J. (Joshua) Abelson.

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Licht, Wahrheit, Leben, Glaube, Liebe, Hoffnung, von Erkenntniss und
Unverganglichkeit, von Pradestination und neuer Geburt (bis zu Formulierungen
hin, die als Eigentum des ' Johannes ' bzw. auch des Apostels Paulus gelten
und daher als Erzeugnisse des Geistes Christi eschienen) nicht ' christlich '
sondern bereits vorchristlich sind. " And by " vorchristlich " he implies, as he
says further on (p. 119) " Es hat, wie wir nun gelernt haben, im Spiitjudentum
einen Kreis von Mystikern gegeben, der in den religiosen Erfahrungen und Ideen
lebte, die die Grundlage der johanneischen Tlieologie bilden." Harnack will
not even have it that the Logos of the Prologue of the Gospel is essentially
Greek, and apart from the Prologue, says he, there is nothing really Hellenic
about the Gospel. What the author of the Fourth Gospel has done is to make
Christ "die personliche Verkiirpei-ung " of these current Jewish mystical notions ;
and he has preserved as we have maintained, the strict Jewish monotheistic
teaching. Harnack's view as to the Odes has been disputed, but this does not
destroy the force of his opinion as to the Jewish associations of the Fourtli


and terrors of the mount, saw Him invisible in excess
of light, and heard Him whispering indistinctly in
the separate events of history, a factor incalculable,
mysterious, awful." ^^^^ We might apply exactly the
same phraseology to the revolution effected in the
religious life of the Jew, once the immanent view of
God, as expressed in the Kabbalah, gained the ascend-
ancy in the Middle Ages over the exaggerated dry
formalism of Talmudical dialectics/"^^ And the Kabbalah
is, after all, but a normal and legitimate outgrowth
of the old Rabbinic hterature. The Shechinah of the
Talmud, the Metatron ^^°^ of the Gaonic-mystical litera-
ture, the "active intelligence" of Gabirol and Mai-
monides, the "Ten Sephiroth " ^^^^ of the Kabbalists are
all warp and woof of one and the same texture — they
are homogeneous elements of Jewish thought concerning
the Divine Immanence.


(1) See Levy N. H. Worterbuch and M. Jastrow's Dictionary. A
Targumic synonym for Memra is " Dibbura," which is rarely found.
When found it is nearly always in the Pseudo-Jonathan and not Onkelos,
e.g. Genesis xxviii. 10, "m .xnm mm '^V^n p, " For the reason that the
'Dibbur' was desirous of speaking with him." Similarly Exodus xxxiii. 11,
Numbers vii. 89, all in Pseudo-Jonathan. Cj). Talmudic phrases like
" Out of every ' Dibbur,' which escapes from God's mouth, an angel is
created" (T. B. Haggigah 14a); "The Dibbur was not with Moses"
(B. Bathra 121b) until the rebellious Israelites had perished (Deuteronomy
iL 16).

(2) R. Jeremiah (or, according to another version, R. Hiya bar Abba)
said, " The Targum to the Pentateuch was composed by the proselyte
Onkelos at the dictation of R. Eliezer and R. Joshua (T. B. Megillah 3a)."
Jonathan ben Uziel is named as Hillel's most prominent pupil (Sukkah
28a ; B. Bathra 134a). There is an elaborate article on this interesting
but difficult subject by Bacher in vol. xii. of the Jewish Encyclopo'dia.
See also M. Friedmann, Onkelos and Akylas, pp. 96-104. Introduction
to 13^ nrn:, by Dr. N. M. Adler ; Field's great work, Origenis Hexaplorum
quae supersunt, Oxford, 1875, is a mine of information for this knotty
problem concerning the relations between the Greek and Aramaic


(3) In the Targumim, one finds not only the exact reproductions of
Rabbinic translations of verses of the Bible, but also Halachas, as e.g.
in Deut. xxi. 8, " Be merciful, O Lord, unto Thy people Israel," which
Onkelos renders : " The priests shall say. Be merciful, O Lord, unto Thy
people Israel," which is a Mishna to be found in T. B. Sotah 46a.

