Isidore Singer.

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literature, Alexandria must have had a prominent
part in the fusion of the native and foreign elements,
since that city had been from the time of Alexan-
der the Great the seat of religious syncretism as
well as the intellectual metropolis of the civilized

For the better understanding of the Messianic pic-
tures in apocalyptic literature it is important to
point out that, although frequently interlaced, two
distinct sets of ideas may be traced— the one set
concerned with this world, hence realistic and na-
tional; theotherdirected to the world to come, iience
transcendent and univcrsalistic. The Messiah pre-
sents a correspondingly double character. Side by
side with the traditional idea of an earthly king
nf the house c)f David is the new conception of a
heavenly preexistent Messiah, from which it follows
that in regard to the (juestion of the Messiah the
older apocalyptic literature, as well as the younger
rabbinical branch, falls naturally into two groups.




In the older apocalyptic literature tlie first book
to be mentioned in which the Messiah figures as an

earthly king is "Tlie Vision of the

In the Seventy Shepherds of the Book of

Older Enoch" (ch. lxxxv.-xc.)of thetimeof

Apoca- Joiin Ilyrciuius (13.5-105 u.c). The

lyptic Lit- Messiah appears under the figure of

erature. a white bull at the conclusion of the

world-dninui (xc. 37 et seq.) aud com-
mands the respect and fear of all the heathen, who
eventually become converted to God. Yet he does
not take any actual role. It is God Himself who
wards off the last attack of the heathen against Israel,
gives judgment, and establishes the world-dominion
of Israel. Second in this group come those parts of
the Sibylline Books whose date, as Gcffken's recent
critical analysis has established ("' Komposition und
Entstehungszeit der Oracula Sibyllina," pp. 7-13),
is about the year 83 B.C. The Messiah is pictured
(verses 652-666) as a king sent by God from the
rising of the sun, who will put an end to war all
over the earth, inasmuch as he will destroy some
peoples and make permanent treaties \\ ith the
others; in all his actions he will be solicitous not to
follow his own counsel, but to obey the commands
of God. The writer then describes at length the
attack by the heathen nations on the magnificent
Temple of God and on the Holy Land, and the an-
nihilation of the nations by God ; the Last Judgment,
with the ensuing conversion of the heathen to God;
the establishment of God's eternal kingdom over all
men and the reign of universal peace; but, strange
to say, throughout the description there is no men-
tion of the Messiah. In fact, in verses 781 et seq.
the Israelites are spoken of as the prophets of God,
the judges of mankind, and the just kings who will
put an end to the sway of the sword upon earth.

"The Vision of the Seventy Shepherds" and
Sibyllines, iii. 652 et seq. say nothing whatever about

the lineage of the earthly Messiah, but

In the in the Psalms of Solomon (xvii.), which

Psalms of were called forth by the conquest of

Solomon. Jerusalem by Pompey (63 B.C.), he is

designated as the "son of David,"
who will appear at a time known only to God.
These Psalms (I.e.) contain a more detailed descrip-
tion of his personality and of his reign than anj'
other Avriting of that period. The Messiah will first
crush the unjust rulers and rid Jerusalem of, and
destro3^ the impious heathen. Then he will gather
the scattered ones of Israel, distribute them through
the land according to their tribes, and found his own
kingdom of peace and justice. No wicked person
will be tolerated in his kindgom nor will foreigners
be allowed to dwell there. He will subject the
heathen nations to his rule, glorify the Lord before
the whole world, and make Jerusalem pure and
holy as of old, so that the nations will come from
the ends of the earth to witness God's glory. The
description which follows of his righteous reign
shows the influence of Isa. xi. 1 et seq. Free from
sin, strong in the divine fear, and filled with the
spirit of God, of valor, and of justice, he will tend
the flock of the Lord faithfully, hold the higher offi-
cers in check, and make sinners cease by the power
of his word, so that injustice and tyranny will not

be practised in the land. He will not rely upon
horses and warriors, nor heap up gold and .silver to
wage war, nor keep armies. In God alone will he
place his trust, and his strength will be in Him.

