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wickedness and sin, forever, even forever and ever!” Rabbi Solomon and his associates, were filled with the utmost consternation, when they found, set forth with authority as weighty as that of Maimonides, the doctrine that Talmud and Theology were not identical. They were accustomed to cherish a spirit, which removes every difficulty merely with ipse dixit, and intimidates every inquirer with the terror of the name of Freethinker. When, therefore, they saw discussions and researches sanctioned, which they thought must rob their objects of the misty covering of sanctity, and the precious rust of antiquity, under which they had lain concealed for ages, and finding the venting of their indignation in low murmuring altogether unavailable, they thought it was high time at once to hurl the thunders of their anathema against each and all who persisted in defending the cause of Maimonides.
The full conviction of the indissoluble tie subsisting between the law and their traditions, was so deeply rooted in the minds of the Israelites and their teachers, that no sooner was the war declared by the Arch-Rabbi of Montpellier and his party, than almost all the synagogues were engaged in it, either as condeinners or defenders of Maiinonides ; and the result was a forcible interruption of friendly relations between the Israelites in various places.
During this period, the zeal of both parties became more fierce; and the spirit of irritation and hatred acquired daily greater strength. But while mutual animosity was thus reaching the highest pitch of exasperation, Rabbi David ben Joseph Kimchi, who had been elected ruler of the Narbonnese, stepped forward, and introduced the cause into the synagogues of Spain, with the intent of effecting a reconciliation between the contending parties, and thus if possible of restoring that harmony which formerly had subsisted among the Israelitish congregations. Kimchi, who is very celebrated as a grammarian, commentator, poet, and philosopher, feeling deeply hurt that Rabbins, who were altogether unacquained with philosophy, should attempt, by downright force, to control public opinion, could not avoid siding with the defenders of Maimonides. His offer to become umpire was hailed with general acclamation, and several of the French Rabbins, who at first made common cause with the Arch-Rabbi of Montpellier, became also very desirous of an amicable arrangement, and entrusted him witħ full powers for the purpose.
While Rabbi David Kimchi was carrying on an unsuccessful correspondence with Rabbi Judah ben Joseph Al-phachar, ArchRabbi of Toledo, the friends of Maimonides were continually gaining ground, and increasing in numbers and influence. In order to check their progress, the Arch-Rabbi of Montpellier thought it proper to implore the aid of the French Catholic priests, calling upon them to put a stop to the spread of an heresy which sapped alike the fundamental truths of both creeds; and they,
acceding to his request, ordered, that wherever the book Moreh Ilannebochin was found, it should be burned.
This unexpected, unnatural atteinpt to force public opinion by erecting Ronan Catholic priests into fit judges of Jewish religious faith, roused Maimonides's friends from a state of passive forbearance; and as it was evident that it was not love of religion but of supremacy, which animated the Arch-Rabbi of Montpellier and his party, the most decisive steps were at once taken by the great men of Israel who supported the cause of reason, of true piety, and of the Moreh Ilannebochim, and the semblance of peace was once more restored by compelling the leaders of the zealots to for
mercy. At this time, Rabbi Bechai, of Saragossa, called upon all the Israelites residing within the kingdom of Arragon and its dependencies, to resist the disturbers of the public peace, and to espouse the cause of the great Maimonides; alleging that as he and his tribunal had hurled the thunders of their anathema against the ArchRabbi of Montpellier and his party, they also should follow his example. This appeal was responded to by the Arch-Rabbins of Huesca, Moncon, Calahtajud, and Lerida, who, together with the principal members of their respective congregations, fully confirmed the sentence of excommunication. This example was also followed by several congregations of Provence and Septimania. Rabbi Moses bar Nochman, Chief Rabbi of Gerona, also called upon all the principal Rabbanim of Arragon, Navarre, and Castile to desist from a dispute which had lasted so long and caused so much evil : but Rabbi Meir ben Rabbi Theodoras, of Burgos, attempted to vindicate the conduct of the Montpellier zealots. This vindication called forth a very complete refutation, from Rabbi Abraham ben Rabbi Chasdai IIallevi, of Barcelona, which, coupled with the force of the anathema pronounced against the Arch-Rabbi of Montpellier and his party, and generally adopted throughout the Israelitish congregations of southern France and Arragon, at length, in the year 1232, reduced Rabbi Solomon to the necessity of recalling his anathema, and of sueing for peace.
