Jews and Judaism (yehudim; ioudaismos).—Of these two terms the former denotes usually the Israelites or descendants of Jacob (Israel) in contrast to Gentile races; the latter, the creed and worship of the Jews in contrast to Christianity, Mohammedanism, etc. The subject will be treated under the following heads: I. History of the Jews since the return from the Babylonian Exile, from which time the Israelites received the name of Jews (for their earlier history, see Israelites); II. Judaism as a religious communion with its special system of faith, rites, customs, etc.
I. HISTORY OF THE JEWS.—This history may be divided into various periods in accordance with the leading phases which may be distinguished in the existence of the Jewish race since the Return in 538 B.C.
(I) Persian Suzerainty (538-333 B.C.).—In October, 538 B.C., Babylon opened its gates to the Persian army, and a few weeks later the great conqueror of Babylonia, Cyrus, made his triumphal entry into the fallen city. One of the first official acts of the new ruler in Babylon was to give to the exiled Jews full liberty to return to Juda (see I Esdras, i). The substance of Cyrus’s decree in their favor is in striking harmony with other known decrees of that monarch, with his general policy of clemency and toleration towards the conquered races of his empire, and with his natural desire to have on the Egyptian border a commonwealth as large as possible, bound to Persia by the strongest ties of gratitude. A comparatively large number of Jewish exiles (50,000 according to I Esdras, ii, 64, 65), availed themselves of Cyrus’s permission. Their official leader was Zorobabel, a descendant of the royal family of Juda, whom the Persian monarch had invested with the governorship of the sub-province of Juda, and entrusted with the precious vessels which had belonged to Yahweh’s House. There appeared also by his side the priest “Josue, the son of Josedec”, probably as the religious head of the returning community. The returned exiles, who mostly belonged to the tribes of Benjamin and Juda, settled chiefly in the neighborhood of Jerusalem. They at once organized a council of twelve elders, and this council, which was naturally presided over by Zorobabel, controlled and guided the internal affairs of the community, under the suzerainty of Persia. Without delay, too, they set up a new altar, and had it ready to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles in 537 B.C. Henceforth, the ritual system was religiously carried out. The foundation of the second Temple was laid in the second month of the second year after the Return, but no further headway was made for fifteen or sixteen years, owing to the active interference and positive misrepresentations to the Persian kings by the Samaritans to whom the Jews had denied a share in the work of rebuilding the House of the Lord. Meantime, the Jews themselves lost much of their interest in the reconstruction of the Temple; and it is only in 520 B.C. that the Prophets Aggaeus and Zacharias succeeded in rousing them from their supineness. Pecuniary help came too from the Jewish community in Babylon, and also, a little later, from the Persian king. Thus encouraged, they made rapid progress and on March 3, 515 B.C., the new Temple was solemnly dedicated. The Jewish leaders next started on the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem, and here again met with the hostility of the Samaritans, whose complaints at the Court of Persia were most successful under Artaxerxes I “Longimanus” (464-424 B.C.), who issued orders strictly forbidding the Jews to proceed with the work.
The special mission of Esdras and Nehemias in behalf of the struggling Palestinian community and their strenuous efforts to lift up its moral and religious tone need not to be dwelt upon here (see Esdras; Book of Nehemias). Suffice it to say, that to whatever precise time their labors should be assigned (see Captivities of the Israelites ), the scribe Esdras and the satrap Nehemias left their permanent impress on their fellow-Jews. After Esdras‘s death, which probably occurred not long before the end of the Persian rule over Juda in 333 B.C., little is distinctly known of the history of the Palestinian Jews. It seems, however, that under the satraps of Coele-Syria, the action of the high-priest had a very considerable influence upon. their religious and civil matters alike (cfr. Josephus, “Antiq. of the Jews”, XI, vii), and that their community enjoyed a steadily increasing prosperity, hardly marred by the deportation of a certain number of Jews to distant regions like Hyrcania, which probably occurred under Artaxerxes III (358-337 B.C.). During the Persian period, the Jews who had preferred to stay in Babylonia remained constantly in touch with the returned exiles, sending them, at times, material help, and formed a flourishing community deeply attached to the faith and to the traditions of their race. Within the same period falls the formation of the Jewish colony at Elephantine (Upper Egypt), which was for a while supplied with a temple of its own, and the faithfulness of which to Persia is witnessed by Judeo-Aramean papyri recently discovered. Lastly, the institutions of Judaism which seem to have more particularly developed during the Persian domination are the Synagogues, with their educational and religious features, and the Scribes with their peculiar skill in the Law.
(2) Greek Period (333-168 B.C.).—A new period in the history of the Jews opens with the defeat of Darius III (335-330 B.C.) by Alexander the Great at Issus, in Cilicia. This victory of the young conqueror of Persia undoubtedly brought the Palestinian Jews into direct contact with Greek civilization, whatever may be thought of the exact historical value of what Josephus relates (Antiq. of the Jews, XI, viii, 3-5) concerning Alexander‘s personal visit to Jerusalem. Alexander allowed them the free enjoyment of their religious and civil liberties, and rewarded those of them who went to war with him against Egypt and settled in Alexandria, a city of his foundation, by granting them equal civic rights with the Macedonians. Again, when the Samaritans rebelled against him, he added a part of Samaria to Judea (331 B.C.). After Alexander‘s untimely death (323 B.C.), Palestine had an ample share of the troubles which arose out of the partition of his vast empire among his captains. Placed between Syria and Egypt, it became the bone of contention between their respective rulers. At first, as a part of Coele-Syria, it passed naturally into the possession of Laomedon of Mytilene. But as early as 320 B.C., it was seized by the Egyptian Ptolemy I (323-285 B.C.) who, on a Sabbath-day took Jerusalem, and carried away many Samaritans and Jews into Egypt. A few years later (315 B.C.), it fell into the power of Syria; but after the battle of Ipsus in Phrygia (301 B.C.), it was annexed to Egypt and remained so practically a whole century (301-202 B.C.). Seleucus I, who founded Antioch about 300 B.C., attracted the Jews to his new capital by granting them equal rights with his Greek subjects; and thence they gradually extended into the principal cities of Asia Minor. The rule of the first three Ptolemies was even more popular with the Jews than that of the Seleucids. Ptolemy I (Soter) settled many of them in Alexandria and Cyrene, whence they gradually spread over the whole country, and attained to eminence in science, art, and even literature, as is proved by the numerous Judeo-Greek fragments which have survived. Under Ptolemy II (Philadelphus), the Hebrew Pentateuch was first rendered into Greek; and this, in turn, led in the course of time to the complete translation of the Old Testament known as the Septuagint. His successor, Euergetes (247-222 B.C.), is particularly credited, after a successful campaign in Syria, with having offered rich presents at the Temple in Jerusalem. Again, the annual tribute demanded by the early Ptolemies was apparently light; and as long as it was paid regularly, the Palestinian Jews were left free to manage their own affairs under their high priests at whose side stood the Gerusia of Jerusalem, as a council of state, including the priestly aristocracy. In this wise, things went well under the high-priesthood of Simon the Just (310-291 B.C.), and that of his two brothers, Eleazar II (291-276 B.C.) and Manasses (276-250 B.C.).
Matters proved less satisfactory under Onias II (250-226 B.C.), who withheld the tribute for several years from his Egyptian suzerain. Under Onias‘s son and successor, Simon II (226-198 B.C.), whose godly rule is highly praised in Ecclesiastic us (chap. iv), the condition of Palestine became precarious owing to the renewed conflicts between Egypt and Syria for the possession of Coele-Syria and Judea. In the end, however, the Syrian king, Antiochus III, remained master of Palestine and did his utmost to secure the loyalty of the Jews not only of Judea, but also of Mesopotamia and Babylon. Seleucus IV (187-175 B.C.) pursued at first the conciliatory policy of his father, and the Judean Jews prospered during the opening years of Onias III (198-175). Soon, however, intestine strife disturbed the pontiff’s wise rule, and Seleucus, misled by Simon, the governor of the Temple, sent his treasurer, Heliodorus, to seize the Temple funds. The failure of Heliodorus’s mission led eventually to Onias‘s imprisonment and deposition from the high-priesthood. This deposition purchased from the new king, Antiochus IV (Epiphanes), by Jason, an unworthy brother of Onias, was the real triumph of Hellenism in Jerusalem. The man who, in turn, supplanted Jason was Menelaus, another hellenizing leader, whom craft and gold maintained in office, despite the complaints of the Jews to the Syrian monarch. At length, a popular revolt occurred against Menelaus, which Antiochus put down with great barbarity, and which resulted in his leaving Menelaus in charge of the high-priesthood, while two foreign officers became Governors of Jerusalem and Samaria respectively (170).
(3) The Machabean Age (168-63 B.C.).—The whole period which has just been described, was marked by the steady growth and widespread influence of hellenistic culture. Towards its end, the Jewish high-priests themselves not only assumed Greek names and adopted Greek manners, but became the ardent champions of Hellenism. In fact, Antiochus IV thought that the time had now come to unify the various races of his dominions by thoroughly hellenizing them. His general edict for that purpose met probably with unexpected opposition on the part of most Palestinian Jews. Hence, by special letters he ordered the utter destruction of Yahweh’s worship in Jerusalem and in all towns of Judea: under the penalty of death everything distinctly Jewish was prohibited, and Greek idolatry prescribed (168 B.C.). The Holy City had recently been dismantled, and a part of it (Acra) transformed into a Syrian citadel. Now its Temple was dedicated to Zeus, to whom sacrifices were offered upon an idolaltar erected over Yahweh’s altar. In like manner, in all the townships of Juda altars were set up and heathen sacrifices offered. In the dire persecution which ensued, all resistance seemed impossible. In the little town of Modin, however, an aged priest, Mattathias, boldly raised the standard of revolt. At his death (167 B.C.), he appointed his son Judas, surnamed Machabeus, to head the forces which had gradually gathered around him. Under Judas’s able leadership, the Machabean troops won several victories, and in December, 165 B.C., Jerusalem was reentered, the Temple cleansed, and Divine worship renewed.
The struggle was a hard one against the numerous armies of Antiochus V and Demetrius I, the next Syrian kings; yet it was heroically maintained, with varying success, by Judas until his death on the battlefield (161 B.C.). One of his brothers, Jonathan, became his successor in command for the next eighteen years (161-143 B.C.). The new leader was not only able to reenter and fortify Jerusalem, but was also recognized as high-priest of the Jews by the Syrian Crown, and as an ally by Rome and Sparta. It was not given him, however, to restore his country to complete independence: he was treacherously captured and soon afterwards put to death by the Syrian general, Tryphon. Another brother of Judas, Simon (143-135 B.C.), then assumed the leadership, and under him the Jews attained to a high degree of happiness and prosperity. He repaired the fortresses of Judea, took and destroyed the citadel of Acra (142 B.C.), and renewed the treaties with Rome and Lacedmmon. In 141 B.C., he was proclaimed by a national assembly “prince and high-priest for ever, till there should arise a faithful prophet”. He exercised the right of coinage and may be considered as the founder of the Asmonean, or last Jewish, dynasty. The rule of John Hyrcanus I, Simon’s successor, lasted 30 years. His career was marked by a series of conquests, notably by the reduction of Samaria and the forcible conversion of Idumea. He sided with the aristocratic Sadducees against the more rigid defenders of the Theocracy, the Pharisees, the successors of the Assideans. The oldest parts of the “Sibylline Oracles” and of the “Book of Enoch” are probably remainders of the literature of his day. He was succeeded by his eldest son, Aristobulus I (Heb. name, Judas), who was the first Machabean ruler to assume the title of king. He reigned but one year, conquered and proselytized a part of Galilee. His brother Alexander Jannaeus (Heb. name, Jonathan) occupied the throne twenty-six years (104-78 B.C.). During the civil war which broke out between him and his subects he was long unsuccessful; but he finally got the better of his opponents, and wreaked frightful vengeance upon them. He also succeeded at a later date in conquering and Judaizing the whole country east of the Jordan.
On acceding to the kingdom, his widow Alexandra (Heb. name, Salome) practically surrendered the rule to the Pharisees. But this did not secure the peace of the realm, for Alexandra’s death alone prevented her being involved in a new civil war. The strife which soon arose after her death (69 B.C.), between her two sons Hyrcanus II and Aristobulus II, who were favored by the Pharisees and the Sadducees respectively, was skillfully kept up by Antipater, the ambitious Governor of Idumea and father of Herod the Great. It gradually led both brothers to submit to the arbitration of Pompey, then commanding the Roman forces in the East. The wary imperator finally decided in favor of Hyrcanus, marched on Jerusalem, and stormed the Temple, whereupon a carnage ensued. This brought to an end the short era of independence which the Machabees had secured for their country (63 B.C.). It was during the Machabean Age that occurred the building of a Jewish temple at Leontopolis in the Delta, and the transformation of the Jewish Gerusia into the Jerusalem Sanhedrin. Among the literary products of the same period are to be reckoned the deuterocanonical Books of the Machabees, Wisdom, and Ecclesiasticus; and the apocryphal “Psalms of Solomon“, “Book of Jubilees“, and “Assumption of Moses“; to which many scholars add the Book of Daniel and several sacred hymns embodied in our Psalter.
