Chronicles of Jerahmeel, by M. Gaster , at sacred-texts.com
p. ix p. x p. xi
The chronicle which I publish here for the first time is not a chronicle in the strict sense of the word. It does not relate true events which have happened in the history of mankind, but it belongs more to that class of legendary history which was so much in vogue in the Middle Ages, and which owes its original conception to the attempt, from very ancient times, to embellish the biblical narrative. The history of the world began with the narrative of the Bible—first for the Jews, and then for all the nations who have derived their knowledge and their faith from the same source. The careful reader of the Bible must have been struck with what appeared to him to be incoherence of narrative, want of details, and at times great lacunæ. Hence the desire for filling them up.
An old problem has also been to establish a fixed chronology upon the basis of the biblical narrative. This last was, in fact, the oldest attempt to construct exact history out of the Bible. The computation of the era of the world, and the desire for fixing the age of every person mentioned in the Bible, and of every event contained therein, was imposed upon Jews almost as soon as they came in contact with the highly fantastical chronologies of Manetho and Berossus, who gave to the world and to the reigning dynasties of Egypt and Assyria millions of years. The Jews, especially those who lived in Alexandria, the ancient focus of civilization, where all the currents of thought, myth and learning combined, felt the necessity of comparing
these fabulous histories with the true history of the world as contained in the Bible. We therefore find among the oldest Alexandrian writers like Demetrios and others the very first rudiments of biblical chronology. Egypt was also the land where myths and legends flourished in abundance, and no wonder that the lives of Biblical personages connected especially with Egypt and Egyptian history, like Joseph, Moses, Solomon and others, should have been embellished with legendary and poetic details drawn from sources hitherto not yet accounted for.
Biblical legends occur, therefore, very frequently in the works of the Alexandrian writers referred to, especially in Artapanos and Philo, and, derived from such sources, also in Josephus. This activity was, however, not limited to Egypt. The desire for rounding off the biblical narrative, for filling up the lacunæ, for answering all the questions of the enquiring mind of the ancient reader, was also carried on in Palestine and probably so in Babylon. Hence a new literature grew out of the Bible, and clustered round the Bible, which goes under the name of the Apocrypha, or pseudo-epigraphical literature.
Some of these writings are written with a special purpose, either to inculcate certain doctrines, or to show the antiquity of certain precepts in order to justify some religious ceremony. Some assume the form of historical narratives of events that happened to the Patriarchs, others appear in the form of ancient revelations also ascribed to biblical personages, and either try to lift the veil of the future or to encourage the people in time of trial and trouble. This literature has had a chequered career; very little has come down to us in its primitive form, and in the Hebrew language. Even those that were written in Greek, and have been translated from that language, had to undergo considerable changes at the hands of those who afterwards utilized the ancient records for the purpose of spreading their own religious views. Books that went under the names of Patriarchs claimed a great respect and veneration. And, therefore, if they contained announcements
as to events that were to happen, Christian writers and then heads of sects would not fail to interpret or to interpolate sentences or passages by which Christian or specific doctrines would appear to have been foretold from ancient times. Such interpolations and the use made of the books sufficed to condemn them in the eyes of the Jews, and even in the eyes of the ruling Church, and to cause their disappearance at a very early period. Others that were written in Hebrew and claimed to be a kind of prophecy, having been belied by the non-fulfilment of those prophecies, fell into contempt, were disregarded, and therefore partly lost; the purely historical and legendary portions, however, seem to have fared somewhat better. They lived on because age did not affect them, and people at all times were inclined to bestow benevolent attention upon poetical descriptions or pseudo-historical narratives.
The critical spirit belongs to modern times. The discrimination between true and false history is the result of modern discipline. Much that we consider as impossible and legendary would pass, and did pass for centuries, as true history; and legendary history ranked very high in popular favour from ancient times onward. The texts suffered considerably because they were considered 'No man's property.' Every copyist, every author, handled them in the freest possible manner: adding, changing, altering, leaving out what he considered useless or superfluous, and dwelling at length upon details for which he had a special predilection. The liberty taken with that class of literature greatly increases the difficulties of the critical student, and makes the task much more onerous for those who attempt to winnow the chaff from the corn and to trace legendary history to its ultimate literary source.
With the Jews, history—that is, a description of battles or of internal political development—had ceased from the time that the political entity had come to an end. Scattered throughout the world, they dwelt much more passionately upon the records of the Bible, and favoured all those legendary embroideries more highly than probably any
other nation which lived in the actuality, and had to shape its course in the various lands where they had established themselves. That accounts for the paucity of Jewish chronicles—there was practically nothing to record. From the time of the first Temple, that is, from the time at which the Bible closes down to the Dispersion under Titus and Vespasianus, there was a long period, in which the Jewish polity again flourished in Palestine, and wherein the Maccabeans fill such a prominent place. True, a brief allusion to these three hundred years and more of the existence of the second Temple is all that is to be found in Jewish literature; a stray passage among the thousands of pages of the homiletic or legal literature of those times, and no more. But, in spite of this poverty in reference, that period was one of intensive literary activity, the outlines of which have hitherto been only dimly recognised.
Of the literature that flourished during the second Temple, some of the books are known as the Apocrypha of the Bible. A few pretend to contain contemporary real history, like Judith, additions to Daniel, Susanna, Maccabees; others are books of wisdom, like Ben Sira's Ecclesiasticus; or, the Wisdom of Solomon; and I may also mention here the so-called Psalms of Solomon.
Greater activity was displayed in the production of the so-called pseudo-epigraphical books such as the Book of Enoch, the Book of the Jubilees, the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, and a host of other similar productions which have the Bible as their centre, and poetical imagination as their characteristic. A true appreciation of this literature has been reserved for our times. These books were used in the composition of the mediæval Bible Historiale; but not one single text, according to the common notion, has been preserved in its original language. They have come down in Greek or in Latin, or in translations derived from these secondary sources. Old Hebrew parallels to the Apocrypha proper, not to speak of the pseudo-epigraphical, seemed completely lost. As far as
the Apocrypha proper are concerned, there exists, however, a book which covers this whole period: a kind of continuation of the biblical narrative from the point at which it closes—viz.: the rebuilding under Ezra and Nehemiah, down to the destruction of the second Temple. It goes under the name of Yosippon (by the way, a Byzantine form of Josephus, in so far absolutely identical with the Hebrew form ###. This book contains a special version of all those Apocryphal tales, it goes on to describe the history of the Maccabeeans, and afterwards at great length the details of the war with the Romans up to the fatal conclusion. The authenticity of this Hebrew version has been questioned by almost everyone who has dealt with it, although, till now, no complete or perfect edition of this work has been attempted. It exists in at least two distinctly different forms, and the manuscripts, which are not very numerous, have scarcely yet been touched. A huge interpolation—namely, the legendary history of Alexander, of which I published an English translation from old manuscripts—has induced men like Zunz to consider the whole work as being of the same age as that portion which had been interpolated at a later time. Zunz came to the conclusion that it was a translation made in the South of Italy sometime in the eleventh or twelfth century, based probably upon the Latin 'Egesippus.' Copyists’ errors, and especially the changes introduced by the final editor, Moscone, who owns to having compiled the book out of a number of different manuscripts, have been taken as sufficient proof for declaring the whole work to be a late fabrication. Before attempting to show the futility of the arguments hitherto adduced, suffice it to mention that this was the only post-biblical Jewish history known for a long time, the origin of which awaits still further elucidation.
The pseudo-epigraphical writings have also left more than a few traces. In connection with them I now mention another book which attempts for the Bible itself that which Yosippon attempts for the post-biblical period. I
mean the book which goes under the name of 'Sefer Hayashar.' It is a consecutive narrative from the creation of the world down to the time of the Judges, following closely the description given by the Bible, omitting all the legal portions, and filling up the lacunæ with numerous legends drawn from those sources. If Yosippon has hitherto been treated with scant respect, in spite of Breithaupt's excellent work, this latter book—of which, curiously enough, no manuscripts are known to exist in any library of the world, at any rate not to my knowledge—has been treated with absolute contempt, as a tissue of ridiculous fables and of a modern make. The discovery of the whole series of pseudo-epigraphical writings, such as the Book of Jubilees and others; the close attention given in modern times to this whole branch of biblical Apocrypha; the investigations into the phases of development and into the origin of the Book of Enoch; the 'Assumption of Moses’ (by Charles); the publication of the 'Apocrypha Anecdota' by James and Robinson in this country, and similar studies carried out by scholars in other countries, have contributed largely to change our opinion of the value and antiquity of such books.
In the above-mentioned books, especially in the Book of Yosippon and in that of Yashar, the various legendary elements have been deftly woven into one consecutive narrative. The editor or compiler has used his materials somewhat freely, just as an artist would use his colours, and he has succeeded in producing a most interesting book, both as far as contents and style are concerned. For, curiously enough, these two works alone (limiting myself to those presented in Hebrew), i.e., the book called Yosippon and the Book of Yashar, are written in the purest Hebrew style. Unlike any other Hebrew writing of ancient or modern times, they imitate the Scriptural form of the language, and use almost exclusively the lexicon of the Bible. A very few non-biblical words are to be met with, especially in the Yosippon, but altogether the reading is as pleasant as that of a biblical book in the form
of an attractive historical novel. This very peculiarity of style has been put down by Zunz and others as proof of their recent origin. For what reason a book written in a pure style should be considered as modern and not archaic, has not been made clear by anyone, and it does not seem to have struck any critics to demand a reason.
To assume the reverse, however, would be quite natural. The essential characteristic of this literature is that it pretends to be of high antiquity; it claims patriarchs and prophets as its author. Could anyone conceive, then, that such a claim would be maintained with any hope of success, or that such a poetical deception would meet with any acceptance, if the book, purporting to be written by Enoch, Moses, Daniel, etc., would not be in a language resembling very closely that of the Bible, or that it should have appealed to a Jewish public in Greek? It would have at once betrayed its spurious origin, and neither Synagogue nor Church would have taken cognizance of its existence.
It is, furthermore, incomprehensible that, for no visible reason, writers of a later period should have so successfully avoided adopting the current literary language of their time, and have purposely written in that pure, simple, biblical form. I do not suggest that this alone is a stringent proof of antiquity, but at any rate I wish to point out that at no time do we know this literary canon to have been established or to have been acted upon, that writers should imitate the diction of the Bible. The language therefore is no proof whatsoever of the recent origin of this or any such book. Internal evidence alone must finally decide the true character and date of each composition. The necessity for writing in such a pure biblical phraseology has never been felt at a later time. In fact, the whole Hebrew literature, from the second or third century onward, betrays in its grammatical forms the successive changes to which it has been subjected. Neither the poetical literature nor the Halachic or Hagadic, during the time which followed the destruction of the Temple, shows, as far as contemporary records go, this tendency of
adopting the pure biblical language; and when we come to the eleventh century, in which the so-called Poetanic literature flourished in Palestine and in Spain, it cannot be shown that even the remotest attempt was made by anyone to mould his language entirely upon the biblical types. True, these authors use biblical words, but in a manner so different from the Bible—playing with their meaning, changing their forms, and even adapting them to their own grammatical views in the use they make of those words—that it requires in many cases great ingenuity to detect original biblical words in these strange changelings. The reason for writing in that old biblical style becomes more incomprehensible if we compare it, for instance, with the Chronicle of Ahimaaz, composed in the beginning of the eleventh century in South Italy (Neubauer, 'Medieval Jewish Chronicles,' ii., p. 111 et seq.), written all in rhymed prose, and totally different in style and conception from those in biblical idiom. One main point that stands out clearly in dealing with a subject which has hitherto been treated in a rather indifferent manner, is that assertions were freely made, whilst convincing proofs are still greatly wanting to support them. We have no right to blindly accept the conclusions thus arrived at. Caution has specially to be exercised in the case of a book like Yashar, so lightly put down to be of modern make, solely on account of the language. In examining the contents, we shall find them to be full of legends which do not owe their origin to the fancy or poetical imagination of writers of a late period. We find in it a portion of the legend of Enoch; the legendary history of Moses, of his birth as well as that of his death; of Aaron's death, and many other similar elements to which we find parallel in the writings of the Fathers of the Church, in Josephus, and in that very old Apocryphal literature, the Book of Jubilees, the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, and the cycle of writings to which reference will be made anon. In virtue of these new facts, we are now differently placed when dealing with Apocryphal matter, and we are in a far better position
to estimate the true value of this compilation than has hitherto been the case.
The publication of the present chronicle, which I have called 'The Chronicles of Jeraḥmeel,' will now contribute much to the elucidation of many problems connected therewith, and with biblical Apocrypha in general. It combines the Yosippon with the Yashar—i.e., it is a continuous narrative from the Creation down to the destruction of the Temple—and contains a great number of either unknown or little known Apocryphal texts in what I believe to be their original form. It must be borne in mind that the Book of Jubilees, for instance, has not yet been found in its old Hebrew form, only parallels to portions of it are known to exist in Hebrew writings. The whole book has thus far disappeared. How old, now, are these parallels, and in what relation do they stand to the lost original? The same may be said of the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, and of ever so many other old Apocryphal writings to which we shall refer in the course of our investigation. Here in this Chronicle we now have a series of similar texts all in Hebrew, the value of which remains to be proved, but which I have no hesitation in declaring to be very great.
We are in the fortunate position that this Chronicle is not like the Book of Yashar—a continuous narrative by one author who has mixed up more or less skilfully various elements, and has utilized the old texts to make a single book of them, in a manner which obliterates the traces separating one from the other, and making it almost impossible for us to follow each of the component parts to their original source. Here, on the contrary, we have a compilation in its most primitive state, and therefore much more valuable from the critical point of view. The texts are placed one next to the other in their integrity without any attempt at changing their original form, or of weaving them together and combining them in any artificial manner. It is, on the whole, more a mechanical compilation than a scientific composition. The compiler of the complete work,
which contains not merely the Chronicle, but a host of other texts, is not Jeraḥmeel himself, nor is the date of the compilation identical with that of the texts which make the volume. As will be shown later on, some of these texts go back to remote antiquity, others may be put down as of a more recent origin, but one and all of the texts in the Chronicle proper are by many centuries older than the date at which the compiler connected them into one volume. This volume—hitherto a unique manuscript—is now the property of the Bodleian Library in Oxford. It belonged originally to the late Rabbinowitz, who bought it from an unknown source in Italy, and it was purchased, whilst I was in treaty with Rabbinowitz, by the Bodleian Library in the year 1887. I had the whole manuscript copied out, with a view to its ultimate publication, in 1888. And now the first part of it, dealing with Scripture history from the Creation down to the death of Judas Maccabeus, forms the present publication. The compilation of the manuscript is due to a certain Eleasar ben Asher the Levite, who lived at the beginning of the fourteenth century somewhere in the Rhine Provinces, and whose preface I have reproduced as faithfully as possible. In it he states that he has collected the books from far and wide, and combined them into one consecutive whole, fully conscious of the fact that no such book had ever been prepared before, and charging his children with the faithful preservation of this record of his labours of many years, continued under great stress and with great difficulties. Thus, as we can see, Eleasar the Levite introduced into his work in the first place a legendary compilation, written in the style of the old legendary Chronicles, filling up from ancient records all that appeared to him wanting in the Scriptural narrative. But he continues this history down to the destruction of the Temple; and then in a very keen way he passes over centuries, filling up the gap with the legendary history of Alexander mentioned above, and other similar tales, and alights on the persecution of the Jews in the time of the Crusades. The rest of the book contains the
poetical works of Gabirol, of Berachia, the Lapidarius, astronomical notes, and so on. Dr. Neubauer will probably give a detailed description of this manuscript in his forthcoming supplement to the catalogue of the Bodleian Library. Now, this compilation ought to have been called the 'Chronicle of Eleasar ben Asher the Levite,' were it not for the fact that, except one or two texts and a few lines in which he shows in what manner he has utilized the books at his disposal, nothing in the whole first part can directly be proved to be his. So I have selected to call this Chronicle by the name of the writer whose work, next to Yosippon, forms the most interesting and the most remarkable portion of this compilation.
In comparison with this source from which Eleasar the Levite has drawn his elements, the chronicle of Jeraḥmeel is second in size; for he has embodied in it almost the whole of the Yosippon. Jeraḥmeel, on his side, has utilized a great number of ancient biblical Hagadic writings, and it might be stated here at once that he has introduced into his Chronicle only and solely Hebrew writings, not translations made by him from more Hebrew texts; that there is not in the volume a single text whose Hebrew origin or character the compiler had a reason to doubt. This must be stated as emphatically as possible, in view especially of 'Jeraḥmeel' and of other minor legendary elements which are found in this work of Eleasar the Levite. He had, moreover, access to very good texts. A minute comparison of the contents with other sources and parallels which I shall bring forward later on will, I hope, prove the superiority and the excellence of the texts contained in this chronicle over any other similar or identical texts found in other works of Hebrew literature. These latter have all been more or less deteriorated or altered, and we shall see that portions missing everywhere else are found in our text.
Having only one manuscript at my disposal, as no other copy of this work seems to be in existence anywhere, and as the writing—the facsimiles I have added here show
it—is not often easily readable, I had to contend with many a difficulty on the question of textual criticism and accuracy of reading. But in spite of these obstacles, and in spite of other difficulties inherent in a work resting upon one single manuscript, it will be seen that these contentions of mine are perfectly justified; first of all, that all the texts contained in this chronicle are Hebrew originals, or rest upon purely Hebrew originals, and, secondly, that the readings are more archaic and far superior to the parallels existing in other manuscripts or prints. As regards a few, I have even been able to find parallels among the ancient fragments which I have got from the Geniza in Fostat, near Cairo. And although some may be of greater antiquity than the actual manuscript of Eleasar the Levite, they corroborate the accuracy of the latter. One will easily understand, furthermore, the importance which this compilation has for the textual criticism of Yosippon and for the antiquity of that compilation; as we have here a complete text of Yosippon, written down not later than the twelfth century in the Rhine Provinces. The original manuscript must have had to pass many vicissitudes until it reached the hands of the last compiler or copyist; and yet it will be seen that the old edition of Conte (Mantua, circa 1480) does not differ very much from our manuscript, preceding the edition, as it does, by at least three hundred years.
Any new edition of the Yosippon will have to be based exclusively upon this compilation, of which I have been preparing an edition for many years. But 'Jeraḥmeel' has many interesting things in store for us. His work is a collection of a number of old Apocrypha, some known, some quite unknown. He begins his Chronicle with the very creation of the world, and he draws his information from the book that goes under the name of R. Eliezer the son of Hyrqanos, and is quoted as the Chapters of R. Eliezer. Jeraḥmeel utilizes also the calendristic work ascribed to Mar Samuel, unless it be proved that the chapter derived from it belonged to the Chapters of Eliezer
[paragraph continues] Hyrqanos, which is very probable (vide later on). Jeraḥmeel then gives a minute description of the Visions of heaven and hell and paradise, the Beating of the grave, in two or even three recensions; the fall of the two angels Shemḥazai and Aza’el, following upon the history of Adam and Eve, separate texts one independent of the other. He writes of the war between the children of Jacob and the Sichemites, and of the kings that had leagued themselves against them. He tells of the war between Esau and the children of Jacob. He gives us in full the Chronicle of Moses, the history of the death of Aaron, and that of Moses; a minute description of the Tabernacle, of the way in which the tribes used to encamp in the Wilderness, and many other legendary tales, but each of them forming as it were a separate chapter, not connected one with the other, but simply placed one next to the other, showing how he arranged mechanically the materials to which he had access. He further gives us one of the oldest versions of the legend of the children of Moses, of the history of the Ten Tribes after the Exile, the travels of Elhanan, which throw light on the history of that other legendary traveller Eldad the Danite.
And then we have such other texts known as biblical Apocrypha, either in Aramaic, like the history of Daniel and the Dragon, the Song of the three Children in the Furnace, with the Dream of Mordecai, the Prayer of Esther, and the history of Susanna, and the rest of the biblical Apocrypha as given also by Yosippon, but in a slightly differing form.
If we compare the contents of this Chronicle with the Book of Yashar, we shall be struck by the remarkable coincidence in a good number of those legends which deal with biblical personages. Moreover, we shall find in the Book of Yashar traces of the author's acquaintance with a chronicle similar to 'Jeraḥmeel.' Did the author of the Book of Yashar, who owns to having compiled it in Spain, follow the example of some other chronicle hitherto not identified, but absolutely like the Chronicle of Jeraḥmeel?
[paragraph continues] Did they both work in different countries, at different times, exactly under the same influences, and almost with the same result, having the same texts at their disposal? This is one of the literary problems which suggest themselves when we peruse this Chronicle side by side with the Book of Yashar. We find, furthermore, in the Book of Yashar a trace of the first chapters of the Yosippon. The question is, did the author of the Yashar take only the beginning and leave the rest? Did he limit his book to the history of the Israelites comprised within the boundary of the Pentateuch? or is that chapter a later interpolation, remarkable enough in so far as the same chapter occurs also in the chronicle of Jeraḥmeel and in the name of Yosippon, but added by Eleasar the Levite? If we extend our inquiry a little further, and study among non-Jewish writers, in the first instance, the 'Historia Scholastica' or 'Biblia Historiale' of Petrus Comestor (Pierre le Mangeur), the famous Rector of the University of Paris in the twelfth century, * we shall also find resemblances in system and plan, and even in authorities quoted, which are fairly startling.
The difficulties connected with this chronicle thicken and grow, especially on close examination of that portion to which I have not yet alluded, and which gives to our chronicle an almost unique character. In my investigation, I shall in the first instance examine, as carefully as I can, the problem connected with Jeraḥmeel, as to date of compilation, origin, author and language. I shall later on follow the text of the book of the chronicle, chapter by chapter, indicating as far as possible the source whence each of them is derived, the parallels in Jewish and non-Jewish literature, so as to enable us not merely to judge of the work of Jeraḥmeel, but also as to the age of the various elements that go to make up his compilation. The ramifications are multifarious. There is scarcely a single legend in this compilation which does not find its counterpart in non-Jewish literature, and it might be profitable to discuss the connection between these and the
point how far they depend one upon the other; whether the latter have borrowed from Jewish sources, or whether Jews are indebted to others for these legends, and for the information they give—questions of literary history and of the propagation of tales from country to country and from literature to literature. They can, however, merely be touched upon here lightly.
Before commencing a minute investigation, we must first ascertain whether Eleasar the Levite has incorporated the whsle Chronicle of Jeraḥmeel in his compilation, and whether the last copyist has been as conscientious as Jeraḥmeel. I have some doubts on these points. For among the texts there is one of which it will be seen that only a portion has been incorporated. But that portion in itself is sufficiently bulky to assist us in unravelling partly the character, the origin, the date of that composition, and the personality of the author and of the first compiler, and the manner in which it has been preserved.
It is in this portion that there are found peculiar legends for which hitherto no parallel is known to exist in the whole literature of the Apocrypha that has thus far come to light. This portion of the Chronicle of Jeraḥmeel is to all appearances just such a legendary book as we are accustomed to expect from very ancient writers imbued with that spirit which has produced such works as the Book of Jubilees and similar writings.