Thus peace was restored, and all the principal Rabbins espoused the cause of Maimonides, with the exception of Rabbi Judah ben Rabbi Joseph Al-phachar, Chief Rabbi of Toledo, and a few others of very minor importance, who still battled for the sacred authority of all the accumulated nonsense of dotard sages, abhorring all the profane research of huinan reason. These could not endure the doctrine that the precepts and ceremonies of Mosaic institution had any assignable final cause, and that when this motive ceases, the law itself must of necessity be at an end. That would be conceding a large field of argument, indeed, to the Nazarines; and in fact, upon this account, the Moreh Haunebochim was not prohibited by the ecclesiastical censorship, as appears
from Kimchi's correspondence with Rabbi Judah of Toledo, and the third charge brought forward by Rabbi Solomon against the book.
The animosity was at first so violent, that the Montpellier antagonists pursued the corpose to its sepulchre, and, erasing the simple inscription, “ The greatest of men, they substituted, "The excommunicate and heretic.” After they had relented, however, they had the more favourable epitaph restored.
The reformation thus far extended by Maimonides, is practically felt to the present day; his name is revered by the Israelites, and highly respected by Ilebrew-reading Christiảns. The sagé leaders of Israel, now freed from the thraldom of controversy, are prepared to pursue the path opened to them by Maimonicles, to profit by his instructions, and to increase the stores of wisdoin and of learning, which he had placed within their reach in his Morel Hannebochim, and other works. Indeed, another such a strido would emancipate the people from most of the Rabbinic shackles, by which free investigation is impecled or punished.
This work was commented upon by several able scholars, and in modern times by the ingenious Solomon ben Maimon. It has found various Latin translators, among whom the best known are the following:
Rabi Mossei Ægyptii Dux seu Director Dubitantium aut perplexorurn in tres libros divisus, et summa accuratione Aug. Justiniani etc. recognitus, Cuius index s. tabella ad calcem totius opponitur operis. Paris, 1520.
Joh. Buxtorf, fil. Moreh Nebochim s. Doctor perplexorum etc., in latinam sermonem transtulit, cum lemmatibus indicibusque variis illustravit. Basil, 1629.
Portions of it have been translated into various modern languages. Townley translated into English that portion which treats of the “Reasons for the commandments." There exist several German translations, but the best of them is that by Dr. Simon Scheyer, on which criticisin has pronounced a favourable verdict. Ff. a. M., 1838. And, the celebrated orientalist, Mons. Munk, of Paris, is now preparing a new French version from the original Arabic.
We will now notice his work, “ The eight chapters of Ethics." Without saying anything in reference to the merit of this work, we will let the following extracts from it speak for themselves :
“ Know that the soul of man is single in its essence; but its faculties are manifold. Some philosophers have called cach of these faculties a distinct soul; which has given rise to the opinion that man bas many
souls. This opinion has been adopted by some physicians; so that even their prince, Hippocrates, in the introduction to one of his works, assumes three distinct souls in man; 1. The natural, or animation ; 2. The sensitive.
3. The intellectual. Others have called the soul's faculties 'parts of the soul;' an expression frequently employed by philosophers; not that they thereby intend to imply that the soul is capable of being divided, as the body is; but that they consider these different faculties as parts of an entirety, the union of which forms and composes the soul.
“Know furthermore, that, in order to acquire and promote moral perfection, it is requisite to maintain a healthful state of the soul and its faculties. And as it is necessary that the physician who undertakes to cure the ailments of the body should have a perfect knowledge of the various corporeal parts, and be no less acquainted with the causes that lead to disease, in order to guard his patient against their influences, than with the means of counteracting that influence, in order to restore health ; so likewise must the spiritual guide, who undertakes the cure of souls and the establishing of sound moral principles, be intimately conversant with the soul and its faculties, in order that he too may kuow how to prevent and to remove disease, and how to maintain health.
"In order to acquire that intimate knowledge, we commence by saying: The faculties of the soul are as follows: 1. Nutrition, which is likewise called growth ;' 2. Sensation ; 3. Imagination ; 4. Desire; 5. Reason.
