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the spirit of antiquity, in such complete keeping with the original, that in a less critical age it might easily have gained a place in the books of the Lawl; and lastly, that Jews have continued the Hagada down to the present day, though usually in a style as remarkable for its absurdity as for its poverty of invention. They tell us, for instance, that when Abel disputed with Cain on sacrifice and the immortality of the soul, the latter was smitten with the leprosy, or had a horn on his forehead; that it seems very probable that Canaan castrated his father; that Noah planted a vine with the help of the devil, and sacrificed on that occasion a sheep, a lion and a swine, because with the first draught of wine man becomes a sheep, with the second a lion, and lastly a swine, and a great deal more of the same description. But though it be admitted that there were originally (according to the opinion of one of the Rabbins) two or more rolls of the Law, differing from each other, and though it can be proved that the Samaritans, as a sect, did not scruple to make arbitrary changes in the text, these admissions nevertheless could have no reference to our copy of the Pentateuch. For it is just as certain, that a subsequent period did arrive when the veneration of the Jews for the older writings was carried to such a pitch that, except in the case of Daniel (under the garb of an ancient prophet), not a single book could obtain a place among the Ketubim3; and from that time
Abraham said, Let not the wrath of my Lord be kindled against his servant, behold I have sinned ! forgive me. 16. And Abraham stood up and went forth into the wilderness, and cried and sought the man, and found him and led him back into his tent, and dealt kindly by him, and the next morning he let him go in peace.
Codex. ? See R. Asaria, in Gesenius de Pentateuch, Samar. p. 14.
3 See Zunz, p. 34. VOL. I.
downwards, the text itself, though notes and commentaries were appended to it, remained perfectly sacred and inviolable. It would indeed have been a most extraordinary fact, if a later copyist or glosser had only introduced precisely the very verses, historical allusions, complete narratives and chapters, which are the strongest evidence against the authorship of Moses.
While the Samaritans, in their anxiety to support their own doctrines, have rejected those parts exclusively which were most inconsistent with their object, and while Josephus modified what was most likely to prove offensive [to the Gentiles), a course the very opposite would have been adopted here, and a spirit most studiously infused into the whole at utter variance with all pretension to a high antiquity.
Whoever, therefore, brings forward interpolations of the Pentateuch as an argument [for the high antiquity of that book,] must go beyond the period of our Canon into the region of pure conjecture, or he must arrive at the probable epoch when the whole Pentateuch was first produced. CHAPTER XII.
CONSTITUTION OF THE ISRAELITES.
It has been said that the constitution of the Israelites, from the time of Moses downwards, uniformly presupposes the existence of the historical and legislatorial portions of the Pentateuch, and more especially of those which relate to the division of the tribes, the nature of the Deity, and the Levitical law, worship and festivals, inasmuch as idolatry and disobedience are constantly followed by a return to the Mosaic constitution; and therefore, that “nothing but prejudice or party spirit can prevent us from recognizing these writings as Mosaic!.” This argument supplies a perfect specimen of that figure of speech which logicians term hysteronproteron (or the substitution of the effect for the cause], and by a parallel process we might argue precisely as follows:
In the early history of the Christian church we find a large amount of freedom and a complete independence of the influence of the hierarchy, but at the same time a systematic attempt on the part of the clergy to obtain the ascendancy; and consequently the constitution of the church in the first centuries necessarily presupposes the existence of the pretended decretal epistles of Isidore (which were forged at Mayence about A.D. 840), inasmuch as these
Jahn, Introd. ii. 26, &c. Rosenmüller, Prolegg. p. 10.
appear to form the very corner-stone of the whole fabric of papal supremacy.
It is an historical fact that, down to the period of the Babylonish exile, the Hebrew people had constantly wavered between the religious systems of neighbouring nations; and it is equally true, that the more intelligent among them (such as were also to be found among other nations which had attained some degree of culture, and especially among the Phænicians) had sought to effect a greater uniformity of belief and to suppress glaring idolatry. But any reform which may have been accomplished by these enlightened individuals was, we may be sure, very different from that which we find in the books of the law. This may be seen from the little which had been effected even at a later period, when one of the priests is stated to have “ taught the people how they should fear the Lord,” without alluding to any written law'. Moreover, we cannot admit that the evidence of these books of the law, or of those which are acknowledged to be of a still later date (as the Chronicles, the principal authority of Jahn,) is at all sufficient to prove that the Levitical system was the constant object of these pious men of old, who are veiled in a kind of glory. If this inference had been correct, the history of the Pentateuch would have been not a little remarkable, as Leo and De Wette justly observe; for after having been neglected in its most weighty enactments, from the death of Moses downwards, it is only after a thousand years have passed away that we find its laws observed even to their minutest particular ; whereas in
1 “ Then one of the priests whom they had carried away from Samaria came and dwelt in Beth-el, and taught them how they should fear the Lord.”—2 Kings xvii. 28.
every other instance upon record, legislative systems have been observed with the greatest strictness at the period of their first introduction, and have only fallen by slow degrees into neglect.
After all, this argument is far from proving the existence of any written document; for it is evident that the system, as introduced by Moses, might have remained an acknowledged standard for the guidance of the priests, although it had never been committed to writing; and the observance of a particular law or usage is no conclusive evidence of the existence of a written code; indeed, as Herbst has very justly observed, a partial acquaintance with the contents of the Pentateuch might have been possibly derived from some independent source. The argument of Bertholdt, that the administration of justice in the middle ages was also very defective, notwithstanding the existence of the Justinian Code, is by no means applicable to the case before us; for it cannot be maintained that the whole system of the popular religion was founded on the provisions of this imperial code, and still less that its laws describe by anticipation the very crimes to which the middle ages first gave birth. We are willing, nevertheless, to submit to a closer examination the principal points that have been mentioned, omitting those traditional allusions to the merits of Moses, the departure from Egypt, &c., which are of constant occurrence throughout the national literature.
We may devote the less space to the civil constitution of the Israelitish nation, as this remained, even under the Kings, an unvaried Nomocracy (or government of tribes], derived from a family constitution, such as it exists to the
Observationes quædam de Pentat. quatuor librorum posteriorum, auctore et editore Elwang (1817), § 9.