A brief extract from the contents so far as they are preserved in our Hebrew version will show that this portion of the Chronicle follows up the purpose of explaining many things which did not seem quite clear in the biblical narrative, and of adding a number of legendary interpretations and embellishments to those parts of the Scriptures which seem scant in information and require some elucidation. Starting, therefore, with Adam and Eve—Chapter xxvi. in our text, and paragraphs, as I have divided the whole in chapters—our author is able to tell us exactly how many children each of the Patriarchs had. The Bible, after the birth of Seth, for instance, adds merely: 'And
[paragraph continues] Adam lived so-and-so many years, and he begat sons and daughters, and he died.' Jeraḥmeel knows exactly how many sons and daughters were born to Adam and Eve, and he gives us the names of these children. He knows, moreover, exactly the names of the wives of each of the biblical personages. He knows also the children of Cain, and he is able to tell us minutely what arts were invented by the wives of Lamech. Wherever he mentions a biblical name it is given exactly in the form in which it occurs in the Bible, with one notable exception, to which I shall refer later on. In our Hebrew text every portion that could be derived directly from the Bible, or any information that is found in the pages of the Bible, is studiously omitted. It would be very difficult to decide whether this is due to Jeraḥmeel or to the later compiler, Eleasar the Levite. It might be due to the latter's activity, considering that it coincides with the character of the whole work, which is to give merely such information as is not found in the Bible. Such information was assumed as known and accessible to all. It would therefore, in his opinion, be mere waste of time or space to repeat such well-known facts as are contained in the Bible itself.
Chapter xxvii. contains a minute description of the descendants of Noah, together with that of the countries occupied by some of them. It is filled with names which thus far defy every attempt at identifying them with any known ancient geographical or other proper names. At the end of paragraph 5 there is a peculiar vision placed in the mouth of Reu concerning the birth of Abraham. Then follows Chapter xxviii.: how the three sons of Noah and their descendants appointed princes over each of their descendants, and the number of their descendants is given.
Chapters xxix. and xxx., up to the end of paragraph 4 (maybe up to the end of that chapter), belong to the same author, and contain one of those legends completely unknown hitherto. It is the history of Yoqtan and of the people building the Tower of Babylon and worshipping the
fire; how Abraham with some men refused to join to make bricks, and how he was to be put into the furnace together with the twelve men associated with him; how eleven of them were sent away into the mountains by Yoqtan, who wished to save them; but Abraham, who refused to be saved, relying upon God, was thrown into the furnace and was saved from it, whilst those who heated the furnace were all burned. Then there is the descent of God and the angels; the curse of the builders of the tower, and the promise of salvation preserved for Abraham, whom He brought into a land upon which the flood had not descended.
In our compilation then follows (Chapter xxxi.) a second genealogical table of the nations. Nothing justifies us as yet to ascribe this to the author of Chapter xxvii., as it would be an unnecessary duplicate, and in fact contradictory to the one given in the previous chapters. Eleasar the Levite describes this now as part of the work of Jeraḥmeel. In the beginning of Chapter xxxii. we find further the following sentence: 'I Jerahmeel have found in the Book of Strabo of Caphtor that Nimrod was the son of Shem.' And in Chapter xxxv., paragraph 2, we have the following sentence: 'And I Jerahmeel have discovered in the Book of Nicholas of Damascus,' etc. It must be noted at once that these two writers are quoted in the same connection by Josephus, and that, as far as Nicholas of Damascus is concerned, almost all our references to his work are derived exclusively from Josephus. These points will be utilized afterwards for elucidating the time when this chronicle may have been compiled, and the materials which were at the disposal of that compiler.
To the same book belongs Chapter xlii., telling us the history of Pharaoh's decree of killing the male children, of the people's decision to separate themselves from their wives, and of Amram's speech to the people, inducing them to trust in God for annulling Pharaoh's decrees. God afterwards in the night reveals Himself to Amram, and is gratified with the action he has taken.
It is difficult as yet to decide whether Chapter xliii. and the following belonged originally to that portion of the chronicle of Jeraḥmeel. They deal with the birth of Moses, his subsequent flight from Egypt, his being appointed king over the Kushites, the flight to Midian, the imprisonment by Jethro, the miraculous rescue through the intermediary of Zipporah, the history of the rod of Moses, and, above all, Chapter xlviii., filled with a very remarkable description of the ten plagues. All this exists as a separate book; the more important portion of it goes back to the time of Josephus, and is even older (vide later on).
We resume the thread of the older portion in Jeraḥmeel's 'Chronicle' probably from Chapter lvi. onward, although in paragraph 2 Joseph b. Gorion is mentioned. Chapter lvii., however, and the following belong undoubtedly to that ancient book, and contain such legends as have hitherto not been found elsewhere outside of this work.
We have here the history of the Israelites after the death of Joshua. They appoint as leader, contrary to the Bible, Kenaz, not Othniel, as the first judge, who, together with Eleazar the High-priest, finds out that a number of people from each tribe had committed grievous sins in the eyes of the Lord, and also that they had found idols among the Amorites and other nations living in Canaan and kept them. We then get a very circumstantial description of precious stones that cannot be destroyed, and of magical books that cannot be burned, and of what happened to them at the hand of God; then the fight between the Israelites and the Amorites, the marvellous deeds of Kenaz, who slew 45,000 single-handed, and whose hand had cleaved to the sword until it was freed by pouring warm blood over it. Before his death Kenaz delivers a most peculiar and obscure piece of prophecy. After Kenaz Othniel comes, and then we have a short history of Sisera, a miracle of Gideon not mentioned in the Bible; the idol-worship of Jair, the Gileadite, the worship of Baal, the history of Jephthah, the vow he made to which his daughter
[paragraph continues] Seelah fell a victim, and then the lamentation of Seelah before her death.
Interspersed between these Apocryphal legends, we find attempts at synchronistic history. The author is at pains to inform us what happened contemporaneously among other nations of the world, e.g., what kings reigned in Egypt, in Greece, and afterwards in the Latin kingdom—all features peculiar to this chronicle.
The concluding portion of this part of the chronicle, as far as it has been preserved, is the fight between the Israelites and the tribe of Benjamin; the prayer of Phineas, and the remarkable end of Phineas, who is evidently identified with the future prophet Elijah, because he is not to die, but to remain in God's mountain, where the ravens and crows would feed him, and he would come down again when the end has arrived. 'Then he will close the heavens, and at his command they will be opened again, and he will be lifted up to the place where his fathers have gone before him, and there he shall remain until God shall remember the world.' A clear indication of the activity of Elijah, who was fed by the ravens, at whose word drought set in, at whose request the rain came, who was taken up in the chariot to the abode of his forefathers, and who is to remain there until God remembers the world.
All this narrative is written in a pure biblical style, easily flowing, and divided into small verses. Here and there some obscurity is to be noticed, but on the whole it is very clear; biblical terms and forms abound at every turn, and scarcely a few new Hebrew words have I been able to detect.
This portion has come down to us, unfortunately, in a fragmentary form. Its contents are so unique in character, and so different from what is known till now in Apocryphal or legendary biblical literature, that one is confronted with very great difficulties in trying to ascertain the sources from which the author drew, and the immediate surroundings in which he lived. The date is also, thus far, a matter of speculation. The only book in Hebrew literature
which shows some relation in conception and in details is the Sepher Hayashar, which I have mentioned above. The similarity extends to the following points: both present us with lists of names of biblical persons before the Flood. In the Yashar we find, furthermore, a list of the names of the descendants of the sons of Noah as unintelligible and as unknown, and not met with anywhere else, as in this part of the Chronicle of Jeraḥmeel. We, further, find the same desire to give us attempts at synchronistic history; and in matters of contents there is also a very great similarity, but these very prominent legends of Yoqtan and Kenaz, so unique in the chronicle of Jeraḥmeel, are missing in the Book of Yashar. Another trace of our book, at any rate as far as the names of the wives of the patriarchs are concerned, has been preserved in 'Toledoth Adam,' by Samuel Algazi, printed in Venice, 1600. The names in this latter are, however, not identical. The oldest parallels to these names we find in the Book of Jubilees. (As for the Byzantine and other literatures, cf. H. Rönsch, 'Das Buch der Jubileen,' Leipzig, 1874, who has collected the whole material in connection with the Book of Jubilees.) A Syriac list of such names of the wives of the patriarchs has been reprinted by Charles in his Appendix III. to the Ethiopic version of the Book of Jubilees (Oxford, 1895, p. 183).
I have found, however, not merely fragments and stray parallels to this portion of our chronicle, but the whole text, and even more than our Hebrew, in a Latin translation. The Latin version of this book has been preserved in manuscript and in print. Mr. M. R. James, in his 'Apocrypha Anecdota' (Cambridge, 1893), had published four fragments from a manuscript of the eleventh century, the original of which he did not know. As he says, 'There seems to be no corner of Apocryphal literature on which you can fit this fragment.' He gives us first a prayer of Moses on the day of his death, the vision of Kenaz, the lamentation of Seelah, and the song of David. Feeling that the Latin text might be a translation from the Greek,
he translated the three former into Greek, but he gives up the attempt with the fourth. (In line 11 of the latter virginitate mea should be read instead of ingenuitate mea; it was probably badly written in the manuscript.)
Mr. James, when publishing these fragments, was quite unaware that they belonged to a book which had been printed as far back as 1527, in Basle, under the title 'Philonis Judaei Alexandrini. Libri Antiquitatum. Quaestionum et Solvtionum in Genesin. de Essaeis. de Nominibus hebraicis. de Mundo.' All his speculations as to their probable origin fall to the ground in face of the fact that they belonged to the 'Antiquitates,' a larger work of a totally different character from that which he surmised. This work is that very portion in the Chronicle of Jeraḥmeel! There is, however, some difference between the two versions. The Latin is much fuller, and seems to be the complete text, whilst the Hebrew is merely fragmentary. In the Latin text the second genealogical table, or the distribution of the children of Noah among the various countries, and the origin of the nations traced to the three sons of Noah in the second version of Jeraḥmeel (Chapters xxxi., xxxii.), and the synchronistic element, are missing altogether, but, on the whole, the Latin version is much fuller. The legendary history proper is carried further down, for the book concludes with the death of Saul. It contains also some portions taken from the Bible, so as to form a consecutive narrative, more in the style of the Sepher Hayashar. On closer examination, we find in it a great number of speeches and other details with which the Biblical narrative is filled out, whilst everything found in Jeraḥmeel occurs in it also, and corresponds literally with it. This book is ascribed in the Latin text to Philo, and seems to have been entirely forgotten and neglected. Mangey excluded it altogether in his edition of Philo, and up to quite recently it had escaped the notice of all scholars, until Dr. Cohn published in the Jewish Quarterly Review of 1898 an abstract of the book under the title, 'An
[paragraph continues] Apocryphal Work ascribed to Philo of Alexandria' (vol. x., pp. 227–332).
In this study Dr. Cohn is quite unaware of the existence of the Hebrew manuscript. The discovery of the Hebrew original may stimulate someone to undertake anew a critical edition of the Latin text, with the aid of the other manuscripts to which Dr. Cohn refers in his note (p. 279, note 2). He is also not aware how widely it was read in ancient times, and how deeply it has influenced medieval literature, as will be shown later on. The famous 'Bible Historiale' of Comestor, the 'Fasciculus Temporum,' and Forresti's (Jacob de Bergamo) 'Supplementum Chronicarum,' derive their information from this source. The quotations from 'Philo' are, as it appears now, taken from this very book.
Now, curiously enough, the very same name of 'Philo' occurs also in the Hebrew text. The history of the legends of the Judges (Chapters lvii. et seq. of my edition here) is ascribed to Philo, the friend of Joseph ben Gorion, and we must ascribe to the same author the first part containing the legends of Abraham and the first genealogical table. Evidently the book bore from the beginning the name of Philo as author. Now, comparing in this Philo-Jeraḥmeel the dates given to the patriarchs, the number of years they lived before and after the birth of their children, Dr. Cohn shows that these chronological data agree more with the Septuagint than with the Massoretic text. In the Hebrew text these dates are unfortunately omitted, with the exception of those given for the lives of Adam, Seth and Enosh, where the dates agree with those of the Latin text. It can be shown, however, that almost every one of the Apocryphal writings, the Samaritan tradition, and Josephus differ from the dates given in the Bible. This point alone would not justify us in drawing conclusions as to the source of, or the influence of the Septuagint upon this text. And even as far as the relation to the Septuagint is concerned, Philo is in many places at variance with it, and in closer agreement with the Hebrew text. The work contains
merely the evidence of the use of a Greek version of the Bible, which, moreover, was not identical with the Septuagint, but standing in much closer relation to the Hebrew text than the Septuagint itself. From the vast number of Greek words in the Latin text of Philo-Jeraḥmeel, it is furthermore clear that the Latin, at any rate, is not the original language in which this work was composed, but that it is a translation made from a Greek text. Moreover, from the very archaic form of the language, and from the words that are used in it, which agree with the language of the Latin translation of the Bible of the period before Jerome, and the identity of language with the Latin translations known as the 'Itala,' Dr. Cohn concludes with irresistible force that the Latin translation dates back not later than from the third or fourth century. Neither was then Greek the primitive language. Even through the Latin one can recognise so many Hebrew forms that we are forced to conclude that the book must originally have been written in Hebrew. The Greek is merely the intermediary between the old original and the later Latin. The original must have been moulded entirely upon the character and style of the Hebrew Bible. As Cohn rightly says: 'The author himself used as his model and sole authority the Hebrew text of the Old Testament, and imitated its style and method of narration even in the smallest details. Had the author written in Greek, he could not possibly have reproduced so faithfully the style and accent of the Bible. Among all the Apocryphal books which were written in Greek, there is none in which the biblical style is so faithfully reproduced as in Philo' (p. 312).
He next brings some arguments for his contention, showing, in the first instance, that the sentences are almost universally connected with 'and,' like in the Bible, that paragraphs are unknown, for there is no break in the narrative from beginning to end, which is exactly the style of Hebrew narration. Also peculiar forms and turns of phrases and other peculiarities of language derived from Hebrew have been retained in the Latin, which is thus a
faithful reproduction of the Greek, and this of the Hebrew original. The original, surmised by Dr. Cohn, now lies before us in the text which I am publishing, and bears out all the characteristics that might be expected from this old Hebrew legendary chronicle.
The question may well be asked whether the Hebrew text which we have before us is the very original, or a later re-translation, and whether it is dependent, supposing it be a translation, upon the Greek or upon the Latin. In order to satisfy us as to the relation existing between the Latin, the only one thus far accessible, and the Hebrew text, I will limit myself to the investigation of the genealogical tables that are to be found in both texts. Decisive to my mind is this comparison between the two lists of proper names. As those names are probably of Semitic origin, they must have been written in the original, with the full use of the whole Hebrew alphabet. If, now, they were transliterated from Hebrew into Greek, and from Greek into Latin, the differences between ### and ###, ### and ###, ### and ###, ### and ###, ###, ### and ###, would have disappeared, as those sounds have no corresponding letters in Greek or in Latin. Assuming now that the Hebrew text is a re-translation from the Latin, none of these double letters, or letters representing peculiar Semitic sounds, that had disappeared in the Latin or Greek, could reappear in the Hebrew text. It would tax the ingenuity of any man to be able to distinguish between the ### and the ### when they are both written with the Latin 'H'; or between the ###, ###, and ### as 'A,' when both are written by 'S'; in the same way ### and ### being reproduced by one letter, 'K,' there will be no hint or indication for the re-translator to substitute the one for the other. If we apply this test to the names contained in Chapter xxvi., we shall find a very careful distinction made between all these letters. Take, for instance, the very first names, the eleven sons and eight daughters of Adam, which are, by the way, fearfully corrupted, like all the other names in the Basle edition (words are often combined, names run into one another, lacunæ are artificially
created, all due to misreading of the original). These very first names show already marked differences in the Hebrew spelling; for we find various specific sounds being carefully separated, whilst the Latin shows one and the same letter for all: ### and ### are represented by 'S', n and ###, and ### are represented by 'A'. In the middle of a word n is entirely omitted, as they could not distinguish between this letter and ### or ###—in names like Naat and Maathal, which in Hebrew are written ###. We find also that s and n are sometimes confused with one another because of the similarity of the form, e.g., the third name in the Latin, which is a combination of two names in the Hebrew text. It is written 'Barabal' in Latin, whilst in Hebrew it is ### 'Berok Ke’al,' where it is to be noted that in Latin the ### is also omitted in the second word. Then the proper names in Chapter xxix., paragraph 3, which are fearfully corrupted in Latin, appear much clearer in Hebrew; by which we recognise that they are the names of the children of Yoqtan, as given in Genesis (x. 26). This identification helps us, by the way, to see by what means they invented those names; they simply took them from other biblical passages. Now, the Latin form is so corrupt that no man would be able to re-translate them into their biblical prototype. One single exception I have to point out, which is certainly very surprising, and that is the same names of the children of Yoqtan occurring once more in Chapter xxvii., § 5, are written in the same corrupt form as in the Latin.
In the corresponding portion in the Sepher Hayashar, chapter vii., vers. 1–21, we find exactly similar lists, also extremely curious readings; but in the last the names of the children of Yoqtan are given exactly in the same form as they are in our Hebrew text of the Bible. The copyist in Jeraḥmeel has probably run them together, thinking he had to deal with similar fanciful names as those which fill the whole preceding portion of the chapter.
In order to facilitate the comparison between these genealogical tables in Hebrew with the corresponding
[paragraph continues] Latin text, I have added them to this book in photographic reproduction; I have also given the Latin text in an Appendix at the end of the volume. We find, also, mistranslations which can only be explained by reading Hebrew words differently. So we have in Chapter xxvii., paragraph 4, the name ### corresponding in Latin to et filii, because he must have read it for the Hebrew ###. In Chapter xxviii., paragraph 3, instead of 640 the Latin has 340; he must have read probably ### for ###. And in Chapter xxix., paragraph 13, where the Hebrew text has 'appeased the wrath of the people,' the Latin has liquefactus. He read the Hebrew ### instead of ###. All these examples, which can easily be multiplied, prove at any rate that the Hebrew text cannot be a translation from any non-Semitic original, and that the Latin itself, though it adheres verbatim to the Hebrew text, can only be considered as a faithful though secondary translation from the intermediary Greek now lost. This Latin translation, as I have already observed, has become in its turn the primary source of much of the legendary lore which has got into the writings of the early Fathers of the Church, and of medieval compilations, coming as far down as Foresti's 'Supplementum Chronicarum.'
The next point for investigation will be to ascertain the date of these 'Antiquities' and the probable author. Having established the fact that the book was originally composed in Hebrew, and that the language was one of biblical purity, i.e., in imitation of the style of the Bible, which is entirely borne out by the character of the texts recovered—as in it scarcely a word occurs that is not biblical in origin or of a biblical turn—and the fact that the book had early been translated into Greek, and before the end of the third century into Latin, it will not be difficult to determine the date of the original composition. It must be noted that not a trace or allusion to Christianity is to be found in the whole book. In the vision of 'Cenes,' in the Latin form (folio 32) the words 'Nomen hominis illius' is a wrong translation of the Hebrew text; the Latin read ### as
[paragraph continues] = ###, instead of ### corresponding to Hebrew, Chapter lvii., paragraph 41, and is not to be taken as referring to Christ, for not a single trace of Christianity is to be found in it. Furthermore, the destruction of the second Temple is only indirectly touched upon. The twelve stones which Kenaz recovers will be utilized, we are told in Chapter lvii., paragraphs 23 and 25, at the time of the building of the Temple. When it again will be destroyed, they will be kept for a future revelation, but nowhere is there a direct indication to the second Temple.
The question, however, which Moses puts to God (fol. 20d), and which has been reprinted by James ('Apocrypha Anecdota,' i., p. 172) offers a date which, if sufficiently clear, might assist us in fixing the probable time of the composition. Moses asks how much of the world's time has already passed and how much is still to come. And the answer is, 4½ times have past, and 2½ times have still to come, that means altogether that out of 7,000 years probably 4,500 had passed. The only question is, according to which computation these 4,500 are to be taken. If they are according to the Jewish reckoning, of which, however, not a trace is to be found anywhere in the rest of the book—except the dates mentioned above concerning the lives of the patriarchs, where the sum total agrees with the Massoretic text—that would bring us down somewhere to the middle of the eighth century, a date that is utterly out of question, considering that the Latin translation belongs to the third or fourth century. If the date could have been reversed, viz., 22 passed, that would agree with the calculation of the Book of Jubilees, according to which 2,410 had passed from the Creation to the exodus from Egypt. Adding 40 years of wandering in the wilderness, it would bring us to 2,450 as the year of Moses’ death, and as near as possible to 2,500. But there is another date mentioned in connection with the death of Moses (folio 19b), immediately preceding in the original the portion printed by James, in which it is said that God commands Moses to ascend the Mount Nebo, and says to him, 'I will shew thee
the place in which they will serve Me 740 years, and after that it will be given into the hands of their enemies, and they will destroy it. Strangers will surround it, and that day will be in accordance with the same day in which I have obliterated the Tables of the Covenant, which I had given to them on Oreb. And when they sinned, that which was written upon them flew away, and that day was the 17th of the fourth month.'
The allusion to the 17th day of the fourth month, the day on which Moses came down from the mountain, as a day of bad omen for the future, agrees with the date of the destruction of the second Temple, the 17th of Tamuz. We would then have clear indication that the book belonged to a period after the destruction of the Temple.
Referring again in other places to worship in congregations, the author shows himself to be a Jew who lived immediately after the destruction of the Temple, and, as Dr. Cohn rightly remarks, a book that has been adopted by the Church must belong to an early period, as otherwise such a book would never have been adopted by, or translated for it. The place where such a book could have been written can obviously only be Palestine, as only in that country, and at that period, Hebrew literature still flourished, and there alone attempts at chronology were made concurrently with embellishments of the Bible, as is attested by those Apocryphal books like the Book of Jubilees and Henoch, with which our author seems to have been acquainted, and also with that old attempt at chronology which goes under the name of Seder ‘Olām. Without entering into an examination of the exact date of its composition, I consider the origin of the last-mentioned work, and the reason for it, to have been the establishment of a true chronology in contradiction to those apocryphal and incorrect chronologies—a new one that should clearly represent Rabbinical tradition and be in accordance with the then recognised interpretation of the Bible. The Seder ’Olām in its original form belongs probably to the same period. It is more than mere chance to find there a
remarkable coincidence in the circumstance (chap. xi. Editio Ratner, page 48), that from the entrance of the Israelites into Palestine until the Exile 850 years are reckoned to have passed. If we alter (and I see Dr. Cohn suggests the same alteration) the figures DCCXL, as given above, into DCCCL, we have exactly the same date, 850. We may safely assume the date of the original composition to be somewhere in the first centuries of the common era; and this work to be thus far the oldest example of a Bible Historiale—i.e., a description of events contemporary with those narrated in the Bible, adding new elements, supplementing and amplifying the latter. The period covered in this narrative agrees exactly with the most famous of mediæval compositions of a similar character, in which the whole of the legal and prophetic portion of the Bible is omitted, stress being laid exclusively on the historical part contained in the Bible. All these historiated Bibles proceed on the same lines. They start with the Creation, and close, at any rate, as far as legends are concerned, with David or the building of the Temple by Solomon. I have dealt fully with the history of this amplified Bible in my Ilchester Lectures on Græco-Slavonic literature (London, 1887, pp. 147–208). Such is also the character of the oldest representative in Europe, the Greek Palæa of the eighth century, upon which the Slavonic Palæa rests, published since by A. Vassiliev in his 'Anecdota Græco-Byzantina' (Moscow, 1893, pp. 188–292; vide also Introduction, pp. xlii-lvi).