In the Apocalypse of Baruch (70-100 c.e.) the
earthly ^Messiah will appear at the close of the fourth
{i.e., the Koman) world-empire and destroy it. The
last ruler of the empire will, after his hosts have
been destroyctl, be brought in chains before the
Messiah on Mount Ziou, and there, after the im-
piousness of his rule has been pointed out to him,
he will be put to death by the Messiah's own hand.
Of the other nations, those hostile to Israel will be
put to the sword and the remainder subjected to
the rule of the Messiah, wlio will establish liiniself
on the throne of his kingdom, inaugurate the reign
of morality and bliss, and hold dominion until
the end of time, that is, until the consummation of
the present world (xxix. 3, xxxix. 5-x]. 3, Ixxii.-
Ixxiii. 4. Ch. xxx. 1 is to be taken, with Vol/.
[" Jlidische Eschatologie," pp. 37, 203], as Christian

The Testament of Levi (ch. viii. and xviii.) shows
a unique conception of the Messiah. He is not, as
in the Testament of Judah (see below)
In the Tes- and according to the populai' belief, a
taments descendant of David, but a priestly
of the king of the tribe of Levi. His char-
Patriarchs, acter and activity are altogetlu r spiri-
tual. The pouring out of the spirit
and knowledge of the Lord over all mankind and
the cessation of sin and evil will be the fruit of his
ideal priesthood, which will last for all eternity.
He himself will open the doors of paradise, cast
aside the sword threatening Adam, and give the
saints to eat of the tree of life. He will chain up
Belial and will give his children power to tnimple on
the evil spirits. The picture of the Messiah in the
Testament of Judah (ch. xxiv.), although far more
brief, resembles, in its spiritual character and in its
universalistic tendency, that in the Testament of
Levi. The sole mission of the Messiah will be the
regeneration of mankind, and his kingdom will be
one of justice and salvation for the whole world.
If, as Bousset sought to prove ("Zeitschrift flir die
Neutestamentliche VVissenschaft," i. 193 et seq.), the
Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs date mainly
from the time of the Maccabees, then the Messiah-
conception of the Testament of Levi is easily ac-
counted for; the author expects that the future
Savior will be a prince of the reigning priestly
house of the Maccabees.

The oldest apocal^'pse in which the conception of
a preexistent heavenly Messiah is met with is the
Messiological section of the Book of Enoch (xxxvii.-
Ixxi.) of the first century B.C. The
The Messiah is called "the Son of Man."

Heavenly and is described as an angelic being,
Messiah, his countenance resembling a man's,
and as occupying a seat in heaven be-
side the Ancient of Days (xlvi. 1), or, as it is ex-
pressed in ch. xxxix. 7, "under the wings of the
Lord of spirits." In ch. xlviii. 3, 6, xlix. 2b it is
stated that "His name was called before the Lord
of spirits before the sun and the signs of the zodiac
were created, and before the stars of heaven were




made"; that "He was chosen and hidden with God
before the woild was (;reated, and will leuiaiu in His
presence forevcrinore " (comi). also Ixii. 6); and that
"His glory will last from eternity unto eternity and
his might from generation unto generation " (lliat
"his name" in xlviii. 3 means really "son of man "
is c'vidcnt from verse 6; comp. the similar use of
"Shem Yiiwii " for " Yiiwii " in Isa. xxx. 27). He
is represented as the embodiment of justice and
wisdom and as the medium of all God"s revelations
to men (xlvi. 3; xlix. 1. 2a, 3). At the end of time
the Lord will reveal him to the world and will place
him on the throne of His glory in order that he
may judge all creatures in accordance with the end
to which God had chosen luni from the beginning.
When he for the judgment all the world will
fall down before him, and adore and extol him, and
give to the Lord of spirits. The angels in
heaven also, and the elect in the Garden of Life,
will join in his praise and will glorify the Lord.
"He will judge all hidden things, and no one will
be able to make vain excuses to him " ; he will judge
also Azazel, with all his associates and all his hosts.
The wicked ones of the earth, especially all kings and
potentates, he will give over to damnation, but f(n-
the just and chosen ones he will prepare eternal
bliss, and he will dwell in their midst for all eter-
nity (xl v. 3,4; xlvi. 4-6; xlviii. 4-10; xlix. 4; li. 3;
Iv. 4; Ixi. 7-lxii. 14).

