Dr Leo Newmark
FUNDAMENTAL PRINCIPLES OF MODERN JUDAISM
TOGETHER WITH A MEMOIR OF THE AUTHOR,
AND AN INTRODUCTION:
TO WHICH ARE APPENDED,
A LIST OF THE SIX HUNDRED AND THIRTEEN PRECEPTS :
AND ADDRESSES TO JEWS AND CHRISTIANS.
BY MOSES MARGOLIOUTH,
OF TRINITY COLLEGE, DUBLIN.
TO THE REV. ALEXANDER M'CAUL, D. D., T. C. D.
WITH A PREFACE BY THE REV. HENRY RAIKES, A M.
CHANCELLOR OF THE DIOCESE OF CHESTER.
LONDON : B. WERTHEIM, 13, PATERNOSTER ROW ;
EVANS & DUCKER, CHESTER ;
WILLIAM CURRY, JUN. AND CO. DUBLIN.
PRINTED BY T. THOMAS, EASTQATE ROW, CHESTER.
THE REV. ALEXANDER IVTCAUL, D. D., T. C. D.
PRINCIPAL OF THE HEBREW COLLEGE,
PROFESSOR OF HEBREW AND RABBINICAL LITERATURE,
KING'S COLLEGE, LONDON ;
AND RECTOR OF ST. JAMESES, DUKE^S PLACE, LONDON ;
WHO HAS SO VERY USEFULLY AND ZEALOUSLY
PROMOTED THE CAUSE OF ISRAEL,
AND WHO HAS BEEN THE MEANS, UNDER OOD's BLESSING,
BRINGING MANY WANDERING SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF ZION,
TO THEIR FOLD AND SHEPHERD,
PROVED HIMSELF A TRIED FRIEND OF GOD'S ANCIENT PEOPLE,
IS INSCRIBED AS A MARK OF SINCERK RESPECT AND GRATITUDE,
BY HIS AFFECTIONATE PUPIL,
THE object of the present volume is to bring before the
Christian public some information as to the present state of
religion among the Jews, both with respect to the Cere-
monial and the Moral Law ; and as it may excite some
surprise that there should be room or occasion for such a
publication ; as it seems strange, that the religious prac-
tices, and even the moral principles of a people like the
Jews should be still a subject for enquiry, I feel that the
object of the publication may be assisted, and the prefatory
remarks which I undertook to add may be most conducive
to the purpose proposed, if I endeavour to direct the
reader to the causes which separated the Jews from the
Gentile Church, and have thrown such a cloud over the
usages of God's ancient people.
Up to a certain period the Jews are regarded, and with
justice, as the depositories of all that can be known of
God. To them pertained the adoption, and the glory, and
the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of
God and the promises. Theirs were the fathers, and of
them, as concerning the flesh, Christ came, who is over all,
God blessed for ever.
From them therefore, from the record of their eventful
history, from the pure sublimity of their moral law, from
their ceremonial service, rich in types, and pregnant with
mysterious notices of things not yet revealed ; from the
clearer enunciation of the same future events as delivered
by their prophets, from their predictions increasing in
distinctness and particularity in proportion as the time of
fulfilment drew near ; from these sources the Christian
world has been accustomed to draw the stream, both of the
wisdom and knowledge of God. The Old Testament
Scriptures have been made the basis of all religious attain-
ments ; and the very perfectness of the Gospel scheme was
only understood by those, who contemplating it in connec-
tion with the law and the prophets, saw what it had to do,
and understood the nature of the work it had accom-
plished. When the Canon of the Old Testament Scripture
was closed, and the last prophet had delivered his message,
this source of interest ceased. The Apocryphal books
disclaimed the character of inspiration. There was no
open vision. The moral writings of the later Jews drew
from the canonical Scriptures many excellent truths, much
that was holy and great and good; but they degraded
what they borrowed by mixing it with their own conceits ;
and their best efforts were but faint and feeble echoes of the
wisdom revealed to their forefathers.
As the Jewish Scriptures therefore derived their value
from their divine original, that value ceased when revela-
tion was suspended ; nor was it unnatural that the Chris-
tian world should turn away from the literature of a people
whom they regarded with horror, as the crucifiers of the
Lord of glory, and as the enemies of truth. The first
effect of the Gospel had been unquestionably the conver-
sion of many, and the removal of that wall of partition
which had separated Jew and Gentile; but it seems
probable that as the Jews were the first called, the con-
versions, which took place among them, preceded the in-
gathering of the Gentiles; and that few, comparatively,
of Hebrew origin were added to the Church after the
invitation was extended to the Gentiles. By that time it
had been preached throughout Judea and Samaria, and in
most of the synagogues of the East. They that had ears
to hear, had heard, had been converted and been healed.
