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Animism. By EDWARD CLODD, author of The Story of Creation. 
Pantheism. By JAMBS AI.LAHSON PICTON, author of Tht Religion of th4 

The Religions of Ancient China. By Professor GILBS, LL.D., Professor 

of Chinese in the University of Cambridge. 
The Religion of Ancient Greece. By JANB HARBISON, Lecturer at 

Newnham College, Cambridge, author of Prolegomena to Study of Greek 

Tfflfrtn By the Rt Hon. AMBER ALI SYED, of the Judicial Committee of Hia 

Majesty's Privy Council, author of The Spirit of Islam and Ethics of Isl-am. 
Magic and Fetishism. By Or. A. 0. H ADDON, F.B.S., Lecturer on 

Ethnology at Cambridge University. 
Th Religion of Ancient Egypt. By Professor W. M. FLINDERS PKTRIB, 


The Religion of Babylonia and Assyria. By THSOPHILUS Q. PINCHES, 

late ot the BritUh Museum. 
Early Buddhism. By Professor RHYS DAVIDS, LL.D., late Secretary of 

The Royal Asiatic Society. 
Hinduism. By Dr. L. D. BARNETT, of the Department of Oriental Printed 

Books and M88., British Museum. 
Scandinavian Religion. By WILLIAM A. CRAIOIK, Joint Editor of the 

Ozfnrd English Dictionary. 
Celtic Religion. By Professor ANWYL, Professor of Welsh at University 

College, Aberystwyth. 
The Mythology of Ancient Britain and Ireland. By CHARLES 

SQOIRK, author of The Mythology of the British Islands. 

Judaism. By ISRAEL ABRAHAMS, Lecturer In Talmudic Literature In Cam- 
bridge University, author of Jewish Life in the Middle Age*. 

The Religion Of Ancient Rome. By CYRIL BAILEY, M.A. 

Shinto, The Ancient Religion of Japan. By W. O. ASTON, C. M. G. 

The Religion of Ancient Mexico and Peru. By LEWIS SPKNCE, M.A. 

Early Christianity. By 8. B. BLACK, Professor at M'Gill University. 

The Psychological Origin and Nature of Religion. By Professor 


The Religion of Ancient Palestine. By STANLBY A. COOK. 
Milhraism. By W. J. PUTTHIAN-ADAMB. 


Early Greek Philosophy. By A. W. BENH, author of The Philosophy oj 

Greece, Rationaliim in the Nineteenth Century. 
Stoicism. By Professor NT. QEOKOE STOCK, author of Deductive Logic, 

editor of the Apology of Plato, etc. 
Plato. By Professor A. B. TAYLOR, SU Andrews University, author of 

Thf Problem of Cwduct. 
Scholasticism. By Father RICK ABY, 8.J. 
Hobbes. By Professor A. E. TAYLOR. 
Locke. By Professor A LBZ ANDKR, of Owens College. 
Cointe and Mill. By T. WHITTAKEB,, author of The Ntoplatonitti Apolte- 

niu.f oj Tyiina and other Kuayi. 
Herbert Spencer. By W. H. Ho MOW, author of An Introduction to 

Sjiencer'i Philosophy. 
Schopenhauer. By T. WHITTAKIR. 
Berkeley. By Professor CAMPBBLL FBABER, D.O.L., LL.D. 
Swedenborg. Bv Dr. SW*I.L. 

Nietzsche : His Life and Works. Oy ANTHONY M. LUDOYIOI. 
Bergson. Hy .ii>sr.i'ii .SOLOMON. 
Rationalism, liy J. M. HUUCHTSOH. 
Pragmatism. i:.v l>. L. MURRAY. 
Rudolf Euckon. By W. TUDOR-JONES. 

EpiCUrUS. I!. I'rofossor A. K. TAM.OR. 

William James. By HOWARB V. KKOX. 






Fourth Imprtssion 


THE writer has attempted in this volume to take 
up a few of the most characteristic points in 
Jewish doctrine and practice, and to explain some 
of the various phases through which they have 
passed, since the first centuries of the Christian 

The presentation is probably much less detached 
than is the case with other volumes in this series. 
But the difference was scarcely avoidable. The 
writer was not expounding a religious system 
which has no relation to his own life. On the 
contrary, the writer is himself a Jew, and thus 
is deeply concerned personally in the matters 
discussed in the book. 

The reader must be warned to keep this fact in 
mind throughout. On the one hand, the book 
must suffer a loss of objectivity; but, on the other 
hand, there may be some compensating gain of 
intensity. The author trusts, at all events, that, 
though he has not written with indifference, he 
has escaped the pitfall of undue partiality. 

I. A. 




II. RELIGION AS LAW, . . . , . 13 










THE aim of this little book is to present in 
brief outline some of the leading conceptions 
of the religion familiar since the Christian Era 
under the name Judaism. 

The word ' Judaism ' occurs for the first time at 
about 100 B.C., in the Grseco- Jewish literature. 
In the second book of the Maccabees (ii. 21, 
viii. 1), 'Judaism' signifies the religion of the 
Jews as contrasted with Hellenism, the religion 
of the Greeks. In the New Testament (Gal v 
i. 13) the same word seems to denote the Phari- 
saic system as an antithesis to the Gentile 
Christianity. In Hebrew the corresponding 
noun never occurs in the Bible, and it is rare 
even hi the Rabbinic books. When it does 
meet us, Jahaduth implies the monotheism of 
the Jews as opposed to the polytheism of the 

A I 


Thus the term ' Judaism ' did not pass through 
quite the same transitions as did the name ' Jew.' 
Judaism appears from the first as a religion tran- 
scending tribal bounds. The ' Jew,' on the other 
hand, was originally a Judaean, a member of the 
Southern Confederacy called in the Bible Judah, 
and by the Greeks and Romans Judaea. Soon, 
however, ' Jew ' came to include what had earlier 
been the Northern Confederacy of Israel as well, 
so that in the post-exilic period Jehudi or ' Jew ' 
means an adherent of Judaism without regard to 
local nationality. 

Judaism, then, is here taken to represent that 
later development of the Religion of Israel which 
began with the reorganisation after the Baby- 
lonian Exile (444 B.C.), and was crystallised by 
the Roman Exile (during the first centuries of 
the Christian Era). The exact period which will 
be here seized as a starting-point is the moment 
when the people of Israel were losing, never so 
far to regain, their territorial association with 
Palestine, and were becoming (what they have 
ever since been) a community as distinct from 
a nation. They remained, it is true, a distinct 
race, and this is still in a sense true. Yet at 
various periods a number of proselytes have 
been admitted, and in other ways the purity of 



the race has been affected. At all events terri- 
torial nationality ceased from a date which may 
be roughly fixed at 135 A.D., when the last despe- 
rate revolt under Bar-Cochba failed, and Hadrian 
drew his Roman plough over the city of Jeru- 
salem and the Temple area. A new city with a 
new name arose on the ruins. The ruins after- 
wards reasserted themselves, and Aelia Capitolina 
as a designation of Jerusalem is familiar only to 

But though the name of Hadrian's new city 
has faded, the effect of its foundation remained. 
Aelia Capitolina, with its market - places and 
theatre, replaced the olden narrow-streeted town ; 
a House of Venus reared its stately form in the 
north, and a Sanctuary to Jupiter covered, in the 
east, the site of the former Temple. Heathen 
colonists were introduced, and the Jew, who was 
to become in future centuries an alien every- 
where, was made by Hadrian an alien in his 
fatherland. For the Roman Emperor denied 
to Jews the right of entry into Jerusalem. Thus 
Hadrian completed the work of Titus, and 
Judaism was divorced from its local habitation. 
More unreservedly than during the Babylonian 
Exile, Judaism in the Roman Exile perforce be- 
came the religion of a community and not of a 



state ; and Israel for the first time constituted a 
Church. But it was a Churcn* with no visible 
home. Christianity for several centuries was to 
have a centre at Rome, Islam at Mecca. But 
Judaism had and has no centre at all. 

It will be obvious that the aim of the present 
book makes it both superfluous and inappropriate 
to discuss the vexed problems connected with 
the origins of the Religion of Israel, its aspects 
in primitive times, its passage through a national 
to an ethical monotheism, its expansion into the 
universalism of the second Isaiah. What con- 
cerns us here is merely the legacy which the 
Religion of Israel bequeathed to Judaism as we 
have defined it. This legacy and the manner in 
which it was treasured, enlarged, and administered 
will occupy us in the rest of this book. 

But this much must be premised. If the 
Religion of Israel passed through the stages of 
totemism, animism, and polydemonism ; if it was 
indebted to Canaanite, Kenite, Babylonian, Per- 
sian, Greek, and other foreign influences ; if it 
experienced a stage of monolatry or henotheism 
(in which Israel recognised one God, but did not 
think of that God as the only God of all men) 
before' ethical monotheism of the universalistic 
type was reached ; if, further, all these stages and 


the moral and religious ideas connected with 
each left a more or less clear mark in the sacred 
literature of Israel; then the legacy which Judaism 
received from its past was a syncretism of the 
whole of the religious experiences of Israel as 
interpreted in the light of Israel's latest, highest, 
most approved standards. Like the Bourbon, the 
Jew forgets nothing ; but unlike the Bourbon, the 
Jew is always learning. The domestic stories of 
the Patriarchs were not rejected as unprofitable 
when Israel became deeply impregnated with the 
monogamous teachings of writers like the author 
of the last chapter of Proverbs ; the character of 
David was idealised by the spiritual associations 
of the Psalter, parts of which tradition ascribed 
to him ; the earthly life was etherialised and 
much of the sacred literature reinterpreted in 
the light of an added belief in immortality ; God, 
in the early literature a tribal non-moral deity, 
was in the later literature a righteous ruler who 
with Amos and Hosea loved and demanded 
righteousness in man. Judaism took over as 
one indivisible body of sacred teachings both 
the early and the later literature in which these 
varying conceptions of God were enshrined ; the 
Law was accepted as the guiding rule of life, the 
ritual of ceremony and sacrifice was treasured as 



a holy memory, and as a memory not contra- 
dictory of the prophetic exaltation of inward 
religion but as consistent with that exaltation, 
as interpreting it, as but another aspect of Micah's 
enunciation of the demands of God : ' What doth 
the Lord require of thee but to do justly, to love 
mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God ? ' 

Judaism, in short, included for the Jew all 
that had gone before. But for St. Paul's attitude 
of hostility to the Law, but for the deep-seated 
conviction that the Pauline Christianity was a 
denial of the Jewish monotheism, the Jew might 
have accepted much of the teaching of Jesus 
as an integral part of Judaism. In the realm of 
ideas which he conceived as belonging to his 
tradition the Jew was not logical; he did not 
pick and choose ; he absorbed the whole. In 
the Jewish theology of all ages we find the most 
obvious contradictions. There was no attempt at 
reconciliation of such contradictions ; they were 
juxtaposed in a mechanical mixture, there was no 
chemical compound. The Jew was always a man 
of moods, and his religion responded to those vary- 
ing phases of feeling and belief and action. Hence 
such varying judgments have been formed of 
him and his religion. If, after the mediaeval 
philosophy had attempted to systematise Judaism, 



the religion remained unsystematic, it is easy to 
understand that in the earlier centuries of the 
Christian Era contradictions between past and 
present, between different strata of religious 
thought, caused no trouble to the Jew so long 
as those contradictions could be fitted into his 
general scheme of life. Though he was the pro- 
duct of development, development was an idea 
foreign to his conception of the ways of God with 
man. And to this extent he was right. For 
though men's ideas of God change, God Himself 
is changeless. The Jew transferred the change- 
lessness of God to men's changing ideas about 
him. With childlike na'ivet^ he accepted all, he 
adopted all, and he syncretised it all as best he 
could into the loose system on which Pharisaism 
grafted itself. The legacy of the past thus was 
the past. 

One element in the legacy was negative. The 
Temple and the Sacrificial system were gone for 
ever. That this must have powerfully affected 
Judaism goes without saying. Synagogue re- 
placed Temple, prayer assumed the function of 
sacrifice, penitence and not the blood of bulls 
supplied the ritual of atonement. Events had 
prepared the way for this change and had pre- 
vented it attaining the character of an upheaval. 



For synagogues had grown up all over the land 
soon after the fifth century B.O. ; regular services 
of prayer with instruction in the Scriptures had 
been established long before the Christian Era; 
the inward atonement had been preferred to, or 
at least associated with, the outward rite before 
the outward rite was torn away. It may be that, 
as Professor Burkitt has suggested, the awful ex- 
periences of the fall of Jerusalem and the destruc- 
tion of the Temple produced within Pharisaism a 
moral reformation which drove the Jew within 
and thus spiritualised Judaism. For undoubtedly 
the Pharisee of the Gospels is by no means the 
Pharisee as we meet him in the Jewish books. 
There was always a latent power and tendency 
in Judaism towards inward religion ; and it may 
be that this power was intensified, this tendency 
encouraged, by the loss of Temple and its Sacri- 
ficial rites. 

But though the Temple had gone the Covenant 
remained. Not so much in name as in essence. 
We do not hear much of the Covenant in the 
Rabbinic books, but its spirit pervades Judaism. 
Of all the legacy of the past the Covenant was 
the most inspiring element. Beginning with 
Abraham, the Covenant established a special 
relation between God and Abraham's seed. 'I 



have known him, that he may command his 
children and his household after him, that they 
may keep the way of the Lord to do righteous- 
ness and judgment' (Gen. xviii. 19). Of this 
Covenant, the outward sign was the rite of cir- 
cumcision. Renewed with Moses, and followed 
in traditional opinion by the Ten Command- 
ments, the Sinaitic Covenant was a further link 
in the bond between God and His people. Of 
this Mosaic Covenant the outward sign was the 
Sabbath. It is of no moment for our present 
argument whether Abraham and Moses were 
historical persons or figments of tradition. A 
Gamaliel would have as little doubted their 
reality as would a St. Paul. And whatever 
Criticism may be doing with Abraham, it is 
coming more and more to see that behind the 
eighth-century prophets there must have towered 
the figure of a, if not of the traditional, Moses ; 
behind the prophets a, if not the, Law. Be that 
as it may, to the Jew of the Christian Era, 
Abraham and Moses were real and the Covenant 
unalterable. By the syncretism which has been 
already described Jeremiah's New Covenant was 
not regarded as new. Nor was it new ; it repre- 
sented a change of stress, not of contents. When 
he said ( Jer. xxxi. 33), ' This is the covenant which 



[ will make with the house of Israel, after those 
days, saith the Lord ; I will put my law in their 
inward parts, and in their heart will I write it,' 
Jeremiah, it has been held, was making Christi- 
anity possible. But he was also making Judaism 
possible. Here and nowhere else is to be found 
the principle which enabled Judaism to survive 
the loss of Temple and nationality. And the 
New Covenant was in no sense inconsistent 
with the Old. For not only does Jeremiah pro- 
ceed to add in the self-same verse, ' I will be 
their God, and they will be my people,' but the 
New Covenant is specifically made with the 
house of Judah and of Israel, and it is associated 
with the permanence of the seed of Israel as a 
separate people and with the Divine rebuilding 
of Jerusalem. The Jew had no thought of 
analysing these verses into the words of the 
true Jeremiah and those of his editors. The 
point is that over and above, in complementary 
explanation of, the Abrahamic and Mosaic Cove- 
nants with their external signs, over and above 
the Call of the Patriarch and the Theophany of 
Sinai, was the Jcremian Covenant written in 
Israel's heart. 