(4) Early Roman Supremacy (63 B.C.—A.D. 70).—The fall of Jerusalem in 63 B.C. marks the beginning of Judea‘s vassalage to Rome. Pompey, its conqueror, dismantled the Holy City, recognized Hyrcanus II as high-priest and ethnarch, but withdrew from his jurisdiction all territory outside of Judea proper, and strictly forbade him all further conquests. Then he proceeded homewards carrying with him numerous captives, who greatly increased, if indeed they did not begin, the Jewish community in Rome. Soon Judea became a prey to several discords, in the midst of which the weak Hyrcanus lost more and more of his authority, and his virtual master, the Idumean Anti-pater, grew proportionately in favor with the suzerains of the land. Upon the final defeat of Pompey at Pharsalus (48 B.C.) by Julius Caesar, Antipater promptly sided with the victor, and rendered him signal services in Egypt. His reward was the full recognition of Hyrcanus as high-priest and ethnarch; and for himself the rights of Roman citizenship and the office of procurator over the whole of Palestine. He next proceeded to rebuild the walls of the Holy City, and to appoint two of his sons, Phasael and Herod, Governors of Jerusalem and Galilee respectively. From this time forth Herod‘s fortune grew rapidly, until in the Roman capital, whither he had fled from the wrath of the Nationalist party, he reached the goal of his ambition. The Idumean Herod ascended the Throne of David, and his long reign (37-4 B.C.) forms in several respects a glorious epoch in the history of the Jews (see Herod the Great). Upon the whole, however, it was disastrous for the Jews of Palestine. Its first part (37-25 B.C.) was chiefly spent in getting rid of the surviving Asmoneans. By their death he, indeed, made the throne more secure for himself, but also alienated the mass of his subjects who were deeply attached to the Machabean family. To this grievance he gradually added others no less hateful to the national party. The people hated him as a bloody tyrant bent on destroying the worship of God, and hated still more the Romans who maintained him on the throne, and whose suzerainty was to be thrown off at the first opportunity. It was a short time before the death of Herod that Jesus, the true King of the Jews, was born, and the Holy Innocents were massacred.
Herod‘s death was the signal for an insurrection which spread gradually and was finally put down by Varus, the Governor of Syria. Next followed the practical ratification of the last will of Herod by Augustus. The principal heir was Archelaus, who was appointed ethnarch of Idumea, Judea, and Samaria, with the promise of the royal title on condition that he should rule to the emperor’s satisfaction. For his misrule, Augustus deposed him (A.D. 6), and put in his stead a Roman procurator. Henceforward, Judea continued as a part of the province of Syria, except for a brief interval (A.D. 41-44), during which Herod Agrippa I held sway over all the dominions of Herod the Great. The Roman procurators of Judea resided in Caesarea, and went to Jerusalem only on special occasions. They were subalterns of the Syrian govern-ors, commanded the military, maintained peace and took care of the revenue. They generally abstained from meddling with the religious affairs, especially for fear of arousing the violence of the Zealots of the time, who regarded as unlawful the payment of tribute to Caesar. The local government was largely left in the hands of the Sadducean priestly aristocracy, and the Sanhedrin was the supreme court of justice, deprived, however (about A.D. 30), of the power of carrying a sentence of death. It was under Pontius Pilate (A.D. 26-36), one of the procurators appointed by Tiberius, that Jesus was crucified.
Up to the reign of Caligula (37-41), the Jews enjoyed, without any serious interruption, the universal toleration which Roman policy permitted to the religion of the subject states. But when that emperor ordered that Divine honors should be paid to him, they generally refused to submit. Petronius, the Roman Governor of Syria, received peremptory orders to use violence, if necessary, to set up Caligula’s statue in the Temple at Jerusalem. At Alexandria a fearful massacre took place, and it looked as if all the Jews of Palestine were doomed to perish. Petronius, however, delayed the execution of the decree, and in fact, escaped punishment only through the murder of Caligula in A.D. 41. The Jews were saved, and with the accession of Claudius who owed the imperial dignity chiefly to the efforts of Herod Agrippa, a brighter day dawned for them. Through gratitude, Claudius conferred upon Agrippa the whole kingdom of Herod the Great, and upon the Jews at home and abroad valuable privileges. Agrippa’s careful government made itself felt throughout the entire community, and the Sanhedrin, now under the presidency of Gamaliel I, St. Paul’s teacher, had more authority than ever before. Yet the national party remained in an almost constant state of mutiny, while the Christians were persecuted by Agrippa. Upon Agrippa’s death (A.D. 44), the country was again subjected to Roman procurators, and this was the prelude to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Jewish people. Nearly all the seven procurators who ruled Judea from A.D. 44 to 66 acted as though they sought to drive its population to despair and revolt. Gradually, the confusion became so great and so general as manifestly to presage the dissolution of the commonwealth. At length, in A.D. 66, in spite of all the precautionary efforts of Agrippa II, the party of the Zealots burst into an open rebellion, which was terminated (A.D. 70) by the capture of Jerusalem by Titus, the destruction of the Temple, and the massacre and the banishment of hundreds of thousands of the unhappy people, who were scattered among their brethren in all parts of the world. According to Eusebius, the Christians of Jerusalem, forewarned by their Master, escaped the horrors of the last siege, by removing in due time to Pella, east of the Jordan. Prominent among the Jewish writers of the first century of our era are Philo, who pleaded the Jewish cause at Rome before Caligula, and Josephus, who acted as Jewish Governor of Galilee during the final revolt against Rome, and described its vicissitudes and horrors in a thrilling, and probably also in an exaggerated, manner.
(5) Last Days of Pagan Rome (A.D. 70-320).—Rome exulted over fallen Jerusalem, and struck coins commemorative of the hard won victory. The chief leaders of the defense, a long train of heavily chained captives, the vessels of the Temple, the seven-branched candlestick, the golden table, and a roll of the Law, graced Titus’s triumph in the imperial city. And yet three strong fortresses in Palestine still held out against the Romans: Herodium, Machaerus, and Masada. The first two fell in A.D. 71, and the third, the following year, which thus witnessed the complete conquest of Judea. For a while longer, certain fugitive Judean Zealots strove to foment a rebellion in Egypt and in Cyrenaica. But their efforts soon came to naught, and Vespasian availed himself of the Egyptian commotion to close for ever the temple of Onias in Heliopolis. At this juncture, it looked as though the distinct groups of Jewish families were henceforth destined to drift separately, finally to be absorbed by the various nations in the midst of which they chanced to live. This danger was, however, averted by the rapid concentration of the surviving Jews in two great communities, mostly independent of each other, and corresponding to the two great divisions of the world at the time. The first naturally comprised all the Jews who lived this side of the Euphrates. Not long after the fall of Jerusalem and its subsequent misfortunes, they gradually acknowledged the authority of a new Sanhedrin, which, in whatever way it arose, was actually constituted at Jamnia (Jabne), under the presidency of Rabbi Jochanan ben Zaccai. Together with the Sanhedrin [now the supreme Court (Beth Din) of the Western communities], there was at Jamnia a school in which Jochanan inculcated the oral Law (specifically the Halacha) handed down by the fathers, and delivered expository lectures (Hagada) on the other Hebrew Scriptures distinct from the written Law (Pentateuch). Jochanan’s successor as the head of the Sanhedrin (A.D. 80) was Rabbi Gamaliel II, who took the title of Nasi (“prince”: among the Romans, “patriarch”). He also lived at Jamnia, and presided over its school, on the model of which other schools were gradually formed in the neighborhood. He finally transmitted (A.D. 118) to his successors, the” patriarchs of the West”, a religious authority to which obedience and reverence were henceforth paid, even after the seat of this authority was shifted first to Sepphoris, and finally to Tiberias.
The supremacy of “Rabbinism”, thus firmly established among the Western Jews, prevailed likewise in the other great community which comprised all the Jewish familieseast of the Euphrates. The chief of this Babylonian community assumed the title of Resh-Galutha (prince of the Captivity), and was a powerful feudatory of the Parthian Empire. He was the supreme judge of the minor communities, both in civil and in criminal matters, and exercised in many other ways a wellnigh absolute authority over them. The principal districts under his jurisdiction were those of Nares, Sora, Pumbeditha, Nahardea, Nahar-Paked, and Machuza, whose rabbinical schools were destined to enjoy the greatest fame and influence. The patriarchs of the West possessed much less temporal authority than the princes of the Captivity; and this was only natural in view of the suspicious watchfulnesswhich Vespasian and Titus exercised over the Jews of the Empire. A garrison of 800 men occupied the ruins of Jerusalem to prevent its reconstruction by the religious zeal of its former inhabitants, and in order to do away with all possible pretenders to the Jewish Throne or to the Messianic dignity a strict search was made for all who claimed descent from the royal House of David. Under Domitian (A.D. 81-96), the Fiscus Judaicus, or tax of two drachmas established by Vespasian for the temple of Jupiter Capitolinus, was exacted from the Jews with the utmost rigor, and they were involved in the persecutions which this tyrant carried on against Christians. The reign of Nerva (A.D. 96-98) gave a brief interval of peace to the Jews; but in that of Trajan (98-117), while the Roman legions had been with-drawn from Africa to fight against Parthia, the Jewish population of Egypt and Cyrene took up arms against the Greeks of those districts, and on both sides dreadful atrocities were committed. Thence the flame spread to Cyprus where the Jews massacred, we are told, 240,000 of their fellow-citizens. Hadrian sent forces to suppress the uprising in that island, and forbade any Jew to set his foot on its soil. Next, the revolt in Egypt and Cyrene was put down. Meanwhile the Jews of Mesopotamia, dissatisfied with the Romans who had just conquered the Parthians, endeavored to get rid of the Fiscus Judaicus now imposed upon them. Their insurrection was soon suppressed by Lucius Quintus, who was then appointed to the government of Judea, where it is probable that disturbances were feared.
The next year (A.D. 117), Hadrian became emperor. This was a fortunate occurrence for the Jews of Babylonia, for as the new Caesar gave up Trajan‘s conquests beyond the Euphrates, they came again under the milder rule of their ancient sovereigns. But it proved most unfortunate for the Jewish population of the Roman world. Hadrian issued an edict forbidding circumcision, the reading of the Law, and the observance of the Sabbath. He next made known his intention to establish a Roman colony in Jerusalem, and to erect a fame to Jupiter on the site of Yahweh’s fallen Temple. At this juncture, it was announced that the Messias had just appeared. His name, Bar-Cochba, “Son of the Star”, seemed to fulfill the ancient prophecy: “a star shall rise out of Jacob” (Numb., xxiv, 17). Rabbi Aqiba, the most learned and venerated of the Sanhedrists of the day, distinctly acknowledged the claims of the new Messias. Jewish warriors of all countries flocked around Bar-Cochba, and he maintained his cause against Hadrian for two years. But Roman tactics and discipline gradually prevailed. The Jewish strongholds fell one after another before Julius Severus, the Roman general; Jerusalem was taken; and at length (A.D. 135), the fortress of Either, the last refuge of the rebels, was captured and razed to the ground. Bar-Cochba had been slain; and sometime later, Rabbi Aqiba was seized and executed, but his seven leading pupils fortunately escaped to Nisibis and Nahardea. Dreadful massacres followed the suppression of the revolt; of the fugitives who escaped death many fled to Arabia, whence that country obtained its Jewish population; and the rest were sold into slavery. To annihilate for ever all hopes of the restoration of a Jewish kingdom, a new city was founded on the site of Jerusalem and peopled by a colony of foreigners. The city received the name of Aelia Capitolina, and no Jew was allowed to reside in it or even approach its environs. The Christians, now fully distinguished from the Jews, were permitted to establish themselves within the walls, and Aelia became the seat of a flourishing bishopric.
Under Antoninus Pius (138-161), Hadrian‘s laws were repealed, and the active persecution against the Jews came to an end. Aqiba’s disciples then returned to Palestine and reorganized the Sanhedrin at Usha, in Galilee (140), under the presidency of Simon II, the son of Gamaliel II. Simon’s patriarchate was not free from the petty oppression of the Roman officials, which the Palestinian Jews particularly felt and resented. On the occasion, therefore, of the war-like preparations of the Parthians against Rome, a fresh revolt broke out in Judea during the last year of Antoninus’s reign. It was speedily suppressed under the next emperor, Marcus Aurelius (161-180), and followed by a reenactment of Hadrian‘s extreme measures which, however, were soon annulled or never carried out. In 165, Rabbi Juda I succeeded Simon II as president of the Sanhedrin and patriarch of the West. The most important of his acts is the completion of the Mishna oral Law (about 189), which, concurrently with the Bible, became the principal source of rabbinical study, and a kind of constitution which even now holds together the scattered members of the Jewish race. As Rabbi Juda was in office for over thirty years, he was the last Jewish patriarch who had to complain of the vexations of the pagan rulers of Rome. Under Caracalla (211-217), the Jews received the right of citizenship; and under his successors the various disabilities by which they had been affected were gradually removed. Even such rabid persecutors of the Christians as Decius (249-251), Valerian (253-260), and Diocletian (284-305) left the Jews unmolested. During this period of peace, the patriarchs of the West frequently sent their legates to the various synagogues to ascertain their actual condition and collect the tax from which Juda III and his successors drew their income. In Babylonia, the Jewish communities and schools were flourishing under the princes of the Captivity, and except for a short space of time immediately after the conquest of the Parthians by the neo-Persians, and during the ephemeral rule of Odenathus at Palmyra, they enjoyed quiet and independence. The condition of the Jews in Arabia and China, at this time, is not known with any degree of certainty.
