The Book of Delight and Other Papers
Israel Abrahams

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“The Book of Delight”

The connection between Zabara’s work and the Solomon and Marcolf legend was first pointed out in my “Short History of Jewish Literature” (1906), p. 95. I had long before detected the resemblance, though I was not aware of it when I wrote an essay on Zabara in the Jewish Quarterly Review. To the latter (vi, pp. 502 et seq.) the reader is referred for bibliographical notes, and also for details on the textual relations of the two editions of Zabara’s poem.

A number of parallels with other folk-literatures are there indicated; others have been added by Dr. Israel Davidson, in his edition of the “Three Satires” (New York, 1904), which accompany the “Book of Delight” in the Constantinople edition, and are also possibly by Zabara.

The late Professor David Kaufmann informed me some years ago that he had a manuscript of the poem in his possession. But, after his death, the manuscript could not be found in his library. Should it eventually be rediscovered, it would be desirable to have a new, carefully printed edition of the Hebrew text of the “Book of Delight.” I would gladly place at the disposal of the editor my copy of the Constantinople edition, made from the Oxford specimen. The Bodleian copy does not seem to be unique, as had been supposed.

The literature on the Solomon and Marcolf legend is extensive. The following references may suffice. J.M. Kemble published (London, 1848) “The Dialogue of Solomon and Saturnus,” for the Aelfric Society. “Of all the forms of the story yet preserved,” says Mr. Kemble, “the Anglo-Saxon are undoubtedly the oldest.” He talks vaguely of the intermixture of Oriental elements, but assigns a northern origin to one portion of the story. Crimm had argued for a Hebrew souice, thinking Marcolf a name of scorn in Hebrew. But the Hebrew Marcolis (or however one may spell it) is simply Mercury. In the Latin version, however, Marcolf is distinctly represented as coming from the East. William of Tyre (12th cent.) suggests the identity of Marcolf with Abdemon, whom Josephus ("Antiquities,” VIII, v, 3) names as Hiram’s Riddle-Guesser. A useful English edition is E. Gordon Duff’s “Dialogue or Communing between the Wise King Salomon and Marcolphus” (London, 1892). Here, too, as in the Latin version, Marcolf is a man from the Orient. Besides these books, two German works deserve special mention. F. Vogt, in his essay entitled Die deutschen Dichtungen won Salomon und Markolf, which appeared in Halle, in 1880, also thinks Marcolf an Eastern. Finally, as the second part of his “Untersuchungen zur mittelhochdeutschen Spielmannspoesie” (Schwerin, 1894), H. Tardel published Zum Salman-Morolf. Tardel is skeptical as to the Eastern provenance of the legend.

It has been thought that a form of this legend is referred to in the fifth century. The Contradictio Solomonis, which Pope Gelasius excluded from the sacred canon, has been identified with some version of the Marcolf story.

A Visit to Hebron

The account of Hebron, given in this volume, must be read for what it was designed to be, an impressionist sketch. The history of the site, in so far as it has been written, must be sought in more technical books. As will be seen from several details, my visit was paid in the month of April, just before Passover. Things have altered in some particulars since I was there, but there has been no essential change in the past decade.

The Hebron Haram, or shrine over the Cave of Machpelah, is fully described in the “Cruise of H.M.S. Bacchante, 1879-1882,” ii, pp. 595-619. (Compare “Survey of Western Palestine,” iii, pp. 333-346; and the Quarterly Statement of the Palestine Exploration Fund, 1882, pp. 197-214.) Colonel Conder’s account narrates the experiences of the present King of England at the Haram in April, 1882. Dean Stanley had previously entered the Haram with King Edward VII, in January, 1862 (see Stanley’s “Sermons in the East,” 1863, pp. 141-169). A good note on the relation between these modern narratives and David Reubeni’s (dating from the early part of the sixteenth century) was contributed by Canon Dalton to the Quarterly Statement, 1897, p. 53. A capital plan of the Haram is there printed.

Mr. Adler’s account of his visit to Hebron will be found in his “Jews in Many Lands,” pp. 104-111; he tells of his entry into the Haram on pp. 137-138.

M. Lucien Gautier’s work referred to is his Souvenirs du Terre-Sainte (Lausanne, 1898). The description of glass-making appears on p. 53 of that work.

The somewhat startling identification of the Ramet el-Khalil, near Hebron, with the site of the altar built by Samuel in Ramah (I Sam. vii. 17) is justified at length in Mr. Shaw Caldecott’s book “The Tabernacle, its History and Structure” (London, 1904).