The Covenant conferred a distinction and im- 
posed a duty. It was a bond between a gracious 


God and a grateful Israel. It dignified history, 
for it interpreted history in terms of providence 
and purpose ; it transfigured virtue by making 
virtue service; it was the salt of life, for how 
could present degradation demoralise, seeing that 
God was in it, to fulfil His part of the bond, 
to hold Israel as His jewel, though Rome might 
despise? The Covenant made 'the Jew self-con- 
fident and arrogant, but these very faults were 
needed to save him. It was his only defence 
against the world's scorn. He forgot that the 
correlative of the Covenant was Isaiah's ' Cove- 
nant-People ' missionary to the Gentiles and the 
World. He relegated his world-mission (which 
Christianity and Islam in part gloriously fulfilled) 
to a dim Messianic future, and was content if in 
his own present he remained faithful to his mission 
to himself. 

Above all, the legacy from the past came to 
Judaism hallowed and humanised by all the 
experience of redemption and suffering which 
had marked Israel's course in ages past, and 
was to mark his course in ages to come. The 
Exodus, the Exile, the Maccabean heroism, the 
Roman catastrophe; Prophet, Wise Man, Priest 
and Scribe, all had left their trace. Judaism 
was a religion based on a book and on a tradi- 


tion ; but it was also a religion based on a unique 
experience. The book might be misread, the 
tradition encumbered, but the experience was 
eternally clear and inspiring. It shone through 
the Roman Diaspora as it afterwards illuminated 
the Roman Ghetto, making the present tolerable 
by the memory of the past and the hope of the 




THE feature of Judaism which first attracts an 
outsider's attention, and which claims a front 
place in this survey, is its 'Nomism' or 'Legalism.' 
Life was placed under the control of Law. Not 
only morality, but religion also, was codified. 
'Nomism/ it has been truly said, 'has always 
formed a fundamental trait of Judaism, one of 
whose chief aims has ever been to mould life in 
all its varying relations according to the Law, 
and to make obedience to the commandments 
a necessity and a custom' (Lauterbach, Jewish 
Encyclopedia, ix. 326). Only the latest develop- 
ment of Judaism is away from this direction. 
Individualism is nowadays replacing the olden 
solidarity. Thus, at the Central Conference of 
American Rabbis, held in July 1906 at Indian- 
apolis, a project to formulate a system of laws 
for modern use was promptly rejected. The 
chief modern problem in Jewish life is just 


this : To what extent, and in what manner, can 
Judaism still place itself under the reign of Law ? 
But for many centuries, certainly up to the 
French Revolution, Religion as Law was the 
dominant conception in Judaism. Before ex- 
amining the validity of this conception a word 
is necessary as to the mode in which it expressed 
itself. Conduct, social and individual, moral and 
ritual, was regulated in the minutest details. As 
the Dayan M. Hyamson has said, the maxim De 
minimis non curat lex was not applicable to the 
Jewish Law. This Law was a system of opinion 
and of practice and of feeling in which the great 
principles of morality, the deepest concerns of 
spiritual religion, the genuinely essential require- 
ments of ritual, all found a prominent place. 
To assert that Pharisaism included the small 
and excluded the great, that it enforced rules 
and forgot principles, that it exalted the letter 
and neglected the spirit, is a palpable libel. 
Pharisaism was founded on God. On this 
foundation was erected a structure which em- 
braced the eternal principles of religion. But 
the system, it must be added, went far beyond 
this. It held that there was a right and a 
wrong way of doing things in themselves trivial. 
Prescription ruled in a stupendous array of 


matters which other systems deliberately left 
to the fancy, the judgment, the conscience o< 
the individual. Law seized upon the whole life, 
both in its inward experiences and outward mani- 
festations. Harnack characterises the system 
harshly enough. Christianity did not add to 
Judaism, it subtracted. Expanding a famous 
epigram of Wellhausen's, Harnack admits that 
everything taught in the Gospels 'was also to 
be found in the Prophets, and even in the Jewish 
tradition of their time. The Pharisees them- 
selves were in possession of it ; but, unfortunately, 
they were in possession of much else besides. 
With them it was weighted, darkened, distorted, 
rendered ineffective and deprived of its force by 
a thousand things which they also held to be 
religious, and every whit as important as mercy 
and judgment. They reduced everything into 
one fabric; the good and holy was only one 
woof in a broad earthly warp ' ( What is Chris- 
tianity? p. 47). It is necessary to qualify this 
judgment, but it does bring out the all-per- 
vadingness of Law in Judaism. ' And thou shalt 
speak of them when thou sittest in thine house, 
when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest 
down and when thou risest up ' (Deut. vi. 7). The 
Word of God was to occupy the Jew's thoughts 


constantly ; in his daily employment and during 
his manifold activities ; when at work and when 
at rest. And as a correlative, the Law must 
direct this complex life, the Code must authorise 
action or forbid it, must turn the thoughts and 
emotions in one direction and divert them from 

Nothing in the history of religions can be cited 
as a complete parallel to this. But incomplete 
parallels abound. A very large portion of all 
men's lives is regulated from without: by the 
Bible and other sacred books ; by the institutions 
and rites of religion ; by the law of the land ; by 
the imposed rules of accepted guides, poets, 
philosophers, physicians ; and above all by social 
conventions, current fashions, and popular max- 
ims. Only in the rarest case is an exceptional 
man the monstrosity which, we are told, every 
Israelite was hi the epoch of the Judges a law 
unto himself. 

But in Judaism, until the period of modern 
reform, this fact of human life was not merely an 
unconscious truism, it was consciously admitted. 
And it was realised in a Code. 

Or rather in a series of Codes. First came the 
Mishnah, a Code compiled at about the year 
200 A.D., but the result of a Pharisaic activity 


extending over more than two centuries. While 
Christianity was producing the Gospels and the 
rest of the New Testament the work in large 
part of Jews, or of men born in the circle of 
Judaism Judaism in its other manifestation was 
working at the Code known as the Mishnah. 
This word means 'repetition,' or 'teaching by 
repetition'; it was an oral tradition reduced to 
writing long after much of its contents had been 
sifted in the discussions of the schools. In part 
earlier and in part later than the Mishnah was 
the Midrash ('inquiry,' 'interpretation'), not a 
Code, but a two -fold exposition of Scripture; 
homiletic with copious use of parable, and 
legalistic with an eye to the regulation of con- 
duct. Then came the Talmud in two recensions, 
the Palestinian and the Babylonian, the latter 
completed about 500 A.D. For some centuries 
afterwards the Geonim (heads of the Rabbinical 
Universities in Persia) continued to analyse and 
define the legal prescriptions and ritual of 
Judaism, adding and changing in accord with 
the needs of the day ; for Tradition was a living, 
fluid thing. Then in the eleventh century Isaac 
of Fez (Alfasi) formulated a guide to Talmudic 
Law, and about a hundred years later (1180) 
Maimonides produced his Strong Hand, & Code 
B 17 


of law and custom which influenced Jewish life 
ever after. Other codifications were made; but 
finally, in the sixteenth century, Joseph Caro 
(mystic and legalist) compiled the Table Pre- 
pared (Shulchan Aruch), which, with masterly 
skill, collected the whole of the traditional law, 
arranged it under convenient heads in chapters 
and paragraphs, and carried down to our own day 
the Rabbinic conception of life. Under this Code, 
with more or less relaxation, the great bulk of 
Jews still live. But the revolt against it, or 
emancipation from it, is progressing every year, 
for the olden Jewish conception of religion and 
the old Jewish theory of life are, as hinted above, 
becoming seriously undermined. 

Now in what precedes there has been some 
intentional ambiguity in the use of the word 
Law. Much of the misunderstanding of Judaism 
has arisen from this ambiguity. ' Law ' is in no 
adequate sense what the Jews themselves under- 
stood by the nomism of their religion. In 
modern times Law and Religion tend more and 
more to separate, and to speak of Judaism as 
Law eo ipso implies a divorce of Judaism from 
Religion. The old antithesis between letter and 
spirit is but a phase of the same criticism. Law 
must specify, and the lawyer interprets Acts of 


Parliament by their letter; he refuses to be 
guided by the motives of the Act, he is con- 
cerned with what the Act distinctly formulates 
in set terms. In this sense Judaism never was a 
Legal Keligion. It did most assiduously seek to 
get to the underlying motives of the written laws, 
and all the expansions of the Law were based on 
a desire more fully to realise the meaning and 
intention of the written Code. In other words, 
the Law was looked upon as the expression of the 
Will of God. Man was to yield to that Will for 
two reasons. First, because God is the perfect 
ideal of goodness. That ideal was for man to 
revere, and, so far as in him lay, to imitate. ' As 
I am merciful, be thou merciful; because I am 
gracious, be thou gracious.' The 'Imitation of 
God' is a notion which constantly meets us in 
Rabbinic literature. It is based on the Scriptural 
text : ' Be ye holy, for I the Lord am holy.' ' God, 
the ideal of all morality, is the founder of man's 
moral nature.' This is Professor Lazarus' modern 
way of putting it. But in substance it is the 
Jewish conception through all the ages. And 
there is a second reason. The Jew would not 
have understood the possibility of any other 
expression of the Divine Will than the expression 
which Judaism enshrined, For though he held 


that the Law was something imposed from with- 
out, he identified this imposed Law with the law 
which his own moral nature posited. The Rabbis 
tell us that certain things in the written Law 
could have been reached by man without the 
Law. The Law was in large part a correspon- 
dence to man's moral nature. This Rabbinic 
idea Lazarus sums up in the epigram : ' Moral 
laws, then, are not laws because they are written ; 
they are written because they are laws.' The 
moral principle is autonomous, but its archetype 
is God. The ultimate reason, like the highest 
aim of morality, should be in itself. The threat 
of punishment and the promise of reward are the 
psychologic means to secure the fulfilment of 
laws, never the reasons for the laws, nor the 
motives to action. It is easy and necessary 
sometimes to praise and justify eudemonism, 
but, as Lazarus adds, ' Not a state to be reached, 
not a good to be won, not an evil to be warded 
off, is the impelling force of morality, but itself 
furnishes the creative impulse, the supreme com- 
manding authority ' (Ethics of Judaism, I. chap, 
ii.). And so the Rabbi of the third century B.C., 
Antigonos of Socho, put it in the memorable 
saying: 'Be not like servants who minister to 
their master upon the condition of receiving a 


reward; but be like servants who minister to 
their master without the condition of receiving 
a reward; and let the Fear of heaven be upon 
you ' (Aboth, i. 3). 

Clearly the multiplication of rules obscures 
principles. The_object of codification, to ^et at, 
the full meaning ofprmciples, is defeated byjits 
own success. For itis always easier, to Jbllow 
ruTesthantp_apply principles.^ Virtues are more 
attainable than virtue, characteristics than char- 
acter. And while it is false to assert that 
Judaism attached more importance to ritual 
than to religion, yet, the two being placed on 
one and the same plane, it is possible to find in 
co-existence ritual piety and moral baseness. 
Such a combination is ugly, and people do not 
stop to think whether the baseness would be 
more or less if the ritual piety were absent 
instead of present. But it is the fact that on 
the whole the Jewish codification of religion did 
not produce the evil results possible or even 
likely to accrue. The Jew was always dis- 
tinguished for his domestic virtues, his purity 
of life, his sobriety, his charity, his devotion. 
These were the immediate consequence of his 
Law-abiding disposition and theory. Perhaps 
there was some lack of enthusiasm, something 



too much of the temperate. But the facts of life 
always brought their corrective. Martyrdom was 
the means by which the Jewish consciousness 
was kept at a glowing heat. And as the Jew was 
constantly called upon to die for his religion, the 
religion ennobled the life which was willingly 
surrendered for the religion. The Messianic 
Hope was vitalised by persecution. The Jew, 
devotee of practical ideals, became also a dreamer. 
His visions of God were ever present to remind 
him that the law which he codified was to him 
the Law of God. 




IT is often said that Judaism left belief free while 
it put conduct into fetters. Neither half of this 
assertion is strictly true. Belief was not free alto- 
gether; conduct was not altogether controlled. 
In the Mishnah (Sanhedrin, x. 1) certain classes 
of unbelievers are pronounced portionless in the 
world to come. Among those excluded from 
Paradise are men who deny the resurrection of 
the dead, and men who refuse assent to the doc- 
trine of the Divine origin of the Torah, or Scrip- 
ture. Thus it cannot be said that belief was, in 
the Rabbinic system, perfectly free. Equally in- 
accurate is the assertion that conduct was entirely 
a matter of prescription. Not only were men 
praised for works of supererogation, performance 
of more than the Law required ; not only were 
there important divergences in the practical 
rules of conduct formulated by the various 
Rabbis ; but there was a whole class of actions 
described as 'matters given over to the heart/ 



delicate refinements of conduct which, the law 
left untouched and were a concern exclusively of 
the feeling, the private judgment of the individual. 
The right of private judgment -was passionately 
insisted on in matters of conduct, as when Rabbi 
Joshua refused to be guided as to his practical 
decisions by the Daughter of the Voice, the super- 
natural utterance from on high. The Law, he 
contended, is on earth, not in heaven ; and man 
must be his own judge in applying the Law to his 
own life and time. And, the Talmud adds, God 
Himself announced that Rabbi Joshua was right. 

Thus there was neither complete fluidity of 
doctrine nor complete rigidity of conduct. There 
was freedom of conduct within the law, and there 
was law within freedom of doctrine. 

But Dr. Einil Hirsch puts the case fairly when 
he says : ' In the same sense as Christianity or 
Islam, Judaism cannot be credited with Articles 
of Faith. Many attempts have indeed -been made 
.at systematising and reducing to a fixed phrase- 
ology and sequence the contents of the Jewish 
religion. But these have always lacked the one 
essential element: authoritative sanction on the 
part of a supreme ecclesiastical body' (Jewish 
Encyclopedia, ii. 148). 