Shorter and more in agreement with the Hebrew text as far as the period described, is that other chronicle the Yashar, to which I have alluded above. Therein the historical narrative comes virtually to a close with the death of Moses. Three or four pages out of 150 are devoted to a sketch of the period of the judges. In the Hebrew text of Philo this is exactly the terminus to which the narrative reaches. But, however much alike in general contents all the other historiated Bibles are among themselves, the Philo chronicle is distinguished from them by
those very legends that are nowhere else found, by the rhetorical character of the description, by the speeches placed in the mouths of the principal persons, and especially by the fulness of details regarding the period of the Judges. All these details are missing in the whole known cycle of the Bible Historiale, and prove the greater antiquity and independence of Philo. Whilst preserving the frame, later compilers made additions and introduced better known and generally adopted legends. Thus we can understand the total disappearance of the primitive form of the Bible Historiale. The same thing has happened even to the latter, being superseded by Comestor.
Turning now to the Hebrew text, it is a remarkable coincidence that this legendary chronicle should in this text tally absolutely with the Samaritan chronicle. In both the ancient Jewish history comes abruptly to a close with the establishment of the Tabernacle in Shiloh under the High Priest Eli. The Samaritans consider this period to be the beginning of the secession from the true ancient Israelitish worship, which they claim to have carried on uninterruptedly in its primitive purity.
Their biblical history, and especially their famous Book of Joshua, treats only of the same space of time and of the same events as contained in our chronicle. All the rest is ignored by them completely. It is an extraordinary coincidence, and may almost assist us in the elucidation of the origin of this old Philo-Jeraḥmeel, pointing as it does to a possible Samaritan origin. This origin would explain the peculiar chronology at the beginning, and the reason why our Chronicle should dilate on the events that happened in the time of the Judges. It is only remarkable that Joshua himself, who plays such a prominent rôle in the Samaritan chronicle, should be missing here altogether, and that the Latin should continue the history down to the time of David and Solomon, the two kings most hated by the Samaritans. The name of the mountain, Tlag (lix. 5), would also point to some such Aramaic-Samaritan tradition, as this is the name for
[paragraph continues] Ḥermon in the Palestinian-Aramaic Targum. The Samaritan chronicle of Joshua was not unknown to the Jews, as the correspondence between Joshua and King Shobakh of Armenia carried on by means of a dove is given by Samuel Shalom in his edition of the 'Juhasin' (Constantinople, fol. 117a).
In what relation stands this book—which in Latin is ascribed to Philo, and in one portion of the Hebrew manuscript also—to Jerahmeel's compilation? Who is Jerahmeel? This difficulty is somewhat increased by the fact that we have in that which appears now in Eleasar the Levite's compilation under the name of Jeraḥmeel portions, as it were, added to the ancient work of Philo which are missing in the Latin, unless they can be found in other manuscripts, and have been omitted by the editor of the hitherto single edition of Basle. Principally we must note in this connection the second genealogical table, to which I have already drawn attention once or twice, forming Chapters xxxi. and xxxii., and the synchronistic element which pervades the whole compilation. Is this an addition made by Jeraḥmeel, or is it the work of another and more ancient compiler, whom Jeraḥmeel utilized for his own work?
How great is his share in the work before us, at what time and where did he live and write? I assume him to have been a person other than the author of the legendary part, and not identical with 'Philo,' although the names seem identical; the Hebrew is the counterpart and perfect translation of the Greek word 'Philo,' both meaning 'the beloved of God.' I ascribe to him most of the chapters that precede and follow that portion of the book which is found in 'Philo.' Eleasar, the last compiler, moreover, states distinctly that he intercalates portions from other books, notably from the Yosippon, or whole texts, breaking up the narrative of Jeraḥmeel. Dr. Perles, who was the first to have the manuscript of Jeraḥmeel in his hands (and whilst dilating on Eleasar, the author of the actual full compilation, fixing his date correctly and connecting him
with a family of great scholars), draws attention to Jeraḥmeel, and comes to the following conclusion: That all the statements of Jeraḥmeel wherein he refers to Nicolaos of Damascus and to Strabo are not to be taken literally; that he must have used the Yosippon; and, because a German word occurs in one of these chapters, Jeraḥmeel must have lived somewhere in Germany in the thirteenth century. The truth, however, is that the German word does not belong to Jeraḥmeel, but is undoubtedly a gloss added by Eleasar, the compiler, who was a German. This is not the only instance in the present work. In the first chapters, which owe their place in this book also probably to Eleasar, we have a list of the names of the week given in that very old German dialect which belonged to the Rhine Province of the twelfth century. In another place, Chapter lviii. 8, we have the explanation of the Sirenes as Niks (Nix in German), and in the genealogical table Eleasar the Levite gives an explanation, in his own name, of one of the names of the nations; the Flamingos he considers to be identical with the Lehabim of the Bible. A curious popular etymology, by which the Flamingos, the Flemish people, would be derived from the 'flame,' the burning ones. We may dismiss, therefore, this conjecture of Dr. Perles altogether, as being contrary to the internal evidence furnished by the text.
The next one who deals with Jeraḥmeel is Dr. Neubauer (vide later on), and he declares him to have been a writer of the eleventh century, living in Magna Græcia or in South Italy, the proof for it being that he knew Greek, and also that he made use of the Yosippon, which goes back to Greek sources. The supposed knowledge of Greek is evidenced, according to Dr. Neubauer, by the names of the genealogical table; but, if anything, just the reverse is the fact. Forms like 'Isides' for 'Isis,' 'Palante' for 'Palas,' and any number of them, show distinctly that the author knew anything but Greek. More proofs to the contrary will be brought forward in the course of this investigation. And the reason for declaring that he lived in the South of Italy
is of so flimsy a nature that it can also not be considered seriously, for it rests mostly upon Jeraḥmeel's acquaintance with the Yosippon. The South-Italian origin of this book is one of those assumptions in Hebrew literature for which the proof is still wanting. This very acquaintance with Yosippon will lead exactly to different conclusions. Before approaching this more problematical part of our investigation, we take first into consideration those portions which may yield a more positive result. I start with the synchronistic element, that is, with those portions which deal with non-Jewish history, and especially with the second genealogical table (Chapter xxxi., et seq.). Examining it, we find that it rests primarily upon Josephus. In this second version we have a totally different tradition from that in the preceding chapters, and, moreover, this new genealogical table is entirely missing in the Latin Philo. The basis of it seems to be identical with the geographical table given by Josephus in his 'Antiquities' (book i., chapter vi., paragraph 1, et seq.). If we turn, then, to the Book of Jubilees (chapter viii., verse 12 onward) we find an absolute identity in the general outline of the geographical divisions of the world among the three sons of Noah. And if we look at the other Jewish traditions connected with that division of the world, and contained, for instance, in the Jerusalemitan Targum to Genesis (chapter x.), and in other parallel passages in Midrash and Talmud, we shall find that they all seem to go back to one and the same ancient tradition, represented in its fullest form by Josephus. This has been adopted afterwards by all the Fathers of the Church.
It recurs, then, almost in the same form, with slight alterations in, or additions to, the names of the descendants of Noah, in the writings of ancient Christian authors who lived or wrote in Palestine and Asia Minor, such as Epiphanius, of the fourth century, in his 'Ancoratus,' c. 114, 115, and 'Heresies,' c. 46, et seq., in the fifth century. The text of Epiphanius had been copied verbatim in the 'Chronicon Paschale' of the seventh (ed. Bonn,
i., pp. 45–64). (Full notes and parallels from the whole cycle of the ancient Greek chronicles, ibid., ii., pp. 235–249.) Hippolytus, third century, Eusebius, fourth century, Jerome of the fifth, and then Malalas of the sixth. It entered also the Latin writers through the intermediary of Jerome, notably into the 'Origines' of Isidorus of Spain, of the seventh, and in Beda's writings of the eighth century; it found a place in the later Byzantine and Slavonic Chronographs, as well as in the writings of Eutychius and Bar-Hebræus Abulpharadj.
They all seem to have repeated one another, and have all one and the same old tradition. In the course of time they substituted new names for the old ones. The same has happened also in Hebrew literature. So, in the Targum, in the introductory chapters to the Hebrew Yosippon, where we find also such a division, together with a list of names reproduced in our chronicle side by side with the old and also in the Sepher Hayashar (chapter x., verse 7, et seq.). These names assist us now to show, at any rate, to what late period we may bring down the date of the composition. If any nation is mentioned which appears at a certain date on the stage of history, we are able then to assign the book that mentions it to the period after the appearance of that nation. In this manner we are able to establish that the introductory chapter to the Yosippon is probably a later substitution for an older one, and belongs to the, eighth or ninth century. On the other hand, the names mentioned in 'Jeraḥmeel,' if that chapter really belongs to the original 'Jeraḥmeel,' cannot be earlier than the fifth or sixth century; that chapter might belong to even a later period, but we cannot consider it to be earlier than the fifth or sixth century, as among others the Nordmani, Bayuveri, and Langobardi are already mentioned—all nations which appear in the fifth or sixth century.
If we examine, then, the form of these names, we shall be able to decide whether the author had access to Greek or to Latin sources of information, and, by the pronunciation
or transliteration of certain names, even to what period they belong. The oldest source of information was undoubtedly Josephus, or a similar source identical with that from which Josephus drew his information—the old imperial road lists, the 'Itineraria.' The form of these names proves clearly that the immediate source for Jeraḥmeel was certainly not a Greek text. Dr. Neubauer in his study on Jeraḥmeel (in the Jewish Quarterly Review of April, 1899, page 367) suggests such a source. The very examples brought forward by him prove the reverse, as the transliteration of the names and the oblique form of the tenses show them to have been dependent, not on Greek, but on Latin sources. Forms like Gresi, Fransi, Kapadoses are certainly a transliteration of the corresponding Latin forms written with C, and not of the Greek that are written with K. A form like Frēzes undoubtedly corresponds much more with the Latin Phryges, already with that palatal pronunciation of the Latin g, in its change to the Romance forms, than with Greek. The same is to be said of Silicia, which in Greek would be Kilikia. (I must mention that Cyprus is still written Kipros.) We have further Phenise, which is certainly the representative of Phoenicae, Luṣifer, corresponding to Lucifer—the Greek word would be Eōsphoros—which all prove that the immediate source must have been written in Latin and not in Greek. None of the peculiar Hebrew letters such as ### and ### are found here!
The old Latin translation of Josephus's 'Antiquities' made in the sixth century cannot have served as basis for our genealogical table, for the latter contains many additions and changes that are not to be found in Josephus's work itself; they agree, however, partly with Jerome's version in his 'Quaestiones in Genesin.' Much more close is the identity between 'Jeraḥmeel' and Isidor of Spain (Origines, xx., 2, in Opera, Paris, 1601, f. 116 et seq.). We shall find later on, especially concerning the synchronistic portion, a remarkable closeness between Isidor's 'Chronicon' (ibid., f. 374 et seq.) and 'Jeraḥmeel,' and also between the latter and the 'Historia Scholastica' of Comestor, who probably
had access to the same Latin source for his information as Jeraḥmeel. This points to a Latin-speaking or Latin-writing country in the South of Europe as the home of the author of these additional elements in 'Jeraḥmeel's Chronicle.' I believe this to have been neither Germany nor Greece, but Spain. Spain is the only country where this kind of early Latin chronograph was written. But besides this possible acquaintance with Isidor's works, there are a number of other cogent reasons for looking to Spain as the home of this chronicle.
We must remember in the first instance the close similarity in contents and sources so often pointed out between the Book of Yashar and this Chronicle even as far as genealogical tables are concerned. In one instance the Book of Yashar contains even more than that which is preserved in our Jeraḥmeel. I am alluding to Yashar, chapter xxii., verses 20–39, containing an apocryphal list of the children of Teraḥ, which is not to be found anywhere else. This Book of Yashar has been compiled, as it is stated in the introduction, in Spain, and there is no reason to doubt the accuracy of this statement. In Spain we find, further, the Book of Yosippon having been used on an extensive scale by a man of the standing of Rabbi Abraham b. David, who lived in the twelfth century (1161). He, curiously enough, writes also an abstract of Roman history, which in many details is absolutely identical with the narrative of Jeraḥmeel, especially in that concerning the establishment of the Republic. The senators are ruled by a man whom he, just as Jeraḥmeel, calls 'Yashish,' or 'Zaqoen,' 'the old man,' a curious literal translation of the word 'Senatus.' If the use of the Yosippon would prove the author to have lived in the South of Italy, then Abraham b. David, the first one who quotes from it extensively, in fact, who makes an abstract of the history of the second Temple agreeing almost verbatim with our text, should also have lived in the South of Italy. It is established, however, and is beyond doubt, that he lived and died in Spain. Saadyah knows Yosippon in the ninth century in Egypt,
and Qalir in Palestine, probably in the seventh; from the argument adduced by others, these authors ought to have lived in South Italy in the twelfth. The use of a book can prove merely the age of the author, but not in any way the country in which he lived.
We thus find two works in Spain agreeing in the main with the bulk of Jeraḥmeel's work—the Yashar, an apocryphal history from the Creation, together with peculiar genealogical tables, with the introduction of legendary elements drawn from ancient sources, and portions of the history of the Romans; and Abraham b. David's work containing a long abstract from Yosippon, these two being the characteristic elements of the Chronicle of Jerahmeel.
We may go now one step further. One portion of his book consists of a translation of the Aramaic portions of Daniel into Hebrew. It is now a recognised fact that among all the countries where Jews lived in ancient times, those of Spain were the only ones that either neglected Aramaic, or did not possess any knowledge of it. So late as the tenth century Dunash b. Tamim, the great grammarian, had to write an epistle recommending strongly the study of Aramaic for the purpose of elucidating and understanding the Hebrew. Missives and information that came from Babylon are known to exist in an Aramaic and in a Hebrew form, like the famous letters of Sherira and Haya Gaon, and it is now an admitted fact that the Hebrew was intended for the Jews in Spain, whilst the Aramaic went to those in Italy, France, and Germany. As regards the liturgical poetry, we find Aramaic poems known only in the liturgy of the latter countries, composed by authors living there, whilst almost everything in Aramaic was discarded in Spain. This was probably due to the connection between Spain and Palestine. The translation, therefore, of Aramaic portions of the Bible into Hebrew could only have been of value and appreciated as such in a country like Spain—an additional argument, therefore, for my contention that we have to seek in Spain, and nowhere else, for the origin of the Chronicle of Jerahmeel.
[paragraph continues] Everything points to that conclusion: Jeraḥmeel's acquaintance with the books that are known to have existed there, viz., Biblical Apocrypha and the Book of Yosippon; the identity also in style between his writing and these two other writings. Now, as to the other activity of Jeraḥmeel, we find in the same manuscript some poetical compositions which show him to have been a man versed in mathematical disciplines, especially addicted to chronological calculations and in preference to mathematical puzzles. In one of these poems a peculiar era is mentioned by him which agrees with the Era Seleucidarum, but in Chapter lix., paragraph 10, of the Chronicle itself he distinctly states that the era which 'we use is that from the destruction of the Temple.' This era is known to have existed solely in Spain.
A more decisive proof for the Spanish origin of this compilation is furnished to us by another legendary collection, which in itself is a problem hitherto not sufficiently elucidated. It was known from the quotations made by Reymundus Martini, in his 'Pugio Fidei,' that, besides the so-called 'Genesis Rabba,' another similar compilation of a homiletical character also existed, which went under the name of 'Genesis Rabba Major,' or 'Rabbati,' and in many cases it is ascribed to a certain Moses the Darshan. This 'Genesis Rabba Major' has disappeared, however, save a few fragments preserved in a manuscript of late date now in the Bodleian Library, and in some quotations which Gedaliah made in his edition of the 'Genesis Rabba' in ed. Salonik. Many were the speculations connected with the origin and character of this last compilation, which was characterized by the fact that it contained many curious Apocryphal legends and tales almost of a unique character. It so happened that a manuscript was found in Prague, which seemed to be a kind of reflex or an imperfect copy of that old compilation of the 'Rabbati' ascribed to Rabbi Moses Hadarschan. Zunz, Rappaport, and Jellinek drew attention to it, and also conclusions from it. Mr. Epstein has recently examined this manuscript, and published a
study, the result of which is that the authenticity and correctness of the quotations of Martini are now placed beyond doubt; and this manuscript represents, to a certain extent, that old and more perfect compilation which was known and utilized in the thirteenth century.
In comparing the most important legends in 'Rabbati' with Jeraḥmeel we are forced to conclude that Moses the Darshan, who lived in the twelfth century in Narbonne, must have had access to our Chronicle. From it he has drawn most of those peculiar elements so characteristic of his compilation; for we find the Aramaic fragments in 'Pugio Fidei' of Daniel in the lions’ den are also in Aramaic, and absolutely identical with Jeraḥmeel's version. This, by the way, is one proof more of the extreme antiquity of this Aramaic text, and of the authenticity of Jeraḥmeel's information, that he has copied it from the old version, which served as basis to Thedotion ('Pugio Fidei,' ed. Paris, p. 742). The same text is found in the fragment of the 'Rabbati,' published by Dr. Neubauer ('Book of Tobit,' pp. 41, 42), and in the manuscript examined by Epstein ('Bereschit Rabbati,' 1888, p. 14, No. 1), which agrees still more closely with the text of Jeraḥmeel. The following comparison will prove that we have now found the hitherto unknown and unsuspected source for the 'Rabbati.' For the identity of the legends in 'Rabbati' with those in our collection goes much further. The legend of the bird Milḥam, which is a variation of the phoenix legend given by Martini in the 'Pugio,' 543, in the name of Moses the Darshan, is found also in the manuscript 'Rabbati' (vide Jellinek, 'Bet. Ham.,' vol. vi., p. xii, note), and is identical with the legend in Jeraḥmeel, Chapter xxii., verse 6, for which hitherto the only known parallel was in the 'Alphabetum Sirac.' (cf. later on). This last identification between Martini and the 'Rabbati' has been overlooked by Epstein.
We find in it, further, the legend of the fallen angels, for which we have known hitherto only the parallel in the 'Mid. Abkir.' It is found in the 'Pugio' and in the
[paragraph continues] 'Rabbati' manuscript of Prague (Epstein, p. 21, No. 17), and in Jeraḥmeel, Chapter xxv. It also contains a description of Paradise ('Pugio Fidei,' p. 335; and in the manuscript 'Rabbati,' Epstein, p. 16, No. 9), which agrees with Jeraḥmeel, Chapter xx., paragraph 7 following, being absolutely identical. A short description of hell is given in 'Pugio,' pp. 482, 483, which agrees in the main with Jeraḥmeel, Chapter xxi., paragraphs 2, 3; and still more convincing, if necessary, is the absolute identity of the history of the Children of Moses, as mentioned by Epstein (p. 19), agreeing entirely with Jeraḥmeel, Chapter lxii. This legend is the only one fully reprinted by Epstein, from manuscript Prague (in his 'Eldad,' pp. 42–45), and we can see the absolute identity between the two texts. Epstein mentions further (p. 30) that in the 'Rabbati' are to be found similar legends about Eliphaz, the son of Esau, and the war between Esau and the children of Jacob, which he believes to have been taken from the Book of Yashar. As this very same legend is given in full in Jeraḥmeel, we need not go to the Sepher Hayashar for the solitary instance of a possible borrowing. The coincidence between the two compilations having exactly the same legends not known elsewhere, and the fact that these legends agree literally with one another, prove absolutely that one must have been borrowed from the other. The priority will easily be conceded to Jeraḥmeel, whose work consists exclusively of such legends placed one next to the other and collected into one volume, and not to the author of a homiletical commentary to the Bible, where he would introduce, by way of illustration, legends culled from different sources. I consider all the texts that occur in homiletical collections as of but secondary value, altered and utilized for a special purpose. In many cases the whole text has been reproduced; in other cases that text has been curtailed, and only the principal incidents which were of interest in connection with the homily were retained. In that compilation known as Rabbati,' in the form quoted by Reymundus, we see the very same thing.
[paragraph continues] Some legends are retained in full, others have been shortened and adapted to the homiletic purpose.
This evidence overwhelmingly proves that our compilation must have been known and extensively used by writers who lived in Spain, and who had direct literary connections with Spain; and our 'Jeraḥmeel' assists us, by the way, to solve an important problem in the history of Jewish literature. This alone would have sufficed to justify the publication of his Chronicle.
The date of this part of the Chronicle is fixed, to a certain extent, by the names of the nations which are mentioned, and by the dependence upon the 'Chronicon' and 'Origenes' of Isidor. They carry us down to the middle of the sixth century. It is noteworthy that in the whole book not a single allusion to Christianity is made. In the legends of the Ten Tribes Mohammed is mentioned, but this would also not carry us further down than to the seventh century, as no Chaliphate is alluded to, and the Jews are fighting apparently small Ishmaelite kingdoms. On the contrary, in one instance (Chapter xxxii., paragraph 6) our author states distinctly that the Kings of Rome are still in existence, and are called Cæsar, after the name of Julius Cæsar, unless this note be taken to refer to the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire from the ninth century onward. But there is not the slightest allusion to German Emperors in our text, or even to a German kingdom. The author of this compilation evidently limited himself to the biblical period, with this solitary exceptional reference to the Cæsars that are still ruling in Rome.
As a result of this investigation I ascribe the synchronistic element, as well as the second genealogical table, to the same author. Both are derived from one and the same source; and as they occur mostly in conjunction with the 'Philo' portion, I am inclined to believe that they have been incorporated with that chronicle not later than the sixth or seventh century, when, in every probability, all the other biblical Apocrypha were added, which would contribute to amplify that legendary chronicle. The
histories of Abraham, Moses, Haman and Mordecai, of the Ten Tribes, and the children of Moses, living beyond the borders of the mythical Sambatyon, would thus have amplified and enriched the older Chronicle of Jeraḥmeel, form the basis for the Yashar, with which it would agree in most elements, and would thus be the nucleus for the larger work, unless it could be proved that Yashar is dependent on another similar compilation, and not directly on the present work.
