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therefore, could it have a plurality of Israelites, which was necessary to the constitution of the Sanhedrin. It was, therefore, a different court.
This is proved decisively by the third difference, which is that the Sanhedrin might consist exclusively of Israelites without any admixture of the priesthood. It cannot therefore be identical with that court, which never could have more than one lay member, and to whose existence the presence of the priesthood was absolutely necessary.* Thus it appears that the Sanhedrin was an entirely different tribunal from that instituted by Moses, and, as being opposed to the
controversies,” say they, “God here instituted to his people a supreme tribunal, that, in case inferior judges varied in judgment, recourse might be had to the Council of Priests, where one chief Judge, the High Priest, was appointed to give sentence, and all others commanded to receive and obey the same;" and naturally, from the supposed infallibility of the High Priest, infer the infallibility of the Pope. “God ever directed the sentence of the High Priest,” referring to the judgment of Caiaphas, “and most specially now Christ preserveth the Apostolike see from errour in faith,” &c. (Annotations to Deut. xvii. Edit. John Cousturier, 1635.) But these annotators seem to have forgotten, ist, That the High Priest condemned our Lord to death for saying that He was the Son of God; and 2dly, That Deut. xvii. says not one word about the High Priest giving sentence. On the contrary, it makes the consent of the civil Governor, even though a layman, absolutely necessary to the validity of the sentence, “ Thou shalt come unto the Priests, the Levites, AND unto the JUDGE that shall be in those days.”
* M. Salvador admits that if the text, Deut. xvii., be taken in its plain, grammatic sense, the council ordained by Moses
could have only one lay member. “ Ou le juge, dont parle le verset dù Deutéronome est un être collectif representant tout le conseil, comme on s'en convaincra bientôt, ou un être personel : s'il est collectif, les sacerdotes et Levites cités sont positivement hors de la collection ; s'il est personel, et qu'on veuille que ces sacerdotes et Levites fussent membres du Senat, il s'ensuit que tous les membres de ce Senat, moins le juge, devraient appartenir à leur tribu, ce qui est aussi loins de la pensée des docteurs que de la volonté de la loi même." Liv. II. c. 2. vol. i. p. 162. Thus M. Salvador confesses that the grammatic sense of the text is against the Rabbies. He has, however, proposed another means of evading the difficulty, by having recourse to a mystical interpretation. He says that “the Judge” means the whole Sanhedrin. On page 164, he undertakes to prove that this extraordinary use of the word “ Judge” is of common occurrence in the Hebrew books. “Mais j'ai avancé que le grand-conseil est très souvent designés dans les livres Hébraiques par le nom de son president ou du juge, de la même manierè qu' à Venise on appelait le Sénat, prince serenissime,” &c. But, common as he asserts this usage to be, he has not been able to find one case in point. He endeavours to prove, from Exod. iii. 16, 18, that.“ Moses” signifies “ Moses and the elders ;” and from Ezra iv. 2, 3; v. 2; vi. 13, 7, that when it is said, “Zerubbabel began to build the house of the Lord,” the elders of Israel are included. But this, if true, is nothing to the purpose. M. Salvador's proposition is to prove that the word “ Judge” is frequently in the Hebrew books taken collectively for the Senate. His business, therefore, was to cite passages, where this usage is found. But he has not cited one; we may therefore safely conclude that he had not one to cite, and consequently that his proposed D'rash is totally unwarranted.
law, so far as that law was concerned, directly unlawful.