The remnant who had resisted the call, were hardened by
resistance ; and their original prejudice against the truth
was aggravated by their jealousy of the heathen converts,
and by the offence that was caused by their neglect of the
law. It is probable therefore, that after the first attempt
at union, the division was widened and confirmed. The
Jews who had rejected the Gospel were more averse from
Christian intercourse than before ; and when the destruc-
tion of Jerusalem and the dispersion of the people took
place, the remnants of the nation, crushed for a time, and
scattered through the East, rose up into separate existence
more obstinately attached than ever to their own religion,
and more hostile to that of the Gospel.
The separation which was thus begun, was not likely to
be overcome. The prejudice with which each party re-
garded the other, gained strength and bitterness in every
succeeding generation. The respect with which the earlier
Fathers were regarded, led the Christian world to follow
their opinions with implicit reverence ; and as it is always
easier for man to yield to the malignant feelings of his
nature than to subdue them ; as it is easier to hate and to
despise others, than to learn the reasons for loving and
honouring them ; the prevailing sentiment among Chris-
tians towards the Jewish people was that of scorn and
abhorrence. In some few cases, as in that of Jerome or of
Origen, the value of Jewish literature was felt as assisting
in the correction or interpretation of the sacred text, and
the help of Jews was sought as essential to the right
understanding of the Scriptures. But in general the
Fathers preferred guessing at the sense of the Old Testa-
ment to consulting the Jewish authorities within their
reach ; and imagination was called in to supply a meaning
which might have been collected with greater accuracy from
those who were acquainted with the original language.
In this way the prediction concerning Israel, that the
people should live alone and not be numbered among the
nations, received a second fulfilment. Eejccted by the
Christian world, who considered it a proof of zeal for God^s
honour to persecute His ancient people ; shut out from all
opportunities of social intercourse; known only to be
hated ; the objects of general scorn when in abject cir-
cumstances, and the objects of general envy when in
affluence ; they were compelled to hide themselves from
observation ; and in secret brooded over the recollections
of former grandeur, or indulged in dreams of future
The Reformation introduced a different state of things,
and ushered in a change which was eventually to alter the
whole character of their condition. The first agents in
that mighty movement referred to the Bible for the
authority of every principle they laid down ; and instead
of the diluted or distorted sense of Scripture which the
writings of the Fathers occasionally presented, they avowed
their determination to go to the fountain head of truth,
and to search the Scriptures for themselves. In entering
on this search they soon found they were entangled with
difficulties, which required a new species of assistance.
The study of the Old Testament in the original led them
to look to the Jews as the most efficient guides ; and they
rightly deemed that its mysteries would be most satisfac-
torily elucidated by the men to whom 'the language was
vernacular, and whose traditional knowledge seemed unbro-
ken. The Rabbins, perhaps, on examination were not
found more satisfactory than the Fathers. If the latter
had gone astray in mystical interpretation and unauthorized
conjectures, the others had entangled themselves in niceties
of verbal criticism, and in idle unmeaning distinctions ;
but a great point was gained, when reference was made
to Jewish authorities ; and the pursuit of truth became
more reasonable, when the sense of Scripture was sought
through those interpretations which alone could give the
real and natural meaning of the text. It still may be a
subject of surprise that after the character of the Jewish
nation had been thus recognized by the Christian world,
and the important office they had filled as Depositories of
the word of God had been acknowledged, so little curiosity
was felt as to their present condition, and their general
opinions. Their value as Interpreters of the word was
admitted. Men felt that the Jews had held the text of
Scripture inviolate in the midst of persecution and disper-
sion and distress ; men admitted the claim to respect,
which their descent involved, and agreed that they held
the keys of knowledge as hereditary interpreters of the Old
Testament Scriptures : but they did not care to penetrate
farther. Repulsed by the apparent disinclination of the
Jews to admit enquiry, and retaining enough of the preju-
dice of by-gone days to believe readily every thing that
was unfavourable; they left them to their superstitious
observances and exclusive habits ; and thought that it was
needless to examine further into the condition of a people,
so uninteresting in manners and habits, and from whom
there appeared to be so little to learn.