The question of the relation between the Yashar and Jeraḥmeel still requires further elucidation before I can venture upon a definite reply, and very much depends upon the fact whether another manuscript of Jeraḥmeel will ever be available. But there can be no doubt as to the intimate relation between these two books, and as to the independence and priority of Jeraḥmeel.
Throughout this introduction I have called the whole compilation by the name of Jeraḥmeel. Of the part which he has taken in it nothing definite can be said, the date when he lived and wrote being still a matter of conjecture. If the poems found at the beginning of this manuscript with the acrostic Jeraḥmeel belong to the same man, and his references are to the well-known Rashi and probably to his grandson, he must have lived in the twelfth century. His activity would then have consisted merely in enriching the already existing older compilation of at latest the seventh century by the addition of new and similar material and possibly the omission of some of the older materials, without changing however in the least the wording of the texts which he retained. The 'Duplicates,' if I may call them so, would be due to him; then, the portion from Daniel translated from Aramaic into Hebrew; but, on the other hand, he took great care not to incorporate larger portions of Yosippon in the middle of the actual chronicle. The genealogical table from Yosippon was interpolated (Chapter xxxi.) by the last compiler, Eleazar, who mentions this fact expressly, stating that he was, by so doing, interrupting the narrative of Jeraḥmeel.
The literary tradition of Spain also favours this theory. In that country alone writers of chronicles, following the old example, strive after a simple, pure Hebrew style. Curiously enough, all of them, like the later writers: Ibn Verga, the author of the Shebet Yehudah; Ibn Yahya, the author of the Shalshelet Haqqabbalah; Joseph Ha-Cohen, the author of the Emeq Habakhah, and others, follow the same old example of imitating the biblical style, exactly in the same manner, but with less originality and less freedom as was done by the author of the old Chronicle Philo-Jeraḥmeel, by the Yosippon, and by the compiler of the Sepher Hayashar.
His reference to the writings of Nic. of Damascus and Strabo of Caftor as books consulted by him could not be taken literally, as he quotes them probably from the Yosippon, in which they, in fact, are found in identical terms. Like all mediæval chroniclers, he both copied the ancient chronicle, and embellished it with legends and information of his own. The texts are not altered in the wording; whole portions are omitted or added. The same operation was afterwards repeated by Eleazar the Levite, who utilized it in the fourteenth century for the compilation of his own great chronicle.
It is noteworthy that the name Jeraḥmeel is as perfect a translation as one could wish for the Greek name Philo. To assume two Jeraḥmeels, one of a very early date, the author of that portion of our Chronicle which in the Latin goes under the name of Philo, and another of a comparatively very recent date, the compiler of the larger work, would be somewhat hazardous. But the name of Philo in itself requires to be explained, unless it can be shown that that legendary work could not be the work of Philo the Alexandrian, or some other Philo. The fact is that these Apocryphal 'Antiquities' are found together in that translation with other genuine works of Philo. They all have the same character as far as the language is concerned, and belong to the same early period before Jerome, and are probably all the work of one and the same translator. He
therefore knew them as the work of the same author, Philo, as the rest. However that may be, until the question of Jeraḥmeel and his part in our Chronicle has been further elucidated, I call this Chronicle by the name of Jeraḥmeel or Philo-Jeraḥmeel, for if it is not the name of the real author, it is undoubtedly due to him that this most precious and unique monument of ancient Hebrew legendary literature has been preserved. It is one of the few old Apocryphal books which have come down in their original form and in the Hebrew language, whilst most other books of the same period and of the same character have either perished entirely or have been preserved in a mutilated and incomplete translation, like the Book of Enoch, in Ethiopian; the Assumption of Moses, in Latin; or the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, in Greek, and so on. The close similarity between the Latin of Philo and the Hebrew preserved to us by Jeraḥmeel, at any rate, shows that it is a very ancient original Hebrew text. The possibility of its being a translation from the Latin being absolutely excluded, Jeraḥmeel proves thus to be, if not the author, at any rate a faithful transcriber of very ancient documents.
The language of this Philo-Jeraḥmeel portion is exactly the same as in the Yashar and in the Book of Yosippon, with which Jeraḥmeel is evidently well acquainted. The argument, therefore, that a book written in imitation of the biblical style must be of recent origin, is thus disproved at the hand of authentic documents. I need not point out the extreme importance which this fact has for the other Apocryphal texts in our compilation of uncertain date, those considered to be of comparatively recent origin, only and solely because of the fluency of the style, of the purity of the language, and of the imitation of the biblical diction. The fact once established that the older a book the purer its Hebrew style (unless it is shown to be a late artificial production purposely written in that style), will throw some side-light on recently recovered fragments of the ancient Apocrypha, which differ
very considerably, by reason of the artificial character of their style, and the numerous new forms and words they contain, from the simple and natural sentences and words of the Bible, and from such historical or legendary books as the Chronicle of Philo-Jeraḥmeel, and as the legends that go towards making up the Yashar, such as the history of Abraham, Chronicle of Moses, etc.
A comparison between Jeraḥmeel's texts and their ancient parallels, prove him to have been a faithful copyist of the documents which he wrote down exactly in the form in which he found them; otherwise such names as occur in the genealogical lists and in the historical notices interspersed throughout the book, would not have been allowed by him to retain their original form in the Hebrew transliteration, but would have been recast by him into a form more akin to the Hebrew language. In the one instance where he acts as a translator he mentions the fact expressly, and states that he had translated the Aramaic portions in Daniel into Hebrew. Comparing that language of his own translation with the language of the legends, say, of Abraham or Kenaz, we find them differing so much from one another that both cannot be the work of one and the same author. This is another proof for the authenticity and the accuracy of his transcript of the ancient Chronicle; always assuming this Jeraḥmeel not to be identical with Philo, but to be the name of a later compiler, who incorporated into his work the old composition that went under the name of Philo. We thus set at rest the gratuitous assumption of Neubauer and others, who have completely misunderstood Jeraḥmeel's introductory sentences to the Aramaic version of the Song of the Three Children in the furnace and the Daniel-legends, published by me, viz., that they had been translated by Jeraḥmeel from a Greek or another source. They are old and genuine original texts, as already remarked above.
It is not at all unlikely that the original Jeraḥmeel or the original chronicle which Jeraḥmeel copied out was as full as the Latin text, and may have gone further than the
[paragraph continues] Latin, including also a short reference to the destruction of the Temple, so as to cover the whole ground of the Bible, to which Yosippon would then be the natural continuation. Has Jeraḥmeel curtailed it, or is it due to the editorial activity of Eleazar the Levite, who seems to have taken some liberties with his text? This must remain an open question until a new manuscript is discovered. Eleazar, at any rate, is under the impression that the older portion coincides with the biblical period, and connects the text of Yosippon almost immediately with the account of the Exiles to which the Jews had been subjected. The version of the Yosippon in our manuscript agrees on the whole with the old text printed by Conte * (ante 1480); and the Apocrypha which it contains, and with which I intend dealing later on when studying each chapter by itself, prove them not to be translated from the Latin or from the Greek, as some have rather hastily assumed, but to be independent versions of ancient origin, maybe reflecting the originals. For one or two at least, like the dream of Mordecai, it will be shown that they are extant in manuscripts much older than the date which Neubauer, and Perles before him, agreed to assign to Jeraḥmeel. He, therefore, could not have been the translator of texts that exist in Hebrew or in Aramaic before his time. And as it can be proved regarding some of the texts contained in our compilation that they are much older than the time of the compiler, we are justified to claim great age for the rest of the biblical Apocrypha in this Chronicle, which also go back to a far greater antiquity than scholars have hitherto assumed. It is for this reason that I have brought this Chronicle to a close with the Book of the Maccabee, the last Biblical Apocryphum in the volume. It must be left to special studies to ascertain the exact date of each of them, and the relation in which these Apocrypha of the Bible stand to the known Syriac, Greek, and Latin versions.
I shall now proceed to discuss each chapter separately;
to show, if possible, the immediate source whence each has been drawn; to trace its parallels in the Hebrew literature, and whenever possible in cognate literatures. In order to facilitate references, I have divided the text into chapters and paragraphs, following in the main the indications in the manuscript. This investigation will form at the same time a commentary to the various texts, and will show in many instances the value that is to be attached to each text from a critical point of view. In a few instances, we shall find two versions of one and the same legend, which proves the faithfulness of the compiler. When he found two texts dealing with the same subject, but somewhat different in form, he did not hesitate to copy both and to place them one next to the other. Each of them will be treated by itself.
The works to which reference is chiefly made, in so far as Hebrew parallels and bibliography are concerned, are: Zunz, 'Die Gottesdienstlichen Vorträge der Juden,' second edition, Frankfurt-a-M., 1892 (Zunz, G. V.2); A. Jellinek, 'Bet ha-Midrasch,' vols. i.–vi. (Jellinek, 'B. H.'); and the 'Sepher Hayashar,' ed Princeps, Venice, 1625 (Yashar). I have subdivided this last work into chapters and verses, following the English translation, 'The Book of Jasher,' New York, 1840. As all the Hebrew editions are divided in accordance with the biblical large divisions of the Pentateuch, I add a comparative table: Chapters i.–ii., Bereshit; iii.–xiii., 21, Noah; xiii. 22–xvii., Lekhlekha; xviii–xxiii., Vayera; xxiv.–xxv., Ḥayyei Sarah; xxvi.–xxix., Tôledôth; xxx.–xxxi, Vayeṣe; xxxii.–xl., Vayishlaḥ; xli.–xlvii., Vayesheb; xlviii.–liii., Miqēṣ; liv.–lv., Vayigash; lvi.–lviii., Vayeḥi; lix.–lxxix., Shemôth; lxxx.–lxxvii., Bô; lxxxiii., Vayiqra; lxxxiv.–lxxxvi., Bemidbar; lxxxvii., Eleh ha-debarim; lxxxviii.–xc., Yehôshua; xci., Shōfeṭim.
In the notes that I give I do not aim at reproducing the whole bibliography, when it is already given by Zunz, or by Buber, or in any of the books referred to. It is a useless show of erudition, and does not further our investigation. My principal aim is to mention, in the
first instance, those texts which show the closest similarity with our compilation, and which are either direct sources, or, at any rate, stand nearest in age and in form to the immediate source from which the compiler drew his text. Reference is necessarily made to non-Jewish parallels, in the first place to Syriac and Arabic. I refer, in the first instance, to M. Gruenbaum, 'Neue Beiträge für Semitischen Sagenkunde, Leiden, 1893.' Many scholars have assumed that legends and parallels found, for instance, in the Book of Yashar, or in the chapters of Rabbi Eliezer, son of Hyrqanos, parallel to Mahomedan legends, must have been borrowed from the latter source. But conclusive evidence is still missing, and I do not think that the time has yet come to draw final conclusions. Many more legendary texts may surge up from the depth of antiquity hitherto unknown, which will throw a new light upon the materials existing in Hebrew literature. The recent discovery of the Yemenite homiletical literature, such as the Midrash Haggadol, for instance; then my find of the old collection of 'Rabbinical Exempla' (legends), dating probably from the fifth or sixth century, fragments found by me among the pieces from the Geniza in Cairo, may modify, and have to a certain extent modified, such views. But as these literatures have undoubtedly borrowed one from the other, I thought it right to refer to them whenever I considered necessary. The Slavonic Palæa, being a reflex of the Greek compilation, which, in the light of this discovery of Philo-Jeraḥmeel, I believe to have stood in close relation to the Greek text, as well as to some old translation of the Book of Yashar, or with the elements contained therein, has also been referred to by me, when the similarity proved striking. Special attention have I given, then, to Petrus Comestor's 'Historia Scholastica' (ed. Migne, Patrologia, vol. cxciii., Paris, 1855), in which he has utilized, as he states distinctly (in Genesis, chapter xxxvii.) the work of 'Philo,' and who has also all those synchronistic elements so prominent a feature of Jeraḥmeel. Comestor says: 'Narrat autem Philo Judaeus vel ut alii
volunt Gentiliis philosophus in libro Quaestionum super Genesim,' and finally Fabricius's invaluable 'Codex Pseudo-Epigraphus Veteris Testamenti.' All the other authorities will be quoted in full when referred to singly.
Chapter I.—Starting from the history of the Creation, our compiler takes as basis for this description a fragmentary collection of legends known as the chapters of Rabbi Eliezer. It is not my intention here to enter into a detailed examination of each of these sources. I am referring to the principal ones, especially to those which, by being utilized to a larger extent by the compiler, claim our special consideration. In that book of 'Eliezer,' for instance, we find for the first time a description of the fall of Satan, and many details which, by a long process of transmission, have had also an influence upon Milton's 'Paradise Lost.' The last word has not yet been spoken about this book, whose reputed author is Eliezer, the son of Hyrqanos, of the first century of the Common Era. Some scholars have ascribed that book to the seventh or eighth century, because a few allusions to Mahomedanism are found in it; but the book belongs unquestionably to a much higher antiquity, and many incidents point to more ancient sources, akin with those utilized by the author of the Book of Jubilees and the Book of Enoch. My references are to the edition made by David Lurya (Warsaw, 1852), whose commentary contains to each detail in the book the whole parallel literature; when I add numbers to the chapters quoted, I refer to the numbers of the notes.
Chapter I. of Jeraḥmeel corresponds, then, with Chapter iii. of Eliezer Hyrqanos. In a few instances biblical references are omitted in our text; such is the case at the end of paragraph 2 and the end of paragraph 7. Chapter II. Jeraḥmeel corresponds to Eliezer, Chapter v.; Chapter III., paragraph 1, is taken from Eliezer, Chapter vi. In the latter book there follows a minute description of the rules of the Jewish Calendar, of the movement of the planets, in which point that book resembles other ancient Apocryphal
books. The calculation of the calendar is one of the chief items of interest with almost every one of those ancient writers; it fills many chapters in the Book of Enoch, and the whole of the Book of Jubilees is unquestionably an attempt to establish such a calendar. The Rabbinical dissentient calendar finds, then, its expression in these chapters of Eliezer, and in a book, lost up to quite recent time, attributed to Mar Samuel. A small portion of this 'Barayta,' as it is called, has been recovered and published in Salonic, 1861. Zunz describes (in 'Hamazkir,' vol. v., p. 15, 1862) the history of this astronomical work. There seems to have existed an intimate connection, hitherto not sufficiently explained, between this work, ascribed to Samuel, and the astronomical portions in the Book of Eliezer Hyrqanos, as ancient quotations from the latter, now missing in our text, are found in that Barayta of Samuel. I mention these points here because similar portions are found in the following chapters of Jeraḥmeel, which at first sight appear intercalated from Samuel's Barayta, between the continuous quotations from the Chapters of Rabbi Eliezer. Their appearance here proves the text preserved in Jeraḥmeel's compilation, which agrees with the old quotations, to be the fullest and more correct than that found in the edition of the Chapters of Rabbi Eliezer. The order in which the things are quoted by Jeraḥmeel is slightly different from that of the published text; for Chapter III., paragraphs 2, 3, are taken literally from the beginning of Chapter vii. of Rabbi Eliezer; whilst Chapter IV., paragraph 4, is identical with a portion from Chapter vi. of Rabbi Eliezer. Instead of continuing the text as in Rabbi Eliezer, Chapter vii., with that calendaristic calculation (which is probably a later interpolation from a different source or an abstract from a larger work), we have, in our text of Jeraḥmeel, paragraph 6 et seq., totally different elements, now missing in Eliezer, but preserved in that very book which is ascribed to Samuel. But of this only a fragment has hitherto been recovered, and that explains why paragraph 6 is missing in this text; we find it,
however, in the 'Barayta of Creation,' published by Buber and Chones ('Yerioth Shelomo,' Warsaw, 1896, p. 50). A similar text is to be found in the 'Pardes' ascribed to Rashi (vide Lurya to end of Chapter vii. of Rabbi Eliezer, No. 68, et seq.), then in 'Sode Razaya,' and in the Yalqut Makhiri to Ps. lxxxi. (my codex, No. 100, fol. 191a).
Jeraḥmeel, Chapter IV., agrees remotely with the actual text of Rabbi Eliezer, Chapter vii. Concerning the planets, we find their names, etc., mentioned in the book 'Yeṣira,' chap. iv., then Rashi to the following treatises of the Talmud: Berakoth, 59b, Sabbath, 129b, Erubin, 56a; in the Zohar to Haazinu, fol. 287a, also in the Midrash Haggadol to Genesis (my manuscript, No. 1, fol. 15c). In paragraph 2, which is undoubtedly an interpolation of Eleazar the Levite, the last compiler of the book, we have the oldest list of German names of the days of the week and their primitive form as known in the Rhine Province about the end of the twelfth century. The same list is repeated once more at the end of the whole manuscript, proving this interpolation to be due to Eleazar the Levite. Paragraphs 3 and 4 agree with chap. vii. of the Barayta of Samuel. But our text is much shorter than the parallels, which we find also in the 'Sode Razayya' quoted in 'Yalqut Reubeni' (fol. 7a), and in that book which goes under the name of the Angel 'Raziel' (ed. Amsterdam, fol. 17b). The two books 'Sode Razaya' and 'Raziel' owe their present form to Rabbi Eleazar of Worms, who lived in the thirteenth century, and made use of extremely ancient Midrashim. Paragraphs 5–9 are identical with chap. ix. of the Barayta of Samuel. Here the reverse has taken place, for the fuller form seems to have been preserved in Jeraḥmeel, as many details, such as the form of each of the seven planets, and the description of the things over which they are appointed, are missing in the Barayta of Samuel. We are dealing in this chapter with some of the old astrological data current in ancient times (cf. Boucher Leclerque, 'L’astrologie Grecque,' Paris, 1899).
Chapter V.—The thread of the narrative according to the
chapters of Eliezer Hyrqanos is resumed with Chapter V., which corresponds with part of Chapter ix.
Chapter VI., paragraph 1, is taken from Chapter xi. of Eliezer. Chapter VI., paragraph 2, and part of paragraph 3, cf. Treat. Sanhedrin, fol. 38a, b, where the text is much shorter. Paragraphs 3–5, the consultation of God with the angels about the creation of man, are identical in form with the book that goes under the title 'Midrash Kônên' (ed. Jellinek, 'B. H.,' ii., pp. 26–27), also dealing with the Creation. It is very much like the first chapters of our book, and it is attributed to the compiler of the book 'Raziel.' Everything, however, seems to point to the conclusion that the text in Jeraḥmeel has retained the very original form, and that all the quotations in other writings are merely portions from what originally has been a continuous narrative in the chapters of Eliezer, though it is now missing in the printed text of that book. The abstract from this work of Eliezer is, in fact, continued here as if no break had occurred between. The very beginning and end of Jeraḥmeel, Chapter VI., are identical with Eliezer, Chapter xi., though the intermediate portions are now missing there, and are found scattered through the pages of the Talmud, in the 'Midrash Kônên,' and other books. I have not been able hitherto to find a single parallel to paragraph 6 in the Hebrew literature; only Arabic writers like Tabari, Iben El Atîr, and Masudi have it (cf. Greenbaum, 'Beiträge,' p. 62); cf. also (ibid., p. 55) all the Hebrew, Arabic, and Syriac parallels to paragraph 7, concerning the elements out of which the human body was created.
Chapter VI., paragraph 7, to the end of Chapter VII., is taken continuously from Eliezer, Chapter xi., No. 28, to Chapter xii., No. 60. The first seven chapters dealing with the Creation are thus undoubtedly all taken from one and the same book—the Chapters of Eliezer—and not pieced together from quotations and minor fragments collected from various writings. We have thus a different recension, more complete and better rounded off, of that
book of Eliezer, which in itself is also a problem in Hebrew literary history. Concerning various details in these last two chapters, especially those that have been admitted into many other literatures, I would give a few more parallels from the Hebrew. So we find to Chapter VI., paragraphs 8, 9 identical wording in the Tanḥuma, Parasha Pequdei, paragraph 3 to the end (ed. Venice, folio 51b). To paragraphs 7 to 10 also 'Midrash Haggadol,' loc. cit. (folio 20c). To paragraph 10, about the hours in which Adam and Eve were created, sinned, etc., cf. Tanḥuma, (ed. Buber, vol. i., p. 18, No. 195), where the whole parallel literature is given. How long Adam and Eve lived in Paradise is a question that agitated ancient writers, and we find an echo in the old Slavonic Lucidarius, in the so-called. Questions of St. Athanasius, etc. To paragraph 11 cf. Targum Jerushalmi to Genesis, chapter ii., ver. 7; and, moreover, Greenbaum, loc. cit., p. 60, who refers to the Book of Adam, to the Koran, and other Oriental writings. To Chapter VII., paragraph 1, et seq., cf. Tanhuma, ed. Buber, i., folio 58b, and Pesiqta of Rabbi Kahana, ed. Buber, folio 37b.
Chapter IX.—Following upon the creation of the world comes now the treatise of the formation of the human being. Between these two I have omitted a chapter (VIII.) of the Hebrew text, giving anatomical details, and quoting, among others, as an authority Ibn Ezra. Independent of that is Chapter IX., probably a very ancient legend. Fragments of it occur in various old writings. Paragraphs 4, 5 are found in the Talmud, Tr. Niddah, folio 30b. Paragraph 9, vide 'Midrash Ecclesiastes,' chapter i., ver. 1; cf. 'Yalqut,' vol. ii., folio 182b, paragraph 966. We find it, moreover, in an anonymous compilation, which goes under the name of 'Abqath Rokhel,' folio 23a (ed. Amsterdam), from which it has been reprinted by Jellinek, 'B. H.,' vol. i., p. 153 et seq. But our text is much more like the one incorporated into the Tanḥuma, loc. cit., paragraph 3, (folio 51b), where it follows immediately upon the same tales as that at the end of Jeraḥmeel, Chapter VI., paragraph 9,
being thus a direct continuation of the description how God created man. Paragraphs 1 to 4 are also found in the Midrash to the Ten Commandments (Precept 6). Güdemann has treated these legends in the 'Monatschrift f. d. Gesch. d. Judent,' and tried to identify them with the legends of Horus—the child God with a finger at His mouth. We may have here some reminiscences of the old Platonic ideas of man's soul knowing everything before birth, and that our learning in this world is merely a recollection of things known before.
