Chapters On Jewish Literature
By Israel Abrahams

Presented by

Public Domain Books

Chapter XXV. Moses Mendelssohn

     Mendelssohn’s German Translation of the
     Bible.–Phædo.–Jerusalem.–Lessing’s “Nathan the Wise.”

Moses, the son of Mendel, was born in Dessau in 1728, and died in Berlin in 1786. His father was poor, and he himself was of a weak constitution. But his stunted form was animated by a strenuous spirit. After a boyhood passed under conditions which did little to stimulate his dawning aspirations, Mendelssohn resolved to follow his teacher Fränkel to Berlin. He trudged the whole way on foot, and was all but refused admission into the Prussian capital, where he was destined to produce so profound an impression. In Berlin his struggle with poverty continued, but his condition was improved when he obtained a post, first as private tutor, then as book-keeper in a silk factory.

Berlin was at this time the scene of an intellectual and æsthetic revival dominated by Frederick the Great. The latter, a dilettante in culture, was, as Mendelssohn said of him, a man “who made the arts and sciences flourish, and made liberty of thought universal in his realm." The German Jews were as yet outside this revival. In Italy and Holland the new movements of the seventeenth and the eighteenth century had found Jews well to the fore. But the “German” Jews–and this term included the great bulk of the Jews of Europe–were suffering from the effects of intellectual stagnation. The Talmud still exercised the mind and imagination of these Jews, but culture and religion were separated. Mendelssohn in a hundred places contends that such separation is dangerous and unnatural. It was his service to Judaism that he made the separation once for all obsolete.

Mendelssohn effected this by purely literary means. Most reformations have been at least aided by moral and political forces. But the Mendelssohnian revival in Judaism was a literary revival, in which moral and religious forces had only an indirect influence. By the aid of greater refinement of language, for hitherto the “German” Jews had not spoken pure German; by a widening of the scope of education in the Jewish schools; by the introduction of all that is known as culture, Mendelssohn changed the whole aspect of Jewish life. And he produced this reformation by books and by books alone. Never playing the part of a religious or moral reformer, Mendelssohn became the Jewish apostle of culture.

The great event of his life occurred in 1754, when he made the acquaintance of Lessing. The two young men became constant friends. Lessing, before he knew Mendelssohn, had written a drama, “The Jews,” in which, perhaps for the first time, a Jew was represented on the stage as a man of honor. In Mendelssohn, Lessing recognized a new Spinoza; in Lessing, Mendelssohn saw the perfect ideal of culture. The masterpiece of Lessing’s art, the drama “Nathan the Wise,” was the monument of this friendship. Mendelssohn was the hero of the drama, and the toleration which it breathes is clearly Mendelssohn’s. Mendelssohn held that there was no absolutely best religion any more than there was an absolutely best form of government. This was the leading idea of his last work, “Jerusalem"; it is also the central thought of “Nathan the Wise.” The best religion, according to both, is the religion which best brings out the individual’s noblest faculties. As Mendelssohn wrote, there are certain eternal truths which God implants in all men alike, but “Judaism boasts of no exclusive revelation of immutable truths indispensable to salvation.”

What has just been quoted is one of the last utterances of Mendelssohn. We must retrace our steps to the date of his first intimacy with Lessing. He devoted his attention to the perfecting of his German style, and succeeded so well that his writings have gained a place among the classics of German literature. In 1763, he won the Berlin prize for an essay on Mathematical Method in Philosophical Reasoning, and defeated Kant entirely on account of his lucid and attractive style. Mendelssohn’s most popular philosophical work, “Phædo, or the Immortality of the Soul,” won extraordinary popularity in Berlin, as much for its attractive form as for its spiritual charms. The “German Plato,” the “Jewish Socrates,” were some of the epithets bestowed on him by multitudes of admirers. Indeed, the “Phædo” of Mendelssohn is a work of rare beauty.

One of the results of Mendelssohn’s popularity was a curious correspondence with Lavater. The latter perceived in Mendelssohn’s toleration signs of weakness, and believed that he could convert the famous Jew to Christianity. Mendelssohn’s reply, like his “Jerusalem" and his admirable preface to a German translation of Manasseh ben Israel’s Vindiciæ Judeorum, gave voice to that claim on personal liberty of thought and conscience for which the Jews, unconsciously, had been so long contending. Mendelssohn’s view was that all true religious aspirations are independent of religious forms. Mendelssohn did not ignore the value of forms, but he held that as there are often several means to the same end, so the various religious forms of the various creeds may all lead their respective adherents to salvation and to God.

Mendelssohn’s most epoch-making work was his translation of the Pentateuch into German. With this work the present history finds a natural close. Mendelssohn’s Pentateuch marks the modernization of the literature of Judaism. There was much opposition to the book, but on the other hand many Jews eagerly scanned its pages, acquired its noble diction, and committed its rhythmic eloquence to their hearts. Round Mendelssohn there clustered a band of devoted disciples, the pioneers of the new learning, the promoters of a literature of Judaism, in which the modern spirit reanimated the still living records of antiquity. There was certainly some weakness among the men and women affected by the Berlin philosopher, for some discarded all positive religion, because the master had taught that all positive religions had their saving and truthful elements.

It is not, however, the province of this sketch to trace the religious effects of the Mendelssohnian movement. Suffice it to say that, while the old Jewish conception had been that literature and life are co-extensive, Jewish literature begins with Mendelssohn to have an independent life of its own, a life of the spirit, which cannot be altogether controlled by the tribulations of material life. A physical Ghetto may once more be imposed on the Jews from without; an intellectual Ghetto imposed from within is hardly conceivable. Tolerance gave the modern spirit to Jewish literature, but intolerance cannot withdraw it.



Graetz.–V, 8.

Karpeles.–Sketch of Jewish History, p. 93; Jewish Literature and other Essays, p. 293.

English translations of Phædo, Jerusalem, and of the Introduction to the Pentateuch (Hebrew Review, Vol. I).

Other translations of Jerusalem were made by M. Samuels (London,
  1838) and by Isaac Leeser, the latter published as a supplement to the
  Occident, Philadelphia, 5612.