(6) Christian Emperors and Barbarian Kings (320- 628).—The accession of Christianity to the throne of the Caesars by the conversion of Constantine, opens a. new era in the history of the Jews. The equality of rights to which the pagan emperors had admitted them was gradually restricted by the head of the Christian State. Under Constantine (306-337), the restrictions were few in number, and due to his interest in the welfare of his Christian subjects and in the promotion of the true religion. He made the passage from Christianity to Judaism a penal offense; prohibited the Jews from circumcising their Christian slaves; protected converts from Judaism against the fiery vengeance of their former coreligionists; but never deprived them of their citizenship, and never went beyond constraining them—with the exception of their rabbis—to take upon themselves certain public offices which had become particularly burden-some. These laws were reenacted and made more severe by his son Constans I (337-350), who attached the death penalty to marriages between Jews and Christians. The severity of these and other laws of Constans was but too fully justified by the dreadful excesses of the Jews in Alexandria, and by their temporary revolt in Judea. The accession of Julian the Apostate, in 361, made a new diversion in their favor. This emperor decreed the rebuilding of the Temple on Mt. Moria and the full restoration of Jewish worship, apparently with a view to secure the influence of the Mesopotamian Jews in his expedition against the Persians. The Jews were triumphant, but their triumph was short-lived; sudden flames burst forth from Mt. Moria and rendered impossible the rebuilding of the Temple; Julian perished in his Persian War, and his successor, Jovian (363-364), reverted to Constans’ policy. The next emperors, Valens and Valentinian, reinstated the Jews m their former rights, except, however, the exemption from the public services. Under Gratian, Theodosius I, and Arcadius, they like-wise enjoyed the protection of the Throne; but under Theodosius II (402-450), emboldened by their long immunity from persecution, they manifested a spirit of intolerance and crime which led to violent tumults between them and the Christians in various parts of the Eastern Roman Empire, and apparently also to the prohibition of building new synagogues and from discharging any state employment. It was under Theodosius II that the patriarchate of the West, then held by Gamaliel VI, came to an end (425). Some time before (c. 375), the Jerusalem Talmud was finished, a work which, however important for Judaism, is less complete, in regard to both its Mishna and its Gemara, than the Babylonian Talmud, the compilation of which was terminated by the heads of the Babylonian schools about 499, despite the violent persecutions of the Persian kings, Jezdijird III (440-457) and Firuz (457-484). The immediate result of Firuz’s persecution was the emigration of Jewish colonists in the south as far as Arabia, and in the east as far as India where they founded a little Jewish state on the coast of Malabar which lasted till 1520. Under Qubad I, Firuz’s son and successor, the prince of the Captivity, Mar-Zutra II, managed to maintain for seven years an independent Jewish state in Babylonia; but in 518, the Byzantine successors of Theodosius II enforced his anti-Jewish laws with great rigour, and, as a result, the intellectual life and former jurisdiction of the Judean Jews became virtually extinct.
In the West the Jews fared decidedly better during the fifth century than in the East. They of course suffered many evils during the invasions of the northern barbarians who flooded the Western Empire after its permanent separation in 395 from the Eastern Empire of Constantinople. In the midst of the political convulsions naturally entailed by these invasions, the Jews gradually became the masters of the commerce, which the conquerors of the Western Empire, addicted to the arts of war, had neither time nor inclination to pursue. In the various states which soon arose out of that dismembered empire, the numerous Jewish colonies do not seem for a long time to have been subjected to restrictive measures, except in connection with their slave trade. The Vandals left them free to exercise their religion. They were justly treated in Italy, by the kings of the Ostrogoths, and by the Roman pontiffs; in Gaul, by the early Merovingians generally; and in Spain, by the Visigoths down to the conversion of King Recared to Catholicism (589), or rather down to the accession of Sisebut (612), who, deploring the fact that Recared’s anti-Jewish laws had been little more than a dead letter, resolved at once to enforce them, and in fact added to them first the injunction that the Jews should release the slaves in their possession, and next that they should choose between baptism and banishment. Anti-Jewish legislation was framed at a much earlier date in the Frankish dominions. Hostility towards the Jews showed itself first in Burgundy, under King Sigismund (517), and thence it spread over the Frankish countries. In 554, Childebert I of Paris forbade them to appear on the street at Eastertide; in 581, Chilperic compelled them to receive baptism; in 613, Clotaire II sanctioned new decrees against them; and in 629, Dagobert bade them choose between baptism and expulsion. Thus the laws against the Jews both in Spain and in France reached gradually a degree of severity unknown even to such Eastern persecutors of Judaism as Justinian I (527-565) and Heraclius (610-641). Yet, the edicts of these Byzantine emperors were vexatious enough. In fact, Justinian’s decrees so exasperated the Palestinian Jews that despite the persecutions of their Mesopotamian fellow-Jews by the Persian kings, Kusrau I (531-579), Hormizdas IV (579-591), and Kusrau II (590-628), they seized the first opportunity to avenge themselves by siding with Kusrau II in his war against Heraclius. During the Persian invasion and occupation of Palestine, they committed dreadful excesses against the Christians, which finally met with a merited punishment in the persecution which Heraclius, again master of Judea, started against them.
(7) The Mohammedan Ascendancy (628-1038).—The rise of Mohammedanism, with whose power the Arabian Jews came in contact when it was yet in its infancy, marks the beginning of a new period in Jewish history. Several centuries before Mohammed’s birth (c. 570), the Jews had effected important settlements in Arabia, and in the course of time, they had acquired a considerable influence upon the heathen population. In fact, it is certain that at one time, there existed in Southern Arabia (Yemen), an Arab-Jewish kingdom which was brought to an end in 530 by a Christian king of Abyssinia. But although they had lost their royal estate, the Arabian Jews were still numerous and powerful, in the Hedjaz, north of Yemen. There was indeed but a small Jewish population in Mecca, Mohammed’s birthplace; yet it is probable that contact with the Jews of that city was one of the means by which the founder of Islam became acquainted with Judaism, its beliefs, and its Patriarchs. This acquaintance became naturally closer after the Hegira (Flight) of Mohammed (622) to Medina, the chief center of the Arabian Jews. To win the Israelites to his cause, the “prophet” made various concessions to their religion and adopted some of their customs. As this was use-less, and as the Jews were a constant menace to his cause, he resolved to get rid of their tribes one after another. He first put an end to the Jews in the vicinity of Medina, and next (628) subjected those of the district of Khaibar and of Wadi al-Kura to an annual tribute of half the produce of the soil. After Mohammed’s death (A.D. 632), Caliph Abu-Bekr tolerated the Jewish remnant in Khaibar and al-Kura; but this toleration ceased under Omar, the prophet’s second successor. During Omar’s short caliphate (634-644), Syria, Phoenicia, Persia, Egypt, and Jerusalem fell under the sway of Islam. The Jews were fairly well treated by their new masters. Omar’s so-called “Covenant” (640) imposed indeed restrictions upon Jews in the whole Mohammedan world, but these restrictions do not seem to have been carried out during his lifetime.
In return for the valuable assistance of the Babylonian Jews in Omar’s campaigns against Persia, this caliph granted them several privileges, among which may be mentioned the recognition of their exilarch Bostanal (642). Under Islam‘s fourth caliph, Ali (656-661), the Jewish community of Irak (Babylonia) became more fully organized and assumed the appearance of an independent state, in which the Talmudic schools of Sora and Pumbeditha flourished again. The exilarch and the head of the school of Sora, with his new name of Gaon (658), were of equal rank. The former’s office was political, the latter’s distinctly religious. The exilarch, both in bearing and in mode of life, was a prince. Thus it came to pass that the Jews scattered through the Mohammedan world persuaded themselves that in Abraham‘s own country there survived a prince of the Captivity who had regained the scepter of David. For them, the heads of the Babylonian schools were the representatives of the ideal times of the Talmud. The farther the dominion of the Ommiads (661-750) was extended, the more adherents were gained for the Jewish Babylonian chiefs. The great liberty which the Jews enjoyed under Islam‘s rule allowed them to cultivate Paitanism or neo-Hebraic poetry and to begin their Massoretic labors (see Massorah).
Meantime, their fellow-Jews were less fortunate in Spain, where most rulers of the seventh century enacted severe laws against Judaism. Towards the end of that century, Egica forbade them to own lands and houses, to repair to or trade with North Africa, and even to transact business with Christians. Having next discovered a plot of the Jews with the Moors to overthrow the Visigothic rule, he sentenced to slave all the Jews of his states and ordered that their c dren of seven years and upwards be given to Christians to be educated. This condition of things came to an end under Roderic, Egica’s second successor and last Visigothic King of Spain. With numerous Jews in their army, the Mohammedans crossed from Africa into Andalusia, defeated and slew Roderic (July, 711); Spain was gradually conquered; and in 720, the Saracens occupied Septimania, north of the Pyrenees, a dependency of the Gothic Kingdom. In Mohammedan Spain, the Jews, to whose help the conquerors largely owed their victories, obtained their liberty. In fact, it was now given to the Jews at large to enjoy a long period of nearly unbroken peace and security. Apart from the persecutions started in 720 by the Caliph of Damascus, Omar II, and in 723 by the Byzantine emperor, Leo III, they prospered everywhere till about the middle of the ninth century. It was during this period that the great Kingdom of the Chazars, which was situated west of the Caspian Sea, and had caused the Persians to tremble, embraced Judaism (c. 745); its rulers remained exclusively Jewish above two centuries and a half. After the caliphs of the Ommiad dynasty, one of whom had a Jew as his mint-master, those of the Abassides, till after Harun al-Rashid (d. 809), do not seem to have seriously disturbed their Jewish subjects: during that time, the Babylonian Talmudic schools were crowded with hearers, and had it not been for their internal dissensions, religious (Karaites) and political (contests for the dignity of exilarch), the Jews of Babylon would have been as happy as they were renowned for their learning. In Mohammedan Spain (with its separate Caliphate of Cordova since A.D. 756), the Jews were undoubtedly prosperous during the century now under review, although details concerning their condition during that time are actually wanting. In France, the Jewish population was not submitted to any serious restrictions under either Pepin (752-768) or Charlemagne (768-814), while under Louis I (814-840) it even enjoyed special favors and privileges, the king having for his confidential adviser his Jewish physician named Zedekiah, and actively protecting Jewish interests against powerful opponents.
Thus, with the exception of a passing persecution under the two sons of Harun al-Rashid, the Jews were left unmolested for about 100 years. But with the middle of the ninth century, and nearly everywhere, this ceases to be the case. In the East, Jewish persecutions were resumed by the Byzantine emperors of the Macedonian dynasty (842-1056), and by the Abasside Caliph al-Motawakel, who, in 853, reenacted the Covenant of Omar, and under whose successors in the Caliphate of Bagdad, the Jewish community of Irak lost more and more of its prestige and was supplanted in this respect by that of Spain: the exilarchate gradually ceased to be an office of the State and finally perished (c. 940), owing chiefly to the dissensions between the Gaons of Sora and Pumbeditha; and the Gaonate itself, for a while made famous by Saadiah, ultimately disappeared through the oppression of the weak caliphate (c. 1038). Under the Fatimite dynasty of caliphs (909-1171), whose rule extended over North Africa, Egypt, and Syria, the Jews were worse off still. About the middle of the tenth century, the Jewish Kingdom of the Chazars was destroyed by the Russians. In the West, the lot of the Jews was also that of a despised and persecuted race. Charles the Bald (840-877) protected them effectively, it is true, but his weak Carlovingian successors and the early Capetians lacked sufficient authority for doing so. In Italy, as early as 855, Louis II ordered the banishment of all Italian Jews, and his order failed to have the intended effect only because of the distracted condition of the realm at the time. In Germany, where “Jew” was synonymous with “merchant”, the emperors were long satisfied with exacting a special tax from their Jewish subjects; but finally Henry II (1002-1024) expelled from Mainz the Jews who refused to be baptized, and it is probable that his decree was applied to other communities.
Spain (Navarre, Castile, and Leon) also persecuted the Jews, although towards the end of the tenth century, its rulers placed them in many respects on an equality with the rest of the population. In Mohammedan Spain, however, the Jewish race was politically and religiously free. Under such patrons of science and art as the Ommiad caliphs, Abd-er-Rhamman III (d. 961), Al-Hakem (d. 976), and the regent Al-Mansur (d. 1002), the Jews greatly increased in Moorish Spain, and became famous for learning as well as for commercial and industrial activity. The Talmudic schools of Cordova, Lucena, and Granada took the place of those of Sora and Pumbeditha, under the high patronage of the Jewish statesmen Hasdai, Jacob Ibn-Jau, and Samuel Halevi. During this period, an Arabic translation of the Mishna was made in Spain by Ibn-Abitur, and the first commentaries on the Talmud were composed at Mainz by Gershom ben Juda (d. 1028).
