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Moses and the Prophets representing the providential tendency of the race, and external polytheistic influences conspiring with the self-willed, stiff-necked disposition of a people inclined to rebel against authority and refusing steadfast obedience. But the seed-truth of inspiration God had not sown in unfruitful soil. The triumph of Mosaism in the Hebrew branch of the Semitic races dates from the Captivity at Babylon. The calamities and sorrows which attended that national disaster produced a deeper revolution in the religious consciousness of the descendants of Isaac, than the voice and authority of Moses and the Prophets had been able to effect. Sunk to earth beneath the burdens of Babylon, the Israelite turned to the God of his fathers for deliverance. From exile amid hostile pantheists, he came back an indomitable monotheist. Mosaism, which in the Hebrew period had never obtained an entire acceptance with the nation, now became incarnate in it; the Law, continually violated by the Hebrew, has become to the Jew the single code by which he regulates his life.
Reverence for the sacred teachings filled the Jewish mind. There arose a superstitious regard for the name of the Deity, whose worship they inculcated. The Essenes and Alexandrians began to speculate on the first principle and the production of things. The Chaldaic paraphrases and the renderings of the Seventy indicate the growing pressure of a supposed necessity for doing away the theophanies and the anthropomorphisms of the Hebrew text of the sacred books, which gave an air of too great familiarity to the relations existing between the Divine Majesty and the creatures of his power. Insensibly, the God of the Jews became an abstract God. He is more God as he is more different from humanity, and less in connection with its miseries and the imperfections of created things. An abyss lies between God and the world. It must be filled by intermediate beings or powers, a doctrine concerning which now developed and formulated itself. That Power which was the chief of all, and, so to speak, the Résumé of all, was called the Word. To this Being are attributed nearly all the attributes of God. He would be God, were he not subordinate to the ineffable Spirit. God alone has the unenviable privilege of sitting far removed from all things which he has caused to be created and to be moved through the instrumentality of intermediate beings, himself immovable.
It is a generally diffused opinion, that the doctrine of the Word was peculiar to Alexandrian Judaism. Not so. The tendencies to this doctrine are plainly discoverable in all the different branches of the Jewish family, and the doctrine itself is met with in those writings which are of Palestinian origin, as well as in those works which were composed at Alexandria. However various may have been the form and color which it received from the philosophical or critical influences of the schools of different localities, the Word of Philo and of the Palestinian doctors is essentially the same.
At Alexandria, designated by the significant titles of Second God," eldest son of God,t first-born of God,image of God, God of imperfect things,|| the Logos fulfilled these four functions:
1. He is the Creator of the world, under the authority and power of God: “ By the Logos, the first-born of those things which have had birth, God made the world, using that instrument for the irreproachable structure of the things produced.”
2. He is the Providence, governing the whole, and taking care of the minutest details, acting as Preserver from disorder, discord, and dispersion,** and as Dispenser of all meed. “He is,” says Philo, “ that which the crowd of ignorant men call Chance." it
3. He is the Revealer of divine things. He descends like a river from its source into the hearts of those who love “heavenly productions.” If “It is by his Word that God gives to the children of men the knowledge of what he is.” $$
4. He is the Intercessor, ékérns, of men with God ; || || the true high-priest ; * and hence the real Consoler, mapakantos.
* Acútepos Deós, Phil. Opera, Tom. VI. p. 175.
§ De Mundi Opificio, $ 8. | Leg. alleg., III. 73.
Ibid, I. 5$ 8, 9. ** De Posteritate Caini, $ 32.
It Quod Deus immul., 936. 1 De Posteritate Caini, $ 37.
$$ De Cherubini, $ 9. W Quid Rerum Divin. Heres, $ 42.
We can trace dim outlines of this doctrine in the Wisdom of Jesus, Son of Sirach ; I but in the Pentateuch Targum of Onkelos, and in that of the Prophets of Jonathan, which are the only two Targums dating anterior to the Christian era, it bears clearly the same characteristic marks which distinguish it in the writings of Philo. The Chaldaic ?XT??? (Word of God) corresponds exactly, in function as well as in title, to the Alexandrian λόγος του θεού. It is this Word of God which created and arranged the world,which guides its course in constant harmony, reveals God to men and intercedes for them;** and it is this Word which appears, instead of God, in the theophanies of the Pentateuch.ft
The doctrine of the Word is, then, common to the two grand branches of Judaism. Leave out of view the philosophical development which Philo gave to it, and with which the nature of the Targums does not comport, and there is in the writings of the Alexandrian philosophy and in the Chaldaic paraphrases the same idea of a being intermediate between God and the world; and more, the same idea is represented in the two languages by an entirely corresponding terminology.
