The New International Encyclopædia/Jews
|←Jew of Malta, The||The New International Encyclopædia
|Jews, Exchequer of the→|
|Edition of 1905. Written by Morris Jastrow, Richard J. H. Gottheil, and W. J. McGee. See also Jews on Wikipedia, and the disclaimer.|
JEWS (OF. Geu, Jeu, Fr. Juif, It. Giudeo, Lat. Judæus, Gk. Ἰουδαῖος, Ioudaios, from Heb. Yehūdah, Judah). The name given since the Babylonian Captivity to a people of Semitic origin, who called themselves in earlier time Hebrews, and, from the fact that they were members of a confederation known as the Bene Israel, ‘Sons of Israel,’ are frequently designated as Israelites.
The Jews were long considered the example par excellence of a pure, unmixed race. Recent investigations, however, have shown not only the existence at the earliest period of two distinct types — the blond (‘red’) and the brunette (‘black’) — but also, both in Asia, and since their dispersion, noteworthy admixtures of other blood and approximation in craniological and other somatic characteristics to those of the peoples of their new environments. The modern Jew may be described as short, with dark hair and eyes, rather swarthy skin, somewhat broadheaded, with a characteristic facial expression, full lips, ample beard, etc. (See the colored plate under Europe, Peoples of.) The majority of ethnologists are agreed that in the earliest times the predominant Semitic (and Jewish) type was dolichocephalic, a type characteristically Arab, and preserved by the Jews of Africa, and perhaps a majority of the so-called Sephardim. Among the distinguishing mental and moral traits of the Jews may be mentioned: distaste for hard or violent physical labor; a strong family sense, and philoprogenitiveness; a marked religious instinct; the courage of the prophet and martyr rather than of the pioneer and soldier; remarkable power to survive in adverse environments, combined with wonderful ability to retain racial sociality; great capacity for exploitation, both individual and social; shrewdness and astuteness in speculation and money matters generally; an Oriental love of display, and a full appreciation of the power and pleasure of social position; an intellectual ability equal to that of any known people in the world, ancient or modern. The great work of the ancient Jews is well expressed in the epigram of Zangwill: The Greeks worshiped the holiness of beauty, the Jews the beauty of holiness. The religion born in Palestine reaches the common people everywhere, the philosophy nurtured in Athens only a few privileged classes.
Of the three names Hebrew, Israelite, Jew, the first is properly applied to the period when Hebrews constituted in the full sense of the word a nation; the second has acquired an almost exclusive religious force; while the third is the proper designation to cover the twofold aspect of Hebrews as a people and a religious body. Applying this distinction, the period before the Babylonian exile (B.C. 586) may be designated as Hebrew history, and the post-exilic period as Jewish history.
A. Hebrew History. The period before the Exile may be divided into three divisions: (1) The early period preceding the formation of the Hebrew confederation to c.1250 B.C.; (2) the beginnings of the nation and the conquest of Canaan, c. 1250 to 1000 B.C.; (3) the period of definite organization and the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, B.C. 1000 to 586. The direct sources for our knowledge of this period are: (a) The books of the Old Testament and works, like the Antiquities and Wars of Josephus, dependent upon the Old Testament; (b) Assyrian and Egyptian records, which furnish numerous references to the political history of the land inhabited by the Hebrews. Of these two sources, the former is obviously the more important, but also the more difficult to utilize in a proper manner. The Old Testament, indeed, furnishes in the five books known as the Pentateuch, and in Joshua, Judges, Samuel, and Kings (the last two constituting one book in four parts), a continuous history beginning with the creation of the world and continued down to the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylonia, in B.C. 586. But this narrative represents Hebrew history as shaped (a) by tradition, and (b) a theory regarding the origin and nature of the religion of the Hebrews and the destiny of the people.
This traditional and pragmatic history may be summarized as follows: God, the creator of the universe, who created mankind and subsequently destroyed the human race because of its corruption, with the exception of Noah and his three sons and their families, revealed Himself to Abraham (or Abram), the son of Terah, dwelling in Ur of the Chaldees, and commanded him to leave his home for a land to be pointed out to him, where his offspring should develop into a mighty nation. Abraham obeys and proceeds to Canaan. His life is spent in sojourns at various places. He has two sons, Ishmael and Isaac; but of the two the latter is the favorite. God likewise reveals Himself to Isaac and repeats the promise. Isaac again has two sons, Esau and Jacob. The latter is the favorite, and divine revelation, with the repetition of the promise of future greatness, is accorded to him. Jacob has twelve sons, and, with the divine approval, migrates to Egypt, where he is told that his offspring will suffer oppression for four hundred years and then return to the promised land, Canaan. The Hebrews become numerous in Egypt, despite the enforced labor and hardships to which they are subjected. Cruel measures are devised to prevent their increase; but finally, through Moses and Aaron, deputed for the purpose by God Himself, they leave Egypt. They come to Mount Sinai, where, amid thunder and lightning, God reveals Himself to them, establishes a covenant between Himself and the people, henceforth to be known as ‘His people,’ and through Moses the Ten Commandments and all the laws embodied in the Pentateuch are given and imposed upon the Hebrews as eternally binding. This event at Mount Sinai marks the birth of the nation, the definite formation of the Hebrew confederation under the designation Bene Israel. After forty years' wanderings in the wilderness the Hebrews enter Canaan under the leadership of Joshua. The land is conquered, the Canaanites are driven out or reduced to submission, and the territory is distributed among the tribes. After the death of Joshua the people begin to fall away from God. The laws of Moses are not followed, and a period of anarchy ensues in which “every one does what seems right in his own eyes.” This period lasts four hundred years, during which the tribes unite only in times of extreme distress, when God takes pity on His people and sends some one to deliver them from their enemies. These leaders are known as ‘judges.’ Under a Benjamite leader, Saul, a more permanent union is formed, and with David, son of Jesse of Bethlehem, the establishment of a Hebrew kingdom is brought about. David is succeeded by Solomon; but, although under the latter prosperity prevails and the power of the kingdom reaches its climax, Solomon himself sets the example of introducing by the side of God the cult of other gods. As a punishment, the kingdom is divided after Solomon's death. The Kingdom of Israel, formed by ten of the tribes, is established in the north; the Kingdom of Judah, formed by Judah and Benjamin, in the south. The kings of both districts are designated as good or bad according as they obey or fall away from the law revealed through Moses. As in the period of the judges, oppression, disaster, war, plagues, and finally the destruction of both kingdoms are ordained as a punishment for the sins of the people in not remaining faithful to their God. The prophets predict this disaster, but also promise a restoration of the national independence after a period of atonement. This history is worked out in detail in the eight historical books of the Old Testament.
The critical study, however, of the sources of Hebrew history has made probable, in the first place, that the compilation of the eight historical books belongs to the post-exilic period: and, secondly, that none of the written sources on which this compilation is based is older than the tenth century B.C., although material of an earlier date may be incorporated in these sources. (See Hexateuch.) As a consequence, much of the data rests upon tradition. The critical examination of this body of tradition furthermore has produced the theory that it contains legendary and mythical lore reshaped for specific purposes, and that the historical kernel is comparatively small. The view of the religious history of the people is naturally affected by these results of modern scholarship. The laws in the Pentateuch become a series of codes produced between the beginning of the ninth century B.C. and the days of Ezra (c.445 B.C.). While, therefore, these codes embody many ancient religious practices adapted to more advanced conditions of religious thought, the bulk of the regulations and the form in which all are couched belong to the later and latest divisions of Hebrew history. The monotheism of the Hebrews becomes a gradual development from the earlier ‘henotheism,’ which merely involved the recognition of the national deity of the Hebrews, known as Yahweh, the god to whom the Bene Israel owed special allegiance. The monotheistic doctrine in the full sense, involving the recognition of a single power controlling the destinies of all nations, belongs to Jewish, not to Hebrew, history.
Taking this view of the character and composition of the historical books of the Old Testament as a point of departure, and utilizing also the material furnished by other sections of the Old Testament — notably the prophets — the divisions of Hebrew history already suggested may still he retained. But it must be recognized that for the first division we have mainly a series of traditions, legends, and myths, with faint reminiscences of early social conditions and struggles. The historical element in these traditions is small, and much of it refers to events or conditions later than the period to which it is ascribed. For the second period, the proportion of the historical element in the narrative is larger, but it is obscured by legendary embellishments or by an unhistorical setting. Historical material in the proper sense exists only for the third division; but here, too, it must be separated from legendary incrustations and fanciful interpretations before it can be utilized by the historian.
The following may be regarded as a summary of Hebrew history from the point of view of modern biblical scholarship. At a period which lies beyond the region of definite historical knowledge, groups of Aramean clans, issuing probably from the Arabian desert and skirting the western frontiers of the Babylonian empire, moved northward. After entering the Jordan valley they proceeded in a southerly direction. The earliest traditions of the Hebrews are connected with such a movement, which represented a continuous process of indefinite duration. These Aramean clans continued to lead a nomadic life for an indefinite period. Groups of them, however, under the influence of Babylonian and Egyptian cultures, which began to make themselves felt in Palestine and Syria as early as about B.C. 2000, advanced to the higher form of nomadic conditions represented by the pastoral stage. The patriarchs Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are pictured as having reached this stage. The feeling of relationship among certain groups of these nomads was kept alive by natural causes, and from time to time combinations were made among them either for purposes of defense from or attack upon other groups. In this way there arose a group, composed of various elements, known as the Hebrews. Among the Tell el-Amarna tablets (c.1400 B.C.) there are seven letters of Abdichiba, Viceroy in Jerusalem of King Amenophis IV. of Egypt. Egypt appears as the suzerain of the country, and the help of the Pharaoh is demanded against a warlike people called the Habiri (or Chabiri), who may be the Hebrews, and who threaten the suzerain's power in the land. On a monument found by Flinders Petrie in the Necropolis of Thebes in 1896, Menephtah (c.1300 B.C.) seems to mention the Hebrews as already settled in Canaan. It is not probable, however, that the members of the Hebrew group were brought together into a definite union until about B.C. 1000. Each of the elements of which this group was formed had its own traditions, legends, and myths, and the political union was followed by the combination of the traditions, taking shape in stories about legendary ancestors of clans and popular heroes, about notable conflicts and victories, about occurrences at sanctuaries where tribal or local cults existed, and the like. The wanderings of the patriarchs, who represent in part the divergent elements of which the group was composed, may be a reminiscence of the early wanderings of the clans.
In the course of their wanderings portions of the subsequently organized group came to Egypt. Some sections apparently remained there, while others, after being forced by the natives to work under conditions of serfdom, succeeded in escaping from their taskmasters. The entire history of the people is pervaded by the memory of this event; their whole national existence is based upon it; it inspires their poetry and consecrates their religion. They returned by way of the Arabian desert to the western boundaries of the settlements of a promiscuous group, known as the Canaanites, who had advanced to the agricultural stage. Before, however, advancing to these boundaries, they remained for an indefinite period in the wilderness of Sinai and in consequence adopted the cult of a deity known as Yahweh, who was supposed to have his seat on the top of the mountain. Here, as would appear, the process of the combination of these clans, that came from Egypt with others to whom they were more or less closely related, began, so that when the advance toward Canaan commenced we have already some of the elements of the Hebrew confederation. The agricultural districts of Canaan formed a natural object of attraction for these Hebrew nomads. Some sections of the Hebrew nomads remained on the east of the Jordan, while others boldly crossed over into the Canaanitish settlements. A process of gradual dispossession of the native Canaanites now began, which, extending over several centuries, led to the control of large sections of the country by the Hebrew clans, and as a consequence they passed from the pastoral to the agricultural life. But the agricultural settlements of Canaan continued to attract other nomads, and combinations among those who had succeeded in dispossessing the Canaanites became necessary. It was this necessity of mutual protection that led to the definite foundation of the confederation of certain clans into the Hebrew group.