Since the epoch of the Great Sanhedrin, there 


has been no central authority recognised through- 
out Jewry. The Jewish organisation has long 
been congregational. Since the fourth century 
there has been no body with any jurisdiction over 
the mass of Jews. At that date the Calendar 
was fixed by astronomical calculations. The 
Patriarch, in Babylon, thereby voluntarily aban- 
doned the hold he had previously had over the 
scattered Jews, for it was no longer the fiat of the 
Patriarch that settled the dates of the Festivals. 
While there was something like a central autho- 
rity, the Canon of Scripture had been fixed by 
Synods, but there is no record of any attempt to 
promulgate articles of faith. During the revolt 
against Hadrian an Assembly of Rabbis was held 
at Lydda. It was then decided that a Jew must 
yield his life rather than accept safety from the 
Roman power, if such conformity involved one of 
the three offences : idolatry, murder, and unchas- 
tity (including incest and adultery). But while 
this decision throws a favourable light on the 
Rabbinic theory of life, it can in no sense be 
called a fixation of a creed. There were numer- 
ous synods in the Middle Ages, but they in- 
variably dealt with practical morals or with 
the problems which arose from time to time in 
regard to the relations between Jews and their 


Christian neighbours. It is true that we occa- 
sionally read of excommunications for heresy. 
But in the case, for instance, of Spinoza, the 
Amsterdam Synagogue was much more anxious 
to dissociate itself from the heresies of Spinoza 
than to compel Spinoza to conform to the beliefs 
of the Synagogue. And though this power of 
excommunication might have been employed by 
the mediaeval Rabbis to enforce the acceptance of a 
creed, in point of fact no such step was ever taken. 
Since the time of Moses Mendelssohn (1728- 
1786), the chief Jewish dogma has been that 
Judaism has no dogmas. In the sense assigned 
above this is clearly true. Dogmas imposed by an 
authority able and willing to enforce conformity 
and punish dissent are non-existent in Judaism. 
In olden times membership of the religion of 
Judaism was almost entirely a question of birth 
and race, not of confession. Proselytes were 
admitted by circumcision and baptism, and 
nothing beyond an acceptance of the Unity of God 
and the abjuration of idolatry is even now re- 
quired by way of profession from a proselyte. At 
the same time the earliest passage put into the 
public liturgy was the Shema' (Deuteronomy vi. 
4-9), in which the unity of God and the duty to 
love God are expressed. The Ten Commandments 


were also recited daily in the Temple. It is in- 
structive to note the reason given for the subse- 
quent removal of the Decalogue from the daily 
liturgy. It was feared that some might assume 
that the Decalogue comprised the whole of the 
binding law. Hence the prominent position given 
to them in the Temple service was no longer 
assigned to the Ten Commandments in the ritual 
of the Synagogue. In modern times, however, 
there is a growing practice of reading the Deca- 
logue every Sabbath day. 

What we do find in Pharisaic Judaism, and 
this is the real answer to Harnack (supra, p. 15), 
is an attempt to reduce the whole Law to certain 
fundamental principles. When a would-be pros- 
elyte accosted Hillel, in the reign of Herod, with 
the demand that the Rabbi should communicate 
the whole of Judaism while the questioner stood 
on one foot, Hillel made the famous reply: 'What 
thou hatest do unto no man ; that is the whole Law, 
the rest is commentary.' This recalls another 
famous summarisation, that given by Jesus later 
on in the Gospel. A little more than a century 
later, Akiba said that the command to love one's 
neighbour is the fundamental principle of the 
Law. Ben Azzai chose for this distinction another 
sentence : ' This is the book of the generations of 


man,' implying the equality of all men in regard 
to the love borne by God for His creatures. 
Another Rabbi, Simlai (third century), has this 
remarkable saying: 'Six hundred and thirteen 
precepts were imparted unto Moses, three hundred 
and sixty-five negative (in correspondence with 
the days of the solar year), and two hundred and 
forty-eight positive (in correspondence with the 
number of a man's limbs). David came and 
established them as eleven, as it is written : 
A psalm of David Lord who shall sojourn in 
Thy tent, who shall dwell in Thy holy mountain ? 
(i) He that walketh uprightly and (ii) worketh 
righteousness and (iii) speaketh the truth in his 
heart, (iv) He that backbiteth not with his 
tongue, (v) nor doeth evil to his neighbour, (vi) 
nor taketh up a reproach against another ; (vii) in 
whose eyes a reprobate is despised, (viii) but who 
honoureth them that fear the Lord, (ix) He that 
sweareth to his own hurt, and changeth not; 
(x) He that putteth not out his money to usury, 
(xi) nor taketh a bribe against the innocent. He 
that doeth these things shall never be moved. 
Thus David reduced the Law to eleven principles. 
Then came Micah and reduced them to three, as 
it is written : ' What doth the Lord require of thee 
but (i) to do justice, (ii) to 'love mercy, and (iii) 


to walk humbly with thy God ? ' Then came Hab- 
bakuk and made the whole Law stand on one 
fundamental idea, ' The righteous man liveth by 
his faith ' (Makkoth, 23 b). 

This desire to find one or a few general funda- 
mental passages on which the whole Scripture 
might be seen to base itself is, however, far re- 
moved from anything of the nature of the Chris- 
tian Creeds or of the Mohammedan Kalimah. 
And when we remember that the Pharisees and 
Sadducees differed on questions of doctrine (such 
as the belief in immortality held by the former 
and rejected by the latter), it becomes clear that 
the absence of a formal declaration of faith must 
have been deliberate. The most that was done 
was to introduce into the Liturgy a paragraph in 
which the assembled worshippers declared their 
assent to the truth and permanent validity of the 
Word of God. After the Shema' (whose contents 
are summarised above), the assembled worshippers 
daily recited a passage in which they said (and 
still say) : ' True and firm is this Thy word unto 
us for ever. . . . True is it that Thou art indeed 
our God . . . and there is none beside Thee.' 

After all, the difference between Pharisee and 
Sadducee was political rather than theological. 
It was not till Judaism came into contact, contact 


alike of attraction and repulsion, with other 
systems that a desire or a need for formulating 
Articles of Faith was felt. Philo, coming under 
the Hellenic spirit, was thus the first to make the 
attempt. In the last chapter of the tract on the 
Creation (De Opifico, Ixi.), Philo enumerates what 
he terms the five most beautiful lessons, superior 
fo all others. These are (i) God is; (ii) God is 
One; (iii) the World was created (and is not 
eternal) ; (iv) the World is one, like unto God in 
singleness ; and (v) God exercises a continual pro- 
vidence for the benefit of the world, caring for 
His creatures like a parent for his children. 

Philo's lead found no imitators. It was not for 
many centuries that two causes led the Synagogue 
to formulate a creed. And even then it was not 
the Synagogue as a body that acted, nor was it a 
creed that resulted. The first cause was the rise 
of sects within the Synagogue. Of these sects the 
most important was that of the Karaites or Scrip- 
turalists. Rejecting tradition, the Karaites ex- 
pounded their beliefs both as a justification of 
themselves against the Traditionalists and pos- 
sibly as a remedy against their own tendency to 
divide within their own order into smaller sects. 
In the middle of the twelfth century the Karaite 
Judah Hadassi of Constantinople arranged the 

whole Pentateuch under the headings of the 
Decalogue, much as Philo had done long before. 
And so he formulates ten dogmas of Judaism. 
These are (i) Creation (as opposed to the Aris- 
totelian doctrine of the eternity of the world); 
(ii) the existence of God; (iii) God is one and 
incorporeal; (iv) Moses and the other canonical 
prophets were called by God ; (v) the Law is the 
Word of God, it is complete, and the Oral Tradi- 
tion was unnecessary ; (vi) the Law must be read 
by the Jew in the original Hebrew: (vii) the 
Temple of Jerusalem was the place chosen by 
God for His manifestation ; (viii) the Resurrection 
of the dead ; (ix) the Coming of Messiah, son of 
David ; (x) Final Judgment and Retribution. 

Within the main body of the Synagogue we 
have to wait for the same moment for a formula- 
tion of Articles of Faith. Maimonides (1135-1204) 
was a younger contemporary of Hadassi; he it 
was that drew up the one and only set of prin- 
ciples which have ever enjoyed wide authority in 
Judaism. Before Maimonides there had been 
some inclination towards a creed, but he is the 
first to put one into set terms. Maimonides was 
much influenced by Aristotelianism, and this gave 
him an impulse towards a logical statement of the 
tenets of Judaism. On the other side, he was 


deeply concerned by the criticism of Judaism 
from the side of Mohammedan theologians. The 
latter contended, in particular, that the biblical 
anthropomorphisms were destructive of a belief 
in the pure spirituality of God. Hence Maimo- 
nides devoted much of his great treatise, Guide 
for the Perplexed, to a philosophical allegorisation 
of the human terms applied to God in the Hebrew 
Bible. In his Commentary on the Mishnah (San- 
hedrin, Introduction to Chelek), Maimonides de- 
clares ' The roots of our Law and its fundamental 
principles are thirteen.' These are (i) Belief in 
the existence of God, the Creator; (ii) belief in 
the unity of God ; (iii) belief hi the incorporeality 
of God ; (iv) belief in the priority and eternity of 
God; (v) belief that to God and to God alone 
worship must be offered ; (vi) belief in prophecy ; 
(vii) belief that Moses was the greatest of all 
prophets; (viii) belief that the Law was revealed 
from heavon ; (ix) belief that the Law will never 
be abrogated, and that no other Law will ever 
come from God; (x) belief that God knows the 
works of men ; (xi) belief in reward and punish- 
ment ; (xii) belief in the coming of the Messiah ; 
(xiii) belief in the resurrection of the dead. 

Now here we have for the first time a set of 
beliefs which were a test of Judaism. Maimonides 


leaves no doubt as to his meaning. For he con- 
cluded by saying : ' When all these principles of 
faith are in the safe keeping of a man, and his con- 
viction of them is well established, he then enters 
into the general body of Israel ' ; and, on the other 
hand : ' When, however, a man breaks away from 
any one of these fundamental principles of belief, 
then of him it is said that he has gone out of the 
general body of Israel and he denies the root- truths 
of Judaism.' This formulation of a dogmatic test 
was never confirmed by any body of Rabbis. No 
Jew was ever excommunicated for declaring his 
dissent from these articles. No Jew was ever called 
upon formally to express his assent to them. But, 
as Professor Schechter justly writes : ' Among the 
Maimonists we may probably include the great ma- 
jority of Jews, who accepted the Thirteen Articles 
without further question. Maimonides must have 
filled up a great gap in Jewish theology, a gap, 
moreover, the existence of which was very gener- 
ally perceived. A century had hardly lapsed before 
the Thirteen Articles had become a theme for 
the poets of the Synagogue. And almost every 
country can show a poem or a prayer founded on 
these Articles ' (Studies in Judaism, p. 301). 

Yet the opposition to the Articles was both 
impressive and persistent. Some denied alto- 
c 33 


gether the admissibility of Articles, claiming that 
the whole Law and nothing but the Law was the 
Charter of Judaism. Others criticised the Mai- 
monist Articles in detail. Certainly they are far 
from logically drawn up, some paragraphs being 
dictated by opposition to Islam rather than by 
positive needs of the Jewish position. A favourite 
condensation was a smaller list of three Articles : 
(i) Existence of God; (ii) Revelation; and (iii) 
Retribution. These three Articles are usually 
associated with the name of Joseph Albo (1380- 
1444), though they are somewhat older. There is 
no doubt but that these Articles found, in recent 
centuries, more acceptance than the Maimonist 
Thirteen, though the latter still hold their place 
in the orthodox Jewish Prayer Books. They 
may be found in the Authorised Daily Prayer 
Book, ed. Singer, p. 89. 

Moses Mendelssohn (1728-1786), who strongly 
maintained that Judaism is a life, not a creed, 
made the practice of formulating Articles of 
Judaism unfashionable. But not for long. More 
and more, Judaic ritual has fallen into disregard 
since the French Revolution. Judaism has 
therefore tended to express itself as a system 
of doctrines rather than as a body of practices. 
And there was a special reason why the 


Maimonist Articles could not remain. Reference 
is not meant to the fact that man)'- Jews came 
to doubt the Mosaic origin of the Pentateuch. 
But there were lacking hi the Maimonist Creed 
all emotional elements. On the one hand, 
Maimonides, rationalist and anti-Mystic as he 
was, makes no allowance for the doctrine of 
the Immanence of God. Then, owing to his 
unemotional nature, he laid no stress on all the 
affecting and moving associations of the belief 
in the Mission of Israel as the Chosen People. 
Before Maimonides, if there had been one dogma 
of Judaism at all, it was the Election of Israel. 
Jehuda Halevi, the greatest of the Hebrew poets 
of the Middle Ages, had at the beginning of 
the twelfth century, some half century before 
Maimonides, given expression to this in the 
famous epigram : ' Israel is to the nations like 
the heart to the limbs.' 

Though, however, the Creed of Maimonides 
has no position of authority hi the Synagogue, 
modern times have witnessed no successful 
intrusion of a rival. Most writers of treatises 
on Judaism prefer to describe rather than to 
define the religious tenets of the faith. In 
America there have been several suggestions of 
a Creed. Articles of faith have been there chiefly 


formulated for the reception of proselytes. This 
purpose is a natural cause of precision in belief; 
for while one who already stands within by birth 
or race is rarely called upon to justify his faith, 
the newcomer is under the necessity to do so. 
In the pre-Christian Judaism it is probable that 
there was a Catechism or short manual of in- 
struction called hi Greek the Didache, in which 
the Golden Rule in Hillel's negative form and 
the Decalogue occupied a front place. Thus we 
find, too, modern American Jews formulating 
Articles of Faith as a Proselyte Confession. In 
1896 the Central Conference of American Rabbis 
adopted the following five principles for such a 
Confession : (i) God the Only One ; (ii) Man His 
Image ; (iii) Immortality of the Soul ; (iv) Retribu- 
tion; (v) Israel's Mission. During the past few 
months a tract, entitled ' Essentials of Judaism,' 
has been issued in London by the Jewish Reli- 
gious Union. The author, N. S. Joseph, is care- 
ful to explain that he is not putting forth these 
principles as ' dogmatic Articles of Faith/ and 
that they are solely ' suggestive outlines of belief 
which may be gradually imparted to children, the 
outlines being afterwards filled up by the teacher. 
But the eight paragraphs of these Essentials are 
at once so ably compiled and so informing as to 


the modern trend of Jewish belief that they will 
be here cited without comment. 

According then to this presentation, the Essen- 
tials of Judaism are : ' (i) There is One Eternal 
God, who is the sole Origin of all things and 
forces, and the Source of all living souls. He 
rules the universe with justice, righteousness, 
mercy, and love, (ii) Our souls, emanating from 
God, are immortal, and will return to Him when 
our life on earth ceases. While we are here, our 
souls can hold direct communion with God in 
prayer and praise, and in silent contemplation 
and admiration of His works, (iii) Our souls are 
directly responsible to God for the work of our 
life on earth. God, being All-merciful, will judge 
us with loving-kindness, and being All-just, will 
allow for our imperfections ; and we, therefore, 
need no mediator and no vicarious atonement to 
ensure the future welfare of our souls, (iv) God 
is the One and only God. He is Eternal and 
Omnipresent. He not only pervades the entire 
world, but is also within us; and His Spirit 
helps and leads us towards goodness and truth, 
(v) Duty should be the moving force of our life ; 
and the thought that God is always in us and 
about us should incite us to lead good and 
beneficent lives, ihowing our love of God by 



loving our fellow-creatures, and working for their 
happiness and betterment with all our might, 
(vi) In various bygone times God has revealed, 
and even in our own days continues to reveal to 
us, something of His nature and will, by inspiring 
the best and wisest minds with noble thoughts 
and new ideas, to be conveyed to us in words, so 
that this world may constantly improve and grow 
happier and better, (vii) Long ago some of our 
forefathers were thus inspired, and they handed 
down to us and through us to the world at large 
some of God's choicest gifts, the principles of 
Religion and Morality, now recorded in our Bible ; 
and these spiritual gifts of God have gradually 
spread among our fellow-men, so that much of 
our religion and of its morality has been adopted 
by them, (viii) Till the main religious and moral 
principles of Judaism have been accepted by the 
world at large, the maintenance by the Jews of a 
separate corporate existence is a religious duty in- 
cumbent upon them. They are the " witnesses " 
of God, and they must adhere to their religion, 
showing forth its truth and excellence to all man- 
kind. This has been and is and will continue to 
be their mission. Their public worship and private 
virtues must be the outward manifestation of the 
fulfilment of that mission.' 



