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before their death '. The academy of Sara, once so famed for other antibeing the residence of several Jewish chiefs, of the lineage of quitiet. David, as well as for the number of its scholars, and learned professors, had likewise lost most of its ancient glory; and the fame he fays also of that of Nahardea, whose schools were - all demolished, and the doctors retired into the west (X). We have given an account of this desertion in speaking of the foregoing century; nevertheless, tho' those parts had now neither academies nor learned rabbies, the Jews were still very numerous there; and our author tells us he found no less than 10,000 of them at Obkeray ; which city he pretends had been baik by king Jechoniab, during the Babybtiijh captivity.
From thence he came to Bagdad, where Mostanged who Jews at then reigned, tho' but two years, was a great lover and fa- Bagdad vourer of the Jews, and had a great number of them in his favoured. service. He was perfectly well acquainted with the Hebrew, could readily write it, and had gained some knowledge of their law. There were however, not above 1000 Jews in that city, tho' some have enlarged it to many thousands, a thing very common among Jewish writers ; but whatever their number might be, they had, he fays, 28 synagogues, and ten tribunals or courts, at the head of which were ten of the most considerable of their nation, who applied themselves to the affairs of it, and were stiled the ten Idle men, over whom was the chief or prince of the captivity. The person who then enjoyed that dignity was stiled by them lord, and by the Moslems, the son of David, he being, according to our author, lineally descended from that holy monarch r. His authority extended itself over all the Jews under the dominion of the Khalif, prince of the faithful, and from the province of Syria quite eastward to the Iron gates, and as far as India (Y).
'Ibid p. 6z, & scq. r Ibid p. 72, & seq.
(X) This last was then only even the Mohammedans were famed for a synagogue, which obliged to rise and bow as he its superstitious inhabitants had passed, under the penalty of rebuilt of stones, earth, and other ceiving 100 lashes. He had 1 materials brought from Jerusa- 100 guards that escorted him Ian (1 3). when he went to visit the Kha
(Y) He farther tells us that lif, and a herald cried before
this chief was looked upon as a him, prepare the ivays of the lord
kind of sovereign, to whom the son o/David. The most re
(1$) Itincr.p. %l.
S 4 mote
Not independent of the
The Jewish rabbies who pretend that those eastern chiefs were independent of any other monarchs, and retained still the power of life and death, have left no stone unturned monarchs. t0 proVe that favourite point; insomuch that Origen himself believed that those Assyrian monarchs under whom they lived,, being contented with their subjection and dependence, allowed them to govern their people, according to their own laws, and to inflict even death on the guilty, and proved it not only from the apocryphal book of Susanna against Africarun, but from more recent instances, under the Roman emperors, after the destruction of the temple by Titus s. He hath been followed by others both ancient and modern, who pretend they had a power to raise a tribute on the nation, and to punish the recusants as well as other criminals with death'. We shall not repeat here what we have formerly said on the subject of the sceptre departing from Judah * long before this time, nor on the unlikelihood that conquerors should grant such an extensive power to the conquered, notwithstanding
S Epist. ad African, p. 144. • Vid. int. al. Sulpit. Sever. Hist. lib. xi. c. 2. Drus. not. p. 279. * Anc. Hilt. vol. x. p. 629.
mote places of the Jenjuijh na-
He was however obliged to
such splendor (though what we have said of the persecutions they underwent in the preceding century, would induce one to believe our feiv hath greatly exaggerated the matter, and hath rather described his state according to what he formerly was, when they enjoyed more peace and favour) yet was theirs but a borrowed or rather bought dignity, depending on the pleasure of the monarchs under whom they lived, and subject to such a tribute as they thought fit to impose upon them: so that the Jeivs have no great reason to boast of having still their princes of the house of David, and who still enjoy the regal dignity. But it is still more likely, that this dignity, small and dependent as it was, had besn abolished in the preceding century, as we have already shewn. /
the theapocryphal story of Susanna, and what he quotes from other authors. What we have said under the last note, is sufficient to Their confute all the rabinic pretences, since that power, let it extend power itself as far as it would, was still subject to a superior one, wA small and liable to be taken away or continued according to the will of Umitted. thiS princes from whom they received it, by special commission under the royal signet, and so was but a precarious shadow of royal authority, which was either to be renewed by every successor upon his accession to the crown, or to become void of course. And therefore the more fair and impartial doctors of their nation have made no difficulty to give up that point (Z). Thus much we thought necessary to say concerning this pretended power of the Babylonijh chief, we shall now follow our author thro' the other eastern provinces.
On his leaving that of Bagdad, he passed through Resen, Jews in where he tells us u he found near 5000 Jews, who were per- other eastforming their devotions in a large synagogue; and some ern farts. leagues farther about 1000 more, praying in an oratory, said to have been built by the prophet Daniel. Hela, another town about five miles from that, had four synagogues, and about 10,000 Jews. Proceeding still eastward, he arrived at the banks of the river Chebar, on which is the tomb of the Tomh'of prophet Ezekiel, where he found 60 towers, every one of Ezekiel which was a synagogue, and not far from it the palace of Je- reverenced thoniab, built by that Jewi/b monarch upon his being restored by Evil-Merodach ".. The reader may fee the account he gives of it in the margin (A). From thence he passed to
"Itiner. p. 78, & scq. w 2 Kings xxv. 27, & feq.