(8) Era of the Crusades (1038-1300).—In many respects, Mohammedan Spain owed a great deal to its Jewish population; yet, in 1066, the Jews were expelled from the Kingdom of Granada. In many ways, too, the young kingdoms of Christian Spain were indebted to their Jewish inhabitants; nevertheless, Ferdinand the Great subjected them to vexatious measures and was only prevented from drawing the sword against them by the intervention of the Spanish clergy. These, however, were but passing storms; for Alfonso VI (1071-1109) soon freely used Jews in his diplomatic and military operations, while in the Mohammedan states distinct from Granada, Jewish culture reached the zenith of its splendor. The era of Jewish persecutions really began with the First Crusade (1096-1099). The crusaders enacted in May-July, 1096, bloody scenes against the Jews of Trier, Worms, Mainz, Cologne, and other Rhenish towns, and repeated them as they went along in the cities on the Main and the Danube, even as far as Hungary, bishops and princes being mostly on the side of the victims, but proving, for various reasons, powerless to protect them effectively. On the capture of Jerusalem, July 15, 1099, the crusaders wreaked a frightful vengeance on the Jews of the fallen city.
The interval between the First and the Second Crusade was a time of respite and recuperation for the Jewish race. In England, in Germany, and even in Palestine they were left unmolested; while in Spain and in France, they attained to a high degree of prosperity and influence, and actively pursued literary and Talmudic studies under the guidance of Juda Halevi and the sons of Rashi. Yet, in 1146, on the eve of the Second Crusade, there began against them the violent persecution of the Almohades in Northern Africa and Southern Spain which brought about the speedy ruin of the Jewish synagogues and schools and would have resulted in the practical annihilation of the Jews of Mohammedan Spain had not most of them found a refuge in the Christian dominions of Alfonso VIII (d. 1157). Then came the Second Crusade (1147-1149) with its atrocities against the Jews in Cologne, Mainz, Worms, Speyer, and Strasburg, despite the protestations of St. Bernard and of Eugenius III, and the efforts of the German prelates and the Emperor Conrad III in their behalf; and with its most deplorable result, namely the greater enslavement of the German Jews to the Crown. The next fifty years were, on the whole, for the Jewish race a period of peace and prosperity: in Spain, where Juda Ibn-Ezra was steward of the palace to Alfonso VIII; in Mesopotamia, where Mohammed Almuktafi revived the dignity of exilarch; in the Two Sicilies, where the Jews had equal rights with the rest of the population; in Italy, where Pope Alexander III was favorable to them, and the Third Lateran Council (1179) passed decrees protecting their religious liberty; in England and its French provinces, where the Jews were very flourishing under Henry Plantagenet (d. 1189); in France itself, where under the kind rule of Louis VI and Louis VII (1108-1180) they greatly prospered in every direction. And yet, in some of these countries there was a deep-seated hatred of the Jewish race and its religion. It manifested itself in 1171 when the Jews of Blois were burned on the charge of having used Christian blood in their Passover, and it allowed Philip Augustus in the year of his accession (1180) to decree the confiscation of all the unmovable goods of his Jewish subjects and their banishment from his domains.
This feeling showed itself particularly on the occasion of the Third Crusade (1189-1192). The Jews were massacred on the day of the coronation of Richard I (September 3, 1189) and soon afterwards in several English towns (1190). About the same time, crusaders murdered them at different places from the district of the Rhine to Vienna. When again in 1198 a new crusade (1202-1204) was preached, many barons of northern France got released from their debts to Jewish creditors, and then drove them out of their do-minions. Philip Augustus received indeed the exiles in his own territory, but he was chiefly actuated by covetousness. The Jews appealed to Innocent III to curb the violence of the crusaders; and in answer, the pontiff issued a Constitution which rigorously forbade mob violence and forced baptism, but which apparently had little or no effect.
The year 1204, in which closed the Fourth Crusade, marked the beginning of still heavier misfortunes for the Jews. That very year witnessed the death of Maimonides, the greatest Jewish authority of the twelfth century, and the first of the many efforts of Innocent III to prevent Christian princes from showing favor to their Jewish subjects. Soon afterward, the Jews of southern France suffered grievously during the war against the Albigenses which ended only in 1228. In 1210, those of England were ill-treated by King John Lackland and their wealth confiscated to the Exchequer. Next, the Jews of Toledo were put to death by crusaders (1212). The conciliar legislation of the time was generally unfavorable to the Jews, and it culminated in the anti-Jewish measures of the Fourth Council of the Lateran (1215), among which may be mentioned the exclusion of Jews from all public offices, and the decree that they should wear a Jew badge. Besides being thus legislated against, the Jews were divided amongst themselves with regard to the orthodoxy of the writings of Maimonides. Gradually, the Lateran decrees against them were enforced wherever this was possible, and active persecutions from kings and crusaders were started, the rulers of England being particularly conspicuous for their extortions of money from their Jewish subjects.
In many places the severity of the Lateran decrees was outdone, so that in 1235 Gregory IX felt called upon to confirm the Constitution of Innocent III, and in 1247 Innocent IV issued a Bull reprobating the false accusations and various excesses of the time against the Jews. Writing to the bishops of France and of Germany the latter pontiff says: “Certain of the clergy, and princes, nobles and great lords of your cities and dioceses have falsely devised certain godless plans against the Jews, unjustly depriving them by force of their property, and appropriating it themselves; … they falsely charge them with dividing up among themselves on the Passover the heart of a murdered boy…. In their malice, they ascribe every murder, wherever it chance to occur, to the Jews, And on the ground of these and other fabrications, they are filled with rage against them, rob them of their possessions without any formal accusation, with-out confession, and without legal trial and conviction, contrary to the privileges granted to them by the Apostolic See… They oppress the Jews by starvation, imprisonment, and by tortures and sufferings; they afflict them with all kinds of punishments, and sometimes even condemn them to death, so that the Jews, although living under Christian princes, are in a worse plight than were their ancestors in the land of the Pharaohs. They are driven to leave in despair the land in which their fathers have dwelt since the memory of man… Since it is our pleasure that they shall not be disturbed… we ordain that ye behave towards them in a friendly and kind manner. When-ever any unjust attacks upon them come under your notice, redress their injuries, and do not suffer them to be visited in the future by similar tribulations.” The protestations of the Roman pontiffs do not seem to have been much heeded in the Christian states generally. In 1254, nearly all the French Jews were banished by St. Louis from the king’s domains. Between 1257 and 1266, Alfonso X of Castile compiled a code of laws which contained several clauses against the Jews and countenanced the blood accusation which had been contradicted by Innocent IV. During the last years of Henry III (d. 1272), the Jews of England fared worse and worse. About this time, Pope Gregory X issued a Bull ordaining that no injury be inflicted upon their persons or their property (1273); but the popular hatred against them on the charge of usury, use of Christian blood at their Passover, etc., could not be restrained; and the thirteenth century which had witnessed their persecution in all parts of Christendom, except Austria, Portugal, and Italy, closed with their total expulsion from England in 1290, under Edward I, and their carnage in Germany in 1283 and 1298. During the same period, public disputations had been resorted to—but with little success—for the conversion of the Jews. Further light on the severity of measures enacted by popes or councils concerning the Jews, as well as on the motives of popular prejudice and hatred, will be found below, under section JUDAISM: (4) Judaism and Church Legislation.
(9) Last Part of the Middle Ages (1300-1500).—At the beginning of the fourteenth century, Jewish rabbis were divided concerning the value of the Zohar, the sacred book of the Kabbalists (see Kabbalah), which Moses of Leon had recently published. A still deeper division prevailed among them with regard to the cultivation of Aristotle‘s philosophy and the humanistic sciences and literature, and it resulted in 1305 in a public ban on the part of several Jewish leaders against the study of science. The next year (1306), Philip IV plundered and expelled all the French Jews, some of whom traveled as far as Palestine to enjoy there freedom under the rule of the mameluke sultan, Nassir Mohammed (d. 1341), while most remained on the border of France, thinking that the royal avarice which had caused their banishment would bring about their early return. Meantime, their coreligionists of Castile narrowly escaped the carrying out of stringent measures against their own rights and privileges (1313). The banished French Jews were actually recalled in 1315 by Louis X, and admitted for twelve years. But as early as 1320, there arose against them the bloody persecution of some 40,000 pastoureaux who pretended to be on their way to the recovery of the Holy Sepulcher. In 1321, the Jews were accused by the lepers of having poisoned the wells and rivers, whereupon a new persecution ensued. The same year, owing to intrigues against them, the Jews of Rome, then very flourishing in society and literature, would have been expelled from Roman territory by John XXII who resided in Avignon, had it not been for the timely intervention of Robert of Anjou, Vicar-General of the Papal States. In Castile, where the Jews possessed great influence with Alfonso XI (1312-1350), the various plans against them actually failed, and the king showed himself favorable to them till the day of his death. Their enemies were more successful in Navarre on the occasion of the war of independence which this province waged against France. As the Jews were apparently in the way of the secession, they were subjected to a violent persecution during the course of the war (1328), and to oppressive measures after Navarre had become a separate kingdom.
In Germany, they fared still worse during the riots and the civil wars under Louis IV (1314-1347). For two consecutive years (1336, 1337), the Armleder, or peasants wearing a piece of leather wound around their arm, inflicted untold sufferings upon the Jewish inhabitants of Alsace and the Rhineland as far as Swabia. In 1337, also, on the charge of having profaned a consecrated Host, the Jews of Bavaria were subjected to a slaughter which soon extended to those of Bohemia, Moravia, and Austria, although Benedict XII had is-sued a Bull promising an inquiry into the matter. Besides, Louis IV, who always treated his Jewish subjects as mere slaves, subjected them (c. 1342) to a new and most onerous poll tax. Greater Jewish massacres occurred in 1348-1349 while the fearful scourge, known as the “Black Death”, desolated Europe. The report that the Jews had caused the scourge by poisoning the wells used by Christians, spread rapidly and was believed in most towns of Central Europe, despite the Bulls issued by Clement VI in July and September, 1348, declaring their falsity. Despite the fact, too, that the same pontiff had solemnly ordered that Jews be not forced into baptism, that their sabbaths, festivals, synagogues, and cemeteries be respected, that no new exactions be imposed on them, they were plundered and murdered in many countries of Central and Northern Europe. The next years were, on the whole, a period of respite from persecution for the Jewish race. In Castile, the Jews attained to a great influence under Don Pedro (1360-1369), and the misfortunes which then befell them arose partly from the prevalent view that they availed themselves of their power to lap up the people’s possessions with their tax-farming, and partly from their constant loyalty to Don Pedro’s cause, during the civil war which broke out between him and Don Henry. The latter, after reaching the throne, showed himself friendly to the Jews, and agreed only reluctantly to some of the restrictive measures urged by the Cortes in 1371. In Germany, they were readmitted as early as 1355 into the very towns which had sworn that for 100 or 200 years no Jew should dwell within their walls.
In France, they were granted special privileges by King John (1361), which they enjoyed to the full extent under his successor, Charles V (1364-1380). But the last twenty years of the fourteenth century were again disastrous for the European Jews. In France, scarcely was Charles V dead, when popular riots were started against them because of their extortionate usury and encouragement to baptized Jews to recant, and finally brought about the permanent exile of the Jewish population (1394). In Spain, the reign of John I (d. 1390) witnessed a great curtailing of the Jews’ power and privileges; and that of Henry III (d. 1406) was marked by bloody assaults in many cities of Castile and Aragon and even in the island of Majorca, on account of which numerous Jews embraced Christianity. In Germany (1384), and in Bohemia (1389, 1399), the Jews were likewise persecuted. Boniface IX had protested, but in vain, against such outrages and slaughters (1389); and it is only in his states, in Italy, and in Portugal, that the Jewish race had any measure of peace during these years of carnage.