And yet we might have thought, that a more enlarged
and enlightened view of things would have led to a
different conclusion. We might have thought, that the
recollection of what had been done in and through their
ancestors, might have secured to the Jews an interest in
every mind, which had tasted the sweetness or felt the
power of the Word of God. If they had been rejected of
God, in consequence of the sin which they had accomplished
in rejecting the Incarnate Son; if they had been cast out
of the privilege which they once enjoyed in exclusive
posession ; and were no longer to be regarded as the people
of God ; they still retained claims on the gratitude of man,
nor had they forfeited their title to general respect and
veneration. The lineal descendants of Patriarchs and
Prophets, belonging to that very nation of whom Christ
came, who is over all God blessed for evermore ; they
might have been contemplated even in the ruin of their
state, with reverence and awe ; but in addition to these
natural claims, it was not unreasonable to think, that
underneath the ruins of their civil and religious Polity, were
hid treasures both of wisdom and knowledge, which would
amply reward the labour bestowed on their investigation.
The peculiar character of the people, their separate and
distinct existence, the firmness with which they had always
clung to every national usage, and the obstinacy with
which they had resisted the influence of the world : all
these facts might have justified the expectation that tradi-
tional knowledge would have preserved among the Jews,
many memorials of early history, many important moral
truths, many valuable illustrations of Scripture ; and might
have led men to anticipate the opening of a new stream of
light for themselves in free and confidential intercourse
with the Jewish people.
We must perhaps admit that experience does not prove
that these anticipations were just. The labour that has
been bestowed on the theology of Judaism ; the diligence
with which the rabbinical writings have been explored and
investigated, has been, to speak generally, in vain. Little
has been found where much was expected ; and the little
that has been found, has been so entangled by the perverse
ingenuity of their minds, that its application is neither easy
nor certain. The readers of Lightfoot, whose efforts in
this line are the most obvious, are dazzled by discoveries
which are more specious than real. Illustrations are
suggested which on trial disappoint expectation ; and the
chief satisfaction derived from the study of Lightfoot's
volumes, is the assurance, that much cannot be learnt, where
so much industry has brought to light so little that is
The present volume will probably strengthen the convic-
tion which had been previously formed. The man who
approaches these records of modern Judaism, with the hope
thatjyanghall discover the gold or the silver of the tabernacle,
buried in the ruins of the Temple, or buity into the fabric
of the Synagogue, will be grievously disappointed. The
mantle of the Prophets has not fallen on their countrymen ;
and the withdrawal of the gift of inspiration is signalized
and made more manifest, by the change of all that used
to command respect and veneration in their written
records. Sampson when shorne of that in which his great
strength lay, when blinded and set to grind in the mill, did
not differ so much from the Sampson who wrought won-
ders in Israel, and turned to flight the armies of aliens,
as the writings of the later Jews differ from those of their
inspired fathers. If any resemblance can be traced, it is
that which is caused by servile imitation ; or if there are
passages which bear the mark of Jewish intellect, and
seem capable of proving its identity with that which we
have studied and admired in the Old Testament Scriptures,
we are compelled to feel, that we only meet with the
Jewish mind in dotage, when we study it in Judaism.
But though the present volume offers little to re-
ward the reader in the way of direct instruction ; and is
calculated rather to satisfy curiosity by information, than
to add to the knowledge of truth ; there is an indirect
lesson to be derived from it of the highest importance ; and
truths may be learnt from the disappointment of expecta-
tion, which under God's blessing will be most beneficial to
the Christian reader. The object of this little volume is
to exhibit Judaism in its present aspect ; to shew us what
are the reliances of the modern Jews ; the grounds on
which they hope for present favour and future mercy ;
and the views they entertain of the divine will towards
man. To us, who know what their former hopes and con-
fidences were ; who are familiar with those Scriptures
which were originally revealed for their instruction ; and
who know the use and purpose to which they were applied ;
the first impression which the book produces must be
wonder at the degradation which the people has under-
gone, and at the debasement of their mind and feelings.
We stand lost in astonishment at the blindness which lutb
happened to Israel ; and are led to ask ourselves, how it
was possible, that a nation which possessed the Scriptures,
and recognized the authority of Scripture, could have
wandered so far from the plain meaning of Scripture,
or sunk so far below the tone and the standard of truth.
