeed during the years 930-933 Saadyah's enemies 
doubtless made the most they could of any errors they could find in 
his writings— there were not many to be found. Later on in the 
book he does cite Ben-Sira once (p. 301), but from the Talmud 
(B. Sanhedrin, 100 b); the Cairene text (xlii. 9) differs considerably. 

Thus far then we have at least made it probable that up to the 
year 933 Saadyah knew no more of Ben-Sira than can be learnt from 
the meagre citations in the Talmud, and felt but small interest in 
these. If there is an argument from silence, here we have a case of 
one. Saadyah is a great quoter ; in the tenth book of his religious 
philosophy he goes through the whole range of human pursuits, 
marriage, parenthood, money-making, pleasure-seeking, feasting, 
ambition — subjects about which Ecclesiasticus is a mine of aphor- 
isms : but yet he only quotes it once, and then from a Talmudic 
quotation. On p. 89 he polemizes against those who say wisdom is an 
entity apart from God, basing their opinion on Prov. viii. 22. " This 
theory,'' he says, "I have already refuted; I have shown that the 
text means that God created things in such a way as to make his 
wisdom manifest." This is clearly the view of Ben-Sira in ch. i, 
whereas in ch. xxiv Wisdom is identified with Holy Scripture ; but 
Saadyah takes no notice of either passage. 

The editor of the Imanat gives some reasons for thinking Bk. x 
later than the rest ; in any case it is not earlier than 933. Had 
Saadyah known the Cairene Ecclesiasticus then, he would have 
quoted it often, and have quoted it according to what he supposed 
to be the original, not according to an inaccurate citation in the 
Talmud. Therefore, if he wrote the Preface to the Sefer Ha-Galuy, 
he must some time after 933 have become thoroughly familiar with 
the Cairene text. The book was not then one with which he had 
been familiar from childhood (as we are with our Apocrypha), but 
one with which he had comparatively late in life become acquainted 
at Baghdad. And now let us see what the supposed Saadyah says 

1 Ramban at the end of his Preface to the Torah quotes this same 
passage from " one of our Holy Rabbis." 



THE SEFER HA-GALUY 509 

about it. He asserts that Ben-Sira, who evidently lived before the 
Maccabees, — for he regularly names the book of Ben-Sira at the 
head of his list— wrote a book resembling Proverbs which he cut 
up into verses and provided with points and accents. By these points 
and accents he clearly means those in use in our ordinary Hebrew 
Bibles, for he identifies those employed by Ben-Sira with those 
employed by himself, of which he gives a specimen in the fragment 
of the text of the Sefer Ha-Galuy. But later on he states most 
distinctly that the book was not handed down with the sacred 
books of the Jews 1 . For such transmission is one of- the con- 
stituent elements of inspiration, which Ben-Sira's book did not 
possess. The question is what can be made of these statements. 
First, can Saadyah have really thought that Ben-Sira provided his 
book with points and accents? It is easy to find passages in his 
genuine writings which prove that he cannot have been so ignorant. 
In the Commentary on the Proverbs (p. 52) he polemizes against the 
opponents of the Rabbanites. " None of these persons," he says, " have 
taken any trouble over the Massorah, the rules for writing the Bible, 
its 'superfluous and deficient,' its grammar and vowels 2 , nor about 
the statutes and judgments, and the rest of the religious matters 
contained in the Tradition. They found all ready made for them, 
and merely pick a few holes." Hence it is clear that he regarded the 
vocalization of the Bible as a recent achievement, and this follows 
from the statements of the Commentary on the Sefer Yetsirah. The 
notion that the author of that book reckons the vowels among the 
letters he does not tolerate s . The vocalization of the Bible is done 
partly by observation of traditional pronunciation, partly by prin- 
ciples ; " the school of Tiberias double the Eesh in the Bible, but that 
of Irak does so in speech, but not in the Bible ; I have looked for the 
rules of the latter, but cannot find them : the rules of the former 
school shall be given later on V At the close of the Commentary he 
prays that he may be numbered among the savants who provided the 
nation with a grammar of their sacred books, and who committed 
the Sefer Yetsirah to writing 8 . The exact parallel to Saadyah 's 
statements about the vocalization of the Bible is to be found in the 
way in which Mohammedan scholars speak of the vocalization of the 
Koran. Othman has the consonants fixed, and sends copies to the 
chief capitals of Islam ; but these require experts to read them. 
Presently vowel and pausal signs are invented and the pronunciation 

J P. 163, 18. 

* Arabic sJljCil « (jUaI. It makes little difference whether the second 
word is pointed as a verb or as a noun. 

3 P. 42, 5 a. f. * P. 46, 4. 5 P. 105. 

VOL. XII. L 1 



5IO THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW 

of the most famous readers is artificially recorded. But there is some 
ground for preferring one reader's pronunciation to that of another ; 
and this may be grammatical or theological 1 . If the founders of 
Hebrew grammar had had pointed texts 1,000 years or more old, 
these must have been made the basis of their studies. Therefore 
Saadyah, who took no mean part in founding Hebrew grammar, 
cannot have written in this ignorant way. Rashi 2 , who is far less 
acute than Saadyah, and who lived several generations later, betrays 
himself for a moment into thinking the Gemara speaks of written 
accents, but immediately recalls the error. Ibn Ezra sometimes 
charges Saadyah with neglecting the accents; "he ventures to 
correct the Accentuator ! " he exclaims on Exodus xvii. 15; "if 
Saadyah's rendering were right, why did the Accentuator combine 
the words otherwise ? " he asks on xxxiv. 6 3 . Now if Saadyah thought 
Ben-Sira's book pointed by himself, he must have supposed the books 
of the Prophets to have been pointed by themselves ; and indeed the 
words of the Sefer Ha-Galuy imply that he did think so. But then 
he could not have ventured to correct the Accentuator; since the 
Prophets must (on our author's own principle) * have known best 
what they meant. From Ibn Ezra's injudicious criticism we learn 
that Saadyah was well aware that the accents were of very little 
authority, and could be neglected with little danger ; Ibn Ezra should 
have been more cautious in criticizing the great master. 

If, however, Saadyah by any possibility meant traditional points 
and accents, then it is quite evident that such a book must have been 
included in the religious literature of the Jews. The idea of a non- 
canonical book with a traditional vocalization and intonation is too 
absurd for discussion. The only possibility that remains is that 
Saadyah meant these statements as a jest ; in his opinion, or in that 
of the satirist who uses his name, Ben-Sira's book with its points and 
accents has been suddenly sprung on the Jewish community. Hence 
he humorously suggests that Ben-Sira pointed it himself ! 

The next point that should have excited suspicion is the character 
of the mysterious author Eleazar Ben 'Ira. As has been seen, in 
930 Saadyah wrote his name by mistake for Ben-Sira. By 933 
he has learnt to write it correctly. By the time he writes the 

1 The best authority for this is Suyuti, Itkan, frequently printed. See 
also NOldeke, Geschichte des Korans. Some further references are given in 
the Preface to my Chrestomathia Baidawiana. 

2 B. Berachoth, 62 a. 

3 I owe the references to Ibn Ezra to Dukes, in Ewald's Beitr&ge, II, 84, 
n. 2. The first is inaccurate. 

4 P. 181, 14. 



THE SEFER HA-GALUY 511 

Sefer Ha-Galuy he is thoroughly familiar -with Eeclesiasticus. Now 
the fragments edited by Dr. Schechter contain the verse which in 
930 Saadyah ascribed to Eleazar Ben-'Ira. Saadyah, who knew it 
by heart, could not fail to see that the verse was Ben-Sira's, and, 
if Eleazar had it too, the latter, who is regularly mentioned after 
Ben-Sira, must have borrowed it from Ben-Sira. But in spite of this 
Saadyah is apparently incorrigible. He gives three select morsels of 
Eleazar and assigns the first place to this very verse ! 

