« ÎnapoiContinuați »
from their midst, whose name was Simeon Kepha, who had formerly put into requisition the Bath Kol, and said : “ Hearken to me, my brethren and my people! If my words are good in your sight, I will separate those sinners from the congre gation of the children of Israel, and they shall have neither part nor inheritance in the midst of Israel, if only you take upon you the sin. And they all answered and said: We will take upon us the sin, if only thou wilt do what thou hast said.' Upon this, the narrative proceeds, Peter went into the Sanctuary, wrote the Ineffable Name, and inserted it in his flesh. Having learnt the Ineffable Name, he went to the metropolis ( metropolin') of the Nazarenes, and proclaimed that every believer in Christ should come to him, since he was an Apostle. The multitudes required that he should prove his claim by a sign ( oth') such as Jesus had done while He was alive, when Peter, through the power of the Ineffable Name, restored a leper, by laying on of hands, and raised the dead. When the Nazarenes saw this, they fell on their faces, and acknowledged his Apostolate. Then Peter delivered this as his message, first bidding them swear to do as he would command : “Know (said he) that the Crucified hated Israel and their law, as Isaiah prophesied: “Your new moons and your feasts my soul hateth ;” know also, that he delighteth not in Israel, as Hosea prophesied: “You are not my people.” And although it is in His power to extirpate them from the world in a moment, from out of every place, yet He does not purpose to destroy them, but intends to leave them, in order that they be in memory of His Crucifixion and lapidation to all generations. Besides, know that He bore all those great sufferings and afflictions to redeem you from Gehenna. And now He admonishes and commands you, that you should do no evil to the Jews; and if a Jew says to a Nazarene, “ Go with me one parasang" (Persian mile, about three English miles), let him go with him two parasangs. And if a Jew smites him on the left cheek, let him present to him also the right cheek, in order that they may have their reward in this world, while in the next they will be punished in Gehenna. And if you do thus, you will deserve to sit with Him in His portion. And bebold, what He commands you is, that ye shall not observe the Feast of the Passorer, but observe the day of His death. And instead of the Feast of Pentecost observe forty days from the time that He was slain to when He went up into heaven. And instead of the Feast of Tabernacles observe the day of His birth, and on the eighth day after His birth observe that on which He was circumcised.'
To these commands all agreed, on condition that Peter should remain with them. This he consented to do, on the understanding that he would not eat anything except bread of misery and water of affliction—presumably not only to avoid forbidden food, but in expiatory suffering for his sin—and that they should build him a tower in the midst of the city, in which he would remain unto the day of his death, all which provisions were duly carried out. It is added, that in this tower he served the God of his fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. What is still stranger, it is added, that he wrote many Piutim—a certain class of liturgical poems which form part of the Synagogue service—and that he sent these throughout all Israel to be in perpetual memory of him, and especially that he despatched them to the Rabbis. The remark is the more noteworthy, as other Jewish writers also describe the Apostle Peter as the author of several liturgical poems, of which one is still repeated in the Synagogue on Sabbaths and Feast-days (comp. Jellinek, Beth ha-Midr., part v., p. 61, note). But to return. Peter is said to have re mained in that tower for six years, when he died, and by his direction was buried within the tower. But the Nazarenes raised there a great fabric, and this tower
JEWISH LEGEND ABOUT ST. PETER.
may be seen in Rome, and they call it Peter, which is the word for a stone, because he sat on a stone till the day of his death. But after his death another person named Elijah came, in the wickedness and cunning of his heart to mislead them. And he said to them that Simon had deceived them, for that Jesus had commanded him to tell thein : it had not come into His heart to despise the Law of Moses; that if any one wished to circumcise, he should circumcise ; but if any one did not wish to be circumcised, let him be immersed in foul waters. And even if he were not immersed, he would not thereby be in danger in the world. And he commanded that they should not observe the seventh day, but only the first day, because on it were created the heavens and the earth. And he made to them many statutes which were not good. But the people asked him : Give us a true sign that Jesus hath sent thee. And he said to them: What is the sign that you seek? And the word had not been out of his mouth when a great stone of immense weight fell and crushed his head. So perish all Thine enemies, O God, but let them that love Thee be as the sun when he goeth forth in his strength!'