At about B.C. 1050 we find a certain measure of hegemony exercised by the clan Benjamin, because of the presence in its midst of a powerful warrior, Saul. But soon a youthful rival appeared from Bethlehem in the person of David, who became the leader of a clan known as Judah, itself composed of several elements. After the death of Saul, David succeeded in extending his authority to the north over the clans controlled by Saul. David designated Solomon as his successor, and the confederation seemed destined to lead to a permanent union. The political organisation assumed definite shape. A genuine kingdom was established, with its centre in Jerusalem, the old fortress of the Jebusites, conquered by David. The union, however, of north and south lacked tenacity, and, after Solomon's death (c.930 B.C.), was dissolved. In the north the tribe of Ephraim obtained the supremacy, in the south the tribe of Judah. Under the designation kings of Israel and kings of Judah a series of rulers (representing various dynasties in the case of Israel) arose whose reigns were largely occupied with attempts of the one to obtain control of the kingdom of the other. The northern kingdom, representing a more powerful combination, succeeded in reducing the south at various times to a position of vassalage, but the former also paid the penalty of its greater power by exhausting its vitality more rapidly in conflicts with surrounding nations. At times north and south combined for defense against a common enemy, but a permanent union was never again effected. The northern kingdom succumbed to the Assyrian monarchy in B.C. 722, when Sargon captured Samaria. The people were carried into captivity and their place supplied by Assyrian colonists from the east, who, mingling and intermarrying with the remnant left behind, formed the mixed people known as Samaritans (q.v.). The captives disappeared among the people of Mesopotamia and Medea, in whose midst they had been settled, and constitute “the lost ten tribes of Israel,” who have been the subject of much pseudo-scientific literature. (For the real significance of some of the facts misused by theorists, consult Heine, The British Nation Identified with Lost Israel, London, 1871, and Mallery's address, “Israelite and Indian,” published in the Proceedings of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for 1889.) The kingdom of Judah was spared annihilation when the northern kingdom fell, though forced to pay tribute to Assyria. Surviving the Assyrian power, it aroused the anger of Nebuchadnezzar II., the powerful ruler of the Neo-Babylonian kingdom, and, in punishment for attempting to throw off the Babylonian yoke, Jerusalem was besieged and destroyed in B.C. 586. To avoid further trouble, the King and the influential section of the people were carried as captives to Babylonia, and they were followed by others, so that ere long Babylonia had a large Hebrew population in its midst. See Babylonish Captivity.
Of supreme importance in Hebrew history is the remarkable development of religious thought which took place chiefly during the last three centuries before the fall of Jerusalem. When the Hebrew nomads exchanged the pastoral for the agricultural life, they also adopted the cult of the Canaanitish Baalim (see Baal), who were regarded as the owners of the soil, and upon whose favor its fertility depended, identifying the Baal of each sanctuary (usually situated on an eminence) with Yahweh. The practices, however, at the Baal sanctuaries differed considerably from those which marked the worship of Yahweh. Agricultural festivals represented innovations for a people who had hitherto led a pastoral life. As a consequence, there were always some sections of the Hebrew populace who discountenanced the new modes of worship, and clung tenaciously to the older Yahweh ritual. These followers of Yahweh gradually were brought into an attitude of opposition to the Baal-Yahweh amalgamation; and in the ninth century B.C., under the leadership of Elijah (q.v.), the opposition between Yahweh and Baal led to a severe struggle, the outcome of which, while not permanently decisive, was favorable to the Yahwists. At all events, a halt was called upon the spirit of religious syncretism, and the way was cleared for a more decisive movement toward the purification of the mode of worship by eliminating objectionable elements. A class of men arose known as the prophets, who, by way of emphasizing the contrast between Yahweh and Baal, attached conceptions to the former which separate him sharply from the gods of all other nations. Under the influence of the prophets, Yahweh became a deity whose acts are regulated by motives of strict morality and justice. While still the national god of the Hebrews, he applies strict standards of conduct and withholds his favor from his own people if they fail in attaining these standards. This movement led eventually to the establishment of the principle of ethical monotheism, though the process was not completed till the post-exilic period, when the thought took firm hold of the Hebrews that their god was not only different from the gods of other nations, but that such a god was in every sense a unique as well as an only power. As a trace of the older national conception the doctrine arose that Yahweh had singled out the Hebrews as his own special people, but that he guides the destinies of all nations and that the world and mankind are the works of his hands. Concomitant with the doctrinal advance went a movement to give expression to the higher conceptions regarding Yahweh by a proper cult and a regulation of public and private conduct. Codes were worked out, based on the prophets' conceptions of Yahweh, which contain ordinances for the cult, the courts and the general social life. Of these codes, four have been embodied in the present Pentateuch, the oldest of which, the so-called ‘Book of the Covenant,’ dates from the ninth century, and the latest, the ‘Priestly Code,’ from about the beginning of the fifth century. (See Pentateuch.) Under the profound impression made upon the south by the destruction of the northern kingdom, an intense religious spirit began to manifest itself, particularly in Jerusalem, by that time in every sense the religious centre of the Hebrews, and in the year B.C. 621 one of these codes, the kernel of the present book of Deuteronomy (q.v.), was officially adopted by King Josiah. The approaching disaster of the southern kingdom intensified the religious spirit of the masses and prepared them for accepting the view taken of the situation by the prophets, who declared that the national calamity in the north was a punishment sent by Yahweh, and the approaching disaster in the south a proof that Judah, too, had sinned and thereby merited the anger of its God. The Babylonian exile fulfilled the conditions necessary for carrying back the sins of the people to the very beginning of existence. The entire past thus became one long chronicle of transgression and falling away from Yahweh, and the theory arose tracing back the entire religious constitution of the people to a leader, Moses, who had been instrumental in bringing the Hebrews out of Egypt.
The Babylonian exile thus marks, in every respect, a turning-point in Hebrew history. It not only signifies the end of the national independence of the Hebrews, but also the beginning of the movement which led to the creation of a religious community having as its fundamental principle the recognition of a single divine power; but as a corollary to this principle was the acknowledgment of the divine law as revealed through Moses. In the Babylonian exile the theory was perfected which underlies the ‘traditional’ history of the Hebrews, as in the exile the first steps were taken which ultimately led to a sacred collection of books, recognized by authoritative bodies, such as the Old Testament according to the Jewish and Christian canon.
The overthrow of the Babylonian kingdom by Cyrus in B.C. 538 was followed by an event which appeared to prove that the era of divine wrath was past. Cyrus, consistently with his policy of conciliation, gave permission to the exiles to return to Palestine and rebuild the temple at Jerusalem — the only legitimate centre of Yahweh-worship recognized by Deuteronomy, and by all the codes subsequently produced. While the condition of the Hebrews in Babylonia during the exilic period was, on the whole, a favorable one, and they developed into prosperous communities, to the religious section the absence of a place where Yahweh could be worshiped was a serious misfortune. The edict of Cyrus raised high the hopes of the zealous devotees of Yahweh, and an era of glory was enthusiastically predicted. The number, however, who at once availed themselves of the permission to return was not large, and for a time the work of rebuilding the temple, in which those who had never quitted Jerusalem assisted, languished. Obstacles of various kinds were interposed, not the least of which was the opposition of those settled around Samaria — remnants of the old northern tribes — who claimed for the sanctuary at Shechem the sanctity which the Babylonian exiles were anxious to attach exclusively to the temple at Jerusalem. It was not until B.C. 516 that the temple was completed.
More important than the rebuilding of the temple was the definite constitution of the Hebrew community at Jerusalem as a religious body by the promulgation and adoption of the code known as the ‘Priestly Code,’ brought by Ezra from Babylonia, where it was produced about B.C. 500, and through Ezra and Nehemiah formally presented to the community in B.C. 444. This code, embodied in the books of Leviticus and Numbers, represents the final elaboration of the religious principles of the pre-exilic and exilic prophets and Yahweh devotees. It constitutes the Hebrews an essentially religious body; it creates a Jewish State on a theocratic basis. Everything is made to hinge upon the cult and the law, so that the adoption of this code may be said to mark the real beginning of Jewish history, to which the Babylonian exile and the first attempts at a restoration of the community (i.e. 586-445 B.C.) form the prelude.
B. Jewish History. For Jewish history, the following subdivisions naturally suggest themselves: (1) From Ezra and Nehemiah to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans, A.D. 70: (2) from the beginning of the Dispersion of the Jews to the beginning of the Karaite movement (c.761); (3) from the Karaite movement to the culmination of the Spanish Inquisition in the expulsion of the Jews from Spain (1492); (4) from the expulsion from Spain to the beginning of the emancipation movement, which sets in with the French Revolution (1789); (5) the emancipation of the Jews and the modern period marked by the reëntrance of Jews into the political and social world.
There was comparatively little to disturb the peace of the Jewish community in Jerusalem during the century that elapsed between Ezra and the appearance of Alexander the Great. While some of the patriotic zealots may have looked forward to an actual restoration of a Hebrew kingdom, the bulk of the people were satisfied with the Persian rule. It is noticeable that the ‘Priestly Code,’ though embracing civil regulations, makes no provision for a lay chief: and this indifference to political independence was probably characteristic of the religious party whose ideals were realized in the constitution of a religious community at the head of which stood the high priest. Perfect freedom was allowed the Jews in their religious affairs, and to a large measure autonomy in local matters. At times the high priests came into conflict with Persian authority, and occasionally a movement was organized to throw off the Persian yoke, but neither these conflicts nor movements assumed serious dimensions. Internal dissensions began to manifest themselves, but it was not until the fourth and third centuries B.C. that they led to serious divisions. The Jewish settlements in Palestine, as well as in the East Jordan districts, increased, and a new feature is presented by the colonists in Babylonia and Egypt, who, while identified with the interests of the country in which they dwell, yet manifest their allegiance to their old home by contributions to the temple at Jerusalem. The dispersion of the Jews, which gives Judaism its peculiar twofold aspect as a religion of a national type and yet with universal tendencies, is thus contemporary with the constitution of the Jews as a religious community.
Persia and Egypt exhausted what vitality remained in them by constant conflicts with one another, and both fell an easy prey to the vigorous Greek forces led by Alexander the Great. The policy of Alexander resembled that of Cyrus. He was prepared to conciliate the nations whom he conquered, and permitted them to retain as much liberty as was consistent with a recognition of Greek supremacy. This liberty was extended to the religious cult, with which Alexander, standing under the influence of the common conception in antiquity that regarded it as natural for every country to have its own gods, was careful not to interfere. The Jews submitted quietly to the new ruler.
The generals and successors of Alexander, however, were in constant rivalry. Ptolemy, the son of Lagus, surnamed Soter, one of Alexander's generals, who had become King of Egypt, invaded Syria, deposed Laomedon, the Governor, and took possession of Palestine and Phœnicia (B.C. 301). Conflicts continued, in which Syria and Palestine were frequently the battlefields. The Jews thus unfortunately situated were obliged to pay tribute to the Egyptian Ptolemies as well as to the Seleucid rulers in Syria. Many Jews left Palestine for Egypt during this period, and soon the Jewish colonies in Egypt — notably in Alexandria — far outnumbered those settled in Babylonia. The Egyptian ‘dispersion,’ destined to be of vast importance in the development of Judaism and Christianity, gradually spread from the Libyan Desert in the north to the boundaries of Ethiopia in the south, over Cyrenaica and part of Libya, and westward along the Mediterranean coast. The Jews enjoyed equal rights with their fellow-subjects, both Egyptian and Greek, and were admitted to the highest dignities and offices. The free development allowed enabled them to reach, under Greek auspices, the highest eminence in science and art. They were ready and brilliant disciples of their masters in statesmanship and learning, and even their artisans and workmen were sent for by different countries. An extensive literature was produced, including the Greek translation of the Bible known as the Septuagint, which, while it estranged the people more and more from the language of their fathers, gave rise to a vast pseudepigraphical and apocryphal literature.
In the year B.C. 280 Southern Syria, including Judea, came under the control of the Ptolemies, who retained it, though not without frequent opposition on the part of the Seleucids, till B.C. 204. Upon the death of Ptolemy Philopator the Jews transferred their allegiance to the Seleucids, and aided Antiochus III. (B.C. 223-187) in obtaining control of Jerusalem. The gravity of the error soon became apparent. The attempt was made by Antiochus IV., surnamed Epiphanes (B.C. 175-164), to assimilate the Jewish cult to Greek customs. He was prompted to this step by the conflicts between rival priestly families in Jerusalem, which kept the country in constant turmoil. Antiochus believed that he could strike at the root of the evil by wiping out the peculiar features of the Jewish cult. The sacrifices were forbidden, the scrolls of the Law burned, and observance of the Sabbath and of such rites as circumcision was forbidden. At different periods Antiochus sent his generals to Jerusalem to pillage and burn and to force the Jews into the Greek religion. The temple of Jerusalem was rededicated to Jupiter Olympus; idol altars were built in every village, and the people were forced to observe Greek rites.