At the beginning of the fifteenth century, the Jews enjoyed some manner of respite in nearly all the countries where they had been allowed to stay or whither they had fled from persecuting France and Spain. But these peaceful days did not last long. As early as 1408, there appeared in the name of the infant King of Castile, John II, an edict which revived the dormant anti-Jewish statutes of Alfonso X; and soon afterwards (1412), a severer edict was issued, intended to isolate the Jews from the Christians lest intercourse should injure the true Faith, and calculated to induce them to give up their religion. In fact, degraded in every way, parked in “Juderias”, and deprived of practically every means of subsistence, many Jews surrendered to the exhortations of St. Vincent Ferrer, and received baptism, while the others persevered in Judaism and saw their misery somewhat alleviated by the royal edict of 1414. The persecution gradually extended to all the provinces of Spain, where St. Vin-cent also effected many conversions. At length, brighter days dawned for the Spanish Jews upon the death of Ferdinand, King of Aragon (1416) and of Catherine, Regent of Castile (1419), and upon the publication of the following solemn declaration of Martin V (1419), in their behalf: “Whereas the Jews are made to the image of God, and a remnant of them will one day be saved, and where-as they have besought our protection: following in the footsteps of our predecessors we command that they be not molested in their synagogues; that their laws, rights, and customs be not assailed; that they be not baptized by force, constrained to observe Christian festivals, nor to wear new badges, and they be not hindered in their business relations with Christians.” But then began new persecutions against the Jewish population of Central Europe. In their distress, the Austrian and the German Jews appealed to the same pontiff who, in 1420, also raised his voice in their favor, and who, in 1422, confirmed the ancient privileges of their race. Nevertheless, the Jews of Cologne were expelled in 1426, and those of several towns of southern Germany burned on the old blood accusation (1431). To add to their misfortune, the Council of Basle renewed the old and devised new restrictive measures against the Jews (1434); the unfavorable Archduke of Austria, Albert, became Emperor of Germany (1437-1439); and the new pope, Eugenius IV (1431-1447), at first well-disposed towards them, showed himself by this time less friendly to them.
Meantime, the Jewish communities of Castile prospered under John II, who promoted several Jews to public offices, and who in 1432 confirmed the statute of the Jewish Synod of Avila prescribing the establishment of separate schools. In the course of time, however, Spanish Christians complained to the pope of the arrogance of the Castilian Jews, and, in consequence, Eugenius IV issued an unfavorable Bull (1442) which greatly reduced Jewish prosperity and influence in Spain, and which was practically repeated in 1451 by Nicholas V (1447-1455). This pontiff was distinctly opposed to mob violence against the Jews, and he enjoined upon the Inquisitors of the Faith not only to refrain from exciting the popular hatred against them, but even to see that they should not be forcibly baptized or otherwise molested. And yet, under Nicholas V, severe persecutions befell the Jews of Central Europe, and their fugitives found a friendly refuge almost exclusively in the new Turkish Empire started by Mohammed II, the conqueror of Constantinople in 1453. The German emperor, Frederick III, was weak and vacillating, so that practically down to the end of his reign (1493), the Jews remaining in Central Europe were repeatedly subjected to miseries and humiliations. The Jews of Italy fared better during the same period, owing to the fact that the flourishing republics of Venice, Florence, Genoa, and Pisa appreciated and needed them as capitalists and diplomatists; and it is worthy of notice that the ‘Italian Jews were very prompt in availing themselves of the newly invented art of typography. In Spain, also, the Jewish population lived in comparative peace and comfort under Henry IV of Castile (1454-1574) and John II of Aragon (1458-1479), for, apart from a few popular riots directed against the Jews, the persecution then prevailing in Spain fell upon the “Maranos”, or forcibly converted Jews, for whose ambition or weakness Christianity was but a mask. Even after Ferdinand II and Isabella had united Castile and Leon under one scepter (1479), the Jews remained undisturbed—except in Andalusia—until the fall of Granada, protected as they were by Isaac Abrabanel, the ruler’s Jewish minister of finance. But the conquest of the rich Kingdom of Granada apparently led Ferdinand and Isabella to regard the Spanish Jews as no longer indispensable, as in fact out of place in their estates, which they wished altogether Christian. Without the approval of Innocent VII, the decree appeared (1492) banishing all Jews from Spain, and it was carried out despite Abrabanel’s supplication and offer of an immense sum of money.
Great indeed were the misfortunes which befell the impoverished Jewish exiles. In Navarre, they had ultimately to choose between expulsion and baptism. In the African seaports, when allowed to land, they were decimated by plague and starvation. On the Genoese ships, they were submitted to the most brutal treatment, and those who landed near Genoa reduced to starve or give up Judaism. In Rome, their fellow-Jews offered 1000 ducats to Alexander VI to prevent their admission, an offer which was indignantly refused. In Naples, they were compassionately received by Ferdinand I, but also carried off in numbers by the pestilence which broke out among them. In Portugal, John II tolerated them only eight months, after which all remaining were made slaves. It is true that John’s successor, Emmanuel (1495-1521), at first freed those enslaved Jews; but he finally signed in December, 1496, the decree expelling from Portugal all Jews who would refuse to be baptized, and in 1497 had it carried out. The country where the Spanish refugees were most hospitably received was Turkey, then ruled over by Bajazet II.
(10) Modern Period (1500-1700).—These expulsions of the Jews gave rise in the sixteenth century to the important division of the European Jews into “Sephardim” (Spanish and Portuguese Jews) and “Askenazim” (German and Polish Jews), thus called from two Biblical words connected by medieval rabbis with Spain and Germany respectively. Wherever they settled, the Sephardim preserved their peculiar ritual and also their native refinement of diction, manners, dress, etc., which stood in striking contrast with those of the Askenazim and secured for them an influence which the latter did not exercise despite their closer acquaintance with the Talmud and greater faithfulness to ancestral virtues and traditions. Thus were formed two deep currents of Judaism requiring to be treated separately during the modern period of Jewish history. In Italy, the Sephardim found a refuge chiefly in Rome, Naples, Florence, and Ferrara, where they were soon rejoined by numerous Maranos of Spain and Portugal who again professed Judaism: In Naples, they enjoyed the high protection of Samuel Abrabanel, a wealthy Jew who apparently administered the finances of the viceroy, Don Pedro of Toledo. In Ferrara and Florence, Jews and Maranos were well treated by the respective rulers of these cities; and even in Venice, which considered the expediency of their expulsion lest their presence should injure the interests of native merchants, they were simply confined to the first Italian Ghetto (1516). The early Roman pontiffs of the sixteenth century had Jewish physicians and were favorable to the Jews and the Maranos of their states. Time soon came, however, when the Sephardic Jews of Italy fared differently. As early as 1532, the accusation of child murder nearly entailed the extermination of the Jews of Rome. In 1555, Paul IV revived the ancient canons against the Jews which forbade them the practice of medicine, the pursuit of high commerce, and the ownership of real estate. He also consigned them to a Ghetto, and compelled them to wear a Jew badge. In 1569, Pius IV expelled all the Jews from the Pontifical States, except Rome and Ancona. Sixtus V (1585-1590) recalled them; but, soon after him, Clement VIII (1592-1605) banished them again partially, at the very moment when the Maranos of Italy lost their last place of refuge in Ferrara. Similar misfortunes befell the Jewish race in other states of Italy as the Spanish domination extended there: Naples banished the Jews in 1541; Genoa, in 1550; Milan, in 1597. Hence-forward, most Sephardic fugitives simply passed through Italy when on their way to the Turkish Empire.
During the whole present period, Turkey was, in fact, a haven of rest for the Sephardim. Bajazet II (d. 1512) and his immediate successors fully realized the services which the Jewish exiles could render to the new Mohammedan Empire of Constantinople, and hence welcomed them in their states. Under Selim II (1566-1574), the Marano Joseph Nassi, become Duke of Naxos and the virtual ruler of Turkey, used his immense power and wealth for the benefit of his coreligionists, at home and abroad.
After Nassi’s death, his influence passed partially to Aschkenazi, and also to the Jewess Esther Kiera who played a most important role under the Sultans Amurath III, Mohammed III, and Achmet I. During the remainder of the period, the Jews of Turkey were generally prosperous under the guidance of their rabbis. Their communities were spread through-out the Ottoman Empire, their most important centers being Constantinople and Salonica in European Turkey, and Jerusalem and Safed in Palestine. It is true that the Turkish Jews of the period were repeatedly disturbed by the appearance of such false Messiases as David Rubeni, Solomon Molcho, Lurya Levi, and Sabbatai Zevi; but the public authorities of Turkey took no steps to punish the Jews who shared in such Messianic agitations. The country in which, next to Turkey, the Sephardim fared best, was Holland. The origin of their settlements in the Netherlands is chiefly due to the immigration of Portuguese Maranos who, under Emmanuel‘s successors, were repeatedly subjected to the terrors of the Inquisition despite the laudable efforts of several popes in their behalf, and who, after the conquest of Portugal by Philip II of Spain, in 1580, reached Holland, now in full revolt against the Spanish domination. Their first congregations of 1593 and 1598 in Amsterdam were acceptable to the city authorities who saw in the new-corners a means of extending Dutch commerce, and who, in 1619, allowed the public exercise of Jewish worship under liberal conditions. During the seventeenth century, the Amsterdam Jews contributed actively to the home and foreign prosperity of their adopted country. They greatly increased in numbers by new accessions of Portuguese Maranos, and established communities in Hamburg, in Guiana, and in Brazil. It was also in Amsterdam that the movement originated for a legal reestablishment of the Jews in England from which Jews had been strictly excluded since 1290. Oliver Cromwell, protector of the realm (1653-1658), was personally in favor of the movement, and he actively seconded the skillful pleadings of Manasses ben Israel, the leading rabbi of Amsterdam, for that purpose. Cromwell, however, did not dare openly to bring about a change generally hateful to the English clergy and nation. Under Charles II (d. 1685), the Jews stole insensibly into the kingdom, where they have ever since maintained their footing. The chief difficulties of the Sephardim in Holland were of an internal order: their rabbis used rather freely the power of excommunication, one of the victims of which was the celebrated Spinoza (1656); and the majority of the Jewish population of Amsterdam was more or less seriously disturbed, about this time, by the Messianic pretensions of Sabbatai Zevi.
During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the Askenazim or German Jews were less fortunate than their Sephardic contemporaries. Their general condition remained much the same as during the preceding period. It is often, but wrongly, asserted that the invention of printing, the revival of learning, and the Protestant Reformation were beneficial to the Jews. When, early in the sixteenth century, the German Jews began to use the printing press for their own literature, sacred or otherwise, the Emperor Maximilian (d. 1519) was urged to order all Hebrew books to be burned, and but for the strenuous exertions of Reuchlin, the burning of the Talmud would have taken place. “That the Reformation itself had nothing to do with the subsequent ameliorations in the conditions of the Jews, is plain from the fact that in many parts of Germany, Protestant as well as Catholic, their lot became actually harder than before” (“The New Inter. Cy-clop.”, vol. X, New York, 1903). Luther himself, towards the end of his life, was their greatest opponent. “He poisoned the Protestant world for a long time to come, with his Jew-hating testament. Protestants became even more bitter against Jews than Catholics had been. The leaders of Catholicism demanded absolute submission to canonical law; but on that condition granted them permission to remain in Catholic countries; Luther, on the other hand, required their absolute expulsion…. It was reserved for him to place Jews on a level with Gypsies…. He was the cause of their being expelled by Protestant princes” (Gratz). In general, the emperors of the period acted with equity towards their Jewish subjects. At times, however, they expelled them from their crown lands, or connived at their banishment from other places. During the Thirty Years’ War, Ferdinand II (d. 1638) treated the Jews with great consideration, and required his generals to spare them from the hardships of the war. Under him and under his son, the Jewish community of Vienna was particularly flourishing; but this prosperity ended abruptly under Leopold I (1657-1705), and although about 1685 some Jews succeeded in stealing into Vienna, Leopold’s decree of exclusion was formally repealed only much later. The chief place of refuge for the Askenazim of Germany, Austria, and Bohemia was at this time the Kingdom of Poland, where the Jewish population was remarkably free and prosperous up to the middle of the seventeenth century. In 1648, the Polish Jews began themselves to be persecuted by the Cos-sacks of the Ukraine who invaded Poland and were victorious in three successive campaigns. They were next subjected to the disastrous invasions of the Russians and the Swedes. It is estimated that within ten years (1648-1658), more than 200,000 Jews were slaughtered in the Polish dominions. In consequence, the surviving Jews of Poland were reduced to a condition of extreme poverty and abjection from which the Polish kings of the second part of the seventeenth century earnestly strove to extricate them. During the period just sketched, Christian scholars began to cultivate Hebrew under the guidance of Jewish grammarians; Hebrew studies were introduced into German and French universities; and Richard Simon made the learned world acquainted with rabbinical literature.
(11) Recent Times (since 1700).—In dealing with this last period, it will be convenient to narrate briefly the events relative, first to the Jews of the Old World, and next to those of the New. The internal condition of the Jews in the Old World during the first half of the eighteenth century was that of a general demoralization which made them appear all the more disreputable because the recent works of Christian scholars, such, for instance, as the history of the Jews by Basnage, had forcibly directed the attention of the learned world towards them. They were not indeed subjected to the wholesale massacres of former days, but they remained in the eyes of all a despised race liable to all kinds of disabilities. In Sweden, they were allowed (1718) to enter the kingdom under unfavorable conditions; in France, new restrictions were imposed on their settlements (1718) at Metz and Bordeaux; in Prussia, the laws of Frederick William I (1714, 1730) breathed a spirit of great intolerance against them; at Naples, the concessions made to the Jews by Charles III, in 1740, were soon revoked; in Austria, charges that they were in league with the country’s enemies during the War of the Austrian Succession were readily believed, led to bloody riots against them, wellnigh entailed (1745) under Maria Theresa their perpetual expulsion from Bohemia and Moravia, and caused the Jews of Prague to be placed under the most severe restrictions; in Russia, Catherine I (1727) took active measures against the Ukraine Jews and banished the Jewish population from Russia, Anna Ivanowa (1739) decreed their expulsion from Little Russia, and Elizabeth (1741-1762) harshly enforced anti-Jewish measures; and finally, in England, the Jews were simply tolerated as aliens, and a naturalization act, which was passed by both Houses and ratified by George II (1753), was actually repealed (1754) owing to the nation’s opposition to it.
