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them against the zealots among the Christians, and would not suffer any violent means to be used for converting them; and (harply reproved the senate, for having suffered one of their synagogues to be burnt at Rome; and the clergy of Milan, for going to seize upon another. The fame he did at Genoa, where the citizens were going to deprive them of their privileges, which they had a long time enjoyed among them. They had recourse to that prince, who permitted them to rebuild their synagogues, and restored them to the free use of their religion and rights, upon condition they should not build them larger than they had been, and avoided adorning of them. Thus ended the 5th century with them in the Roman empire *". A.C 500.
Let us now take a view of those in Persia, during that interval, where we find their academies in a flourishing con- iew-S'" dition, under their famed chief R. Asce, the compiler of the jer^ A^e" Babylonish thalmud, lately mentioned. Sora was the place of his birth, and the most celebrated academy of all the east, of which he was chosen chief in the 14th year of his age, and continued in that dignity sixty years, that is, till the year 427, in which he died (K). It was during that time that he pub
* Dehoc vid. Tesor del Regn. D'ltal. sub Teodoric.
(K) The Je<v:s tell us, that it was on account of his extraordinary merit and learning that he was raised so early to that dignity; and add, that in him met the law, devotion, humility, and magnificence; four things which no man but he was ever master of.
His method of teaching was entirely new and peculiar: for instead of keeping his disciples, which amounted to two thousand four hundred, continually with him, he only taught them two months in the year j mix. in February and August ; during which he gave them proper fubjeils to study and exercise themselves in during the other five months, after vynich they were sent to their own homes. At
him, and he explained their dif-
» lifhed a collection of his decisions, which he divided into four parts, the first of which contained the rules and maxims of the Mishnah, 'with the doubts and solutions relating to them. The second was chiefly about various questions of thtir doctors, with the sentiments of the Thanaim and Cemarrijls. The third contained the decisions and maxims published since Judah the faint; and the last contained the texts of scripture relating to law-suits, together with the comments of their learned upon them. This was the first division of the Babylonish thalmud; but as Asce did not live to compleat it, his disciples, who put the finishing hand to it afterwards, altered his method, and made several additions, which have rendered the work rather more obscure k. R. Tho- He was succeeded, according to some, by R. Marimor, or biomi. Amimor; but soon after, according to others, by his own son •^•C.45,5. Huna, whose feet hastened to the chair, and he by his son Thobiomi, an. 455, who reigned, according to the pompous Jewish style, thirteen years, and in whose reign the Jrwisb nation enjoyed such profound tranquility, that they gave him the title of The doctor of daily prosperity. We have had occasion to take notice of the small extent of their power and inCome, notwithstanding their using the words reign, throne, &c. as if they had been in full possession of the regal authority. And so obscure were they, during this 5th century, that tho' we find a succession of the presidents of Sora and Pundebita, or at least their names, and here and there a remarkable action of some of them, yet we have hardly any thing said of those chiefs or princes, except of R. Asce above-mentioned; tho' one would have imagined their dignity to have received some additional splendor by the suppression of the patriarchate in the west.
ASCE had left, besides his son Huna above-mentioned, two A violent famed disciples, viz. Amimor and Mor, who we.re to have put fersecu- the finishing hand to the Babylonish thalmud; but they were *'«"• diverted from it by a violent persecution, which was raised
against the Jewish nation, which, they tell us, lasted 73 years; during which the synagogues were shut up, the observation of the Sabbath suppre/led, and-their schools and chapels given to the Magi. Huna, the then chief, and his two disciples abovenamed, were imprisoned, and soon after suffered death, with A C i-7A furP"fing constancy : but the Jewish youth, more addicted to • 474- tjje pieafures 0f ]jfej were foon determined to forsake their
h Vid. Gantz Tzemach David, sub. A. M. 4113. Seprer Jvchasin, p. 124.. A. Benddior Cabbala, p. 68. Baktoloc. torn. i.p. 4S6. Vy'oj-f Bibl. Hebr. p- 254.