At this juncture the heroic family of Mattathias, a priest of the house of the Asmoneans, or Maccabees, rose at Modin, near Lydda, together with a few patriots, against the power of the Syrians. The national cause quickly gathered strength, and after the death of Mattathias (B.C. 166) his son, Judas Maccabæus, led the national hosts to victory against the Syrians. After his death (B.C. 161) his brothers, Jonathan and Simon, completed the work of deliverance, and reinstituted the Sanhedrin (B.C. 145). During their rule, alliances were twice formed with the Romans, and the country once more began to prosper. Under Simon more especially, Syrian rule became a mere shadow; his was an almost absolute power — so much so that, in the year 170 of the Selcucidan era (B.C. 142), a new Jewish era was commenced, and public documents bore date, “In the first year of Simon, high priest and chief of the Jews.” Simon's son, John Hyrcanus, after a brief period of vassalage to the Syrians, extended his authority over Samaria, Galilee, and Idumea — his grand triumph, in the eyes of his countrymen, being the destruction of the Samaritan temple on Mount Gerizim (B.C. 129); but in reality his most surprising success was the subjugation of the Idumeans and their forced conversion to the Jewish religion. His son Aristobulus added Iturea to his dominions, but died after a short reign — of remorse, as was said, for having connived at the murder of his brother. He was succeeded by a younger brother, Alexander Jannæus. Constantly fighting and generally beaten, this king yet contrived to enlarge his territories. The internal conditions of the Jewish State during his reign were most lamentable. Bitter feelings existed between the two parties, Pharisees and Sadducees, into which the people were divided. The Pharisees even did not hesitate to call in the aid of a Seleucid ruler against Alexander. After a brief period of peace he died (B.C. 78), enjoining his wife, Alexandra, to ally herself with the Pharisees as the best means of retaining her authority. This she did, and governed prudently for nine years. The Pharisaic party, however, abused the power which fell into their hands, and a reaction took place. Aristobulus, youngest son of the Queen, and a prince of great spirit, placed himself at the head of the Government, marched to Jerusalem, took possession of the city, and ejected his elder brother, Hyrcanus II., from the sovereignty. The latter, at the instigation of Antipater, an Idumean, and father of Herod the Great, fled to Aretas, King of Northern Arabia, who was induced, by the promise of a cession of the territory which had been acquired by Alexander Jannæus, to take up arms on his behalf. This led to the interference of the Romans, who were then fighting both in Syria and Armenia. .Terusalem was captured (B.C. 63) by Pompey, who had decided in favor of Hyrcanus, and Uudea was made dependent on the Roman Province of Syria. Hyrcanus was appointed ethnarch and high priest. Aristobulus, his two sons, Alexander and Antigonus, and two daughters, were carried captive to Rome. In B.C. 54 Crassus plundered the temple, which Pompey had piously spared. He fell shortly afterwards in the war against the Parthians, and his companion, Cassius Longinus, succeeded in completely routing the army of Aristobulus, who had been released by Cæsar.
Meanwhile, the war between Cæsar and Pompey broke out. In Syria, the partisans of the latter were numerous, and contrived to poison Aristobulus, and execute his son Alexander, who were Cæsareans (B.C. 49). After the death of Pompey, however, Hyrcanus, or rather Antipater the Idumean (who was both his minister and master), saw the necessity of securing the favor of Cæsar. With Hyrcanus II. ended the line of Asmonean princes; they exercised (nominally) supreme authority both in the civil and religious affairs of Palestine; but, as already indicated, the real religious authority had passed into the hands of the priesthood, and especially of the Sanhedrin (q.v.). The Idumean (Herodian) dynasty, which succeeded the Asmonean, virtually commenced with Antipater, who prevailed on Cæsar to restrict Hyrcanus to the high priesthood, and obtained for himself the office of Procurator of Judea, while his eldest son, Phazael, was appointed Governor of Jerusalem, and his youngest son Herod Governor of Galilee. The Jewish or National Party took alarm at this sudden increase of Idumean power; strife ensued; and ultimately Antipater perished by poison; but Herod, by the assistance of the Romans, finally entered Jerusalem in triumph (B.C. 37), and caused Antigonus, the last male representative of the Asmonean line, and his most dangerous enemy, to be put to death.
After Herod's death (B.C. 4), Archelaus, one of his sons, ruled Judea, Samaria, and Idumea as Ethnarch; Antipas, another son, became Tetrarch of Galilee and Perea; and a third son, Philip, became Tetrarch of Trachonitis. But the arbitrariness and cruelty of Archelaus made him hateful to the people; and Augustus, listening to their just complaints, banished him to Vienne in Gaul (A.D. 6). Judea was now, together with Syria, ruled by Roman procurators. During the government of the first of these, Coponius, the party of the Zealots arose among the Jews, founded by Zadok, and Judas of Galilee, who protested against the taxes imposed by the Roman Government as a sinful servitude. The national movement ran parallel, however, with another presented by John the Baptist and Jesus, who, indifferent to the political conditions, preached the new doctrine that God's Kingdom was not of this world.
In the year 38 the Emperor Caligula issued an edict ordering divine honors to be paid to himself as Cæsar. Everywhere throughout the Roman dominions the Jews refused to obey. The order was given to Petronius, the Roman Governor of Syria, to use violence if necessary in setting up the statue of the Emperor in the Temple at Jerusalem. At Alexandria a massacre took place, and for a moment it seemed as if all the inhabitants of Judea, too, were doomed to perish; but Herod Agrippa I., Tetrarch of Northern Palestine, and a friend of Caligula, dissuaded the Emperor from carrying out his design. Petronius did not enforce the Emperor's order, and escaped punishment through the murder of Caligula in 41. The accession of Claudius, on the assassination of Caligula, seemed the dawn of a brighter day. Herod Agrippa, a loyal friend and favorite of the new Emperor, obtained anew the dominion over all the parts once ruled by his grandfather Herod, and many privileges were through his influence granted to his Jewish subjects, and even to foreign Jews. They received the rights of Roman citizenship (A.D. 41), and Herod even tried to conciliate their religious prejudices by the strictness with which he observed their law; yet the national party remained in an almost permanent state of mutiny, while the followers of Jesus suffered persecution at the hands of Herod. After the death of Herod Agrippa I., his son being but a youth of seventeen, the country was again subjected to Roman governors. The land was overrun by robbers and assassins, some of whom professed to be animated by religious motives, while others were mere ruffianly freebooters and cut-throats; the antipathy between Jews and Samaritans waxed fiercer and fiercer, and the latter waylaid and murdered the orthodox Galileans as they went up to worship at Jerusalem; all sorts of impostors, fanatics, and pretenders to magic made their appearance; the priesthood was riven by dissensions; and the hatred between the populace and the Roman soldiery (mostly of Græco-Syrian origin) increased. In 66, in spite of all the precautionary efforts taken by Agrippa, the party of Zealots burst into open rebellion, which was terminated (70) by the conquest of Jerusalem by Titus, the destruction of the temple, and the massacre and banishment of thousands of Jews, who were scattered among their brethren in all parts of the world. The defense of Jerusalem, as narrated by Josephus, is a magnificent example of heroism. Still, very considerable numbers were allowed to remain in their native country, and for the next thirty years, although both hated and treated with rigor, they appear, on the whole, to have flourished. The Emperor Nerva was lenient to them as to the rest of his subjects; but as soon as they had attained some measure of political vitality, their turbulent and fanatical spirit broke out anew. Their last attempts to throw off the Roman yoke, at Cyrene (115), Cyprus (116), Mesopotamia (118), and Palestine under Bar Cochba (132-135), were defeated after enormous butchery. The suppression of Bar Cochba's insurrection by the capture of Bethar, the great stronghold of the Jews (135), marks the final desolation of Judea and the dispersion of its inhabitants. The whole of Judea was laid waste, and it is said that about 985 towns and villages lay in ashes, and fifty fortresses were razed to the ground; the new city founded by Hadrian on the site of Jerusalem was named Capitolina, and on the site of the temple a sanctuary in honor of Jupiter Capitolinus was erected, containing an equestrian statue of the Emperor Hadrian. The hardships to which Jews were subjected were again alleviated in the reign of Antoninus Pius, whom the Jewish writers represent as secretly attached to their religion. Alexander Severus also placed Abraham on the same level as he did Christ, and obtained from the grateful people the title of ‘father of the synagogue.’ Heliogabalus, among his many senseless whims, patronized Jewish practices, such as circumcision and abstinence from swine's flesh. Generally speaking, from the close of the second century till the establishment of Christianity under Constantine, when their hopes were once more dashed to the ground, the Jews of the Roman Empire appear to have prospered. In this period falls the redaction of the chief code and basis of the "Oral Law," "the Mishna," completed by Jehuda Hanasi (the prince), or Hakadosh (the holy), president of the great school at Tiberius (150-210) — upon which code were grafted subsequently the two gigantic commentaries or complements, the Palestinian and Babylonian Gemaras. The Babylonian Jews were even more fortunate than their western brethren, though they did not perhaps attain the meridian of their prosperity till the revival of the Persian Empire on the downfall of the Parthian dynasty. Their leader was called the ‘Prince of the Captivity,’ and was chosen from among those held to be descended from the House of David. He lived in great splendor and was even permitted to exercise political functions in the Jewish community. The Jews of Babylonia were wealthy, and pursued all sorts of industrial occupations. They were merchants, bankers, artisans, husbandmen, and shepherds, and had the reputation of being the best weavers of the famous Babylonian garments. The reputation for learning of the Babylonian schools, Nehardea, Sura, and Pumbelitha, was very great. Their condition at this time farther east is uncertain, but it seems possible that they had obtained a footing in China at quite an early date. They were discovered there by the Jesuit missionaries of the seventeenth century, especially at Kai-fong-fu, where they had a large synagogue. They followed in their prayers and observances Rabbinical Judaism, having remained in close connection with their brethren in Persia. The tablet inscriptions in their synagogues were in the Persian language. In 1901 certain Jews in Shanghai entered into communication with the very few who had preserved their identity.
In Europe the ascendency of Christianity proved baneful to the condition of the Jews. Imperial edicts and ecclesiastical decrees vied with each other in the rigor of their intolerance toward all who did not accept Christianity. The Jews were prohibited from making converts, from invoking (in Spain at least) the divine blessing on the country, from marrying Christian women, or holding Christian slaves; they were burdened with heavy taxes; yet despite persecution, they seem to have flourished. They are found in large numbers in Illyria, Italy, Spain, Minorca, Gaul, and the Roman towns on the Rhine; they were agriculturists, traders, and artisans, and held land. Constantius, during whose reign a fierce insurrection incited by his co-regent Callus broke out among the Arians and Jews (353), terms them, in a public document, ‘that most hateful of all people;’ yet in spite of this, we find them filling important civil and military positions and exercising the influence that springs from the possession of wealth and knowledge. The brief rule of Julian the Apostate even shed a momentary gleam of splendor over their destinies, and he appears to have favored the rebuilding of the temple at Jerusalem. The death of the Emperor frustrated this plan. In 418 the Jews were excluded from the military service; and in 429 the patriarchate at Tiberias was abolished. After the fall of the Western Roman Empire their fortunes were different in different countries. In Italy, Sicily, and Sardinia they were for a time almost unmolested; in the Byzantine Empire they suffered many oppressions; while in the sixth and seventh centuries the Franks and Spanish Visigoths inflicted on them frightful persecutions.