Thus far what we regard as the oldest Recension. The chief variations between this and the others are, that in the third Recension the opponent of Peter is called A bba Shaul (St. John also is mentioned ; Jellinek, u.s. part vi., p. 156), while in the fourth Recension (in MS.), which consists of nineteen chapters, this opponent is called Elijah. In the latter Recension there is mention of Antioch and Tiberias, and of other places connected with the lives of St. Peter and St. Paul, and the early history of the Church. But the occurrence of certain Romanic words, such as Papa, Vescovo, &c., shows its later date. Again, we mark that, according to Recensions III, and IV., Peter sent his liturgical pieces to Babylon, which may either indicate that at the time of the document • Babylon’ was the centre of the Jewish population, or else be a legendary reminiscence of St. Peter's labours in 'the Church that is in Babylon'(1 Pet. v. 13). In view of modern controversies it is of special interest that, according to the Jewish legend, Peter, secretly a Jew, advised the Christians to throw off completely the law of Moses, while Paul, in opposition to him, stands up for Israel and the Law, and insists that either circumcision or baptism may be practised. It will be further noted, that the object of the document seems to be : 1st, to serve as an ó apology' for Judaism, by explaining how it came that so many Jews, under the leadership of Apostles, embraced the new faith. This seems to be traced to the continued observance of Jewish legal practices by the Christians. Simon Peter is supposed to have arrested the progress of Christianity by separating the Church from the Synagogue, which he did by proclaiming that Israel were rejected, and the Law of Moses abolished. On the other hand, St. Paul is represented as the friend of the Jews, and as proclaiming that the question of circumcision or baptism, of legal observances or Christian practices, was a matter of indifference. This attempt to heal the breach between the Church and the Synagogue had been the cause of Divine judgment on him. 2ndly, The legend is intended as an apology for the Jews, with a view to ward off' persecution. 3rdly, It is intended to show that the leaders of the Christians remained in heart Jews. It will perhaps not be difficult—at least, hypothetically—to separate the various legends mixed up, or perhaps interpolated in the tractate. From the mention of the Piutim and the ignorance as to their origin, we might be disposed to assign the composition of the legend in its present form to about the eighth century of our era.
ON ETERNAL PUNISHMENT, ACCORDING TO THE RABBIS AND THE
(See vol. ii. Book V. ch. vi.)
THE Parables of the “Ten Virgins' and of the · Unfaithful Servant' close with a
Thus far the meaning of the Lord's Words, which could only be impaired by any attempt at commentation. But they also raise questions of the deepest importance, in which not only the head, but perhaps much more the heart, is interested, as regards the precise meaning of the term 'everlasting' and 'eternal,' in this and other connections, so far as those on the Left Hand of Christ are concerned. The subject has of late attracted renewed attention. The doctrine of the Eternity of Punishments, with the proper explanations and limitations given to it in the teaching of the Church, has been set forth by Dr. Pusey in his Treatise: "What is of Faith as to Everlasting Punishment ?' Before adverting, however briefly, to the New Testament teaching, it seems desirable with some fulness to set forth the Jewish views on this subject. For the views held at the time of
JEWISH VIEWS ON ETERNAL PUNISHMENT.
Christ, whatever they were, must have been those which the hearers of Christ entertained; and, whatever these views, Christ did not, at least directly, contradict, or, so far as we can infer, intend to correct them. And here we have happily sufficient materials for a history of Jewish opinions at different periods on the Eternity of Punishments; and it seems the more desirable carefully to set it forth, as statements both inaccurate and incomplete have been put forward on the subject.
Leaving aside the teaching of the Apocrypha and Pseudepigraphic Writings (to which Dr. Pusey has sufficiently referred), the first Rabbinic utterances come to us from the time immediately before that of Christ, from the Schools of Shammai and Hillel (Rosh baSh. 16 b last four lines, and 17 a). The former arranged all mankind into three classes : the perfectly righteous, who are immediately written and sealed to eternal life;' the perfectly wicked, who are immediately written and sealed to Gehenna;' and an intermediate class, who go down to Gehinnom, and moan, and come up again,' according to Zech. xiii. 9, and which seemed also indicated in certain words on the Song of Hannah (1 Sam. ii. 6). The careful reader will notice that this statement implies belief in Eternal Punishment on the part of the School of Shammai. For (1) The perfectly wicked are spoken of as “written and sealed unto Gehenna ;' (2) The School of Shammai expressly quotes, in support of what it teaches about these wicked, Dan. xii. 2, a passage which undoubtedly refers to the final Judgment after the Resurrection ; (3) The perfectly wicked, so punished, are expressly distinguished from the third, or intermediate class, who merely go down to Gehinnom,' but are not written and sealed,' and 'come up again.'