A fact of such importance ought not to be passed over
without attention, or to be dismissed without reflection,
and as it seems possible to deduce from this humiliating
and painful picture of the Jewish mind, inferences that
may be profitable to the Christian world at present, a few
words may be given to the consideration of the causes
which have produced this state of things, and led to this
general prostration of moral and intellectual power.
At the period when we last catch sight of the Jewish
people in the Gospel narrative, their character seems in a
special degree to have been carnal mindedness. The
dulness of their minds, the grossness of their views, their
inaptitude for all spiritual representations, and their
proneness to admit all low and fleshly explanations that
could be imagined, are the continued subjects of reproof
from our Lord and His apostles. Their dislike of all the
peculiar blessedness of the Gospel scheme, led to that
bitter hatred with which they rejected His offers, and those
of the first evangelists ; and the Scripture narrative offers
no hope that any change had been effected on the people
by the evidence of power and of truth which followed His
If we separate the Jewish character from the circum-
stances by which the nation was surrounded, and speculate
on the manner in which such a mind would act on such
means as were possessed by them, the event does not seem
to differ widely from that which we might have expected; nor
are the errors of Judaism anything more than the natural
growth of minds and tempers such as theirs, when placed
in -similar circumstances. It seems possible therefore, ar-
from what we see in them ; it seems possible that the
Scriptures may be possessed and read ; and still may be
read in such a manner, and turned to such a purpose by
the reader, that the mind instead of being enlightened by
what is read, and made wise unto salvation by what is
learnt, shall be perplexed and lost in the intricacy of a
way which needs a guide in order to be properly under-
stood ; and which, clear as daylight itself to some, shall be
darkness visible to others. " The light of the body," said
our blessed Lord, " is the eye ; if therefore thine eye be
single, thy whole body shall be full of light ; but if thine
eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If
therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great
is that darkness !" Mat. vi. 22, 23.
Nor is this example inapplicable to the state of things
among ourselves at present, and to the error which prevails
where acquaintance with Scripture language is often mis-
taken for religion ; and men assume as certain that they
know the truth, without having considered in what sense,
or in what degree the truth has made them free.
But a still more affecting remark is forced upon us, when
we see the tendency that there is in man to draw from Scrip-
ture, comments or conclusions of his own, and to substitute
these for the simpler original ; teaching for doctrines the tra-
ditions of men. In no case has this been more remarkably
instanced than in the Jews, and in none has the effect of
the practice been more pernicious. The isolated character
of the people which shut them out from any indirect or
collateral illumination, left them to suffer the full conse-
quences of their error, when they thus began to deal deceit-
fully with the written word; and the state, to which they
have been reduced, the mental bondage under which they
have been groaning, and which has held all their powers in
subjection, proves the magnitude as well as the pernicious
character of the influence which has been exercised upon
them by tradition.
There was a period in the History of the Christian Church,
when the Schoolmen exercised the same species of do-
minion in Europe, which the Talmudists have possessed on
Judaism ; and corresponding effects were at that time produ-
ced. The gracious providence of God ordained a check for
this delusion in our case: and the collision of mind which
grew out of the state of Society, and the political divisions
of Christendom, became the means of a general awakening
and eventually led to the Reformation. But with the Jews
there was no remedial process of this sort in existence.
Separated from intercourse with other nations; shut up
within the limits of their own prejudices, they had no
means of escaping from the bondage which the Talmudical
writers had imposed ; and every year that passed rivetted
the chains by which they were held in slavery. But the
mind itself suffers by the restraint which is imposed on its
operations, just as the body is stinted of its fair propor-
tions, if not allowed to expand itself freely, and to yield to
the tendency of growth ; and the intellect of a people may
be so affected by the arbitrary limits placed on public edu-
cation, that it shall either sink into weakness, or else shall
be found to waste its strength in laborious triflings and un-
The Volume before us exhibits a painful but instructive
instance of this sort of effect. We see here the wisdom of
that people, which was once the source of light to mankind,
occupied about such observances as that of Phylacteries, and
accumulating such a mass of trifles as the Six Hundred and
Thirteen Precepts. We may say, in contemplating such a
spectacle, Lord, what is man! and we must turn away
humbled and confounded by this exhibition of human
weakness; but we must not neglect to mark the cause
which has produced this degradation, and to watch against
its operation on ourselves. It would indeed appear as if the
Jewish people was ordained under every dispensation to offer
examples to others ; exhibitions of the goodness of God or
of His severity ; instances of the elevation to which man
may be raised by the influence of the Spirit, or of the
degradation to which he may be reduced when allowed to
follow the leadings of his own perverted intellect, and left
for a season to himself. But in either case the lesson
which God is pleased to give should be studied and noted ;
and if we see, as in the present volume, the extent of
error to which man can be sunk with regard to the effi-
cacy of ceremonial observances, and his blindness as to
moral truth ; and find the error and the blindness alike
proceeding from undue respect to traditional knowledge ;
we may gain a godly jealousy of all such unauthorised
additions to the rule of life, and may be led to watch
with greater diligence against all encroachments on the
word of truth.