Thirdly, the company in which the work of Ben-Sira is mentioned 
is most compromising. After Eleazar Ben 'Ira comes the book 
written by the five Hasmoneids, and indeed pointed and accented by 
them. Their names are given in full so that there can be no mistake ; 
and a text (ver. 25) is quoted from their work which proves it to be 
the Aramaic text of the Megillath Antiochus, edited by Jellinek 
{Bet Ha-Midrasch, VI). This is called by Jellinek "a late liturgical 
product." Mr. Abrahams has published in the number of this 
Review for January, 1899, another text of the work, and asserts 1 
that it must be classed with, some other mediaeval compilations in Aramaic. 
According to both editors, it is based ultimately on the Greek Books 
of the Maccabees. 

Since then Saadyah, according to Jellinek and Abrahams, mistook 
a "mediaeval compilation," based ultimately on Greek documents, for 
an original of the time of the Maccabees, he may clearly have made 
a similar mistake about the Cairene Eeclesiasticus. If his authority 
is sufficient to prove the latter work authentic, it is sufficient to prove 
the Megillath Antiochus the work of the five Maccabees. If his 
quotation is in the one case insufficient to identify the document, it 
is insufficient in the other case to identify the document. Science 
has one weight and one balance. 

That the conclusions of the editors about the origin of this document 
are correct must be apparent to any one who glances at either text. 
The wide difference between the recensions is sufficient to show that 
the work was of no authority. We are told that there is a reference 
to it in the Halachoth G'doloth; but this is an error, for tbe work 
there cited (ed. Hildesheimer, Berlin, 1888, p. 615) is the Megillath 
Ta'anith, which is a comparatively old work, ascribed in the Gemara 
of B. Shabbath, 13 b, to Hananiah, son of Hezekiah. Dr. Neubauer has 
edited it excellently in the second volume of his Chronicles. From the 
Tosaphoth on Shabbath, 21b, it may be justly inferred that the author 
was either unacquainted with the Megillath Antiochus, or at any rate 
paid little attention to it. The story is there told how, after the 
cleansing of the Temple by the Maccabees, one pot of oil was found 

1 P. 295. 
L 1 2 



512 THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW 

"deposited," with the seal of the high priest. The glossator is 
interested in the question where it was deposited— for if the heathen 
had handled it, it would have been of no use. It might have been 
worth observing that in the Megillath Antiochus, in which this passage 
occurs in Aramaic, for "deposited" the word "sealed" is substituted. 
The influence of various intermediate languages is traceable in the 
different versions of this work. The word for " shrine," used in both 
the copies referred to (K3"^S), seems to be Christian Syriac, and to have 
been misunderstood by the redactor 1 . The names Baghres and Makanee 
show traces of the Arabic alphabet. A copy in the Bodleian Library, 
which has the " Assyrian " pointing, mentions that the river of Jeru- 
salem was dammed, implying that the author was little acquainted 
with Eastern geography. Mr. Abrahams' copy makes Antiochus issue 
from "Rome," thereby betraying the influence of Arabic or Persian ; 
for it is chiefly in these languages that that name is used for " Greece." 
"When Darius," says Firdausi, "heard that the army of Rome was on 
the move V The etymology of the name Maccabee, " slayer of the 
mighty," seems to be a combination of Hebrew and Greek 3 . However, 
even without these clues it is certain that all the texts of this work 
that are at present accessible are of such a nature that not even the 
meanest intelligence could mistake it for the autobiography of the 
five Hasmoneids. 

Then, can Saadyah have made such a mistake ? The Sefer Yetsirah 
is ascribed to Abraham ; but Saadyah expresses himself in the most 
scholarly way on this subject. "Abraham may have thought it; but 
it must have been put together and clothed with words in recent times, 
and indeed in Syria, as the double R shows V A number in the text 
disagrees with an actual calculation ; Saadyah collates MSS. and 
emends the text. In the Imanat he notices an opinion ascribed 
to the Brahmins, and explains what the Brahmins really think. 
I doubt whether there has ever been a more cautious writer than 
Saadyah. Hence, if he wrote in this style about the Megillah, he 
must have been jesting ; and hence what he says about Ben-Sira is 
also a jest. 

To the present writer, then, it seems that what the Sefer Ha-Galuy 
says about Ben Sira and the other books is by itself sufficient to 
condemn both it and them. We will now examine it from another 
point of view. A book bearing this name was known before Firko- 
vitch's time by the quotation in the work of Abraham b. Chiyyah, 

1 The Persian has annua ( = nni?). 

8 Vuller's Chrcstomathia Shahnamiana, first verse. The same usage is 
found in Pehlevi ; see West's Ardah- Viraf, p. 141. 

8 Perhaps nan Hiaiovs. * Pp. 12, 13. 



THE SEFER HA-GALUY 513 

and another in the Sefer Ha-Kabbaldh of Abraham b. David (c. 1165), 
where, after a brief account of the Gaon, we are told (in the style of 
the Books of Kings) that " the rest of the acts of R. Saadyah, and the 
good which he did unto Israel, verily they are written in the Sefer Ha- 
Galuy 1 ." When Firkovitch discovered the document which we are 
discussing, it was evidently more valuable than had been generally 
anticipated, as being an awfobiography ; on the other hand, it was 
evident that only a few lines of the original work survived, all the 
rest being preface. Steinschneider immediately suspected that it 
was a forgery. Let us try and find the reasons for his supposition. 

The few lines of Hebrew constituting the text of the work offer 
great difficulties of interpretation. It commences thus : "IBD v 13'n 

hxis nn rtfnx 'hdk nwo nom nno Diosn ^an. The last clause 

is an imitation of Isa. xxxiii. 6, and doubtless means "correct 
words are its store," i.e. it, the Sefer Ha-Galuy, is a store of correct 
diction. This agrees with what we read in the Preface. The author 
divides his work into ten sections, of which nos. 1-7 are special, 
whereas 8, 9, and 10 are spread over the whole work. In no. 8 he is 
going to teach the Jews pure or correct Hebrew, " because I have seen 
that, since Arabic and Nabataean have got the upper hand, they have 
forgotten their pure language and their eloquent speech." In no. 9 
he will instruct them in composition and construction generally ; this 
will be, as it were, a torch to guide them in arranging their discourse 
and their ideas. In no. 10 he will teach them conjunctions ; " for no 
discourse is quite intelligible without conjunctions to knit it together, 
and make the ideas logical ; else it will fall to pieces and be spoiled 2 ." 
The author foresees the happiest results to the youth of his nation from 
the study of his work ; they will all become eloquent, and realize 
Isaiah's prophecy (xxxii. 4). 

This, then, is his promise ; his language is to be faultlessly pure, his 
grammar and syntax without a flaw. Now from the Commentary on 
Sefer Yetsirah we can gauge Saadyah's ability in this respect ; and, 
though he is unlikely to have boasted in this style, it would have been 
in his power to keep his promise tolerably well. But what a 
performance have we here ! The first sentence alone contains two 
words of great obscurity, pDn and i"MO. iVi in the next line 
is from the Targum of Job. The word Dpi is exceedingly faulty 
for HDOT. The form ron^D is not Biblical, but Arabic. The syntax 
of the first verse seems decidedly open to criticism. The author, how- 
ever, undertakes to help us, premising that, since it is his own book 

1 Neubauer, Chronicles, I, 66. 

2 Pp. 155, a 1 to !57> 7- 



514 THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW 

he will know best what it meant. But his translation is as bad as his 
text. He renders the title of the book, "The Banishing Book" — 
a worse mistake than even a beginner could make ; it is bad enough 
to render it "The Book of the Exile," as some have done. Then 
the Arabic is also ungrammatical, and appears to follow the principle 
of substituting for the Hebrew text the Arabic words that most 
resemble it in sound. Then much of the Hebrew is pointed in an 
impossible way. Clearly, then, a beginner's exercise could scarcely be 
more faulty than this model of style and correctness ! 