The Solace of Books (pp. 93-121)

The opening quotation is from the Ethical Will of Judah ibn Tibbon, the “father” of Jewish translators. The original is fully analyzed in an essay by the present writer, in the Jewish Quarterly Review, iii, 453. See also ibidem, p. 483. The Hebrew text was printed by Edelmann, and also by Steinschneider; by the latter at Berlin, 1852.

A writer much cited in this same essay, Richard of Bury, derived his name from his birthplace, Bury St. Edmunds. “He tells us himself in his ’Philobiblon’ that he used his high offices of state as a means of collecting books. He let it be known that books were the most acceptable presents that could be made to him” ("Dictionary of National Biography," viii, 26). He was also a student of Hebrew, and collected grammars of that language. Altogether his “Philobiblon” is an “admirable exhibition of the temper of a book-lover.” Written in the early part of the fourteenth century, the “Philobiblon” was first published, at Cologne, in 1473. The English edition cited in this essay is that published in the King’s Classics (De la More Library, ed. I. Gollancz).

The citation from Montaigne is from his essay on the “Three Commerces” (bk. in, ch. iii). The same passages, in Florio’s rendering, will be found in Mr. A.R. Waller’s edition (Dent’s Everyman’s Library), in, pp. 48-50. Of the three “Commerces” (i.e. societies)–Men, Women, and Books–Montaigne proclaims that the commerce of books “is much more solid-sure and much more ours.” I have claimed Montaigne as the great-grandson of a Spanish Jew on the authority of Mr. Waller (Introduction, p. vii).

The paragraphs on books from the “Book of the Pious,” §§ 873-932, have been collected (and translated into English) by the Rev. Michael Adler, in an essay called “A Medieval Bookworm” (see The Bookworm, ii, 251).

The full title of Mr. Alexander Ireland’s book–so much drawn upon in this essay–is “The Book-Lover’s Enchiridion, a Treasury of Thoughts on the Solace and Companionship of Books, Gathered from the Writings of the Greatest Thinkers, from Cicero, Petrarch, and Montaigne, to Carlyle, Emerson, and Ruskin” (London and New York, 1894).

Mr. F.M. Nichols’ edition of the “Letters of Erasmus” (1901) is the source of the quotation of one of that worthy’s letters.

The final quotation comes from the Wisdom of Solomon, ch. vi. v. 12; ch. viii. vv. 2, 16; and ch. ix. v. 4. The “radiance” of Wisdom is, in ch. vii, 26, explained in the famous words, “For she is an effulgence from everlasting light, an unspotted mirror of the working of God, and an image of His goodness.”

Medieval Wayfaring

The evidence for many of the statements in this paper will be found in various contexts in “Jewish Life in the Middle Ages,” in the Hebrew travel literature, and in such easily accessible works as Graetz’s “History of the Jews.”

Achimaaz has been much used by me. His “Book of Genealogies” (Sefer Yochasin) was written in 1055. The Hebrew text was included by Dr. A. Neubauer in his “Mediaeval Jewish Chronicles,” ii, pp. 114 et seq. I might have cited Achimaaz’s account of an amusing incident in the synagogue at Venosa. There had been an uproar in the Jewish quarter, and a wag added some lines on the subject to the manuscript of the Midrash which the travelling preacher was to read on the following Sabbath. The effect of the reading may be imagined.

Another source for many of my statements is a work by Julius Aronius, Regesten zur Geschichte der Juden in Deutschland, Berlin, 1893. It presents many new facts on the medieval Jewries of Germany.

The quaint story of the Jewish sailors told by Synesius is taken from T.R. Glover’s “Life and Letters in the Fourth Century” (Cambridge, 1901), p. 330.

A careful statement on communal organization with regard to the status of travellers and settlers was contributed by Weinberg to vol. xii of the Breslau Monatsschrift. The title of the series of papers is Die Organisation der jüdischen Gemeinden.

For evidence of the existence of Communal Codes, or Note-Books, see Dr. A. Berliner’s Beiträge zur Geschichte der Raschi-Commentare, Berlin, 1903, p. 3.