After the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus many Jews settled in Arabia. Their influence was great, not only in the north, but especially in the southwestern Kingdom of Yemen. About the year 300 Judaism seems to have become a power here. But in 360 an Abyssinian king, spurred on by Rome, conquered Yemen, which was held till 378, when Jewish influence became once more paramount. At the end of the fifth century a Jewish King, Dhu Nuwas, is still found on the throne. Christianity, however, had been introduced into Yemen in the fourth century; and in 525 the Abyssinians under the Viceroy Abraha deposed Dhu Nuwas and gave the Christian religion a firmer hold in South Arabia. At first Jewish tribes around Mecca and Medina were favorably regarded by Mohammed, but when it became evident that they would not accept Islam, they had to pay dearly for their loyalty to their own faith. Mohammed subdued the Khaibar tribes in 627, and most of the Arabian Jews removed to Syria and Mesopotamia. The spread of Mohammedanism through Western Asia, the Mediterranean regions, Africa, and Spain, was, nevertheless, advantageous to the Jews. Excepting accidental persecutions, such as those in Mauritania (790) and in Egypt (1010), they enjoyed under the caliphs and Arabian princes comparative peace. In Moorish Spain their numbers increased greatly, and they became famous for their learning, as well as for commercial and industrial activity. They were husbandmen, landed proprietors, financial administrators, counselors, secretaries, astrologers, or physicians to the rulers, and were untrammeled in the exercise of their religion. This period may well be considered the golden age of Jewish literature. Poets, orators, and philosophers arose among them; and to them and the Arabs is due no small share in the preservation and subsequent spreading of ancient classical literature, more especially philosophy, in Europe. Different from their fate under Moslem rule was that which they had to endure in Christendom. About the beginning of the eleventh century the Byzantine Emperor Basil II. renewed the persecution. From different causes the same thing had already begun in Babylonia, where the caliphate had passed into the hands of rulers hostile to the Jews; and before the end of the eleventh century the Rabbinical schools were closed, the best of the community had fled to Spain, and those that remained were reduced to an abject condition from which they have never risen. In Italy, where they were settled in large numbers in Bari, Taranto, and Otranto, their position was made tolerable by pecuniary sacrifices.
More favorable was their lot during the eighth and ninth centuries in France, especially in Paris, Lyons, Languedoc, and Provence. They possessed land and houses, and, in the south, held public offices. Their Talmudic schools flourished. At the Court of Louis le Debonnaire (814-40), who maintained as a principle the obligation to protect all his subjects, irrespective of their faith, they acquired great influence. Before long, however, under his successors, kings, bishops, feudal barons, and even the municipalities, joined in a carnival of persecution. From the eleventh to the fourteenth century, especially during the religious excitement wrought by the Crusades, their history is a series of massacres. All manner of wild stories were circulated against them; it was said that they were wont to steal the host, and to contemptuously stick it through and through; to inveigle Christian children into their houses, and murder them; to poison wells, etc. Occasionally their debtors, high and low, had recourse to what they called Christian religion as a very easy means of getting rid of their obligations. Thus Philip Augustus (1180-1223), under whose rule the Jews seem to have held mortgages of enormous value on the estates of Church and State dignitaries, simply confiscated the debts due to them, forced them to surrender the pledges in their possession, seized their goods, and banished them from France; the decree appears to have taken effect chiefly in the north; yet in less than twenty years the same proud but wasteful monarch was glad to let them come back and take up their abode in Paris. Louis IX., who was a very pious prince, among other religious acts, canceled a third of the claims which the Jews had against his subjects, ‘for the benefit of his soul.’ An edict was also issued for the seizure and destruction of their sacred books; and we are told that at Paris (1242) twenty-four carts filled with copies of the Talmud, etc., were consigned to the flames. In the reign of Philip the Fair they were again expelled from France (1306) with the usual accompaniments of cruelty; but the state of the royal finances rendered it necessary, ten years later, under Louis X., to recall them; and they were allowed to enforce payment of the debts due to them, on condition that two-thirds of the whole should be given up to the King. The semi-religious disorders, known as the rising of the shepherds, which broke out in Languedoc and the central regions of France (1321), were signalized by horrible massacres of the Jews. (See Pastorels.) In the following year the plague broke out, and the wildest crimes were laid to their charge. They were held responsible, likewise, for the Black Death which appeared in 1348. In whole provinces every Jew was burned. At Chinon a deep ditch was dug, an enormous pile raised, and 160 of both sexes burned together. Yet Christianity never produced more resolute martyrs than these Jews, who met their tortures chanting hymns of rejoicing. Finally, September 17, 1394, they were indefinitely banished from Central France.
The first appearance of the Jews as traders in England dates from the period of the Saxons. They are mentioned in the ecclesiastical constitutions of Egbert, Archbishop of York, 740. The first real settlement was made under William the Conqueror, who, with his son, William Rufus, favored them; the latter, on the occasion of a public debate between them and the Christians, even swore with humorous profanity that if the rabbins beat the bishops, ‘by the face of Saint Luke’ he would turn a Jew himself. The same reckless monarch carried his contempt for the religious institutions of his kingdom so far that he actually farmed out the vacant bishoprics to the Jews; and at Oxford, even then a seat of learning, it has been surmised that they possessed three halls — Lombard Hall, Moses Hall, and Jacob Hall — where Hebrew was taught to Christians as well as to the youths of their own persuasion. As they grew in wealth they grew in unpopularity. On the day of the coronation of Richard the Lion-Hearted (1189) some foreign Jews being perceived to be witnesses of the spectacle, from which their nation had been strictly excluded, a popular commotion against them broke out in London; their houses were pillaged and burned. Sir Richard Glanville, the Chief Justice of the realm, acting under the orders of the indignant King, partially succeeded in arresting the havoc, and even in bringing some of the mob to justice (three were hanged). Similar scenes were witnessed at Norwich, Edmundsbury, Stamford, and York; in the last of these towns most of the Jews preferred voluntary martyrdom in the synagogue to forced baptism. When Richard returned from Palestine, though they were still treated with great rigor, their lives and wealth were protected for a consideration. John at first covered them with honor; but the popular and priestly hatred only became the stronger, and the vacillating King turned on his protégés, after they had accumulated wealth, and imprisoned, maltreated, and plundered them in all parts of the country. Under Henry III., accused of clipping the coin of the realm, they had as a penalty to pay the royal exchequer (1230) a third of their movable property. The unfounded stories of the crucifixion of the Christian boys. William of Norwich (1144) and Hugh of Lincoln (1255), roused the populace against the Jews. Some efforts were made to induce them to give up their profession of usury, as was also done in France and elsewhere during the same period; but they were so heavily taxed by the governments of Christendom, and at the same time so completely debarred from almost every occupation, that they could find no other means of subsistence. The attempt made by the Dominican friars to convert them failed utterly; and in 1253 the Jews — no longer able to withstand the constant hardships to which they were subjected in person and property — begged of their own accord to be allowed to leave the country. Richard of Cornwall, however, persuaded them to stay. Ultimately, under Edward I., in 1290, they were driven from England, pursued by the execrations of the infuriated rabble, and leaving in the hands of the King all their property, debts, obligations, and mortgages. They emigrated for the most part to France and Germany, though it has been shown that some remained behind and managed to conceal themselves from the authorities. The number of Jews in England at the time of the expulsion is estimated at about 16,000.
In Germany they were looked upon as the special property of the sovereign, who bought and sold them, and they were designated his Kammerknechte (‘chamber-servants’). About the eighth century they were found in all the Rhenish towns. In the tenth century they were in Saxony and Bohemia; in the eleventh, in Swabia, Franconia, and Vienna; and in the twelfth, in Brandenburg and Silesia. The same sort of treatment befell them in the Empire as elsewhere; they had to pay all manner of taxes, and to present gifts, to mollify the avarice or supply the necessities of emperors, princes, and barons. Only here and there did they possess the rights of citizens, or were they allowed to hold immovable property. Repeatedly the emperors gratified at once their piety and their greed by canceling the Jews' pecuniary claims. In many places they were compelled to live in a certain part of the town, known as the Judengasse (Jews' street) or ghetto. As elsewhere in Christendom, so in Germany the Crusades kindled a spirit hostile to the ‘enemies of Christ.’ The word hep (said to be the initials of Hierosolyma est perdita, Jerusalem is taken) throughout all the cities of the Empire became the signal for massacre, and, if a fanatic monk sounded it along the streets, it threw the rabble into paroxysms of murderous rage. The Jews were expelled — after being plundered and maltreated — from Vienna (1196), Mecklenburg (1225), Breslau (1226), Brandenburg (1243), Frankfort (1241), Munich |1285), Nuremberg (1390), Prague (1391), Mainz (1420), Saxony (1432), Bavaria (1450), and Regensburg (1476).
Switzerland, whither they came at a comparatively late period, commenced to persecute them about the middle of the thirteenth century. They were expelled from Bern (1288), Zürich (1436), Geneva (1490), Basel (1576), and Schaffhausen in the fifteenth century.
In Spain, as we have seen, the condition of the Jews was long favorable. During the whole of the brilliant period of Arab and Moorish rule in the Peninsula, they were almost on terms of equality with their Mohammedan masters, rivaled them in letters, and probably surpassed them in wealth. Nor was this state of things confined to those portions of Spain under the sovereignty of the Moors; the Christian monarchs of the north and interior gradually came to appreciate the value of their services, and we find them for a time protected and encouraged by the rulers of Aragon and Castile. But the extravagance and consequent poverty of the nobles, as well as the increasing power of the priesthood, ultimately brought about a disastrous change. Gradually the Jews were deprived of the privilege of living where they pleased; their rights were diminished, and their taxes augmented. In Seville, Cordova, Toledo, Valencia, Catalonia, and the island of Majorca outbursts of priestly and popular violence took place (1391-92); immense numbers were murdered, and wholesale theft was perpetrated by the religious rabble. Escape was possible only through flight to Africa. or by accepting baptism at the point of the sword. Many thousands became enforced converts to Christianity, though many of these, known as Maranos, secretly continued to profess the rites of the Jewish religion. In 1480 the Inquisition was introduced. Hundreds of Jews were burned at the stake. Sometimes the popes, and even the nobles, shuddered at the fiendish zeal of the inquisitors, and tried to mitigate it; but in vain. At length the hour of final horror came. In 1492 Ferdinand and Isabella issued an edict for the expulsion, within four months, of all who refused to become Christians, with the strict inhibition to take neither gold nor silver out of the country. The Jews offered an enormous sum for the revocation of the edict, and for a moment the sovereigns hesitated, till Torquemada, the Dominican inquisitor-general, dared to compare his royal master and mistress to Judas. To the number of 300,000 (some even give the numbers at 650,000 or 800,000) they resolved to abandon the country, which a residence of seven centuries had made almost a second Judea to them. Almost every land was shut against them. Some ventured into France; others into Italy, Turkey, and Morocco, in the last of which countries they suffered the most frightful privations. Of the 80,000 who obtained an entrance into Portugal on payment of eight gold pennies a head, but only for eight months to enable them to obtain means of departure to other countries, many lingered after the expiration of the appointed time, and the poorer were sold as slaves. In 1496 King Emmanuel commanded them to quit his territories, but he at the same time issued a secret order that all Jewish children under fourteen years of age should be torn from their mothers, retained in Portugal, and brought up as Christians. Agony drove the Jewish mothers into madness; they destroyed their children with their own hands, and threw them into wells and rivers, to prevent them from falling into the hands of their persecutors. The miseries of those who embraced Christianity, but who for the most part secretly adhered to their old faith, were hardly less dreadful, and it was far on in the seventeenth century before persecution ceased. Suspected converts were burned as late as 1766 in Portugal, and 1821 in South America.
The wanderers appear to have met with better treatment in Italy and Turkey than elsewhere. During the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries they are to be found — except at intervals of persecution — in almost every city in Italy, chiefly engaged in money-lending. Abrabanel, perhaps the most eminent Jewish scholar and divine of his day, rose to be confidential adviser to the King of Naples. In Turkey they were held in higher estimation than the conquered Greeks: the latter were termed teshir (slaves), but the Jews, munsaphir (visitors); they were allowed to reopen their schools, to establish synagogues, and to settle in all the commercial towns of the Levant.
The invention of printing, the revival of learning, and the Reformation are generally asserted to have been beneficial to the Jews; but this can be regarded as true only in a limited sense. When the Jews began to use the presses at their earliest stage for their own literature, sacred and otherwise, the Emperor Maximilian was urged to order all Hebrew writings to be committed to the flames; and but for the strenuous exertions of Johann Reuchlin (q.v.), ignorance, treachery, and bigotry might have secured a triumph, Luther, in the earlier part of his career, looked with no unfavorable eye on the adoption of violent means for their conversion; but, on the other hand, we find at least one distinguished Roman Catholic, Pope Sixtus V., animated by a far more wise and kindly spirit toward them than any Protestant prince of his time. In 1558 he abolished all the persecuting statutes of his predecessors, allowed the Jews to settle and trade in every city of his dominions, and to enjoy the free exercise of their religion, and in the administration of justice and taxation placed them on a footing with the rest of his subjects. That the Reformation itself had nothing to do with 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. They were driven out of Bavaria (1553), out of Brandenburg (1571), and similar treatment befell them elsewhere. What really caused the change in their favor was the great uprising of human reason that marked the middle of the eighteenth century.