The Mendelssohnian Movement.

Graetz.–V, 10.


Abayi, Amora, 51.

Abba Areka, Amora, 47, 48, 51.
  popularizes Jewish learning, 49.
  wide outlook of, 50.

Abbahu, Amora, 48-49.

Abraham de Balmes, translator, 149.

Abraham de Porta Leone, historian, 220.

Abraham Ibn Chisdai, story by, 154-155.

Abraham Ibn Daud, historian, 213-214.

Abraham Ibn Ezra, on Kalir, 88.
  life of, 115.
  quotations from, 115.
  activities and views of, 116, 123, 151.

Abraham Abulafia, Kabbalist, 171.

Abraham Farissol, geographer, 206.

Abraham Zacuto, historian, 216.

Abul-Faraj Harun, Karaite author, 77.

Abulwalid Merwan Ibn Janach, grammarian, 101. works of, translated, 148.

Achai, Gaon and author, 70.

Acharonim, later scholars, 240.

Æsop, used by Berachya ha-Nakdan, 157.

“Against Apion,” by Josephus, 34.

Akiba, a Tanna, 23, 24-26.
  characteristics and history of, 24-26.
  school of, 26.
  fable used by, 65.
  Alphabet by, 175.

Al-Farabi, works of, translated, 185.

Alfassi. See Isaac Alfassi.

Alfonso V of Portugal, Abarbanel with, 225.

Alfonso VI of Spain, takes Toledo, 126.

Alfonso X of Spain, employs Jews as translators, 150, 156.

Almohades, the, a Mohammedan sect, 134, 135.

“Alphabet of Rabbi Akiba,” Kabbalistic work, 175.

Amoraim, the, teachers of the Talmud, 44.
  characterised, 45-46.
  some of, enumerated, 46-52.

Amram, Gaon, liturgist, 70.

Anan, the son of David, founder of Karaism, 75.

Andalusia, the Spanish Piyut in, 85.

“Answers.” See “Letters"; “Responses.”

“Antiquities of the Jews,” by Josephus, 34.

Antonio de Montesinos, and the Ten Tribes, 208, 247.

Apion, attacks Judaism, 36.

Apocrypha, the, addresses of parents to children in, 194.

Aquila, translates the Scriptures, 26. identical with Onkelos, 26-27.

Aquinas, Thomas, studies the “Guide,” 140.

Arabic, used by the Gaonim, 71.
  in Jewish literature, 83.
  poetry, 84.
  translation of the Scriptures, 91, 93, 94.
  commentary on the Mishnah, 135.

Aragon, Spanish Piyut in, 85.

Aramaic, translation of the Pentateuch, 27.
  used by Josephus, 37.
  language of the Talmud, 44.
  used by the Gaonim, 71.
  translation of Scriptures in the synagogues, 94.
  language of the Zohar, 173.

Arbäa Turim, code by Jacob Asheri, 234, 239.

Archimedes, works of, translated, 150, 185.

Aristotle, teachings of, summarized, 140.
  interpreted by Averroes, 149.
  works of, translated, 185.

Aruch, the, compiled by Zemach, 70. by Nathan, the son of Yechiel, 121, 200.

Asher, the son of Yechiel, the will of, 195-196. codifier, 234.

Ashi, Amora, compiler of the Talmud, 51-52.

Atonement, the Day of, hymn for, 162.

“Autobiography,” the, of Josephus, 34.

Averroes, works of, translated, 148, 149, 185.

Azariah di Rossi, historian, 221-222, 223.

Azriel, Kabbalist, 171.

Azulai, Chayim, historian, 220.

Babylonia, Rabbinical schools in, 44.
  centre of Jewish learning, 49, 68.
  loses its supremacy, 92.

Bachya Ibn Pekuda, works of, translated, 148. ethical work by, 190.

Bacon, Roger, on the scientific activity of the Jew, 150.

Bahir, Kabbalistic work, 171.

Bar Cochba, Akiba in the revolt of, 24.

“Barlaam and Joshaphat,” by Abraham Ibn Chisdai, 154-155.

Baruch of Ratisbon, Tossafist, 161.

Beast Fables, in the Midrash, 64-67. examples of, 65-66.

Bechinath Olam, by Yedaiah Bedaressi, 191-192.

Benjamin of Tudela, traveller, 203.

Benjamin Nahavendi, Karaite author, 77.

Berachya ha-Nakdan, fabulist, 156-157.

Berlin, under Frederick the Great, 254.

Beruriah, wife of Meir, 28.

Bible, the. See Scriptures, the.

Bidpai, Fables of, and the Jews, 155-156.

Biur, the, commentary on the Pentateuch, 230.

Bohemia, the Kalirian Piyut in, 85.

“Book of Creation, The,” Kabbalistic work, 175.

“Book of Creation, Commentary on the,” by Saadiah, 95.

“Book of Delight, The,” by Joseph Zabara, 157-158.

“Book of Genealogies, The,” by Abraham Zacuto, 216.

“Book of Lights and the High Beacons, The,” by Kirkisani, 80.

“Book of Principles, The,” by Joseph Albo, 141.

“Book of Roots, The,” by David Kimchi, 117.

“Book Raziel, The,” Kabbalistic work, 175.

“Book of the Exiled, The,” by Saadiah, 94.

“Book of the Pious, The,” ethical work, 191.

“Book of Tradition, The,” by Abraham Ibn Daud, 213-214.

Braganza, Duke of, friend of Abarbanel, 226.

Brahe, Tycho, friend of David Gans, 220.

“Branch of David, The,” by David Gans, 219, 220-221.

“Breastplate of Judgment, The,” part of the Shulchan Aruch, 240.

“Brilliancy,” Kabbalistic work, 171.

Browne, Sir Thomas, alluded to, 127.

Buddha, legend of, 154-155.

Burgundy, the Kalirian Piyut in, 85.

Buxtorf, as translator, 148.

“Caged Bird, The,” fable, 65.

Cairo, Old. See Fostat.

Calendar, the Jewish, arranged, 48.

“Call of the Generations, The,” by David Conforte, 220.

“Captives of Hope, The,” by Penso, 246.