THOUGH there are no accepted Articles of Faith in 
Judaism, there is a complete consensus of opinion 
that Monotheism is the basis of the religion. The 
Unity of God was more than a doctrine. It was 
associated with the noblest hope of Israel, with 
Israel's Mission to the world 

The Unity of God was even more than a hope. 
It was an inspiration, a passion. For it the Jews 
' passed through fire and water,' enduring tribula- 
tion and death for the sake of the Unity. All 
the Jewish martyrologies are written round this 

In one passage the Talmud actually defines the 
Jew as the Monotheist. ' Whoever repudiates the 
service of other gods is called a Jew ' (Megillah, 
13 a). 

But this all-pervading doctrine of the Unity did 
not reach Judaism as an abstract philosophical 


truth. Hence, though the belief in the Unity of 
God, associated as it was with the belief in the 
Spirituality of God, might have been expected to 
lead to the conception of an Absolute, Transcen- 
dent Being such as we meet in Islam, it did not 
so lead in Judaism. Judaism never attempted to 
define God at all Maimonides put the seal on 
the reluctance of Jewish theology to go beyond, 
or to fall short of, what historic Judaism delivered. 
Judaism wavers between the two opposite con- 
ceptions : absolute transcendentalism and absolute 
pantheism. Sometimes Judaism speaks with the 
voice of Isaiah ; sometimes with the voice of 
Spinoza. It found the bridge in the Psalter. 
' The Lord is nigh unto all that call upon Him.' 
The Law brought heaven to earth ; _Prayer raised 
earth to heaven^ 

As was remarked above, Jewish theology never 
shrank from inconsistency. It accepted at once 
God's foreknowledge and man's free-will. So it 
described the knowledge of God as far above 
man's reach; yet it felt God near, sympathetic, 
a Father and Friend. The liturgy of the 
Synagogue has been well termed a ' precipitate ' 
of all the Jewish teaching as to God. He is the 
Great, the Mighty, the Awful, the Most High, 
the King. But He is also the Father, Helper, 


Deliverer, the Peace-Maker, Supporter of the 
weak, Healer of the sick. All human knowledge 
is a direct manifestation of His grace. Man's 
body, with all its animal functions, is His handi- 
work. He created joy, and made the Bridegroom 
and the Bride. He formed the fruit of the Vine, 
and is the Source of all the lawful pleasures 
of men. He is the Righteous Judge; but He 
remembers that man is dust, He pardons sins, 
and His loving-kindness is over all. He is un- 
changeable, yet repentance can avert the evil 
decree. He is in heaven, yet he puts the love 
and fear of Him into man's very heart. He 
breathed the Soul into man, and is faithful to 
those that sleep in the grave. He is the Reviver 
of the dead. He is Holy, and He sanctified Israel 
with His commandments. And the whole is per- 
vaded with the thought of God's Unity and the 
consequent unity of mankind. Here again we 
meet the curious syncretism which we have so 
often observed. God is in a special sense the 
God of Israel ; but He is unequivocally, too, the 
God of all flesh. 

Moses Mendelssohn said that, when hi the 
company of a Christian friend, he never felt the 
remotest desire to convert him to Judaism. This 
is the explanation of the effect on the Jews of the 


combined belief in God as the God of Israel, 
and also as the God of all men. At one time 
Judaism was certainly a missionary religion. 
But after the loss of nationality this quality 
was practically dormant. Belief was not neces- 
sary to salvation. ' The pious of all nations have 
a part in the world to come ' may have been but 
a casua utterance of an ancient Rabbi, but it rose 
into a settled conviction of later Judaism. More- 
over, it was dangerous for Jews to attempt any 
religious propaganda in the Middle Ages, and 
thus the pressure of fact came to the support of 
theory. Mendelssohn even held that the same 
religion was not necessarily good for all, just as 
the same form of government may not fit equally 
all the various national idiosyncrasies. Judaism 
for the Jew may almost be claimed as a principle 
of orthodox Judaism. It says to the outsider: 
You may come in if you will, but we warn you 
what it means. At all events it does not seek to 
attract. It is not strange that this attitude has 
led to unpopularity. The reason of this resent- 
ment is not that men wish to be invited to join 
Judaism; it lies rather in the sense that the 
absence of invitation implies an arrogant reserve. 
To some extent this is the case. The old- 
fashioned Jew is inclined to think himself 


superior to other men. Such a thought has its 

On the other hand, the national as contrasted 
with the universal aspect of Judaism is on the 
wane. Many Jewish liturgies have, for instance, 
eliminated the prayers for the restoration of sacri- 
fices; and several have removed or spiritualised 
the petitions for the recovery of the Jewish nation- 
ality. Modern reformed Judaism is a universal- 
istic Judaism. It lays stress on the function of 
Israel, the Servant, as a ' Light to the Nations.' 
It tends to eliminate those ceremonies and beliefs 
which are less compatible with a universal than 
with a racial religion. Modern Zionism is not a 
real reaction against this tendency. For Zionism 
is either non-religious or, if religious, brings to the 
front what has always been a corrective to the 
nationalism of orthodox Judaism. For^jhe 
separation of Israel has ever been a means to 
an enoT; never an end in itself Often the end 

has been forgotten in the means, but never^for 
long. The end of Israel's ^separateness is the good 
of tjde_wprld.^ And the religious as distinct from 
the merely political Zionist who thinks that 
Judaism would gain by a return to Palestine 
is just the one who also thinks that return is a 
necessary preliminary to the Messianic Age, when 


all men shall flow unto Zion and seek God there. 
Reformed Jews would have to be Zionists also in 
this sense, were it not that many of them no 
longer share the belief in the national aspects of 
the prophecies as to Israel's future. These may 
believe that the world may become full of the 
knowledge of God without any antecedent with- 
drawal of Israel from the world. 

If Judaism as a system of doctrine is neces- 
sarily syncretistic in its conception of God, then 
we may expect the same syncretism in its theory 
of God's relation to man. It must be said at once 
that the term 'theory' is ill-chosen. It is laid 
to the charge of Judaism that it has no ' theory ' 
of Sin. This is true. If virtue and righteousness 
are obedience, then disobedience is both vice and 
sin. No further theory was required or possible. 
Atonement is reversion to obedience. Now it 
was said above that the doctrine of the Unity 
did not reach Judaism as a philosophical truth 
exactly denned and apprehended. It came as the 
result of a long historic groping for the truth, and 
when it came it brought with it olden anthropo- 
morphic wrappings and tribal adornments which 
were not easily to be discarded, if they ever were 
entirely discarded. So with the relation of God 
to man in general and Israel in particular. The 


unchangeable God is not susceptible to the change 
implied in Atonement. But history presented to 
the Jew examples of what he could not otherwise 
interpret than as reconciliation between God the 
Father and Israel the wayward but always at 
heart loyal Son. And this interpretation was 
true to the inward experience. Man's repentance 
was correlated with the sorrow of God. God as 
well as man repented, the former of punishment, 
the latter of sin. The process of atonement in- 
cluded contrition, confession, and change of life. 
Undoubtedly Jewish theology lays the greatest 
stress on the active stage of the process. Jewish 
moralists use the word Teshubah (literally ' turn- 
ing ' or ' return,' i.e. a turning from evil or a 
return to God) chiefly to mean a change of life. 
Sin is evil life, atonement is the better life. The 
better life was attained by fasting, prayer, and 
charity, by a purification of the heart and a 
cleansing of the hands. The ritual side of atone- 
ment was seriously weakened by the loss of the 
Temple. The sacrificial atonement was gone. 
Nothing replaced it ritually. Hence the Jewish 
tendency towards a practical religion was 
strengthened by its almost enforced stress in 
atonement on moral betterment. But this moral 
betterment depended on a renewed communion 


with God. Sin estranged, atonement brought 
near. Jewish theology regarded sin as a triumph 
of the Yetser Ha-ra (the 'evil inclination') over 
the Yetser Ha-tob (the 'good inclination '). Man 
was always liable to fall a prey to his lower self. 
But such a fall, though usual and universal, was 
not inevitable. Man reasserted his higher self 
when he curbed his passions, undid the wrong he 
had wrought to others, and turned again to God 
with a contrite heart. As a taint of the soul, sin 
was washed away by the suppliant's tears and 
confession, by his sense of loss, his bitter con- 
sciousness of humiliation, but withal man was 
helpless without God. God was needed for the 
atonement. Israel never dreamed of putting 
forward his righteousness as a claim to pardon. 
' We are empty of good works ' is the constant 
refrain of the Jewish penitential appeals. The 
final reliance is on God and on God alone. Yet 
Judaism took over from its past the anthropo- 
morphic belief that God could be moved by man's 
prayers, contrition, amendment especially by 
man's amendment. Atonement was only real 
when the amendment began ; it only lasted while 
the amendment endured. Man must not think 
to throw his own burden entirely on God. God 
will help him to bear it, and will lighten the 


weight from willing shoulders. But bear it man 
can and must. The shoulders must be at all 
events willing. 

Judaism as a theology stood or fell by its belief 
that man can affect God. If, for instance, prayer 
had no validity, then Judaism had no basis. 
Judaism did not distinguish between the objective 
and subjective efficacy of prayer. The two went 
together. The acceptance of the will of God and 
the inclining of God's purpose to the desire of 
man were two sides of one fact. The Rabbinic 
Judaism did not mechanically posit, however, the 
objective validity of prayer. On the contrary, 
the man who prayed expecting an answer was 
regarded as arrogant and sinful. A famous 
Talinudic prayer sums up the submissive aspect 
of the Jew in this brief petition (Berachoth, 29 a) : 
' Do Thy will in heaven above, and grant content- 
ment of spirit to those that fear Thee below ; and 
that which is good in Thine eyes do. Blessed art 
Thou, Lord, who hearest prayer.' This, be it 
remembered, was the prayer of a Pharisee. So, 
too, a very large portion of all Jewish prayer is 
not petition but praise. Still, Judaism believed, 
not that prayer would be answered, but that it 
could be answered. In modern times the chief 
cause of the weakening of religion all round, in 


and out of the Jewish communion, is the growing 
disbelief in the objective validity of prayer. And 
a similar remark applies to the belief in miracles. 
But to a much less extent. All ancient religions 
were based on miracle, and even to the later 
religious consciousness a denial of miracle seems 
to deny the divine Omnipotence. Jewish theology 
from the Rabbinic age sought to evade the diffi- 
culty by the mystic notion that all miracles were 
latent in ordered nature at the creation. And 
so the miraculous becomes interconnected with 
Providence as revealed in history. But the belief 
in special miracles recurs again and again in 
Judaism, and though discarded by most reformed 
theologies, must be admitted as a prevailing con- 
cept of the older religion. 

But the belief was rather in general than in 
special Providence. There was a communal 
solidarity which made most of the Jewish prayers 
communal more than personal. It is held by 
many that in the Psalter 'I' in the majority of 
cases means the whole people. The sense of 
brotherhood, hi other relations besides public 
worship, is a perennial characteristic of Judaism. 

Even more marked is this in the conception of 
the family. The hallowing of home-life was one 
of the best features of Judaism. Chastity was 


the mark of men and women alike. The position 
of the Jewish woman was in many ways high. 
At law she enjoyed certain privileges and suffered 
certain disabilities. But in the house she was 
queen. Monogamy had been the rule of Jewish 
life from the period of the return from the 
Babylonian Exile. In the Middle Ages the cus- 
tom of monogamy was legalised in Western 
Jewish communities. Connected with the fra- 
ternity of the Jewish communal organisation and 
the incomparable affection and mutual devotion 
of the home - life was the habit of charity. 
Charity, in the sense both of almsgiving and of 
loving-kindness, was the virtue of virtues. The 
very word which in the Hebrew Bible means 
righteousness means in Rabbinic Hebrew charity. 
' On three things the world stands/ says a Rabbi, 
' on law, on public worship, and on the bestowal 
of loving-kindSiess.' 

Some other concepts of Judaism and their 
influence on character will be treated in a later 
chapter. Here a final word must be said on the 
Hallowing of Knowledge. 

In one of the oldest prayers of the Synagogue, 

repeated thrice daily, occurs this paragraph: 

' Thou dost graciously bestow on man knowledge, 

and teachest mortals understanding ; O let us be 

D 49 


graciously endowed by Thee with knowledge, 
understanding, and discernment. Blessed art 
Thou, Lord, gracious Giver of Knowledge.' 
The intellect was to be turned to the service of 
the God from whom intelligence emanated. The 
Jewish estimate of intellect and learning led to 
some unamiable contempt of the fool and the 
ignoramus. But the evil tendency of identifying 
learning with religion was more than mitigated 
by the encouragement which this concept gave to 
education. The ideal was, that every Jew must 
be a scholar, or at all events a student. Obscur- 
antism could not for any lengthy period lodge 
itself in the Jewish camp. There was no learned 
caste. The fact that the Bible and much of the 
most admired literature was in Hebrew made most 
Jews bilingual at least. But it was not merely 
that knowledge was useful, that it added dig- 
nity to man, and realised part of his possibilities. 
The service of the Lord called for the dedication 
of the reason as well as for the purification of 
the heart. The Jew had to think as well as feel. 
He had to serve with the mind as well as with 
the body. Therefore it was that he was always 
anxious to justify his religion to his reason. 
Maimonides devoted a large section of his Guide 
to the explanation of the motives of the com- 


mandments. And his example was imitated. 
The Law was the expression of the Will of God, 
and obeyed and loved as such. But the Law 
was also the expression of the Divine Reason. 
Hence man had the ri^ht and the duty to ex- 
amine and realise how his own human reason 
was satisfied by the Law. In a sense the Jew 
was a quite simple believer. But never a simple- 
ton. ' Know the Lord thy God ' was the key-note 
of this aspect of Jewish theology. 



THE historical consciousness of Israel was vital- 
ised by a unique adaptability to present con- 
ditions. This is shown in the fidelity with which 
a number of ancient festivals have been main- 
tained through the ages. Some of these were 
taken over from pre-Israelite cults. They were 
nature feasts, and these are among the oldest 
rites of men. But, as Maimonides wisely said 
eight centuries ago, religious rites depend not so 
much on their origins as on the use men make of 
them. People who wish to return to the primi- 
tive usages of this or that church have no grasp 
of the value and significance of ceremonial. Here, 
at all events, we are not concerned with origins. 
The really interesting thing is that feasts, which 
originated in the fields and under the free heaven, 
were observed and enjoyed in the confined streets 
of the Ghetto. The influence of ceremonial is 
undying when it is bound up with a community's 


life. ' It is impossible to create festivals to order 
One must use those which exist, and where neces- 
sary charge them with new meanings.' So writes 
Mr. Montefiore in his Liberal Judaism (p. 155). 

This is precisely what has happened with the 
Passover, Pentecost, and the Feast of Tabernacles. 
These three festivals were originally, as has been 
said, nature feasts. But they became also pil- 
grim feasts. After the fall of the Temple the 
pilgrimages to Jerusalem, of course, ceased, and 
there was an end to the sacrificial rites connected 
with them all. The only sense in which they can 
still be called pilgrim feasts is that, despite the 
general laxity of Sabbath observance and Syna- 
gogue attendance, these three celebrations are 
nowadays occasions on which, in spring, summer, 
and autumn, a large section of the Jewish com- 
munity contrives to wend its way to places of 
public worship. 

