Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

written in Arabic; it is translated into IIebrew, and is preserved in the royal library of Paris, and in De Rossi's library at Parma.

“ An Exposition of Drugs;" an Arabic manuscript; being a complete Pharmacopeia. It is quoted by Ebn Abi Osaiba.

Consultation of Medicine;" composed for a prince of his age, who was a valetudinarian and a hypochondriac. A Hebrew version of it is preserved at Paris.

Method of Curing those who have been bitten by Venomous Beasts, or have been Poisoned." This treatise was written at the request of the Sultan, and is quoted by D'ITerbelot, under “Moccalat al IIasliat.” It is translated into llebrew, and manuscripts of it exist in the libraries of Paris and Parma.

- A Treatise on the Causes of Maladies;" written in Arabic, and a manuscript of it is still preserved in the Bodleian.

“A Treatise on the Podagra.” A Spanish translation of this work exists at the Escurial.

Maimonides has also written poetry. Some of his Arabic poems are contained in the Anthology of Abu Bahr Szafwan ben Idris from Yaein.

It is said that he had transcribed, with his own hand, the Pentateuch, from a very correct copy, which had been preserved at Jerusalem, even before its destruction. It is also said that, being moved by the Spirit, he went to Challon-sur-Saone, the ancient Cabillonum, and capital of Burgundy, where he understood he should find a copy of the law, written by the hand of Ezra; that he was not disappointed in his expectations ; that he collate this copy with that at Jerusalem, and found that they perfectly agreed; and that he drew another by it, which he delivered to his disciples to transcribe, and spread abroad.

In delineating Maimonides's character, we feel much greater satisfaction in turning to his own works, and comparing the various incidents of his life therein recorded, with the descriptions given of him by Arabic writers, as also by Jewish admirers and detractors, than by listening to the voice of legendary tradition, which is ever busy in casting a halo round the life of illustrious men, and of adoring and stamping it with the impress of the marvellous.

Both friends and enemies acknowledge that Maimonides could well stand comparison with the best of men. Ile felt a singular attachment for his friends and disciples; and possessed and cherished within his heart, the most pure and genuine love for his wife and children. Hé loved all men without any religious distinction; and his heaven was fully open to superior merit and knowledge, whatever its creed, provided they had faith in God. He was not only a philanthropist in word, but he practised the principles of philanthropy in the fullest sense the term will admit. His views were both enlarged and benevolent; his intellect capacious, vigorous, and tenacious; and his fine and acute

mind exhibited a combination of powers of the rarest kind. This is fully evidenced in his numerous, profound, and original writings, which have greatly contributed to extend the horizon of Jewish learning and Jewish theology. Nevertheless, we do not find that the system introduced by this remarkable man has ultimately pervaded, to any great extent, the mass of Judaism, or even influenced the doctrines of its teachers.

Yet the “hearer and answerer of prayer" will, hereafter, open a medium of true light for Ilis ancient and unforsaken people: the kinsmen of Jesus Christ, “according to the flesh,” shall not be everlasting captives to the mendacious Talmud ; the reproach shall yet be rolled away from the natural compatriots of our Apostles, those best of human benefactors; and the church of Israel, in her rejoicing, shall no more call upon the Lord as “Baali, but as Isini.” When that day shall lawn, it will be lamented the more that Moses bar Maimon, and his admirers, did not further exert that high privilege of their talents, to bless and to receive blessings in return.

The time of his death is variously assigned ; some say he died in A. D. 1205, others, 1206, and others, 1208, at Cairo, universally looked up to curing his lifetime, and regretted at his death by all the synagogues of Africa, Spain, and elsewhere. At Alexandria, and at Jerusalem, fiineral orations were delivered, and public mourning assumed. According to Abulfaradge, before his death, Maimonides expressed a desire that his heirs should embalm his body, and inter it by the Lake of Tiberias, where many saints reposed. "Rabbi S. Shalam is also of the same opinion. Accordingly, Iris corpse was carried to Tiberias, where it was interred, and a monument erected, the inscription of which forcibly eulogized his great merits, and celebrated his well-earned fame. IIis death was considered, both by the Israelites and the Egyptians, a national misfortune, and the year in which he died was called Lumentum Lamentabile.

ART. IV.-GROTE'S HISTORY OF GREECE.

History of Greece. By GEORGE GROTE, Esq. Reprinted from the

London edition. Boston: John P. Jewett & Co, 17 and 19 Oornhill. Vols. 1-7. 1851. Vol. 8. 1852. New York: Harper

& Brothers. Vols. 9–10. 1853. Vol. 11. 1855. Vol. 12.

le. L

The earlier volumes of Mr. Grote's admirable history of Greece inaugurated a new era in the investigation of the career and development of the remarkable people who inhabited the ancient IIellas, and diffused the IIellenic culture with such brilliant success, that they are justly regarded as the chief progenitors of all subsequent civilization. The later volumes have fully sustained the sanguine anticipations excited by the preliminary chapters, and justified the flattering hopes expressed by Viebuhr, when informed of the meditated labours of Mr. Grote. Klany years of expectation elapsed, after it was known that this new history of Greece had been undertaken, before the publication of the first two volumes; many more have since passed away during its slow composition--for the subject demanded muinute and extensive research—and the successive volumes, multiplying and becoming more tumescent with the progress of the work, lingered along amid the interruptions occasioned by the contemporaneous agitations of Europe. "Thus, this IIistory has already become classical before an opportunity has been affordled of criticising it in its integrity; and the public verdict has been unhesitatingly pronounced in its favonr, before we have ventured to pass in review its distinctive peculiarities, and the mode of their development. The work, however, is too remarkable in itself, and exhibits too important a phase of Hellenic history, for us to forego the examination, however tardy, of its merits and defects, or to waive the privilege of expressing our views in regard to the general execution of the great task accomplished by Mr. Grote.