(4) Of course Memra does not always carry a theological connotation.
It sometimes means the ordinary words of men in ordinary speech. For
instance, "according to the commandment of Pharaoh" (Genesis xlv. 21)
is given as, " By the Memra of Pharaoh " ; or " He will not hearken
unto our voice " (Deut. xxi. 20) is rendered, " He will not receive our

(5) Maimonides seems to have taken this view, for which he was
severely criticised by Nahmanides in his Commentary on the Pentateuch
(Genesis xlvi. 4). Abarbanel, however, in his Commentary on the
Moreh defends him. In chap, xxvii. of his Moreh, Maimonides says :
" Onkelos the proselyte, who was thoroughly acquainted with the Hebrew
and Chaldaic languages, made it his task to ojipose the belief in God's
corporeality. Accordingly any expression employed in the Pentateuch
in reference to God and in any way implying corporeality, he paraphrases
in consonance with the context." The implication here is, that the
periphrasis with Memra would have, as its sole object, the avoidance of
anthropomorphism. This is shown by Nahmanides to be false. Weber
in his Jiidische Theologie, 1897, pp. 180-184, attempts a sketch of the
subject of anthropomorphism, but his points of view are too biassed for
acceptance. Maybaum's work. Die Anthropomorphien und Anthropopathien
bei Onkelos (Breslau, 1870) sets up elaborate rules for guidance in our
understanding of the subject, but they do not seem to hold good always.
The difficulty is, as Bacher points out, that there is no uniformity
in the printed versions of the Targumim. It is often impossible to say
whether a word found in one version of Onkelos does not really belong
to another version of Pseudo-Jonathan and vice versa.

(6) If the sole object were the avoidance of anthropomorphism, says
Nahmanides, it should have been rendered either "n mp p ncNrri or xnpi
"m Nnp' or "n 'ynm,

(7) Similarly in Genesis viii. 21, "And the Lord smelt a sweet
savoiu'," the Targum has, " And the Lord accepted with pleasure, etc."
After all, one cannot see less anthropomorj)hism in saying that " God
accepts " than that " God smells."

(8) Chapter Ixvi. of the Moreh (Part I.) is devoted to an exposition of
the phrase " finger of God " in Exodus xxxi. 1 8. Maimonides sees here
the difficulty of maintaining the theory he had previously laid down.
Pushed for an explanation, he says that the phrase " finger of God '' is
identical with " written by the word of God," and if this latter phrase
had been used it would have been equal to " written by the will and
desire of God " ("n ysni). But surely this is merely a case of begging the
question ! Once you interpret these human acts of God in terms of will
or desire on the part of God that such and such should take place, then
the whole structure of the problem of anthropomorphism is blown away
like a house of cards ! Maimonides goes on to admit that " it would have


been more reasonable to say ' written by the Memra of God.' " And lie
then suggests that just as the " stars in the spheres " were made by the
direct will of God, not " by means of an instrument," the writing may also
have been produced by His direct will, not " by means of an instrument."
This is in accordance with Maimonides' theory of distinctions between
things created by the immediate Divine action and those fashioned by
what he calls t<i3j nix, " a light specially created for the purpose." It is
just this latter that is the butt of Nahmanides' attack, since Nahmanides
holds the view of the presence and work of God in all parts of creation :
the immanent view.

(9) See Moreh I. chap, xlviii. Speaking of the Targumic usage of
nKT = "to see," Maimonides remarks, "His renderings vary in a remark-
able manner, and I am unable to discern his principle or method."
Maimonides eventually frames certain principles which he imagines
Onkelos to pursue, but these he confesses are weakened by obvious
exceptions to the rules. His remark, " It appears to me that in these
passages there is a mistake which has crept into the copies of the Targum,
since we do not possess the Targumim in the original manuscript of
Onkelos," is an excellent anticipation of the modern critical reading
of Targumic literature. An instance of the ditficidties which the
student meets on this head is well afforded by the following. Nah-
manides (Genesis xlvi. 4) quotes the verse, " The Lord thy God He
passeth before thee " (Deut. xxxi. 3) as being rendered literally by
Onkelos. But this is not the case in the versions we have. In Onkelos
the Memra is inserted, Pseudo-Jonathan has Shechinah. This shows
editing. There can also be no doubt that the Targumim contain many
extraneous elements (see Professor Bacher's article " Targum " in voL xii.
of Jeioish Encyclopedia).

