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demies, and most celebrated doctors in them; and such
other transactions relating to them as we think worth our
reader's notice. And this place is so much the more proper
to begin their history in, because it is in the third cen
Cbiefs of tury, and not before, that these chiefs and doctors began
the capti- to make a figure, and to found their most celebrated aca
v''y- demies; we therefore think, for the reasons hinted in the
inargin (F), that this new dignity did not introduce itself
(F) We have already (hewn stiewn how fond the Jewijh writers are of giving the preference to l\izteBaby!oniJbo.h\ete, above the patriarchs of Tiberias, on account of their being of the royal blood of David, and the persons to whom the title to the Jewi/b scepter belonged. In consequence of which, their lesser chronicle, or Seder Holam Zeathu, hath given us a list, or series of them from king Jeconiah, who was carried away captive into Babylon by Nebuchadmzzfir t, and was afterwards released out of his prison by Evil Merodacb his son, in the iirst year of his reign, and set above the rest of the captive kings (zi). To him that chronicle gives nine successors, vix. 1. Salatbiel his son, under Bel Sbazar. 2. Zprobabel his ion, who brought back that captivity under Cyras *. 3. Mefiullam his son, under whom prophecy ceased, and who died in x\\et\mcof Alexander tbeG reat. 4 Hananiab, under the reign ot Salmon, Alascan, and Mufaris, kings of the Greeks (so they call Piolemy, the son of Lagus, Seleuati, ana Cajfander). fie died, according to them, an. 140 of the æra of the Seleucidcc. 5. His son Baracbiab,
under that Ptolemy, who caused the scriptures to be translated into Greek, who died 1700s the fame æra. 6. His son Hasadia, an. 175, when Nicanor was defeated by the Jews. 7. Isaiah his son. 8. Abdiah his son, who died in Herod's reign; and Sbamaja his son, who makes up the 1 oth generation of the royal line since David. From this they give us a regular series of 31 more, beginning at Shechaniah his son, who died an. 160, after the destruction of Temple, or 236 of Christ, down to Axariab,the brother of Jacob Pbineas, the 41st and last of those chiefs, who made up accordingly to that chronologist, the Sgth generation. We shall not trouble our readers with a list of them, which is palpably faulty in many respects, and hath littl« else, except their bare names, and here and there some synchronism; of which we (hall give an account in the sequel; and now and then one of those new chiefs who chose to be buried in Judea.
But were this list ever so authentic, with relation to the regular succession of those families, yet, -with respect to their power, dignity, or figure, the jews don't pretend to it, know
in Babylon till the time of Huna, the son of Nathan, there
ing well enough that many of those to whom they gave the pompous titles of NaJJi, Prince, Rojh, Chief, and others of the like nature, lived in the utmost indigence; especially during their slavish subjection to the Partbians, Romans, CSV. and bore those titles more on account of their merit, either for learning and sanctity, than on that of their figure or authority.
But what farther confirms that this dignity did not begin till the epoch which we mentioned, is, that Jofephus, who wrote under the emperor Trajan, hath never once spoken of it; and that Justin Martyr, who is still later, objects against hit antagonist Trypho, that his nation had neither king nor chief. Is it probable the latter would have let him triumph over him thus if the cafe had been otherwise? and would he not have retorted to him this succession of chiefs, if he had known of any such being still preserved? We may add, that those chiefs above-mentioned are only known by their names, except R. Nathan, who is there said to have come from Babylon into Judea in the patriarchate of Simon, the father of Judah the saint, and became celebrated there, not only on account of his being chosen AbBeth-Din, »X Tiberias (22), but likewise for some works he published there. But is it probable that he would have exchanged his dignity of chief, or prince
of the captivity at Babylon, if he had been in possession of any such, for that of second in the Jewijh Sanhedrin; and at a time when Palestine was ruin'd by the wars that had raged in it, and by the avarice of Domitians Had his dignity and authority been so high at Babylon, is it likaly he would have come so far to be chosen to one so inferior to it at Tiberiasi But, by what appears, his father was chiefly distinguished in the former, for the immense, riches and credit, which he had acquired at the court of the Parthian kings j on which account the Jews, according to their constant custom, had given him some pompous title. Nathan, therefore, seems rather to have come to Tiberias in search of learning, and some honourable employment, which he had not before, to add new merit to his wealth; and, having stayed there a considerable time, upon his return to Babylon, he resolved to set up some dignity there also, answerable to the patriarchate of Judea. What confirms it is, that he lived very long, seeing he is numbered among the Thalmudists, or commentators on the Mijhnah; which shews that he cannot be well supposed to have come to Tiberias till after the conclusion of the war,Iately mentioned under the emperor Adrian, or about the reign of Antoninus Pius.. However, after his return home, the wars between the Romans and the Partbians, under the
When first began.
Favoured hi the Persians.
Learned men there.
mentioned, who was cotemporary with Judah the faint, and flourished about the year 220, or, at the earliest, under his father, about the beginning of the third century; and then their authority could be but small, considering the slavery under which the Jews groaned from the Parthians, Romans, and other tyrants, whatever titles they might bestow on them to raise the credit of their nation.