Gradually, however, a number of circumstances lessened this spirit of hostility against the Jews. Among these circumstances may be particularly mentioned: (a) the vast influence exercised by Moses Mendelssohn (1729-1786), who, by his literary attainments and his strong personality, proved to the world that his race could produce men worthy of admittance into the highest society, and showed to his fellow-Jews the way to remove prejudices against them; and (b) the vigorous defense of the Jews by the Christian writer Dohm, who, in his work “Upon the Amelioration of the Condition of the Jews”, suggested many practical measures which Joseph II of Austria partly accepted in 1781, when he abolished the Jewish poll-tax and granted civil liberties to the Jews. Under these, and other such circumstances, a more liberal spirit towards the Jews prevailed in Prussia and in France, where William II and Louis XVI, respectively, abolished the Jewish body tax. It made itself felt also in Russia where Catherine II (1762-1796) even decreed the civil and religious liberty of the Jews, but under whose rule the Russian Senate managed to organize the “Pale of Settlement” or portion of Russia in which Jews are allowed to reside, and to enforce other anti-Jewish measures. It culminated in the decrees of the French Revolution which actually opened the era of Jewish emancipation: in 1790, the French National Assembly granted citizenship to the Sephardic Jews, and in 1791, it extended full civil rights to all the Jews of the country. With French victories and influence, Jewish liberty naturally followed, and, in 1796, the Batavian National Assembly decreed citizenship for the Jews. Napoleon I summoned in 1806 an assembly of Jewish notables which succeeded in calming his prejudices against the Jews, and in 1807 a Great Sanhedrin, which proved to his satisfaction that the Jewish race may be faithful both to its religion and to the State. Then followed, not without difficulties, yet in rapid succession, the emancipation of the Jews of Westphalia and of Baden (1808), of Hamburg (1811), of Mecklenburg, and of Prussia (1812).
The fall of Napoleon and the consequent period of European reorganization gave a setback to Jewish liberty, especially in Germany, which was for a while the scene of bloody riots against the Jews; but gradually, and nearly everywhere in the Old World, Jewish liberty prevailed. In France, the Jewish rabbis were put, under Louis Philippe (1831), on the same footing with regard to salary as the cures of the Catholic Church; in 1846, the oath “More Judaico” was abolished as unconstitutional; and since the wave of anti-Semitism which culminated in the well-known case of Alfred Dreyfus, the Jewish population of the country and of Algiers has not been molested. In England, it was not before 1858 that Parliament was freely opened to the Jews by the suppression of the clause “On the true faith of a Christian” from the oath of office, and not before 1870, that all restrictions for every position (except that of sovereign) in the British Empire were abolished. In northern Germany, the various states allowed civil liberty to their Jewish population in 1848, and after 1870, all restrictions disappeared, although since that time, owing to anti-Semitism, minor disabilities have been publicly enacted or quietly enforced in some parts of the Empire. Den-mark enfranchised the Jews in 1849, whereas Sweden and Norway still subject them to certain disabilities. In 1867, the Jews of Austria were emancipated, and in 1895, those of Hungary obtained, moreover, that Judaism be considered as “a legally recognized religion”. In Switzerland, after a long and bitter struggle, the Federal Constitution of 1874 granted to the Jews full liberty. In Italy, the Jewish disabilities, revived on the fall of Napoleon I, and the application of which occasioned in 1858 the celebrated Mortara Case, have all been gradually abolished, and Rome, the last Italian place where the Jews were emancipated, elected a Jew, Ernesto Nathan, for its mayor, October 10, 1908. Spain and Portugal have not yet recognized officially their small Jewish population. The Danubian provinces of Servia, Bulgaria, and Montenegro, have, in accordance with the Treaty of Berlin of 1878, allowed civil and religious liberty to their Jewish settlers, whereas the province of Rumania, in defiance of the same treaty, has refused it and carried out persecutions which have entailed a very large emigration of Rumanian Jews. Turkish Jews were granted citizenship in 1839; yet, in various parts of the Turkish Empire, there repeatedly occur accusations of ritual child-murder which inflame the populace and lead to anti-Jewish riots.
In Palestine, their number is rapidly increasing (they are now 78,000) despite the sultan’s restrictions (1888, 1895) concerning the accession of Jewish immigrants in numbers; and agricultural colonies are established in various parts of the land. In Fez and chiefly in Morocco, Jews have still much to fear from the fanaticism of Mohammedans. In Persia, they are at times oppressed, despite the ruler’s general good-will towards them. Their fate has been, and still is, deplorable in Russia where lives nearly one-half of the total Jewish population of the globe. The liberty of trade and commerce granted to them by Alexander I (1801-1825) was replaced, under Nicholas I (1825-1855), by a legislation calculated to diminish their number, to deprive them of their religious and national character, and to render them morally and commercially harmless to Christians. Alexander II (1855-1881) was very favorable to the Jews; but the reaction against them under Alexander III (1881-1894) was of the most intolerant kind. From the promulgation of the Ignatieff law of 1882, the most restrictive measures have been piled up against the Jews, and since 1891 they have been applied with such severity that Russian Jews have emigrated in hundreds of thousands, mostly to the United States. Under the present emperor, Nicholas II, new restrictions have been devised; riots against the Jews occurred in 1896, 1897, 1899, and culminated in the massacres of Kishineff, Homel, etc., from 1903 to 1906, helped in various ways by Russian officials and soldiers; during the year 1909, the persecution took the form of orders of expulsion, and the trials prescribed by the Duma against the organizers and the perpetrators of the massacres of some years ago are apparently a farce.
Jews at an early date settled in South America, exiled from Spain and Portugal, or taking part in the Dutch and English commercial enterprises in the New World. Brazil was their main center. Those found there in the sixteenth century were Maranos who had been sent in company with convicts. They acquired wealth and became very numerous at the beginning of the seventeenth century. They helped the Dutch in wresting Brazil from Portugal (1624), and were joined in 1642 by many Portuguese Jews from Amsterdam. At the end of the Dutch rule over Brazil (1654), most Jewish settlers returned to Holland; some emigrated to French settlements—Guadaloupe, Martinique, and Cayenne; others took refuge in Curacao, a Dutch possession; and finally, a small band reached New Amsterdam (New York). After a very few years, those who had settled on the French islands were compelled to turn to friendly Dutch possessions, and to other places of refuge, notably to Surinam (then belonging to England) where they became increasingly prosperous. The other early settlements of Jews in Mexico, Peru, and the West Indies do not require more than a passing mention. Of much greater importance were those effected chiefly by Sephardim in North America. There were Jews in New Amsterdam as early as 1652; others came from Brazil in 1654. As these were not received in a friendly manner by the governor, Peter Stuyvesant, some of them betook themselves to the Colony of Rhode Island, where they were reinforced in the course of time by contingents from Curacao (1690) and from Lisbon (1755). The condition of those who had remained at New Amster-dam was, on the whole, fair, for they were sustained by the Dutch home Government; and it remained substantially so after 1664, at which date the British captured New Amsterdam and changed its name to New York. At the end of the seventeenth century there were some Jews in Maryland. The next places of settlement were Pennsylvania (with a large percent-age of Askenazim), Georgia, and the Carolinas. During the War of the American Revolution, the Jews generally took the colonial side; some fought bravely for it; and Haym Solomon aided the Continental Congress with his money. Following the Declaration of Independence (July, 1776) most of the states of the Union placed all citizens upon an equality, the only notable exception being Maryland, in whici state all disabilities were removed only in 1826.
During the nineteenth century, the Jews spread over all the United States and recently into their possessions, after the Spanish American War (1898), in which some 2000 Jewish soldiers took part. Important congregations have also grown up in the larger cities of Canada where the Jews possess full civil rights since 1831. From 1830 to 1870, the immigration into the United States came largely from the Rhine Provinces, South Germany, and Hungary. Since 1882, the riots and persecutions in Russia have led to an immense emigration, a small portion of which was directed by Baron von Hirsch to the Argentine Republic, or went to Canada, but the great bulk of which came to the United States. To these have been added numerous Jews from Galicia and Rumania. The total Jewish immigration to the United States through the three chief ports of entry (New York, Philadelphia, and Baltimore) from 1881 to June 30, 1909, was 1,397,423, out of which upwards of 54,000 reached the country between July 1, 1908, and June 30, 1909. In consequence, the United States have the third largest Jewish population in the world, the latest estimates being 5,215,805 for Russia, 2,084,591 for Austria-Hungary, and 1,777,185 for the United States. For the immigrants who, for the most part, have settled in large business centers, day and night schools to teach them English, together with trade schools to enable them to earn a livelihood, have been organized or enlarged. For those whom it has been possible to divert elsewhere, agricultural colonies have been attempted in several states, but have been little successful. In nearly every other line (educational, philanthropic, literary, financial, etc.) the development of Jewish activity during the last twenty-five years has been both rapid and successful. Differently from the Jews of Jamaica and Canada those of the United States are altogether independent of the jurisdiction of any European authority.
The Jewish statistics in the table below are taken from the “American Jewish Year Book” for the current year 5670 (September 16, 1909, to October 3, 1910).
JUDAISM.—At the present day, the term designates the religious communion which survived the destruction of the Jewish nation by the Assyrians and the Babylonians. A brief account of Judaism thus understood may be given under the following heads: (I) Judaism before the Christian Era; (2) Judaism and Early Christianity; (3) Judaism since A.D. 70; (4) Judaism and Church Legislation.
(I) Judaism before the Christian Era.—Upon the Return from Babylon (538 B.C.), Juda was conscious of having inherited the religion of pre-Exilic Israel. It was that religion which had prompted the exiles to return to the land promised by Yahweh to their ancestors, and they were now determined to maintain it in its purity. From the Captivity they had learned that in His justice, God had punished their sins by delivering them into the power of pagan nations, as the Prophets of old had repeatedly announced; and that in His love for the people of His choice, the same God had brought them back, as Isaias (xl-lxvi) had particularly foretold. Thence they naturally drew the conclusion that, cost what it may, they must prove faithful to Yahweh, so as to avert a like punishment in the future. The same conclusion was also brought home to them, when some time after the completion of the Temple, Esdras solemnly read the Law in their hearing. This reading placed distinctly before their minds the unique position of their race among the nations of the world. The Creator of heaven and earth, in His mercy towards fallen man (Gen., i-iii), had made a covenant with their father Abraham, in virtue of which his seed, and in his seed all the peoples of the earth, should be blessed (Gen., xii; xviii; II Esd., ix). From that time forth, He had watched over them with jealous care. The other nations, once fallen into idolatry, He had allowed to grovel amid their impure rites; but He had dealt differently with the Israelites whom He wished to be unto Him “a priestly kingdom and a holy nation” (Exod., xix, 6). Their repeated falls into idolatry He had not left unpunished, but He kept alive among them the revealed religion which ever represented God as the true and adequate object of their devotion, trust, gratitude, of their obedience and service.
All the past misfortunes of their race were thus distinctly seen as so many chastisements intended by God to recall His ungrateful people to the observance of the Law, whereby they would secure the holiness necessary for the blameless discharge of their priestly mission to the rest of the world. They, therefore, pledged renewed faithfulness to the Law, leaving it to God to bring about the glorious day when all the earth, with Jerusalem as its center, would recognize and worship Yahweh; they broke every tie with the surrounding nationalities, and formed a community wholly sacred unto the Lord, chiefly concerned with the preservation of His faith and worship by a strict compliance with all the ritual prescriptions of the Law. On the one hand, this religious attitude of the Judean Jews secured the preservation of Monotheism among them. History proves that the Persians and the Macedonians respected their religious freedom and even to some extent favored their worship of Yahweh. It remains true, however, that in the time of the Machabees, the children of Israel escaped being thoroughly hellenized only through their attachment to the Law. Owing to this attachment, the fierce persecutions which they then underwent, confirmed instead of rooting out their belief in the true God. On the other hand, the rigor with which the letter of the Law became enforced gave rise to a narrow” legalism”. The mere external compliance with ritual observances gradually superseded the higher claims of conscience; the Prophet was replaced by the “scribe”, the casuistic interpreter of the Law; and Israel, in its sacred isolation, looked down upon the rest of mankind. A similarly narrow spirit animated the Babylonian Jews, for it was from Babylon that Esdras, “a ready scribe in the Law of Moses“, had come to revive the Law in Jerusalem, and their existence in the midst of heathen populations made it all the more imperative for them to cling tenaciously to the creed and worship of Yahweh.