Castile, the Spanish Piyut in, 85.

Catalonia, the Spanish Piyut in, 85.

“Ceremonies and Customs of the Jews,” by Leon da Modena, 220.

Chacham Zevi, author of “Responses,” 238.

“Chaff, Straw, and Wheat,” fable, 65.

“Chain of Tradition, The,” by Gedaliah Ibn Yachya, 220, 222-223.

Chanina, the son of Chama, Amora, 46.

Charizi, on Chasdai, 99-100, 107.
  on Moses Ibn Ezra, 114.
  as a poet, 131-132.
  influences Immanuel of Rome, 184.
  ethical work by, 189.
  geographical notes by, 200.

Chasdai Ibn Shaprut, patron of Moses ben Chanoch, 97.
  Charizi on, 99-100, 107.
  activities of, 100.
  as a patron of Jewish learning and poetry, 100-101, 102.
  and the Chazars, 102-103.
  as translator, 150.

Chasdai Crescas, philosopher, 141. studied by Spinoza, 251.

Chassidim, the, new saints, 176. hymns by, 177.

Chayim Vital Calabrese, Kabbalist, 176.

Chazars, the, and Chasdai Ibn Shaprut, 102-103.

Chiddushim, Notes on the Talmud, 234.

Chiya, Amora, 49.

Chizzuk Emunah, by Isaac Troki, 81.

Choboth ha-Lebaboth, by Bachya Ibn Pekuda, 190.

“Choice of Pearls, The,” by Solomon Ibn Gebirol, 110, 189.

Choshen ha-Mishpat, part of the Shulchan Aruch, 240.

“Chronicle of Achimaaz,” 213.

Clement VII, pope, and David Reubeni, 207.

“Cluster of Cyprus Flowers, A,” by Judah Hadassi, 80.

“Cock and the Bat, The,” fable, 65.

Cohen, Tobiah, geographer, 209.

“Collections.” See Machberoth.

“Come, my Friend,” Sabbath hymn, 239.

“Conciliator, The,” by Manasseh ben Israel, 245.

“Consolations for the Tribulations of Israel,” by Samuel Usque, 217-218.

Constantine, forbids Jews to enter Jerusalem, 205.

Cordova, centre of Arabic learning, 96-97.
  a Jewish centre, 103, 112.
  in the hands of the Almohades, 134.

Corfu, Abarbanel in, 226.

Council, the Great. See Synhedrion, the.

Cromwell, and Manasseh ben Israel, 248.

Crusades, the, and the Jews of France, 124.

Cuzari, by Jehuda Halevi, 127, 139.

Damascus, Jehuda Halevi in, 129.

Daniel, the Book of, commentary on, 48.

Dante, influences Jewish poets, 179, 182, 183, 186.

David, the son of Abraham, Karaite author, 79.

David ben Maimon, brother of Moses, 135.

David Abi Zimra, author of “Responses,” 238.

David Alroy, pseudo-Messiah, 203.

David Conforte, historian, 220.

David Gans, historian, 220-221.

David Kimchi, grammarian, 117, 123.

David Reubeni, traveller, 207.

“Deeds of God, The,” by Abarbanel, 229.

Descartes, studied by Spinoza, 250.

“Deuteronomy.” See “Strong Hand, The.”

“Diary of Eldad the Danite,” 201-203.

Dictionary, Hebrew rhyming, by Saadiah, 93. See also Lexicon.

Dioscorides, works of, translated, 150.

Doria, Andrea, doge, physician of, 219.

Dramas in Hebrew, 246-247.

Dunash, the son of Labrat, grammarian, 101, 123.

Duran family, writers of “Responses,” 237.

Eben Bochan, by Kalonymos, 185.

Eben ha-Ezer, part of the Shulchan Aruch, 240.

Egypt, Jehuda Halevi in, 129.

Eldad the Danite, traveller, 201-203.

Eleazar of Worms, writer, 191.

Eleazar the Levite, will of, 196-197.

Eleazar, the son of Azariah, saying of, 25-26.

Eleazar, the son of Isaac, will of, 194-195.

Elias del Medigo, critic, 222.

Elias Levita, grammarian, 229.

Elijah Kapsali, historian, 216.

Elisha, the son of Abuya, and Meir, 28.

Emden, Jacob, author of “Responses,” 238.

Emek ha-Bacha, by Joseph Cohen, 218, 219.

Emunoth ve-Deoth, by Saadiah, 95.

En Yaakob, by Jacob Ibn Chabib, 192.

Enan, giant in “The Book of Delight,” 157-158.

England, the Kalirian Piyut in, 85.
  Jews re-admitted into, 244.
  “Ennoblement of Character, The,” by Solomon Ibn Gebirol, 110.

Eshkol ha-Kopher, by Judah Hadassi, 80.

Esthori Parchi, explorer of Palestine, 204-205.

Ethical Wills, prevalence and character of, 193-194. examples of, and quotations from, 194-198.

“Ethics, the,” by Spinoza, 251.

Euclid, works of, translated, 149.

Eusebius, used in “Josippon,” 214.

“Examination of the World,” by Yedaiah Bedaressi, 191-192.

Exilarchs, the, official heads of the Persian Jews, 72.

“Eye of Jacob, The,” by Jacob Ibn Chabib, 192.

Ezra, Kabbalist, 171.

Fables. See Beast Fables; Fox Fables.

“Faith and Philosophy,” by Saadiah, 95.

Fathers, the Christian, and Simlai, 47.

Fayum, birthplace of Saadiah, 91.

Ferdinand and Isabella, Abarbanel with, 226.

Fez, the Maimon family at, 135.

Fiesco, rebellion of, 217.

Folk-tales, diffusion of, 153.

Fostat, Maimonides at, 135.

“Foundation of the World, The,” by Moses Zacut, 246.

“Fountain of Life, The,” by Solomon Ibn Gebirol, 110.

“Four Rows, The,” code by Jacob Asheri, 234, 239.

“Fox and the Fishes, The,” fable, 65.

“Fox as Singer, The,” fable, 66.

Fox Fables, by Meir, 64. by Berachya ha-Nakdan, 156-157.