From this fact, which is unquestionable, and which Dr. Harkavy 
recognizes to some extent, some inferences may be drawn. 

1. We have here as much of the Sefer Ha-Galuy in this form as was 
ever written. Had the author attempted to write a page, he could not 
have maintained the same level of error. To cram so much bad Hebrew 
and bad Arabic into eight lines must have taken days, if not weeks, 
Moreover, an author of whose work Harkavy has discovered a fragment 
(p. 182) quotes sufficient of this passage to show that Saadyah's Hebrew 
was correct. For n?rU3 rnn?D this author has n?rU roil?, which is 
quite unobjectionable ; for "UN pT2 he has pQ. Now this author tells us 
that the words were defended by Saadyah in the KitSb al-Ttibar, and 
that Rab Mubashshir replied to this defence in a somewhat lengthy 
critique. According to the letter of R. Sherira (p. 40) Rab Mubashshir 
died in 237 Sel. But we are happily able to correct this to 238 from 
the statement of another chronicler ', and now we can arrange our 
documents. A work on the Calendar, bearing a name translated into 
Hebrew as Sefer Ha-Hakkarah, of which the original Arabic would 
probably be Al-Ttibar, was composed by Saadyah in this very year 
238*. It was in Arabic. Another quotation, probably from the 
same book 3 , shows that it was in reply to "a wicked man," one of 
the Minim. As the last phrase is one which Jews apply to members 
of a different party from their own, it seems clear that Saadyah's 
book was in answer to the letter of Ibn Meir, of which Harkavy has 
published two fragments, in which " next year " is said to be 854 
from the Destruction of the Temple, i.e. 924*. The Sel. year 238 
corresponds with 926. If Harkavy's conjecture be correct, Rab Mu- 
bashshir replied to Saadyah's words at least four years after the former's 
death; or else we should have to conclude that Saadyah, although 
his words, when grammatically correct, had excited criticism, deliber- 

1 Neubauer, Chronicles, I, 189. 

1 (Euvres de Saadyah, IX, 149. The Fihrist says Saadyah's work on the 
Calendar was called Al-'Ubur, which is not Arabic in this sense ; but the 
title may have contained both words. 

3 Ibid., 141. 4 P. 319, 6. 



THE SEFEK HA-GALUY 515 

ately turned them into impossible Hebrew, and placed them at the 
commencement of a work which was to be a model of style ! 

If, on the other hand, this Preface is by a person whose design 
is to ridicule Saadyah, he very naturally selected for parody some 
words of Saadyah's which had become notorious. 

Dr. Harkavy strangely prefers the barbarous Hebrew to the correct, 
and meets the difficulty of the title of the book as follows. Rab 
Mubashshir purposely altered it, he supposes, "in order not to 
call attention to the fact that Saadyah had been banished by his 
enemies." But neither the Hebrew nor the Arabic title of the 
Sefer Ha-Galuy could have suggested such an idea. The Hebrew 
title must have suggested to any Jewish hearer the passage in 
Jeremiah whence it is taken, and where it means " unsealed book." 
To Syrian Christians Galuy might have suggested Galuya, "exile"; 
but assuredly this Preface was not intended for their perusal. On the 
other hand, the Arabic translation of the title given in the Preface 
means " Banishing Book," "Hunting Book," possibly "Passing Book"; 
but certainly not " The Book of the Exile," unless Arabic grammar be 
abandoned. 

It may be added that eminent scholars have sometimes erred in 
identifying books with different titles which cover the same ground. 
Von Kremer, who knew Abu' 1-' Ala's writings well, declared that his 
Kitab Al-Fusul was another name for his Luzumiyyat ; but he was 
shown to be mistaken by Goldziher. If Rab Mubashshir (in his 
grave) had wished out of motives of delicacy to avoid mentioning 
the Sefer Ha-Galuy, surely he would have called it " Saadyah's 
Memoirs" rather than mislead the reader, who would be at least 
likely to confuse it with the Sefer Ha-Hakkarah. Indeed, in the 
ease of an author like Saadyah, who "wrote books without number," 
such a wilful alteration would be most undesirable. 

2. Saadyah cannot have seriously given this as a specimen of pure 
and correct Hebrew. For we see from his writings that he knew 
exactly what words were to be found in the Bible, the Targum, and 
the Talmud. This appears from his commentaries, especially from 
that on the Sefer Yetsirah. He there observes * that by transposing 
the radicals you get different roots. Several transpositions of the 
radicals pit? are to be found in the sacred tongue ; pKH only in the 
Targum ; B>p"> is not found " in this language at all " (though it is found 
in Arabic). Therefore he must have known that TV} was a word of the 
Targum, which must not be used in a pattern of correct Hebrew ; and 
that DBO was " not used in this language at all V 

1 P. si- 

* I should not affirm that Saadyah could not have written Hebrew of 



516 THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW 

Some of the points in this satire can be understood without 
difficulty. Saadyah has been criticized for guessing at the meaning 
of Hebrew words from the Arabic words that most resembled them. 
He rendered D1D3 in Deut. xxxii. 34 by the Arabic maknuz, and this 
translation is reproduced here. }1Dn = makhzun, similarly reproduces 
his rendering of Isa. xxiii. 18. flinS contains a hit at the title of one 
of Saadyah's books, and its employment as an abstract singular is to 
ridicule Saadyah's note on Prov. ix. 10. 

3. But since Saadyah is the object of the satire, it is unlikely that 
he can be the author of it. It has no point unless Saadyah or 
persons who follow Saadyah are hit. And though his Arabic trans- 
lation of the Bible is obliquely assailed, it must be some performance 
in bad Hebrew which was associated with the Rabbanite party that 
is mainly attacked. And one of the points of attack will be the 
employment of Arabic and Nabataean words. I know of no book 
which can be more effectively attacked on the score of Arabizing 
than the Cairene Ecclesiasticus. That such words as p?n "create," 
"tlO "watch," flJP "respect," ffT\ "illuminate" are Arabic, and 
indeed Mohammedan Arabic, need not be proved. And the employ- 
ment of Arabic words could be justified by the usage of the Mishnah. 
Shabbath, 51b, with nakah, khitam, zimam, takes us into the heart of 
Arabia, and the employment of words like these amid what professes 
to be Hebrew justly provokes ridicule. 

What the author means by Nabataean words is not at first sight so 
clear. A contemporary of Saadyah, Ibn Al-Fakih 1 , tells us that the 

this sort, but only that he would not have placed it at the head 
of a book which was to be a pattern of pure and correct language. For 
by " pure Hebrew " every one means " Biblical Hebrew," and he had only 
to consult his lists to see whether the words occurred in the Bible or did 
not occur ; he might have forgotten to do this in the body of the work, 
but could not have failed to do so at the outset. The fragment printed by 
Harkavy, p. 187 sqq., which he thinks comes from the Commentary on 
the Sefer Ba-Galuy, shows that the author allowed himself considerable 
licence — as indeed from his words in the Commentary on the Sefer 
Yetsirah we should expect that Saadyah would — but not on this scale. 
Moreover, the words about Wisdom, " The Lord God has reserved it for 
his might, and given to his Goon its dwelling-place," contain an ambiguity 
that the Gaon himself would surely have avoided. The habit of some 
Oriental writers, of making their works purposely obscure, so as to need 
comments by themselves, is well known, and Saadyah may have done as 
others did. But then in his Preface he would have explained that it was 
the difficulty of the text which rendered a commentary necessary — and to 
this point there is no allusion. 
1 Bibl. Geogr. Arab., V, 35. 