* Vutrition is the faculty to lead the particles of nourishment into the stomach, to retain them until they are fully digested, to perform the functions of digestion and evacuation, and completely to separate the nutritive and useful juices which are retained, from all others which must be expelled. IIow and in what manner does this sevenfold faculty perform its operations? In which members of the human body is the operation most visible or perceptible? Which of them are constantly active? And which are the others that operate only at certain times ? All these questions appertain to the science of medicine, and form no part of our examination.
“ Sensation is the well-known five-fold faculty of seeing, hearing, tasting, smelling, and feeling; which last is equally found in all parts of the body, whereas, each of the other four has its own seat in some particular part.
“Imagination is the faculty, peculiar to man, of recalling sensations or impressions, even after the objects which caused them are no longer present, to add or diminish, to combine or separate, the same; also to create, from the impressions received by the senses, that which never did, and never can, exist
. Thus it creates a ship of iron, navigating the air; a man, whose head reaches the heavens, whilst his feet rest on earth; a quadruped, which has a thousand eyes; and many more similar impossibilities, which it embodies and represents as if they were actually existing. Dialecticians have fallen into a great and pernicious error, when, on the strength of the generally received division of the necessary, the possible, and the impossible, they raised a structure of sophisms, and believed, or led others to believe, that all the creations of the imagination are possible ; and did not consider that this faculty itself is none other than the unlimited power of giving existence to what is not, and cannot be,
“Desire is the faculty of wishing or declining; which occasions active approbation or reprobation, the preference or choice of a thing or its refusal; and likewise anger or affection, fear or valour, cruelty or tender
ness, love or hatred, and the like affections of the soul. All parts of the human body are subservient to this faculty; the hand, to receive or push away; the feet, to walk; the eye, to behold; the heart, to encourayo the valiant, or to fail the timid. Thus all the members, whether internal or external, are instrumental to this faculty.
“Reason is the faculty, peculiar to man, of thinking; by means of which he reflects, acquires wisdom and knowledge, and decides upon what is proper or improper. The functions of this faculty are partly active, partly speculative. Of the former class are the powers of imitation and of invention ; of the latter, the power of contemplating, when applied to the essential and immutable, which latter is abstract wisilom. Imitation comprises the power of learning or acquiring any science or art, as architecture, agriculture, navigation, and many others. Invention comprises the power of maturely reflecting and deciding whether a thing is practicable or impracticable, and, in the former case, what means are best adapted to bring it from possible into actual being.
“This soul, single in itself, but manifold in its faculties, is the crude material to which reason gives the form. If this form does not communicate its impression, all the other faculties of the soul are vain, and may be considered as useless. Thus Solomon says: That the soul be without knowledge, it is not good.' Prov. xix 2. His meaning is, that unless reason or understanding has afforded its impress to the soul, its other faculties are useless. What can be said respecting the form, essence, reason, and its various acquirements—as the object of this treatise is merely ethics—is with more propriety made the subject of the book on Prophecy, to which we refer; and with this remark we will close the present chapter.
Moral or good deeds are such as observe the precise medium between the two equally pernicious extremes—the too much or the too little. Moral perfections are mental capacities and aptitudes, which likewise observe the just and equal distance from the two equally vicious propensities-towards the too strong or the too weak. From these aptitudes those deeds or actions necessarily result. To illustrate what we stated above, we mention, as an example,-abstemiousness is alike distant from the extreme ardour of passion, and from total apathy or impassability. The quality of abstemiousness is in itself good, or moral; the aptitude from which it is derived is a moral perfection. On the contrary, too great ardour of passion is the one extreme, total apathy is the other; both are alike pernicious; the aptitudes from which both result—as well that which engenders extreme ardour, as that which causes total apathy-are alike moral imperfections.
“To continue our illustration : generosity keeps the medium between avarice and profusion; valour avoids temerity, as it also avoids cowardice; sell-respect is alike distant from ambition or meanness; mildness, from arrogance or baseness; meekness, from pride or cringing; contentedness does not descend into thirst for wcalth, any more than it degenerates into slothful indifference ; good nature is as unlike to churlishness as it is to stolid fondness; forbearance is as far from hasty wrath as from absolute callousness; nor is bashfulness more nearly allied to impudence than it is to sheepishness. “ It often happens, however, that men confound these differing quali