France, the Kalirian Piyut in, 85.
  a Jewish centre, 116, 119, 124.
  Jewish schools of, destroyed, 124.

Fränkel, teacher of Mendelssohn, 253.

Frederick II, emperor, patron of Anatoli, 149.

Frederick the Great, the Berlin of, 254.

Galen, works of, translated, 150, 185.

Galilee, centre of Jewish learning, 20. explored by Esthori Parchi, 205.

Gaonim, the, heads of the Babylonian schools, 68.
  work of, 68-69.
  literary productions of, 69-71.
  language used by, 71.
  “Letters” of, 71-74.
  religious heads of the Jews of Persia, 72.
  as writers, 74.
  Karaite controversies with, 78.
  works of, collected, 104.
  analyze the Talmud, 121.

Gedaliah Ibn Yachya, historian, 222-223.

Gemara. See Talmud, the.

Genesis, commentary on, by Saadiah, 94.

Geographical literature among the Jews, 200.

German Jews, stagnation among, 254.

Germany, the Kalirian Piyut in, 85.

Gersonides. See Levi, the son of Gershon.

“Glory to the Virtuous,” by Luzzatto, 247.

Graetz, H., quoted, 21, 168.

Grammar, Hebrew, works on, 77, 79, 117.

Granada, Jewish literary centre, 112.

Greece, the Kalirian Piyut in, 85.

Greek, translation of the Scriptures, 26.
  used by Josephus, 37.
  used in the Sibylline books, 39.
  used among the Jews, 48.

Grotius, friend of Manasseh ben Israel, 245.

Guarini, influences Luzzatto, 246.

“Guide of the Perplexed, The,” by Moses Maimonides, 136, 139-141, 142.

Habus, Samuel Ibn Nagdela minister to, 103.

Hagadah, the poetic element of the Talmud, 47.

Hai, the last Gaon, 71.

Halachah, the legal element of the Talmud, 47, 55.

Halachoth Gedoloth, compilation of Halachic decisions, 73.

Haman, a fable concerning, 66.

Hassan, the son of Mashiach, Karaite author, 78, 79.

“Heart Duties,” by Bachya Ibn Pekuda, 190.

Hebrew, the, of the Mishnah, 29.
  used by the Gaonim, 71.
  the language of prayer, 83.
  influenced by Kalir, 88.
  translations into, 145, 146.
  a living language, 147.
  studied by Christians, 230.

Heilprin, Yechiel, historian, 220.

Heine, quoted, 128.

“Hell and Eden,” by Immanuel of Rome, 182, 184-185.

“Higher Criticism,” the, father of, 116.

Hillel I, parable of, 62.

Hillel II, arranges the Jewish Calendar, 48.

Hippocrates, works of, translated, 150.

Historical works, 33-34.

Historical writing among the Jews, 211-212, 213, 217.

“History of France and Turkey,” by Joseph Cohen, 217.

“History of the Jewish Kings,” by Justus, 34.

“History of the Ottoman Empire,” by Elijah Kapsali, 216.

Holland, a Jewish centre, 243.

Homiletics, in the Midrash, 57. in Sheeltoth, 70.

“Hope of Israel, The,” by Manasseh ben Israel, 208-209, 248.

Hosannas, the Day of, hymn for, 89.

Huet, friend of Manasseh ben Israel, 245.

Huna, Amora, 49-50.

Ibn Roshd. See Averroes.

Icabo, character in Samuel Usque’s poem, 218.

Iggaron, dictionary by David, 79.

Ikkarim, by Joseph Albo, 141.

Immanuel, the son of Solomon, Italian Jewish poet, 179, 180.
  life of, 180-181.
  works of, 182-185.

Isaac the Elder, Tossafist, 161.

Isaac, the son of Asher, Tossafist, 161.

Isaac Abarbanel, in Portugal, 225-226.
  writes commentaries, 226, 227.
  in Castile, 226.
  in Naples and Corfu, 226-227.
  in Venice, 227.
  as a writer, 227-228.
  as an exegete, 228, 229.
  as a philosopher, 229.

Isaac Aboab, ethical writer, 192.

Isaac Alfassi, Talmudist, 121-122.

Isaac Lurya, Kabbalist, 176.

Isaac Troki, Karaite author, 81.

Isaiah Hurwitz, Kabbalist, 176.

Isaiah, the Book of, Abraham Ibn Ezra on, 116.

Islam, sects of, 75-76.

Israel Baalshem, Kabbalist, 176-177.

Israel Isserlein, author of “Responses,” 237.

“It was at Midnight,” by Jannai, 86.

Italian Jewish literature, 178-180, 187.

Italy, the Kalirian Piyut in, 85.

“Itinera Mundi,” by Abraham Farissol, 206.

“Itinerary,” by Benjamin of Tudela, 203.

Jabneh. See Jamnia.

Jacob Ibn Chabib, writer, 192.

Jacob Anatoli, translator, 148. patron and friend of, 149.

Jacob Asheri, compiler of the Turim, 234, 239.

Jacob Weil, author of “Responses,” 237.

Jacobs, Mr. Joseph, quoted, 65, 66, 156, 158-159.

Jair Chayim Bacharach, author of “Responses,” 238.

Jamnia, centre of Jewish learning, 19-22.

Jannai, originator of the Piyut, 86. date of, 87.

Japhet, the son of Ali, Karaite author, 78, 79.

Jayme I of Aragon, orders a public disputation, 164.

Jehuda Halevi, models of, 107.
  subjects of, 109.
  prominence of, 126.
  youth of, 126-127.
  as a philosopher and physician, 127-128, 139.
  longs for Jerusalem, 128.
  on his journey, 128-129.
  quotation from, 129-130.
  works of, translated, 148.

Jerome, under Jewish influence, 48.

“Jerusalem,” by Mendelssohn, 256.

“Jewish War, The,” by Justus, 34.

“Jews, The,” by Lessing, 256.

Jochanan, the son of Napacha, Amora, 46, 47, 51.

Jochanan, the son of Zakkai, characterized, 20-21, 24. as a Tanna, 23-24.

Jochanan Aleman, Kabbalist, 174.