Holland was one of the first countries in modern times to rise out of the barbarism of the Middle Ages. As early as 1593 it permitted Jews to settle and trade, though they did not acquire the rights of citizenship till 1796. Holland, therefore, became a refuge in the seventeenth century, of which the Spanish Maranos availed themselves; and by the middle of that century Amsterdam had a considerable Jewish population, renowned for its learning and enterprise. Nor has there been any instance of persecution of Jews in Holland from the time of their entrance to the present day, except such as orthodox Jews themselves indulged in against ‘heretics,’ e.g. the cases of Gabriel Acosta and Spinoza (qq.v.).
In England, the edict of Edward I. remained in force for more than 300 years, though Jews are known to have lived secretly in London, and to have had a synagogue there during the whole of this period. The first attempt made by the Jews to obtain a legal recognition in England was during the Protectorate of Cromwell in 1655. (See Manasseh ben Israel.) Cromwell himself was favorable to their admission; so were the lawyers; but the nation generally, and particularly the emphatically religious portion of it, were strongly hostile to such a proceeding; and the wearisome, controversial jangling of the divines appointed to consider the question prevented anything from being done till the reign of Charles II., who, standing much and frequently in need of their services, permitted them quietly to settle in the land. In 1723 they were permitted to give evidence in courts of justice; in 1753 they obtained the right of naturalization. Since 1830 civic corporations, since 1833 the profession of advocate, and since 1845 the offices of Alderman and of Lord Mayor have been opened to them. The last triumph of the principle of toleration was achieved in 1858 by the admission of Jews into Parliament. In the year 1885 Lord Rothschild took his seat as a member of the House of Lords.
Some of the exiles from Spain and Portugal found their way into France, where they long lingered in a miserable condition. In 1550 they were received into Bayonne and Bordeaux; they were also to be found in considerable numbers in Avignon, Lorraine, and Alsace. In 1784 the capitation tax was abolished. In 1790, in the early period of the French Revolution, the Jews presented a petition to the national representatives, claiming full rights as citizens. Mirabeau was among their advocates, and their cause was not unsuccessful. From this time their technical designation in France has been Israélites. In 1806 the Emperor Napoleon summoned a ‘Sanhedrin’ of Jews to meet in Paris, to whom a variety of questions were put, mainly with a view to test their fitness for citizenship. Their answers were satisfactory, and they were allowed to reorganize their religious institutions in the most elaborate manner. No material change has since taken place in the laws regarding them, though since 1895 Anti-Semitism has been very virulent in France, and lias been especially noteworthy in connection with the case of Alfred Dreyfus (q.v.).
Jews appeared in Russia at an early date; in the eighth century the ruler of the Khazars and part of his people were converted to Judaism. During the Middle Ages, as in most countries of Christendom, they were received, persecuted, and banished. Admitted into Russia proper by Peter the Great, they were expelled — to the number of 35,000 — by the Empress Elizabeth in 1742. The partition of Poland (1772-95) brought a large Jewish population under Russian sway. Readmitted by Catharine II. into Russia proper, they were further protected by Alexander I., who in 1805 and 1809 issued decrees insuring them full liberty of trade and commerce; but of the liberties which he conferred upon them they were deprived by the Emperor Nicholas. After 1835 a scheme of gradual emancipation was entertained by the Government, and was partially carried out by Nicholas I. and Alexander II. But the reaction under Alexander III., due to the influence of Pobiedonostseff, procurator of the Holy Synod, was of the direst consequences to the Jews. From the year 1831 and the promulgation of the Ignatieff law of 1882, the most restrictive measures have been piled up against them. They have been confined to one huge ghetto — the Pale of Settlement — and since 1891 the laws have been applied with the utmost severity. The Jews have been forced out of all offices of trust and from nearly all the professions; restricted in the use of schools and universities, and have been forced to live in the direst poverty and neglect. Their only hope lies in conversion to the Orthodox faith or in emigration. Fully 800,000 have sought safety in flight, and have settled in various parts of Europe and America. Many have benefited by the munificence of Baron Maurice de Hirsch, from whom the Jewish Colonization Association received many millions of dollars. The Jews are more numerous in Russia than in any other part of the world, being found mainly in those portions of the Empire which formed part of the ancient Kingdom of Poland, and the governments nearest to these territories. As early as 1264 the Jews enjoyed in Poland and in Lithuania certain important privileges. They were favored by Casimir the Great of Poland (1330-70), because of the love he bore to a Jewish mistress. After 1348 their numbers were swelled by fugitives from Germany and Switzerland. For many years the whole trade of the country was in their hands. During the seventeenth century and the greater part of the eighteenth, however, they were much persecuted and sank into a state of great ignorance and poverty; but education — in spite of the severity and barbarism of Russian intolerance — has, since the French Revolution, made great progress among them.
Frederick the Great of Prussia showed himself singularly harsh toward the Jews. All manner of taxes were laid upon them, only a certain number were allowed to reside in the country, and these were excluded both from the most honorable and the most lucrative employments. This condition was ended by the Prussian edict of toleration (1812), by which the Jews wore placed almost in an equal position as citizens with other Prussians. Thereafter the tendency was to enlarge their ‘liberties,’ and the Revolution of 1848 finally gained them full emancipation, although, owing to the subsequent reaction, it was slowly carried out. But a few years after the formation of the German Empire, a new kind of anti-Jewish persecution took its rise, under the name of Anti-Semitism (q.v.), and from Germany it spread to Austria, Belgium, Switzerland, and France. It was started as a political move, the promoters desiring to discredit the Liberals and Socialists through the Jews. The old blood accusation has often been revived, and the Jews have been gradually forced out of all offices of public trust and of Government appointment. In the smaller German States full rights were likewise legally con- ceded to the Jews. The first German national assembly, held in Frankfort in 1848, contained many prominent Jewish members. In Austria, the Emperor Joseph II. distinguished himself by passing an act of toleration (1782). This act was extraordinarily liberal in its provisions for the Jews. Not till 1867, however, did they acquire the right to possess land. The anti-Semitic agitation has been exceedingly strong in Austria; and attempts have been made (1890-96) to re-enact former restrictive measures, especially in Vienna, where an anti-Semitic Board of Aldermen existed for many years. In Hungary the Jews, who had long enjoyed important privileges, and who had been protected by the nobility, were emancipated at the time of the Revolution of 1848, in which they were patriotic to a man. In that kingdom they are on an absolute equality with the Christians. The Jews have lived in Rumania (Moldavia, Wallachia) since the thirteenth century. They have not fared better there than in other parts of Europe. The severest persecution came over them during the last quarter of the nineteenth century. In spite of the Treaty of Berlin (1878), the Government refused to naturalize the Jews, and has gradually forced them out of all but a few employments and driven them altogether from the schools. The financial and economic crisis of 1899 and 1900 made the lot of Rumanian Jews unbearable and they have been forced to leave the country in large numbers. Spain began to tolerate the Jews again in 1837, and they can follow trade or agriculture like other Spaniards; but few Jews have as yet cared to venture back to a land that is filled with mournful recollections. Portugal has about 400 Jews, and the Jewish religion is legally tolerated there. Switzerland long treated them harshly, but while they now enjoy full personal liberty in all cantons, popular ill-will has interfered with the exercise of some of their religious observances. In Denmark, since 1814, they have been on a footing of equality as citizens with native Danes. In Sweden they did not obtain admission till 1776, and then only into Stockholm and three other towns. Citizenship is still conferred as a favor. Norway forbade them to touch its soil till 1860.
In Turkey they are very numerous. The communities in Constantinople, Adrianople, Smyrna, Aleppo, and Damascus are considerable. Saloniki is almost a Jewish city. In Palestine, their ancient home, they are rapidly increasing. The city of Jerusalem had in 1900 a Jewish population estimated at 41,000, and agricultural colonies have been established in various parts of the land. But, in spite of the efforts on the part of their European brothers to ameliorate their condition, most of them are very poor. Their numbers in Arabia are not very large, yet they enjoy some independence. Those in Persia have sunk into ignorance through oppression and the general sluggishness prevailing in that country. They are found in Afghanistan, and carry on trade between Kabul and China; in various parts of India, where they are both agriculturists and artisans; in Bokhara, where they possess equal rights with the other inhabitants, and are skilled in the manufacture of silks and metals; in Tartary and China, where, however, they are very insignificant, both in numbers and position. There are flourishing communities in the English and Dutch settlements in the south of Africa. They are also found all along the North African coast, where, indeed, they have had communities for perhaps more than a thousand years, which were largely reinforced in consequence of the great Spanish persecutions. They are especially numerous in Fez and Morocco, though they are not always free from the perils of Mohammedan fanaticism. In Egypt they are few in number, but important communities are to be found in Alexandria and Cairo. In Abyssinia there exists a tribe professing Judaism, named Falashas (q.v.).
Jews at an early date settled on the American continent, exiled from Spain and Portugal, or taking part in the Dutch and English enterprises in the New World. In the sixteenth century we find some in Brazil, whither they had been sent in company with convicts. In 1642 a large number of Portuguese Jews came from Amsterdam and settled in Pernambuco and Surinam. From here they spread to Guadeloupe, Cayenne, and Curaçao. The strong arm of the Inquisition was felt also in Brazil, and many were compelled to comport themselves as Christians (Maranos), or to emigrate to the West Indies. There were Jews in New Amsterdam as early as 1652; others came from Brazil in 1654. They were not heartily welcomed, and therefore betook themselves to Newport and Providence. The Newport congregation was strengthened by fresh arrivals from Lisbon (1755) and Curaçao. The old synagogue there is still standing. At the end of the seventeenth century there were some Jews in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and the Carolinas were the next places of settlement. This was during the first half of the eighteenth century. During the struggle for independence, the Jews attached themselves to the nation under whose wing they had thus found protection. There were nine Jewish signers of the Non-Importation resolution drawn up in Philadelphia in 1768. Jews were in the Charlestown regiment of militia, and three Jews served on the staff of De Kalb. Haym Solomon enjoyed an enviable reputation as one who aided the Continental Congress with his money. Forty-four Jews figured in the War of 1812, fifty-eight in the Mexican War, and in the War of the Rebellion they were to be found in large numbers both on the Northern and Southern sides. During the nineteenth century the Jews spread over the whole extent of the United States, and important congregations have also grown up in the larger cities of Canada. From 1830 to 1870 the immigration came largely from the Southern States of Germany and from Hungary. The riots and persecutions in Russia have driven hundreds of thousands of Jews to the United States. To these have been added large numbers from Galicia and Rumania, who have for the most part settled in the large business centres; though efforts have been made to found agricultural colonies for them in Delaware, New Jersey, the Dakotas, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, and also in Argentina.
JUDAISM AT THE PRESENT TIME.
