Emil Schürer.

A history of the Jewish people in the time of Jesus Christ .. (Volume 2 pt.3) online

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disposing of him too precisely as he had disposed of the
former husbands of Sarah. Thus the fourteen days of marriage
festivity were allowed to pass by without disturbance
or interruption, the angel having meanwhile taken the
opportunity to go to Eages to get the money from Gabael
(vi.-ix.). After the marriage celebrations were over Tobias
returns to Nineveh to his parents accompanied by Sarah his
wife, and there he contrives to cure his father's blindness by
anointing his eyes with the gall of the fish (x.-xii.). Full of
gratitude to God, Tobit chants a song pf praise, and continues
to live for nearly a hundred years longer. Tobias also lives
to the age of 127 years (xiii.-xiv.).

The plot of the story is well contrived, there is great
variety of details, and the various threads joined on at diflerent
l)oints in the narrative are skilfully interwoven with each
other. Consequently as a literary product our book is
decidedly superior to that of Judith. But the religious
standpoint is exactly the same. Here too, as in Judith, the
whole stress is laid upon the strict observance of the law, of
which the practice of deeds of kindness also forms a part.



§ 32. THE PALESTINIAN JEWISH LITERATm:R. 39

And in connection with this, we at the same time get some
instructive glimpses of the superstition of the time. As the
whole story centres in the dispersion, it would seem from this
that the author wrote mainly for the Jews of the dispersion.
By holding up those patterns of excellence before the eyes of
his readers he hopes to produce such an impression upon the
minds of those of his countrymen scattered among the Gentiles
as may lead them to adhere no less faithfully to the law, and
to observe it in an equally strict and conscientious manner.
Jn consequence of the purpose of the book being as here
described, it is impossible to determine whether it had it?
origin in Palestine or in the dispersion.

The date of the composition of the ^ork can only be fixed
within tolerably wide limits. Comparatively speaking, it may
be regarded as most certain of all that the book was written
'previous to the luilding of the temple of Herod. No doubt Hitzirr
thought (Zeitschr. fur ivissenschaftl. Theol. 1860, p. 250 sqq.)
that we were bound to assume that it was written after the
destruction of the temple by Titus, because among the pre-
dictions at the close of the book it is above all foretold that
the temple will be rebuilt again with great magnificence
(xiii. 16 f., xiv. 4, 5). But on more careful consideration we
will find it probable that the author wrote when the temple
of Zerubbabel was still standing. He places himself at the
standpoint of the Assyrian age, and from this he predicts first
of all the destruction of the temple by the Chaldaeans, and
then its reconstruction, where however he distinguishes between
two things: (1) the restoration of an unpretending structure
till the lapse of a definite period ; and (2) the rebuilding with
extraordinary magnificence and splendour that is to take place
at the expiry of this period (xiv. 5 : koL olKoSo/j,7]crovcri rov
otKOV, ov^ oio



Online LibraryEmil SchürerA history of the Jewish people in the time of Jesus Christ .. (Volume 2 pt.3) → online text (page 5 of 51)