In the Jewish Liturgy the three feasts have 
special designations. They are called respect- 
ively ' The Season of our Freedom,' ' the Season 
of the Giving of our Law,' and ' the Season of our 
Joy.' These descriptions are not biblical, nor are 
they found in this precise form until the fixation 
of the Synagogue liturgy in the early part of the 
Middle Ages. But they have had a powerful 



influence in perpetuating the hold that the three 
pilgrim feasts have on the heart and conscious- 
ness of Israel. Liberty, Revelation, Joy these are 
a sequence of wondrous appeal. Now it is easily 
seen that these ideas have no indissoluble con- 
nection with specific historical traditions. True, 
' Freedom ' implies the Exodus ; ' Revelation,' the 
Sinaitic theophany ; ' Joy,' the harvest merry- 
makings, and perhaps some connection with the 
biblical narrative of Israel's wanderings in the 
wilderness. But the connection, though essential 
for the construction of the association, is not 
essential for its retention. ' The Passover,' says 
Mr. Montefiore (Liberal Judaism, p. 155), ' practi- 
cally celebrates the formation of the Jewish 
people. It is also the festival of liberty. In 
view of these two central features, it does not 
matter that we no longer believe in the miracu- 
lous incidents of the Exodus story. They are 
mere trappings which can easily be dispensed 
with. A festival of liberty, the formation of a 
people for a religious task, a people destined to 
become a purely religious community whose con- 
tinued existence has no meaning or value except 
on the ground of religion, here we have ideas 
which can fitly form the subject of a yearly 
celebration.' Again, as to Pentecost and the Ten 


Commandments, Mr. Montefiore writes : ' We do 
not believe that any divine or miraculous voice, 
still less that God Himself, audibly pronounced 
the Te.n Words. But their importance lies in 
themselves, not in their surroundings and origin. 
Liberals as well as orthodox may therefore join 
in the festival of the Ten Cpmmandments. 
Pentecost celebrates the definite union of re- 
ligion with morality, the inseparable conjunction 
of the " service " of God with the " service " of 
man. Can any religious festival have a nobler 
subject?' Finally, as to tabernacles, Mr. Monte- 
fiore thus expresses himself: ' For us, to-day, the 
connection with the wanderings from Egypt, 
which the latest [biblical] legislators attempted, 
has again disappeared. Tabernacles is a harvest 
festival; it is a nature festival. Should not a 
religion have a festival or holy day of this kind ? 
Is not the conception of God as the ruler and 
sustainer of nature, the immanent and all-per- 
vading spirit, one aspect of the Divine, which can 
fitly be. thought of and celebrated year by year ? 
Thus each of the three great Pentateuchal festi- 
vals may reasonably and joyfully be observed by 
liberals and orthodox alike. We have no need 
or wish to make a change.' And of the actual 
ceremonial rites connected with the Passover, 


Pentecost, and Tabernacles, it is apparently only 
the avoidance of leaven on the first of the three 
that is regarded as unimportant. But even there 
Mr. Montefiore's own feeling is in favour of the 
rite. 'It is/ he says, 'a matter of comparative 
unimportance whether the practice of eating un- 
leavened bread in the house for the seven days 
of the Passover be maintained or not. Those 
who appreciate the value of a pretty and ancient 
symbol, both for children and adults, will not 
easily abandon the custom.' 

This is surely a remarkable development. In 
the Christian Church it seems that certain festi- 
vals are retaining their general hold because they 
are becoming public, national holidays. But in 
Judaism the hold is to be maintained precisely 
on the ground that there is to be nothing national 
about them, they are to be reinterpreted ideally and 
symbolically. It remains to be seen whether this 
is possible, and it is too early to predict the verdict 
of experience. The process is in active incubation 
in America as well as in Europe, but it cannot 
be claimed that the eggs are hatched yet. On 
the other hand, Zionism has so far had no effect 
in the opposite direction. There has been no 
nationalisation of Judaism as a result of the new 
striving after political nationality. Many who 


had previously been detached from the Jewish 
community have been brought back by Zionism, 
but they have not been re-attached to the 
religion. There has been no perceptible in- 
crease, for instance, in the number of those 
who fast on the Ninth of Ab, the anniversary 
of the destruction of the Temple. Hence, from 
these and other considerations, of which limited 
space prevents the specification, it seems on the 
whole likely that, as in the past so in the future, 
the Festivals of the Synagogue will survive by 
changes in religious significance rather than by 
any deepening of national association. 

Except that the Synagogues are decked with 
flowers, while the Decalogue is solemnly intoned 
from the Scroll of the Pentateuch, the Feast of 
Pentecost has no ceremonial trappings even with 
the orthodox. Passover and Tabernacles stand 
on a different footing. The abstention from 
leavened bread on the former feast has led to a 
closely organised system of cleansing the houses, 
an interminable array of rules as to food ; while 
the prescriptions of the Law as to the bearing 
of palm-branches and other emblems, and the 
ordinance as to dwelling in booths, have sur- 
rounded the Feast of Tabernacles with a con- 
siderable, if less extensive, ceremonial But 


there is this difference. The Passover is pri- 
marily a festival of the Home, Tabernacles of the 
Synagogue. In Europe the habit of actually 
dwelling in booths has been long unusual, owing 
to climatic considerations. But of late years it 
has become customary for every Synagogue to 
raise its communal booth, to which many Jews 
pay visits of ceremony. On the other hand, the 
Passover is par excellence a home rite. On the 
first two evenings (or at all events on the first 
evening) there takes place the Seder (literally 
' service '), a service of prayer, which is at the 
same time a family meal. Gathered round the 
table, on which are spread unleavened cakes, bitter 
herbs, and other emblems of joy and sorrow, the 
family recounts in prose and song the narrative 
of the Exodus. The service is in two parts, 
between which comes the evening meal. The 
hallowing of the home here attains its highest 

Unless, indeed, this distinction be allotted to 
the Sabbath. The rigidity of the laws regarding 
Sabbath observance is undeniable. Movement 
was restricted, many acts were forbidden which 
were not in themselves laborious. The Sabbath 
was hedged in by a formidable array of enact- 
ments. To an outside critic it is not wonderful 


that the Jewish Sabbath has a repellent look. 
But to the insider things wear another aspect. 
The Sabbath was and is a day of delight. On it 
the Jew had a foretaste of the happiness of the 
world to come. The reader who wishes to have 
a spirited, and absolutely true, picture of the 
Jewish Sabbath cannot do better than turn to 
Dr. Schechter's excellent Studies in Judaism 
(pp. 296 seq.). As Dr. Schechter pithily puts it : 
' Somebody, either the learned professors, or the 
millions of the Jewish people, must be under a 
delusion.' Right through the Middle Ages the 
Sabbath grew deeper into the affections of the 
Jews. It was not till after the French Revolu- 
tion and the era of emancipation, that a change 
occurred. Mixing with the world, and sharing 
the world's pursuits, the Jews began to find it 
hard to observe the Saturday Sabbath as of old. 
In still more recent times the difficulty has in- 
creased. Added to this, the growing laxity in 
observances has affected the Sabbath. This is 
one of the most pressing problems that face 
the Jewish community to-day. Here and there 
an attempt has been made by small sections of 
Jews to substitute a Sunday Sabbath for the 
Saturday Sabbath. But the plan has not prospered. 
One of the most notable rites of the Service of 


the Passover eve is the sanctification with wine, 
a ceremony common to the ordinary Sabbath eve. 
This rite has perhaps had much to do with the 
characteristic sobriety of Israel. Wine forms 
part of almost every Jewish rite, including the 
marriage ceremony. Wine thus becomes asso- 
ciated with religion, and undue indulgence is a 
sin as well as a vice. ' No joy without wine,' runs 
an old Rabbinic prescription. Joy is the hall- 
mark of Judaism ; 'Joyous Service 'its summary 
of man's relation to the Law. So far is Judaism 
from being a gloomy religion, that it is almost 
too light-hearted, just as was the religion of 
ancient Greece. But the Talmud tells us of a 
class who in the early part of the first century 
were known as 'lovers of sorrow.' These men 
were in love with misfortune ; for to every trial of 
Israel corresponded an intervention of the divine 
salvation. This is the secret of the Jewish gaiety. 
The resilience under tribulation was the result of 
a firm confidence in the saving fidelity of God. 
And the gaiety was tempered by solemnity, as 
the observances, to which we now turn, will 
amply show. 

Far more remarkable than anything yet dis- 
cussed is the change effected in two other holy 
days since Bible times. The genius of Judaism 


is nowhere more conspicuous than in the fuller 
meanings which have been infused into the New 
Year's Day and the Day of Atonement. The 
New Year is the first day of the seventh month 
(Tishri), when the ecclesiastical year began. In 
the Bible the festival is only known as a ' day of 
blowing the shofar' (ram's horn). In the Syna- 
gogue this rite was retained after the destruction 
of the Temple, and it still is universally observed. 
But the day was transformed into a Day of Judg- 
ment, the opening of a ten days' period of Peni- 
tence which closed with the Day of Atonement. 

Here, too, the change effected in a biblical rite 
transformed its character. 'It needed a long 
upward development before a day, originally 
instituted on priestly ideas of national sin and 
collective atonement, could be transformed into 
the purely spiritual festival which we celebrate 
to-day' (Montefiore, op. cit, p. 160). But the 
day is none the less associated with a strict rite, 
the fast. It is one of the few ascetic ceremonies 
in the Jewish Calendar as known to most Jews. 
There is a strain of asceticism in some forms of 
Judaism, and on this a few words will be said 
later. But, on the whole, there is in modern 
Judaism a tendency to underrate somewhat the 
value of asceticism in religion. Hence the fast 


has a distinct importance in and for itself, and 
it is regrettable ..that the laudable desire to 
spiritualise the^day is leading^ to a depreciation 
ofthe fast as such.^ But the real change is due 
to the cessation of sacrifices. In the Levitical 

de, sacrifice had a primary importance in the 
scheme of atonement. But with the loss of the 
Temple, the idea of sacrifice entirely vanished, 
and atonement became a matter for the personal 
conscience. It was henceforth an inward sense 
of sin translating itself into the better life. ' To 
purify desire, to ennoble the will this is the 
essential condition of atonement. Nay, it is 
atonement ' (Joseph, Judaism as Creed and Life, 
p. 267 ; cf. supra, p. 45). This, in the opinion of 
Christian theologians, is a shallow view of atojae- 
ment. But it is at all events an attempt to 
apply theology to life. And its justification lies 
in its success. 

Of the other festivals a word is due concerning 
two of them, which differ much in significance and 
in development. Purim and Chanuka are their 
names. Purim was probably the ancient Baby- 
lonian Saturnalia, and it is still observed as a 
kind of Carnival by many Jews, though their 
number is decreasing. For Purim is emphati- 
cally a Ghetto feast. And this description applies 


in more ways than one. In the first place, the 
Book of Esther, with which the Jewish Puriin is 
associated, is not a book that commends itself to 
the modern Jewish consciousness. The historicity 
of the story is doubted, and its narrow outlook 
is not that of prophetic Judaism. Observed 
as mediaeval Jews observed it, Purim was a 
thoroughly innocent festivity. The unpleasant 
taste left by the closing scenes of the book was 
washed off by the geniality of temper which saw 
the humours of Hamau's fall and never for a 
moment rested in a feeling of vindictiveness. 
But the whole book breathes so nationalistic a 
spirit, so uncompromising a belief that the enemy 
of Israel must be the enemy of God, that it has 
become difficult for modern Judaism to retain 
any affection for it. It makes its appeal to the 
persecuted, no doubt : it conveys a stirring lesson 
in the providential care with which God watches 
over His people: it bids the sufferer hope. 
Esther's splendid surrender of self, her immortal 
declaration, ' If I perish, I perish,' still may legiti- 
mately thrill all hearts. But the Carnival has no 
place in the life of a Western city, still less the 
sectional Carnival. The hobby-horse had its 
opportunity and the maskers their rights in the 
Ghetto, but only there. Purim thus is now 


chiefly retained as a children's feast, and still 
better as a feast of charity, of the interchange of 
gifts between friends, and the bestowal of alms on 
the needy. This is a worthy survival. 

Chanuka, on the other hand, grows every year 
into greater popularity. This festival of light, 
when lamps are kindled in honour of the 
Maccabean heroes, has of late been rediscovered 
by the liberals. For the first four centuries of 
the Christian Era, the festival of Chanuka 
('Dedication') was observed by the Church as 
well as by the Synagogue. But for some cen- 
turies afterwards the significance of the anni- 
versary was obscured. It is now realised as a 
momentous event in the world's history. It was 
not merely a tocal triumph of Hebraism over 
Hellenism, but it represents the re-entry of the 
East into the civilisation of the West. Alexander 
the Great had occidentalised the Orient. But 
with the success of the Judseans against the 
Seleucids and of the Parthians against the 
Romans, the East reasserted itself. And the 
newly recovered influence has never again been 
surrendered. Hence this feast is a feast of ideals. 
Year by year this is becoming more clearly seen. 
And the symbol of the feast, light, is itself an 



The Jew is really a very sentimental being. 
He loves symbols. A good deal of his fondness 
for ritual is due to this fact. The outward marks 
of an inner state have always appealed to him. 
Ancient taboos became not only consecrated but 
symbolical Whether it be the rite of circum- 
cision, or the use of phylacteries and fringed 
praying garments, or the adfixture of little scrolls 
in metal cases on the door-posts, or the glad 
submission to the dietary laws, in all these 
matters sentiment played a considerable part. 
And the word sentiment is used in its best sense. 
Abstract morality is well enough for the philo- 
sopher, but men of flesh and blood want their 
morality expressed in terms of feeling. Love of 
God is a fine thing, but the Jew wished to do 
loving acts of service. Obedience to the Will of 
God, the suppression of the human desires before 
that Will, is a great ideal. But the Jew wished to 
realise that he was obeying, that he was making 
the self-suppression. He was not satisfied with 
a general law of holiness: he felt impelled to 
holiness in detail, to a life in which the laws of 
bodily hygiene were obeyed as part of the same 
law of holiness that imposed ritual and moral 
purity. Much of the intricate system of obser- 
vance briefly summarised in this paragraph, a 
E 65 


system which filled the Jew's life, is passing away. 
This is largely because Jews are surrendering 
their own original theory of life and religion. 
Modern Judaism seems to have no use for the 
ritual system. The older Judaism might retort 
that, if that be so, it has no use for the modern 
Judaism. It is, however, clear that modern 
Judaism now realises the mistake made by the 
Reformers of the mid-nineteenth century. Hence 
we are hearing, and shall no doubt hear more 
and more, of the modification of observances in 
Judaism rather than of their abolition. 