In Chapter X. we have one of those old books which have been preserved in an incomplete form in various compilations, of which I have, moreover, found fragments among the texts recovered from the Geniza in Cairo. Eliah de Vidas, in his work 'Reshit Ḥokhmah,' has incorporated many such old Apocryphal legends which he found in the sixteenth century in Palestine. He has reprinted there also this very text, though not in the same order, it forming in his book chapter xii. of the division 'Sha’ar hayirah' (ed. Amsterdam, folio 40a; ed. Constantinople, folio 37b). The order in Vidas as compared to the paragraphs in Jeraḥmeel is as follows: Vidas begins with what is in Jeraḥmeel paragraph 9, then follows first part of paragraph 12, a little of paragraph 10, then the second half of paragraph 7, and finally the whole of the paragraphs 8, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, to end. It is evident that paragraphs 2–7 formed probably the kernel of this 'Admonition to the sinner.' This text is called the 'Pearl of Rabbi Meir' by Vidas, whilst it figures as the 'Pearl of Rab' in an abstract made of this chapter in the 'Shebet Musar,' p. 7, of Eliah Hacohen, of Smyrna (vide also Jellinek, 'B. H.,' ii., pp. 120–122). My fragment from the Geniza (codex No. 289), from which the beginning is missing, is absolutely identical with our text from paragraph 3 on to the middle of paragraph 7. Some of it is found also in my codex, No. 220, a manuscript probably of the eighteenth century, coming from Yemen. The second half of the text, from paragraph 10 onwards, is only found in Jeraḥmeel. The knowledge of this 'Admonition' seems
to have been limited to writers who have lived, and to compilations that have been made, in the East. This points to the East as the source whence also the other element contained in our present compilation may have been drawn. To the same source belongs also Chapter XI. Only to paragraphs 1–4 have I been able to find a parallel legend, viz., with Vision V., paragraphs 13, 14, of the 'Visions of Heaven and Hell,' published by me (Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 1893, p. 603). The source for it I found in a manuscript of the Orḥot Ḥayim, vol. ii. It is also in Jellinek, 'B. H.' v., p. 50. To paragraph 4 compare T. Berakhoth, folio 17a, and in Vidas, Resh. Ḥokhma,' Chapter xii., paragraph 4; whilst paragraph 5 is also found in the work 'Ḥibbuṭ Haqeber,' that is 'The Beating of the Grave' (Jellinek, 'B. H.,' ii., pp. 151, 152). No parallel have I been able to find to our text from paragraph 6 to the end of the chapter.
Chapter XII., as well as the following chapters, deals with the eschatological questions of life after death, of punishment and reward. They belong to that large circle of Apocalyptic visions of Heaven, Hell and Paradise, to which attention has recently been drawn again in a prominent form by the discovery of the Apocalypse of Peter. The time has not yet arrived to decide as to whence all these notions have come, whether they are of Jewish origin or of Egyptian origin, and in how far the Orphic mysteries have anything to do with them. All these teachings seem to have had a share in these Apocalypses, but it is impossible to believe that such notions should have been admitted into Jewish and Christian circles, and still less in the latter, unless they were already current in the minds of the people, and were considered as genuine religious representations of life after death. In spite of Dietriech's strictures in his 'Nekyia' (Leipzig, 1893), especially p. 223, and his attempt to find their origin exclusively in Greek classical antiquity, he must look to the East as the true source of these mystical inspirations and mystical teachings. New-Pythagorean and New-Platonic views are not an original growth
upon the soil of Hellas. And the whole magical literature that is so closely connected with the cult of the dead, and with these eschatological views of life after death, was evolved by the Greeks only after they had imbibed those teachings in the East.
The pure Hebrew language of these texts, especially those dealing with visions of heaven and hell, proves their extreme antiquity. Although for various statements reference is made to the Bible, the Rabbinical literature is entirely ignored in them, save a few later interpolations. Dietriech has entirely misunderstood the drift of my arguments and the value of the texts of those Hebrew visions published by me. A fragment, moreover, which I consider to be the oldest in existence, which has come to light also from the 'Geniza' and is now my property, carries us far back, maybe to the eighth or ninth century. No text as yet shown to exist can be proved to be a translation from a non-Jewish source. Not that I claim special priority for them. The views expressed therein are not countenanced by the representative teachers of Judaism, and their existence is in fact surprising in Jewish literature; but I consider them to stand on a par, as to age and importance, with the whole cycle of Apocryphal and Apocalyptic literature, to which I reckon also the books of magic; and much may be due to the hitherto not yet sufficiently recognised literary activity of some such Jewish sect as the Essenes or other unknown authorities, who are known to have been addicted to this kind of mystic speculation. Just as much as the Essenes can be credited with the description of the heavenly halls in the Hekhâlôth and the place of Paradise, so also may we credit them with a description of the tortures of hell. Fragments of, and parallels to, such descriptions are found already in the Book of Enoch in abundance, and not a few are mentioned in the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, not to speak of the New Testament and other Apocalyptic writings.
Chapter XII. is probably the beginning of that Apocryphal tale which is continued in Chapter XIII. under
the title of 'The Beating of the Grave.' Eliah de Vidas has the whole of it, beginning from Chapter XII., paragraph 3, up to Chapter XIII., end of paragraph 6, forming paragraphs 1–3 in his Chapter xii. He evidently has left out the beginning, which was known to Eliah Levita in his 'Tishbi,' and which is also found in a very mutilated form in a late manuscript; reprinted hence by Jellinek ('B. H.,' vol. v., p. 48).
Our text again appears to be the fullest and the most coherent. From paragraph 7 on we have here a kind of short abstract from what is given afterwards in a very complete form in Chapters XIV.—XVII., containing a minute description of hell. In the parallels of this description I limit myself almost exclusively to the reference to my edition of those Apocalyptic Visions where I have indicated the whole Jewish and non-Jewish literature, including references to the Apocalypses of Peter, Paul, Virgin Mary, etc. I add here the reference to the 'Reshith Hokhmah,' Chapter xiii., which agrees with our Chapters XIV. and XV., and to the extremely ancient manuscript from the Geniza, mentioned above, with which this portion agrees absolutely.
Passing on to the detailed parallelism, we find Chapter XIV., paragraph 2, up to Chapter XV., paragraph 6, identical with Vision No. V., paragraphs 1–9 (p. 599 et seq.). Chapter XV., paragraphs 7–9, is identical with Vision No. V., paragraphs 20–22 (pp. 601, 605).
Chapter XVI., paragraphs 1–5, is identical with the text of Orḥot Hayim, to which I have referred already above, being a continuation of Chapter XI., paragraph 4, and is to be found in that same Vision V., paragraphs 15–19 (pp. 603–605). The continuation to Chapter XV., paragraph 9, reappears here in Chapter XVI., paragraph 6, corresponding with paragraph 23 of Vision V. Paragraph 7 of Chapter XVI. is identical with paragraph 24 of Vision V., whilst paragraph 8 differs here from the version published in the 'Visions.'
Chapter XVII.—Portions of this chapter are found in
[paragraph continues] Vision VII., paragraph 4, but in a different order and altered form. There are also parallels to it in Vision I., paragraph 42, and Vision V., paragraph 24; to paragraph 1 here cf. also 'Yalqut Reubeni,' fol. 3b. 'Midrash Konên,' 5b and 6a (Jellinek, 'B. H.,' vol. ii., pp. 35, 36), has a parallel legend to end of paragraph 1 and of paragraph 4. Concerning the names of Hell, cf. also the Talmudic treatise Erubin, fol. 19a. Paragraph 6 leads from hell to Paradise.
Chapters XVIII., XIX.—The chief personage in these two Visions, the man to whom these revelations are made and who is the hero in the oldest documents, is Rabbi Joshua, son of Levi. We have here probably an unintentional alteration from Isaiah, as in one place Isaiah is suddenly mentioned, and we know of the existence of such an Apocalypse of Isaiah, the 'Ascensio Isaiae.' Maybe it is a later ascription to the man of whom legend told that he was in friendly relations with the Angel of Death. Whether it is due to popular etymology and analogy of name, or to a definite intentional alteration, it is difficult to determine. The oldest texts all agree, at any rate, in ascribing these revelations to Rabbi Joshua, the son of Levi. The text published in Chapter XVIII. is probably the oldest of all known, and agrees in the main with the version contained in 'Mahazor Vitry' (pp. 735–736). It is found further in 'Yalqut,' i., fol. 7a, par. 20; 'Shebet Musar,' ch. xxv.; and Jellinek, 'B. H.,' vol. 2, pp. 52, 53; also 'Midrash Talpiyoth' (ed. Lemberg, 1875), p. 59b; and in 'Visions,' No. IV., p. 596 et seq.
Chapter XIX., paragraph 1, recurs thus far in its complete form once more in the manuscript reprinted by Jellinek, vol. v., p. 43. Its contents occur also in the Midrash to Psalm xi., ver. 6 (ed. Buber, pp. 101, 102; cf. note No. 48). The whole is also mentioned by Eleazar of Worms in his work 'Ḥokhmath Hanephesh,' and is partly alluded to in the 'Pesiqta Rabbati' (ed. Friedman), fol. 198a. To paragraph 4 cf. 'Visions,' No. I., paragraph 48 (p. 584); the 'Apocalypse of Paul,' ch. xliv.; and 'Pesiqta
Rabbati,' fol. 112a; vide also the study of Israel Levi in the Revue des Études Juives.
Chapters XX., XXI.—The first two paragraphs of Chapter XX. are missing in every other parallel text, but from paragraph 3 on our text is identical with Vision III., paragraphs 10–17. A short version of the journey of Joshua, the son of Levi, accompanied by the Angel of Death, is to be found in my 'Exempla of the Rabbis,' No. 138, where also a short description of what he sees in Paradise is given. The description is continued, as here, in Chapter XIII., paragraphs 1–3, in 'Visions,' No. III., paragraphs 20–21. From paragraph 4 to the end a new description of hell is ascribed to Joshua, the son of Levi. It agrees with the version preserved by Nachmanides, reprinted in the 'B. H.' by Jellinek, vol. v., p. 43 et seq., as well as with that contained in 'Orḥot Hayim,' and in 'Midrash Konên,' 4a, published by me, 'Visions,' No. VI., pp. 605–607. Our text agrees best with that of Nachmanides, reprinted by Eisenmenger, Entdecktes Judenthum,' vol. ii., pp. 340, 341.
Chapter XXII.—After this long interpolation, dealing with eschatological subjects, our author returns to the history of Adam and Eve and their progeny on earth. Chapter XXII., paragraphs 1–4, is an abstract from the Book of Eliezer, chap. xiii. The cause of the fall of the Angel Samael is here given in a totally different form, and agrees in the main with the first chapter of the Latin version of the 'Historia Adæ.' A close parallel to this version we find in the manuscript 'Genesis Rabbati,' from which Epstein has published a similar legend in his 'Eldad ha Dani' (Presburg, 1891, pp. 66–68, and notes, p. 75 et seq.). The reprint by Epstein, who has not noticed that the text is found also in Martini's 'Pugio' (p. 425, ed. Paris), does not, however, go far enough, for we find in the 'Genesis Rabbati,' according to the quotation in the 'Pugio' (vide above, p. xlix), also the phoenix legend, agreeing with the latter part of this legend in Jeraḥmeel.
It is evident, as already noted above, that the author, Moses Hadarshan, must have had our collection of legendary tales at his disposal. The form of the legends in the 'Ber. Rabbati' proves it to be a later development, especially as the name of Samael is changed into Satan (cf. also the Syriac Legends in 'Schatzhoele,' ed. Betzold, pp. 4, 8; vide Weil, 'Biblische Legenden,' p. 15). There is no necessity now to assume with Epstein that this is one of the legends invented by, or derived from, Eldad; still less can we consider it as being of a Christian Abyssinian origin, and borrowed hence; it is much more likely that the reverse has happened. The Hebrew represents an older tradition, retained in a most complete form in this chapter of Jeraḥmeel's compilation. There are other details also in it (from paragraph 4 onwards), which are found nowhere else together except in the 'Rabbati,' whilst only to a few details parallels can be found scattered through various works of the Hebrew literature. Quotations of such a kind are not, as some have hitherto believed, proofs that a later author has taken pains to collect scattered allusions and legends from numberless books and treatises, and has welded them together so as to form one single small tale. The reverse has undoubtedly taken place. A complete legend has been composed at a given time, and portions of it are then quoted and utilized by writers of various ages, everyone selecting from it that portion which suited his fancy or his subject best.
The occurrence, therefore, of details or elements of a long and complete text in other compositions is, to my mind, rather a proof that the complete tale is the older, which has been laid under contribution by later writers, and not that the reverse has taken place, so that the complete legend has been compiled in a mosaicartic fashion from most heterogeneous books and writings. In this case, we have thus in Jeraḥmeel the primitive and complete legend. We find an allusion to the second half of paragraph 5 in 'Genesis Rabba' (section 19, paragraph 9, and section 20, paragraph 19). Paragraphs 6
and 7 as well as 8 contain two versions of the old famous legend of the phoenix, which forms part of the old Physiologus. In the Hebrew literature we find both: the one corresponding to the first tradition (paragraphs 6, 7) occurring in the 'Alphabetum Siracidis' (ed. Steinschneider, Berlin, 1858, fol. 29a, b) in a somewhat shorter form, and the other in 'Genesis Rabba' (loc. cit.; further, Midrash Samuel, chapter xii., paragraph 81), also a little different, then in the Genesis Rabbati, MS. Prague, and in Martini's quotation 'Pugio,' p. 453.
Chapter XXIII., a similar legendary composition, from which fragments only can be traced in various writings, but nowhere is the whole text found, as here, in a continuous narrative. To paragraph 1, the history of Lilith and the origin of the Demons, there is a parallel in the same 'Alphabetum Siracidis,' fol. 23a, b, which shows that the author of that work, which I place latest in the seventh century, knew already those legends and tales (cf. Treatise of Erubin, fol. 18; Genesis Rabba, chap. xx., xxiv.). In our version the chief hero is Methusela, not Adam, as in Sira, who must have been one of the old heroes of Apocalyptic literature. Enoch reveals visions to Methusela (Book of Enoch, chap. lxxxii., et seq.), and many ancient interpretations of his name are to be found in the old 'Onomastica' (ed. Lagarde, p. 8, line 10, and p. 65, line 10). Fabricius, pp. 224–226, refers to the Midrash Abkir, which must have been a similar collection of biblical Apocrypha very much alike in character to Philo-Jeraḥmeel and to the Yashar; only fragments have been preserved. A manuscript of it still known to de Rossi, in the sixteenth century has since disappeared; only stray fragments are to be found. In one of these (Yalqut, i., fol. 42, and No. 4 in the separate edition of Buber, pp. 2–3) we find a literal parallel to paragraph 5, and also an indication of Methusela's knowledge of magic. A preceding and now lost portion of the Abkir may have contained these paragraphs which precede it here. To paragraphs 1–4, cf. also Book of Jubilees, chap. viii., ver. 5, and a similar fragment
from Abkir is quoted by Buber in 'Yerioth Shelomo' (Warsaw, 1896, p. 47).
Concerning the images made by Enosh, paragraphs 6, 7, we find only a remote parallel, probably only an abbreviated quotation from here, in Genesis Rabba, chap. xxiii., section 9, and an allusion to it in Ibn Yahya's 'Shalsheleth Haqqabbala' (ed. Venice, fol. 92b). But this is derived probably from the 'Supplementum Chronicarum' of Foresti. I am inclined to believe that the ancient chronicle of Philo-Jeraḥmeel must have commenced with this Chapter XXIII., although the Latin text begins much later.
Chapter XXIV. is of a similar character, with very few parallels in Hebrew literature. The name of Cain's wife, Qalmana, is mentioned by Ibn Yahya, loc. cit., fol. 92b, and long before him in Pseudo-Methodius. The oldest source thus far is the Book of Jubilees (vide Rönsch, p. 373, where the names of the two daughters of Adam according to all the ancient traditions are given). Our text, especially paragraphs 1–4 and paragraphs 7, 8, corresponds in many details with Josephus, Antiquities,' book i., chap. ii., sections 2, 3; vide also Fabricius, p. 119. In many details we find from here onwards a close resemblance with Comestor's 'Historia Scholastica,' cf. 'Genesis,' chap. xxv., and for paragraphs 5–8 of our text, vide Comestor, ibid., chap. xxviii. Comestor assigns the erection of the two pillars to Tubal Cain, like our Hebrew text, whilst other authorities ascribe these to Adam, Seth, or to others (vide Fabricius, p. 148).
From paragraph 8 to end of chapter cf. Comestor, 'Genesis,' chap. xxxi. In the Hebrew literature we find merely a reference to Tubal's activity in the Jerusal. Targum to Genesis, chap. iv., vers. 21, 22, and in Rashi, ibid.
The origin of the Elohim and their identification with the seed of Seth and not with fallen angels, as set forth here in paragraph 10, et seq., differs completely from the tradition in the chapters of Rabbi Eliezer (Chapter xxii.), where the giants are considered to be the children of angels that had intermarried with human beings. According to the tradition in our text, they are the offspring from the
mixture between the seed of Seth and the seed of Cain. The same tradition is found especially in Christian pseudo-epigraphic literature like the Christian Book of Adam (pp. 82–93); the 'Cave of Treasures' (p. 10), in Cedrenus, ed. Bonn, vol. i., p. 19, and Eutychius's 'Annals,' vol. i., pp. 21–26; further, in Arabic authors like Tabari, Jaḳubi, Ibn el Atîr (vide Gruenbaum, loc. cit., pp. 73, 74, and 76, 77). Ibn Ezra to Genesis, chap. vi., ver. 2, has a similar tradition.
Chapter XXV., the legend of the fallen angels, brings us back to the Midrash Abkir, because there alone we find an absolutely identical legend. It seems also to have entered into the Midrash Rabbati in a somewhat shorter form. In the name of Moses the Darshan it is quoted by Reymundus in his 'Pugio Fidei' (Paris, 1651), pp. 7–9. In his version paragraphs 7–11 of our text are omitted.
The longer version, identical with ours, has been preserved by the 'Yalqut' (paragraph 44, fol. 12b-12c) from the Midrash Abkir. The antiquity of this legend is shown by the fact that the central portion of it is found in the Book of Enoch, chap. vi.–x. (ed. Charles, pp. 62–77). The tendency is here somewhat different, as the angels are lustful after women and therefore descend from heaven, whilst in the Hebrew version it is a more ethical principle which induces them to descend from heaven, viz., to show that they are above human vices, but they, like human beings, fall also a victim to their presumption. The name of the virtuous girl who ascends to heaven and is placed among the Pleiades is Estira (= star). The whole of the first part is entirely omitted in the Book of Enoch, which is, however, no proof that this version is not at least as old as the Book of Enoch. Concerning the activity of the two fallen angels, especially of Azael, vide Lagarde, 'Materialien,' etc., vol. ii., p. 57, and Gruenbaum, p. 74.
Chapters XXVI.–XXX. inclusive are absolutely identical with the Latin 'Philo,' which commences here. In the first part of this introduction I have dealt largely with the proof that the Latin text cannot be considered as the original, and that the Hebrew proves to be the older of the two
versions. The spirit that breathes through the pages of this book is the same which animated the author of the Book of Jubilees and other similar attempts of a genealogical character; it is the same which pervades the Hellenistic literature and the Hagadic literature of later times. We find traces of it in the fragment of Malchus Kleodemas and other writers, who lived two or three centuries before the Common Era. Concerning them, I refer to the admirable work of Professor Freudenthal ('Hellenistiche Studien,' i., ii., Breslau, 1874, 1875).
The source for the peculiar names that occur in these chapters has not been laid bare, nor do we know the system which the ancients followed in the invention of such mythical names. Here and there one can discover biblical names in a somewhat changed form. But until all these names will have been collected and the manuscripts carefully collated, taking as basis our Jeraḥmeel, and comparing these names with those contained in the Sepher Hayashar and those scattered through the pages of the rabbinical literature, such an attempt will be fruitless. My transliteration of these names is merely tentative, as the original manuscript in many cases has no vowel signs, so as to indicate the correct pronunciation of the names, and the similarity of letters in the Hebrew script may account for changes or differences between the Hebrew and the Latin version. In order to assist further investigation, I have added in the Appendix the corresponding pages from the Latin edition, and a reproduction in facsimile of those chapters of the Hebrew manuscript which contain the genealogical tables and geographical names, viz., Chapter XXVI., paragraphs 1–13; XXVI. 27 to XXVIII. 3; XXXI. 1–20. I have already drawn attention (p. xxx) to the similarity in various details between these chapters and some portions in the Book of Jubilees.
In Chapter XXVI. our compiler seems to have intercalated from the middle of paragraph 15 on to the end of 20 a tradition that occurs already once before in Chapter XXIV., paragraphs 6–9, and which is missing in the Latin. It is
not at all improbable that this portion belongs to the old original. Some apocryphal names occur also in it, but are omitted in the Latin. A parallel to paragraph 20 is found in Eutychius, i., p. 60. In paragraph 13 we could read Sheth with the Latin instead of Shem.
Chapter XXVII.—The Yashar has in chap. vii., vers. 1–22, a list of the sons of Noah of a similar apocryphal and unintelligible character as the one contained here in Chapter XXVII. Both must have borrowed from the same apocryphal source, represented more correctly by Jeraḥmeel, who agrees entirely with the Latin, unless the change in the Yashar is due to careless copyists. It is curious that the names of the children of Yoqtan (Jeptan in the Latin) at the end of paragraph 5, which are given correctly by Josephus ('Antiquities,' book i., chap. vi., par. 4) and in Yashar, are so fearfully mutilated in Jeraḥmeel as well as in the Latin; for, if read carefully, they reveal themselves to be the very names given in Genesis, chap. x., vers. 26–28. The preceding lists may have misled the copyist, who did not recognise the true form of those names. To paragraph 9, cf. Eutychius, i., pp. 56, 57. In paragraph 7 we find an old tradition that Terah took to wife Amtalai, the daughter of Barnabo, or Karnabo (cf. Beer, 'Leben Abrahams,' pp. 1, 96, 97).
Chapter XXVIII. contains the number of the children of the generations of Noah. The numbering is mentioned also in the Book of Yashar, chap. vii., vers. 9, 14, 18; but the numbers are very much smaller; the thousands seem to have dropped out. But absolutely identical numbers are given by Comestor at the end of Genesis, chap. xxxvii., whose authority is, as he states, our very Philo.
Chapter XXIX. corresponds to 'Philo,' fol. 6d, et seq. The name of the place (paragraph 13) is called 'Linguæ Chaldæorum Deli.' (The Hebrew has, 'Elohe'—###.)
Chapter XXX.—Of this chapter only paragraphs 1–4 are found in the Latin, which has some very curious expressions not represented in the Hebrew. In paragraph 3, 'Et tanquam stillicidium arbitrator eos, et in scuto approximabo
eos,' the first part is missing altogether in the Hebrew. I am at a loss to suggest the word for 'drops' ('stillicidium') in the original, which the translator has evidently misunderstood. For 'approximabo' we have in the Hebrew ### which I take to be from ### = fight, battle—and I have translated accordingly, 'I will fight them.' The parallelism with Philo finishes with paragraph 4. Paragraph 5, et seq., is found again in Hebrew writings. The transformation of the builders of the Tower of Babel into monkeys and the confusion of tongues, paragraph 5, finds its counterpart in the Yashar, chap. ix., vers. 33–54; cf. also vers. 24–33, Jerusalemitan Targum, in Genesis, ad loc.; further, 'Gen. Rabba,' sect. 38, paragraph 15; and at the end of the version of the Abraham legends (ed. Horowitz), p. 46; whilst the whole of the chapter, beginning from the middle of paragraph 5, is taken verbatim from Chap. xxiv. of Eliezer.