It is worthy of special note that in the appendix to
the Messiological section of Enoch, the latter himself
is the Son of :Man = Messiah (Ixxi. 14), and, as in the
Slavonic Book of Enoch and the Hebrew Book of
Enoch (see Jew. Encyc. i. 676, s.v. Apocalyptic
Literature), as well as throughout rabbinical lit-
erature, Enoch is identical with Metatron = MetA-
dpovog or MeTarvpavGc, (i.e., the highest, ministering
spirit, who stands next to God and represents His ni-
ler.ship over the universe), so there is an important
connecting-link between the conception of the Son
of Man = iSIessiah, and the Logos, which appears re-
peatedly in Philo in place of the earthly future king
(comp., e.g., his interpretation of "zemah," Zech. vi.
12, in " De Con fess. " § 14 ; see Memra). The Fourth
Book of Ezra (about 100 c.e.) presents both the pre-
existentand the earthly Messiah. The latter is seen
in ch. vii. 28. xi. 37-46, xii. 31-34, where the Mes-
siah is represented as the Lion "who will spring
from the seed of David," will destroy the fourth
(i.e., the lioman) world-monarchy, will rule 400
years till the end of the Messianic interim, and then
will die, together with all men. The former appears
in the vision of the man rising from the sea (ch.
xiii.). Here, as in the Messiological section, the
Messiah is described as "one resembling a man " and
is called "ille homo" or "ipse homo" (verses 3, 12).
The statement is made also (under the influence of
Dan. vii. 13) tliat he "flew with the clouds of
lieaven." Other ]H)ints of contact Avith the IMessio-
logical Book are: the statement that "he is the one
whom the Most High has reserved for many ages to
deliver creation" (verse 26); the reference to his
being hidden with God (verse 52)— "Even as no one
can fathom nor learn wliat is in the depths of the
sea, so none of the inhabitants of earth can see My
sou nor liis escort [i.e., the liost of angels who will

aceonii)any him when he appears upon earth], un-
less it be at the appointed hour"; and, finally, the
obvious reference to his preexistence in heaven,
where the is given to Ezra, "Thou wilt be
taken from among men [to heaven] and wilt dwell
with My son and with thy connades until the end
of time" (xiv. 9).

Whether the Messiah in Sibyliines v. 415-430,
where he is called "a blessed man coming from
heaven," is the preexistent or the earthly ]\Iessiali
can not be determined. In the Assuniptio Mosis,
however (''. ^ jj.c. ), it may be concluded, on tiie
ground of the identiticatiou of the Son of ]\Ian =
-Messiah with Enoch = Mctatron in Enoch Ixxi. 14,
that it is the preexistent ^Messiah who is referred to
(\. 2), for it is stated that, at the end of the last trib-
ulation, when God's dominion will be established
over all creation, " the hands of the angel who stands
in the highest place will be tilled, and he will im-
mediately avenge them [Israel] on their enemies."
As the author of the Fourth ]3ook of EVa (xiii.), as
well as the author of the Messiological Book, evi-
dently had Dan. vii. 13 in mind when he described
the preexistent ^Messiah, it may be mentioned here
that, while the Messianic interpretation of this pas-
sage prevails in the rabbinic literature (the oldest
example is the ]\Iessiaiiic tradition in Sanh. 98a, for
which Joshua b. Levi is mentioned as authority),
the Greek text of Dan. vii. 13 presents not only the
Messianic interpretation of "Bar Nash," but unmis-
takably also, in Kal (jc '^a?atdg yfitpfov 'nnpf/v added
after (jc vUx; nvd-p(l)-<iv ypxt'Tf^. the con-
In ception of the preexistent Messiah.