'JUDAISM is often called the religion of reason. 
It is this, but it is also the religion of the soul. 
It recognises the value of that mystic insight, 
those indefinable intuitions which, taking up the 
task at the point where the mind impotently 
abandons it, carries us straight into the presence 
of the King. Thus it has found room both for 
the keen speculator on theological problems and 
for the mystic who, because he feels God, declines 
to reason about Him for a Maimonides and a 
Mendelssohn, but also for a Nachrnanides, a Vital, 
and a Luria ' (M. Joseph, op. cit, p. 47). Used in 
a vague way, mysticism stands for spiritual inward- 
ness. Religion without mysticism, said Amiel, is 
a rose without perfume. This saying is no more 
precise and no more informing than Matthew 
Arnold's definition of religion as morality touched 
with emotion. Neither mysticism nor an emo- 
tional touch makes religion. They are as often 
as not concomitants of a pathological state which 


is the denial of religion. But if mysticism means 
a personal attitude towards God in which the 
heart is active as well as the mind, then religion 
cannot exist without mysticism. 

When, however, we regard mysticism as what 
it very often is, as an antithesis to institutional 
religion and a revolt against authority and forms, 
then it may seem at first sight paradoxical to 
recognise the mystic's claim to the hospitality of 
Judaism. That a religion which produced the 
Psalter, and not only produced it, but used it 
with never a break, should be a religion, with 
intensely spiritual possibilities, and its adherents 
capable of a vivid sense of the nearness of God, 
with an ever-felt and never-satisfied longing for 
communion with Him, is what we should fully 
expect. But this expectation would rather make 
us look for an expression on the lines of the 119th 
Psalm, in which the Law is so markedly associated 
with freedom and spirituality. Judaism, after all, 
allowed to authority and Law a supreme place. 
But the mystic relies on his own intuitions, de- 
pends on his personal experiences. Judaism, on 
the other hand, is a scheme in which personal 
experiences only count in so far as they are 
brought into the general fund of the communal 



But in discussing Judaism it is always impera- 
tive to discard all a priori probabilities. Judaism 
is the great upsetter of the probable. Analyse a 
tendency of Judaism and predict its logical con- 
sequences, and then look in Judaism for con- 
sequences quite other than these. Over and over 
again things are not what they ought to be. The 
sacrificial system should have destroyed spiritu- 
ality ; in fact, it produced the Psalter, ' the hymn- 
book of the second Temple.' Pharisaism ought 
to have led to externalism ; in fact, it did not, for 
somehow excessive scrupulosity in rite and piet- 
istic exercises went hand in hand with simple 
faith and religious inwardness. So, too, the ex- 
pression of ethics and religion as Law ought to 
have suppressed individuality; in fact, it some- 
times gave an impulse to each individual to try 
to impose his own concepts, norms, and acts as 
a Law upon the rest. Each thought very much 
for himself, and desired that others should think 
likewise. We have already seen that in matters 
of dogma there never was any corporate action at 
all; in ancient times, as now, it is not possible to 
pronounce definitely on the dogmatie teachings 
of Judaism. Though there has been and is a cer- 
tain consensus of opinion on many matters, yet 
neither in practice nor in beliefs have the local, 


the temporal, the personal elements ever been 
negligible. In order to expound or define a tenet 
or rite of Judaism it is mostly necessary to go 
into questions of time and place and person. 

Perhaps, then, we ought to be prepared to find, 
as in point of fact we do find, within the main 
body of Judaism, and not merely as a freak of 
occasional eccentrics, distinct mystical tendencies. 
These tendencies have often been active well in- 
side the sphere of the Law. Mysticism was, as 
we shall see, sometimes a revolt against Law ; but 
it was often, in Judaism as in the Roman Catholic 
Church, the outcome of a sincere and even pas- 
sionate devotion to authority. Jewish mysticism, 
in particular, starts as an interpretation of the 
Scriptures. Certain truths were arrived at by man 
either intuitively or rationally, and these were 
harmonised with the Bible by a process of lifting 
the veil from the text, and thus penetrating to 
the true meaning hidden beneath the letter. 
Allegorical and esoteric exegesis always had this 
aim: to find written what had been otherwise 
found. Honour was thus done to the Scriptures, 
though the latter were somewhat cavalierly treated 
in the process ; Philo's doctrine (at the beginning 
of the Christian era) and the great canonical book 
of the mediaeval Cabbala, the Zohar (beginning of 


the fourteenth century), were alike in this, they 
were largely commentaries on the Pentateuch. 
Maimonides in the twelfth century followed the 
same method, and only differed from these in the 
nature of his deductions from Scripture. This 
prince of rationalists agreed with the mystics in 
adopting an esoteric exegesis. But he read Aris- 
totle into the text, while the mystics read Plato 
into it. They were alike faithful to the Law, or 
rather to their own interpretations of its terms. 

But further than this, a large portion of Jewish 
mfysticism was the work of lawyers. Some of the 
foremost mystics were famous Talmudists, men 
who were appealed to for decisions on ritual and 
conduct. It is a phenomenon that constantly 
meets us in Jewish theology. There were anti- 
nomian mystics and legalistic opponents of mysti- 
cism, but many, like Nachmanides (1195-1270) 
and Joseph Caro (1488-1575), doubled the parts of 
Cabbalist and Talmudist. That Jewish mysticism 
comes to look like a revolt against the Talmud 
is due to the course of mediaeval scholasticism. 
While Aristotle was supreme, it was impossible 
for man to conceive as knowable anything un- 
attainable by reason. But reason must alwavs 

* V 

leave God as unknowable. Mysticism did not 
assert that God was knowable, but it substi- 


tuted something else for this spiritual scepticism. 

Mysticism started with the conviction that God 
was unknowable by reason, but it held that God 
was nevertheless realisable in the human ex- 
perience. Accepting and adopting various Neo- 
Platonic theories of emanation, elaborating thence 
an intricate angelology, the mystics threw a bridge 
over the gulf between God and man. Philo's 
Logos, the Personified Wisdom of the Palestinian 
Midrash, the demiurge of Gnosticism, the incar- 
nate Christ, were all but various phases of this 
same attempt to cross an otherwise impassable 
chasm. Throughout its whole history, Jewish 
mysticism substituted mediate creation for imme- 
diate creation out of nothing, and the mediate 
beings were not created but were emanations. 
This view was much influenced by Solomon ibn 
Gabirol (1021-1070). God is to Gabirol an abso- 
lute Unity, in which form and substance are 
identical. Hence He cannot be attributively de- 
fined, and man can know Him only by means of 
beings which emanate from Him. Nor was this 
idea confined to Jewish philosophy of the GraBCo- 
Arabic school. The German Cabbala, too, which 
owed nothing directly to that school, held that 
God was not rationally knowable. The result 
must be, not merely to exalt visionary meditation 


over calm ratiocination, but to place reliance on 
inward experience instead of on external autho- 
rity, which makes its appeal necessarily to the 
reason. Here we see elements of revolt. For, as 
Dr. L. Ginzberg well says, ' while study of the 
Law was to Talinudists the very acme of piety, 
the mystics accorded the first place to prayer, 
which was considered as a mystical progress to- 
wards God, demanding a state of ecstasy.' The 
Jewish mystic must invent means for inducing 
such a state, for Judaism cannot endure a passive 
waiting for the moving spirit. The mystic soul 
must learn how to mount the chariot (Merkaba) 
and ride into the inmost halls of Heaven. Mostly 
the ecstatic state was induced by fasting and 
other ascetic exercises, a necessary preliminary 
being moral purity ; then there were solitary 
meditations and long night vigils ; lastly, pre- 
scribed ritual of proved efficacy during the veiy 
act of prayer. Thus mysticism had a further 
attraction for a certain class of Jews, in that it 
supplied the missing element of asceticism which 
is indispensable to men more austerely disposed 
than the average Jew. 

In the sixteenth century a very strong impetus 
was given to Jewish mysticism by Isaac Luria 
(1534-1572). His chief contributions to the move- 


ment were practical, though he doubtless taught a 
theoretical Cabbala also. But Judaism, even in its 
mystical phases, remains a religion of conduct. 
Luria was convinced that man can conquer 
matter ; this practical conviction was the moving 
force of his whole life. His own manner of 
living was saintly; and he taught his disciples 
that they too could, by penitence, confession, 
prayer, and charity, evade bodily trammels and 
send their souls straight to God even during their 
terrestrial pilgrimage. Luria taught all this not 
only while submitting to Law, but under the stress 
of a passionate submission to it. He added in 
particular a new beauty to the Sabbath. Many 
of the most fascinatingly religious rites connected 
now with the Sabbath are of his devising. The 
white Sabbath garb, the joyous mystical hymns 
full of the Bride and of Love, the special Sabbath 
foods, the notion of the 'over-Soul' these and 
many other of the Lurian rites and fancies still hold 
wide sway in the Orient. The ' over-Soul ' was a 
very inspiring conception, which certainly did not 
originate with Luria. According to a Talmudic 
Rabbi (Resh Lakish, third century), on Adam was 
bestowed a higher soul on the Sabbath, which he 
lost at the close of the day. Luria seized upon 
this mystical idea, and used it at once to spiritualise 


the Sabbath and attach to it an ecstatic joyous- 
ness. The ritual of the ' over-Soul ' was an elabo- 
rate means by which a relation was established 
between heaven and earth. But all this symbolism 
had but the slightest connection with dogma. It 
was practical through and through. It emerged 
in a number of new rites, it based itself on and 
became the cause of a deepening devotion to 
morality. Luria would have looked with dismay 
on the moral laxity which did later on intrude, in 
consequence of unbridled emotionalism and mystic 
hysteria. There comes the point when he that 
interprets Law emotionally is no longer Law- 
abiding. The antinomian crisis thus produced 
meets us in the careers of many who, like Sabbatai 
Zebi, assumed the Messianic role. 

Jewish mysticism, starting as an ascetic correc- 
tive to the conventional hedonism, lost its ascetic 
character and degenerated into licentiousness. 
This was the case with the eighteenth-century 
mysticism known as Chassidism, though, as its 
name (' Saintliness ') implies, it was innocent 
enough at its initiation. Violent dances, and other 
emotional and sensual stimulations, led to a state 
of exaltation during which the line of morality was 
overstepped. But there was nevertheless, as Dr. 
Schechter has shown, considerable spiritual worth 



and beauty in Chassidism. It transferred the centre 
of gravity from thinking to feeling ; it led away 
from the worship of Scripture to the love of God. 
The fresh air of religion was breathed once more, 
the stars and the open sky replaced the midnight 
lamp and the college. But it was destined to 
raise a fog more murky than the confined atmo- 
sphere of the study. The man with the book 
was often nearer God than was the man of the 

The opposition of Talmudism against the neo- 
mysticism was thus on the whole just and salu- 
tary. This opposition, no doubt, was bitter chiefly 
when mysticism became revolutionary in practice, 
when it invaded the established customs of legal- 
istic orthodoxy. But it was also felt that mysti- 
cism went dangerously near to a denial of the 
absolute Unity of God. It was more difficult to 
attack it on its theoretical than on its practical 
side, however. The Jewish mystic did sometimes 
adopt a most irritating policy of deliberately 
altering customs as though for the very pleasure 
of change. Now in most religious controversies 
discipline counts for more than belief. As Salirn- 
beno asserts of his own day : ' It was far less dan- 
gerous to debate in the schools whether God really 
existed, than to wear publicly and pertinaciously 


a frock and cowl of any but the orthodox cut.' 
But the Talmudists' antagonism to mysticism was 
not exclusively of this kind in the eighteenth 
century. Mysticism is often mere delusion. In 
the last resort man has no other guide than his 
reason. It is his own reason that convinces him 
of the limitations of his reason. But those limita- 
tions are not to be overpassed by a visionary self- 
introspection, unless this, too, is subjected to 
rational criticism. Mysticism does its true part 
when it applies this criticism also to the current 
"forms, conventions, and institutions. Conventions, 
forms, and institutions, after all, represent the 
corporate wisdom, the accumulated experiences 
of men throughout the ages. Mysticism is the 
experience of one. Each does right to test the 
corporate experience by his own experience. But 
he must not elevate himself into a law even for 
himself. That, in a sentence, would summarise 
the attitude of Judaism towards mysticism. It is 
medicine, not a food. 




THAT the soul has a life of its own after death 
was a firmly fixed idea in Judaism, though, except 
in the works of philosophers and in the liberal 
theology of modern Judaism, the grosser concep- 
tion of a bodily Resurrection was predominant over 
the purely spiritual idea of Immortality. Curi- 
ously enough, Maimonides, who formulated the 
belief in Resurrection as a dogma of the Syn- 
agogue, himself held that the world to come is 
altogether free from material factors. At a much 
earlier period (in the third century) Rab had said 
(Ber. 17 a): 'Not as this world is the world to 
come. In the world to come there is no eating 
or drinking, no sexual intercourse, no barter, no 
envy, hatred, or contention. But the righteous 
sit with their crowns on then- heads, enjoying the 
splendour of the Shechinah (the Divine Presence).' 
Commenting on this in various places, Maimonides 
emphatically asserts the spirituality of the future 


life. In his Siraj he says, with reference to the 
utterance of Rab just quoted: ' By the remark of 
the Sages " with their crowns on their heads " is 
meant the preservation of the soul in the intel- 
lectual sphere, and the merging of the two into 
one. ... By their remark " enjoying the splendour 
of the Shechinah " is meant that those souls will 
reap bliss in what they comprehend of the 
Creator, just as the Angels enjoy felicity in what 
they understand of His existence. And so the 
felicity and the final goal consists in reaching to 
this exalted company and attaining this high 
pitch.' Again, in his philosophical Guide (i. xli.), 
Maimonides distinguishes three kinds of 'soul': 
(1) The principle of animality, (2) the principle of 
humanity, and (3) the principle of intellectuality, 
that part of man's individuality which can exist 
independently of the body, and therefore alone 
survives death. Even more remarkable is the 
fact that Maimonides enunciates the same opinion 
in his Code (Laws of Repentance, viii. 2). For the 
Code differs from the other two of the three main 
works of Maimcmides in that it is less personal, 
and expresses what the author conceives to be 
the general opinion of Judaism as interpreted by 
its most authoritative teachers. 

There can be no question but that this repeated 


insistence of Maimonides has strongly affected 
all subsequent Jewish thought. To him, eternal 
bliss consists in perfect spiritual communion with 
God. ' He who desires to serve God from Love 
must not serve to win the future world. But he 
does right and eschews wrong because he is man, 
and owes it to his manhood to perfect himself. 
This effort brings him to the type of perfect man, 
whose soul shall live in the state that befits it, 
viz. in the world to come.' Thus the world to 
come is a state rather than a place. 