Chapter XXXI. is a duplicate to the genealogies hitherto treated. In the beginning of this introduction I have drawn special attention to it (p. xlii et seq.), showing how old these geographical explanations of the tenth chapter of Genesis are; which all rest upon one and the same old tradition, found in general outline in the Book of Jubilees, and in a much more elaborate form in Josephus's 'Antiquities,' book i., chap. vi., paragraph 1, et seq. This chapter represents in our text, in every probability, the second layer of geographical tradition, superposed over the other represented by Philo-Jeraḥmeel, which has an air of greater antiquity. In this text, which, as shown, rests upon a Latin original, we do not find any of the specifically Semitic letters ### and ### so often met with in the older portion. A third layer covering these two is that one which is represented by Yosippon, and introduced here by Eleazar the Levite as the first chapter from the work of Yosippon the Great; this interpolation forms here paragraphs 6–15. The same genealogies, without the mention of Yosippon, as the sources are never mentioned, is to be found in Yashar, chap. x., ver. 7, et seq. The question
whether this chapter has been added later on from the Yashar to Yosippon, or whether the compiler of the Yashar borrowed it from the Yosippon, can be decided only after a careful investigation and an exhaustive study of the history and origin of each of these books. I am inclined to give to Yosippon the priority, and to consider the Yashar as being a later compilation. As one of the sources of information for such genealogical terms, I refer here especially to the letter of the King of the Kozars to Ḥasdai Ibn Shaprut in Spain in the tenth century. The information which he gives about the origin of his own people agrees in many details almost absolutely with the details contained here as to the descendants of Togarma. In paragraph 15, which is so very corrupt in the Yosippon, I should like to interpret the names in the following manner: Sorbin would be Servians; Lousisii would be Lausatians; Liech’an would be Poles; Chrabat would be Croatians; Bosniin would be Bosnians. Then, for Asidinia, in paragraph 14, I would read 'Ascania.' The last name almost that occurs in the whole list, that of Qualiron, may assist us in fixing the origin of the most famous Hebrew liturgical poet, Qalir. The identification of his place of birth, after which he got the name, has hitherto baffled every investigation. It would thus turn out to be 'Lesha' in Palestine—the 'Callirhoë' of later times. The end of the chapter (paragraph 20) agrees with chap. xxiv. of Eliezer. As we see, Jeraḥmeel utilizes the Book of Eliezer Hyrqanos as the frame into which he fixes all the other texts gathered from various quarters. This paragraph agrees also with the beginning of No. IIa of my 'Exempla of the Rabbis' (p. 2).
Chapter XXXII. begins with the history of the third son of Noah, Ionithem or Ionithes. We find this legend in Comestor, 'Genes.,' chap. xxxvii., who refers to Pseudo-Methodius as his source. Fabricius knows the Greek form 'Monethon,' from which undoubtedly is derived the Slavonic version 'Muntu' (Palæa, ed. Popoff, Moscow, 1881; appendix, p. 15, from a manuscript of the fourteenth century). Ibn Jaḥya, in 'Shalsheleth,' fol. 92b, has 'Ioniko'; and the
same short note reappears in Zakuto's 'Juḥasin,' ed. Philipowski, p. 232; cf. also I. Perles, Graetz, Jubelschrift, Breslau, 1887, pp. 22, 23. The same legend also occurs in the Arabic work of Jakubi (Gruenbaum, p. 94). But the diacritical points are wrongly placed on the name, which reads now Bentek (###), but which, if differently placed, would read Ionites or Ionitem (### or ###)
Paragraphs 2–5 we find in Comestor, chapters xxxix., xl.; paragraph 4, in Isidor, 'Chronicon,' p. 378h, vide note to it. In Eutychius (i., pp. 58, 59) occurs a somewhat similar legend about the origin of the God Bel (here paragraph 5). The historical note in paragraphs 6, 7 occurs also in Comestor, 'Genesis,' chap. lxiii., but in a somewhat different form. Both go back undoubtedly to an older source, which I have not yet been able to identify. Eusebius, in his Canon (third book of his 'Chronicles'), has similar but not identical information, which is to be found also in Syncellus. But none of these are the direct source for Comestor or Jeraḥmeel. The one which approaches them nearest is only the 'Chronicon' of Isidor of Spain.
Chapters XXXIII.—XXXV.—In the history of the world, we have reached now the period of Abraham. The following chapters contain Abraham legends, for which we find already indications in Josephus and in other Hellenistic writers. We have at least two distinct legends already in that old collection of Rabbinical 'Exempla' published by me (Nos. IIa, IIb, p. 2, et seq.), and in a similar manner we have here in Chapter XXXIII. one version, the other in Chapter XXXIV. Of the first version, I have found parallels only to paragraph 1, viz., my Exampla, No. IIa, p. 3, lines 11–24; cf. 'Gen. Rabba,' sec. 38, paragraph 19; Jalqut, i., paragraph 62. For the Arabic parallels vide Gruenbaum, loc. cit., p. 129 et seq. The whole literature concerning the legends clustering round Abraham has been collected by Beer in his 'Leben Abrahams' (Leipzig, 1859), but gathering it from various sources, almost indiscriminately, he has not separated the material sufficiently, and has combined old and new into one consecutive narrative. In
spite of the riches of his materials, there is no parallel to the details contained in paragraphs 2, 3, 4, exactly in the form as we have them here. To paragraph 5 we find, curiously enough, a parallel in the 'Zohar' (vol. i., fol. 77b; vide Beer, p. 16, note 125).
Chapter XXXIV. is the most complete and perfect, as well as the oldest and best known Abraham legend. It is identical with the version in the Midrash to the Ten Commandments (Precept 2); cf. also my Exempla, IIa and b. Of this version of the Midrash 'Ten Com.,' Baḥya has incorporated an abstract in his commentary to the Bible (ed. Venice, folio 25c), which has been reprinted by Jellinek, 'B. H.,' ii., pp. 118–119. It is absolutely identical also with codex Oxford, No. 1,466 (Ctlg. Neubauer), folio 303b–305b, a copy of which is in my codex, No. 185, pp. 8–11. The same legend is also found in the Book of Yashar, from chap. xi., ver. 15, to the end of chap xii. It is in the main identical, but very much more expanded, and also differing in a few details, especially concerning the death of Haran, which in our text (Chapter XXXV., paragraph 1) is mentioned to have occurred in a totally different manner. The only parallel to the version in Jeraḥmeel I have been able to find is in Comestor, 'Genesis,' chap. xli. Jeraḥmeel refers in paragraph 2 to Nicolaos of Damascus. The very same passage is to be found in Josephus, 'Antiquities,' book i., chap. vii., sec. 2, in the name of the same authority; and we meet the same quotation also, in the name of Nicolaos of Damascus, in Comestor, 'Genesis,' chap. xliii. paragraph 3. Abraham in the fiery furnace forms the end of the Abraham legend in the version contained in the Midrash to the Ten Commandments.
More elaborate than this is the version which appeared for the first time in Constantinople, 1519, reprinted by Jellinek, 'B. H.,' i., pp. 25–35; vide ibid., pp. xv–xvi, and a similar text has been published by Horowitz, 'Eqed Agadoth,' i., pp. 43–46, who gives the literature, ibid., p. 40. In this form the legend has been adapted to homiletic purposes. I consider all the texts which have been thus
utilized as of secondary value, representing no longer the simple old original tale, but one recast, altered, and either enlarged or shortened—at any rate, subjected to a remodelling process. Almost every one of these old biblical legends has undergone such a change. The essential difference between these two forms has not been sufficiently appreciated by those who have studied this branch of Hebrew literature; conclusions to which they have arrived are vitiated in consequence thereof. Guided by the modernized form of the legends in homilies, they have been declared to be of a similar modern origin. I am now the first to point out the difference between the two, and to insist that only the primitive simple legend is to guide us in our conclusions. Our chronicle has preserved most of these in their primitive form.
Arabic parallels to the Abraham legend, vide Gruenbaum, pp. 91–93; that of d’Herbelot more closely resembles our version (Fabricius, i., p. 345 et seq.). Abraham burning the idols, vide Book of Jubilees, chap. xii.; Rönsch (Jubilæen, pp. 224, 267, 308, etc.); also in the Slavonic 'Palæa' (loc. cit., p. 21 et seq.). Paragraph 4 treats of Abraham's knowledge of magic. This belongs to those old Greek legends circulating in Egypt, and connected with the name of Artapanos. Josephus knows it ('Antiq.,' i., chap. viii., section 2). The whole literature has been collected by Fabricius (i., pp. 336 et seq., 345 et seq., and 359 et seq.) and Beer (p. 207, No. 978); vide also Migne, 'Dict. des Apocryphes,' ii., col. 31 et seq. In all other versions Abraham is the teacher of astrology, whilst in our Hebrew text he is the one who acquired it in Egypt. A close parallel we find to this paragraph in Comestor, 'Genesis,' chap. xlvii., who also brings Abraham in connection with Zoroaster. The reference to Rabbi Eleazar of Modiin (paragraph 4) is found in the Talmudic treatise, 'Baba Bathra,' fol. 16b. In paragraph 5 Jeraḥmeel refers to Yosippon concerning the oak under which Abraham used to sit, which lasted until the reign of Theodosius in Rome. The same is found also in Comestor, chap. xlv., and Add. II., where reference is
made to Jerome. Again reference is made to Yosippon in paragraph 6; this seems to refer to Josephus ('Wars,' book iv., chap. viii., sec. 4), as in the Hebrew text of the Yosippon it is not to be found; also mentioned in Comestor, 'Genesis,' chap. liii., and Add. I.
The rest of the chapter is devoted to the synchronistic history of the Kings in Argos and in Egypt. We find the same information in P. Orosius, ed. Zangemeister, i., 4, 7, in the same order first in Eusebius, Canon, ed. Migne, col. 357; then Isidorus, 'Chronic.,' 378g and note 3; Syncellus, 126a. Comestor (chaps. lxvii., lxx., lxxvi.) evidently has drawn from the same sources, but Comestor separated these items, and placed them differently, whilst Jeraḥmeel kept probably to the old original without separating them. Jeraḥmeel has also a peculiar description of the origin of the Apis—the magic calf—made by the King Apis, who was afterwards called 'Sarapis,' which description he repeats in Chapter XLII., paragraph 2. It is found also in Comestor's narrative, but much later, in 'Exodus,' chap. iv., absolutely identical with Jeraḥmeel, and he refers to Plinius as his source. The same legend of Apis—Sarapis, son of Jupiter, etc.—is mentioned already by Clemens of Alexandria in his 'Stromata,' i.; Eusebius, loc. cit. (Cols. 360, 362); Isidorus, 378h, 379a; vide especially note 5, where the whole literature is given. I have drawn attention to the difference between Jeraḥmeel and Comestor in the arrangement of these synchronistic notes, in order to avoid the impression which one might have, that Jeraḥmeel had borrowed directly from Comestor. The latter indicates our Philo as one of the sources from which he has drawn his materials, and it is more and more clearly established by this minute comparison.
Chapters XXXVI. and XXXVII. contain an extremely ancient biblical legend, of which, happily, not merely fragments, but almost the whole is found in some of those well-known old Apocryphal books which I have had occasion to mention hitherto more than once. These two chapters form a separate legend, known under the title of
[paragraph continues] 'Midrash Vayisau,' a continuation of the narrative in Gen. xxxv. 5, beginning with this word, ###, to which the legend is added. It is also known as the 'Book of the Wars of the Children of Jacob.' Chapter XXXVI. contains a detailed description of the war between the children of Jacob after the incident of Shechem with the allied kings of Palestine, and upon it follows (Chapter XXXVII.) the fight between them and Esau's army. Down to the minutest details, which extend also to the identity in the names of these kings, we find this legend in the Apocryphal Testament of Judah, the son of Jacob, chaps. iii.–vii.; and a short abstract of it with the same names occurs in the Book of Jubilees, chap. xxxiv., vers. 1:9. The legend, limited only to the description of the wars between the children of Jacob and the combined forces of the Kings of Palestine, occurs in a very expanded form and is very elaborately worked out in Yashar (chaps. xxxvii.–xl.). A version identical with ours has been preserved in the 'Yalqut' (i., fol. 40d and 41b, reprinted hence by Jellinek, 'B. H.,' vol. iii., pp. 1–5). I have found, moreover, a manuscript agreeing absolutely with it in the British Museum (Add. 27,089, fol. 165–169b), which I have collated with my text, and the few additions (in brackets) are taken from this text (vide also Zunz, G. V.,2 p. 153, and Rab Pealim, pp. 54, 55).
Concerning the fight between Esau and Jacob, the Book of Yashar differs considerably from our version. According to it, this fight takes place on the occasion of Jacob's burial, whilst in our version it follows upon the first battle, and Esau is killed whilst fighting before Shechem. Our version is undoubtedly the original form of the legend, as we find it already in the same connection in the Testament of Judah (chap. ix.), following upon the other fight, like in our text and in the 'Yalqut' (also 'B. H.,' loc. cit., pp. 3–5). R. H. Charles, in his edition of the Ethiopic version of the Book of Jubilees (Oxford, 1895), has reprinted (pp. 180–182) this chapter, and has in the margins indicated the parallels to it in the Book of
[paragraph continues] Jubilees, showing how it often agrees to the letter with the text of the Book of Jubilees. By means of our text we are able to explain the name of the place where Esau was buried. Given in the Greek text of the Testament of Judah in a corrupted form as Iramna, it stands for Irodia, corresponding in one of the Hebrew texts with Erodin, ###, Herodion, in another MS., Merodin, ###, this last due to a wrong reading of the first letter, ### for ###. If this place where Esau was said to have been buried is Herodion, as I believe it to be, we have under this legendary form a piece of contemporary history, and this legend offers us a key to the understanding of the origin and composition of these legendary tales. Herodion is the name of the place which Herod the Great built, and in which he was afterwards buried. Herod was, as is well known, an Edomite by origin, a descendant of Esau. Those fights, placed far back into antiquity, are now a reflex of the wars of the Jews against Herod, described by Josephus ('Antiquities,' book xiv., chap. xvi., and book xv., chap. xiv.), clothed under that form. The other legends as to the fight between Esau and the children of Jacob at the latter's burial we find alluded to in the Acts of the Apostles (chap. vii., ver. 16) and in Josephus ('Antiquities,' book ii., chap. viii., sec. 2). If this conjecture of mine be right, that we have under the form of legend contemporary history—and, as a matter of fact, apocalyptic visions also reflect contemporary history; it is delineated clearly in the similitudes of the Book of Enoch, in the fourth Book of Ezra, in the Assumption of Moses, and in other apocalyptic writings of that period—it will help us to determine the accurate date of the composition of such legends by their historical background. Purporting to give us history of the past, they in fact describe contemporary events. If now this legend refers to the period of Herod the Great, this legend would therefore belong latest to the beginning of the first century of the Common Era. That it is so old is proved by the undoubted fact of its inclusion in the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs and in the Book of Jubilees, both of the same
period, thus mutually corroborating the high antiquity assigned to each of them. Being utilized by the authors of the last two books, the legend of the children of Jacob is prior to them in composition. I now go one step further, and affirm that also our Hebrew text is the old original text, preserved with much fidelity and accuracy, and on the whole retaining the original form very little impaired.
Chapter XXXVIII. contains the Testament of Naphtali. In publishing the Hebrew text (Proceedings of the Society of Biblical Archaeology), I have dealt at length with the relation that exists between this text and the Greek version of the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, and I have endeavoured to show not only that the original language in which that book had been written was Hebrew, and that the Greek was merely a translation made at a somewhat later period, but also that the original form had been better preserved in the Hebrew version. This view is now fully corroborated by C. Resch, who has reprinted my text ('Theolog. Studien u. Kritiken,' 1899, pp. 206–33) and has retranslated it into Greek. Schürer's objections ('Gesch. d. Jued. Volkes,' III.,3 p. 259) rest upon an insufficient knowledge of Jeraḥmeel's Chronicle and of his literary activity. The contents of it bear out my contention fully that all the texts contained therein without exception are originals, and not translations. Only the synchronistic notes and the second genealogical table, dealing as they are with non-Jewish history, are derived from a non-Jewish source, and are therefore no real exceptions; they are mere notes, not long legend, and not having biblical personages as their heroes. Jeraḥmeel, or whoever goes under that name, has simply collected into one volume separate Hebrew Midrashim or Aggadoth, the majority of which are either known also from other collections, or are referred to and used in homilies. Immediate sources or direct parallels in any other language are not known to exist. Even of the Philo portions, though we have a perfect Latin counterpart, the Hebrew text is the ancient original; the style of the diction and the
form of the language preclude the gratuitous assumption of their being translations. Stronger arguments than used hitherto will have to be adduced to shake the belief in the original character of the Hebrew versions of these legends. The historical background of this 'Testament' is, however, not so clear as in the legend of the warlike exploits of Judah and his brethren. One point, however, is to be remarked. The strong antagonism against Joseph, who separates himself from the rest of his brethren, might be a direct allusion to the Samaritans, with whom the tribes of Judah and Levi, so prominently singled out in this Testament of Naphtali, lived in strong feud. Against them Hyrqanos had led a successful war, destroying the temple on Gerizim and the town of Samaria; but the same Herodes rebuilt them, and favoured thus the very tribe so strongly denounced in this Testament by Naphtali and Jacob.
Chapter XXXIX.—The history of Joseph seems also to be an echo from the Testament of Joseph, at least as far as paragraph 1 is concerned. Paragraph 2, about the beauty of Joseph, occurs also in the Aramaic Targum to the seventh of the Ten Commandments. The Book of Yashar has a much more elaborate romance of Joseph from chap. xl. onwards. In chap. xliv. of Yashar we find the old legend of Joseph and Zelikah (Arabic, Suleikah), which has been considered to be of Arabic origin. The fact that almost everything mentioned therein, with the exception of the name, is found already in the Testament of Joseph (one of the 'Twelve Patriarchs') and a small portion of it preserved here in our chronicle prove that the narrative in Yashar may also be independent of any Arabic sources. No Arabic etymology has as yet been found for Suleikah, which, moreover, would be the only one borrowed from strange sources, whilst we find in Yashar, Philo Jeraḥmeel, Kleodemus, and others many extraordinary names that are not vouched for by the biblical narrative. An old romance of Joseph's life in Egypt of a pre-Arabic period exists in a full form, at least in Greek, under the title of 'Joseph and Asenath,' published by P. Batiffol (Studia Patristica, Paris,
[paragraph continues] 1889). Fragments and even the most important incidents are found in the old Hebrew legendary works, in the Midrash and Hagadah.
It is here again a case of mutual borrowing, and the priority is by no means yet decisively proved, even for the incident describing Joseph's beauty and the women cutting their hands whilst looking at him, as it occurs in our text, paragraph 2, and in the Book of Yashar, chap. xliv., ver. 27 et seq. Gruenbaum has studied exhaustively all the legends connected with Joseph in the Jewish and Arabic literature in 'Zeitschrift d. Deutsch Morgenländ. Gesellschaft,' lxiii., p. 1 et seq.
Chapter XL.—With this chapter begin the voluminous abstracts taken verbatim from Yosippon, and intercalated here by Eleazar the Levite. Concerning the literature about Yosippon, vide Zunz, G. V.,2 p. 154 et seq. Chapter XL. corresponds in Breithaupt's edition to Book I., chap. i., p. 9, to end of chap. iv., p. 22. As I am preparing a critical edition of the Yosippon based upon this manuscript of Jeraḥmeel and upon the collations I have made with other editions and manuscripts, I limit myself here, as in the future, wherever Yosippon has been copied directly by our compiler, to refer to the corresponding chapters in that edition. Breithaupt has already referred in his footnotes to the Conte-Münster edition, to Josephus, Titus Livius, and other authorities which contribute to elucidate the true meaning of the text of Yosippon published by him, and indirectly of our text translated here.
The very same chapters from Yosippon, forming here Chapter XL., in the same full form are reproduced in Yashar from chap. lx. to chap. lxvi., with slight intercalations from other sources that are not named; Yosippon is also not mentioned. Baḥya (commentary to Genesis portion Vayeḥi) knows the legend of Ṣefo migrating to Italy and establishing himself there, which is contained in this portion (cf. Zunz, G. V.2, p. 161, note a). We find in this chapter also a reference to the Midrash to Psalms, under the name of Shoḥer Tob.
Chapter XLI.—In Chapter XLI. we find, as it were, a second edition of the history of the building of Rome, mentioned once in the preceding chapter. It agrees partly with the treatise of Abraham ben David under the heading 'Short Memorabilia of Rome.'
Chapters XLII.–XLVIII.—From Chapter XLII. on to Chapter XLVIII. inclusive we have two or three different versions of the Chronicle of Moses. Of these various versions, the longest and most coherent, which also has a separate title beginning from Chapter XLIII. on, is the oldest. The first version in Chapter XLII. belongs probably to the Latin Chronicle of Philo-Jeraḥmeel, with the usual additions and intercalations. The first paragraphs have similar synchronistic elements as all the other additions of Jeraḥmeel. The description of the bull Apis as given here in paragraph 2 is identical with that given above (Chapter XXXV., paragraph 8). The king is called throughout 'Amenophis' in the Hebrew text. To paragraphs 2 and 3 cf. Comestor, Exodus, chap. ii., giving the same reference to Psalm lxxx. in describing the forms of slavery to which the Children of Israel were subjected, as we find them in paragraph 3.
The fact that these elements are to be found in Comestor preceding the abstract from Philo seems to indicate again that in the Latin text of Philo used by Comestor this portion may have been in it, just as we find it in the Hebrew text. Paragraph 5 onwards is identical with Philo (fol. 9b) to 11a). In the Latin text we have the peculiar form Anra for Amram, and instead of Jochebed, which, according to tradition, was the name of Moses’ mother (correctly given so in paragraph 9), we find in the Latin Jacob.
Chapter XLIII.—Of far greater antiquity is a subsequent legend known in the Hebrew literature as the Chronicle of Moses (vide Zunz, G. V.2, p. 153). It is found in a very elaborate form in the Yashar (from chap. lxvii. to chap. lxxxii.); but one can see that the Yashar already takes liberties with the text. Further, in the Yalqut
[paragraph continues] (i., fol. 52 et seq.). Jellinek, in reprinting ('B. H.,' ii., pp. 1–11; vide pp. vii–xi) the editio princeps, Constantinople, 1516, with which our text completely agrees, believes the latter as well as the text in the Yalqut to be an abstract from the Book of Yashar, and refers, as a significant indication of this dependence on the Book of Yashar, to the reference which is made in one place to 'the Book of Yashar.' But Jellinek (p. viii, note 5) mistook the true meaning of this word. Its occurrence here, by the way, proves the extreme antiquity of the text; for in the very old Massoretic treatise published by Baer and Strack under the title of 'Diqduqei Hateamim' (Leipzig, 1879, p. 57, vide note b, where reference is made to the Talmud and Midrash), the Book of Genesis especially, and then the Pentateuch as a whole, are called by this very name, either 'Yashar' or 'Sepher Yesharim,' the 'Book of the Pious Ones,' the Patriarchs. If this reference would mean that the author of the Yalqut has copied the text from our Book of Yashar, this reference would certainly be missing in the supposed original. In referring now to the editio princeps of the Yashar, we find the very same passage verbatim identical with the quotation in the Yalqut, but with the one significant difference that instead of 'Sepher ha-Yashar,' we read there, and properly so, 'Sepher ha-Torah '; as the author, who calls his compilation 'Yashar,' could not refer to himself, and he, therefore, in copying the old text and embodying it into his compilation, was bound to change the word 'Yashar;' as it stood in the old original, into 'Sepher Torah.' But that old word was retained in the editio princeps, in the text from which the Yalqut made his abstract, and in our text.