THE SEFER HA-GALUY 517 

Nabataeans were "the barbarians of the Sawad." Another contem- 
porary, the learned and accurate Mas'udi \ adds that they were the 
relics of the ancient Babylonians ; and he tells us that in their 
language arya meant " lion," with plural art/an. This word is familiar 
to us in Aramaic, and it is likely that Mas'udi's informant purposely 
altered the plural ary'wan with the object of deriving the name Iran 
from it. A number of Nabataean words are reckoned by Suyuti 2 
among the foreign elements in the Koran ; and a still more interesting 
collection can be made from the Mu'arrab of Jawaliki 3 , who does not 
confine his observations to the Sacred Book. The authorities followed 
by Suyuti and Jawaliki include the most distinguished names of 
Arabic philology. Al-Asma'i made the remark that the Nabataeans 
alter the Arabic Z to T ; he illustrates this by Bar-Tulla, which, he 
says, means " son of the shade." We have no difficulty in recognizing 
this as Jewish Aramaic. Another point noticed by the Arabic 
philologists is that in Nabataean the soft aspirate H is pronounced H, 
and by the aid of this observation we can recognize many Aramaic 
words. LA DAHLA* is Nabataean for "do not fear" (N?m N?) ; 
HASS for " back " (Syriac and New-Sy riac }T1) ; MHRZK " imprisoned " 
(pPHD " imprisoned," B. Nedarim, 91b, ap. Levy) ; HNDKUK " lotus " 
(Syriac and Talm. p1p"Ui"l); finally, the name HUB 5 , said to be a 
woman's name in Nabataean, which by an extraordinary coincidence 
is actually found, with the spelling HuBU, in a real Nabataean 
inscription 6 . Now this substitution of H for H not only appears in 
the spelling of certain words in the Babylonian Gemara 7 , but we 
may infer from some of the etymologies there given that the latter 
sound had become unpronounceable. Thus, in the interpretation of 
dreams it appears that if you see a HASPED, it implies that you will 
be "spared" (HAS) and "delivered 8 ." The parallel substitution of 
N for V is certified for the language of the Gemara by the famous 
various reading at the commencement of Aboddh Zarah, but also by 
some express statements 9 . A similar change may be inferred for the 
language called Nabataean by the statement of Suyuti that DTI2V 
meant " I killed " (m31N) in the latter tongue. 

These facts and a certain number of further coincidences in 
vocabulary justify us in identifying the language of the Babylonian 

1 Bibl. Geogr. Arab., VIII, 38. 2 Itkan, pp. 317-26 (Calcutta, 1857). 

s Ed. Sachau, Leipsic, 1865. 

♦ Jawaliki, p. 67. Both Suyuti and Jawaliki give the words in alpha- 
betical order. 

5 Ibid., p. 12. * Euting, Nabataische Inschriften, Index. 

7 So Tin for Yin (Syriac). * Berachoth, 37 a (cf. Moed Katon, ad init.). 

9 Ibid., 32 a. 



518 THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW 

Gemara with these authors' "Nabataean." 'Tin, says Jawaliki, is 
Nabataean for hurdi, " match-boarding." This word occurs in Baba 
Baihra, 6 a, but the Rabbis are not clear about its meaning. Np'T, 
according to the same author, is Nabataean for " wind " ; it has that 
meaning in Jewish Aramaic and Mandaic. NDNTlB, according to 
Suyuti, meant "vineyard" in Nabataean; it has that sense (with e 
for a) in Baba Metsia, 73 a. N3Dp in Nabataean, says the same, means 
" our writing " ; he probably refers to the familiar DJ, which properly 
signifies any form of contract '. mBD in Nabataean means "readers " ; 
as the word is meant for the plural of ISID, this is sufficiently 
accurate 8 . We should be glad to know whether the Nabataeans 
formed their present tense with K, as this idiom, which the researches 
of Mr. Arsen Aidynean might show to have been borrowed from 
vulgar Armenian 3 , is probably the most characteristic of all the 
peculiarities of the dialect we are discussing. 

It appears, then, that in the language of good Arabic authors of the 
tenth century "Nabataean" meant the vernacular language of Irak, 
which, owing to its large borrowings from Persian, was by some 
authors coupled with that language, and by others even identified 
with it and Syriac *. By the " Nabataean, which had ousted the pure 
Hebrew," the author of the Sefer Ha-Galuy means the language of 
the Baylonian Gemara, and probably has in mind in this sentence 
the gross Talmudisms which have been noticed in the Cairene 
Ecclesiasticus. But would Saadyah have either called the language 
of the Gemara " Nabataean," or complained that it was ousting pure 
Hebrew? It seems clear that he would have done neither. He is 
responsible for making the Babylonian Talmud the chief study of 
the Jews, while he has also the merit of having helped to reduce the 
Hebrew language to rules; but he doubtless was certain that the 
two studies could be carried on simultaneously without the one 
endangering the other. 

4. Had not Saadyah been the founder of a school, he would only 
have been satirized in his lifetime. But it must be remembered that 
he was the champion who won the cause of the Rabbanites. His 
place in the history of Judaism corresponds remarkably with that of 
Abu '1-Hasan Al-Ash'ari among the Mohammedans. Owing to Saadyah 
the Rabbanites are the orthodox Jews and the Karaites a sect. Now 

1 Delitzsch, Assyr. Hdw., p. 176. 

3 Ntora, for " son of man," is mentioned as Nabataean by a very early 
writer, Ibn Kutaibah, Adah al-KaHb, p. 176. Most of the above words 
have been identified by NOldeke and Frankel. 

8 Critical Grammar (Vienna, 1866), II, 76 (in modern Armenian). 

* Mafatih Al-'UlUm, ed. Van Vloten, p. 117. 



THE SEFER HA-GALUY 519 

the defeated are apt in such a case to hate the conqueror for a long 
series of generations. That this was so in Saadyah's case is proved 
by what Jephet Ibn Ali (who was two generations after Saadyah) says 
of him. When "the Fayyumi" is referred to in Jephet's writings, 
the reference is accompanied with a curse, or at least an expression 
of contempt. " He ruined Israel x ; " " God shall take vengeance on 
him and his like *." These expressions occur in a book written forty 
years after Saadyah's death. Unless I am mistaken, wherever Jephet 
calls attention to a grammatical, linguistic, or other error on the part 
of "those who do not know the language," Saadyah is the object of 
his criticisms. How long this bitterness was kept up by the Karaites 
I do not know ; but as Jephet's writings were (in spite of their feeble- 
ness) copied and read for some four centuries, it probably was 
maintained for a great length of time *. This hatred of the dead is 
an extraordinary phenomenon, but parallels to it are easy to find. 
Dozy observes that still when the Shiites come to Medinah, they say 
over the graves of the three Caliphs, sallahu 'ttahu, " may God roast 
him," for " may God be merciful to him " — such is their affection for 
Ali 4 . We shall see reason presently for putting the date of the 
present satire after 962 on internal evidence ; how long after must 
probably be fixed by the nature of the MS., which shows signs of 
being an autograph. The author must certainly have had the real 
Sefer Ha-Galuy before him ; but then that seems to have been read 
in the twelfth century, as we have seen, and several of Saadyah's 
writings to which allusion is made are still classics. 