Rabbinic Moreover, contrary to the view held by
Literature, many, that all the passages concerning
the Son of Man = ^Messiah in the Book
of Enoch and iV Ezra are of Christian origin, it may
be pointed out that the phrase " Bar Nash " (= " Sou
of Man ") must have been a conuiion name for an
angel of the highest order among the Palestinian
Jews of the first Christian centuries. Yer. Yoma
V. relates that, when reference was made in the bet
ha-midrash to Simon the Just's liaving, every year
of the forty during which he was high priest, been
accompanied into the Holy of Holies on the Day of
Atonement by an "aged one," veiled and garbed in
linen (/.c. by a heavenly being; comp. the "labush
ha-badim" in Ezek. ix. 1, 3 et <tl.), \\. Abbahu ob-
jected: "Does not the prohibition, 'No man shall
be present in the Tabernacle when the high priest
enters the sanctuary,' extend to those of whom it
is said, ' the appearance of their countenance Avas
that of a man's countenance'?" (Lev. xvi. 17;
Ezek. i. 10). Whereupon the rejoinder was made.
•'Who .says that that being was Bar Nash? It
was the All Holy Himself." It may be noted in
pa.ssing that this haggadah is of importance for the
Greek text of Dan. vii. 13 as well as for the identi-
fication of the Son of Man = Messiah with Enoch =

In the rai)binical apocalyptic literature the con-
ception of an earthly Messiah is the jjrevailing one,
and from the end of tin; first century of the conmion
era it is also the one officially accepted by Judaism.
As proof of this may be given: (1) "The Prayer for
the Coming of the Messiah," mentioned above, in




■wliicli the Mt'ssiali is called "(lesc'i'iuliint of David."
(2) The information jriven in the second century by
Justin C'Dialogus cum Tiyphoue," ch. xlix.) and
by the author of "* Phiiosoplnuuena " (ix. 30). IJotli
writers state expressly that, contrary to the belief
of the Christians, the Jews emphasize the human
origin of the ]\Iessiah, and the author of " Philosophu-
niena " adds that the}' expect him to be descended
from David. (3) The liturgy of later times, which,
like the Daily Prayer, calls him the descendant of
David throughout. His mission is, in all essential
respects, the same as in the apocalypses of the older
period: he is to free Israel from the power of
the heathen world, kill its ruler and destroy liis
hosts, and set up his own kingdom of peace
(comp. the descriptions of him in Jp:w. Encyc.
i. 675, s.r. ArocAiAPTic Literatujje, Neo-Hk-


The conception of the preexistent Messiah is met

with in Pesik. 11. xxxiii., xxxvi. (pp. 152b, 162, ed.

Friedmann ; comp. Yalk. i. 339). In accordance witli

the Messiological section of Enoch

Heavenly the former of these two passages

Preexist- says: "At the beginning of the crea-
ence. lion of the world was born the King

Messiah, who mounted into God's
thoughts before the world was made"; and in the
latter i)assage it is related that God contemplated the
Messiah and his works before the creation of the
world and concealed him under His throne; that
Satan, having asked God who the Light was under
His throne, was told it was the one wlio would
bring him to shame in the future, and, being then al-
lowed, at his request, to see the Messiah, he trembled
and sank to the ground, crying out, "Truly this
is the Messiah who will deliver me and all hea-
then kings over to hell." God calls the Messiah
"Ephraim, my righteous Messiah."

The preexistent Messiah is presented also in the
Haggadah (Pes. 54a; Ned. 39a; Talk. 1. 20; et al.),
where the name of the Messiah is included among the
seven things created before the world was made, and
where he is called " Yinnou," reference being made
to Ps. Ixxii. 17 (which passage probably was in the
mind of the author of the Messiological section of
Enoch when writing xlviii. 3). That, contrary to
the view of Weber ("Judische Theologie," 2d ed.,
p. 355) and others, it is actual preexistence which is
meant here, and not predestination, is evident from
the additional remark— " According to another view,
only the Torah and the Throne of Glory were [actu-
ally] created; as to the other [five] things the inten-
tion was formed to create them " (Yalk., I.e. ; in re-
gard to "the name of tlie Messiah" compare the
comment above to Enocli, xlviii. 3). Finally, the
preexistence of the Messiah in paradise is minutely
described in " The Revelation of R. Joshua b. Levi "
(see Jew. Encyc. i. 680), in Midrash Konen (Jelli-
nck, "B. H." ii. 29), and in "Seder Gan Eden" (ih.
iii. \32etseq., 195). In the first two, regardless of
the apparent anomaly, the preexistent Messiah is
called "Messiah ben David."