John of Capua, translator, 155.

Joseph Ibn Caspi, will of, 196.

Joseph Ibn Verga, historian, 218-219.

Joseph al-Bazir, Karaite author, 78, 79.

Joseph Albo, philosopher, 141.

Joseph Cohen, historian, 216-217, 219.

Joseph Delmedigo, on Gedaliah Ibn Yachya, 222.

Joseph Karo, prohibits the Machberoth, 183.
  compiler of the Shulchan Aruch, 233.
  life of, 238-239.
  See Shulchan Aruch, the.

Joseph Kimchi, exegete, 116.

Joseph Zabara, poet, 157-158. geographical notes by, 200.

Josephus, Flavius, historian, 34-38.
  works of, 34.
  characterized, 35-36.
  champion of Judaism, 36, 37-38.
  style of, 36-37.
  language used by, 37.
  used in “Josippon,” 214.

Joshua, the son of Levi, Amora, 47.

“Josippon,” a romance, 214.

Judah the Prince, a Tanna, 23, 28-29. characterized, 28-29.

Judah Ibn Ezra, anti-Karaite, 214.

Judah Ibn Tibbon as a translator, 146, 147. as a physician, 146-147.

Judah Ibn Verga, chronicler, 218.

Judah Chayuj, grammarian, 101.

Judah Chassid, ethical writer, 191.

Judah Hadassi, Karaite author, 80-81.

Judah Minz, author of “Responses,” 237.

Judah Romano, school-man, 185.

Judaism, after the loss of a national centre, 21.
  championed by Josephus, 36, 37-38.
  philosophy of, 77.

Justus of Tiberias, historian, works of, 34.

Kabbala, mysticism, 170.
  development of, 171.
  and Christian scholars, 174.
  the later, 175.

Kalila ve-Dimna. See Bidpai, Fables of.

Kalir, new-Hebrew poet, 85, 86, 87.
  date of, 87.
  style of, 87-88, 107.
  subject-matter of, 88-89.
  quotation from, 89-90.

Kalirian Piyut, the, 85.

Kalonymos, the son of Kalonymos, translator, 149, 185. as poet, 179, 180, 185-186.

Kant, and Mendelssohn, 257.

Kaphtor va-Pherach, by Esthori Parchi, 205.

Karaism, rise of, 75-76.
  a reaction against tradition, 76.
  defect of, 76.
  literary influence of, 77.
  history of, 80.
  Rabbinite opposition to, 82.
  opposed by Saadiah, 91, 92.

Kepler, correspondent of David Gans, 220.

Kether Malchuth, by Solomon Ibn Gebirol, 110. quotation from, 111-112.

Kimchi. See Joseph; Moses; David.

Kirkisani, Karaite author, 80.

Kodashim, order of the Mishnah, 31.

Kore ha-Doroth, by David Conforte, 220.

“Lamp of Light, The,” by Isaac Aboab, 192.

Landau, Ezekiel, author of “Responses,” 238.

Lavater, and Mendelssohn, 258.

“Law of Man, The,” by Nachmanides, 166.

Lecha Dodi, Sabbath hymn, 239.

Lecky, on the scientific activity of the Jews, 150.

Leon da Modena, historian, 220.

Leon, Messer, physician and writer, 187.

Leshon Limmudim, by Sahal, the son of Mazliach, 79.

“Lesser Sanctuary, The,” by Moses Rieti, 186.

Lessing, and Mendelssohn, 255-256.

“Letter,” by Sherira, 70-71, 212.

“Letter of Advice, The,” by Solomon Alami, 197-198.

“Letter of Aristeas,” by Azariah di Rossi, 223.

“Letters,” the, of the Gaonim, scope of, 71-73.
  style of, 74.
  geographical notes in, 200.
  and the “Responses,” 234.

Levi, the son of Gershon, philosopher, 141.

Lexicon, by Sahal, 79.
  by David, 79.
  by David Kimchi, 117.

Lexicon, Talmudical. See Aruch, 70.

“Light of God, The,” by Chasdai Crescas, 141.

“Light of the Eyes, The,” by Azariah di Rossi, 220, 223.

Literature, Jewish, oral, 21-22.
  principle of, 23-24.
  under the influence of Karaism, 77.
  See Mishnah, the.

Liturgy, the, earliest additions to, 83. See Piyut, the.

Lorraine, the Kalirian Piyut in, 85.

Lost Ten Tribes, book on, 201. in Brazil, 208.

Lucas, Mrs. Alice, translations by, quoted, 63.

Lucian, used in “Josippon,” 214.

Luzzatto, Moses Chayim, Kabbalist and dramatist, 176.
  ethical work by, 193.
  as dramatist, 246-247.

Lydda, centre of Jewish learning, 20.

Machberoth, by Immanuel of Rome, 182-185.

Maggid, familiar of Joseph Karo, 239.

Maharil, collection of Customs, 238.

Maimonides, Moses, the forerunner of, 95.
  youth of, 134-135.
  activities of, 135-136.
  disinterestedness of, 136.
  attacks on, 137, 141.
  prominence of, 137-138.
  as a philosopher, 138-141, 142, 151.
  works of, translated, 148.
  and Nachmanides, 163.
  studied by Spinoza, 250.

Mainz, Rashi at, 122.

Majorca, the Spanish Piyut in, 85.

Manasseh ben Israel, and the Lost Tribes, 208-209, 243, 247-248.
  political activity of, 244, 248.
  life of, 244.
  attainments and friends of, 245.
  activities of, 247.
  as a pamphleteer, 248-249.
  and Spinoza, 250.

Manetho, historian, and Josephus, 36.

Massechtoth, tractates of the Mishnah, 31.

“Maxims of the Philosophers,” by Charizi, 189.

Mebo ha-Talmud, by Samuel Ibn Nagdela, 104.

Mechilta, a Midrashic work, 57.

Megillath Taanith. See “Scroll of Fasting, The.”

Meir, a Tanna, 23, 27-28.
  characterized, 27-28.
  fables by, 64.

Meir of Rothenburg, poet, 131, 235-237. writer of “Responses,” 235.

“Memorial Books,” historical sources, 216.