(Z) This is evident not only ert any such power, seeing there from two of their greatest rab- can be no sovereign tribunal, bies, -viz. D.Kimchi, and Abra- nor power of inflicting death, vanel, who acknowlege the re- out of the land of Judea, as gal authority and judicial pow- was hinted in a former note, erhadbeen abolistied, but much (A) This edifice which he more from the learned Maimo- tells us is so situate as to have a aides, who hath fully proved full view of the Chebar on one the unlawfulness of inflicting fide, and of the Euphrates on any capital punishment in any the other; retains still the siother country but in Judea; gures of that Jewish monarch, so that these chiefs of the cap- and of his retinue, at the end of tivity must have looked upon which is the prophet Ezekiel, it as a violence, should the carved on the roof. But the Khalifs, or any other mo- tomb of that prophet was still narchs to whom they were sub- more resorted to, as a place of ject, have obliged them to ex- devotion, to which even the
Cusa, once the sained residence of the Khalifs *, but since abandoned, wherein, however, be round about 7000 of his own nation, who had but one synagogue. Thenia was according to him the chief place where the Rechabites f were / Ra"h seated, and who were, according to him, masters of a
/ ec a- va^ territory about it; but this, as well as several other futtd particulars, which he there affirms, concerning the ten tribes '' transported thither by the kings of Assyria, and their differ
ent settlements, &sc. hath been sufficiently confuted by Mr. Ba/nage, to which we refer our readers x, and follow our author into Egypt.
Here he found the Jews still more numerous, as it was a country in which they had from the earliest times, before as well as after their total dispersion, been settled in great numTews in DCrs- ^e reckoned no less than 30,000 in the city of Chouts, Egypt, on the frontiers of Ethiopia; 2000 he saw at Mizraim, now Grand Cairo, who had two synagogues, and were divided about some trivial points relating to the division and reading of the sacred books, one fort going thro' the whole lecture of them in one year, as they do in Spain and elsewhere; and the other only once in three years. In this city it was that the chief of all the Egyptian synagogues resided, ap
* De hoc. vid. Anc. Hist.vol. iii. p. 104, & scq. -J- De his vid. sup.vol.iv.p. 136. (S). xHist. dejuifs,lib. vii.c.j. § io,& seq.
princes of the captivity repaired We omit several other anti-
(H) Itineratr. ut. sup. !$ see. f Vid. Anc. Wst. vol. iv. f. 404, & stf.
pointed pointed their doctors and took care of the affairs of the nation. Our author likewise visited the once famed land of Gc Jben, where, among other things, he found the Jews very numerous, in one places 200, in another 500, 300 in the city of Co/ben, as many at Alexandria, and but a few at Damiata y. ■ Qq/j-jThe rest he represents as dispersed in all the other provinces and towns of Egypt, in great numbers, tho' vastly short of what they once were; when the single city of Alexandria was reckoned to have 100,000 of them (B). But what is most surprising is, that he makes no mention of any of their learned doctors, tho' there were then two celebrated ones that flou- Two rifhed there at the very time that he pretends to have travel- learned led thro' it; viz. Abi, a learned rabbi of Alexandria, who rabbies wrote a treatise on the intelligences which move the hea- omitted. vens, and on the influence of the planets; and flourished about an. H50. And the great Maimonides who lived Maimoabout the same time at Cairo, and was in such repute there, nidesV that he was, and is still, reckoned the greatest man of that character age and nation. We have had occasion to make frequent mention of him both in this chapter, and formerly in the Jewish history. The reader may fee an account of his learned works in the next note (C). It must be owned how- andwerh.
T Itinerar. p. 83, & seq.
(B) Our author hath not on- of the then reigning Khalif in
\y mentioned here a city (that Egypt, when he came thither;
of Cboutt) which is not to be and hath added some other
sound in any other, and placed circumstances which cannot be
that of Go/hen, capital of the can- reconciled either with each
ton, near that of Alexandria, other, or with the history of
contrary to the situation which that time: but as that is foreign
the sacred writings give it, but to our present design, and would
speaks of Joseph's granaries as carry us beyond our bounds,
still to be seen at Cairo, and of we shall refer the curious to the
Aristotle's celebrated academy, author often quoted for the far
that was resorted to by the ther confutation of it (16). learned from all parts of the (C) 1. Pirujh Hami/hnah, or
world (15); though the former a comment on that book, begun
have long ago been destroyed, in Spain, in the 23d year of his
and the latter was built not at age, and finished in the 30th in
Alexandria, nor in Egypt, but Egypt, and written originally
at Athens. in Arabic, in which language
He hath likewise made a sad several copies are still found in blunder in the account he gives
(15) Vt.suf.p. ll$,&stf. (16) liid.p.izs,, Sf'sig. Vid, Basing, uli Jlp./.ix. c. 8. § 16, &/'?•