The conception met with in the rabbinical litera-
ture of an earthly preexistence of the Messiah must
be distinguished from that of his heavenly preexist-
ence. It occurs in various forms, representing,

probably, dillerent stages of develoiuneut. First,
he is expected to lead a hidden life and then to step
forth sudilcnly. (On this concei)tiou
Earthly of the sudden, vmexpected ap]K'arance
Preexist- of the 3Icssiah comp. Matt. xxiv. 27,
ence. 43-44, where it is said that the ^les-
siah will come like a thief in the night
or like a flash of lightning.) This is the conceiilion
of him in Ex. R. i. and in Tan., Shemot, both of
Avhicli say that as j^, the first deliverer, was
reared at the court of Pliaiaoh, so the future deliv-
erer will grow uj) in the Roman capital; in agree-
ment with this, in the Agadat ha-Mashiah (Jellinek,
I.e. iii. 142) it is said that the Messiah will suddenly
be revealed to Israel in Itome. Then, again, the
Messiah is represented as born, but not yet revealed.
This conception appears as early as the second cen-
tury in Justin 3Iartyr's " Dialogus cum Tryphone"
(ch. viii.), and in accordance with it is the passage
Sanh. 98b, where R. Joshua ben Levi is quoted as
saying that the Messiah is already born and is living
in concealment at the gates of Rome. In Targ. Yer.
to.Micali iv. 8 the .Messiah is on the earth, but be-
cause of the sins of the people he is still in hiding.
Finallj', the Messiah is thought of as born at a cer-
tain time in the past. TJiis is the case in Yer. Ber.
ii., which states that the Messiah was born at Beth-
leheiu on the day the Temple was destroyed, and in
the Apocalypse of Zerubbabel (see Jew. Encyc.
i. 682), wliich declares he was born in the days of
King David and is dwelling in Rome.

The notion, traceable to Ezek. xxxiv. 23 et al., that
David himself is the ^lessiah, is another variation
of the conception of earthly preexistence. It occurs
in the apocalyptic fragment of the "Siddur" of R.
Amram (see Jew. Excyc. i. 678, s.v. Apocai.yptic
LiTEUATURE, 2) and in Yer. Ber. ii. The latter states
that whether the King Messiah belongs to the living
or to the dead, his name is David.

Finally, there must be mentioned a Messianic fig-
ure pecidiar to the rabbinical apocalyptic literature
— tiiat of Messiah ben Jo.seph. The
Messiah earliest mention of him is in Suk. 52a,
ben Joseph, b, wliere three statements occur in re-
gard to him, for the first of which R.
Dosa (c. 250) is given as authority. In the last of
these statements only liis name is mentioned, but the
first two speak of the fate which he is to meet, name-
ly, to fall in battle (as if alluding to a well-known
tradition). Details about him are not found until
much later, but he has an established place in the
aj^ocalypses of later centuries and in the midrash
literature — in Saadia's description of the future
("Emunot we-De'ot," ch. viii.) and in that of llai
Gaon (" Ta'am Zekeuim, " p. 59). According to these,
jMessiah b. Joseph will appear prior to the coming
of Messiah b. David; he will gather the children of
Israel arotuid him, march to Jerusalem, and there,
after overcoming the hostile powers, reestablish the
Temple-wor.ship and set up his own dominion.
Thereupon Aumilus, according to one group of
sources, or Gog and ]\Ia(;o(;, according to the
other, will appear with their hosts before Jerusalem,
wage war against ]Messiah b. Joseph, and slay him.
His corpse, according to one group, will lie un-
I buried in the streets of Jerusalem ; according to the




other, it wiU be hidden by th(; angels with tlie
bodies of the Patriarchs, until Messiah b. David
conies and resurrects him (conip. Jkw. Encyc. i.
683, 684 [ii^ 8 and 13]; comp. also Midr. Wayoslia'
and Agadat liaMashiah in Jellinek, "B. H." i. 55
et seq., iii. 141 ef sccj.).

