« EdellinenJatka »
invented, while the other Targums were very scarce, the copies of Onkelos were multiplied, and were in general use among them. They considered themselves obliged, every sabbath day, to read the section or lesson for that week, once in the original Hebrew, and once in his Targum; a practice which, though in a great measure if not wholly discontinued in this part of the world, I am informed, is still retained among the Jews in Palestine. They agree, however, in representing this version as of equal authority with the Mosaic text; for they affirm that Onkelos only committed to writing what had been handed down by tradition from mount Sinai. *
There is another Targum on the Law, which bears the name of Jonathan Ben Uzziel ; but the great difference between this work and that on the Prophets, which was really written by Jonathan, proves it to have been the production of a different writer. The style is more corrupt, the manner more prolix, and it abounds with traditions and fables. The writer, it is supposed, must have lived at least two hundred years later than Jonathan. There are several other Targums, of inferior authority, unknown authors, and uncertain age'; though they are generally, and with good reason, believed to have been written several centuries after the destruction of the second temple :—the Jerusalem Targum, which consists only of fragments upon some passages of the Law; the Targum on the
* Raym. Mart. Pug. Fid. p. 144. 317. Walton. Proleg. xii. s. 9. 16. Owen. Theolog. L. v. D. 3. s. 3. Pseif. Theol. Jud. Ex. ii. c. 4. Leusden Phil. Heb. Dis. vi. Wolf. Bib. Heb. vol, i. 1147_1158. Prid. Connect. P. ij. B. 8. Allix's Judgment, ibid.
Megilloth, or five books of Ruth, Esther, Song of Solomon, Ecclesiastes, and Lamentations; a second Targum on Esther; the Targum which bears the name of Joseph, on the books of Job, Psalms, and Proverbs ; and the Targum on the Chronicles. No Targum has appeared on Ezra, Nehemiah, or Daniel; and it is believed there is none extant. That on the Chronicles was long concealed from the world, and its existence was unknown: it was discovered and published at Augsburgh;-on the first book in 1680, and on the second in 1683.* The learned reader who is desirous of consulting any of these Targums, except the second on Esther and that on Chronicles, may find all the others, accompanied with literal Latin versions, in Walton's Polyglot Bible.
Notwithstanding all the faults which have been detected in these compositions, they have been of great use to the Biblical student. They serve to confirm the genuineness of the Hebrew Scriptures; determine the meaning of many words, especially those of rare occurrence; illustrate obscure phrases ; explain some difficult texts; furnish information respecting ancient rites and customs; and place beyond all doubt the sense in which many important passages were understood by the ancient synagogue. Many learned men have contended that the manner in which the Targumists mention Jehovah, The Word of Jehovah, and The Shechinah or Habitation of Jehovah, proves them to have had some notion of a Trinity in the Godhead.
* Walton. Proleg. xii. 8. 8. 11. 13. 15. Pseif. Theol. Jud. Ex. ii. c. 5, 6. Leusden. Phil. Heb. Dis. V. vi. vii. Wolf. Bib. Heb. vol. ii. p. 1161-1164. 1168_1181.
Others have maintained that these expressions are nothing more than idioms of the Chaldean tongue: The Word of Jehovah they consider as a mere periphrasis for Jehovah himself. But this explanation has not been deemed satisfactory, even by some of the modern rabbies; and though a few passages may be found in which these phrases might be taken for circumlocutions, yet they occur in many others where this construction would be altogether forced and unnatural. The Targums also contain numerous interpretations, which, whether they are to be regarded as the unbiassed language of Jews who lived before the crucifixion of Christ, or as concessions which the force of truth has extorted from their prejudiced successors, have been employed by Christian writers with advantage and success. *
* Walton. Proleg. xii. s. 17-19. Pseif. Theol. Jud. Ex. ii. c. 7. Hoornbeck. de Convinc. Jud. Proleg. Bartoloc. Bib. Rab, tom. i. p. 412. Leusden. Phil. Heb. Dis. v. s. 7. Simon. Crit. Hist. 0. T. B. ii. c. 18. B. iii. c. 24. Wolf. Bib. Heb. vol. ii. p. 1182-1188. Prid. Connect. P. ii. B. 8. Allix's Judgment, c. 16. Basnage, History of the Jews, B. iv. c. 5.
CHAPTER III, The Talmud.-Rabbinical Account of the Oral Law.
Compilation of the Mishna :-of the Jerusalem Gemara :-of the Babylonian Gemara.-Remark on Want of Evidence in favour of the Oral Law.-Alleged Necessity of an Oral Law.—Reason why it was not committed to writing.--Praises of the Talmud.— The thirteen Ways of reasoning employed by the Rabbies in expounding the Law.
THIS work is not designed to include an account of all the Jewish writers who have flourished in modern ages, and whose works have been held in high esteem by their nation down to the present day. They are so numerous, that a catalogue of their names, with a brief specification of the times when they lived and the treatises they wrote, would exceed the limits of this volume. * But among the productions of Jewish pens, it is necessary to devote a few pages to the Talmud ; which is regarded by the rabbies and their followers with a veneration exceeding what they shew even for the scriptures themselves.of
The word Talmud signifies learning, wisdom, doctrine. The work distinguished by this title consists of two parts,—the Mishna, whieh denotes a repeated or second law; and the Gemara, by
* Vid. Biblioth. Mag. Rabb. Bartoloc. et Imbonat. 5 tom, Wolf.
oth, Heb. 4 vol. + Pseif. Theol. Jud. Ex. i. Th. 37.
which some understand a supplement or completion, and others a commentary or discussion. *
The Jews acknowledge two laws, which they believe to have been delivered to Moses on mount Sinai; of which one was immediately committed to writing in the text of the Pentateuch, and the other is said to have been handed down from generation to generation, for many ages, by oral tradition. Of the origin and transmission of this Oral Law, they have favoured the world with the following account.
All the precepts of the law given to Moses were accompanied with an interpretation. God first dictated the text, and then gave him an explication of every thing comprehended in it. The text was commanded to be put into writing; and the explication to be committed to memory, and to be communicated to that generation, and afterwards transmitted to posterity, only by word of mouth. Hence the former is called the written law, and the latter the oral law.—When Moses came down from the mount, he delivered both these laws to the people. As soon as he was returned to his tent, he was attended by Aaron; who sat at his feet, and to whom he recited the text, and taught the interpretation, which he had received from God in the mount. Then Aaron rising and seating himself
* Buxtorf. Lex. Chald. Talm. et Rabb. Col. 1146, 1147. 2474. 452. Wolf. Bib. Heb. vol. ii. p. 658–663.
The word Talmud is sometimes applied exclusively to the Gemara, and sometimes, though more seldom, exclusively to the Mishna ; but this is only by a common figure of speech, which gives to a parl the nanic of the whole.