But Maimonides' view was not accepted with- 
out dispute. It was indeed quite easy to cite 
Rabbinic passages in which the world to come is 
identified with the bodily Resurrection. Against 
Maimonides were produced such Talmudic utter- 
ances as the following : ' Said Rabbi Chiya b. 
Joseph, the Righteous shall arise clad in their 
garments, for if a grain of wheat which is 
buried naked comes forth with many garments, 
how much more shall the righteous arise full 
garbed, seeing that they were interred with 
shrouds' (Kethub. Ill b). Again, 'Rabbi Jannai 
said to his children, Bury me not in white 
garments or in black: not in white, lest I be 
not held worthy (of heaven) and thus may be 
like a bridegroom among mourners (in Gehenna) ; 


nor in black, lest if I am held worthy, I be like 
a mourner among bridegrooms (in heaven). But 
bury me in coloured garments (so that my appear- 
ance will be partly in keeping with either fate),' 
(Sabbath, 114 a). Or finally : They arise with 
their blemishes, and then are healed ' (Sanh. 91 b). 
The popular fancy, in its natural longing for 
a personal existence after the bodily death, 
certainly seized upon the belief in Resurrection 
with avidity. It had its roots partly in the 
individual consciousness, partly in the communal. 
For the Resurrection was closely connected with 
such hopes as those expressed in Ezekiel's vision 
of the re-animation of Israel's dry bones (Ezek. 
xxxvil). Thus popular theology adopted many 
ideas based on the Resurrection. The myth of 
the Leviathan hardly belongs here, for, wide- 
spread as it was, it was certainly not regarded 
in a material light. The Leviathan was created 
on the fifth day, and its flesh will be served as 
a banquet for the righteous at the advent of 
Messiah. The mediaeval poets found much attrac- 
tion in this idea, and allowed their imagination 
full play concerning the details of the divine 
repast. Maimonides entirely spiritualised the 
idea, and his example was here decisive. The 
conception of the Resurrection had other con- 
F 81 


sequences. As the scene of the Resurrection is 
to be Jerusalem, there grew up a strong desire 
to be buried on the western slope of Mount 
Olivet. In fact, many burial and mourning 
customs of the Synagogue originated from a 
belief in the bodily Resurrection. But even in 
the orthodox liturgy the direct references to it 
are vague and idealised. Two passages of great 
beauty may be cited. The first is taken from the 
Authorised Daily Prayer Book (ed. Singer, p. 5) : 
' my God, the soul which Thou gavest me is 
pure ; Thou didst create it, Thou didst form it, 
Thou didst breathe it into me ; Thou preservest 
it within me; and Thou wilt take it from me, 
but wilt restore it unto me hereafter. So long 
as the soul is within me, I will give thanks unto 
Thee, O Lord my God and God of my fathers, 
Sovereign of all works, Lord of all souls ! Blessed 
art Thou, Lord, who restorest souls unto dead 
bodies.' The last phrase is also extant in another 
reading in the Talmud and in some liturgies: 
'Blessed art Tnou, who re vi vest the dead,' but 
the meaning of the two forms is identical This 
passage, be it noted, is ancient, and is recited 
every morning at prayer. The second passage 
is recited even more frequently, for it is said 
thrice daily, and also forms part of the funeral 


service. It may be found in the Prayer Book 
just quoted on p. 44 : ' Thou, Lord, art mighty 
for ever, Thou quickenest the dead, Thou art 
mighty to save. Thou sustainest the living with 
loving- kindness, quickenest the dead with great 
mercy, supportest the falling, healest the sick, 
loosest the bound, and keepest Thy faith to them 
that sleep in the dust. Who is like unto Thee, 
Lord of mighty acts, and who resembleth Thee, 
O King, who killest and quickenest, and causest 
salvation to spring forth ? Yea faithful art Thou 
to quicken the dead.' 

The later history of the doctrine in the 
Synagogue may be best summarised in the words 
of Dr. Kohler, whose theological articles in the 
Jewish Encyclopedia deserve grateful recogni- 
tion. What follows may be read at full length 
in that work, vol. vi. p. 567 : ' While mediaeval 
philosophy dwelt on the intellectual, moral, or 
spiritual nature of the soul to prove its immor- 
tality, the Cabbalists endeavoured to explain the 
soul as a light from heaven, after Proverbs xx. 27, 
and immortality as a return to the celestial world 
of pure light. But the belief in the pre-existence 
of the soul led the mystics to the adoption, with 
all its weird notions and superstitions, of the 
Pythagorean system of the transmigration of the 


soul.' Moses Mendelssohn revived the Platonic 
form of the doctrine of immortality. Thence- 
forth the dogma of the Resurrection was gradually 
discarded until it was eliminated from the Prayer 
Book of the Reform congregations. Man's future 
was thought of as the realisation of those ' higher 
expectations which are sown, as part of its very 
nature, in every human soul' The statement of 
Genesis that ' God made man in His own image,' 
and the idea conveyed in the text (1 Samuel 
xxv. 29), ' May the soul ... be bound up in the 
bundle of life with the Lord thy God,' which as a 
divine promise and a human supplication ' filled 
the generations with comfort and hope, received 
a new meaning from this view of man's future ; 
and the Rabbinical saying (Ber. 64 a): "The 
Righteous rest not, either in this or in the 
future world, but go from strength to strength 
until they see God in Zion," appeared to offer an 
endless vista to the hope of immortality.' 

But quite apart from this indefiniteness of 
attitude as to the meaning of immortality, it is 
scarcely possible to speak of a Jewish Eschatology 
at all. The development of an Eschatology 
occurred in that section of Jewish opinion which 
remained on the fringe. It must be sought in 
the apocalyptic literature, which has been pre- 


served in Greek. The whole subject had but a 
small attraction for Judaism proper. Naturally 
there was some curiosity and some speculation. 
The Day of the Lord, with its combination of 
Retribution and Salvation, was pictured in vari- 
ous ways and with some elaboration of detail. 
Paradise and Hell were mapped out, and the 
comfortable compartments to be occupied by the 
saints and the miserable quarters of sinners were 
specified with the precision of an Ordnance Sur- 
vey. Purgatory was an institution not limited to 
the Roman Catholic Church; it had a strong hold 
on the mediaeval Jewish mind. The intermediate 
state was a favourite escape from the theological 
necessity of condemning sinners to eternal punish- 
ment. The Jewish heart could not suffer the 
pain of conceiving Gehenna inevitable. So, one 
by one, those who might logically be committed 
there were rescued on various pretexts. In the 
end the number of the individual sinners who 
were to suffer eternal torture could be named on 
the fingers of one hand. 

By the preceding paragraph it is not implied 
that Jewish literature in Hebrew has not its full 
complement of fancies, horrible and beautiful, 
regarding heaven and hell. But such fancies 
were neither dogmatic nor popular. They never 


found their way into the tenets of Judaism as 
formulated by any authority ; they never became 
a moving power in the life of the Jewish masses. 
It was the poets who nourished these lurid ideas, 
and poetry which has done so much for the good 
of religion has also done it many a disservice. 
Judaism, in its prosaic form, accepted the ideas 
of Immortality, Retribution, and so forth, but 
the real interest was in life here, not in life here- 

We can see how the two were bridged over by 
the Jewish conviction of human solidarity. For 
twelve months after the death of a father the son 
recited daily the Kaddish prayer (Authorised 
Daily Prayer Book, p. 77). This was a mere 
Doxology, opening : ' Magnified and sanctified be 
His great name in the world which He hath 
created according to His will. May He establish 
His kingdom during your life and during your 
days, and during the life of all the house of Israel, 
even speedily and at a near time, and say *ye 
Amen.' As to the Messianic idea of the King- 
dom of God, something will be said in the next 
chapter. But this Doxology was believed effica- 
cious to save the departed soul when uttered by 
the living son. The generations were thus bound 
together, and just as the merits of the fathers 


could exert benign influence over the erring child 
on earth, so could the praises of the child move 
the mercy of God in favour of the erring father 
hi Purgatory. It was a beautiful expression of 
the unbreakable chain of tradition, a tradition 
whose links were human hearts. In such con- 
ceptions, rather than in descriptive pictures of 
Paradise and Gehenna, is the true mind of 
Judaism to be discerned. 

That the first formal sign of grief at the death 
of a parent should be a Doxology will not have 
escaped notice. God is the Righteous Judge. 
Thus, in the Eschatology of Judaism, this idea 
of Judgment predominates. A favourite passage 
was the Mishnic utterance (second century): 
' Rabbi Eleazar said : They that are born are 
destined to die, and they that die to be brought 
to life again, and they that live to be judged.' 
(Aboth, iv. 29). But in another sense, too, there 
was judgment at death. The sorrow of the 
survivors, like the decease of the departed, was 
to be considered as God's doing, and therefore 
right. Hence in the very moment of the death 
of a loved one, when grief was most poignant, 
the survivor stood forth before the congrega- 
tion and praised God. And so the Burial Service 
is named hi Hebrew 'Zidduk Ha-din,' i.e. 'The 



Justification of the Judgment.' A few sentences 
in it ran thus (Prayer Book, p. 318) : ' The Rock, 
His work is perfect. . . . He ruleth below and 
above, He bringeth down to the grave and 
bringeth up again. . . . Blessed be the true 
Judge.' And perhaps more than all attempts 
to analyse beliefs and dogmas, the following 
prayer, recited during the week of mourning for 
the dead, will convey to the reader the real 
attitude of Judaism (at least in its central 
variety) to some of the questions which have 
occupied us in this chapter. The quotation is 
made from p. 323 of the same Prayer Book that 
has been already cited several times above : 

' Lord and King, who art full of compassion, 
in whose hand is the soul of every living thing and 
the breath of all flesh, who killest and makest alive, 
who bringest down to the grave and bringest up 
again, receive, we beseech Thee, in Thy great 
loving-kindness, the soul of our brother who hath 
been gathered unto his people. Have mercy upon 
him, pardon all his transgressions, for there is not 
a righteous man upon earth, who doeth good and 
sinneth not. Remember unto him the righteous- 
ness which he wrought, and let his reward be with 
him and his recompense before him. O shelter 
his soul in the shadow of Thy wings. Make 


known to Him the path of life : in Thy presence is 
fulness of joy ; at Thy right hand are pleasures for 
evermore. Vouchsafe unto him of the abounding 
happiness that is treasured up for the righteous, 
as it is written, Oh how great is Thy goodness, 
which Thou hast laid up for them that fear Thee, 
which Thou hast wrought for them that trust in 
Thee before the children of men ! 

'0 Lord, who healest the broken-hearted and 
bindest up their wounds, grant Thy consolation 
unto the mourners : put into their hearts the fear 
and love of Thee, that they may serve Thee with 
a perfect heart, and let their latter end be peace. 

' Like one whom his mother comforteth, so will 
I comfort you, and in Jerusalem shall ye be 
comforted. Thy sun shall no more go down, 
neither shall thy moon withdraw itself; for the 
Lord shall be thine everlasting light, and the 
days of thy mourning shall be ended. 

' He will destroy death for ever ; and the Lord 
will wipe away tears from off all faces ; and the 
rebuke of his people shall he take away from off 
all the earth : for the Lord hath spoken it.' 




THE Messianic Hope has an intimate connection 
with Eschatology. Whereas, however, the latter 
in so far as it affirmed a Resurrection conceived 
of the immortality of Israelites, the former con- 
ceived the Immortality of Israel. It is not neces- 
sary here to trace the origin and history of the 
Messianic idea in Judaism. That this idea had 
a strong nationalistic tinge is obvious. The Mes- 
siah was to be a person of Davidic descent, who 
would be the restorer of Israel's greatness. 
Throughout Jewish history, despite the constant 
injunction to refrain ' from calculating the date 
of the end,' men have arisen who have claimed to 
be Messiahs, and these have mostly asserted their 
claim on nationalistic pleas. They were to be 
kings of Israel as well as inaugurators of a new 
regime of moral and spiritual life. But though 
this is true without qualification, it is equally 
true that the philosophers of the Middle Ages 


tried to remove all materialistic notions from the 
Messianic idea. It is very difficult to assert 
nowadays whether Judaism does or does not ex- 
pect a personal Messiah. A very marked change 
has undoubtedly come over the spirit of the 

On the one hand the neo-Nationalists deny 
any Messianic hopes. When that great leader, 
Theodor Herzl, started a Zionistic movement 
without claiming to be the Jewish Messiah, he 
was putting the seal on a far-reaching change in 
Jewish sentiment. Dr. J. H. Greenstone, who has 
just published an interesting volume on the Messi- 
anic Idea in Jewish History, writes (p. 276): 'After 
the first Basle Congress (1897), when Zionism 
assumed its present political aspect, Dr. Max 
Nordau, the vice-president of the Congress, found 
it necessary to address an article to the Hebrew- 
reading public, in which he disclaimed all pre- 
tensions of Messiahship for himself or for his col- 
league Dr. Theodor Herzl.' We have thus this 
extraordinary situation. Many orthodox Jews 
stood aloof from the Zionistic movement because 
it was not Messianic, while many unorthodox Jews 
joined it just because of the movement's detach- 
ment from Messianic ideas. 

It may be well to cite Dr. Greenstone's verdict 


on the whole question, as the reader may care to 
have the opinion of so competent an authority 
whose view differs from that of the present writer. 
' Sacred as Zionism is to many of its adherents, it 
cannot and will not take the place of the Messianic 
hope. Zionism aims at the establishment of a 
Jewish State in Palestine under the protection of 
the powers of Europe. The Messianic hope pro- 
mises the establishment, by the Jews, of a world- 
power in Palestine to which all the nations of the 
earth will pay homage. Zionism, even in its poli- 
tical aspect, will fulfil only one phase of the 
Jewish Messianic hope. As such, if successful, it 
may contribute toward the full realisation of the 
hope. If not successful, it will not deprive the 
Jews of the hope. The Messianic hope is wider 
than the emancipation of the Jews, it is more com- 
prehensive than the establishment of a Jewish, 
politically independent State. It participates in 
the larger ideals of humanity, the ideals of perfec- 
tion for the human race, but it remains on Jewish 
soil, and retains its peculiarly Jewish significance. 
It promises universal peace, an age of justice and 
of righteousness, an age in which all men will 
recognise that God is One and His name One. 
But this glorious age will come about through the 
regeneration of the Jewish people, which in turn 


will be effected by a man, a scion of the house of 
David, sent by God to guide them on the road to 
righteousness. The people chosen by God to be 
His messengers to the world will then be able to 
accomplish their mission of regenerating the 
world. This was the Messianic hope proclaimed 
by the prophets and sages, and this is the Messianic 
hope of most Jews to-day, the difference between 
the various sections being only a difference in the 
details of the hope ' (op. tit, p. 278). 

Dr. Greenstone surely cannot mean that the 
question of a ' personal Messiah ' is a mere detail 
of the belief. Yet it is on that point that opinion 
is most divided among Jews. The older belief 
undeniably was what Dr. Greenstone enunciates. 
But for this belief, none of what Mr. Zangwill aptly 
terms the ' Dreamers of the Ghetto ' would have 
found the ready acceptance that several of them 
did when they presented themselves as Messiah 
or his forerunners. And no doubt there are many 
Jews who still cling to this form of the belief. 

On the other hand, there has been a slow but 
widespread tendency to reinterpret the whole in- 
tention of the Messianic hope of Judaism. In 
1869, and again in 1885, American Conferences of 
liberal Rabbis adopted resolutions to the follow- 
ing effect: 'The Messianic aim of Israel is not 


the restoration of the old Jewish State under a 
descendant of David, involving a second separa- 
tion from the nations of the earth, but the union 
of all children of God in the confession of the 
unity of God, so as to realise the unity of all 
rational creatures and their call to moral sancti- 
fication.' This view sees in the destruction of 
the Temple and the dispersal of Israel not a 
punishment but a stage in the fulfilment of 
Israel's destiny as revealed to Abraham. Israel 
is High-Priest, and can only fulfil his mission in 
the close neighbourhood of those to whom he is 
elected to minister. 