Benjamin of Tudela’s “Itinerary” has been often edited, most recently by the late M.N. Adler (London, 1907). Benjamin’s travels occupied the years 1166 to 1171, and his narrative is at once informing and entertaining. The motives for his extensive journeys through Europe, Asia, and Africa are thus summed up by Mr. Adler (pp. xii, xiii): “At the time of the Crusades, the most prosperous communities in Germany and the Jewish congregations that lay along the route to Palestine had been exterminated or dispersed, and even in Spain, where the Jews had enjoyed complete security for centuries, they were being pitilessly persecuted in the Moorish kingdom of Cordova. It is not unlikely, therefore, that Benjamin may have undertaken his journey with the object of finding out where his expatriated brethren might find an asylum. It will be noted that Benjamin seems to use every effort to trace and afford particulars of independent communities of Jews, who had chiefs of their own, and owed no allegiance to the foreigner. He may have had trade and mercantile operations in view. He certainly dwells on matters of commercial interest with considerable detail. Probably he was actuated by both motives, coupled with the pious wish of making a pilgrimage to the land of his fathers.”

For Jewish pilgrims to Palestine see Steinschneider’s contribution to Röhricht and Meisner’s Deutsche Pilgerreisen, pp. 548-648. My statement as to the existence of a Jewish colony at Ramleh in the eleventh century is based on Genizah documents at Cambridge, T.S. 13 J. 1.

For my account of the Trade Routes of the Jews in the medieval period, I am indebted to Beazley’s “Dawn of Modern Geography,” p. 430.

The Letter of Nachmanides is quoted from Dr. Schechter’s “Studies in Judaism,” First Series, pp. 131 et seq. The text of Obadiah of Bertinoro’s letter was printed by Dr. Neubauer in the Jahrbuch für die Geschichte der Juden, 1863.

The Fox’s Heart (pp. 159-171)

The main story discussed in this essay is translated from the so-called “Alphabet of Ben Sira,” the edition used being Steinschneider’s (Alphabetum Siracidis, Berlin, 1858).

The original work consists of two Alphabets of Proverbs,–twenty-two in Aramaic and twenty-two in Hebrew–and is embellished with comments and fables. A full account of the book is given in a very able article by Professor L. Ginzberg, “Jewish Encyclopedia,” ii, p. 678. The author is not the Ben Sira who wrote the Wisdom book in the Apocrypha, but the ascription of it to him led to the incorporation of some legends concerning him. Dr. Ginzberg also holds this particular Fox Fable to be a composite, and to be derived more or less from Indian originals.

“Marriages Are Made in Heaven”

The chief authorities to which the reader is referred are: Midrash Rabba, Genesis Section 68; Leviticus Section 29; and Numbers Sections 3 and 22. Further, Midrash Tanchuma, to the sections Ki tissa, Mattoth, and Vayishlach; Midrash Samuel, ch. v; Babylonian Talmud, Moed Katon, 18b, and Sotah, 2a.

In Dr. W. Bacher’s Agada der Tannaiten, ii, pp. 168-170, will be found important notes on some of these passages.

I have freely translated the story of Solomon’s daughter from Buber’s Tanchuma, Introduction, p. 136. It is clearly pieced together from several stories, too familiar to call for the citation of parallels. With one of the incidents may be compared the device of Sindbad in his second voyage. He binds himself to one of the feet of a rukh, i.e. condor, or bearded vulture. In another adventure he attaches himself to the carcass of a slaughtered animal, and is borne aloft by a vulture. A similar incident may be noted in Pseudo-Ben Sira (Steinschneider, p. 5).

Compare also Gubernatis, Zool. Myth, ii, 94. The fabulous anka was banished as punishment for carrying off a bride.

For the prayers based on belief in the Divine appointment of marriages, see “Jewish Life in the Middle Ages,” ch. x.

One of the many sixteenth century Tobit dramas is Tobie, Comedie De Catherin Le Doux: En laquelle on void comme les marriages sont faicts au ciel, & qu’il n’y a rien qui eschappe la providence de Dieu (Cassel, 1604).

Hebrew Love Songs

From personal observation, Dr. G.H. Dalman collected a large number of modern Syrian songs in his Palästinischer Diwan (Leipzig, 1901). The songs were taken down, and the melodies noted, in widely separated districts. Judea, the Hauran, Lebanon, are all represented. Dr. Dalman prints the Arabic text in “Latin” transliteration, and appends German renderings. Wetzstein’s earlier record of similar folk-songs appears in Delitzsch’s Commentary on Canticles–Hohelied und Koheleth,–1875 and also in the Zeitschrift für Ethnologie, v, p. 287. Previous commentators had sometimes held that the Song of Songs was a mere collection of detached and independent fragments, but on the basis of Wetzstein’s discoveries, Professor Budde elaborated his theory, that the Song is a Syrian wedding-minstrel’s repertory.