Apparently, things went on smoothly with the priestly community of Juda as long as the Persian supremacy lasted. It was the policy of ancient Asiatic empires to grant to each province its autonomy, and the Judean Jews availed themselves of this to live up to the requirements of the Mosaic Law under the headship of their high-priests and the guidance of their scribes. The sacred ordinances of the Law were no burden to them, and gladly did they even increase the weight by additional interpretations of its text. Nor was this happy condition materially interfered with under Alexander the Great and his immediate successors in Syria and in Egypt. In fact, the first contact of the Judean Jews with hellenistic civilization seemed to open to them a wider field for their theocratic influence, by giving rise to a Western Dispersion with Alexandria and Antioch as its chief local centers and Jerusalem as its metropolis. However much the Jews living among the Greeks mingled with the latter for business pursuits, learned the Greek language, or even became acquainted with hellenistic philosophy, they remained Jews to the core. The Law as read and explained in their local synagogues regulated their every act, kept them from all defilement with idolatrous worship, and maintained intact their religious traditions. With regard to creed, worship, and morality, the Jews felt themselves far superior to their pagan fellow-citizens, and the works of their leading writers of the time were in the main those of apologists bent on convincing pagans of this superiority and on attracting them to the service of the sole living God. In fact, through this intercourse between Judaism and Hellenism in the Graeco-Roman world, the Jewish religion won the allegiance of a certain number of Gentile men and women, while the Jewish beliefs themselves gained in clearness and precision through the efforts then made to render them acceptable to Western minds.
Much less happy results followed on the contact of Jewish Monotheism with Greek Polytheism on Palestinian soil. There, worldly and ambitious high-priests not only accepted, but even promoted, Greek culture and heathenism in Jerusalem itself; and, as already stated, the Greek rulers of the early Machabean Age proved violent persecutors of Yahweh worship. The chief question confronting the Palestinian Jews was not, therefore, the extension of Judaism among the nations, but its very preservation among the children of Israel. No wonder then that Judaism assumed there an attitude of direct antagonism to everything hellenistic, that the Mosaic observances were gradually enforced with extreme rigor, and that the oral Law, or rulings of the Elders relative to such observances appeared in the eyes of pious Judean Jews of no less importance than the Mosaic Law itself. No wonder, too, that in opposition to the lukewarmness for the oral Law evinced by the priestly aristocracy—the Sadducees as they were called—there arose in Juda a powerful party resolved to maintain at any cost the Jewish separation—hence their name of Pharisees—from the contamination of the Gentiles by the most scrupulous compliance, not only with the Law of Moses, but also with the “Traditions of the Elders”. The former of these leading parties was pre-eminently concerned with the maintenance of the status quo in politics, and in the main sceptical with regard to such prominent beliefs or expectations of the time as the existence of angels, the resurrection of the dead, the reference of the oral Law to Moses, and the future Redemption of Israel. The latter party strenuously maintained these positions. Its extreme wing was made up of Zealots always ready to welcome any false Messias who promised deliverance from the hated foreign yoke; while its rank and file earnestly prepared by the “works of the Law” for the Messianic Age variously described by the Prophets of old, the apocalyptic writings and the apocryphal Psalms of the time, and generally expected as an era of earthly felicity and legal righteousness in the Kingdom of God. The rise of the Essenes is also ascribed to this period (see Essenes).
(2) Judaism and Early Christianity.—At the beginning of our era, Judaism was in external appearance thoroughly prepared for the advent of the Kingdom of God. Its great center was Jerusalem, the “Holy City”, whither repaired in hundreds of thousands Jews of every part of the world, anxious to celebrate the yearly festivals in the “City of the Great King”. The Temple was in the eyes of them all the worthy House of the Lord, both by the magnificence of its structure and by the wonderful appointment of its service. The Jewish priesthood was not only numerous, but also most exact in the offering of the daily, weekly, monthly, and other, sacrifices, which it was its privilege to perform before Yahweh. The high-priest, a person most sacred, stood at the head of the hierarchy, and acted as final arbiter of all religious controversies. The Sanhedrin of Jerusalem, or supreme tribunal of Judaism, watched zealously over the strict fulfillment of the Law and issued decrees readily obeyed by the Jews dispersed throughout the world. In the Holy Land, and far and wide beyond its boundaries, besides local Sanhedrins, there were synagogues supplying the ordinary religious and educational needs of the people, and wielding the power of excommunication against breakers of the Law, oral and written. A learned class, that of the Scribes, not only read and interpreted the text of the Law in the synagogue meetings, but sedulously proclaimed the “Traditions of the Elders”, the collection of which formed a “fence to the Law“, because whoever observed them was sure not to trespass in any way against the Law itself. Legal righteousness was the watchword of Judaism, and its attainment by separation from Gentiles and sinners, by purifications, fasts, almsgiving, etc., in a word by the fulfillment of traditional enactments which applied the Law to each and every walk of life and to all imaginable circumstances, was the one concern of pious Jews wherever found. Plainly, the Pharisees and the Scribes who belonged to their party had generally won the day. In Palestine, in particular, the people blindly followed their leadership, confident that the present rule of pagan Rome would speedily come to an end at the appearance of the Messias, expected as a mighty deliverer of the faithful “children of the kingdom”. Meantime, it behooved the sons of Abraham to emulate the “righteousness of the Scribes and the Pharisees” whereby they would secure admittance into the Messianic world-wide empire, of which Jerusalem would be the capital, and of which every Jewish member would be superior in things temporal as well as spiritual to the rest of the world then rallied to the worship of the one true God.
In reality, the Jews were far from prepared for the fulfilment of the promises which the Almighty had repeatedly made to their race. This was first shown to them, when a voice, that of John, the son of Zachary and the herald of the Messias, was heard in the Wilderness of Juda. It summoned, but with little success, all the Jews to a genuine sorrow for sin, which was indeed foreign to their hearts, but which could alone, despite their title of “children of Abraham“, fit them for the kingdom near at hand. This was next shown to them by Jesus, the Messias Himself, Who, at the very beginning of His public life, repeated John’s summons to repentance (Mark, i, 15), and Who, throughout His ministry, endeavored to correct the errors of Judaism of the day concerning the kingdom which He had come to found among men. With authority truly Divine He bade His hearers not to be satisfied with the outward righteousness of the Scribes and the Pharisees if they wished to enter into that kingdom, but to aim at the inner perfection which alone could lift up men’s moral nature and render them worthy worshippers of their heavenly Father. The Kingdom of God, He plainly declared, had come upon His contemporaries, since Satan, God‘s enemy and man’s, was under their eyes cast out by Himself and by His chosen disciples (Mark, xii, 20; Luke, x, 18). The kingdom which the Jews should expect is the Kingdom of God in its modest, secret, and as it were, insignificant origin. It is subject to the laws of organic growth as all living things are, and hence its planting and early developments do not attract much attention; but it is not so with its further extension, destined as it is to pervade and transform the world.
This kingdom is indeed rejected by those who had the first claim to its possession and seemingly were the best qualified for entering into it; but all those, both Jews and Gentiles, who earnestly avail themselves of the invitation of the Gospel will be admitted. This is really a new Kingdom of God to be transferred to a new nation and governed by a new set of rulers, although it is no less truly the continuation of the Kingdom of God under the Old Covenant. Once this kingdom is organized upon earth, its king, the true son and lord of David, goes to a far country, relying upon His representatives to be more faithful than the rulers of the old kingdom. Upon the king’s return, this kingdom of grace will be transferred into a kingdom of glory. The duration of the kingdom on earth will out-live the ruin of the Holy City and of its Temple; it will be coextensive with the preaching of the Gospel to all nations, and this, when accomplished, will be the sign of the near approach of the kingdom of glory. In thus describing God‘s kingdom, Jesus justly treated as vain the hopes of His Jewish contemporaries that they should become masters of the world in the event of a conflict with Rome; He also set aside the fabric of legalism which their leaders regarded as to be perpetuated in the Messianic kingdom, but which in reality they should have considered as either useless or positively harmful now that the time had come to extend “salvation out of the Jews” to the nations at large; plainly, the legal sacrifices and ordinances had no longer any reason of being, since they had been instituted to prevent Israel from forsaking the true God, and since Monotheism was now firmly established in Israel; plainly, too, the “traditions of the Elders” should not be tolerated any longer, since they had gradually led the Jews to disregard some of the most essential precepts of the moral law embodied in the Decalogue.
Jesus did not come to destroy the Law or the Prophets, that is those sacred writings which He, no less than His Jewish contemporaries, distinctly recognized as inspired by the Holy Spirit; His mission, on the contrary, was to secure their fulfilment. Indeed, He would have destroyed the Law, if He had sided with the Scribes and the Pharisees who had raised a fence to the Law, which actually encroached upon the sacred territory of the Law itself; but He fulfilled it by proclaiming the new Law of perfect love of God and man, whereby all the precepts of the Old Law were brought to completion. Again, He would have destroyed the Prophets, if like the same Scribes and Pharisees, He had pictured an image of God‘s kingdom and God‘s Messias solely by means of the glorious features contained in the prophetical writings; but He fulfilled them by drawing a picture which took into account both glorious and inglorious delineations of the Prophets of old, setting both in their right order and perspective. The Kingdom of God as described and founded by Jesus has an historical name. It is the Christian Church, which was able silently to leaven the Roman Empire, which has outlived the ruin of the Jewish Temple and its worship, and which, in the course of centuries, has extended to the confines of the world the knowledge and the worship of the God of Abraham, while Judaism has remained the barren fig-tree which Jesus condemned during His mortal life.
The death and resurrection of Jesus fulfilled the ancient types and prophecies concerning Him (cf. Luke, xxiv, 26, 27), and the visible bestowal of the Holy Ghost upon His assembled followers on Pentecost Day gave them the light to realize this fulfilment (Acts, iii, 15) and the courage to proclaim it even in the hearing of those Jewish authorities who thought that they had by the stigma of the Cross put an end forever to the Messianic claims of the Nazarene. From this moment the Church which Jesus had silently organized during His mortal life with Peter as its head and the other Apostles as his fellow-rulers, took the independent attitude which it has maintained ever since. Conscious of their Divine mission, its leaders boldly charged the Jewish rulers with the death of Jesus, and freely “taught and preached Christ Jesus”, disregarding the threats and injunctions of men whom they considered as in mad revolt against God and His Christ (Acts, iv). They solemnly proclaimed the necessity of faith in Christ for justification and salvation, and that of baptism for membership in the religious community which grew rapidly under their guidance, and which recognized the risen Son of God as its Divinely constituted “Lord and Christ”, “Prince and Savior”, in a real, although invisible, manner, during the present order of things. According to them, these are plainly Messianic times as proved by the realization of Joel‘s prophecy concerning the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon all flesh, so that the Jews “first” and next the Gentiles are now called to receive the Divine blessing so long promised in Abraham‘s Seed for all nations. Much as in these early days the infant Church was Jewish in external appearance, it even then caused Judaism to feel threatened in its whole system of civil and religious life (Acts, vi, 13, 14). Hence followed a severe persecution against the Christians, in which Saul (Paul) took an active part, and in the course of which he was converted miraculously.
At his conversion Paul found the Church spread far and wide by the very persecution meant to annihilate it, and officially pursuing its differentiation from Judaism by the reception into its fold of Samaritans who rejected the Temple worship in Jerusalem, of the Ethiopian eunuch, that is, of a class of men distinctly excluded from the Judaic community by the Deuteronomic Law, and especially of the uncircumcised Cornelius and his Gentile household with whom Peter himself broke bread in direct opposition to legal traditions. When, therefore, Paul, now become an ardent Apostle of Christ, openly maintained the freedom of Gentile converts from the Law as understood and enforced by the Jews and even by certain Judeo-Christians, he was in thorough agreement with the official leaders of the Church at Jerusalem, and it is well known that the same official leaders positively approved his course of action in this regard (Acts, xv; Gal., ii). The real difference between him and them consisted in his fearlessness in preaching Christian freedom and in vindicating by his Epistles the necessity and efficiency of faith in Christ for justification and salvation independently of the “works of the Law“, that is, the great principles acknowledged and acted upon before him in the Christian Church. The result of his polemics was the sharp setting forth of the relation existing between Judaism and Christianity; in Christ’s kingdom, only believing Jews and Gentiles recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (cf. Matt., viii, 11); they are coheirs of the promise made to the father of all the faithful when he was yet uncircumcised; the Law and the Prophets are fulfilled in Christ and His body, the Church; the Gospel must be preached to all nations, and then the consummation shall come. The result of his consuming zeal for the salvation of souls redeemed by the blood of Christ was the formation of religious communities bound together by the same faith, hope, and charity as the churches of Palestine, sharing in the same sacred mysteries, governed by pastors likewise vested with Christ’s authority, and forming a vast Church organism vivified by the same Holy Spirit and clearly distinct from Judaism. Thus the small mustard seed planted by Jesus in Judea had grown into a great tree fully able to bear the storms of persecution and heresy (see Epistle to the Colossians; Ebionites; Gnosticism).