In taking a rapid survey of the Jews as they exist to-day, we see at one and the same time a great diversity coupled with a fundamental conformity. This diversity has arisen from the attempt which the Jew is bound to make to fit his ancient beliefs and ceremonies into modern ways of thinking and modern conditions. Outwardly the Jews may be divided into two distinctive classes, the so-called Ashkenazim, or the descendants of the Jews of Middle and Eastern Europe, and the Sephardim, or descendants of the Jews who lived formerly in Spain and Portugal. Brought up under different conditions, the Sephardim had the benefit of a general culture earlier than had the Ashkenazim; and so imbued were they with the Spanish and Portuguese civilization that they carried it with them wherever they went after the expulsions of 1492 and 1496. To this day, whether in Europe, Asia, North Africa, or America, Sephardim are apt to congregate among themselves, having their own synagogues and their own ecclesiastical authorities. They are readily distinguished from the Ashkenazim by their names, and in the synagogue by their more Oriental pronunciation of the Hebrew, and certain peculiarities in their ritual. They are, however, few in number, and by intermarriage with Ashkenazim are gradually losing their identity. Judaism was never a favorable ground for the growth of sects. The enmity of the outside world produced a solidarity which triumphed over all attempts at division. The only sect that may be said to exist to-day is that of the Karaites, who probably do not number more than fifteen or twenty thousand, and are to be found in Southern Russia, in various parts of the Turkish Empire, and in Egypt. The Samaritans, of whom about two hundred souls still live in Nablus, the ancient Shechem, can hardly be counted as among the Jews, since they live a life entirely apart from the rest of the community and seek to preserve their ancient schismatic condition. Among the Ashkenazic Jews there are in reality only two divisions, the orthodox and the reform, and even here these divisions are by no means clearly cut. There being no Jewish Church as such, and each community, and even each congregation, being a law unto itself, the greatest variation is found, starting with the ultra-orthodox and reaching down to the most radical reform. For purposes of distinction we may speak of the three following divisions: orthodox, conservative, and reform Jews. The orthodox Jew believes in the absolute authority, not only of the Bible as the Word of God, but also of the traditional body of laws, statutes, and observances which have grown up around the written law in course of time and which form the ‘oral law.’ After passing through various codifications, from the time of the two Talmuds (fourth to sixth century), this law was put into some sort of final shape by Joseph Caro (sixteenth century). His Shulhan Aruk is considered the norm by which the orthodox Jew regulates both his religious and his everyday life. He believes that a strict performance of all its minor regulations is obligatory upon him on all occasions and at all times. The conservative Jew holds in practice also to the validity of both the oral and the written law, but is a little less rigid in his observances, and believes that some concession ought to be made to the spirit of the times and the conditions of modern life. Reform Judaism takes quite a different attitude respecting both the written and the oral law. It professes to see a regular development in both, and believes that Jewish belief and Jewish practice are supple enough to adapt themselves to all changes of environment and to all phases of human thought. Commencing with Moses Mendelssohn, toward the end of the eighteenth century, this reform has made greatest progress in Germany and the United States. Starting as an attempt to modernize the public worship of the synagogue, it has gradually so developed as to become a sort of Unitarianism modified by peculiar Jewish observances. It has more or less radical ideas in regard to the inspiration of the Bible; it has largely introduced the vernacular into the synagogue service, from which it seeks to remove all traces of its Oriental origin, and discards the separation of the sexes, the covering of the head, and the observance of the second-day festivals. In some places Sunday services have been introduced, in addition to those on the historical Sabbath (in Berlin as early as 1840, in the United States during the last quarter of the nineteenth century). In only one place (Chicago) has the Saturday service been entirely discarded in favor of the Sunday. Between these divisions, however, there are many subdivisions, and the words ‘orthodox’ and ‘reform,’ as regards the Jews, are loosely and variously applied.
It is impossible to give a single description of the Jewish rites and ceremonies of to-day, because of the diversity which exists. Nominally, the seventh day is the day of the Jewish Sabbath; the demands made by modern commercial life render an observance of the day extremely difficult, and, except a small number of the orthodox, most Jews to-day keep their places of business open on the Sabbath. The festival of the New Year and the Fast of the Day of Atonement, both of which occur in the months of September and October, are perhaps the two festivals which are most rigidly observed. The Passover festival, which falls usually in the month of March or April, is still observed by most Jews, who abstain for a week from eating leaven. The celebration of the Pentecost festival (end of May or beginning of June), which commemorates the giving of the Law on Mount Sinai, has been made more solemn by the Reform Jews, among whom it is the day of confirmation. Formerly (and this is the rule today in orthodox Jewish congregations) boys were confirmed at the age of thirteen, in whatever month they reached that period of life. Reform Judaism has substituted for this the annual day of confirmation, in which the girls participate together with the boys. The Feast of Tabernacles (celebrated in the autumn), which commemorates the dwelling of the Israelites in booths during the passage through the wilderness, is still universally observed in some manner or other. The minor festivals, such as the Ninth of Ab, the day upon which the Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed; Purim, the commemoration of the deeds of Esther and Mordecai; as well as other minor festivals, are to-day observed only by the orthodox; though there is a tendency, even among reform Jews, to lay more than ordinary weight upon the celebration of the Chanukkah, which recalls the national regeneration under the Maccabean heroes. The dietary laws, as laid down in the Bible and interpreted by the rabbinical authorities, are universally held to be binding among the orthodox Jews, while only a few of the reform Jews observe them through ancient habit or through veneration of the past.
The use of the Hebrew language among the Jews has generally given way to the vernacular of the countries in which they live. Of late, however, there has been a certain revival in the use of Hebrew, due to the more national Jewish sentiments which have inspired large numbers of the Jews. In the Jewish colonies in Palestine, Hebrew is the vernacular, and a number of Jewish journals and reviews are published in Hebrew, not only in the East, but in various parts of Europe. The Judeo-German, or Yiddish, has also experienced a revival. This language, which has as its base a dialect of German spoken in the Rhine regions during the Middle Ages, has become through the expansion of the German Jews eastward the common tongue of several millions of Jews living in Russia, Austria, and the Balkan Peninsula. When these Jews were again driven westward, during the closing quarter of the nineteenth century, they carried this Yiddish with them into the new ghettoes of Western Europe and Northern America. In the large cities of these countries many Yiddish daily and weekly papers are published. Because of contact with many other languages and civilizations, this Yiddish has become variously modified by the introduction of Russian, Polish, High German, or English expressions and grammatical forms.
The training of men for the Jewish ministry was in former times peculiarly one-sided. The seminaries, or yeshibas, devoted their time exclusively to rabbinical jurisprudence and Talmudic law; secular learning was looked at askance, as the rabbi was not a minister in the modern sense of the word, but a legal adviser and a judge in matters of religious dispute. Very early in the nineteenth century the need for some more modern course of instruction was felt. A seminary for the training of teachers was founded as early as 1809 in Cassel, Germany. The first regular seminary for the training of rabbis, however, was founded in Padua in 1829. In 1854 the conservative seminary was established in Breslau; this was followed by similar institutions in Berlin, London, Paris, Budapest and Vienna. In the United States, after some abortive attempts in the sixties and seventies of the nineteenth century, the Hebrew Union College was founded in 1875 at Cincinnati, by the union of American Hebrew Congregations, under the presidency of Isaac M. Wise. Dr. K. Kohler was elected its president in 1903. This Union, founded in 1873, comprised all the important congregations of the United States which had a leaning toward reform, and the college is therefore generally recognized as the training-place of ministers for this wing of the synagogue. It attempts to give its students an historical knowledge of the development of Jewish history and the Jewish religion, and to fit them for active preachers and communal workers. As its graduates cannot serve in orthodox congregations, the Jewish Theological Seminary was established in 1886 in the city of New York for the purpose of training rabbis who shall understand the principles of Jewish law and be able to interpret it practically to the congregations whom they are to serve. In the year 1902 the Jewish Theological Seminary of America was enlarged, and Prof. S. Schechter, of Cambridge, England, was called to be the president of its faculty. In the year 1893 a training-school for religious school-teachers was founded at Philadelphia, with the money left to the Mickwe Israel Congregation, of that city, by Hyman Gratz. It is called Gratz College. In the same year the Jewish Chautauqua Society (q.v.) was founded by Dr. Henry Berkowitz, of Philadelphia, which carries on a sort of Jewish university extension work, by means of Chautauquan circles in various States, and a summer meeting at Atlantic City. This gave rise in 1899 to the Jewish Study Society in London. Work on these lines is also done by the Young Men's Hebrew Associations, the first of which was founded in New York in 1874, and which are now to be found in nearly all the larger cities in the United States. A Jewish publication society was founded in Philadelphia in 1845, and a second one in New York in 1873, but both of these were short-lived. In 1888 the Jewish Publication Society of America was organized, in Philadelphia, and has since then published a number of works dealing with Jewish history and Jewish life. The only Jewish learned society in the United States is the American Jewish Historical Society, founded in 1892. In 1893 the Jewish Historical Society of England was founded. A similar society (Société des Etudes Juifs) exists in France, and its interests cover the whole of Jewish history; while in Germany there are over a hundred Jewish literary societies which give courses of lectures on Jewish subjects and publish a year-book. The National Council of Jewish Women, an American organization established in 1893, has endeavored to foster the religious spirit in the home by the personal influence of its members and by organized philanthropic effort.
One of the peculiar features of American Judaism is the large development of the Sabbath-schools attached to the congregations. As early as 1838 a general Sunday-school was organized in Philadelphia for Jews of all shades of belief. In 1845 the movement spread to New York; in 1848 the Hebrew Educational Society was founded in Philadelphia, and in 1864 the Hebrew Free School Association was incorporated in New York. There were, in 1903, nearly 300 religious schools attached to congregations in the United States, and 27 Jewish free schools.
The arrival of large numbers of Jews from Russia and Rumania has made necessary the founding of manual training and technical schools, in which the rising generation may be taught handicrafts, from which they have largely been excluded by legislation in Eastern Europe. Such schools exist in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, and other cities, and have been fostered especially by the Baron de Hirsch Fund.
A remarkable development in modern Jewish life is that of the Zionist movement. In a measure it is the continuation of the old Jewish hope of restoration to the land of Palestine. It is also the Jewish answer to anti-Semitism. Starting with a pamphlet by Dr. Theodor Herzl of Vienna (A Jewish State: An Attempt at a Modern Solution of the Jewish Question, Vienna, 1896; Eng. trans. by D'Avigdor, London, 1896), it soon took hold of the Jewish people, and Zionist societies and clubs are now to be found wherever Jews exist. Its object is to found a secure and legal home for the oppressed Jews in Palestine. Since 1897 five international Zionist congresses have been held, four in Basel and one in London. The Jewish Colonial Trust has been organized by the Congress, and has its head offices in London.
There being no international Jewish organization, except that of the Zionist congresses, the Jews in each country have been forced to band themselves together in various ways in order to subserve interests, social and economic, which they have in common. In France, the Alliance Israélite Universelle (q.v.), founded in Paris in 1860, has not only looked after the interests of Jews in Mohammedan countries supposed to be in the sphere of French influence, but has also on several occasions used its good offices to procure the amelioration of the condition of the Jews wherever its influence could be brought to bear. In England the Board of Jewish Delegates has attempted to do the same thing. Austria has its Israelitish Alliance, and Germany its Union of Congregations (Deutsch-israelitische Gemeinde-Bund). In the United States no such single union has been possible. The Union of the American Hebrew Congregations comprises those bodies which belong to the reform wing of the synagogue; and a union of orthodox Hebrew congregations was founded in New York in 1886. About the middle of the nineteenth century, when Jews were scattered in out-of-the-way places, a number of orders similar to that of the Free Masons were called into being. The B'nai B'rith (‘Sons of the Covenant’), founded in the United States in 1843, in 1901 had 315 lodges in America and a few in Germany, Rumania, Austria, Algeria, Bulgaria, and Egypt. Other similar societies are the Sons of Benjamin, the Free Sons of Israel, and the Free Sons of Judah. As the number of Jews in the United States increased, extensive calls were made upon the Jews already domiciled here to provide adequately for their more unfortunate brethren. There were in 1902 fifteen homes for orphans in the United States, twelve homes for the aged, and nine hospitals. In 1889 Rabbi Gustav Gottheil organized the first Sisterhood for Personal Service, in connection with the Temple Emanu-El, in New York City. Since then such societies, in which the work is done by the women of the congregation, have become attached to nearly every important synagogue in the land. In most of the cities the work of the Jewish charities has been organized, so that one central body directs it in a large measure — the United Hebrew Charities of the City of New York. On December 1, 1899, a national conference of Jewish charities in the United States was held at Cincinnati, with the end in view of bringing about a greater cooperation among the relief societies situated in the various parts of the country. Of more recent date is the attempt by the Jews to do settlement work in the congested districts of the large cities where the poorer Jews live — a work until now undertaken almost exclusively by Christian organizations. The Educational Institute, in New York, is a sort of people's palace, and a regular Jewish settlement exists in Chicago. No account of Jewish charitable endeavor during the nineteenth century would be complete without the particular mention of Baron and Baroness de Hirsch, who bequeathed three hundred million francs for the purpose of aiding the oppressed Jews of Eastern Europe. This fund is in the hands of a private corporation composed of a few trustees, and has its seat in Paris. It has spent vast sums in colonizing some five thousand Jews in the Argentine Republic; it assists colonization in Canada, and has recently taken over the Jewish colonies established by Edmund de Rothschild in Palestine; it also maintains schools and homes in several American cities to which the Russian Jews have emigrated.