Substantially the same, as regards Eternity of Punishment, is the view of the School of Hillel (u. s. 17 a). In regard to sinners of Israel and of the Gentiles it teaches, indeed, that they are tormented in Gehenna for twelve months, after which their bodies and souls are burnt up and scattered as dust under the feet of the righteous; but it significantly excepts from this number certain classes of transgressors · who go down to Gehinnom and are punished there to ages of ages.' That the Niphal form of the verb used, 74317'), must mean “punished' and not judged,' appears, not only from the context, but from the use of the same word and form in the same tractate (Rosh haSh. 12 a, lines 7 &c. from top), when it is said of the generation of the flood that “they were punished '--surely not judged '-by hot water. However, therefore, the School Hillel might accentuate the mercy
of God, or limit the number of those who would suffer Eternal Punishment, it did teach Eternal Punishment in the case of some. And this is the point in question.
But, since the Schools of Shammai and Hillel represented the theological teaching in the time of Christ and His Apostles, it follows, that the doctrine of Eternal Punishment was that held in the days of our Lord, however it may have afterwards been modified. Here, so far as this book is concerned, we might rest the case.
But for completeness sake it will be better to follow the historical development of Jewish theological teaching, at least a certain distance.
The doctrine of the Eternity of Punishments seems to have been held by the Synagogue throughout the whole first century of our era. This will appear from the sayings of the Teachers who flourished during its course. The Jewish Parable of the fate of those who had not kept their festive garments in readiness or ap
1 Of course, we mean their general direction, not the details.
2 In view of the strange renderings and
interpretations given of Sanb. 16 b, 17 a, I must call special attention to this locus classicus.
peared in such as were not clean (Shabb. 152 b, 153 a) has been already quoted in our exposition of the Parables of the Man without the Wedding-garment and of the Ten Virgins. But we have more than this. We are told (Ber. 28 b) that, when that great Rabbinic authority of the first century, Rabbi Jochanan ben Saccai—the light of Israel, the right hand pillar, the mighty hammer'—lay a dying and wept, he accounted for his tears by fear as to his fate in judgment, illustrating the danger by the contrast of punishment by an earthly king 'whose bonds are not eternal bonds nor his death eternal death,' while as regarded God and His judgment: “if He is angry with me, His Wrath is an Eternal Wrath, if He binds me in fetters, His fetters are Eternal fet ters, and if He kills me. His death is an Eternal Death.' In the same direction is this saying of another great Rabbi of the first century, Elieser (Shabb. 152 b, about the middle), to the effect that the souls of the righteous are hidden under the throne of glory,' while those of the wicked were to be bound and in unrest (nisbane niop1), one Angel hurling them to another from one end of the world to the other-of which latter strange idea he saw confirmation in 1 Sam. xxv. 29. To the fate of the righteous applied, among other beautiful passages, Is. lvii. 2, to that of the wicked Is. Irii. 21. Evidently, the views of the Rabbis of the first century were in strict accordance with those of Shammai and Hillel.
In the second century of our era, we mark a decided difference in Rabbinic opinion. Although it was said that, after the death of Rabbi Meir, the ascent of smoke from the grave of his apostate teacher had indicated that the Rabbi's prayers for the deliverance of his master from Gehenna had been answered (Clag. 15 6), most of the eminent teachers of that period propounded the idea, that in the last day the sheath would be removed which now covered the sun, when its fiery heat would burn up the wicked (Ber. R. 6). Nay, one Rabbi maintained that there was no hell at all, but that that day would consume the wicked, and yet another, that even this was not so, but that the wicked would be consumed by a sort of internal conflagration.
In the third century of our era we have once more a reaction, and a return to the former views. Thus (Chethub. 104 a, about the middle) Rabbi Eleasar speaks of the three bands of Angels, which successively go forth to meet the righteous, each with a welcome of their own, and of the three bands of Angels of sorrow, which similarly receive the wicked in their death-and this, in terms which leare no doubt as to the expected fate of the wicked. And here Rabbi José informs us (Tos. Ber. vi. 15), that the fire of Gehenna which was created on the second day is not extinguished for ever.' With this view accord the seven designations wbich, according to Rabbi Joshua ben Levi, attach to Gehenna (Erub. 19 a, line 11, &e., from bottom-but the whole page bears on the subject). This doctrine was only modified, when Ben Lakish maintained, that the fire of Gehenna did not hurt sinners from among the Jews (Chethub. u. s.). Nor does even this other saying of his (Nedar. 8 b, last four lines) necessarily imply that he denied the eternity of punishment: “There is no Gehinnom in the world to come'-since it is qualified by the expectation that the wicked would be punished (19397), not annihilated, by the heat of the sun, which would be felt as healing by the righteous. Lastly, if not universal beatification, yet a kind of universal moral restoration seems implied in the teaching of Rabbi Jehudah to the effect that in the sæculum futurum God would destroy the Yezer haRa.
Tempting as the subject is, we must here break off this historical review, for want of space not of material. Dr. Pusey has shown that the Targumim al-o