(3) Judaism since A.D. 70.—While Christianity thus asserted itself as the new Kingdom of God, the Jewish theocracy, guided by leaders unable “to know the signs of the times”, was hastening to its total destruction. The Romans came, and in A.D. 70 put an end forever to the Jewish Temple, priesthood, sacrifices, and nation, whereby it should have become clear to the Jews that their national worship was rejected of God. In point of fact, Judaism, shorn of these its essential features, soon “assumed an entirely new aspect. All the parties and sects of a former generation vanished; Pharisees and Sadducees ceased to quarrel with each other; the Temple was supplanted by the synagogue, sacrifices by the prayer, the priest by any one who was able to read, teach, and interpret both the written and the oral law. The Sanhedrin lost its juridical qualification, and became a consistory to advise people in regard to their religious duties. Judaism became a science, a philosophy, and ceased to be a political institution” (Schindler, “Dissolving Views in the History of Judaism”). This new system, treated at first as simply provisional because of the surviving hope of restoring the Jewish commonwealth, had soon to be accepted as definitive through the crushing of Bar-Cochba’s revolt by Hadrian. Then it was that Rabbinical or Talmudical Judaism fully asserted its authority over the two great groups of Jewish families east and west of the Euphrates respectively. For several centuries, under either the “Patriarchs of the West” or the “Princes of the Captivity”, the Mishna “Oral Teaching” completed by Rabbi Juda I, committed ultimately to writing in the form of the Jerusalem and Babylonian Talmuds (see Talmud), and expounded by generations of teachers in the schools of Palestine and Babylonia, held undisputed sway over the minds and consciences of the Jews.
In fact, this long acceptation of the Talmud by the Jewish race, before its center was shifted from the East to the West, so impressed this Second Law (Mishna) upon the hearts of the Jews that down to the present day Judaism has remained essentially Talmudical both in its theory and in its practice. It is indeed true that as early as the eighth century of our era the authority of the Talmud was denied in favor of Biblical supremacy by the sect of the Karaites, and that it has oftentimes since been questioned by other Jewish sects such as Judghanites, Kabbalists, Sabbatians, Chassidim (old and new), Frankists, etc. Nevertheless, these sects have all but disappeared and the supremacy of the Talmud is generally recognized. The most important religious division of Judaism at the present day is that between “Orthodox” and “Reform” Jews, with many subdivisions to which these names are more or less loosely applied. Orthodox Judaism includes the greater part of the Jewish race. It distinctly admits the absolutely binding force of the oral Law as finally fixed in the “Shulhan Aruk” by Joseph Caro (sixteenth cent.). Its beliefs are set forth in the following thirteen articles, first compiled by Maimonides in the eleventh century:—
(a) I believe with a true and perfect faith that God is the creator (whose name be blessed), governor, and maker of all creatures; and that he hath wrought all things, worketh, and shall work forever. (b) I believe with perfect faith that the creator (whose name be blessed) is one; that there is no unity like unto his in any way; and that he alone was, is, and will be our God. (c) I believe with a perfect faith that the creator (whose name be blessed) is incorporeal, that he has not any corporeal qualities, and that nothing can be compared unto him. (d) I believe with a perfect faith that the creator (whose name be blessed) was the first, and will be the last. (e) I believe with a perfect faith that the creator (whose name be blessed) is to be worshipped and none else. (f) I believe with perfect faith that all the words of the prophets are true. (g) I believe with perfect faith that the prophecies of Moses our master (may he rest in peace) were true; that he was the father and chief of all prophets, both of those before him and those after him. (h) I believe with perfect faith that the Law, at present in our hands, is the same that was given to our master Moses (peace be with him). (i) I believe with perfect faith that this Law will not be changed, and that no other Law will be revealed by the creator (blessed be his name). (j) I believe with a perfect faith that God (whose name be blessed) knows all the deeds of the sons of men and all their thoughts; as it is said: “He who hath formed their hearts altogether, he knoweth all their deeds”. (k) I believe with a perfect faith that God (whose name be blessed) rewards those who keep his commandments, and punishes those who transgress them. (I) I believe with a perfect faith that the Messias will come; and although he tarries I wait nevertheless every day for his coming. (m) I believe with a perfect faith that there will be a resurrection of the dead, at the time when it shall please the creator (blessed be his name).
With regard to the future life, Orthodox Jews believe, like the Universalists, in the ultimate salvation of all men; and like the Catholics, in the offering up of prayers for the souls of their departed friends. Their Divine worship does not admit of sacrifices; it consists in the reading of the Scriptures and in prayer. While they do not insist on attendance at the synagogue, they enjoin all to say their prayers at home or in any place they chance to be, three times a day; they repeat also blessings and particular praises to God at meals and on other occasions. In their morning devotions they use their phylacteries and a praying scarf (talith), except on Saturdays, when they use the talith only. The following are their principal festivals:—(i) Passover, on 14 Nisan, and lasting eight days. On the evening before the feast, the first-born of every family observes a fast in remembrance of God‘s kindness to the nation. During the feast unleavened bread is exclusively used; the first two and last days are observed as strict holidays. Since the paschal lamb has ceased, it is customary after the paschal meal to break and partake as Aphikomon, or after-dish, of half of an unleavened cake which has been broken and put aside at the beginning of the supper. (ii) Pentecost, or the feast of Weeks, falling seven weeks after the Passover and kept, at present, for two days only. (iii) Trumpets, on 1 and 2 Tishri, of which the first is called New Year’s feast. On the second day they blow the horn and pray that God will bring them to Jerusalem. (iv) Tabernacles, on 15 Tishri, lasting nine days, the first and last two days being observed as feast days. On the first day they carry branches around the altar or pulpit singing psalms; on the seventh day, they carry copies of the Torah out of the ark to the altar, all the congregation joining in the procession seven times around the altar and singing Ps. xxix. On the ninth day they repeat several prayers in honor of the Law, bless God for having given them His servant Moses, and read the section of the Scriptures which records his death. (v) Purim, on 14 and 15 Adar (February—March), in commemoration of the deliverance recorded in the Book of Esther; the whole Book of Esther is read several times during the celebration. (vi) Dedication, a feast commemorative of the victory over Antiochus Epiphanes and lasting eight days. (vii) Atonement Day, celebrated on 10 Tishri, although the Jews have neither Temple nor priesthood. They observe a strict fast for twenty-four hours, and strive in various ways to evince the sincerity of their repentance (see Jewish Calendar).
Reform Judaism, which traces back its origin to Mendelssohn’s time, is chiefly prevalent in Germany and the United States. It has very lax views of Biblical inspiration and bends Jewish beliefs and practices so as to adapt them to environment. It is a sort of Unitarianism coupled with some Jewish peculiarities. It disregards the belief of the coming of a personal Messias, the obligatory character of circumcision, ancient Oriental customs in synagogue services, the dietary laws, which but few Reform Jews observe out of custom or veneration for the past, the second days of the holy days, all minor feasts and fast-days of the year (except Hanukha and Purim), while it uses sermons in the vernacular and adds in some places Sunday services to those held on the historical Sabbath Day, etc. Nominally, for all, the Sabbath is the day of rest; but only a small number even of the Orthodox Jews keep their places of business closed on that day, owing to the commercial demands of modern life and the police regulations usually enforced in Christian lands concerning the ordinary Sunday rest. Intermarriage with non-Jews is generally discountenanced even by Reform Jewish rabbis, and as a fact, has never been frequent, except of late in Australia. Of late, the use of Hebrew has been revived particularly in Palestine Jewish colonies, and a number of Jewish journals and reviews are published in that tongue in the East and in certain countries of Europe. Yiddish, or Judeo-German, is by far more prevalent, and is used in the large cities of Europe and North America for weekly and daily papers.
The Yeshibas, or high schools of Talmudic learning, where the time was exclusively devoted to the study of rabbinical jurisprudence and Talmudic law, have been partly replaced by seminaries with a more modern curriculum of studies. In 1893 Gratz College, thus named from its founder, was started in Philadelphia for training religious school-teachers. Young Men’s Hebrew Associations, begun in 1874, now exist in nearly all the large cities of the United States. Of wider import still is the development of the Sabbath schools which are generally attached to Jewish congregations in the same country. The recent Zionist movement claims a passing notice. Since 1896 the scheme for securing in Palestine a legal home for the oppressed Hebrews has rapidly taken a firm hold of the Jewish race. To many, Zionism appears as calculated to bring about the realization of the old Jewish hope of restoration to Palestine. To others, it seems to be the only means of obviating the impossibility felt by various peoples of assimilating their Jewish population and at the same time of allowing it the amount of freedom which the Jews consider necessary for the preservation of their individual character. By others again, it is regarded as the practical answer to the anti-Semitic agitation which has prevailed intensely through Western Europe since 1880, and to the lack of social equality, which Jews repeatedly find denied them, even in countries where they possess civil rights and attain to high political and professional positions. Since 1897 Zionism holds annual international congresses, counts numerous societies and clubs, and since 1898 has a Jewish Colonial Trust. There is no Jewish Church as such, and each congregation is a law to itself. Owing to this, the ancient distinction between the Sephardim and the Askenazim continues among the Jews. As of yore, the Sephardim, or descendants of Spanish and Portuguese Jews, readily organize themselves into separate congregations. Even now, they are easily distinguished from the Askenazim (German or Polish Jews) by their names, their more Oriental pronunciation of Hebrew, and their peculiarities in synagogue services.
(4) Judaism and Church Legislation.—The principal items of church legislation relative to Judaism have been set forth in connection with the history of the Jews. There remains only to add a few remarks which will explain the apparent severity of certain measures enacted by either popes or councils concerning the Jews, or account for the fact that popular hatred of them so often defeated the beneficent efforts of the Roman pontiffs in their regard. Church legislation against Jewish holding of Christian slaves can be easily understood: as members of Christ, the children of the Church should evidently not be subjected to the power of His enemies, and thereby incur a special danger for their faith; but more particularly, as stated by a recent Jewish writer: “There was good reason for the solicitude of the Church and for its desire to prevent Jews from retaining Christian slaves in their houses. The Talmud and all later Jewish codes forbade a Jew from retaining in his home a slave who was uncircumcised” (Abrahams, “Jewish Life in the Middle Ages“). The obligation of wearing a distinguishing badge was of course obnoxious to the Jews. At the same time, Church authorities deemed its injunction necessary to prevent effectively moral offenses between Jews and Christian women. The decrees forbidding the Jews from appearing in public at Easter-tide may be justified on the ground that some of them mocked at the Christian processions at that time; those against baptized Jews retaining distinctly Jewish customs find their ready explanation in the necessity for the Church to maintain the purity of the Faith in its members, while those forbidding the Jews from molesting converts to Christianity are no less naturally explained by the desire of doing away with a manifest obstacle to future conversions.
It was for the laudable reason of protecting social morality and securing the maintenance of the Christian Faith, that canonical decrees were framed and repeatedly enforced against free and constant intercourse between Christians and Jews, against, for instance, bathing, living, etc., with Jews. To some extent, likewise, these were the reasons for the institution of the Ghetto or confinement of the Jews to a special quarter, for the prohibition of the Jews from exercising medicine, or other professions. The inhibition of intermarriage between Jews and Christians, which is yet in vigor, is clearly justified by reason of the obvious danger for the faith of the Christian party and for the spiritual welfare of the children born of such alliances. With regard to the special legislation against printing, circulating, etc., the Talmud, there was the particular grievance that the Talmud contained at the time scurrilous attacks upon Jesus and the Christians (cf. Pick, “The Personality of Jesus in the Talmud” in the “Monist”, January, 1910), and the permanent reason that “that extraordinary compilation, with much that is grave and noble, contains also so many puerilities, immoral precepts, and anti-social maxims, that Christian courts may well have deemed it right to resort to stringent measures to prevent Christians from being seduced into adhesion to a system so preposterous” (Catholic Dictionary, 484).
History proves indeed that church authorities exercised at times considerable pressure upon the Jews to promote their conversion; but it also proves that the same authorities generally deprecated the use of violence for the purpose. It bears witness, in particular, to the untiring and energetic efforts of the Roman pontiffs in behalf of the Jews especially when, threatened or actually pressed by persecution, they appealed to the Holy See for protection. It chronicles the numerous protestations of the popes against mob violence against the Jewish race, and thus directs the attention of the student of history to the real cause of the Jewish persecutions, viz., the popular hatred against the children of Israel. Nay more, it discloses the principal causes of that hatred, among which the following may be mentioned: (I) The deep and wide racial difference between Jews and Christians which was, moreover, emphasized by the ritual and dietary laws of Talmudic Judaism; (2) the mutual religious antipathy which prompted the Jewish masses to look upon the Christians as idolaters, and the Christians to regard the Jews as the murderers of the Divine Savior of mankind, and to believe readily the accusations of the use of Christian blood in the celebration of the Jewish Passover, the desecration of the Holy Eucharist, etc.; (3) the trade rivalry which caused Christians to accuse the Jews of sharp practice, and to resent their clipping of the coinage, their usury, etc.; (4) the patriotic susceptibilities of the particular nations in the midst of which the Jews have usually formed a foreign element, and to the respective interests of which their devotion has not always been beyond suspicion. In view of these and other more or less local, more or less justified, reasons, one can readily understand how the popular hatred of the Jews has too often defeated the beneficent efforts of the Church, and notably of its supreme pontiffs, in regard to them.
FRANCIS E. GIGOT