(10) This remark of Nahmanides is modelled on Daniel xii. 10,
i3'3' D'y^E'sni. The "Maskilim" is a title given to the Kabbalists
(c'^aipc) who studied the Sefer Yetsirah, a Mishna-like text-book of the
Gaonic period, containing mystic doctrines of God's relation to the
universe. Nahmanides frequently uses another expression ]n 'ynv in a
similar sense. This is because the Kabbalah is called mnoj na^n (" hidden
wisdom ") and the initials of these two words make up the word jn. The
phrase is an ingenious adaption of the two words in Ecclesiastes ix. 1 1.

(11) See Weiss, Dor iv. 12 et seq. ; Perles in Monatsschrift vii. 81
et seq. ; Shechter's essay on Nahmanides (in Studies in Judaism, i. pp. 120
et seq.).

(12) It is interesting to note how Nahmanides reduces Maimonides'
argument about Shechinah to a reductio ad absurdum. The latter
maintains that Shechinah is a mystical kind of light — ni^j tix or xna: nuD
— a mystical halo of glory which is something external to the Deity
{Moreh i. 27). If this were true, says he, liow can the rendering
of Jonathan b. Uziel on Ezekiel iii. 12, n'nrDE' n'3 -inxo "m Nip' ina, be
justified ? The "m Nip' and the n'm'DB- n'a nnx would be external to one
another ; if the former means God, as it certainly does, then the latter
cannot. It must mean some adjunct to God. How then can the term
-i'-i3, " blessed be," be applied here ? To invoke a blessing upon an


adjunct to the Deity is equivalent to idolatry, and surely Ezekiel could
not be guilty of this oflfence ?

(13) Nalimanides here quotes a passage from Genesis Rabba on this
verse, where R. Abba b. Kahana says that the peculiar usage of the
Hithpael I'^nno (and not the Kal iVno) shows that it is an allusion to the
going away of the Shechinah on account of Adam's sin. But he
(Nalimanides) disagrees with this view, and says that it is an allusion to
the revelation of the Shechinah. Cp. Onkelos on Isaiah vi. 8.

(14) Cp. Onkelos on Jeremiah xxxix. 18, xlix. 11.

(15) Cp. the remark in Exodus Rabba i. 29 where an opinion states,
with regard to Moses smiting the Egyptian, " he pronounced the name
of God over him and slew him." In Song of Songs Rabba i. 4 the
Israelites at Mou.nt Sinai are said to have received a wonderful rod on
which the cmsan oc (Tetragrammaton) was engraved. The legends of
the negotiations between Solomon and the demon Asmodeus contain
allusions to the powers exercised by the Divine Name.

(16) The subject also proved a fascinating one to the mediaeval Jewish
philosophers. Ibn Ezra on Exodus iii. 15 has an elaborate excursus in
which he characteristically brings his astronomical, mathematical, and
grammatical powers to the elucidation of the subject. Jehuda Ha-Levi
devotes much space to it in the Kusari (iv. 1-3) ; so does Maimonides, in
his Moreh i. 61, also in his Yad ; section " Yesode-ha-Torah," vi. 2.

(17) The names of the angels were a favoiu'ite study of the Essenes.
See J.Q.R., 1898, pp. 1-45, for Conybeare's translations of the Testament
of Solomon. All sorts of magical cures were effected by a knowledge of
these names. (See Blau's work, Das alt-judische Zcncberwesen, passim.)
The Alphabet of E. Akiba, which is a Midrash on the names of the letters
of the Hebrew alphabet, treats also very largely of the mysteries of the
names of God. In his Beth-Hamidrash, iii. 12-49, 50-64, Jellinek has
published the two extant versions of the Alphabet. The mediaeval Kabbalists
never tired of harping on the theme. What Graetz (Eng. trans, iv. p. 5) says
of the Kabbalistic system of Abraham Abulafia (1240-1291) is true of all
these systems generally : " To decompose the words of Holy Writ and
especially of the all-hallowed Name of God, to use these letters as inde-
pendent notions (Notaricon) . . . these were the means of securing
commimion with the Spirit-world."

