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Amos, Isaiah, Micah, Joel, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, ard Jeremiah, and their tribunals; from Jeremiah it was received by Baruch ben Neria, who transmitted it to Ezra and his tribunal. This last mentioned tribunal is usually distinguished by the title of the High Synod (ro); the men who composed it were flaggai, Zechariah, Malachi, Daniel, Hananiah, Michael, Azariah, Nehemiah ben Hacha. liah, Mordecai, Bilshan, Zerubbabel, and others to the number of one hundred and twenty. The last surviving mem. ber was Simon, surnamed the Just, who succeeded Ezra in ihe office of high priest; and from him the law was transmitted in succession to Antigonus of Socho, Jose ben Joeser of Soreda and Jose ben Jochanan of Jerusalem, Joshua ben Perachia and Nithai the Arbelite, Judah ben Tabai and Simon ben Shatach, Shamaiah and Abtalion, Hillel and Shamai, and R. Jochanan ben Zaccai who lived at the period of the destruction of the second temple. This last had five distinguished pupils, who were R. Eleazar ben Furkanus, surnamed the Great, R. Joshua, R. Jose the priest, R. Simeon ben Nathaniel, and R. Eleazar ben Aroch. R. Akibha ben Joseph, whose father was a proselyte, succeeded R. Eleazar the great, and was followed by R. Ishmael and R. Me r, the latter of whom was also a proselyte's son. R. Meir was taught by R. Ishmael, as were also bis associates R. Judah, R. Jose, R. Simeon, R. Nehemiah, R. Eleazar ben Shamna, R. Jochanan the sandal-maker, R. Simon ben Asai, and R. Chanina ben Teradion. In like manner the associates of R. Akibha, who were R. Tarphon the teacher of R. Jose the Galilean, R. Simon ben Eleazar, and R. Jochanan ben Nuri, were instructed by R. Eleazar the great. R. Gamaliel the elder received the tradition from his father R. Simon ben Hillel, and imparted it in turn to his son Simon ; from him it was received by his son Gamaliel, who was followed by his son R. Siinon the third. After him came his son R. Judah, generally called “our holy rabbi” (07777 73727), to whom the tradition was likewise transmitted by R. Eleazar ben Shamna and his associates.
This R. Judah the holy compiled the Mishnah. From the death of Moses to his own age, no book had been composed for public instruction containing the oral law; but in every generation the chief of the tribunal or the prophet who lived at the time, made memoranda of what he had heard from his predecessors and instructors, and communicated it orally to the people. In like manner each individ. ual committed to writing for his own use, and according to the degree of his ability, the oral laws and the information he had received respecting the interpretation of the Bible, with the various decisions that had been pronounced in every age, and sanctioned by the authority of the grand tribunal.
The great mass of traditional and judicial knowledge which had been accumulating for so many centuries, was, as we have said, collected and digested by R. Judah the holy in the form of the Mishnah. The reason which induced him to depart from the custom hitherto observed of teaching orally, was the desire to rescue these traditions from the oblivion into which they were then in danger of falling; for he saw that the numbers of the pupils were gradually decreasing as persecutions increased, that the might of tyranny was fast overspreading the world, and that Israel was in continual commotion and scattered to the ends of the earth. Accordingly he composed this book, in order that all might easily learn and recollect its contents. He and his numerous tribunal were engaged during his whole life-time in public instruction. The most distinguished men belonging to this body were his two sons, Simeon and Gamaliel, R. Ephes, Chanina ben Chama, R. Chiya, Rabh, R. Janai, Bar Caphara, Samuel, R. Jochanan, and R. Hosea. R. Jochanan, the youngest of them, was afterwards the disciple of R. Janai, from whom he received the tradition ; Rabh was also taught by R. Janai, and Samuel by R. Chanina ben Chama. Rabh composed the books called Siphra (x700) and Siphri (10), for the purpose of expounding and elucidating the Mishnah. To ihe same end R. Chiya composed the Tosephta (proin addition), and R. Hosea and Bar Caphara the Beraitha (879772 exoteric doctrine).
R. Jochanan composed the Jerusalem Talmud. The most distinguished sages who succeeded Rabh and Samuel were R. Huna, R. Judah, R. Nachman, and R. Gaana ; and the most celebrated of those who came after R. Jochanan were Rabbah ben Bar Chana, R. Chiva bar Aba, R. Ami, R. Assi, R. Dimi, and R. Abon. After R. Huna and R. Judah, we have with others Rabba and R. Joseph the blind; and amongst the successors of these latter, Abaya, and Rabha, both of whom received instruction from R. Nach
The principal pupils of Rabha were R. Ashi and R. Abhina, which two were the last of the talmudic doctors (772387 3y). From Moses to them are forty generations. R. Ashi, with the assistance of his friend R. Abhina, composed the Babylonian Talmud about a century after the completion of the Talmud of Jerusalem. The object of both these works, was to furnish a detailed explanation of the Mishnah, and to record the numerous important decisions made by the tribunals, since the time of R. Judah the holy. From these two Talmuds, and from the books Siphra, Siphri, and Tosephta, we learn what according to the Jew. ish laws is prohibited and what allowed, what is clean and what unclean, what is guilty and what innocent, what is law. ful and what unlawful, precisely as was taught to Moses on Sinai; from them also we learn the commands of the rabbies and of the proph-ts who in each succeeding age had contributed to fence about the law, according to the express injunction of Moses, “ And ye shall watch my statutes" (Lev. 19: 37), i. e. ye shall place a guard around them.