Menachem, the son of Zaruk, grammarian, 100, 101, 123.

Mendelssohn, Moses, antagonized by Ezekiel Landau, 238.
  life of, 253.
  objects to the separation of culture and religion, 254.
  service of, to Judaism, 254-255.
  and Lessing, 255-256.
  style of, 257.
  and Lavater, 258.
  translates the Pentateuch, 258-259.
  circle of, 259.
  influence of, 259-260.

Menorath ha-Maor, by Isaac Aboab, 192.

Meör Enayim, by Azariah di Rossi, 220.

Meshullam of Lunel, patron of learning, 146, 147.

Messiah, the, Joshua on, 47.

Messilath Yesharim, by Moses Chayim Luzzatto, 193.

Metre, in Hebrew poetry, 84.

Michlol, by David Kimchi, 117.

Midrash, the, characterized, 55-57.
  poetical, 56, 57.
  popular homiletics, 57.
  works called, 57-58.
  style of, 58-59.
  proverbs in, 59-60.
  parables in, 60-64.
  beast fables in, 64-67.
  and the Piyut, 86, 88-89.
  used by Rashi, 123, 124.

Midrash Haggadol, a Midrashic work, 58.

Midrash Rabbah, a Midrashic work, 58.

Mikdash Meät, by Moses Rieti, 186.

Minhag, established by the Gaonim, 69.

Miphaloth Elohim, by Abarbanel, 229.

Mishnah, a paragraph of the Mishnah, 31.

Mishnah, the, origin of, 22.
  principle of, 24.
  compiled by Rabbi, 28.
  contents and style of, 29-31.
  divisions of, 31.
  development of, 43. See Talmud, the.
  date of, 52.
  Sherira on, 70.
  Maimon’s commentary on, 135.
  commentary on, 206.
  personified, 239.

Mishneh Torah. See “Strong Hand, The.”

Moed, order of the Mishnah, 31.

Mohammedanism assumed by the Maimon family, 135.

Moreh Nebuchim. See “Guide of the Perplexed, The.”

Moses, teachings of, summarized, 140.

Moses of Leon, author of the Zohar, 172, 173.

Moses, the son of Chanoch, founds a school at Cordova, 97.

Moses, the son of Maimon. See Maimonides, Moses.

Moses Ibn Ezra, and the Scriptures, 107, 109.
  life of, 112-113.
  quotation from, 113-114.
  hymns of, 114.
  Charizi on, 114.

Moses Ibn Tibbon, translator, 148.

Moses Alshech, homiletical writer, 230.

Moses Kimchi, grammarian, 117.

Moses Minz, author of “Responses,” 237.

Moses Rieti, poet, 186-187.

Mysticism, an element of religion, 169-170. in Judaism, 170.

Nachmanides, Moses, Talmudist, 160-168.
  on the French Rabbis, 160, 162.
  as a poet, 162.
  gentleness of, 163.
  in a disputation, 163-164.
  in Palestine, 165.
  as an exegete, 165-168.
  teacher of, 171.
  will of, 195.

Nahum, poet, 109.

“Name of the Great Ones, The,” by Chayim Azulai, 220.

Naples, Abarbanel in, 226.

Nashim, order of the Mishnah, 31.

“Nathan the Wise,” by Lessing, 256.

Nathan, the son of Yechiel, lexicographer, 121.

Nehardea, centre of Jewish learning, 44.

Nehemiah Chayun, Kabbalist, 176.

New-Hebrew, as a literary language, 83.

New-Hebrew poetry, and the Scriptures, 107.
  characteristics of, 108-109.
  after Jehuda Halevi, 130-131, 132.
  See also Piyut.

Nezikin, order of the Mishnah, 31.

Nicholas, monk, translator, 150.

“Novelties,” Notes on the Talmud, 234.

Numeo, character in Samuel Usque’s poem, 218.

Obadiah of Bertinoro, Rabbi of Jerusalem, 206.

Omar, forbids Jews to enter Jerusalem, 205.

Onkelos. See Aquila.

Orach Chayim, part of the Shulchan Aruch, 239, 240.

“Order of Generations, The,” by Yechiel Heilprin, 220.

“Order of the Tannaim and Amoraim,” 212.

Orders of the Mishnah, 31.

Origen, under Jewish influence, 48.

Pablo Christiani, convert, and Nachmanides, 164.

Palestine, the Kalirian Piyut in, 85.
  the Maimon family in, 135.
  explored, 204-205.
  open to Jews, 205-206.

Parables, in the Midrash, 60-64. examples of, 62, 63.

Parallelism of line, in the Scriptures, 108.

Passover, hymn for, 86.

“Path of Life, The,” part of the Shulchan Aruch, 239, 240.

“Path of the Upright, The,” by Moses Chayim Luzzatto, 193.

Penso, Joseph Felix, dramatist, 246.

Pentateuch, the, translated, 27, 247, 258.
  as viewed by Meir, 27.
  commentary on, 166-168, 230.
  See also Scriptures, the.

Perakim, chapters of the Mishnah, 31.

Perez of Corbeil, Tossafist, 161.

“Perfection,” by David Kimchi, 117.

Persia, the Jews of, independent, 72. See also Babylonia.

Pesikta, a Midrashic work, 58.

Petachiah of Ratisbon, traveller, 204.

“Phædo, or the Immortality of the Soul,” by Mendelssohn, 257.

Philo, on Judaism, 38.

Philosophy, Jewish, created by Saadiah, 91, 95.

Pico di Mirandola, and the Kabbala, 174.

Piyut, the, characteristics of, 83-84.
  two types of, 84-85.
  Kalirian, 85.
  Spanish, 85.
  creator of, 85-86.
  by Samuel Ibn Nagdela, 105.
  in Italy, 186.

Poetry. See New-Hebrew poetry; Piyut.

Poland, the Kalirian Piyut in, 85.

Porphyry, on the Book of Daniel, 48.

Prayer-Book, the, compiled by Amram, 70. arranged by Saadiah, 95.

Prester John, Eldad on, 203.

“Prince and Nazirite,” by Abraham Ibn Chisdai, 154-155.