(18) Cp. Onkelos on 1 Kings viii. 50 ; Isaiah i. 2, 16; Hosea v. 7,
vi 7.

(19) Nahmanides on Exodus xxxiii. 14, which belongs to the same
context, says, " It is impossible to understand this passage unless one has
previously acquainted himself with the esoteric doctrines of the Torah."

(20) See Marti, Isaiah Ixiii. 14 ; also Ibn Ezra ad he.

(21) It is curious that in Numbers xv. 31, " For He hath despised the
word of the Lord," whereas Onkelos uses Memra, the Jerusalem Targum
gives HND-ip ND^nE, " the first Commandment," alluding to the first of the
Ten Commandments, which was infringed by this act of blasphemy, the
punishment for which is "cutting off" according to Rabbinic law (T. B.
Sanhedrin 64b). Neither Targum seems, however, to attach any
theological sense to the " Word."

xm NOTES 171

(22) Cp. similar usage of .T^D^■:a an in 1 Samuel xv. 11.

(23) Of course the Targuniim use other expressions in a very similar
significance to Memra. These are (1) Shechinah, as I have frequently
pointed out. (2) Yekara, e.g. Pseudo-Jon. xii. 23 (cp. this with xii. 29 ;
in latter it is Yekara, wliereas in the former, it is Memra which smites).
Onkelos and Pseudo-Jon. on Genesis xxviii. 13, xvii. 22 (on this latter
Nahmanides makes the mystical remark "that the Patriarchs are the
chariot of God," and ends up with the phrase pa' S'at'Dni, which is the
usual indication of Nahmanides that he is drawing a Kabbalistic inter-
pretation from the words of Scripture). (3) Yekar Shechinah (usually in
Onkelos it is spelt ip', but in Pseudo-Jon. it is also frequently ip'x). See
Onkelos, Numbers x. 33, 34, Pseudo-Jon. xiv. 14 ; also Exodus xxxiii. 22
(Jerushalmi), Leviticus xvi. 2 (Pseudo-Jon.), etc.

(24) Travers Herford in his Christianity in Talmud and Midrash,
London, 1903, points out how the polemics of the Rabbis in the period
of the rise of Christianity were directed mainly against dualism
(page 395).

(25) Sometimes as many as nine pre-existent things are enimierated,
the two additional ones being (a) the Patriarchs, (b) Israel (based on
Psalm Ixxiv. 2, "Thy congregation which Thou hast created from the
beginning"). Some sources mention also a tenth — the Holy Land, "the
bn rm£3j;E'NT first of the dusts of the world" (Proverbs viii. 26 curiously
literal rendering of the Hebrew). See for all these T, B. Nedarim 39b ;
Genesis Eabba i. 3 ; Pirke R. Eliezer iii. ; Midrash Tillini Psalm Ixxiv. ;
Sifre Deut. 37, etc.

In Apocalyptic literature, especially the Slavonic Enoch (R. H,
Charles, 1896), the Apocalypse of Baruch {idem 1896), and 2 Esdras
there are many parallel sayings.

(26) The Spirit of God which moved upon the face of the waters
(Gen. i. 2) is the Spirit of the Messiah (Genesis Rabba viii. 1). The
Pesikta Rabbati (Friedmann's edition, Vienna, 1880), p. 161b, referring
to Psalm xxxvi. 9, " For with Thee is the fountain of life ; in Thy light
shall we see light," as well as to Genesis i. 4, says, " God beheld the
Messiah and His deeds before the creation of the world, but He hid Him
and His generation under His throne of glory." In the Slavonic Enoch
there are several statements to the effect that Messiah was hidden and
preserved by God (xlii. 6-7, xlvi. 1-3, etc.). For this idea of "hiding"
cp. what is said in T. B. Haggigah 12a about God hiding the primaeval
light for the benefit of the saints in the future time. Here again we
have, by the way, a linking up of the ideas of Light and Messiah.