Of course, there is no necessary union, no inseparable connection, between a doctrine and its final terminology. But here is a doctrine and its formulæ existing in Egypt, identical with a doctrine and its formulæ existing, at the same period of time, in Palestine. This identity in essence and terminology necessitates the supposition of a single origin. Whence this origin? From which country, and to which, did the doctrine pass?
The probable anterior date of the Wisdom of Jesus, Son of Sirach, and of the Wisdom of Solomon, will not avail to decide
--------------- * De Somniis, I. 9 37. † De Vita Mosis, III. $ 14. | Ecclesiasticus i. 1, 5; iv. 11-19; xxiv. 3-12, 30 – 32.
§ Targ. Onkel., Gen. i. 27; Deut. xxxiii. 27. Targ. Jonath., Isa. xlv. 12; Jer. xxvii. 5.
1 Targ. Jonath., Isa. xl. 15. ** Targ. Onkel., Gen. xxxi. 5 ; Deut. i. 32, 33. 11 Targ. Onkel., Gen. xx. 3; Exod. xxv. 22; and Num. xxiii.; Deut. iv. 14, &c.
the question ; for the doctrine was yet in the first processes of formation when those books were written. It was well formulated only after a period of development in the Jewish schools. We must seek a decision in other quarters.
Let us see in what relations the Jews of Palestine stood with those of Alexandria. Evidently not the same as they sustained with their Babylonian brethren; for while many distinguished men came from Babylon to dwell at Jerusalem, we have no record that a single Alexandrian doctor “ moved ” to the Holy City. Moreover, the Talmud does not number Egypt among the countries where Judaism Aourished.* Indeed, the Alexandrian Jews regarded themselves as exiles, eren when they no longer cherished the idea of returning to the Holy Land.f Thus, with Philo, “ to go down into Egypt,” signifies, “ to sink from a spiritual to a sensual condition.” I
Nor were the Alexandrian authors, the Pseudo-Aristeus, Aristobulus, Philo, — who wrote not as instructors of the Jews in general, but altogether as apologists of their religion to their Greek fellow-citizens, - known to their brethren in Judæa. The Talmud makes no mention of them. In fact, the Alexandrian Jews formed a little colony, as it were, which experienced some action from the mother country, but felt no impulse to react upon it.Ş They were concerned only with the Greeks by whom they were surrounded.
These facts render a general movement of ideas from Alexandria to Jerusalem altogether improbable; and, if they do not make it certain that the doctrine of the Word originated in Palestine, and passed thence to Egypt, at least the burden of proof thrown is upon those who, with Gfrörer || and Dähne, advocate the theory of a passage the reverse of that which we believe to have taken place.
Thus far the circumstantial evidence is plainly in our favor. But when we come to consider the generally received opinion, that this doctrine was formed under the influence of the Platonic philosophy and the Zoroastrian religion,* the circumstantial evidence which is then brought forward seems to lend an air of probability to this prevalent theory.
* Lightfoot, Opera, Tom. III. p. 929 et seq.
E. Reuss, Hist. de la Theol. Chrét., Tom. I. p. 225.
There was in Mazdeism a doctrine of the Word (honover), and the Logos played a prominent part in Platonism; the Jews had had relations with the Mazdeans in Babylon, and with the Greek philosophy at Alexandria ; subsequently the Jews held a doctrine of the Word ; therefore, they received this doctrine from Zoroaster and from Plato : such is the argument. But the color of probability thus given to this theory is not natural. It is rather the hectic flush of hope in the face of the invalid for whom hope is vain. This diagnosis of the case has been obtained by a superficial examination. The investigators who have arrived at this conclusion failed at the outset to compare these three doctrines of the Word with care, and to show that there was sufficient resemblance between them to render it probable that the last was derived from the two which existed previously to it. And had they proved a real resemblance, it would then have been necessary to show in what manner the supposed influences were exerted, “ to legitimate the claimed relationship by facts, or at least by some probable historical conjectures." This last indispensable link in the chain of their reasoning is wanting; nor can material for its manufacture be discovered, dig deep as we may.
Upon examining the various forms of this mongrel Mazdean-Platonic theory several difficulties appear, which prevent its acceptance.
1. How could two elements so different in kind, and coming the one from the East and the other from the West, unite to produce, in Judæa or in Egypt, a doctrine with which it will presently be seen that either original had but a remote resemblance ?
2. If both philosophies, the Mazdean and the Platonic, were known at Alexandria, the home of refugees, the court of all philosophies; and if it be possible that they there blended in one and the same doctrine of the Word, - how did this
* De Werte, Biblische Dogm., p. 157; Lücke, Comment. über das Evang. des Johannes, 2d edit., Tom. I. pp. 211 - 228.