That the author should have got up the history of Saadyah with 
sufficient care to enable him to personate the Gaon at all is surprising; 
but facts can surprise us without being impossibilities. The documents 
collected by Harkavy show that the materials for a minute study of 
Saadyah's history existed for some centuries after his death ; un- 
published writings of his fell after his death into the hands of 
Karaites 3 : and we have seen that the desire to present Saadyah in 
a ludicrous and repulsive light was also present. The production of 
the retranslation of Ecclesiasticus and the Megillath Antiochus gave the 
witty pamphleteer an occasion for practising his art. The Megillak 
survived, being but gently hit, and being connected with the Jewish 
liturgy. But the document which to scholars of the nineteenth 
century proved the genuineness of the Cairene Ecclesiasticus seems 
to have driven it off the stage in the uncritical Middle Ages. 

1 Comm. on Daniel, ed. D. S. M., p. ifi, 17. 2 Ibid., 20. 

3 Pinsker, Lik, Kad., p. 174, quotes an attack on Saadyah of about the 
year 1050 a. d. 
1 Dozy, L'Islamisme. s Pinsker, p"^, appendix, p. 37. 



520 THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW 

Our conclusion, then, from an examination of the ostensible frag- 
ment of the Sefer Ha-Galuy is that it cannot be genuine on the 
following grounds, (i) Both it and the Preface lay the greatest 
possible stress on the correctness of the Hebrew, and this Hebrew is 
grossly and even scandalously impure and incorrect; but we know 
from Saadyah's writings that if he had chosen to make such a promise 
as is here given, he could have performed it. (2) The words are 
evidently a wilful parody of some words actually used by Saadyah in 
a book bearing a different title, and criticized by Rab Mubashshir, 
who died four years before the Sefer Ha-Galuy can have been written. 
(3) We learn from the Preface that the book commenced in a 
different way 1 . 

We may now proceed to analyse the Preface. 

The author commences by saying that since prophecy has ceased, 
it is the duty of the learned to chronicle events and write down their 
ideas ; and mentions, as persons who have done so, Simon son of Jesus 
son of Eleazar son of Sira, Eleazar son of 'Ira, the five Hasmoneids, 
the people of Kairawan of his own time who wrote a book about what 
had been done to them by Sa'di the Christian, and finally himself 
when, during his residence in Irak, he had composed a work called 
the Book of Feasts in answer to a letter of Ibn Meir. He had also 
written a book recounting the troubles and vexations he had under- 
gone at the hands of Ibn Meir's(?) friends; which is apparently 
identical with the Sefer Ha-Galuy. 

We have had occasion to deal already with most of this humorous 
list. Dr. Harkavy has a learned excursus on the book of the people 
of Kairawan, but all that he can show is that Saadyah had intercourse 
with the Rabbis of that town. I strongly suspect that "Sa'di the 
Christian " is Saadyah himself. The Book of Feasts of which we 
know was in Arabic. 

After giving this list of books he proceeds to sketch the contents 
of the present work, which is to be in ten sections— the same number 
as the Imanat contains. As we shall see, he cannot make out more 
than seven. 

1. " Description of Wisdom, how we found it out, virtues of its 
lovers, defects of its haters. The reason for my writing this was that 
those people hated me owing to their hatred of Wisdom, and their 
desire that there should be neither wisdom nor justice among the 
Jews." 

The spitefulness of this sentence is not sufficient to condemn it, 
but it seems unworthy of Saadyah. If the account of Saadyah's 
troubles given by Nathan Babli be correct — and it is followed 

1 See below. 



THE SEFER HA-GALUY 52 1 

literally by Gratz — the cause of his conflict was not his enemies' 
dislike of philosophy, but their attempt to extort money unlawfully. 
When Saadyah had an excellent case, it is difficult to see why he 
should misrepresent it at the outset. We shall see presently that the 
Preface distinctly asserts that the book began in quite a different 
way; and in any case it is more likely that an enemy (such as we 
suppose this satirist to have been) would conceal the real cause of 
the dispute than that Saadyah would substitute a vague and arrogant 
statement of this sort for a simple and veracious epitome of the facts. 
I may add that Mas'udi was told that whereas the rank and file of the 
Jews followed the Tradition, the Ananites were the party who pursued 
justice and true monotheism \ 

2. "Calculation of the number of years during which Prophetic 
Inspiration remained among the Jews, in which I show that it was 
1000 years; number of years which it took to complete the Mishnah, 
which I show to have been 500 years after that ; length of time it 
took to complete the Talmud. How both Mishnah and Talmud 
remained orally handed down till they were written. The reason 
which causes me to write this is that I find those who call them- 
selves 'Rabbonim' in our time do not understand this, neither do 
they follow the example of the ancients who live in their mouths (or, 
'in whose mouths they live'), and by whose trade they subsist." 

According to the document published by Harkavy, p. 194, Saadyah's 
calculation was 510 or 530 years, starting from the year 41 from 
the building of the Second Temple. Clearly in this epitome he 
ought to have given something less vague than the statement, 
"Prophecy lasted 1000 years, and the Mishnah took 500 years to 
compile after that ! " The next statement is also a piece of chaff ; 
"both Mishnah and Talmud were handed down orally until they 
were written down." Who could deny this proposition? The real 
question that Saadyah would have handled would have been the 
same as that with which Rab Sherira Gaon's letter starts : " How 
was the Mishnah written down? Did the men of the Great Synagogue 
commence writing it?" 

It has been suggested that the name Babbonim betrays the hand 
of a Karaite, but we learn from the Commentary on Proverbs, p. 52, 
that this is not necessarily the case. The jibe at the end (that it is 
one can scarcely be denied) surely refers to the HS /]}2W min , " the 
Law which is on the mouth." Since the earlier Rabbis lived by 
the Law which is on the mouth, why do the present Rabbis live 
by a written book ? Precisely the same question is asked by Salmon 

1 Loc. cit., p. 112, 18. The word rendered "true monotheism" in later 
times stands for " religious philosophy." 



522 THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW 

ben Yerucham in his onslaught on Saadyah l : " Why have you written 
the Oral Law ? If God had wished to write it, he would have made 
Moses write it. Ought you not to recite it orally, seeing that it was 
not to be written in a book? They have changed their ways and 
written it, transferred it from recitation to writing. They have 
written both Laws, rejecting the Commandment of God." Hence it 
must be confessed that our Karaite makes a point. But could 
Saadyah, who hopes he may be included among those who have 
endeavoured to preserve the literature of the Jews 2 , have ridiculed 
his own party in this style ? 

3. "Account of what happens in a country when a wicked man 
seeks to make himself head there. My reason for writing on this 
subject is the affair of David b. Zakkai." 

The statement that David b. Zakkai was a wicked man who sought 
to make himself head is so inaccurate that it can scarcely have been 
made by Saadyah even in a moment of irritation. Saadyah derived 
his title of Gaon from David b. Zakkai ; and the latter was a per- 
fectly legitimate ruler. Saadyah took the unconstitutional step of 
endeavouring to oust David from the "Headship of the Captivity" 
in favour of a less authorized person. — Hence it is likely that this 
passage is aimed at Saadyah. It is noteworthy that Mas'udi uses the 
same word " make himself head " of Saadyah. 

4. " To show that God never leaves his nation without some scholar 
in each age whom he instructs and enlightens, so that he may give 
judgment, instruct it, and manage its affairs aright ; my reason for 
writing this is to be found in the gifts which I feel within my soul to 
have been conferred by God on me and it." 

Here again it is impossible to say that Saadyah did not boast in 
this style ; but his genuine writings contain little that would justify 
us in supposing that he could be capable of making himself so 
absurd. In the Commentary on Proverbs, p. 52, he polemizes at length, 
but in a very different style from this. 

5. " Explanations of the Principles of the Commandments and of 
the Future which I have set forth in this book in an order intelligible 
to any reader. My reason for this is that I see the nation greatly 
needs them." 