religion, religion, which was followed by a general defection in Israel towards the end of this century '. Notwithstanding which, some of their learned resumed the work of the thalmud soon after; or, if you will believe the Jewish Writers, even before the persecution ceased, (which it did not but with the Persian monarchy, which the Saracens made themselves masters of) and finished it, according to them, about the close of this century, or the beginning of the next, after which it was dispersed throughout all the east, and it was universally agreed that nothing should be added to or taken from it (L). that we read of no less than four of their princes of the captivity, who succeeded each other within the space of nine years; but whether they were deposed or put to death by that monarch, doth not appear. These were Huna, to whom they give but two years reign; Acha, who reigned three; Tettana, who reigned four; arid Zentra, who having been miraculoully preserved, as we observed in the last note, reigned twenty years. In his time arose the famed Meir, a learned rabbi, and great miracle-monger, who having declared war against the Persian king, with only 400 men, was very successful against him, during seven years; after which his men having polluted themselves with strange fleih (O), he was defeated, taken and put to death by the Persians. These went thence into the city, where Zeittra resided, and plundered it, after which they took that prince, and the president of the council, and hanged them on a bridge. His family were forced she chief to betake themselves to flight, and his son and heir, Zeutra II. of the cafretired into Judea, where he became prince of the senate or tivi/f sanhedrin. This, the Jewish historians tell us, was the source hanged, of that series of misfortunes which attended them in Persia ; A.C 522^ insomuch, that their great master Hahonai, never dared shew
The only thing more, worth taking notice of, under this The feel of epocha, was the rife of the sect called Sebureans, or Scepticks, Sebuat the head of which was R. Joji, These doctors pretended reans, to doubt of every thing, and seem to have started up to oppose A.C.476. the infallibility which the Talmudists attributed to their Talmud; but whether by openly questioning its authority, or the fense of its decisions, we cannot affirm. However, their pyrrhonifm become so odious to the rest of the Jews, that it proved but of short duration, it having begun to appear only about the close of this 5th century, and being driven out of the
1 R. Gantz TzEMACH, p 121.
(L) We have formerly taken notice of the impossibility of reconciling the anachronisms and contradictions of the Jetvijh chronologers; and in the part we are now upon, the author, tho' one of the best of them, not only contradicts other historians, but himself also. For if rabbi Afer, the first compiler of the work, died, as he affirms, A. C. 427, and his son Huna • was chosen president of the academy of Sora, an. 455, and reigned 13 years, during which the Jews lived in great tranquility, and highly favoured by the king, till the time of the persecution above-mentioned, and if that could not begin till the year 474, lasted 73 years, and the thalmud was not finished till some time aster that had ceased; then it is plain it could
not be so till the year 547, even
It would be still more diffi-
succeeded by the Gaons.
Jews persecuted in Persia, under Cava
world, before the middle of the next, by the Cacnim, or Caons, a new set of doctors, who took that pompous title upon them, which signifies sublime or excellent, and became the idols of the academies, and of the people, as we shall see under the next century, unto which it is now time to hasten (M).
The 6th century began with a persecution of the Jews of the dispersion, as well as of the ten tribes in the east, under Cavades, a prince of a fierce and proud disposition, who wanted to force all his subjects, Christians as well as Jews and others, to embrace the Persian religion. A strange cause of this persecution is, by some authors, assigned, which the reader may fee in the margin (N), and which proved so violent,
(M) Some critics (5) have looked upon the Nephthalites, by whom, dgatbias tells us (61, Peroz.cs was defeated in the war which he waged againll them, to have been the descendants of the tribe of Nepbthali, carried away captive by Tiglath Pileser [7), to the frontiers of Persia, where they are affirmed to have been settled many ages before the war(8). But as Precopius, in the place abovequoted, calls them Ephalites, and fays nothing of their being descended from that tribe, but from that of the White Huns, who lived on the frontiers of Persia, near the river Oxus, and jigatbias himself, who hath miscalled them Naphthalitcs, acknowleges them to be of that, and not of Jewish extract, we shall fay no more of them. As for the farther account of that war, and of Perozes's treachery and punishment, the reader may see an account in a former volume %.
(N) We are told by two Christian writers (9), that Ca
vades, having besieged a castle, in which was a vast treasure deposited, and kept by demons, he had found all his military efforts against it abortive; and being very eager to make himself master of it, sent for his magi, for the Manichees, Jews and Christians, to drive away those demons, and that those last were the only ones that could do it; upon which he stript the former of their privileges, and gave them to the Christians. But this account is corfradicted by other historians, whoaffirmthat he persecuted the Christians as well as the Jews. The Jews tell us of a fatal quarrel which happened between the prince of the captivity and the chief of the academy, under the reign ofCatxades, in which the former used the latter with so much insolence and barbarity, that his tears and prayers brought such a pesti* lence upon the prince's family, that they all died of it, except a child then in his mother's womb. CJjamna (that was the
academic chief being reproved in a dream, for having destroyed the princely race, began to repent of it; .and upon consulting with some of the other Jeviijh doctors, whether there might not be some sprout lest of that family, was told that the prince's daughter was pregnant, and not far from her time; upon which he went immediately to her house, and never left her day nor night, hail or shine, hot or cold, till she was. delivered; and then took upon him to bring up the child, which proved a son, and was called Zeutra. In the mean time, the princely dignity being vacant, Papbra, who was allied to that house, bought it of the king, and enjoyed it, till Zeutra, the right hejr, Was fifteen years old, at tfhich time he obtained it of that monarch, and Papbra was not only stripped of it, but pu
nished with sudden death, for
(O) The Jetvs do not tell us