(27) For this usage of th' see Levy's and Jastrow's Dictionaries.
Onkelos on Genesis xxvi. 10 renders cyri nnx by Noya nn'm, "the dis-
tinguished one among the people " (followed by Rashi ad loc). See also
Genesis Rabba xcix. 11, "Dan shall judge his people as one (nnxa) of the
tribes of Israel," i.e. D'^aB-ac ^^vDa " as the most prominent, elect, among
the tribes, viz. Judah." The term inron cv applied to God means " the
Distinguished Name," i.e. the Tetragrammaton which is marked off by a
special sanctity from the other Divine names. In T. B. Sanhedrin 60a
Rashi distinctly says that it is an equivalent of E-i^tcn cr. S. Munk in


liis translation of Maimonides' Moreh (vol. i. chap. Ixi.) is of opinion
that the ty-iiBon Dts- meant " le nom de Dieu distinctement prononce," but
this is very improbable (see Dr. Friedlander's note in vol. i. of his Guide
of the Perplexed, p. 226). It has been pointed out by (among others)
Bacher in his Terminologie, p. 71, and in his article "Shem-Ha-Meforash"
in vol. xi. of the Jewish Encyclopcedia, that the Sifri on Numbers vi. 27
has " Shem-Ha-Meforash," whereas on the same passage T. B. Sotah 38a
has " Shem-Ha-Meyuhad." This goes a long way towards disproving the
view of Munk. There is a similar usage of " Yahid " in the Babylonian
Talmud as e.g. Yoma 23a, "the Yahid may eat and drink as soon as it
gets dark." Here it signifies " the learned," those specially distinguished
for their religious and intellectual pre-eminence. In Ta'anith 10a there
occurs the remark, " It is not every one who wishes to make himself a
Yahid that may do so." The sense is similar.

(28) Personal Idealism and Mysticism, p. 91. Inge's view of the
Fourth Gospel is excellently summed up in his words : " The life, death,
and resurrection of the Word of God were not a solitary event, not an
unique portent, but the supreme vindication of an universal law. It is
exemplified and re-enacted in little, in every human soul among the
elect" (p. 82).

(29) This must not be taken to mean that the Kabbalah superseded
the Talmud. Both were cultivated side by side, as is proved by the fact
that such eminent Talmudists as Nahmanides, Joseph Caro, Isserles,
and others were students and admirers of Kabbalah. There need be no
natural repugnance between these two departments of Jewish scholarship.
Wherever the two are antagonistic to one another, as was the case with
the followers of Sabbatai Tsevi (1626-1676), and later with the Baal-
Shem and his pupils, who founded the sect known as the " Hassidim,"
the movement was largely an artificially engineered one, becoming
ultimately a party matter, and degenerating, in many instances, into an
unmeaning and unlovely extravagance in religious belief and practice.
(See Shechter's essay on " Chassidim " in Studies in Judaism, i. pp.

(30) References to Metatron are to be found in Talmudic and Mid-
rashic literature as well as in the Apocalyptic Midrashim, which have
been collected by Jellinek in his Beth-Hamidrash, and in the Zohar.
He, more than any other of the vast hierarchy of semi-Divine beings,
seems to have been invested with cosmic functions and usually called
" prince of the world." (See T. B. Hullin 60a.) There are some
interesting remarks on the subject in a Tosefoth on T. B. Hiillin 60a
where the author rejects the view that Metatron is identical with Enoch,
as held by some authorities (cp. the role played by Enoch in the
Apocrypha), and refers to a quaint passage in the Liturgy for the last
day of Tabernacles (min nnoe'), which reads, " Metatron the mighty prince,
he who was changed from flesh into fire, the giver of instruction to the
children of him who was handed over to the fire [Abraham]." The
phrase "giver of instruction" is an allusion to T. B. Aboda Zarah 3b,
where Metatron is described as sharing with God in the work of giving
religious instruction to the school children. With this groundwork of


wonder-working, it is easy to understand how, in rnediajval Jewish
mysticism, Metatron came to play a prominent part not unmixed with a
cousiderable amount of i)ure superstition. Bousset on pp. 347-348 has
some interesting remarks on the relations between Metatron, Enoch, and
the Christian ideas of " son of man," " son of God," etc. etc.