The objection, therefore, that Jesus of Nazareth cannot be the true Messiah, because he was condemned by a tribunal from whose sentence God ordained that there should be no appeal, is utterly invalid. He was not condemned by any such tribunal, but by one probably established by the Greeks, certainly of very modern date, that had no authority from God, and was directly opposed to the spirit and letter of the Mosaic command.*
* M. Salvador (vol. i. p. 154) seems to think it hard that any one should reject the unanimous consent of the Rabbies and their interpretation of the Pentateuch, or doubt the divine right of this tribunal. “ Cependant, sans prendre en consideration ni les termes precis du Pentateuque, ni l'unanimité des docteurs Hébreux, corroborée par les esprits les plus judicieux des autres croyances, quelques auteurs se sont efforcés de jeter du doute sur l'existence du droit et de fait du grandconseil d'Israel, appelé plus tard Sanhédrin du mot grec sunedrion.” But surely M. Salvador does not ask us to believe all the fables which the Hebrew doctors have handed down respecting it with such perfect unanimity, as, e. g., that each member understood magic, and spoke the seventy languages, &c. It is true that Jost (vol. i. p. 48, of the Geschichte der Israeliten) says,
“ Der Thalmud nennt die runde Zahl von 70 Sprachen;" i. e., that seventy is a round number. But M. Salvador honestly calls it an exaggeration. 6. Certains docteurs prétendent, dans leur exaggeration, que la grandsanhedrin parlait soixante-dix langues differentes : ce qui suppose qu'on aurait exigé de chaque candidat qu'il connût au moins une langue autre que sa langue maternelle !” (p. 168). In addition to this opinion of their veracity, M. Salvador, on
The sentence, therefore, was not infallible, and can have no force whatever except what might be derived from the wisdom, integrity, and piety of those by whom it was pronounced. But slender is the argument that can be derived from the personal character of the members of that council which condemned Jesus of Nazareth. At the head of the Sanhedrin appear Caiaphas, the actual high priest, and Hannas who had enjoyed that office, both of them usurpers of a dignity which the law of God made it unlawful for them to hold. Hannas had been put into the high priesthood by one Roman Governor, and deposed by another, * to make way for a favourite of his own. This new high priest was soon deposed to make way for others, until at last Caiaphas was appointed, whose only title to the office was the will of the Roman procurator, and the power of the Roman legions. Those, then, who figure as the supreme judges of the Lord Jesus Christ were unprincipled and ambitious men, ready to truckle to the heathen idolater, and to trample under foot the most sacred precepts of their religion, in order to usurp an office of wealth and power, to which they had no right. The other members of the Sanhedrin appear in the same light. In the first place, they must be regarded as the willing abetters of the profanation of the high priesthood, the most sacred of all their religious institutions. Had they been men of piety and integrity, before presuming to meddle with the cause of Jesus of Nazareth, they would first have condemned Hannas and Caiaphas as intruders, and utterly unfit for the office of judge in matters of religion. But in the second place, they appear as usurpers themselves. The constitution of the Sanhedrin was contrary to the law of God, and they could not take part in its proceedings without assuming an authority which that law had given to others. The fear of the Roman power cannot be urged in extenuation of their presumption. The Romans left to the Jews great liberty in the observance of their religious laws : and there can be little doubt, that in the period of the decline of the Greek power, and the Roman conquest of Syria, the Jews might, if they
pp. 182 and 183, speaks most contemptuously of those same doctors. L'esprit du casuiste qui avait flétri les dernières époques de la republique succeda à l'esprit du moraliste, du legislateur et du jurisconsulte : le livre le plus riche de raison et de poesie fut transformé en une lice mortelle pour
l'intelligence, et rebutante pour l'imagination ; et comme s'il etait écrit dans la destinée de ce peuple, qu'il ne pourrait s'arrêter entre les extrêmes, après avoir enfantés des genies, dont l'oeil le plus audacieux ose à peine mesurer la hauteur, sa cause fut par momens livrée aux cerveaux les plus délirans et les plus minutieux qui soient peut-etre passés sur la terre.” Of what value the testimony of such persons may be, does not require the acuteness of a lawyer to decide.
Joseph. Antiq. xviii. 2. Compare Lundius' Levit. Priesterthum, B. III., c. xxiv. Reland Antiq. Sacr., Part II., c. 2,
Voisin Observ. in Procem. Pug. Fid., Edit. Carpzov.,
§ 7. page 21.