Having presented the reader with this condensed view of the genealogical order of tradition as given by Maimonides, which may be of assistance towards the better comprehension of a more particularized statement, we will now proceed with an outline of the history of the ancient Jewish schools in Palestine and Babylonia, chiefly as contained in Dr. Jost's classical work, the “ Geschichte des Isruelitischen Volkes."
HISTORICAL SKETCH OF THE JEWISH SCHOOLS IN PALESTINE, FROM THE DESTRUCTION OF THE SECOND TEMPLE TO
THE COMPILATION OF THE MISHNAD.
At the period when the second temple was destroyed (A. D. 135) and with it the political existence of the Jewish people, there was still one class of the scattered population of Jerusalem that preserved, even without its walls, some degree of union among themselves ; and these were the learned men. Being well convinced that their present calamities, in which they recognized the fulfilment of ancient prophecy, were brought about by the neglect and disobedience shown to the laws of God, they used every exertion to bring back the remnant of the people to a religious life, as the only means of alleviating the sufferings under which they groaned and of avoiding future misfortunes. The firm persuasion of the Jews, resting on the promise of Holy Scripture, that their race would never be suffered to become wholly
extinct or inextricably intermingled with other nations, gave rise to the wonderful phenomenon of the continued separate existence of a people without a country they could call their own, yet united by a spiritual bond that no earthly power could destroy.
In the early times preceding the establishment of schools in Palestine, lecture rooms were erected adjacent to the synagogues or places of congregational worship, and here the people both old and young assembled at stated times, and especially after divine service on the Sabbath and other holidays, to hear lectures and propound questions on religious and moral subjects. The instruction thus given consisted chiefly of an exegetical explanation of a portion of Sacred Writ, to which were appended maxims on morals and leg. islation, parables, allegories, and illustrations from natural history. The endeavor to form these into something like a system, became in after times a fruitful source of occupation to the rabbies.
As early as the reign of Herod, two rabbinical schools under the superintendence of Hillel and Shamai had acquired considerable celebrity. Hillel, who came from Bab. ylonia, was remarkable for his mild and patient character,*
* The Talmud (Shabbath, fol. 30) relates the following story in exemplification of the admirable patience of Hillel. As two men were discoursing together concerning temper and forbearance, their conversation turned on Hillel. One of them denied that it was possible to provoke him : while the other not only maintained that it was, but offered to bet four hun. dred gold pieces that he himself would succeed in putting him out of temper. The bet was accepted, and the challenger immediately proceeded to put his provocative arts to the test. It was Sabbath ieve, and Hillel was engaged in his preparatory ablutions, when he heard a loud knocking at the gate, and a man breathless with haste demanding to see him immediately. He arose at once, and wrapping his cloak around him, went forth to meet his visiter. “What dost thou wish, my son ?” he gently asked. “I wish to put a question to thee,” was the
“Do so," replied Hillel” “Why have the Babylonians round heads ?” "Truly, my son," said Hillel, “thy question is one of some importance. The reason is, that their midwives are unskilful ?” The man thanked him, and withdrew. But scarcely had Hillel resumed his immersions, when another knocking was heard, and the voice of one inquiring, SECOND SERIES, VOL. II. NO. IV.
while Shamai was in an equal degree bold and vehement. Both were distinguished for their learning, and each established a doctrinal system of his own, which, although coinciding as regarded general principles with that of his contemporary, frequently differed in practical results. The precepts of Hillel were calculated more especially to enforce obedience to the spirit of the law of God, while those of
“Is Hillel within ? is Hillel within ?" The venerable man again folded his cloak about him and came forth. “What dost thou wish, my son ?" was his query as before. “I desire to ask thee a question,” replied the other. “Do so, my son ?" said Hillel, “ and I will answer thee !” “Tell me, I pray thee, why have the Thermudians round eyes ?" “Really my son," replied Hillel, “the question is one of considerable importance. The reason is
, that their eyes are much less exposed to injury from the blowing about of the sands among which they live, than if they were of the usual oval form.” Again the man departed, and Hillel returned once more to the occupation in which he had now been twice interrupted. He had been however but a short time settled in his bath, when the knocking at the gate was resumed, and the demand, “Is Hillel within ?” repeated with still greater urgency' than before. Again Hillel enveloped himself in his mantle, and went to receive the clamorous intruder. “What dost thou wish, my son ?" he inquired with the same friendly tone as at first. “If thou wilt permit me, I will ask thee a question," was the reply. “Do so, my son, and I will answer it,” said Hillel. “Then, prithee, tell me, why have the Africans broad feet?” “This is an important question, my son, said Hillel. “The reason is, they live among bogs and quag. mires; and the broader their feet, the less danger they incur of sinking into them." "I have to solicit thy replies to sev. eral other questions,” said the man; “but perhaps thou wilt be angry at having thy time so taken up." "Not in the least," replied Hillel, folding his mantle closely around him, and seating himself: “whatever thou hast to ask I will hear and endeavor to answer.” “Art thou Hillel that is styled the prince of Israel ?" said the stranger. “I am,” was the reply. “Then," continued the man, “I wish the like of thee may never be found in Israel again, for by thee I have lost four hundred pieces of gold.” “In future thou shouldst be more prudent," answered the sage, “Hillel is worthy that such a sum should be lost upon him, but not for twice as much would he lose his temper."