Another evident proof that in the old original preserved by Jeraḥmeel and by the Yalqut the name of 'Yashar' meant 'the Bible' is furnished by the very last sentence in this Chronicle of Moses (chap. xlviii., paragraph 18), where we read, 'is written in the S. ha-yashar,' with the explanatory addition, 'which is the law of God.' I have translated it accordingly in chap. xlv., paragraph 8, 'the
[paragraph continues] Bible.' The same legends are also met with in the Midrash which goes under the title 'Midrash Vayosha,' which deals with the Exodus proper, and is a kind of homiletic commentary to the Song of Moses. A complete recension has been printed by Moses Ashkenazi in 'Dibre Ḥakhamim' (Metz, 1849, pp. 1–16), reprinted Jellinek, 'B. H.,' vol. i., p. 35 et seq.
This Moses legend can now be proved, even in its Hebrew form, to go back to one of those ancient Hellenistic writings which existed undoubtedly in the second century before the Common Era. Artapanos, whoever he may have been, is the author of what we may call a Græco-Jewish romance with Moses as central figure. Ezekiel, the Greek Jewish poet in Egypt, has already derived information from it, and utilized in his poem details borrowed from Artapanos' novel. Josephus has reproduced the main part. Of this Greek composition Eusebius has preserved in the name of Alexander Polyhistor a very large portion, and through his intermediary it has become the common property of all the ancient and mediæval Chronographs. Comestor makes long quotations (Exodus, chaps. v.–vii.). He mentions the prophetic dream of Pharaoh. He knows that Moses flees from Egypt, is made King in Ethiopia, marries the Ethiopian Queen, and accounts for the forty years of his absence from Egypt, until he reappears in Midian, in the house of Jethro. Freudenthal, in his work already mentioned, has subjected this work of Artapanos to a searching investigation, and he has proved, among others, not only the extreme antiquity of the novel of Artapanos, but also—and this is a point on which I lay the greatest stress—that the Hebrew version stands in immediate close connection with this old text, having many more details than any of the Greek fragments that have come down to us ('Hellenistische Studien,' pp. 169–174).
But such a version could only have been made at a time when the Hebrew writer had access to the more complete text of Alexander Polyhistor, or of Artapanos himself, that is, at a time near that in which Josephus flourished; as
from that time on these books have disappeared, and we cannot trace all these details to any other source or any later compilation. The apparent anachronism in Chapter XLVI., paragraphs 1–6, is easily explained when compared with the version in the Yalqut, where the sequence of events is reversed, the legend commencing with this very chapter, and XLVI., paragraph 6, following upon Chapter XLV. In our text the incidents connected with Balaam are added later, as an explanation to the reference that Balaam was one of the wizards that had counselled Pharaoh to wipe out the name of Jacob from off the face of the earth. It is merely a question of the order in which the chapters follow upon one another. The antiquity of this version is also shown in a few of the names mentioned. Mobras (Yashar, chap. xlvi. 8, Menkeros) is the name of the son of the Queen of Kush. If we change 'Mobras' into 'Monbras,' then we have the very name 'Menophras' of Artapanos; so is also 'Kikanos' identical with 'Kikinos' of older versions. Janis and Jambres, the two wizard sons of Balaam (XLVII. 6), are well-known figures of ancient tradition, and are also, as Freudenthal proves, Egyptian names that have been adapted to Greek forms. The references to classical literature are given by Freudenthal, loc. cit., who also refers to Fabricius (pp. 813–825); for further information, vide now also Schürer, loc. cit., II2., p. 689. Of all the versions of this Chronicle of Moses, the one preserved in our manuscript seems to be the most complete. It begins with the birth of Moses, and contains in full all the subsequent events that happened to him, until the time when he leads the people out of Egypt. In it are embodied also some of the legends concerning the death of Balaam, the death of Aaron, treated here very briefly, similarly the death of Moses; and it finishes with a reference to Joshua leading the people across the Jordan. This Chronicle of Moses has evidently supplanted the portion dealing with Moses in Philo-Jeraḥmeel, with the speeches therein, and the last oration of Moses, in which those dates occur to which I have referred above (Philo, fol. 13–20).
[paragraph continues] Here we have instead (Chap. XLVI., paragraphs 2, 3), the speech of Reuel. Further parallels to some of the legends contained in this apocryphal chronicle, vide Gaster, 'Literatura Populara Romana,' Bucuresci, 1883, p. 318 et seq.; Gaster (Ilchester Lectures), 'Greco-Slavonic Literature,' London, 1887, p. 156 et seq.
Concerning the Rod of Moses (Chap. XLVI., paragraph 11, et seq.), vide Chapters of R. Eliezer, chap. xl. and notes; Arabic Parallels, vide Gruenbaum, p. 161. The Syriac version in 'Book of the Bee,' chap. xxx.; Is. Abraham, 'The Rod of Moses,' London, etc. Chapter XLVI., paragraph 13, occurs already in the Mekhilta to Exodus, chap. xviii. 3. The legend that Pharaoh alone was saved from drowning and became King of Nineveh (XLVIII. 12) is found also in the Koran, Sure x., vers. 90–92, but before it in R. Eliezer, chap. xliii.
Chapter XLIX.—The death of Aaron has been added here, preceding as it does also in the Bible that of Moses. It appeared in an expanded form, turned into a Homily, Constantinople, 1516, reprinted by Jellinek, 'B. Ham.,' ii., pp. 91–95. The text in our version is much shorter, differing from that printed hitherto in so far as it neither contains any reference to the rock which was smitten by Aaron, nor the concluding portion of the version published hitherto, referring to Miriam, which is evidently a later addition. Our text is a much more harmonious and complete, though short, description of the last days of Aaron, finishing exactly with the same quotation with which it begins. We have thus in our text evidently the oldest and most perfect version, which has been later on elaborated and altered, being used as a Homily, as it is also called in the old edition, viz., 'Derash Lepeṭirat Aharon.' Parallels to parts of it are found scattered throughout the Midrashic literature. Sharastani mentions an Arabic legend identical with that here in paragraph 6. Cf. also Treatise Erubin, fol. 54b. For paragraphs 6 and 7, vide Numbers Rabba, section 19, paragraph 11, and Yalqut, i., fol. 238d, paragraph 763, which quotation is taken from the lost
[paragraph continues] Midrash 'Espha.' Yalqut, fol. 240a, paragraph 755, has a somewhat different version from the Jelamdenu running parallel with our text, from paragraph 3 on to the end.
Chapter L.—The tale of the Death of Moses is also represented by two versions, Chapters L. and LI. The first concludes with a reference to the Midrash Deuteronomy Rabba, as if taken from there. The date of the composition of this work falls between the tenth and eleventh century; it may be older; but this reference has evidently been inserted by Eleazar the Levite. The text is absolutely identical with the version contained in Deuteronomy Rabba, chap. xi., paragraph 6. But an 'Assumptio Mosis' is mentioned already in the first centuries of the Common Era (vide Schürer II.2, pp. 630 and 635–636, the whole literature; vide also R. H. Charles, 'The Assumption of Moses,' London, 1897), and in the letter of Judah the Apostle allusion is made to the dispute between Samael the wicked, or Satan, and the Archangel, concerning the death of Moses. We are therefore justified in considering the Hebrew text as being of ancient origin, and afterwards added to that collection known as Deuteronomy Rabba, borrowed from an independent and much older source. It forms now the concluding chapter of Deuteronomy Rabba (Hebrew literature, cf. Zunz, G. V.2, p. 154). It may be noted that those very passages from which Zunz wished to deduct the recent origin of the composition are missing in our text. They are evidently due to a later interpolation.
The substance of this very legend of the last hours of Moses has been much elaborated and expanded in the text which appeared in Constantinople for the first time in 1516, and since reprinted by Jellinek in 'B. Ham.,' i., p. 115 et seq. I call this version the 'Homily,' although it has not the title 'Derash,' as that of Aaron, for the Death of Moses has been worked up in it in the same manner as other biblical legends, such as the Abraham legend, the 'Death of Aaron' (above, pp. lxxix, xci), have been worked up in homilies.
The Christian homiletic literature furnishes us with very
numerous examples of a similar process; the life of a saint is here embodied wholly into a sermon or into a homily delivered on the day of the saint. I refer to Ephraim Syrus, Chrysostomos, St. Gregorius, and innumerable others. The same thing happened there as in the Hebrew literature. The Church followed the example of the Synagogue also in this homiletic literature. The Homily of the Death of Moses was delivered probably on the last day of Tabernacles, when the last chapter of the Bible was read, in which the Blessing and the Death of Moses is described. We find thus in this Homily ('B. Ham.,' vol. i., p. 120), a parallel to Chapter L., paragraph 2 of our text. Paragraph 10 to the end of the legend are faithfully and literally reproduced in the Homily (p. 127 et seq.).
Chapter LI.—The second version contained in Chapter LI. has not fared so well. It is not found in its entirety anywhere else; only parallels to portions of it, and probably quotations from it, are found. The author of the 'Homily' has used some of it as material for the completion of his text, and the same has been done by the compilers of Deuteronomy Rabba, Tanhuma, etc. Paragraphs 1–3 and 6 have been utilized for the first part of the 'Homily' (p. 115 et seq., p. 122); paragraphs 1–4 occur also in Deuteronomy Rabba, chap. xi., from the middle of paragraph 5 on, and Exodus Rabba, chap. xx., paragraph 17; paragraphs 5 and 6 are found in Deuteronomy Rabba, chap. ix.; paragraphs 4–5 being a kind of duplicate from Chapter L., paragraph 1, whilst our paragraphs 7, 8 of Chapter LI. correspond to Deuteronomy Rabba, chap. xi., paragraph 4. Paragraph 6 is found: Sifrei, i., section 135, and Mid. Tanhuma, Numbers, portion Vaetḥanan; and paragraph 7 is like Tanḥuma Vezôth Haberakha, section 3. As one can see, portions of this legend recur in various ancient writings. Arabic parallels to paragraphs 1, 2 in Tabari and others, vide Gruenbaum, p. 150 et seq.
In Chapter LII. we have a complete 'Apocalypse of Moses,' his assumption to heaven in order to obtain the law, and a minute description of all that he sees in the
heavenly abodes. I have reproduced this text in my 'Visions' as No. II., p. 588 et seq., where I have also mentioned the comparative literature. Jellinek considers it to be a portion of the Hekhaloth, viz., a mystical description of the heavenly halls; but I consider it to be 'A Revelation of Moses,' independent of the latter, and running on parallel lines to it. Of this Revelation we have two versions: a very elaborate one, and a shorter one. Our text represents the shorter one. The more elaborate has also been published by me (ibid., No. I., p. 172 et seq. A further Hebrew text of this version has since been published by Wertheimer in his 'Bate Midrashoth,' Jerusalem, 1897, vol. iv., pp. 22–30).
Our text is again the more complete and the more perfect of all hitherto known. They agree with this only as far as paragraph 9. The following paragraphs (10–13) are entirely new, and merely fragments or quotations from them are found in the Hebrew literature. Paragraph 11, cf. Exod. Rabba, chap. xxix., vide Gruenbaum, loc. cit., p. 169. For paragraph 12 I must refer to my Codex (No. 83, fol. 70a), which contains a Commentary to the Bible, probably of the twelfth century. This Apocalypse has also been utilized in a homily for the day of the Giving of the Law, as it reads like an introduction to it; and we are, therefore, not surprised to find a somewhat similar description of the Heavenly Halls as an introduction to the 'Midrash of the Ten Commandments,' and in it a direct parallel to paragraphs 12 and 13.
In Chapter LIII. we have recovered one of those very old legendary compilations of which only portions were known, and these under different names. The description of the Tabernacle erected in the wilderness had been the subject of an old legendary treatise known under the name of 'Barayta di Malekhet Hamishkan,' the text of which has been printed by Jellinek, and has since been reprinted by H. Flesch from the MS. copy of the Talmud in Munich. This text appears to be incomplete, as it contains merely a detailed description of the vessels of the Temple, whilst
everything else concerning the camp and the order in which the tribes were settled in the camp seems to have dropped out completely.
The last two chapters of that Barayta are then a fragment of, what in the light of our text must have been, a full description of the incidents connected with the camping in the desert, and the manner in which the tribes started on their journeys. Traces of this and of other portions are found elsewhere too, as will be seen anon, but unconnected one with the other. Jellinek and Flesch, not being aware of the intimate relation that exists between the portion dealing with the travelling in the wilderness with that dealing with the camping, have not been able to treat them as parts of one and the same legend. Our text is now undoubtedly the complete form of the missing old legend, being, as all the other texts in the Jeraḥmeel compilation, in a perfect state of preservation. I recognise in this chapter the 'Barayta' which had been utilized by the author of the 'Jerusalemitan Targum,' by Maimonides, Barzeloni, and all those authorities who are mentioned by Epstein in his book 'Mi-Kadmonioth,' or 'Beiträge zur Jüdischen Alterthumskunde,' Vienna, 1887 (pp. 83–90), where he deals merely with what is here paragraph 13. I have discovered in the 'Sepher ha Qana,' that old mystical book published in Kores (fol. 32b and 32c), an absolutely identical parallel to the whole of the first portion from paragraph 1 to paragraph 13 of our text. Judah Barcelloni, or Jehudah Barzillai, who lived at the beginning of the twelfth century, in his Commentary to the Book Yeṣira (ed. Halberstam, p. 8), has also a fragment of our text which he mentions under the name of 'Midrash.' We see already how old this text must be. Epstein, studying the parallels to our paragraphs 11, 12, 13 and 14 (loc. cit., p. 83, quotes this portion from the work called 'Arugath ha-Bôsem.' As the author of this work is one of the few who mention our Jeraḥmeel (vide Perles, loc. cit.), there cannot be any doubt that the immediate source from which he derived his information was evidently our text, unknown to Epstein.
For some portions we can go even much further back, for we find parallels already in Josephus ('Antiquities,' iii., 12, vi.); the description of the trumpets and the manner in which they were used correspond with paragraphs 8, 9, and the symbolical interpretation of the twelve stones of the Ephod and of the four banners of the Jewish camp, the latter representing the four elements of the world and the former the twelve signs of the Zodiac, is almost identical with that of Josephus ('Antiquities,' Book iii., 7, vii.).
A detailed description of the stone of each tribe we find further in our Philo-Jeraḥmeel (fol. 28d) corresponding almost verbatim with paragraph 13, with the only exception that in Philo-Jeraḥmeel the signs of the Zodiac are omitted. I do not wish to dwell here on the connection between this portion and the Lapidaria, of which the oldest is ascribed to Epiphanius, who lived in Palestine; concerning Hebrew Lapidaria vide Steinschneider, 'Uebersetzungen,' pp. 236 et seq., 963 et seq. The Latin text is very obscure, and shows that the original from which it was translated must have been a very difficult one. Somewhat similar to paragraph 13 is the Jerusalem. Targum to Num., chap. ii., ver. 2 et seq. All this denotes extreme antiquity, and as it was evidently known to Josephus, it is not at all improbable that it belongs to an extremely ancient period.
In our Hebrew text paragraph 14 has a marginal note indicating that it had been borrowed from, or probably found in, the Glosses of Ephraim Alibha, but as this text is quoted already by older authorities, the marginal note can only refer to the copy that existed also among the manuscripts of this unknown Ephraim of Bonn (eleventh century?) or Ephraim of Regensbourg, the teacher of Rabbi Jehudah ha-Ḥasid. No parallels have I been able to find for paragraphs 15–17, whilst paragraph 18 corresponds to a certain extent with the 'Barayta of the making of the Tabernacle,' ed. Flesch, chap. xii., ed. Jellinek, chap. xiii., but these two are incomplete and faulty.
In Chapter LIV. we return to the history of the Exodus, and have a minute description of the smiting of the first-born,
also a continued narrative which must have been known in ancient times, as portions of it are found elsewhere. To paragraph 1, cf. Chapter xlviii. of Rabbi Eliezer, and to paragraph 2 Pesiqta di R. Kahana (ed. Buber, fol. 65a) (vide note 56), cf. Mekhilta, paragraph 13 (ed. Friedman, fol. 13b), Tanḥuma, Parashat Bô, sec. 7, and in Midrash 'Vayosha' to Exodus, chap. xv., ver. 6, in a somewhat different order. Nowhere are all these combined together into one legend as in our text. Parallels to paragraphs 8 and 9, where the two wizards Johanai and Mamre (who were mentioned in the Chronicle of Moses) appear in a totally different form, being able to ascend to the heavenly throne, have I found only in 'Vayosha' (to chap. xv., vers. 9, 10). But our version is much more complete than the fragmentary, in the Midrash 'Vayosha.'
Chapter LV.—The history of Korah and his rebellion forms the contents of this Chapter. To the various incidents and parables mentioned therein we find here and there a parallel in other books, evidently borrowed from this more complete legend. So do we find a parallel to paragraph 1 in the Midrash to Psalm i. (edit. Buber, p. 14); in a better form in Yalqut (I., fol. 229d, paragraph 750); in fol. 229c there are parallels to paragraphs 5, 6, and 7, which are also found in the Tanhuma (ad loc.). The manner in which On was saved by the wisdom of his wife, described here in paragraph 9 et seq., is found in the Talmudic treatise 'Sanhedrin,' fol. 109b. The deep counsel which Balaam is said by tradition to have given to the King of Moab in order to entice the Israelites to sin, is set forth in paragraphs 10 and 11. We find the parallel to it in the same treatise 'Sanhedrin,' fol. 106a; a very elaborate description of it in the Book of Yashar, chap. lxxxv., ver. 53 et seq.; then in Sifrei (i., paragraph 131 (ed. Friedman, p. 47b); chapters of Rabbi Eliezer (xlvii.); Comestor (Num., chap. xxxiv.); and in the Slavonic 'Palæa' (first version, p. 106).
Chapter LVI. is full of non-Jewish history. All the historical details given therein, except paragraph 2, are
found in Eusebius, Isidorus, and in Comestor. Paragraph 1, Comestor, Exodus, chap. xxiv.; paragraphs 3 and 4, Eusebius, column 383 and 384; Isidorus, p. 380e and note; Comestor, Joshua, chap. xvii.; paragraph 5, Isidorus, ibid.; Comestor, Judges, chap. v. In paragraph 2 reference is made to Joseph ben Gorion, but nothing like it is found in our text of Yosippon.
Chapter LVII. contains that apocryphal history of Kenaz to which I have referred above, which is here quoted as the work of 'Philo, the friend of Joseph, the son of Gorion.' It is literally identical with our 'Philo,' fol. 25b onwards. Paragraph 39 here is the vision of Kenaz published by M. R. James in Latin ('Apocrypha Anecdota,' Cambridge, 1893, p. 178).
Chapter LVIII. is a peculiar mixture of legends, partly consisting of abstracts from Philo-Jerahmeel, and partly intercalations of incidents from non-Jewish history. In no chapter throughout this book can we see so clearly as in this chapter the interweaving of these two elements, and this strengthens me in the belief that the last copyist must have found these two texts already intimately blended in his original. Comestor, as I have already remarked, follows exactly the same system; but it is the system of all ancient chroniclers, and in a remoter degree we find an attempt at synchronistic history even in Josephus himself. Of Chapter LVIII., the paragraphs 4 and 5, and 7–10 correspond entirely with Philo, fol. 34d, 38c, 39b; whilst to paragraph 2 we find parallels in Comestor, Judges, chap. vi.; paragraph 6, ibid., chap. vii.; to paragraph 8, ibid., chap. viii. The difference, however, between these versions is very considerable. Here we can at once recognise that the interpolation is derived from a Latin source. Mistakes in spelling, misunderstandings of the original, abound. What Jeraḥmeel calls 'Syrenis' appears there as 'Syringas.' All that which follows is either missing or is in a different order. Paragraph 9 (where the word 'chorus' is left untranslated, and merely transliterated ###, so that I translated wrongly 'measure') is equal to Isidor, p. 380a and
note 18, and Comestor, Judges ix. and x.; and paragraph 11 to Comestor, Judges xi. What we read in the Hebrew as 'Nizpah' (my copy may, perhaps, not have been quite clear) is read correctly by Isidor (p. 380h) and by Comestor 'Nympha,' the name 'Carmenta' has entirely dropped out in the Hebrew. 'Dialus' in paragraph 8 is probably 'Dædalus' (so Isidor, but somewhat different legend).
Chapter LIX. is also partly literally identical with Philo; so paragraphs 1–8 equal to Philo, fol. 40d. Then follow paragraphs 8–12, taken from non-Jewish history. From paragraph 12 on up to the Assumption of Phineas, who is clearly identified here with the prophet Elijah, we have in two pages an abstract from a narrative which is very much spread-out in Philo and filled up with prayers and exhortations (fol. 44d-46d). Passing to details, we have in paragraph 4 the Lamentation of Seelah, published also by Mr. James in the 'Anecdota' (p. 182). The name of the mountain which appears here in the Hebrew as 'Telag' reads in the Latin 'Telach,' and in James's copy 'Stellac.' Here we have an evident proof for the Semitic origin. This name is none other but the local Aramaic name for Mount 'Hermon.' The Targum to Deuteronomy, chap. iii., ver. 9, has for the Hebrew Hermon 'Tur Talga'—the mountain of Telag; that is, the snowcapped mountain.
To paragraph 8 et seq., containing non-Jewish history, I refer as parallel Comestor, Judges, chap. xii.; paragraph 9, ibid., chap. xiii.; paragraph 14, ibid., chap. xiv.; but still more identical with Isidorus, 'Chronicon,' p. 381, where all these incidents, together with many more missing in Jeraḥmeel, follow upon one another as one consecutive text, just as we have it here, and not broken up over the whole period from the time of the Judges to that of the last kings, as is the case in Comestor's work. In this paragraph 14 we find the very remarkable and thus far the only reference, by the author, to the era which he used. He says distinctly, 'We calculate the date from the destruction of the Temple.' The dating of the
era from the destruction of the Temple lasted for a short time only, and was almost exclusively limited to Spain.