Since Saadyah wrote at length on the Principles of the 613 Pre- 
cepts, and also gave in his Imanat a graphic account of the future, it 
is difficult to see why the nation needed a further account of these 
matters s . Surely this paragraph is only meant to ridicule Saadyah's 

1 Litteraiurblatt des Orients, 1846, p. 167. 

1 Comm. on Sefer Yetsirah ad fin. 

3 That he did treat of the future in the Sefer Ha-Galuy is otherwise attested. 



THE SEFEB HA-GALUY 523 

account of both. In Book VIII of his Imanat he fixes the date of 
the end of the world with precision, and describes exactly what 
is going to happen. We shall find this fancifulness ridiculed a little 
later on, and Jephet Ibn Ali the Karaite is delighted to be able 
to say that Saadyah's " marvellous inventions " have been disproved 
by the event, for the date assigned by him to the world's end is 
passed. Since such a prophecy can be better ridiculed after it has 
been disproved than before, we shall scarcely be mistaken in sup- 
posing it disproved by the event when this Preface was written ; 
whence the Preface is brought to a later date than 962 a.d. 

6. " Narrative of the persecution, cruelty, and attempted assassina- 
tion that I endured at the hands of the persons named therein, and 
how I prayed to God, and demanded his help. I have written this to 
provide a model to other just persons who may be persecuted and 
worried by wrongdoers, who are therefore to pray and hold out 
and not flag, nor hasten to conciliate their opponents and to make 
terms with them." 

Saadyah had a great reputation for being uncompromising: his 
troubles were due to his refusing to countenance injustice. But 
would any man boast of his unwillingness to come to terms ? Even 
Caesar, in his Civil War, tries to show that his enemies were un- 
compromising, not he. This passage therefore seems to be satirical ; 
and indeed it would appear from Nathan Babli's account that 
Saadyah did all he could to avoid a rupture. 

7. "Description with lampoons of each of my persecutors; which 
I was forced to write owing to its being a warning to any one who 
might try to persecute like them, and indeed a warning to them- 
selves, which may induce them to stop and repent." 

Perhaps this might be a genuine epitome of a paragraph. Yet 
that Saadyah should boast of the sharpness of his tongue seems 
unlikely. In his Imanat he speaks without harshness of the Karaite 
doctors whom he refutes. 

He then proceeds to describe the three general sections, which we 
have discussed above. — But could a real book be divided in this style ? 
Seven subjects are given seven separate divisions; three others are 
spread over those seven sections ; and these three are pure Hebrew, 
coiTect grammar, and correct logic ! A more illogical method of 
dividing a work was surely never suggested. 

Having given us an epitome of his work, the author proceeds to 
boast in the following style *. When the nation read the book and 
the young men learn it, they will gain numerous advantages. They 
will become experts in the Hebrew language, grammar, and logic. 

' Pp. 157-9. 



524 THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW 

Every saint who is tried will learn courage. The nation will thank 
God all the more for never leaving them without an inspired teacher. 
People will know what is going to happen in the future, and in how 
many years the end of the world is coming, for the ignorant do not 
know all this, whereas the wise know it. All these boasts are 
illustrated in Saadyah's style by quotations from the Bible. 

One of these salutary results is worth noting in particular. " The 
nation will be on their guard in the future against appointing a chief 
save after examination and thorough knowledge 1 ." This professes to 
be aimed at David b. Zakkai, but it clearly applies to Saadyah himself. 
Saadyah, as we have seen, came to Sora as a stranger, to preside over 
the college ; David b. Zakkai excuses the appointment on the ground 
of his imperfect acquaintance with Saadyah. Since Saadyah derived 
his own title from David, it is unlikely that he could have ventured on 
such dangerous ground. 

That Oriental writers boast immoderately of their writings is 
certainly found sometimes to be the fact. But Saadyah does not 
appear to belong to that class. The modest wish with which he 
closes his Commentary on the Sefer Yetsirah is very different from the 
ludicrous self-laudation which the pages before us contain. Hence it 
seems highly improbable that these pages can proceed from any one 
but an enemy of Saadyah's school. 

"Having enumerated 2 ," he now proceeds, "these ten sections and 
the benefits to be derived from them, I will now explain the reason 
which induced me to interpret it." 

" My persecutors, seeing that I had composed about them a Hebrew 
book with verse-divisions, points, and accents, began to calumniate 
and say, ' This is to claim inspiration,' which is simply to ignore what 
I have said at the beginning 3 , since I start 1 by saying that prophecy is 
over. (Two Hebrew fragments are here quoted.) Now he who 
confesses that it is over cannot himself profess it." 

How are we to reconcile this statement with the foregoing analysis 
of contents? Surely this must have come in section 2. Yet the 
author states most distinctly that these statements were at the 
commencement. 

In the ' scandalous chronicle ' the charge is put, it would seem, 
in the mouth of David b. Zakkai. "He wrote a book aping the 
Prophets 5 ." It must be confessed that Saadyah's answer so far seems 
sound. The point, however, is to nail Saadyah to the confession that 
Prophecy ceased with the Bible ; for this, the Karaites think, is sufficient 
to discredit the Mishnah. This very argument is adduced by Salmon 

1 P. 159, 16. " P. 161, is. 3 Jjl ij. 

* iz>jX+ Ju». 5 P- 229- 



THE SEPER HA-GALUY 525 

b. Yerucham ' in his attack on Saadyah. " What right have men like 
ourselves, who are without the Holy Spirit, to transcribe the Oral Law 
and make a Law of it ? If it existed in the time of the Prophets, it 
should mention them ; " otherwise, it is of no authority. 

" They say too ' This book will weaken the hearts of the nation till it 
make them doubt concerning the twenty-four books, and make them 
think these equally recent.' But this too is ignorance on their part of 
the definition of an inspired book : they define it as a book cut up into 
verses and provided with points and accents ; but it is not so ; for these 
operations (I mean the verses [&c] ) can be performed by any one, as did 
Ben-Sira, and Ben 'Ira, and the Hasmoneids, and the Africans, none of 
whom professed prophetic power. The true definitions of the prophetic 
books are three : (1) there must be in them a mention of revelation, 
either ' God spake ' or ' Thus saith the Lord,' &c, or mysterious infor- 
mation as in Proverbs, Koheleth, and the Scroll of Esther ; (2) the 
author of such a book must be proved to be a prophet by a miracle or 
the testimony of another prophet ; (3) the nation must introduce such 
a book into the number of their sacred books, and hand it down 
together with them. And if these three conditions be wanting, or 
one of them be wanting, such a book is no prophecy : how much more 
then if none of them be found, even as they are not found in this book, 
nor in Ben-Sira's book, nor in Ben 'Ira's, and the like ? Such a book 
can by no possibility be called a prophecy." 

We have had occasion to notice this passage before ; let us suppose 
for a moment that the passage is genuine and the argument intended 
to carry conviction. It certainly seems — but this must be left for 
further development — as if the reason why traditions were not written 
by Mohammedans and Jews was the fear that such writings might be 
confused with the Law. When the points and pauses were invented 
in both cases the danger ceased 2 ; the purpose of the Mohammedan 
pointing was certainly religious, and the Jewish equally certainly so. 
Now is it really credible that Ben-Sira's book could have been given 
a traditional pointing, without the Talmud knowing a great deal 
about the book ? But if it was pointed by some editor in Saadyah's 
time, could Saadyah have ventured to say that Ben-Sira had pointed 
it ? Grant that Saadyah was so anxious to meet the charge of having 
aped the Prophets that he would have grasped at any straw — why 
need he make so astounding a misstatement, when he has in any case 
the book of the people of Kairawan to fall back on ? Moreover, we 
have seen that Saadyah knows nothing of this book in his earlier 

1 Loc. cit., p. 215. 

2 The Mohammedan pausal marks are never used except for the Koran. 
The vowel points are meant to help foreigners to read the Koran. 