Statistics. The entire number of Jews in the world has been variously estimated at from 7,400,000 to 11,000,000. According to the latest issue of the American Jewish Year-Book (1902) the number is 10,378,530, of whom, in round numbers, 8,400,000 are assigned to Europe, 420,000 to Asia, 385,000 to Africa, 20,000 to Australasia, 1,140,000 to North America, 10,000 to South America. The same authority states the numbers in Austria-Hungary at 1,868,222, in Germany 581,519, in Rumania 269,015, in the British Empire 230,356, in Russia 5,186,000, in the United States 1,136,240.
The distribution of the Jews in the United States is estimated in the Year Book as follows:
LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE.
By the Hebrew Language is usually meant the language in which the books of the Old Testament are written. For the sake of distinction, the speech of post-biblical times may be called new or late Hebrew. The expression Hebrew language is not found in the Old Testament. In its place we have ‘speech of Canaan’ (Is. xix. 18) and ‘Jews' language’ (II. Kings xviii. 26, 28; Neh. xiii. 24), corresponding to the general use of the term Jew (i.e. Judean) for the entire nation in the later books. This ‘language of Canaan’ belongs to the northern branch of the Semitic family of languages. It is practically identical with the Phœnician, the Moabitic, and the other Canaanitish tongues. It was probably developed among the Hebrew clans at the time of the conquest of Palestine — possibly earlier during the nomadic period. Slight traces of dialects appear in the Old Testament (cf. Jud. xii. 5, 6), but it is not probable that within the small compass of Palestine many dialects existed. In writing this language the alphabet employed was the Phœnician, and this was still used for official purposes (e.g. on coins) nearly down to the Christian Era. After the Exile, however, a modified script, produced at Palmyra and known as the square or ‘Assyrian’ script (‘Assyrian’ being used in the sense of Syrian), gradually displaced the older Phœnician characters. For the grammatical structure and general characteristics of the Hebrew language, see the article Semitic Languages.
A grammatical treatment of the Hebrew first commenced after the language ceased to be spoken by the people. The vocalization and accentuation of the text originated in the sixth and seventh centuries after the time of Christ. (See Masora.) The Jews made the first attempt at a system of grammar about the dawn of the tenth century, after the example of the Arabians, and originally even in the Arabic language. Rabbis Saadia Gaon (Saadia ben Joseph, died 942), Jehuda Hayynj (c.l030), Jonah (Ibn Janach, c.1030), Abraham ben Ezra (died 1167), and David Kimchi (died 1235) were the first grammarians. The dictionary of the last was long considered the best. The founder of the study of Hebrew among Christians was Johann Reuchlin (died 1522), who, however, like the grammarians of the next age, Buxtorf and others, strictly adhered to Jewish tradition and method. A new era began when the study of other members of the Semitic family of languages, Syriac, Arabic, and Ethiopic, enlarged the field of view. Albert Schultens (died 1750) and Nikolaus Wilhelm Schröder (died 1798) are noteworthy in this work. The development of Assyriological research during the nineteenth century has added much to our knowledge of the relation of Hebrew to the other Semitic dialects. Wilhelm Gesenius (died 1842) was by far the greatest of Hebraists up to his time. His Hebräische Grammatik (Halle, 1813; 27th ed. by Kautzsch, Leipzig, 1902; several English translations, including one by the Americans Mitchell and Price, 2d ed. from the 25th German edition, Boston, 1894), Thesaurus Linguæ Hebraicæ (Leipzig, 1829-42), and shorter Hebräisches und chaldäisches Handwörterbuch (2 vols., Leipzig, 1810-12; 13th ed. by Buhl, 1899; English translations by Tregelles, Robinson, and others) were not only better than any previously produced, but are still those in most general use. Since Gesenius noteworthy grammars have been written by Ewald (Leipzig, 1827), Olshausen (Brunswick, 1861), Stade (Leipzig, 1879), and König (Leipzig, 1881-97), and dictionaries by Fürst (Leipzig, 1837-40), and Siegfried and Stade (Leipzig, 1873). The grammatical and lexicographical researches of Lagarde (died 1891) and Barth deserve special mention. A Hebrew-English dictionary by Francis Brown and others, giving the results of the latest scholarship and research, is in course of publication (Boston, 1891 sqq.).
Literature. Only a scanty portion of ancient Hebrew literature has come down to the present day. The Tell el-Amarna tablets show that writing on clay was known in Palestine as early as B.C. 1400. Writing among the Hebrews, however, probably did not begin before B.C. 1000, although the written records embody some poetic productions that belong to an earlier age. The bulk of the remains of ancient Hebrew literature is to be found in the Old Testament; and since the latest portions of the Old Testament (e.g. the Book of Daniel) bring us down to the Maccabean age, it embraces a period of about 900 years. To the Old Testament, however, must be added as properly belonging to Hebrew literature various books of the apocryphal literature, such as the Book of Ecclesiasticus, written by Jesus Sirach about B.C. 180, of which more than half of the originals have recently been recovered, and others of which the originals are lost.
With reference to form and contents this Hebrew literature may lie divided into poetry (lyric, epic, didactic, and religious), history (including legends, traditions, and myths in historical garb), legal codes, religious discourses, and romances (including apocalyptic works), and philosophical disquisitions. The oldest specimens of Hebrew literature are found in the poetical productions, e.g. the Song of Deborah (Judges v.), the fable of Jotham (Judges ix. 7 sqq.), the elegy on Saul and Jonathan (11. Sam. i. 17 sqq.). The earliest collections of traditions and historical reminiscences date from the tenth century, embodied in more systematic productions in the ninth century. (See Elohist and Yahwist.) The compilation of legal codes begins in the ninth century (the Book of the Covenant, Exodus xxi.-xxiii.) and extends to about B.C. 500 (the Priestly Code). The discourses of the prophets likewise date back to the eighth century, while the latest sections belong to the third century. Romances belong to the post-exilic period exclusively, and to this period also belongs the great body of the religious poetry (Psalms), as well as the philosophical productions (Ecclesiastes and Job). For details see the articles on the separate books of the Old Testament; also Bible, Pentateuch, Prophecy, etc.
It will thus be seen that the ancient Hebrew literature bridges the transition from the old Hebrew religion to Judaism in the proper sense of the term. The line between Hebrew and Jewish literature is not sharply drawn. Much that is included in the Old Testament belongs to Jewish literature; and those portions which are subsequent to the formal acceptance of the Priestly Code (B.C. 444) may he said to belong to the first period of Jewish literature. This period is characterized by what may be called the rabbinic spirit. Guided by Ezra, the intellect of the nation began to exhibit surpassing reverence for the Pentateuch and the prophets. Expositions and additions to the earlier history (midrashim), as well as Greek translations, were executed. To this period also, if to any, must belong the uncertain performances of the Great Synagogue (q.v.). The doctors of whom the Great Synagogue is said to have consisted were called sopherim (‘scribes’), and the Aramean became the popular dialect of Palestine.
Eight subsequent periods of Jewish literature may be distinguished. The second period extends from B.C. 143 to A.D. 135. The Midrash (q.v.), or the inquiry into the meaning of the sacred writings, was divided into Halacha and Haggada: the former considered the improvement of the law, with a view to practical results; the latter, the essence of the religious and historical interpretations. At first, both were the oral deliverances of the sopherim, but gradually written memorials made their appearance. The public interpretation of the Scripture in schools and synagogues, the independence of the Sanhedrin, the strife of sects, and the influences of Alexandrian culture, furthered this development. To this period also belong various Greek versions, but not, as is still erroneously supposed by some, the written targums or Aramaic versions of the Bible (see Targum), which sprang at a much later period from oral translations of the Pentateuch in the synagogues instituted after the return from the Exile; further, to this period belongs the whole of the Apocrypha (q.v.), and the earliest Christian writings, which are at least the productions of men nurtured in the principles of Judaism, and which contain many traces of Judaistic culture, feeling, and faith. It was also characterized by the drawing up of prayers, scriptural expositions, songs, and collections of proverbs. Josephus and Philo are names specially worthy of mention; so also are the doctors of the oral law — Hillel, Shammai, Johanan ben-Zakkai, Gamaliel, Eleazar ben-Hyrean, Joshua ben-Hananya, Ishmael, Akiba, and others of like eminence. Rabbi (master), talmid kakam (disciple of the wise), were the titles of honor given to those expert in a knowledge of the law. Besides the Maccabean and Bar Cochba coins, Greek and Latin inscriptions belonging to this period are extant.
The third period reaches from 135 to 475. Instruction in the Halacha and Haggada now became the principal employment of the flourishing schools in Galilee, Syria, Rome, and, after 219, in Babylonia; the most distinguished men were the masters of the Mishna (q.v.) and the Talmud (q.v.) — viz. Eleazar ben-Jacob, Jehuda, Jose, Meir, Simeon ben-Yohai, Jehuda the Holy, Nathan, Hiyya, Rab, Samuel, Johanan, Hunna, Rabba, Rava, Papa, Ashe, and Abina. Besides expositions, ethical treatises, stories, fables, and history were also composed; the liturgy began to assume larger dimensions, the targum to the Pentateuch and the Prophets was completed, and the calendar fixed by Hillel the Second, 340. After the suppression of the academies in Palestine, those of Mesopotamia — viz. at Sura, Pumbeditha, and Nehardea — became the centre of Jewish literary activity. On Sabbaths and festal days the people heard, in the schools and places for prayer, instructive and edifying discourses. Of the biblical literature of the Greek Jews we have only fragments, such as those of the versions of Aquila and Symmachus.
The fourth period was from 475 to 740. By this time the Jews had adopted the language of the country they happened to dwell in. During the sixth century the Babylonian Talmud was concluded, the Palestinian Talmud having been redacted about a hundred years before. Little remains of the labors of Jewish physicians of the seventh century, or of the first geonim or presidents of the Babylonian schools, who first appear in 589. On the other hand, from the sixth to the eighth century, the Masora was developed in Palestine (at Tiberias); and besides a collection of the earlier haggadas (e.g. Bereshith rabba), independent commentaries were likewise executed, as the Pesikta, the Pirke of Eliezer (700), etc. See Midrash; Haggada.
In the fifth period (from 740 to 1040), the Arabs, energetic, brilliant, and victorious in literature as in war, had appropriated to themselves the learning of Hindus, Persians, and Greeks, and thus stimulated the Oriental Jews, among whom now sprang up physicians, astronomers, grammarians, commentators, and chroniclers. Religious and historical haggadas, books of morality, and expositions of the Talmud were likewise composed. The oldest Talmudic compends belong to the age of Anan (circa 750), the earliest writer of the Karaite Jews. The oldest prayer-book was drawn up about 880, and the first Talmudje dictionary about 900. The most illustrious geonim of a later time were Saadia (died 942), equally famous as a commentator and translator of Scripture into Arabic, a doctor of law, a grammarian, philosopher, and poet; Sherira (died 998), and his son Hai (died 1038), who was the author, among other works, of a dictionary. From Palestine came the completion of the Masora and of the vowel system; numerous midrashim, the hagiographical targums, and the first writings on theological cosmogony were also executed there. From the ninth to the eleventh century Kairwan and Fez, in Africa, produced several celebrated Jewish doctors and authors. Learned rabbins are likewise found in Italy after the eighth century — e.g. Julius in Pavia, etc. Bari and Otranto were at this time the great seats of Jewish learning in Italy. After the suppression of the Babylonian academies (1040) Spain and Egypt became chief seats of Jewish literature. To this period belong the oldest Hebrew codices, which go back to the ninth century. Hebrew rhyme is a product of the eighth, and modern Hebrew prosody of the tenth century.
The sixth period (from 1040 to 1204) is the most splendid era of Jewish mediæval literature. The Spanish Jews busied themselves about theology, exegetics, grammar, poetry, the science of law, astronomy, mathematics, philosophy, rhetoric, and medicine. They wrote sermons and ethical and historical works. The languages employed were Arabic, rabbinical Hebrew, and ancient or classical Hebrew. We can only mention here the great doctor, Samuel Halevi (died 1055), and the renowned Maimonides, whose death closes this epoch. The literature of the French rabbins was more national in its character, and kept more strictly within the limits of the halacha and haggada. In Languedoc, which combined the literary characteristics of France and Spain, there were celebrated Jewish academies at Lunel, Narbonne, and Nîmes, and we find Talmudists, such as Berchia Halevi, Abraham ben David, etc. The fame of the Talmudists of Germany, especially those of Mainz and Regensburg, was very great. Among the most illustrious Jewish writers of this period belonging to that country are Simeon, the compiler of the Midrashic collection known as the Yalkut, Joseph Kara, and Petahya. Only a few names belong to Greece and Asia; still the Karaite Jews had a very able writer in Juda Hadassi (1148).