Provence, the Spanish Piyut in, 85. Jewish learning in, 146.

Proverbs, in the Midrash, 59-60. quoted, 59.

Psalms, the, and new-Hebrew poetry, 104-105, 108. mysticism in, 169, 170.

Ptolemy, works of, translated, 149, 185.

Pumbeditha, centre of Jewish learning, 44, 72.

“Purim Tractate, The,” by Kalonymos, 185-186.

Pygmies, the, discovered by Tobiah Cohen, 209.

“Questions and Answers,” decisions, 73.

Rab. See Abba Areka.

Rabba, the son of Nachmani, Amora, 51.

Rabbi. See Judah the Prince.

Rabbinical schools, in Babylonia, 44.

Rabina, Amora, compiler of the Talmud, 51, 52.

Ralbag. See Levi, the son of Gershon.

Ramban. See Nachmanides, Moses.

Rashbam. See Samuel ben Meir.

Rashi (R. Shelomo Izchaki), importance of, 119.
  style of, 119-120.
  characteristics of, 120-121.
  life of, 122.
  as an exegete, 123-124.
  descendants of, 124, 161.

Rava, Amora, 51.

Rembrandt, friend of Manasseh ben Israel, 245.

Renaissance, the, and Italian Jewish literature, 178, 182, 184, 187.

Renan, on the students of Averroes, 148.

“Responses,” on religious subjects, 234-235, 237-238.

Reuchlin, Johann, and the Kabbala, 174.

Rhyme, in Hebrew poetry, 84.

“Rod of Judah, The,” by the Ibn Vergas, 218-219.

Rokeach, by Eleazar of Worms, 191.

“Royal Crown, The,” by Solomon Ibn Gebirol, 110. quotation from, 111-112.

Saadiah, Gaon, 70, 91-97.
  activities of, 91, 95.
  opposes Karaism, 92, 94.
  translates the Scriptures, 93, 94.
  style of, 93.
  conflict of, with the Exilarch, 95.
  arranges a prayer-book, 95.
  as a philosopher, 95-96, 139.
  works of, translated, 148.

Sabbatai Zevi, and the Kabbala, 175. opponents of, 238.

“Sacred Letter, The,” by Nachmanides, 165.

Safed, Kabbalist centre, 175.

Sahal, the son of Mazliach, 77-78.

Salman, the son of Yerucham, Karaite author, 78.

Salonica, Kabbalist centre, 175.

“Salvation of his Anointed,” by Abarbanel, 229.

“Samson,” by Luzzatto, 246.

Samuel, Amora, 47-48, 51. astronomer, 48.

Samuel, the son of Chofni, Gaon and author, 71.

Samuel ben Meir, exegete, 124.

Samuel Ibn Nagdela, Nagid and minister, 103.
  as a scholar, 104.
  as a poet, 104-105.

Samuel Ibn Tibbon, translator, 147, 148. son-in-law of, 148.

Samuel Usque, poet, 217-218.

Scientific activity of the Jews, 151.

Scot, Michael, friend of Anatoli, 149, 151.

Scriptures, the, translated into Greek, 26.
  commentaries on, 77, 79, 123, 229.
  translated into Arabic, 91, 93, 94.
  translations of, in the synagogues, 94.
  and new-Hebrew poetry, 107-108.
  characteristics of the poetry of, 108.
  addresses of parents to children in, 194.
  See also Pentateuch, the.

“Scroll of Fasting, The,” contents, character, and purpose of, 40-41.

Sedarim, order of the Mishnah, 31.

Seder ha-Doroth, by Yechiel Heilprin, 220.

Sefer Dikduk, by Sahal, the son of Mazliach, 79.

Sefer ha-Chassidim, ethical work, 191.

Sefer ha-Galui, by Saadiah, 93.

Sefer ha-Kabbalah, by Abraham Ibn Daud, 213-214.

Sefer Yetsirah, by Saadiah, 95. Kabbalistic, 175.

Seleucid era, the, abolished, 238.

Selichoth, elegies, Zunz on, 215-216.

Sepphoris, centre of Jewish learning, 20.

Septuagint, the, style of, 26.

Seville, Jewish literary centre, 112.

Shaaloth u-Teshuboth, decisions, 73.

Shalsheleth ha-Kabbalah, by Gedaliah Ibn Yachya, 220.

Shebet Jehudah, by the Ibn Vergas, 218-219.

Sheeltoth, by Achai, 69-70.

Sheloh, by Isaiah Hurwitz, 176.

Shelomo Izchaki. See Rashi.

Sherira, Gaon and historian, 70-71.

Sheshet family, writers of “Responses,” 237.

“Shields of the Mighty, The,” by Abraham de Porta Leone, 220.

Shiites, the, Mohammedan sect, 75.

Shilte ha-Gibborim, by Abraham de Porta Leone, 220.

Shulchan Aruch, the, publication of, 232.
  scope of, 232-233.
  sources of, 233-234.
  parts of, 239-240.
  value of, 241.

Sibylline books, the Jewish, 38-40.
  on the Jewish religion, 38-39.
  language of, 39.
  quotations from, 39, 40.

Siddur, the, compiled by Amram, 70.

Sifra, a Midrashic work, 57.

Sifre, a Midrashic work, 57.

Simlai, Amora, 47, 48.

Simon, the son of Lakish, Amora, 46.

Simon, the son of Yochai, alleged author of the Zohar, 172.

Solomon, the son of Adereth, writer of “Responses,” 235.

Solomon Ibn Gebirol, and the Scriptures, 107.
  subjects of, 109.
  life of, 109-110.
  works of, 110.
  quotations from, 111-112.
  works of, translated, 148.

Solomon Ibn Verga, chronicler, 218.

Solomon Alami, ethical writer, 197-198.

Solomon Alkabets, poet, 239.

Solomon Molcho, and the Kabbala, 175, 207.

Song of Songs, the, and new-Hebrew poetry, 107.

Spain, Moorish, the centre of Jewish learning, 96-97.

Spanish-Jewish poetry. See New-Hebrew poetry.

Spanish Piyut, the, 85.

Speyer, Rashi at, 122.