(31) The Ten Sephiroth are part of the doctrine of "emanation,"
which is the corner-stone of the mediaeval Kabbalah. It figures prom-
inently in the philosophy of the Alexandrian Neo-Platonists, and was
adopted l)y many mediaeval Jewish thinkers, e.g. Ibn Gabirol, as the
basis of tlieir theological speculations. Although belonging, as I have
said, to the same order of thought as the Talmudic Shechinah or Memra,
it marks a distinct advance upon them in so far that it is a carefully
worked-out philosophical idea. It maintains that God being unchange-
able. He cannot be regarded as the Creator of existent being.s, since the
act of creating involves change. Therefore the world is the result of the
"emanations," the successive outfiowings from the Deity. The world
and mankind are thus an embodiment, a revelation of God.



In the Biblical, Apocryphal, and Rabbinical literature
three expressions are sometimes used as synonyms and
sometimes with differing connotations, viz. : (1) Spirit,
(2) the Spirit of God, (3) the Holy Spirit. The two
former abound in the Old Testament both in its pre-
exilic and post-exilic books ; and also in the Apocrypha.
They are not commonly met with in the Talmud and
Midrash. It is the "Holy Spirit" that is found in
these latter writings. It is found occasionally also in
the Apocrypha ; but in the Old Testament there are
only two references to it. These are (1) Psalm li. 11,
" Cast me not away from Thy presence, and take not
Thy Holy Spirit from me"; (2) Isaiah Ixiii. 10, 11,
" But they rebelled, and vexed His Holy Spirit. . . .
Where is He that put His Holy Spirit within him ? "

It is necessary to know something of the relationship
between these three terms, because, belonging as they
do, to differing branches of Jewish literature, they stand
for different phases of thought and doctrine.

Spirit is m~i and in the LXX Trvevfxa. But the LXX
ofttimes has another rendering, and this gives us the
clue to the many-sided interpretation which must be

* My object in this chapter is rather to bring out the Rabbinic (and
Targumic) methods of interpreting the O.T. aUusions to Spirit.



placed on the usage of Spirit in the Old Testament. It
is sometimes rendered dve^io^, sometimes Ovfj,6<i, sometimes
TTvoi], and twice by ^vx^]* To go minutely and scien-
tifically into the correlations of these terms, and to
examine their relation to the Hebrew synonyms, m~i, iODD,
and nnm:, would require a whole essay to itself — and it
is an essay well worth attempting. What I intend
doing is, to tabulate the diff"erent senses in which the
word " Spirit" (mi) occurs in the O.T, noting some of
the most striking characteristics as they occur.

(1) In the mere physical sense of wind. Examples
are too numerous and well known to mention. ^^^ A^.B. —
It ought, however, to be noted here that in the opinion
of the Targum and of Ibn Ezra the phrase in Genesis
i. 2, "And the Spirit of God moved upon the face
of the waters," should be translated, " And a wind of
God moved upon the face of the waters."

The Targum on the passage is, "And a wind from
before God blew upon the face of the waters " ; and Ibn
Ezra's opinion is j'Dni n^Sc? invn ~nni7i ''n ^n rtMn -\i2d
D"^Dn my^h ''rr, i.e. " the text makes the wind belong
to God, because it was a messenger of His will to dry
up the waters," Ibn Ezra obviously basing his idea on
Psalm civ. 4.^"^ And yet the Eabbinical interpretation
would seem to accord rather with the ordinarily accepted
rendering " Spirit" and not " wind."

[This interpretation is given in T, B. Haggigah
12a as : " The Throne of Glory was standing in the
air and ' brooding ' over the face of the water by means
of the breath of the mouth of God and by His Word,
as a dove that broods over its nest." In a note on
a previous page, I have already dwelt on the mysticism
associated with the "Throne" in Rabbinic literature.
In his article on " Holy Spirit" in Hastings' Dictionary

* According to Hatch, also al/xa.


of the Bible, Dr. Swete, quoting from Cheyne's Origin
of the Psalter, p. 322, says that " it is not the wind, but
the Divine energy, that is regarded as vitalising the
germs which the Divine Word is about to call forth."
This is an apt commentary on the Rabbinical view.

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