The seventh period (from 1204 to 1492) bears manifest traces of the influence exercised by Maimonides. Literary activity showed itself partly in the sphere of theologico-exegetic philosophy, partly in the elaboration of the national law. With the growth of a religious mysticism there also sprang up a war of opinions between Talmudists, Philosophers, and Cabbalists. The most celebrated Jews of this period lived in Spain, later in Portugal, Provence, and Italy. To Spain belongs (in the thirteenth century) the poet Jehuda al-Hanzi, etc. In the fifteenth century a decline is noticeable. Books written in Hebrew were printed at Ixar in Arason (1485), at Zamora (1487), and at Lisbon (1489). During this epoch the chief ornaments of Jewish literature in Languedoc were Moses ben Abraham, David Kimchi, Jeruham, Farissol, Isaac Nathan, the author of the Hebrew Concordance. In Italy, Jewish scholars employed themselves with the translation of Arabic and Latin works. Works of an æsthetic character were written by Immanuel ben Solomon, the author of the first Hebrew sonnets; and by Moses de Rieti (born 1389), who wrote a Hebrew imitation of the Divina Commedia. It was here that the first Hebrew books were printed, at Reggio, 1475; Pieve di Sacco, 1475; Mantua, 1476; Ferrara, 1477. In France mention may be made of the collectors of the Tosaphot, Moses de Coucy, and Jehiel ben Joseph. Germany produced a multitude of writers on the law, such as Eleazar Halevi, Meyer of Rothenburg, Asher, Isserlin, Lippmann. Most of the extant Hebrew manuscripts belong to this period; but a great part of mediæval Jewish literature lies still unprinted in the libraries of Europe.
The eighth period (1492 to 1755) is not marked by much creative or spiritual force among the Jews. In Italy and the East (1492), in Germany and Poland (1550), in Holland (1620), Jewish scholars worked printing presses, while numerous authors wrote in Hebrew, Latin, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, and Judeo-German. Some of the most eminent theologians, philosophers, jurists, historians, mathematicians, poets, commentators, lexicographers, grammarians, etc., of this period were Isaac Abrabanel, Elia Miahrahi, I. Arama, J. Habib, Elias Levita, Obadiah Sforno, Joseph Cohen, Gedalia ibn Yahya, Sal, Usque, Asaria de Rossi, David de Pomis, David Gans, Isaac Troki, I. Luria, J. Caro, M. Alshech, M. Jafé, J. Heller, I. Aboab, Manasseh ben Israel, David Conforte, Leo de Modena, B. Musaphia, J. Eyheschütz, D. Oppenheimer, J. Emden, M. C. Luzzatto, and others.
The ninth period extends from 1755 to the present time. Encouraged by the spirit of the eighteenth century, Moses Mendelssohn opened, to his coreligionists, a new era, which, as in the Middle Ages, first manifested itself in the national literature. Its character, contents, expression, and even its phraseology, were changed. Poetry, language, philology, criticism, education, history, and literature have been earnestly cultivated. Among the illustrious names of the early part of this period may be mentioned Ezekiel Landau, Elijah Wilna, J. Berlin, Mendelssohn, Maimon, Bendavid, Beer, Euchel, Benzebh, S. Dubno; but the real foundation for the work of the modern critical school was laid by L. Zunz, whose Gottesdienstliche Vorträge der Juden (Berlin, 1832; 2d ed., Frankfort, 1892) brought light for the first time into the history of the Midrashic literature; and whose works on the religious poetry of the Jews have served as a basis for all later scholars. He was ably seconded by S. L. Rapoport, N. Krochmal. M. Jost, S. D. Luzzatto, and M. Steinschneider. Among those who have continued the work done by Zunz may be mentioned A. Geiger, L. Dukes, M. Sachs, S. Munk, Reggio, Z. Frankel, L. Löw, H. Graetz, D. Rosin, M. Joel, A. Jellinek, J. Derenbourg, S. Buber, M. Kayserling, M. Güdemann, D. Kaufmann, A. Neubauer, A. Berliner, D. Chowlson, A. Harkavy, S. Schechter, and Isidor Loeb.
A great influence has also been exerted by the journals and periodicals which in part are devoted to purely literary questions, in part treat of religious and practical affairs. One of the first of these was the Meassef (Collector) published by the circle which gathered around Mendelssohn. L. Philippson in Bonn, A. Geiger in Berlin, Szanto in Vienna, Lehmann in Mainz, Fürst in Leipzig, and I. M. Wise in Cincinnati, were among the pioneers in modern Jewish journalism. They have been followed by a host of others. The leading periodicals are Z. Frankel's Monatsschrift für die Geschichte der Juden (Breslau, 1851 sqq.); Monatsschrift für die Wissenschaft des Judenthums (Berlin, 1883 sqq.): Revue des Etudes Juives (Paris, 1879 sqq.); and the Jewish Quarterly Review (London, 1888 sqq.).
There is no country in Europe which does not count Jews among the foremost representatives of its intellectual progress. In Germany, some of the greatest professors at the universities and academies have been Jews. The list includes the names of Gans, Benary, Weil, Benfey, Stahl, Derenbourg, Valentin, Lazarus, Herz, Steinthal, and Barth. To these may be added Bréal, Oppert, H. Weil, and H. Derenbourg in France, Sylvester in England, G. Brandes in Denmark, and D. H. Müller in Austria. Conspicuous in literature and the various fine arts are the names of Heinrich Heine, Ludwig Börne, Rahel Levin (Varnhagen), Berthold Auerbach, Marcus Herz, Jules Janin, Israel Zangwill, Mark Antokolski, James Darmesteter, Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy, Halévy, Meyerbeer, Moscheles, Joachim, Rubinstein, Wieniawski, Grisi, Costa, Rachel, Dawison, Dessoir, Bernhardt.
Bibliography. For anthropological and ethnographical information, the following works may be mentioned, some of which also contain valuable material upon other topics: the general works of Brinton, Lombroso, and Ripley; Fligier, “Zur Anthropologie der Semiten,” in the Mitteilungen der anthropologischen Gesellschaft in Wien for 1880; Andree, Zur Volkskunde der Juden (Bielefeld, 1881); Blechmann, Ein Beitrag zur Anthropologie der Juden (Dorpat, 1882); Wolf, Die Juden (Vienna, 1883); Goldstein, “Introduction à l'étude anthropologique des Juifs,” in the Revue d'anthropologie for 1885; Jacobs, “On the Racial Characteristics of Modern Jews,” and “The Comparative Distribution of Jewish Ability,” in the Journal of the Anthropological Institute for 1886; id., Studies in Jewish Statistics (London, 1891); Alsberg, Rassenmischung im Judentum (Berlin, 1891); Lusehan, “Die anthropologische Stellung der Juden,” in the Correspondenzblatt der deutschen anthropologischen Gesellschaft for 1892; Jacques, “Types juifs,” in the Revue des études juives for 1893; Meyer, Entstehung des Judentums (Halle, 1896). For Hebrew history and religion and the post-biblical period to the destruction of Jerusalem, the histories of Stade, Kittel, Guthe, Cornill, Wellhausen, Renan, Piepenbring, and Kent represent modern scholarship. For the general history of the Jews, but chiefly for the period after A.D. 70, the most comprehensive work is Graetz, Geschichte der Juden von den ältesten Zeiten bis auf die Gegenwart (11 vols., Berlin, 1854-75; abridged English edition, 5 vols., Philadelphia, 1873). Other general histories are Ewald, Geschichte des Volkes Israel, to the time of Bar Cochba (7 vols., 3d ed., Göttingen, 1864-78; Eng. trans., 5 vols., London, 1869-74); Milman, The History of the Jews (3 vols., 4th ed., London, 1866). There are briefer histories by Jost, Geiger, and Cassel. Useful compends are Reinach, Histoire des Israélites, with tables and bibliography (2d ed., Paris, 1902), and Lady Magnus, Outlines of Jewish History (Philadelphia, 1890). The best sketches are by James Darmesteter, Coup d'œil sur l'histoire du peuple juif (Paris, 1881; Eng. trans. in Selected Essays of James Darmesteter, Boston, 1895), and Dubnow, Die jüdische Geschichte (Berlin, 1898). Consult also the Hebrew archæologies of Nowack and Benzinger; Stanley, Lectures on the History of the Jewish Church (New York, 1864-76); Goldziber, Der Mythos bei den Hebräern (Leipzig, 1876); Hommel, Die Semiten und ihre Bedeutung für Kulturgeschichte (Leipzig, 1881); id., Die vorsemitischen Kulturen in Aegypten und Babylonien (Leipzig, 1882); Renan, Le judaisme comme race et comme religion (Paris, 1883); Schürer, History of the Jewish People in the Time of Jesus Christ (trans., New York, 1885-91); Montefiore, Lectures on the Origin and Growth of Religion as Illustrated by the Religion of the Ancient Hebrews (Hibbert Lectures, London, 1893); Leroy-Beaulieu, Israël chez les nations (2d ed., Paris, 1893; trans., New York, 1895); Edersheim, History of the Jewish Nation (London, 1896); Barton, A Sketch of Semitic Origins (New York, 1902). For special periods and places the works are exceedingly numerous. The following may be mentioned: Derenbourg, Essai sur l'histoire et la géographie de la Palestine (Paris, 1867); Bédarride, Les Juifs en France, en Italie et en Espagne (3d ed., Paris, 1867); Lindo, History of the Jews of Spain and Portugal (London, 1848); Güdemann, Geschichte des Erziehungswesens und der Cultur der abendländischen Juden (Vienna, 5 vols., 1873-91); Wertheimer, Geschichte der Juden in Oesterreich (Leipzig, 1842); Goldschmidt, Geschichte der Juden in England (part i., Berlin, 1886); Scherer, Beiträge zur Geschichte des Judenrechtes im Mittelalter, vol. i. (Leipzig, 1901). For the United States the publications of the American Jewish Historical Society may be consulted, and for Germany those of the Gesellschaft für die Geschichte der Juden in Deutschland. Anti-Semitism has produced a voluminous literature. A bibliography to 1885 will be found in Jacobs, The Jewish Question (London, 1885); the Mitteilungen aus dem Verein zur Abwehr des Anti-semitismus (weekly, Berlin, 1891 sqq.) is a contemporary history of the movement. Consult, for the anti-Jewish side: Rohling, Der Talmudjude (Münster, 1871); Von Hartmann, Das Judentum in Gegenwart und Zukunft (Leipzig, 1885; Von Treitschke, Ein Wort über unser Judentum (Berlin, 1880); Stöcker, Das moderne Judentum (Berlin, 1880); Drumont, La France juive (Paris, 1886); Burton, The Jew, the Gypsy, and el-Islam (New York, 1898). In defense of the Jews: Leroy-Beaulieu, Les doctrines de haine (Paris, 1902); Mommsen, Auch ein Wort über unser Judentum (Berlin, 1880); Franz Delitzsch, Schachmatt den Blutlügnern Rohling und Justus (Erlangen, 1883); Lazan, Contre l'antisémitisme (Paris, 1896). For Jewish literature, consult: Steinschneider, Jewish Literature (London, 1857); Zunz, Die synagogale Poesie des Mittelalters (Berlin, 1855-59), which combines with the treatment of the poetry a history of the cruelties of the Middle Ages; the other writings of Zunz are also of much value; Karpeles, Geschichte der jüdischen Litteratur (Berlin, 1886); id., Jewish Literature and Other Essays (Philadelphia, 1895); Deutsch, The Talmud (Philadelphia, 1895); Arsène Darmesteter, The Talmud (Philadelphia, 1897); Abrahams, Chapters on Jewish Literature (Philadelphia, 1899); Lazarus, The Ethics of Judaism, English translation by Henriette Szold (Philadelphia, 1900). The American Jewish Year Book, edited by Cyrus Adler (Philadelphia, 1899 sqq.), gives much valuable information, and the great Jewish Encyclopædia (vols. i.-iii., New York, 1901-02) is a monumental work.