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tions of his writings have been translated by our own Hebraists, Pococke, Prideaux and Clavering, and he is the object of Selden's unreserved eulogy. The year of his death was long called by the Jews “lamentum lamentabile;" yet, while he lived, he was exposed to frequent persecution, and he was buried among strangers at Tiberias, or, according to another account, at Hebron. The cause of his quitting Spain is said however, by Abulfaragio and D'Herbelot, to have been an edict of the Almohad monarch Abdulmumen, constraining all the Jews and Christians within his realm to embrace Mohammedism. Maimonides with the rest conformed externally, until he had disposed of his property and found means of flying to the court of Egypt. At Cairo, under the protection of his friend the Cadi Al-Phadel, he renounced Islamism, and opened a school for philosophy and Jewish law. The various employments of Maimonides illustrate the enterprising and intellectual character of a Jewish exile. He applied himself sedulously to the study of medicine, and at the same time maintained himself by the merchandise of jewels. When his patron became sovereign of Egypt, Maimonides was made court-physician, with an annual stipend. His reputation and busy life are thus described by himself in a letter to his friend the Rabbi Samuel Aben Tibbon:-
“ I live in Egypt, at the distance of nearly two sabbath-days' journey from Al-Cairo, where the king resides. On him the duties of my appointment demand regular attendance every morning. If there be nothing required at court, I return home towards noon, and almost famished for want of food. I find the approaches to my house thronged with both Jews and Gentiles, men of all ranks, impatiently waiting my arrival. As soon as I have taken some refreshment I examine my patients, until I become so overpowered with the fatigue of speaking and prescribing, that my speech almost fails me before I conclude.”
The elevation of Maimonides excited the envy of the Mohammedan learned, and a lawyer from Spain accused him as a relapsed convert from Islamism. The king however defended his favourite “on the ground that a forced religion is no religion :" and such was the reverence in which he was held even by those who accounted him an infidel, that the Mohammedans fasted and bewailed his loss, and in large crowds accompanied his bier for two days on its progress to the Holy Land.
The creed which Moses Bar-Maimon drew up for his countrymen, purified from the gross and burdensome articles of Rabbinism, is the work of a lofty and pious, yet calm and rational mind. It will be found in the volume before us as the appropriate conclusion to the chapters on the middleage literature of the Sephardim. The writings however by which he has principally and permanently reformed their systems of instruction and belief, and which consequently drew upon him the severest censure and indignation, are the Moreh Nebuchim,' or Guide of the Perplexed, and the lad-hahhazakah," the Mighty Hand,-a complete Pandect of Judaic civil and common law. The former of these has alone obtained an European reputation. “Its doctrines,” says Mr. Finn, “threw all the synagogues into consternation and divi“sion. Such an expurgation of Judaism from the legends of “ the Talmud, and such an effort to induce his countrymen 6 to use the common sense of general mankind in connexion “ with revealed truth, could not fail to arouse the bigotry of the “old school of the Rabbinists.” At Montpellier it was burnt in the market-place; all who should read it were excommunicated, and an immediate anathema was levelled at its author. In Narbonne however, and in the French synagogues, the • Moreh’ found zealous supporters. The sentence of excommunication was retaliated, and after a schism of many years the authority of Bar-Maimon was generally acknowledged by the Sephardim. “ The reformation thus extended,” Mr. Finn concludes, “by Moses Bar-Maimon is practically felt to the 6 present day. Another such stride would emancipate the 6 people from most of the rabbinical shackles, by which free “ investigation is impeded or punished.”
Our limits will not permit us to enter upon another interesting portion of the annals of the Sephardim,--the extensive travels of the Jews in the middle ages, for which their active commerce and national affinities in all places of their dispersion afforded them unusual facilities. The name of Benjamin of Tudela is however in some degree European ; and his
Itinerary, although in ill repute for the ignorance or carelessness of the author whenever he writes of the Gentiles, is singularly graphic and full on all points relating to the numbers, condition and customs of his own nation. The Itine
rary' indeed, as a whole, is not more fabulous than the narratives of Sir John Maundeville, Rubruquis, or even Marco Paolo. In it, as in them, many objects familiar to the modern traveller are related with the infantine wonder of inexperience, and many are purposely disguised or symbolized to elude the gaze of a semi-barbarous and bigoted age. Rabbi Benjamin's greatest defect is perhaps his national vanity. The further he advances from home the more wonderful are his reports of the numbers, the wealth and the dignity of the Jews. And these considerations have induced his Latin, French and English translators to believe that he never quitted Spain, but compiled all the travellers' tales he could meet with concerning other lands. “But," as Mr. Finn remarks, “ the Itine“ rary' would probably have met with a kinder reception, “ even as a piece of curiosity, had not the relation of the state 66 and glory of the Prince of the Captivity at Bagdad provoked “ the church to condemn it;" for all who have examined the book are willing to acknowledge, that many incidental allusions to ancient manners, and glimpses of true history, may be collected from it, though not forming the author's chief subject.