VOL. XII. M m 



526 THE JEWISH QUAETEKLY REVIEW 

writings ; we have noticed that the author of Chronicle No. VI in Neu- 
bauer's first collection (p. 167) obtains his knowledge of Ecclesiasticus 
from the Greek : and the author of the Juhasin does likewise. The 
former author, according to Neubauer (who gives good reasons for 
his opinion), lived early in the twelfth century. How is it that the 
Hebrew Ben-Sira has such a meteoric existence ? 

Whether Saadyah pointed his Sefer Ha-Galuy seems uncertain. It 
may be that his employment of the third person instead of the first 
and his use of Biblical phrases was what caused the charge ; but the 
statement that the production of such a book would weaken people's 
faith in the authority of the canonical books seems somewhat far- 
fetched, if it be applied to Saadyah's Apologia pro Vita sua. If on 
the other hand the books ridiculed are the Retranslation of Ecclesias- 
ticus and the Megillaih Antiochus, there is more sense in the charge ; 
for that these might conceivably be mistaken for canonical books we 
know only too well by recent experience. 

The author then 1 proceeds to defend certain expressions which 
he bad used of himself by showing that they are used in the Bible 
of knaves, idolaters, &c. He had said of himself "And Saadyah 
supplicated" which they say is an imitation of "And Moses 
supplicated." But is -not the same phrase used in the Bible of an 
idolater like Jehoahaz, " who did evil in the sight of the Lord " "? 
So with "And Saadyah watched" compare the phrase "Watchers 
of evil." — Saadyah may have defended himself in this clumsy style ; 
but it is at least as likely that this is a mock defence. The writer 
shows purposely that the phrases used by Saadyah of himself were 
used of the worst villains mentioned in Holy Writ. 

The next charge 2 is that of tracing his pedigree to Shelah son of 
Judah, when he had remained "all that length of time" without 
claiming descent from him. This too was a real charge if the 
Herem is to be believed.— The answer is that he did not state his 
pedigree till it was necessary, and in this he followed the example of 
Benaiah son of Jehoiada, whose pedigree is not given in Samuel or 
Kings, but who is called High-priest in Chronicles ! Now what the 
Herem declares is that Saadyah was accused of being no Israelite 
and replied that he was descended from Judah ;— surely his defence 
would rather have been that his Israelitish descent had never been 
questioned till the dispute arose, when, being accused of being 
a foreigner, he had explained how he called himself an Israelite. 
The quibble about Benaiah is evidently in the style of the Gemara ; 
but it may be doubted whether the author could have seriously 
urged it. 

1 P. 165. ' Ibid., 14. 



THE SEFEB HA-GALUY 527 

Next, he says 1 "People ask: 'Why do you praise yourself and 
assert that God has given you knowledge of heasts, plants, minerals, 
stars ?' &c. The answer is (1) The book is intended for people who do 
not yet know me. (2) It is to prevent the bystanders reflecting on 
my services to the nation, lest he who wishes to do harm may not do 
it, and those who otherwise might be too weak to help may help." 

These words probably admit of no other rendering; yet surely 
they cannot be serious. Saadyah certainly did possess extraordinary 
knowledge of all the sciences of his time ; but he claims omniscience 
because he is writing for strangers ! If he had said " for people who 
have not read my works " ; but his ground seems to imply that he 
is writing for people on whom he can impose ! The second ground, 
of which the original Arabic is given in a note 2 , is yet stranger ; if 
the bystanders do not know him, why should they in any case 
remember his services to the nation ? And why should he wish 
to prevent them ? But if the sentence could by any possibility mean 
" in order that they may remember," &c, it is difficult to see how his 
claim of omniscience could effect this. There would seem to be 
a reference to a miraculous healing which Saadyah either effected 
or failed to effect, and which caused considerable scandal. " For the 
same two reasons I have mentioned my piety and straightforward- 
ness : some of the saints in the Old Testament did the same." Viz. 
because he is writing for those who do not know him ! 

" Still I only said I had been supplied with some wisdom, not with 
all ; then they object to my saying ' and my being answered from on 
high ' — which is a common phrase in our liturgy. 

" Then 3 they disapprove of my mutilating my opponents' names — 
calling David Yiddod, Khalaf Keleb Meth, &c. Surely they might 
remember that it is God's way to improve the names of his saints, 
e.g. Abraham for Abram, and to disfigure the names of evildoers, 
e. g. Hophra for Pharaoh, Pashhur, meaning ' curtain of ease ' into 
' terror round about' Similarly to interpret Zeph. ii. 4 aright our 
plan must be to divide the names into two : Ashkelon becomes Esh 
' fire ' and Kalon ' shame,' Ashdod Esh ' fire,' and Yiddod ' runs away.' 
These alterations are intricacies of the language which I have 
imitated in altering my opponents' names." 

Derivations of this sort are certainly to be found in the Babylonian 
Gemara ; those of the names Tigris and Euphrates given in Berachoth. 
59 b, are very like the supposed Saadyah's. But the great scholar 
who wrote the Commentary on the Sefer Yetsirah is not likely to have 

1 Ibid., 22. 

» p. 167, 14. c 

M m 2 



528 THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW 

talked seriously in this way. Moreover how can he claim a privilege 
which according to his own statement is assigned in the Bible to God? 
Is not this claiming to be a prophet or something higher? The 
question then is whether Saadyah did lampoon his enemies in this 
fashion ; and without the real Sefer Ha-Galuy it is impossible to say. 
Very small men do resort to this device ; J. Leclerc in his answer to 
Bentley's Emendations on Menander and Philemon, called Bentley 
"Thrasonides," and Burmann "Giton." Dorville in his Vannus 
Critica called de Pauw "Pavo," and was called by his opponent 
"Orbilius" or " Magistellus " ; it is the custom of the Mohammedan 
satirists to call a man whose name is Abu '1-Fadl, Abu '1-Naks, and 
the poems of 'Umarah of Yemen, recently edited by M. Derenbourg, 
offer several examples of this process. My own edition of Sibt Ibn 
Al-Ta'awidhi will contain some more. But has any really great man 
condescended to such an expedient ? The epigram of Joseph Scaliger 
on a certain Feuardent, whose name he translates literally Pyri- 
phlegethon, is something like this, but in reality far less degrading. 
The names by which the Jews speak of Christian and Mohammedan 
objects of reverence, e.g. Kalon for Koran, Maccoth for Meccah, 
Pasul for Rasul, are partly intended to conceal their meaning. It 
does not seem to me that the authority of this Preface is sufficient to 
justify us in crediting Saadyah with so silly a trick, and with so 
absurd a defence of it 1 . 

"I s have not undertaken," he proceeds, "to answer every charge 
brought against my book ; this I leave for the place for discussion 
in the assembly, should it be requisite." — Saadyah was accused of 
refusing to meet the Karaites at a public discussion. They summoned 
him to do so, but he declined, according to a writer excerpted by 
Pinsker (p. 37). 

" The conduct of my persecutors in seizing on these trivial phrases 
in my book, and neglecting its great virtues, was similar to that 
of Manasseh, king of Judah, in neglecting the miracles, &c. of the 
Law and picking some trivial holes, as e. g. when he said Moses need 
not have given the pedigree of the Edomites, nor have told the story 
of Reuben and the mandrakes." Here again, be it observed, Saadyah 
falls into his old error of making himself equal to the prophets. 