The transition from Gillies to Grote is like exchanging the drivelling loquacity of imbecile old age for the quick intelligence and vigorous reflection of inquiring manhood. It is a change slowly and gradually effected. * Mitford * and Thirlwall—each the contemporary of one of the extremes-mark the two main stages of this progress

, which has been largely facilitated by the patient and conscientious researches of Clinton's "Fasti IIellenici." But the immense labours, the acute investigations, and the ever-recur

* Mitford (1734–1827) was born and died before Gillies (1746–1836). He commenced his History of Greece earlier (1781–1810, 4 vols. 4to.), but finished it later than his rival (1786, 2 vols. 4to.)

ring doubts of the German scholars, have been the principal agents of the improvement, and must always be gratefully acknowledged in our thoughts, if it be not always convenient to express our obligations. Without their elaborate, and often excessive inquiries, such a picture of the life and development of the Greeks, as is presented by Mr. Grote, would have been an impossibility. This admission should mitigate our censures of the carlier historians when contrasting them with the latest. Nor is the credit slight which is due to Mitford, notwithstanding his violent antipathies and his passionate perversions. His temper, his prejudices, his associations, and his narrow political predilections, betrayed him constantly into error, often into grievous misrepresentation. But he wrote his History of Greece with spirit, and with the ever-present feeling that what he described had once been a reality, and not a silly nursery tale; that the personages and events evoked from the ashes of the past had once Deen endued with life or achieved by living actors; and that the triumphs, the disasters, the successes, and the follies of the Greeks had been inspired by the common passions of mankind, and influenced by accidents similar in kind, if not in form, to those by which modern nations continue to be affected. We owe much to Mitford for having treated the annals of Greece as a bygone reality, and not as an antiquated romance. No one, however, who regarded the union of king, lords, and commons, and the predominance of a high Tory interpretation of the prerogative and the constitution, as the universal canon of political propriety, could competently enter into the feelings of the Greek democracies, divine their motives, or appreciate their measures. It was much for him to recognize that they possessed feelings, and were occasionally guided in their policy by intelligent impulses. The people are guilty of crimes and follies, but princes and nobles are neither more innocent nor more prudent:* and it is only the ignorance of political bigotry which can venture on a crusade against all the actions of a democracy.

It was not merely in political philosophy that Mitford was a sciolist; his learning was in other respects insufficient for the duties assumed. It was adequate neither in extent nor in accuracy. A writer, so uncritical in regard to his authorities, so inattentive to the scattered notices, composed in widely separated

*

*“Conchiudo adunque contro alla comune opinione, la qual dice come i popoli, quando sono principi, sono varii, mutabili, ingrati, affermando che in loro non sono altrimenti questi peccati che si siano nei principi particolari.” * “Se si discorreranno tutti i disordini de' popoli, tutti i disordini de' principi, tutte le glorie dei popoli, tutte quelle de' principi, si vedrà il popolo di bontà e di gloria essere di lunga superiore." Machiaveli, De' Discorsi sopra Tito Livio, lib. i, cap. lviii. We notice with pleasure Mr. Grote's frequent recourse to the political wisdom of the great Florentine.

ages, which have been preserved as the frail and scanty relics of lost historians, was not calculated to reproduce in a symmetrical, homogeneous, and natural delineation, the dissevered inembers of Greek history, which, during many generations, exists only in fragments. The scholarship, the anatomical skill, the synthetic divination of Niebuhr, were required. Should we not add also the poetic feeling of Arnold, and the asthetic taste of Thierry ? To none of these qualifications had Mitford the slightest pretensions. He was a scholar without accuracy or profundity; he was an acrimonious political partisan without statesinanship or philosophy. His work is no longer of use; it has rendered its full service; it led the way in producing a more sympathetic, in provoking a juster appreciation of the Greeks; and there its vocation ends.

Thirlwall has learning in abundance, and is strictly conscientious in its employment. He is familiar with German erudition, and has availed himself of its discoveries. There is no deficiency in these respects. Ile is thorough in his researches, and cautious in his statements. IIaving translated, in connection with his friend, Archdeacon llare, Niebuhr's Iristory of Rome, he had been initiated into the mysteries of the historical speculation of the Germans. During his collegiate career he had been the most distinguished scholar of Cambridge; and the studies of maturer years had continued to augment the stores of his information. IIe thus approached the execution of his task with qualifications and advantages far transcending those of Mitfordd; and his employment of those advantages was so successful, that his work at once became a standard authority, and threw the labours of his predecessors completely into the shade. Nor has it been altogether deprived of its honourable position by the later publication of Grote, for it has merited the eulogy of the later historian,* and has advanced to a second edition contemporaneously with the appearance of the History of Greece which has furnished the occasion for these reinarks.

But Connop Thirlwall is one of the mitred dignitaries of the Anglican Church ; and, in accordance with his vocation, he is timorous where he should be bold, lukewarm where he should be earnest, wavering in his political philosophy, and inclined to ingenious coinpromises in his historical views. He has daintily imitated the procedure of Niebuhr, without being inspired by his spirit, or infected by his audacity, which is an important qualification of an historical innovator. Moreover, the animating spirit, the plastic energy, which moulded the thoughts and regulated the actions of the ancient Greeks, escapes recognition; and the elabo

* Grote. Preface, vol. I, p. iii, iv.

« ElőzőTovább »