To the second half of paragraph 10, cf. Comestor, Kings IV., chap. xxv.; and to section 11, ibid., chap. xxxi.–xxxiii. With this chapter finishes the parallelism between Philo's Latin and Jeraḥmeel's Hebrew chronicle, which apparently stopped at the period of Samuel. Paragraphs 8 to 11 are apparently intercalated. In them history is carried down to the time of Hezekiah; but the writer takes up the thread of his, thus interrupted, narrative with the beginning of paragraph 11, saying, 'We now return to the Judges.' Everything from the time of Samuel to the destruction of the first Temple is omitted. There are no Hebrew legends known elsewhere that treat of this period; hence, also, none in our 'Jeraḥmeel.'
The following chapters deal with the fate that befell the Ten Tribes in the Exile, and included therein are also versions of the ancient legends concerning the history of the Children of Moses, who were taken up immediately after they had left Palestine, were carried far away miraculously, and settled behind the river Sambatyon, to lead an idyllic life in absolute peace.
Chapter LX. contains a description of the 'eight times' the Jews were exiled from Palestine by Sancherib and Nebuchadnezzar. The description of these Exiles differs entirely from all the other versions that are known to exist. All these speak of ten, and carry history down till after the destruction of the second Temple, under Titus and Vespasianus, whilst our text stops short at the destruction of the first Temple by the Chaldeans. Those other texts have been published first in a Mantua edition (1514), as an addition to Abraham ibn Daud's abstract from Yosippon, who probably had found this legend in the same MS. as the Yosippon, of which he made an abstract exactly as it is here in our text of 'Jeraḥmeel,' where we have also this legend side by side with 'Yosippon.' Sebastianus Münster has reprinted the abstract and this addition in Basle, 1527; and another reprint has appeared
in Basle in 1599, pp. 276–287, which seems to have escaped the notice of our bibliographers. Jellinek has reprinted what pretends to be an exact copy of this Basle edition, but not correctly ('Bet. Ham.,' vol. iv., pp. 133–136), and a still more different version (ibid., vol. v., p. 113 et seq.). Comparing now his text with ours, we find in the first instance that all the others number ten Exiles, while this limits the number to eight; furthermore, that all those printed editions are much shorter, leaving out sometimes half and more of our text. Our version is evidently the more primitive, as it counts only eight, up to the destruction of the first Temple, and at the same time the most complete, for this text alone has preserved also that Jeremiah legend for which I know no other parallel, save those in the 'Baruch' cycle. The substance agrees, furthermore, with the tradition as given in the 'Seder ‘Olām Rabba,' chap. xxv. et seq. (edit. Ratner, p. 110). Cf. notes thereto by the editor, note 9 et seq.
Chapters LXI. to LXIII.—The fate of the Ten Tribes and, connected with them, that of the Levites, or Children of Moses going into exile, has exercised the mind of the people from very ancient times. The question is already discussed in the fourth Book of Ezra, in the apocryphal letter of Baruch. It was, moreover, mixed up from very early times with the history of the Rechabites, and later on with that of the Gymnosophistes and the Brachmans; it entered into the Alexander legend, vide the Romance published by me (Journ. Royal Asiatic Soc., 1897, chaps. lii.–liii.), and into Christian apocryphal literature, such as the narrative of Zosimus, concerning the life of the blessed, alluded to already in the third century, and in the various versions of the Macarius legend. We know of its existence in Hebrew literature in the seventh century, and later on it got into the narrative of that mysterious traveller Eldad ha-Dani, who pretends to have visited those various tribes, and to have learned of the existence of the Children of Moses beyond the river Sambatyon. As he flourished in the ninth century, our legend must perforce be much
older, and it is as yet not known distinctly how much of his narrative is due to his own experience, and how much he has borrowed from older legends already in circulation and has incorporated into his sailor's yarn.
A contribution to the solution of the problem connected with that name is furnished by our book, with no less than three different versions of the cycle of these legends. The most amplified is here ascribed not to Eldad, but to a certain Elhanan, and this version again seems to be the most primitive of that legend which has been connected with the name of Eldad. Various texts have been published which contain either the legends of the tribes, or of the Children of Moses, either singly, or mixed up with those of Eldad (Jellinek, 'Bet. Ham.,' vol. ii., pp. 102–13; vol. iii., pp. 6–11; vol. v., pp. 17–21; and vol. vi., pp. 15–18). The whole cycle of the Eldad legends has been subjected to a critical investigation by Mr. Epstein, in his work called 'Eldad ha-Dani' (Pressburg, 1891). I do not agree with the results at which he arrives. He connects the narrative of Eldad with Abyssinian legends, forgetting that the information obtained from Abyssinia is of recent origin, and can in no way prove anything for facts at least a thousand years older, recorded among Jews living in the Arabian Peninsula or around the Persian Gulf. It is not at all improbable, in fact it is very likely, that some of the customs and ceremonies noted now among the Jewish Fallashas in Abyssinia have been introduced from those parts, either from Egypt or from the Persian Gulf, which latter I consider to be the starting-point of Elhanan's travels. Of the texts published by Epstein, we find the one incorporated into the first version of Eldad's narrative to be identical with the greater part of our Chapter LXI. The beginning has evidently been omitted when this legend was tacked on to the cycle of Eldad. It follows, therefrom, that our text, being more complete, is the more primitive. Paragraphs 2–4 correspond with Eldad, i., paragraphs 7–9 (pp. 5–6; cf. p. 13, also note 10 et seq.). Concerning paragraph 1, which gives us the exact date of the banishment,
cf. 'Seder Olām Rabba,' chap. xxx., ed. Ratner, pp. 147–149, vide note 93 et seq.
Chapter LXII.—The second version has the peculiar superscription, 'The ten banishments of the Sanhedrin,' although not a word of the Sanhedrin is mentioned in the text. It may mean the banishment of the ten communities or tribes. This is absolutely identical with the version contained in the 'Midrash Rabba Rabbati,' and it is, if anything, more perfect than the copy preserved in the manuscript of Prague, from which Epstein has reprinted it (loc. cit., pp. 42–45). This again proves the author of the 'Midrash Rabba Rabbati' to have borrowed his legendary material from our compilation.
Chapter LXIII. is an amplified recapitulation of the last legend. This time it is presented under the form of a recital of the adventures of Elhanan the sailor, who happened to come to the country occupied by the descendants of Dan. From them he learned all about their past, and he went from them to visit the other tribes. In his narrative he has incorporated (paragraphs 11–14) the legendary history of the Children of Moses and of the happy land in which they are living, surrounded by the river Sambatyon, that flows for six days of the week, but rests on the Sabbath day, when a flame descends and covers the river, protecting them from any possible contact with the outer world. From them he goes on to visit other tribes, until he comes to the sons of Judah and Simeon, which means to the Jews scattered in this part of the world, and when Danite merchants come he returns with them to their country. We see here distinctly how the older material has been bodily incorporated into this tale, which forms a kind of traveller's romance—the oldest version of the Sinbad cycle—in the same manner in which biblical legends have been used for liturgical purposes, and have been incorporated into homilies. Elhanan's tale agrees in the main with the fourth version of Eldad (Epstein, loc. cit., p. 47 et seq.), having many points in common with it; among other things, the names of the various kings with whom they are
fighting (paragraph 6) corresponding in our edition to paragraph 8. Professor David Heinrich Müller has attempted to examine the names of these nations, which occur also in the second version published by Epstein (p. 22 et seq., and grouped together by him on p. 38). In our text we have a list of eighteen names, which in the other versions have been reduced to seven. A few of these names agree with those in our text, but on the whole they are different and difficult to identify.
Having as it were finished with the history of the Ten Tribes, Jeraḥmeel very skilfully returns to the history of the Jews in the Exile, and translates into Hebrew the Aramaic portions of Daniel, who lived there. He retains, however, those portions of Daniel which are not forming part of the Hebrew Bible, viz., the old Apocrypha, in their original Aramaic language, in the very form in which they served as basis to Theodotion for his Greek translation, as I have set forth in my edition of those two chapters containing the history of Daniel and the Dragon, and the history of Daniel and Bel, as well as the Song of the Three Children in the Fiery Furnace. These apocryphal portions have been declared by some scholars not to be the original texts, but probably late translations from the Latin or Greek. It now so happens, as stated above (p. xlix), that Reymundus Martini, in his 'Pugio Fidei,' has preserved to us a portion of this very Aramaic text of Daniel in the lion's den, which he had taken from the 'Midrash Rabbati' of Moses Hadarschan. It is a literal quotation from our book, being absolutely identical also with the manuscript of the 'Rabbati' published by Neubauer. Every doubt as to its antiquity and authenticity is undoubtedly hypercritical. I have omitted the texts here, as they have already been published elsewhere by me.
Chapter LXIV.—From this incident Jeraḥmeel proceeds to the description of the evil deeds of two false prophets in the Exile, who are mentioned in the Bible, together with the peculiar punishment inflicted upon them by Nebuchadnezzar. This old legend explains the reason for their being
roasted alive as a consequence of the attempt to commit adultery with the daughter of Nebuchadnezzar. It is identical in every detail with the same tale contained in Talmud treatise 'Sanhedrin,' fol. 93a, my 'Exempla of the Rabbis,' No. 28, and both identical with the Jerusalem treatise 'Sanhedrin,' fol. 93a. An abstract of it, vide Tanḥuma, ed. Buber, Levit. Rabba, section 10, paragraph 7; Yalqut to Jeremiah, paragraph 309, and in the Midrash Haggadol, Exodus, portion Jethro.
Chapter LXV.—Jeraḥmeel now leads on to the History of Susanna, where the two elders and judges attempt the very same sin for which those false prophets had been punished. An old tradition identifies these elders with those false prophets. Here we are entering already into the domain of the known biblical apocryphal literature, and I cannot do better than refer to Schürer's 'Geschichte d. Rid. Volkes,' II.2, p. 716 et seq. I refer also specially to Bruell's study in his 'Jahrbuch' (vol. iii., pp. 1–69). The crucial point in this history is the Greek names of the trees under which Susanna is said to have been seen by the two elders committing adultery, which names, being a play upon the words, seemed to indicate Greek origin. We find here totally different names. The Hebrew version in our text is thus far the only ancient Hebrew text of this History of Susanna known to exist, and it is noteworthy that it is not to be found even in Yosippon, which contains all the other apocryphal additions to the Book of Daniel in full. A modern Hebrew text, which may rest upon some older translation, is printed in 'Otzar Hakodesh,' Lemberg, 1851 (probably a reprint from an older edition which I have not yet been able to trace); but it is undoubtedly derived from a Latin original. Jellinek has not reprinted this version in his 'B. Ham.,' nor has any scholar found hitherto another ancient Hebrew text of the History of Susanna. Jeraḥmeel alone has preserved such a Hebrew version of the Susanna legend. In some details this text agrees more with the Syriac than with the Latino-Greek version. Especially
noteworthy is the difference in the names. In our text the father of Susanna is called 'Shealtiel,' whilst in all the other versions he is called 'Chelkia.' In connection with this it might be pointed out that Shealtiel was the father of Zerubbabel; Susanna is probably taken to be his sister, and her husband King Jehoiachin. Hippolytus, Syncellus, and others identify him indeed with the King of Judah, who was carried away into the captivity at Babylon (2 Kings, chap. xxiv., ver. 15; and chap. xxv., ver. 27). This name seems to be more appropriate, and to represent the older tradition, which would centre round the prominent figure of the former King of Judah in preference to any obscure personage. The parallel history in Comestor, Daniel, chap. xiii., differs completely from the Hebrew.
Chapter LXVI.—In this chapter follows a short history of Nebuchadnezzar's apparent but not real change into an animal, who behaves like a wild beast for seven months. No other trace of this version have I found in the Hebrew literature. Parallels we find to it, however, in Epiphanius, 'Vita Danielis'; 'Chronicon Paschale,' ed. Bonn, i., pp. 299, 300; Fabricius, p. 1124 et seq.; and also Comestor, Daniel, chap. iv., who quotes Epiphanius. Paragraphs 3–6, vide Comestor, Daniel, chap. v., but already so in Josephus, 'Antiquities,' x., 11, i.–ii. The names of the sons of Evil Merodach (here paragraph 6) are given by Josephus as Niglissar, Labsardacus, and Naboandelus (who is the well-known Naboned). Comestor has Egessar, Labosardoch, and Nabar. Paragraph 6, less fully in Second Targum to Esther, chap. i., vide Levit. Rabba, section 18, p. 2; Tanhuma Tazri´a, section 10; 'Seder Olām Rabba,' chap. xxviii., ed. Ratner, p. 125, and note 7.
Chapter LXVII.—From paragraph 67 on, the bulk of the rest of the Chronicle—with few exceptions, which will be treated separately—is taken bodily from the Yosippon, or, as the compiler says, from the 'Book of Joseph ben Gorion.'
A short reference, which shows the relation in which our
text stands to the edition of Breithaupt, will suffice, always remembering that the text of Jeraḥmeel is simpler, the names much more correct and clear, and in the main agreeing with the old edition of Conte (Mantua, circa 1480). According to his custom, Jeraḥmeel copies here once more the history of Daniel in the lion's den, because he finds it also in Yosippon, although he had already included it previously in his collection from an independent, older source.
Chapter LXVII. corresponds with Breithaupt, Book I., chap. v.
Chapter LXVIII. corresponds with Breithaupt, Book I., chaps. vi., vii.
Chapter LXIX. corresponds with Breithaupt, Book I., chap. viii.
Chapter LXX. corresponds with Breithaupt, Book I., chaps. ix., x., xi. (The history of Daniel in the lion's den.)
Chapter LXXI. corresponds with Breithaupt, Book I., chap. xii.
Chapter LXXII. corresponds with Breithaupt, Book I., chap. xiii. (The history of Daniel and the Temple of Bel.)
Chapter LXXIII. corresponds with Breithaupt, Book I., chap. xiv. (The history of Daniel and the dragon.)
In Chapter LXXIV. et seq., which corresponds with Breithaupt, I., chaps. xv., xvi., we have the Hebrew parallel (in Yosippon and in Jeraḥmeel) to the so-called Apocryphal Third Ezra (chap. iii. et seq.). The order in the Hebrew text is different, and the interpretation of the riddles much more correct and much clearer than in the Greek text. The marked divergence from any other text proves that there cannot be a question of our text being a translation from the Greek or from the Latin texts known. In spite of the opinion expressed by Zunz (G. V.2, p. 154 et seq.; and p. 160, note d), not a single trace of Latin influence can be detected thus far in the Hebrew text of Yosippon, and in the corresponding portion in Jeraḥmeel.
Chapter LXXV. corresponds with Breithaupt, I., xvii., xviii., and the beginning of xix.
Chapter LXXVI. corresponds with middle of xix. (Breithaupt, p. 56).
Chapter LXXVII. corresponds with chaps. xx., xxi.
Chapter LXXVIII. is a continuation of chap. xxi. (Breithaupt, only as far as p. 65). It is to be remarked that the personal note in p. 65 (ed. Breithaupt), where Joseph ben Gorion identifies himself with Josephus, is entirely missing in our text, and in the ed. Conte (folio 13, column b). The text continues in our copy exactly in the same manner as in the ed. Conte, corresponding with beginning of chap. xxii. of ed. Breithaupt. The whole portion from pp. 65–68 being entirely omitted.
With Chapter LXXIX.–LXXXIV. begins the cycle of Apocryphal legends round the Book of Esther. Of these only the first two chapters containing the dream and prayer of Mordecai and Esther's prayer form part of the known biblical Apocrypha, and are taken here from Yosippon. This chapter corresponds with Book II., chaps. i.–iv., ed. Breithaupt. I have found the whole text of this dream of Mordecai in a fragment from the Geniza, which seems to be a portion of an old chronicle (Yosippon?—or a similar), and is characterized by the fact that the Hebrew words have the vowel signs. Two old Aramaic texts have been published by de Rossi, and then reprinted by Jellinek ('B. Ham.,' i., pp. 1–8). Merx in his 'Chrestomathia Targumica' (pp. 164–174) has reprinted a text from a manuscript written in the year 1189. I necessarily ignore the translation made from the Latin by Jacob ben Machir, and printed by Jellinek (ibid., p. 9 et seq.). For the further history of these texts in the Apocrypha, cf. Schürer, loc. cit., II.2, p. 715. Josephus has also introduced the same legends into his text ('Antiquities,' xi. 6), as he has done with the other Apocrypha of Daniel in x. 11, and the Solutions of the Problems by Zerubbabel, xi. 3.
Chapter LXXXI.—To these biblical Apocrypha Jeraḥmeel had added a series of similar legends. First we have the letter which Haman sent to the princes and rulers of the Persian kingdom to destroy the Jews. It is
absolutely identical with the text found in the Midrash Aba Gorion (ed. Buber, p. 42), and I am inclined to believe that this Aba Gorion is none other than our Joseph ben Gorion, and that the text of the letter has been borrowed from a more complete recension of the Yosippon than that which we have before us. From a Codex de Rossi a similar letter has been published by Perreau in the 'Hamazkir' (1864, v.–vii., pp. 46, 47). To paragraph 3, cf. Haggadoth Esther (ed. Buber, p. 37), vide especially Aba Gorion, folio 16a, and Esther Rabba, chap. vii., paragraph 13; Midrash Esther (ed. Horowitz, p. 68), and Jellinek, 'Bet. Ham.,' vi. (p. 54).
The whole text contained in Chapter LXXXI., paragraph 7, up to Chapter LXXXII., paragraph 6, is found in Aba Gorion (p. 32 et seq.). Our text is again fuller and more harmonious in its details than the parallel passage, showing it to have retained the primitive form, which has been curtailed when utilized for homiletic purposes in that Hagadic collection. The same has happened to this text as to the other biblical legends mentioned above, for the beginning of Chapter LXXXIII. has been omitted, whilst from the middle of paragraph 1 to the middle of paragraph 7 is found verbatim in the Haggadoth Esther (ed. Buber, pp. 60–61, and note 8 et seq., where the whole parallel literature is referred to).
Chapter LXXXIV.—A description of the wonderful throne of King Solomon. Its place in our collection is easily explained by the fact that from very ancient times the throne upon which Ahasuerus was sitting (in Esther, chap. i. 5) is said to have been the throne of Solomon carried away by Nebuchadnezzar. A description of it occurs, therefore, at the very beginning of the so-called second Targum to the Book of Esther. (The English translation of it, by P. Cassel, appeared together with his commentary to the Book of Esther, as Appendix I., p. 207 et seq.). The literature that has gathered round this throne is very vast. This description is also found in the Midrash Aba Gorion (pp. 52–58), in my 'Exempla of the
[paragraph continues] Rabbis,' No. 115. Another text has been printed by Perles, reprinted by Jellinek, 'B. Ham.,' vol. v., p. 39 (see pp. vi–viii.) An elaborate monograph on it by P. Cassel, cf. also Massmann, 'Kaiser Chronik,' vol. iii., p. 889, a description of a similar throne made by Kosroe, King of Persia.
Chapter LXXXV.–C.—The concluding chapters bear the title the Book of the Maccabee, being limited to the history of Judah 'the' Maccabee. They are identical with the corresponding portion of Yosippon, with the exception of the history of Alexander the Great, interpolated into the ed. Breithaupt, and missing in Jeraḥmeel and ed. Conte.
The close parallelism begins with LXXXV., paragraph 2 = ed. Breithaupt II., chapter vi. and vii.; LXXXVI. = III., chapter i.; Chapter LXXXVII. = Book III., chapters ii. and iii.; LXXXVIII. = III., chapters iii. and iv. In Chapter LXXXIX. we have the history of the Mother and the Seven Sons, the martyrs = Book III., chapters v. and vi. This is one of the well-known Apocrypha, and stands at the head of a very large cycle of legends. In most of the Hebrew parallels she is called Hannah, or Miriam, vide my 'Exempla' of the Rabbis. No. 57; 'Echo, Rabb,' chap. i., paras. 47–50; 'Pesiqta Rabbati,' chap. xxix.; 'Yalqut,' paragraph 93; Talmud treatise 'Kethuboth,' fol. 64, etc.; Zunz, G. V.2, pp. 131, 152, 190. Chapter XC. = III., chapters vii., viii.; XCI. = III., chapter ix.; XCII. = III., chapters x., xi.; XCIII. =III., chapter xii. The general is called Bakires, as in the Scroll of the Hasmoneans, and not Bacchides, as the Greek texts have it.
Chapter XCIV. = III., chap. xiii.; Chapter XCV. = III., chap. xiv.; the place of the fight mentioned here in paragraphs 2 and 3 is written in the Hebrew 'Bethtur'; in the Greek texts, 2 Maccab. (chap. xi., ver. 5), it is called Bethzura; so also Josephus. In Yosippon (ed. Breithaupt, p. 216) Beter (vide note 6). By the orthography in Jeraḥmeel, and by this identity of names, it is becoming clear which place is meant by the town of the same name, famous in the war of Barcochba. It is evidently none else
than this Bethtur, the fortress near Jerusalem. The old geographical puzzle is now solved with the assistance of our 'Jeraḥmeel.'
Chapter XCVI. = III., chaps. xv. and part of xvii.; Chapter XCVII. corresponds to the continuation of chap. xvii. and xviii.; Chapter XCVIII. = chaps. xix. and xx.; Chapter XCIX. = chaps. xxi. and xxii.; and finally Chapter C. = chap. xxiii., end of Book III. (ed. Breithaupt).
We have thus rounded off the history of the world as told by Jeraḥmeel with the aid of old Apocrypha, beginning with the Creation and finishing with the death of Judas Maccabeus. We have in our book the oldest example of the Bible Historiale, an amplification of the Bible narrative by means of legendary tales, many of which, in fact most of which, have their roots in extreme antiquity, written down, with perhaps a few exceptions, in the first centuries before or after the Common Era, handed on in a surprisingly perfect form, preserved through the love, the industry, and conscientiousness of one compiler who could not have lived later than the sixth or seventh century, copied a second time with the same conscientious care and enlarged by a man who may have lived in the tenth or eleventh century, and forming, then, the starting-point for a third equally conscientious continuator in the thirteenth or fourteenth century. It is at once the oldest and best corpus of Apocryphal and Pseudo-epigraphical books of which any literature can boast.
We are now in a better position to review the whole field of that ancient literary activity, and to prepare a critical edition of the texts contained in this compilation. Through the comparison with the existing parallels, I have endeavoured to show that these represent the oldest and most complete recensions. I have laid bare unsuspected connections between the literatures of many tongues and many lands. I have followed up not merely the main stream of literary tradition to its remotest course, but also some lateral channels. I have endeavoured to trace the oldest
available sources of all the stores of legends which have enriched the literatures of the world, Jewish, Christian, and Mahomedan alike, which have so deeply influenced poetry and art in the middle ages, and which have kept human fancy playing for two thousand years round the stern figures of the Old Testament.
xxiv:* Vide my Ilchester Lectures, p. 147 et seq.
lvi:* Guided by the spelling of this name in the colophon to some of his editions, I have been the first to substitute this reading of 'Conte' for the hitherto current form 'Cunath.'