Rabbi Benjamin's account, in Mr. Finn's pages, of the Prince of the Captivity is too long for extraction, and does not immediately relate to the Sephardim. The following specimens however may convey some idea of the worth and character of the Itinerary.'
“The mighty Rome, which is the metropolis of the Edomites. About 200 Jews reside in this city, honourable men, who pay tribute to no power whatever. Several are in the service of Pope Alexander, who is a very great prince, and chief of the Edomitish religion. Here are to be met some very wise men, the principal of whom are, the great R. Daniel and R. Jehiel the Pope's minister, a handsome young man, wise and prudent, frequenting the palace as first steward, or manager of the pope's affairs. There is to be seen without Rome the palace of Titus, who was rejected by 300 senators for his disobedience, having spent three years more in the siege of Jerusalem than they had decreed for that purpose.”
The last sentence shows that Benjamin was no reader of Josephus; and the account he gives of the favour which his countrymen enjoyed with the Pope corresponds with a shrewd observation of Fuller's :
“ They (the Jews) are thick in the Pope's dominions, where they are kept as testimonies of the truth of the Scriptures, and foyl to Christianitie, but chiefly in pretense to convert them. But his Holinesse his converting facultie worketh the strongest at the greatest distance; for the Indians he turneth to his religion, and these Jews he converteth to his profit.”
The synagogues at Paris he cannot sufficiently commend :" Here are such disciples of wisdom as are nowhere else to be met with throughout the world, who give themselves up to the study of the law both day and night. They are hospitable to strangers, and behave as brethren to all their kindred and people.”
Germany does not greatly attract him :“This country is full of hills and mountains, in which all the Jewish congregations dwell towards the great river Rhine."
The rabbi's notice of Jerusalem is curious and characteristic: “Here is, moreover, that great high place called the sepulchre of the MAN, which is visited by all who are bound to do so.”
Passing over Mr. Finn's enumeration of the Jewish astronomers and physicians, who in the middle ages made the Spanish universities among the most celebrated in Europe, and attracted to their lecture-rooms crowds of both Gentile and Hebrew students, we must now return to the political history of the Sephardim. The circumstances of the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries were generally favourable to the Jews. The Mohammedan dominion was on the wane, but the Christian rulers were not sufficiently established in the peninsula to listen obediently to the suggestions of ecclesiastical jealousy, and the Sephardim were serviceable to the state as ministers of finance, and from the vigour they imparted to foreign and domestic trade. The possession of Syria by the Turks and the Norman pirates in the Mediterranean had indeed seriously affected their distant commerce; while at home they were shackled by the restrictions of the Cortes, who had made as little advance in the science of free-trade as the legislators of our own days,--by the increasing corporate privileges of the towns, and perhaps by the general progress and pressure of Christian civilization. Nevertheless the Sephardim enjoyed great privileges, and some peculiar to themselves : as ministers of finance, the currency was regulated and the rate of exchange in some measure determined by them. Although again thrown upon the resource of money-lending, usury was less dishonourable in Spain than elsewhere, and interest was
fixed and recoverable by law. They were general bankers, but Mr. Finn is mistaken in his supposition that they invented bills of exchange: these had long before been employed by the Carthaginians, and transmitted by them to the Greek brokers of the empire. The evidence of the Sephardim was received in courts of law: they were themselves exempt from imprisonment for debt, and held considerable landed property,
-at one time, it is said, to the amount of a third of the Peninsula; and in the principal cities they exercised their own judicature, both in civil and criminal causes.
Still, in these centuries, and especially in the latter, Spain began to develope those peculiar social features, which were matured under the Austrian dynasty, and have left, in the principle of rigidly exclusive bigotry, an indelible impress on her national character. Three religions, whose mutual hostility was cherished rather than repressed by their casual affinities, struggled through many centuries within her bosom; and the various elements of her population,—the fierce and susceptible Saracen, the grave and inflexible Goth, the alternately proud and passive Sephardim,-gave new intensity to her religious contests. As the Christian kingdoms gradually absorbed the Moorish provinces, the Moors themselves resumed much of their earlier fanaticism; and the Jews, who, as subjects to both, might respectively betray their immediate rulers, were by both regarded with increasing jealousy and alarm. The Crusades, familiarizing the European mind with the idea of military apostleship against infidels, though directed primarily against Islamism, could not fail to re-act unfavourably on Judaism; and both the Ashkenazim and Sephardim felt the presence of the “red-cross” armies without the power of retaliating, like their Eastern brethren, the evils they endured. The terrible cry of “Hep," the signal for the massacre of the Jews-supposed to be an abbreviation of “ Hierosolyma est perdita ”-was raised in the Spanish cities as well as on the banks of the Rhine. In February 1218 the Crusaders of the West, an immense host, were encamped in the royal parks on the banks of the Tagus.
“ Conceiving that the first-fruits of their valour would be an acceptable offering to heaven, if waged upon the unarmed Jews, they proceeded most religiously to plunder that race of infidels. There was no massacre, for