This theory will be found developed in Budde’s Commentary on Canticles (1898); it is a volume in Marti’s Kurzer Hand-Commentar zum Alten Testament. An elaborate and destructive criticism of the repertory theory may be read in Appendix ii of Mr. Andrew Harper’s “Song of Solomon” (1902): the book forms a volume in the series of the Cambridge Bible for Schools. Harper’s is a very fine work, and not the least of its merits is its exposition of the difficulties which confront the attempt to deny unity of plot and plan to the Biblical song. Harper also expresses a sound view as to the connection between love-poetry and mysticism. “Sensuality and mysticism are twin moods of the mind.” The allegorical significance of the Song of Songs goes back to the Targum, an English version of which has been published by Professor H. Gollancz in his “Translations from Hebrew and Aramaic” (1908).

Professor J.P. Mahaffy’s view on the Idylls of Theocritus may be read in his “History of Greek Literature,” ii, p. 170, and in several pages of his “Greek Life and Thought” (see Index, s.v.).

The passage in which Graetz affirms the borrowing of the pastoral scheme by the author of Canticles from Theocritus, is translated from p. 69 of Graetz’s Schir ha-Schirim, oder das salomonische Hohelied (Vienna, 1871). Though the present writer differs entirely from the opinion of Graetz on this point, he has no hesitation in describing Graetz’s Commentary as a masterpiece of brilliant originality.

The rival theory, that Theocritus borrowed from the Biblical Song, is supported by Professor D.S. Margoliouth, in his “Lines of Defence of the Biblical Revelation” (1900), pp. 2-7. He also suggests (p. 7), that Theocritus borrowed lines 86-87 of Idyll xxiv from Isaiah xi. 6.

The evidence from the scenery of the Song, in favor of the natural and indigenous origin of the setting of the poem, is strikingly illustrated in G.A. Smith’s “Historical Geography of the Holy Land” (ed. 1901), pp. 310-311. The quotation from Laurence Oliphant is taken from his “Land of Gilead” (London, 1880).

Egyptian parallels to Canticles occur in the hieroglyphic love-poems published by Maspero in Études égyptiennes, i, pp. 217 et seq., and by Spiegelberg in Aegyptiaca (contained in the Ebers Festschrift, pp. 177 et seq.). Maspero, describing, in 1883, the affinities of Canticles to the old Egyptian love songs, uses almost the same language as G.E. Lessing employed in 1777, in summarizing the similarities between Canticles and Theocritus. It will amuse the reader to see the passages side by side.



Il n’y a personne qui, en lisant la traduction de ces chants, ne soit frappé de la ressemblance qu’ils présentent avec le Cantique des Cantiques. Ce sont les mêmes façons ..., les mêmes images ..., les mêmes comparaisons.

Immo sunt qui maximam similitudinem inter Canticum Canticorum et Theocriti Idyllia esse statuant ... quod iisdem fere videtur esse verbis, loquendi formulis, similibus, transitu, figuris.

If these resemblances were so very striking, then, as argued in the text of this essay, the Idylls of Theocritus ought to resemble the Egyptian poems. This, however, they utterly fail to do.

For my acquaintance with the modern Greek songs I am indebted to Mr. G.F. Abbott’s “Songs of Modern Greece” (Cambridge, 1900). The Levantine character of the melodies to Hebrew Piyyutim based on the Song of Songs is pointed out by Mr. F.L. Cohen, in the “Jewish Encyclopedia,” i, p. 294, and iii, p. 47.

The poem of Taubah, and the comments on it, are taken from C.J.L. Lyall’s “Translations of Ancient Arabic Poetry, chiefly prae-Islamic” (1885), P. 76.

The Hebrew text of Moses ibn Ezra’s poem–cited with reference to the figure of love surviving the grave–may be found in Kaempf’s Zehn Makamen (1858), p. 215. A German translation is given, I believe, in the same author’s Nichtandalusische Poesie andalusischer Dichter.

Many Hebrew love-poems, in German renderings, are quoted in Dr. A. Sulzbach’s essay, Die poetische Litteratur (second section, Die weltliche Poesie), contributed to the third volume of Winter and Wunsche’s Jüdische Litteratur (1876). His comments, cited in my essay, occur in that work, p. 160. Amy Levy’s renderings of some of Jehudah Halevi’s love songs are quoted by Lady Magnus in the first of her “Jewish Portraits.” Dr. J. Egers discusses Samuel ha-Nagid’s “Stammering Maid” in the Graetz Jubelschrift (1877), pp. 116-126.