This, no less than the non-Messianic Zionism, 
is a considerable change from older beliefs. As a 
Messianic hope it transcends the visions of Isaiah. 
The prophet looks forward to an ideal future, a 
reign of peace and felicity, but the nations are to 
flow to Zion. The significance of the change lies 
in this. The Messianic idea now means to many 
Jews a belief in human development and pro- 
gress, with the Jews filling the role of the Mes- 
sianic people, but only as primus inter pares. It 
is the expression of a genuine optimism. ' Char- 
acter, no less than Career,' said George Eliot, ' is 
a process and an unfolding.' So with the Char- 
acter of mankind as a whole. But this idea of 


development, unfolding, is quite modern in the 
real sense of the terms; it is something outside 
the range even of the second Isaiah. Judaism 
was never quite sure whether to join the ranks of 
the ' laudatores temporis acti' or to believe that 
man never is but always to be blest. On the one 
hand, the person of Adam was endowed with per- 
fections such as none of his successors matched. 
On the other hand, the Golden Age of Judaism, as 
Renan said, was thrown forward into the future. 
That on the whole Judaism has taken the pro- 
spective rather than the retrospective view, is the 
sole justification for the modern conception of the 
Messianic Age which is fast becoming predomi- 
nant in the Synagogue. The Synagogue does not 
share the Roman poet's sentiment : 

' A race of men baser than their sires 
Gave birth to us, a progeny more vile, 
Who dower the world with offspring viler still ' ; 

but the English poet's trust : 

'Yet I doubt not through the ages one increasing purpose 


And the thoughts of men are widened with the process of 
the suns.' 

Denouncing the ' Calculators of the End, ' a Rabbi 

said (Sanh. 97 b) : ' All the computed terms have 

passed, and the matter dependeth now on re- 



pentance and good deeds ' (cf. S. Singer, The Mes- 
sianic Idea in Judaism, pp. 1 and 18) 

If, however, Israel is not destined to a Restora- 
tion, if the Jewish Mission is the propagation of 
an idea, on what ground is the continued exist- 
ence of Israel as a separate organisation defensible 
or justified ? Israel is indestructible, said Jehuda 
Halevi in the twelfth century ; certainly Israel is 
undestroyed. When Frederick the Great asked 
what should make him believe in God, he received 
in answer, ' the survival of the Jews.' Dr. Gutt- 
mann of Breslau not long since put forward a 
similar plea in vindication of the continued 
significance of Judaism. In nature all forms die 
when their utility is over; in history, peoples 
succumb when their work in and for the world is 
complete. Shall, he asks, we recognise Judaism 
as the solitary exception, as the unique instance 
of the survival of the unfit and the unnecessary ? 

The modern apologists for all religions rarely 
belong to the rank and file. Whether it be Har- 
nack for Christianity or Mr. Montefiore for Juda- 
ism, the vindicators stand far above the average 
of the believers whose faith they are vindicating. 
The average man needs no defence for a religion 
which enables him to live and thrive, materially 
and spiritually. The importance of this considera- 

tion is very great. Restricting our attention to 
Judaism, it is clear that it still offers ideals to 
many, prescribes and enforces a moral law, teaches 
a satisfying doctrine of God. If so, then it is futile 
to discuss whether Judaism is still necessary. Can 
the world afford to surrender a single one of its 
forces for good? If there are ten millions of 
men, women, and children who live, and live not 
ignobly, by Judaism, can it be contended that 
Judaism is obsolete ? The first, the main justifica- 
tion of Judaism is its continued efficiency, its 
proved power still to control and inspire many 
millions of human lives. There are more people 
living as Jews to-day, than there were at any 
previous moment in the world's history. 

But, like many answers to questions, this reply 
does not satisfy those who raise the question. I 
refer exclusively to the doubters among the Jews 
themselves, for if Jews were themselves con- 
vinced of the justification of the Jewish separate- 
ness, the. rest of the world would be convinced. 
Now, the Jews who ask this question are those 
who are not so completely given over to Judaism, 
that they are blind to the claims of other religions. 
To them the question is one not of absolute, but 
of comparative truth. Judaism may still be a 
power, but it may not be a desirable power. The 
G 97 


further question therefore arises as to the mission 
of Israel in history to come as well as in history 
past. History seems contradicted by the claim 
made by Judaism. Jews are quick enough to see 
the weakness of the pretension made by certain 
sects of dogmatic Christianity that it is the last 
word of religion, that -all saving truth was once 
for all revealed some nineteen centuries ago. 
History, says the Jewish controversialist, teaches 
no such lessons of finality. Forces appear, work 
their destined course, and then make way for 
other forces. The world does not stand still ; it 
moves on. Then how can Judaism claim for itself 
a permanence, a finality, which it must deny to 
every other system, to every other influence which 
has in its turn moulded human destiny ? 

A favourite answer is : Judaism is the exception 
that proves the rule. It has been a permanent force 
in the world's history. It is argued that Jewish 
ideals have exercised recurrent influence at all 
important crises. Dr. Guttmann somewhat rhetori- 
cally makes this identical claim. He points to the 
birth of Christianity, the rise of Islam, the mediaeval 
Scholasticism, the Italian Renaissance, the German 
Reformation, the English and American Puritan- 
ism, the modern humanitarian movement, as ex- 
emplifications of the continued power of Judaism 


to mould the minds and souls of men. There is a 
sense in which this claim is just. It is a valuable 
support to the Jew's allegiance to Judaism. But 
even if Dr. Guttmann's claim were granted, and 
it is considerably exaggerated, how does it help ? 
We are all agreed as to the debt which the 
world owes to Greece. That debt is a great one. 
Is it obsolete ? Surely not. Greece has again 
and again revived its ancient power to inspire 
men. The world would be a poor one to-day 
without all that Greek culture stands for. Greece 
did not give men enough to live by ; Hebraism did 
that. But Greece made life more worth living. 
Hellenism is an ever-recurrent force in human 
civilisation. Yet no one argues that because 
Hellenism is still necessary, Hellenes are also 
necessary. Who contends that for carrying on 
Greek culture you need Greeks? On the con- 
trary, it was the case of Greece that gave rise to 
the profound observation that just as a man must 
die to live, so peoples must die that men may live 
through them. Renan, who, among the moderns, 
gave fullest value to this truth, included Judsea 
with Greece in the generalisation. Certainly as a 
nation, whether temporarily or irrevocably, Judsea 
perished no less than Athens, that a new world 
might be born. And a new Jewish nation would 


no more be the old Judaea of Isaiah than the 
Athens of to-day is the Athens of Pericles, or the 
Rome of to-day the Rome of Augustus. History 
does not retrace its steps. 

Athens fell, and with it the Athenians. Why 
then, when Judsea fell, did the Jews remain? 
Greek culture does not need Greeks to carry it 
on ; why does Jewish culture need Jews ? The 
first suggestion to be offered is this : Israel is 
the protestant people. Every religious or moral 
innovator has also been a protestant. Socrates, 
Jesus, Luther ; Isaiah, Maimonides, Spinoza ; all 
of them, besides their contributions very un- 
equal contributions to the positive store of truth, 
assumed also the negative attitude of protesters. 
They refused to go with the multitude, to acquiesce 
in current conventions. They were all unpopular 
and even anti-popular. The Jews as a community 
have fulfilled, and are fulfilling, this protestant 
function. They have been and are unpopular 
just because of their protestant function. They 
refuse to go with the multitude ; they refuse to 
acquiesce. Geiger used this argument very 
forcibly, from the spiritual point of view, in the 
early part of the nineteenth century, and Anatole 
Leroy-Beaulieu (in his book Israel among the 
Nations) even more forcibly used it at the end 


of the same century, from the historical point of 
view. This ingenious French observer cites a 
suspicion that ' the sons of Jacob, as compared 
with the rest of the human race, represent a 
higher state of evolution' (p. 232). No modern 
Jew would make so preposterous a claim. But 
when the same writer sees in the Jew a different 
stage of evolution, then he is on the right tack. 
Here is a passage which deserves to be quoted 
again and again: 'I have little taste, I confess, 
for uniformity; I leave that to the Jacobins. 
My ideal of a nation is not a monolith, nor a 
bronze formed at a single casting. It is better 
that a people should be composed of diverse 
elements and of many races. If the Jew differs 
from us, so much the better; he is the more 
likely to bring a little variety into the flat 
monotony of our modern civilisation' (p. 261). 
And the same argument applies to religions. 
There is a permanent value to the world in 
Israel's determined, protestant attitude. The 
handful of protestants who, in Elijah's day, 
refused to bow to Baal and to kiss him, were 
the real saviours of their generation. And 
though the world to-day is in no need of such 
salvation, still the Jew remains the finest ex- 
emplification of the truth that God fulfils Hiin- 

G 2 101 


self in many ways, lest one good custom should 
corrupt the world. 

Then again, Judaism seems destined to survive 
because it represents at once the God-idea and 
the ethical idea. The liberal Jew, as well as the 
orthodox, believes that no other religion does 
this in the same way as does Judaism. Putting 
it crudely, the Jew would perhaps admit that 
Christianity has absorbed, developed, enlarged 
and purified the Hebrew ethics, but he would, 
rightly or wrongly, think that it has obscured by 
dogmatic accretions the Jewish Monotheism. On 
the other hand, the Jew would admit that Islam 
has absorbed and purified the Jewish Monotheism, 
but has done less of the flattery of imitation to 
the Hebrew ethics. Islam has certainly a pure 
creed; it freed itself from the entanglements of 
anthropomorphic metaphors and conceptions of 
God, which are apparent in the early strata of the 
Hebrew Bible, and from which Judaism, because 
of its reverence for the Bible, has not emancipated 
itself yet. But that it can emancipate itself is 
becoming progressively more clear. And even if 
we drop comparisons, Judaism stands for a life 
in which goodness and God are the paramount 
interests. * 

But, beyond all, the Jew believes himself to be a 
1 02 


Witness to God. He thinks that on him, in some 
real sense, depends the fulfilment of the purposes 
of God. It may be an arrogant thought, but 
unlike most boasts it at once humiliates and en- 
nobles, humiliates by the consciousness of what 
is, ennobles by the vision of what might be. After 
enumerating certain ethical and religious ideas 
which, he holds, Judaism still has to teach the 
world, the Rev. M. Joseph adds: 'But to the 
Jew himself, first of all, these truths are uttered. 
He is to help to win the world for the highest 
ideals. But if he is to succeed, he must himself 
be conspicuously faithful to them. He is the 
chosen, but his very election binds him to vigor- 
ous service of truth and righteousness. " Be ye 
clean, ye that bear the vessels of the Lord." 
Only when Israel proves by the nobility of his 
life that he deserves his holy vocation will the 
accomplishment of his mission be at hand. When 
all the peoples of the earth shall see that he is 
worthily called by the name of the Lord, the 
Divine name and law will be near to the attain- 
ment of their destined empire over the hearts of 
men' (Judaism as Creed and Life, p. 513). 

A community that believes itself to fill this 
place in the Divine purpose deserves to live. Its 
separate existence is a means, not an end; for 


when all has been said, the one God carries with 
it the idea of one humanity. The Fatherhood of 
God implies the brotherhood of man. And so, 
amid all its trust that the long travail of centuries 
cannot fulfil itself in Israel's annihilation, amid 
all its particularism, there soars aloft the belief 
in the day when there will be no religions, but 
only Religion, when Israel will come together 
with other communions, or they with Israel. 
And so, thrice daily, in most Synagogues of 
Israel, this prayer is uttered : ' We therefore hope 
in Thee, Lord our God, that we may speedily 
behold the glory of Thy might, when Thou wilt 
remove the abominations from the earth, and the 
idols will be utterly cut off; when the world will 
be perfected under the kingdom of the Almighty, 
and all the children of flesh will call upon Thy 
name, when Thou wilt turn unto Thee all the 
wicked of the earth. Let all the inhabitants of 
the world perceive and know that unto Thee every 
knee must bow, every tongue must swear. Before 
Thee, Lord our God, let them bow and fall ; and 
unto Thy glorious name let them give honour. 
Let them all accept the yoke of Thy kingdom, 
and do Thou reign over them speedily, and for 
ever and ever. For the Kingdom is Thine, and 
to all eternity Thou wilt reign in glory ; as it is 


written in Thy Law, The Lord shall reign for ever 
and ever. And it is said, And the Lord shall be 
King over all the earth ; in that day shall the 
Lord be One, and His name One.' 

Modern Judaism, in short, claims no finality 
but what is expressed hi that hope. It holds 
itself ready to develop, to modify, to absorb, to 
assimilate, except in so far as such processes seem 
inconsistent with this hope. Modern Jews think 
that in some respects the Rabbinic Judaism was 
an advance on the Biblical; they think further 
that their own modern Judaism is an advance on 
the Rabbinic. Judaism, as they conceive it, is 
the one religion, with a great history behind it, 
that does not claim thereligious doctrines of some 
particular moment in its history to be the last word 
on Religion. It thinks that the last word is yet 
to be spoken, and is inspired with the confidence 
that its own continuance will make that last word 
fuller and truer when it comes, if it ever does 



[This list does not include works on the early Religion of 
Israel, or articles in the standard Dictionaries of the Bible. 
For the rest, only works written in English are cited, and for 
the most part Jewish expositions of Judaism.] 

Articles in the Jewish Encyclopedia (New York and London, 
Funk and Wagnalls, 12 vols. 1901-1906). Especially 
the following : ' Articles of Faith ' (B. G. Hirsch) ; 
' Atonement ' (K. Kohler) ; ' Cabala ' (L. Ginzberg) ; 
' Catechisms ' (E. Schreiber) ; ' Conferences ' (D. Philip- 
son) ; Ethics ' (K. Kohler, I. Broyde" :md E. G. Hirsch) ; 
1 Eschatology ' (K. Kohler); 'God' (E. G. Hirsch); 
'Hassidim' (S. M. Dubnow); ' Immortality ' (K. Kohler); 
'Judaism' (K. Kohler) ; 'Law, Codification of (L. Ginz- 
berg) ; ' Messiah ' (M. Buttenwieser) ; ' Nomism ' ( J. Z. 
Lauterbach and K. Kohler) ; ' Pharisees ' (K. Kohler) ; 
'Reform Judaism' (E. G. Hirsch and D. Philipson) ; 
'Resurrection' (K. Kohler); 'Sabbath' (K G. Hirsch 
and J. H. Greenstone); 'Theology' (J. Z. Lauterbach). 

M. FRIEDLANDKR. The Jewish Religion (Kegan Paul, 1891). 

J. H. GREENBTOXE. The Messiah Idea in Jewish History 
(Philadelphia, Jewish Publication Society of America, 

M. JOSEPH. Judaism as Creed and Life (London, Macmillan, 

I O6 


N. S. JOSEPH. Religion, Natural and Revealed (London, 
Macmillan, 1906). 

M. LAZARUS. The Ethics of Judaism (London, Macmillan ; 
2 vols., 1900-1) 

0. G. MoNTiriORE. Hibbert Lectures (London, Williams and 
Norgate, 1892, especially Lectures vn.-ix.). 

Liberal Judaism (London, Macmillan, 1903). 

S. SCHECHTER. Studies in Judaism (London, A. and C. Black, 

E. SOBERER. A History of the Jewish People in the Time of 
Christ (Edinburgh, T. and T. Clark, 1890). 

S. SIKOER. Authorised Daily Prayer Book (London, Eyre 
and Spottiswoode ; many editions). 


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