Then follows his answer to Manasseh, king of Judah, who, he says, 
disgraced himself by such objections. Now the limit between the 
impossible and the possible is not easy to draw ; and therefore the 
comments that follow may be serious. Yet I cannot believe it. In 

1 In the scandalous Chronicle (227, 9 sqq.) it is evidently David b. 
Zakkai, not Saadyah, who calls his opponents by fictitious names. 
a P. 169, 22. 



THE SEPER HA-GALUY 529 

such of Saadyah's comments as are accessible he speaks like a scholar 
and a man of sound judgment. " Where the text of the Bible and 
the reason conflict" his principle is "follow the reason." The 
absurdities that the Sefer Ha-Galuy proceeds to adduce in answer 
to King Manasseh seem more like a satire on the Talmudic style 
of interpretation than anything that Saadyah could have seriously 
put on paper 1 . 

The genealogies of the Edomites are given for the following 
reason. Some tribes an Israelite was allowed to rob and murder, 
others he was not allowed to rob or murder. When therefore he met 
a man, the Israelite would ask him his pedigree. If the man con- 
fessed to belong to one of the doomed tribes, then the Israelite could 
rob and murder him with a good conscience ! — Truly one might have 
requested Saadyah to consider whether in this case his theory about 
the text and the reason had not better be applied. 

As for the verse, "Reuben went out in the days of the wheat 
harvest," what we have to learn from that is that mandrakes which 
you may take are better for you than fruits which you may not take. 

Having thus happily defended Moses against the attacks of King 
Manasseh, recorded in the Babylonian Gemara, the author proceeds to 
answer sOme other objections that had been urged against the Penta- 
teuch. A similar criticism has, he says, been made on what Lamech 
said to his wives : pp Dp' DTIJQE' "O . " But I have answered it. Its 
object is to tell us one of two things. Either that Lamech repented 
of his sin, in order that we may repent of our sins. In this case 
we are to interpret the words affirmatively. If multiple vengeance is 
to be taken on the slayer of Cain, when Cain only slew one man, 
how much more vengeance shall be taken on Lamech, seeing that 
he killed both a man and a child ! Consider too that a child cannot 
possibly have deserved to be killed. If, however, we take the words 
negatively, then what we learn is that he declares himself innocent 
of the guilt of Cain. If, he says, merely because Cain repented, 
though he had committed murder, Cain's murderer shall be punished, 
certainly some very dreadful punishment will fall on the murderer of 
Lamech, who has killed neither man nor child ! The word child 
is added to suggest a trivial offence. The word 'D is negative, as 
in Job vi. 22, where 'SH is so used." — A noble specimen of exegesis ! 
In explanation (1) we assume that child-murder is a particularly 

1 The passage about King Manasseh occurs B. Sanhedrin, 99 b. "Saad- 
yah " plagiarizes in part of this passage from B. Hullin, 60 b. The select 
comments of Saadyah given by Weiss, i"n, IV, pp. 143-145, bear out the 
above opinion. For Karaite ridicule of the Talmudic exegesis, see Pinsker, 
loc. cit., p. 18. 



530 THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW 

heinous form of murder ; in explanation (2) we regard it as a pecca- 
dillo. Then the founder of Hebrew grammar thinks "O can be used 
for " not," and evidently does not know the meaning of the inter- 
rogative particle. But if we look at the real Saadyah's translation of 
Job, we find he renders the particles there quite correctly and 
elegantly by atara, "think you?" 

Others criticize the author of Deuteronomy for mentioning (iii. 9) 
that the Sidonians called Hermon Siryon, whereas the Amorites 
called it S'nir. This is an old difficulty, noticed in B. Hullin, 
60 b, and by Rashi ad loc. The import of the supposed Saadyah's 
answer is not very clear. Apparently he means, "the Hebrew 
name Hermon became applied to the whole mountain, so that the 
part to which it had originally applied could only be identified 
by comparison with the Sidonian and Amorite names." Thus, 
e.g. the original Hellas was what (say) the Macedonians call 
Thessaly ; now that the name Hellas has extended all over Greece, if 
we wish to know what Homer meant by Hellas, let us find out what 
the Macedonians mean by Thessaly. — That this comment has some 
merit is clear ; but few will guarantee that it is serious. 

He then concludes, as is his wont, by boasting of what he has 
accomplished in this line, especially in his refutation of Huyayy 
(as I suppose his name should be spelt) of Balkh, "whose book 
remained (unanswered?) among our people sixty years." But the 
phrase "whose book remained among our people sixty years" is 
curious, and must contain some hidden meaning. If these comments 
be all satirical, we are to infer that Saadyah's refutation of Huyayy 
was no better than his refutation of King Manasseh. 

He is about to commence his translation, but he stops once again 
to treat us to a few dainty bits from the Hebrew books he has 
mentioned so often. Seven are quoted from Ben-Sira; in all these 
something absurd in the phraseology or the thought seems to be 
ridiculed. (1) v. 6 d, "and upon the wicked shall his might rest," not 
a very reverent mode to speak of God. " Might " is a mistranslation 
for " anger." (2) vi. 5, attention is called to the grammatical errors 
n?3 and "pD1 ?B> \ The satire appears most clearly in his quotation 
of xvi. 15, which, he says, is a warning to people not to think too 
little of themselves, or consider themselves of too slight importance, 
which may cause them to sin. He also calls attention to the misuse 
of the phrase n33 D]l for "multitude," which in Num. xx. 20 and 
elsewhere refers to proportional number. The few words that are 
pointed in these verses are all intended to call attention to something 

1 Compare the letters collected by Pinsker, p"^, 25-27, where the wrong 
insertion of the yod is severely criticized. 



THE SEFER HA-GALUY 53 1 

infelicitous. Why the writer chose nothing more ridiculous than 
these verses it is not easy to see : perhaps he wished to keep the 
effect of the supposed Saadyah's exordium to the Sefer Ra-Galuy 
unmarred. 

Of Eleazar Ben 'Ira we have spoken already. The second passage 
from his work is " to show us that the obstinate of mankind can only 
be broken by severe pounding " ! The verses are : " Not by the hand 
of rocks shall they be broken : for they will soften a sledge-hammer. 
For the kidneys of wheat are to be pounded with a flail, whereas 
a wallet of green ears is cut with the hand." His third verse is of the 
same intellectual calibre, but very much worse in point of grammar. 
Probably therefore the loss of his writings need cause us no serious 
regret. Of the Book of the Five Hasmoneids he selects one point only: 
we are to learn that when a saint invokes God's assistance, he should 
urge that it is undesirable that the enemy should attribute his success 
to his idol. In other words, the saint should endeavour to work on the 
jealousy of the Divine Being ! 

This article has taken up more room than the subject probably de- 
serves. If the leaflet be after all Saadyah's, then he must come down from 
the pedestal whereon those who study either his life or his writings 
would naturally place him. Many bad qualities appear in this Preface — 
spite, boastfulness, ignorance, meanness, carelessness, stupidity — of 
good qualities it appears impossible to find one. Since in the opinion 
of the impartial Mas'udi Saadyah gained a brilliant victory over his 
opponents, he had not the excuse of the defeated for writing in this 
style. Whether David b. Zakkai can really have assailed Saadyah 
with the blackguardism of which the scandalous Chronicle makes him 
guilty seems also exceedingly doubtful ; but it appears from history 
that David b. Zakkai was in the wrong from the beginning, and was 
defeated, whence he may perhaps have forgotten the demands of 
dignity and decorum. However, the character of Saadyah's writings 
and conduct is the very feeblest of the arguments by which the 
genuineness of this Preface has been assailed ; and if in this case, as 
in some others, chronology and common sense are to have no voice, 
I may still fall back on the fact that Steinschneider expressed some 
doubts concerning the genuineness of the Preface. 

D. S. Margoliouth.