George Eliot and Solomon Maimon

The Autobiography of Solomon Maimon (1754-1800) was published in Berlin (1792-3) in two parts, under the title Salomon Maimon’s Lebensgeschichte. Moses Mendelssohn befriended Maimon, in so far as it was possible to befriend so wayward a personality. Maimon made real contributions to philosophy.

The description of Daniel Deronda’s purchase of the volume is contained in ch. xxxiii of the novel. In Holborn, Deronda came across a “second-hand book-shop, where, on a narrow table outside, the literature of the ages was represented in judicious mixture, from the immortal verse of Homer to the mortal prose of the railway novel. That the mixture was judicious was apparent from Deronda’s finding in it something that he wanted–namely, that wonderful piece of autobiography, the life of the Polish Jew, Salomon Maimon.”

The man in temporary charge of the shop was Mordecai. This is his first meeting with Deronda, who, after an intensely dramatic interval, “paid his half-crown and carried off his ’Salomon Maimon’s Lebensgeschichte’ with a mere ’Good Morning.’”

How Milton Pronounced Hebrew

Milton’s transliterations are printed in several editions of his poems; the version used in this book is that given in D. Masson’s “Poetical Works of Milton,” in, pp. 5-11. The notes of the late A.B. Davidson on Milton’s Hebrew knowledge are cited in the same volume by Masson (p. 483). Landor had no high opinion of Milton as a translator. “Milton,” he said, “was never so much a regicide as when he lifted up his hand and smote King David.” But there can be no doubt of Milton’s familiarity with the original, whatever be the merit of the translations. To me, Milton’s rendering of Psalm lxxxiv seems very fine.

The controversy between the advocates of the versions of Rous and Barton–which led to Milton’s effort–is described in Masson, ii, p. 312.

Reuchlin’s influence on the pronunciation of Hebrew in England is discussed by Dr. S.A. Hirsch, in his “Book of Essays” (London, 1905), p. 60. Roger Bacon, at a far earlier date, must have pronounced Hebrew in much the same way, but he was not guilty of the monstrosity of turning the Ayin into a nasal. Bacon (as may be seen from the facsimile printed by Dr. Hirsch) left the letter Ayin unpronounced, which is by far the best course for Westerns to adopt.

The Cambridge Platonists

Henry More (1614-1687) was the most important of the “Cambridge Platonists.” Several of his works deal with the Jewish Cabbala. More recognized a “Threefold Cabbala, Literal, Philosophical, and Mystical, or Divinely Moral.” He dedicated his Conjectura Cabbalistica to Cudworth, Master of Christ’s College, Cambridge, of which More was a Fellow. Cudworth was one of those who attended the Whitehall Conference, summoned by Cromwell in 1655 to discuss the readmission of the Jews to England.

Platonic influence was always prevalent in mystical thought. The Cabbala has intimate relations with neo-Platonism.

The Anglo-Jewish Yiddish Literary Society

The question raised as to the preservation of Yiddish is not unimportant at this juncture. It is clear that the old struggle between Hebrew and Yiddish for predominance as the Jewish language must become more and more severe as Hebrew advances towards general acceptance as a living language.

Probably the struggle will end in compromise. Hebrew might become one of the two languages spoken by Jews, irrespective of what the other language might happen to be.

The Mystics and Saints of India

The full title of Professor Oman’s work is “The Mystics, Ascetics, and Saints of India. A Study of Sadhuism, with an account of the Yogis, Sanyasis, Bairagis, and other strange Hindu Sectaries” (London, 1903).

The subject of asceticism in Judaism has of late years been more sympathetically treated than used to be the case. The Jewish theologians of a former generation were concerned to attack the excesses to which an ascetic course of life may lead. This attack remains as firmly justified as ever. But to deny a place to asceticism in the Jewish scheme, is at once to pronounce the latter defective and do violence to fact.

Speaking of the association of fasting with repentance, Dr. Schechter says: “It is in conformity with this sentiment, for which there is abundant authority both in the Scriptures and in the Talmud, that ascetic practices tending both as a sacrifice and as a castigation of the flesh, making relapse impossible, become a regular feature of the penitential course in the medieval Rabbinic literature” ("Some Aspects of Rabbinic Theology," 1909, PP. 339-340).