Spinoza, Baruch, influenced by Chasdai Crescas, 141.
  philosopher, 243, 244, 249-251.
  life of, 250-251.
  works of, 251.

Steinschneider, Dr., on Jewish translators, 144.

“Stone of Help, The,” part of the Shulchan Aruch, 240.

Strabo, used in “Josippon,” 214.

“Strengthening of Faith, The,” by Isaac Troki, 81.

“Strong Hand, The,” by Moses Maimonides, 136-137, 139, 232.

“Strong Tower, The,” by Luzzatto, 246.

Sunnites, the, Mohammedan sect, 75.

Sura, centre of Jewish learning, 44, 72. Saadiah at, 91, 96.

Synhedrion, the, at Jamnia, 19-20.

“Table Prepared.” See Shulchan Aruch, the.

Tables of Alfonso, in Hebrew, 221.

Tachkemoni, by Charizi, 131-132, 183.

Talmud, the, commentary on the Mishnah, 43.
  language of, 44.
  two works, 44.
  the teachers of, 44.
  character of, 45, 50, 53.
  the two aspects of, 47.
  and Rab and Samuel, 47-48, 51.
  influences traceable in, 50-51.
  compilation of, 51-52.
  beast fables in, 64-67.
  lexicon of, 70.
  and the Piyut, 86.
  commentary on, by Rashi, 120.
  geographical notes in, 200.
  Notes on, 234.

Talmud, the Babylonian, 44. the larger work, 44.

Talmud, the Jerusalem, 44.

Tam of Rameru, Tossafist, 161.

Tanchuma, a Midrashic work, 58.

Tannaim, the, teachers of the Mishnah, 22. four generations of, 23.

Targum Onkelos, Aramaic translation of the Pentateuch, 27.

Tarshish, by Moses Ibn Ezra, 114.

“Teacher of Knowledge, The,” part of the Shulchan Aruch, 239-240.

Teharoth, order of the Mishnah, 31.

Teshuboth. See “Letters,” the; “Responses,” the.

“Theologico-Political Tractate,” by Spinoza, 244, 251.

Tiberias, centre of Jewish learning, 20.

Todros Abulafia, Kabbalist, 171.

Toledo, Jewish literary centre, 112. cosmopolitanism of, 126.

“Topaz, The,” by Moses Ibn Ezra, 114.

Torah, the. See Pentateuch, the.

Tossafists, the, French Talmudists, 160-161.

Tossafoth, Additions, 161.

“Touchstone, The,” by Kalonymos, 185.

Tractates of the Mishnah, 31.

Tradition, the Jewish, investigated at Jamnia, 21.
  Sherira on, 70.
  reaction against, 76.
  See Mishnah, the.

Translations, value of, 144. made by Jews, 144-145, 146, 149-151, 153-154, 155-156.

“Travels,” by Petachiah of Ratisbon, 204.

Troyes, Rashi at, 122.

“Two Tables of the Covenant, The,” by Isaiah Hurwitz, 176.

Tyre, Jehuda Halevi in, 129.

Usha, centre of Jewish learning, 20.

“Valley of Tears, The,” by Joseph Cohen, 218, 219.

Venice, Abarbanel in, 227.

Vindiciæ Judeorum, by Manasseh ben Israel, 244, 249, 258.

“Vineyard,” the. See Jamnia.

Vossius, friend of Manasseh ben Israel, 245.

“Wars of the Jews, The,” by Josephus, 34. the language of, 37.

“Wars of the Lord, The,” by Gersonides, 141.

“Wars of the Lord, The,” by Salman, the son of Yerucham, 78.

Wessely, N.H., pedagogue, 210.

“Wolf and the two Hounds, The,” fable, 65.

“Wolf at the Well, The,” fable, 65.

“Work of Tobiah, The,” by Tobiah Cohen, 209.

Worms, Rashi at, 122.

Yad Hachazaka. See “Strong Hand, The.”

Yalkut, collected Midrashim, 58.

Yedaiah Bedaressi, writer, 191-192.

Yeshuoth Meshicho, by Abarbanel, 229.

Yoreh Deah, part of the Shulchan Aruch, 240.

Yuchasin, by Abraham Zacuto, 216.

Zabara, satirist, 127.

Zacut, Moses, dramatist, 246.

Zeëna u-Reëna, homiletical work, 230.

Zeira, Amora, 46.

Zemach, the son of Paltoi, Gaon and lexicographer, 70.

Zemach David, by David Gans, 220-221.

Zeraim, order of the Mishnah, 31.

Zevaoth. See Ethical Wills.

Zicareo, character in Samuel Usque’s poem, 218.

Zion, odes to, by Jehuda Halevi, 109, 129-130.

Zohar, the, Kabbalistic work, 172-174.
  style and language of, 172-173.
  contents of, 173-174.
  Christian ideas in, 174.
  importance of, 175.


Preface  •  Chapter I. The “Vineyard” At Jamnia  •  Chapter II. Flavius Josephus and the Jewish Sibyl  •  Chapter III. The Talmud  •  Chapter IV. The Midrash and Its Poetry  •  Chapter V. The Letters of the Gaonim  •  Chapter VI. The Karaitic Literature  •  Chapter VII. The New-Hebrew Piyut  •  Chapter IX. Dawn of the Spanish Era  •  Chapter X. The Spanish-Jewish Poets (I)  •  Chapter XI. Rashi and Alfassi  •  Chapter XII. The Spanish-Jewish Poets (II)  •  Chapter XIII. Moses Maimonides  •  Chapter XIV. The Diffusion of Science  •  Chapter XV. The Diffusion of Folk-Tales  •  Chapter XVI. Moses Nachmanides  •  Chapter XVII. The Zohar and Later Mysticism  •  Chapter XVIII. Italian Jewish Poetry  •  Chapter XIX. Ethical Literature  •  Chapter XX. Travellers’ Tales  •  Chapter XXI. Historians and Chroniclers  •  Chapter XXII. Isaac Abarbanel  •  Chapter XXIII. The Shulchan Aruch  •  Chapter XXIV. Amsterdam in the Seventeenth Century  •  Chapter XXV. Moses Mendelssohn  • 

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