Page:EB1911 - Volume 22.djvu/784

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RABBAN BAR SAUMA—RABBIT

for him the epithet “uprooter of mountains.” The Talmud owes much to this rabbi. He is said to have perished in a jungle into which he had fled from the officers of the Persian king.

See Graetz, History of the Jews (Eng. trans.), vol. ii. ch. xxi.; Bacher, Agada der Babyl. Amoräer, 97–101.  (I. A.) 

RABBAN BAR SAUMA (fl. 1280–1288), Nestorian traveller and diplomatist, was born at Peking about the middle of the 13th century, of Uigur stock. While still young he started on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem, and travelling by way of Tangut, Khotan, Kashgar, Talas in the Syr Daria valley, Khorasan, Maragha and Mosul, arrived at Ani in Armenia. Warnings of the danger of the routes to southern Syria turned him from his purpose; and his friend and fellow-pilgrim, Rabban Marcos, becoming Nestorian patriarch (as Mar Yaballaha III.) in 1281, suggested Bar Sauma’s name to Arghun Khan, sovereign of the Ilkhanate or Mongol-Persian realm, for a European embassy, then contemplated. The purpose of this was to conclude an anti-Moslem alliance, especially against the Mameluke power, with the chief states of Christendom. On this embassy Bar Sauma started in 1287, with Arghun’s letters to the Byzantine emperor, the pope and the kings of France and England. In Constantinople he had audience of Andronicus II.; he gives an enthusiastic description of St Sophia. He next travelled to Rome, where he visited St Peter’s, and had prolonged negotiations with the cardinals. The papacy being then vacant, a definite reply to his proposals was postponed, and Bar Sauma passed on to Paris, where he had audience of the king of France (Philip the Fair). In Gascony he apparently met the king of England (Edward I.) at a place which seems to be Bordeaux, but of which he speaks as the capital of Alangnilar (i.e. Angleterre). On returning to Rome, he was cordially received by the newly elected pontiff Nicolas IV., who gave him communion on Palm Sunday, 1288, allowed him to celebrate his own Eucharist in the capital of Latin Christendom, commissioned him to visit the Christians of the East, and entrusted to him the tiara which he presented to Mar Yaballaha. His narrative is of unique interest as giving a picture of medieval Europe at the close of the Crusading period, painted by a keenly intelligent, broadminded and statesmanlike observer.

See J. B. Chabot’s translation and edition of the Histoire du Patriarche Mar Jabalaha III. el du maine Rabban Cauma. (from the Syriac) in Revue de l’Orient latin, 1893, pp. 566–610; 1894, pp. 73–143, 235–300; O. Raynaldus, Annales Ecclesiastici (continuation of Baronius), a.d. 1288, §§ xxxv.–xxxvi.;1289, § lxi.; L.Wadding, Annales Minorum, v. 169, 196, 170–173; C. R. Beazley, Dawn of Modern Geography, ii. 15, 352; iii. 12, 189–190, 539–541.

RABBET, in carpentry and masonry, the name for a rectangular groove or slot cut in the edge of a piece of wood or stone, to which another corresponding piece can be fitted (see Joinery and Masonry). The word is an adaptation of the O. Fr. rabat or rabbat, from rabattre, i.e. abattre, beat back, abate, to make a recess, and is thus a doublet of “rebate” (q.v.), which is now frequently used instead of “rabbet,” the joint being also known as a “rebated joint.”


RABBI, a Hebrew word meaning “ my master,” “my teacher.” It is derived from the adjective rab (in Aramaic, and frequently also in Hebrew, “ great ”), which acquired in modern Hebrew the signification of “lord, ” in relation to servants or slaves, and of “teacher, ” “master/' in relation to the disciple. The master was addressed by his pupils with the word rabbi (“ my teacher ”), or rabbenu (“ our teacher ”). It became customary to speak of Moses as Moshe rabbenn (“ our teacher Moses ”). Jesus makes it a reproach against the scribes that they cause themselves to be entitled by the people rabbi (ba.;3B£, Matt. xxiii. 7): and He Himself is saluted by the disciples of John as rabbi (John i. 38, where the word is explained as equivalent to 6L6é.oKa)e). As an honorary title of the scribes, with whose name it was constantly linked, “Rabbi” only came into use during the last decades of the second Temple. Hillel and Shammai, the contemporaries of Herod, were mentioned without any title. Gamaliel I., the grandson of Hillel, was the first to whose name the appellation Rabban (the same as rabbon, and also pronounced as ribbon, cf. ba5Bou1/i, Mark X. 51; John xx. 16) was prefixed. This title, a higher distinction than that of rabbi, is in tradition borne only by the descendants of Gamaliel I., the last being Gamaliel III., the son of Iehuda I. (Aboth ii. 2), and by Johanan b. Zaccai, the founder of the school of Iamnia (Iabneh). Otherwise all Tannaites (see {{see Tanna), the scholars of the Mishnah period, were distinguished by the title of “ rabbi.” The jehuda I. mentioned above, the redactor of the Mishnah, was honoured as the “Rabbi” κατ’ ἐξοχήν (“ par excellence ”), and in the tradition of the houses of learning, if it was necessary to speak of him or to cite his opinions and utterances, he was simply referred to as “Rabbi,” without the mention of any name. Scholars who were not definitely ordained-and among these were men of high distinction-were simply mentioned by their names without the Rabbi-title. In the post-Talmudic age the Qaraites, who rejected the tradition of the Talmud, designated the Jews who adhered to that tradition as Rabbanites. Similarly the term Rabbins, or Rabbis, is applied to modern Jewish clergy. The plural rabbanim was employed to describe the later Jewish scholars (so, for example, in the historian Abraham Ibn Daud, 12th century). By “ rabbinical literature ” is understood the post-Talmudic Jewish literature; in particular, so far as its subject is the literature of the tradition and its contents. RAB became a proper name as the standing nomenclature of the celebrated amora, Abba Ari/za (gan). (W. BA.)


RABBIT, the modern name of the well-known rodent, formerly called (as it still is in English legal phraseology) CONY,[1] a member of the family Leporidae (see RODENTIA). Till recently the rabbit has generally been known scientifically as Lepils caniculus, but it is now frequently regarded, at least by systematic naturalists, as the representative of a genus by itself, under the

The Rabbit (Oryclolagus cuniculus).

name of Oryclolagus cnnicillns. Some zoologists, indeed, include in the same genus the South African thick-tailed hare, but by others this is separated as Pronolagus crassioaildatus. From the hare the wild rabbit is distinguished externally by its smaller size, shorter ears and feet, the absence or reduction of the black patch at the tip of the ears, and its greyer colour. The skull is

  1. There are no native names either in Teutonic or Celtic languages; such words as German Kaninchen or English cony are from the Latin caniculus, while the Irish, Welsh and (aaelic are adaptations from English. “ Rabbit, ” which is now the common name in English, was for long confined to the young of the cony, and so the Promptoriurn Paraulorurn, c. 144O, “ Rabet, yonge conye, cnnicellus." The ultimate source of “ rabbit ” is itself unknown. The New English Dictionary takes it to be of northern French origin. There is a Walloon robett. Skeat suggests a possible connexion with Spanish rabo, tail, rabear, to wag the hind-quarters. The familiar name for toasted cheese, “ Welsh rabbit, ” is merely a joke, and the alteration to “ Welsh rare-bit " is due to a failure to see the joke, such as it is. Parallels may be found in “Prairie oyster,” the yolk of an egg with vinegar, pepper, &c. added; or “Scotch woodcock,” a savoury of buttered eggs on anchovy toast.