LIST OF SUBSCRIBERS.
HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS THE PRINCE ALBERT,
His GRACE THE LORD ARCHBISHOP OF YORK.
His GRACE THE LORD ARCHBISHOP OF ARMAGH.
THE RIGHT REVEREND THE LORD BISHOP OF DURHAM.
THE RIGHT REVEREND THE LORD BISHOP OF CHESTER.
THE RIGHT REVEREND THE LORD BISHOP OF BANGOR.
THE RIGHT REVEREND THE LORD BISHOP OF RIPON. (2 copies.)
THE RIGHT REVEREND THE LORD BISHOP OF ST. DAVID'S.
THE RIGHT REVEREND THE LORD BISHOP OF MEATH. (2 copies.)
THE RIGHT REVEREND THE LORD BISHOP or KILDARE.
Acland, Lady, Killerton.
Adair, Miss, Miltown grange.
Annisley, Countess, Donard Lodge.
Archer, "llev. W., Newcastle, Ireland.
Ashley, Right. Hon. Lord, r.I.P. (3 c.)
Awdry, Rev. E., Chippenham.
Ayling, Rev. H., Guiklfor.l.
Bagot, Rev. D., Edinburgh.
Ball, Miss, Dublin.
Ball, Miss M., Dublin.
Ball, Miss L., Dublin.
Barber, Rev. , Louth.
Barclay, Rev. J. T.
Baring, lit Hon. Sir T., Bart. (5 copies.)
Barker, Rev. S. C., York.
Barne, Rev. H., Seend, nr. Melksham.
Bascombe, Rev. , Colbourne.
Batchellor, Rev. , Downside,
Bates, Rev. J. E., Brighton.
Batty, , Esq., Liverpool.
Baylee, Rev. J., Woodside.
Beaky, Dr., Bath.
Beamish, Rev. H. H., London.
Beaufort, Dowager Duchess of, (2 cop.)
Beaufort, Rev. D. A., London.
Benn, Rev. J., Portarlington.
Bickersteth, Rev. E., Walton.
Bigging, Mrs., Bath.
Bingham, Rev. R., Gosport.
Birks, Rev. T. R., Fell. T. C. Camb.
Blackburn & Whalley Clerical Society.
Blackeney, , Esq.
Boutflower, Rev. H. C., Bury, Lane.
Boutflower, C. Esq., Liverpool.
Brodie, Mrs,, Liverpool.
Brooks, Rev. J. W., Retford.
Brown, Rev. T. B. L., Flint.
Bryans, R. Esq., Liverpool.
Bryans, Rev. F., Backford.
Buddicom, Rev. R. P., P. of St, Bees.
Bush, Rev. C. S., Runcorn.
Butler, Rev. W., Liverpool.
Cameron, Rev. C., Dudley.
Campbell, Rev. Dr. J,, Forkhill.
Carleton, F. Ksq., Sydenham.
Carleton, Mrs., Sydenham.
Carter, Rev. T., Liverpool.
Cams, Rev. W., Cambridge.
Cashd, Rev. F., Forkhill.
Caulson, W. Esq., Lisburne.
Cholmondeley,MostHon. Marquess (2c)
Cholmondeley, Marchioness of.
Cholmeley, Mrs., Howsham, nr. York.
Churchill, Rev. , Strickland.
Clarke, Rev. W., Chester.
Clarke, W. Esq., Queens' Coll. Camb.
Claughton, Rev. J. L., Kidderminster.
Cleaver, Mr. W. T., London,
Colborno, Rev. J., Marston Sicca.
Coldwell, Rev. VV. E., Stafford.
Colter, Rev, J. R., Coachford.
Connor, Rev. R., Liverpool.
Cooke, Dr., Cheltenham.
Cooke, Miss., York.
Coote, Rev. A,, Chester.
Copeland, H. Esq., Liverpool.