We need not repeat what hath been said in other parts of this history concerning these wars, and the triumph of Sevens over Artaxerxes, the famed restorer of the Persian monarchy \. This last died about an. 244, and was succeeded by his son Sapor, from whom that new succession took their name *. Both of them became great favourers of the Jews, and shewed an extraordinary esteem for their rabbies J and it is under them that we find the celebrated Samuel Jarchi, or the Lunatic (G), not only honoured with the title of Najft or Prince, but likewise with the names of those two monarchs, being first firnamed Ariochus, or Artaxerxes, and, after his death, Sapor, the name of his son, to shew the high degree of authority they had gained at that new court. This great man, as we formerly hinted, came from Judea hither; and, among his other dignities, had that of Counsellor of Huna, the' chief of the Captivity P. He is said to have died an. 250, and to have been succeeded bv R. Ada, who perfected the reformation which he had left defective. The other doctors that flourished in this
+ See Anc. Hist. vol. xi. p. 363, & seq. * Ibid, p 403, & scq. vol xv. p. 70, & seq- 'Gantz Tzemach, p. 113. BarToloc. ub. sup. torn. iv. p. 388. Vid. Basnac. ub. sup.
century, and raised the fame of that university under Huna, the reader may see in the margin (H).
But their felicity soon proved the prelude of a violent persecution under Sapor, the second Persian monarch of this race. That prince, who loved to converse and often dispute with them, having one day questioned them about their custom of burying the dead, and insisted upon their producing some express and decisive text in their law for it, received such an illusory answer, that, from a favourer, he became a furious persecutor of them (I). But how far the evidence on which th'13 fact is founded is to be relied on, the reader may judge from what we have said in the last note. However, it is plain from the famed inscription ingraved" on Cordian's tomb, which Capitolinus tells us was written in the Persic and Hebrew characters, that it might be read by all the world *>, that there were still great numbers of the Jews in Persia, and considerable enough to be thought worthy of reading that Emperor's praises in their own language. Sapor is said to have reigned from A. C. 241 to 272: and Ab A. C. how unsuccessful he was in his wars, not only against the 260, ad Romans, but especially against the great Odenatus, and 3n 272, his celebrated queen Zenobia, hath been seen in a former pars; and it was under that glorious princess that the Jews
(H) Rabbi Jehudah, the son of Eliezer, raised himself by his great learning; insomuch that we find several of his decisions in the Rabylonijh Thalmud; tho', in most of them, he betrays his aversion to the heathen and strangers. Some have misplaced him in the university of Pmdebita, which was as yet unfoundt'd. He had a successor named Nachinan, who silled the chair with no less reputation; and, in general, the professors of Nahardea are said to have excelled those of Sora, its rival; only these latter were more in favour with the prince of the captivity.
Among these we may, however, put in the first rank the famed R. Abba Aricka, who was emphatically stiled "2T\ Rab, or Rau, or the Great, and is chiefly known and quoted by that title. Both he and Samuel Jarchi had spent some time in "Judea, and studied under Judab the saint; but, after the death of their master, they both returned and settled, the former at Sora, and the latter at Nahardea. Rab was so well beloved by one of the Babylonish princes, named Adarchan, that he used to assist at his lectures, and at length caused himself to be circumcised about A. C. 243. He wrote, they say, a comment on
the book of Ruth, and some other pieces, and was of opinion that the Romans would be masters of the whole world nine months before the coming of the Messiah.
He was succeeded in the chair of Sora by Huna, a relation of the prince of that name, and was so proud of his affinity to him, that he is the first who took upon him the title of Prince of the Academy, or rOlB" Win R'Jb Jejbubab. He had 160 volumes of the law;
one of which was found 7lD3
fajful', or illegal, merely because it was as broad as long; which we chiefly mention to give our readers a taste of the doctors, and learning of those times.
We shall only add one more learned, <viz. R. Cobanab, of the priestly order, as his name imports, and of the family of Eli, the high-priest; tho' that is by some called in question. He had likewise studied at Tiberias under R. Jochanan and the patriarch Samuel; and indeed it was then a common custom so to do; insomuch that a man was not esteemed learned, unless he had studied some time in that academy. All this is a proof that the Jews not only lived peaceably, but were in high favour with the then Persian monirch.
N 3 became
1In Gordian. p. 165, & scq. ft sjq, Vol. xv. p. 441, & seq.
(I) They tell us that one of the doctors not being able to produce a command for it, another more subtile than he pleaded custom and example; to which Sapor retorted that of Moses, who was not buried: to this they replied, that the lsraditet mourned for him (24.), which did not satisfy him. But, if we may believe a certain Chronicle, said to have been transmitted from Persia into Spain (25), he was forced to this violence by his subject?, who could not brook the esteem he stiewed to the Jews, and were ready to mutiny against him. So that he was pbliged to imprison three of their principals, whom he tried in vain, by dint of scourging, to force inio an abjuration of their religion. Provoked at their constancy, he caused all the princes of that nation to be imprisoned, and so ill treated and macerated, that they had nothing left but skin and bones* From that time the Persians be
f See Anc. Hist, vol, xi. p. 71,
came so unfortunate in all their wars, especially with the Arabs, who subdued and led them away captive, that they acknowledged at length that their cruelty to the Jews brought all these evils aponthem as a just punishment; on which account they granted them full liberty of conscience, whilst the Arabian princes, who looked upon that persecution as cruel and unjust, had courted great numbers of them into their dominions, where they were protected and caressed.
The chronicle above-named, which alone mentions all these particulars, is much called in question by the learned; tho\ if by the Arabians there mentioned, we understand their neighbours the Palmyrenians and the Saracens, under the famed Odenatus, it is plain that they reduced the Persians to great extremities, at the fame time that they highly favoured the Jews.