When and how this Messiah-conception originated
is a question that has not yet been answered satis-
factorily. It is not possible to consider Messiah b.
Josepli the Messiah of the Ten Tribes. He is no-
wliere represented as such; though twice it is
mentioned that a part of the Ten Tribes will be
found among those wlio will gatherabf)ut his stand-
ard. There is a possibility, however, as has been
repeatedly maintained, that there is some connec-
tion between the Alexander saga and the Messiah
b. Joseph tradition, for, in the Midrash, on the
strength of Deut. xxxiii. 17, a pair of horns, with
whicli he will "strike in all directions," is the em-
blem of ]Messiah b. Joseph (comp. Pirke K. El. xix. ;
Gen. R. Ixxv. ; Num. R. xiv. ; ct al), just as in the
apocalyptic Alexander tradition in the Koran (re-
fcircd'to above) the latter is called "The Double-
Horned" 0' Dliu al-Karnain"). See also Esciiatol-
oGv; Jesus; Judaism.

BiBLiOGRAPny: R. Sinend, AUtefttnmcntUche ReHgimis<ia<ch .;
W. Nowack, /)it; Ziikiinftshiitliiuiiu Ixtdch iinlcr Assiij-i-
KChcii Zcit; Hiilin. fHf Mr.-<i<iaiiischen Wcissavniiotu ; Fr.
(iicsebrecht. JJi.r Kinclit Jaliwc'x in Deuttra-Jcsaia ;
Schurer, Gcsch. 'M fit., ii. 29; W. l5ousset. Die RcliijliDi drs
Jvtleiitiinis ini IW'iUrstantoitUclicit Zcitdlter, parts, cli. ii.-
V. : part ti, pp. 47-t ct ."-c/. ; P. Volz, Jililisdie ExcliatDUigic
VDti Diuiid hb< Akilia, Sg 34-o5 : H. J. Holtzmann. Lehrlmvh
der Ncuta<tamei>tU(lirn T/in./or/ic, 1.08 85; W. Baldeusper-
Ker. Die Meftslanistli-Apohahiijtlschcn Hoffnuni.ien (let<Jn-
dcntuws; F. Weber. Jiidlsclic Thvuhnne mif Gnnid ilrs
Talmud, etc., ch. xxii.-xxiii.; (i. H. Dalman, Der Levleude
XDid der Sterhende Messia.'' : idem. Die ^'orteJesu, pp. 191
etxeq.; Kampers, Alexander der (Jraxseunii die Idee des
jrc/fi'mpou/ni.s in Proplietle und Sngf ; B. Beer, Welrhen
Auffcldtiss Gehen die Jlidlsclien QneUoi llher den " Zwei-
gehOrntcn'' den Korann't in Z. D. M. G. ix. 791 et .see;.
J. M. Bv.

MESSIAH, FALSE. See Pseudo -Messiah.



MESSINA : Italian city, " at the point of Sicily,
on the strait called Lunii-, which divides Calabria
from Sicily " (" Itinerary " of Benjamin of Tudela).
Its Jewish community may have been founded even
before the destructicni of the Second Temple, al-
though it is first mentioned in the letters of Greg-
ory I. After a long silence the sources again refer
to it, in connection witii a royal decree of 1129, and
about 1170 Benjamin of Tudela found 200 Jews
there on his return from the Holy Land. Tlie Jews
of Messina had the same constitution, rights, and
taxes as all the other Sicilian communities, though
their lot may have been somewhat harder because
the archbishop claimed a certain authority over

In 1347 several Jews were executed on the false
charge of ritual murder, antl their heads were pub-
licly exposed; a marble inscription, "a monument
to the faithless Jews," was subsequently placed in
the cathedral to conunemorate the event. On a sim-
ilar occasion, in 1475, tlic Jews averted a riot only
by the payment of a large sum of money. In 1492
they were expelled from Messina, as well as from
the entire island, tiiough thirty -seven years before,
in 1455, they had in vain attempted to emigrate.

Online LibraryIsidore SingerThe Jewish encyclopedia : a descriptive record of the history, religion, literature, and customs of the Jewish people from the earliest times to the present day (Volume 8) → online text (page 125 of 169)