Moreover, the fuller appreciation of the idea of saintliness, and the higher esteem of the mystical elements in Judaism–ideas scarcely to be divorced from asceticism–have helped to confirm the newer attitude. Here, too, Dr. Schechter has done a real service to theology. The Second Series of his “Studies in Judaism” contains much on this subject. What he has written should enable future exponents of Judaism to form a more balanced judgment on the whole matter.

Fortunately, the newer view is not confined to any one school of Jewish thought. The reader will find, in two addresses contained in Mr. C.G. Montefiore’s “Truth in Religion” (1906), an able attempt to weigh the value and the danger of an ascetic view of life. It was, indeed, time that the Jewish attitude towards so powerful a force should be reconsidered.

Lost Purim Joys

The burning of Haman in effigy is recorded in the Responsa of a Gaon published by Professor L. Ginzberg in his “Geniza Studies” ("Geonica,” ii, pp. 1-3). He holds that the statement as to the employment of “Purim bonfires among the Babylonian and Elamitic Jews as given in the Aruch (s. v. [Hebrew: shin-vav-vav-resh]) undoubtedly goes back to this Responsum.”

On Purim parodies much useful information will be found in Dr. Israel Davidson’s “Parody in Jewish Literature” (New York, 1907). See Index s.v. Purim (p. 289).

For a statement of the supposed connection between Purim and other spring festivals, see Paul Haupt’s “Purim” (Baltimore, 1906), and the article in the “Encyclopaedia Biblica,” cols. 3976-3983. Such theories do not account adequately for the Book of Esther.

Schodt (Jüdische Merkwürdigkeiten, 1713, ii, p. 314) gives a sprightly account of what seems to have been the first public performance of a Purim play in Germany.

Jews and Letters

Leopold Löw investigated the history of writing, and of the materials used among the Jews, in his Graphische Requisiten und Erzeugnisse bei den Juden (2 vols., Leipzig, 1870-71).

On Jewish letter-carriers in Germany, see the article of Dr. I. Kracauer in the “Jewish Encyclopedia,” viii, p. 15. The first Post-Jude is named in 1722. These Jewish letter-carriers received no salary from the Government, but collected a fee from the recipients of the letters.

The Talmudic Bê-Davvar [Hebrew: beth-yod-(maqqef)-daleth-vav-aleph-resh] was really a Court of Justice (perhaps a Circuit Court). As, however, davvar meant a despatch-bearer, the phrase Bê-Davvar passed over later into the meaning Post-Office. Davvar seems connected with the root dur, “to form a circle"; the pael form (davvar) would mean “to go around," perhaps to travel with merchandise and letters.

The Shape of Matzoth

In the twentieth chapter of Proverbs v. 17, we find the maxim:

  “Bread gained by fraud is sweet to a man,
   But afterwards his mouth will be filled with gravel.”

The exact point of this comparison was brought home to me when I spent a night at Modin, the ancient home of the Maccabees. Over night I enjoyed the hospitality of a Bedouin. In the morning I was given some native bread for breakfast. I was very hungry, and I took a large and hasty bite at the bread, when lo! my mouth was full of gravel. They make the bread as follows: One person rolls the dough into a thin round cake (resembling a Matzah), while another person places hot cinders on the ground. The cake is put on the cinders and gravel, and an earthenware pot is spread over all, to retain the heat. Hence the bread comes out with fragments of gravel and cinder in it. Woe betide the hasty eater! Compare Lamentations iii. 16, “He hath broken my teeth with gravel stones.” This, then, may be the meaning of the proverb cited at the head of this note. Bread hastily snatched, advantages thoughtlessly or fraudulently grasped, may appear sweet in anticipation, but eventually they fill a man’s mouth with gravel.

The quotation from Paulus Aringhus’ Roma subterranea novissima will be found in vol. ii, p. 533 of the first edition (Rome, 1651). This work, dealing mainly with the Christian sepulchres in Rome, was reprinted in Amsterdam (1659) and Arnheim (1671), and a German translation appeared in Arnheim in 1668. The first volume (pp. 390 et seq.) fully describes the Jewish tombs in Rome, and cites the Judeo-Greek inscriptions. There is much else to interest the Jewish student in these two stately and finely illustrated folios.


Preface  •  “The Book of Delight”  •  A Visit to Hebron  •  The Solace of Books  •  Medieval Wayfaring  •  The Fox’s Heart  •  “Marriages Are Made in Heaven”  •  Hebrew Love Songs  •  A Handful of Curiosities  •  Notes  •