Imágenes de páginas

the Creation. May his soul he bound up in the bundle of life.” (12) “And this is the stone which I have placed at his head, over the grave of Rabbi Joseph, son of Rabbi Elijah, who died in the year 4280 after the Creation, 1065 after our exile. May his soul abide in happiness.”

From these specimens it will be seen that three several eras are found in these epitaphs :-(1) that of “our Exile”; (2) that of the Creation; and (3) the Matarkian era. When the year of the Creation is made use of in these and similar inscriptions, the thousands are sometimes omitted, as in No. 5. Hence the full dates given then are 4536 and 4385 respectively. The era of the Creation adopted in these inscriptions differs from the usual Jewish reckoning by 151 years; the latter or common era being here termed the Matarkian, i.e., that of the Jews of Matarcha,—which is probably to be indentified, not with Tamatarcha in the peninsula of Taman, as Chwolson at first imagined, but, as he points out in his Supplement, from a comparison of certain epigraphs, is the same as Tamirake, which was not far from Perekop. The old Crimean era does not occur in the tomb-inscriptions of later date than A.D. 735. “ This new change," says Chwolson, “which chronologically falls in with the reception of Judaism on the part of the Chazars about A.D. 740, was in all probability a result of the emigration of Byzantine Jews in large numbers, who, persecuted by Leo the Isaurian about A.D. 723, betook themselves to the Crimea and the lands of the Caucasus.” These Jews were full of Rabbinical learning, and the fact of their brave endurance of the persecutions to which they were exposed gave them considerable influence even among the Karaites. Through this influence the old Crimean era fell into disuse in the district of Tshufutkale, though its use continued to linger on for some centuries later in other districts.

The eras mentioned in these inscriptions are altogether peculiar. The exile alluded to is the carrying away of the ten tribes from Samaria, B.c. 696. That the Babylonian captivity, which took place about B.C. 586, cannot be referred to, the corresponding dates in several of the inscriptions are amply sufficient to prove. The scholars who have interested themselves in the subject all agree on this point. It is deeply interesting to discover such clear and certain traces of the Israelites of the ten tribes, concerning whom there has been so much unscientific discussion. While it is exceedingly probable that some of them remained in the land whither they were originally carried away captive, and that others travelled in various directions, and at different times, these inscriptions prove that some considerable part of them at last found a resting-place in the Crimea. There, it would appear, they were

permitted to abide in tolerable peace and security, and, as far as we know, they took no part in the great controversy that arose between the Jews and the Samaritans. With the latter people we do not find that they had any relations; even the very alphabet in use among them was the Jewish, and not that of the Samaritans. With the Jews, however, they seem to have had frequent communication, and they adopted many of their opinions. Still they ever retained a lively knowledge of their own peculiar descent, as is shown by the fact that, in the earliest inscriptions which have been discovered, the date of “our Exile” frequently occurs, in contrast apparently with the later exile of the Jews under Nebuchadnezzar. Rabbinical Jews, however, from time to time, came among them, and such seem to have exerted considerable influence, which ultimately led to the general adoption of the usual Rabbinical era of the Creation. Notwithstanding this, the descendants of the original Israelites were very far from embracing Rabbinism as a whole; they still remained Karaites, and as such held fast to the supremacy of the text of the Scriptures apart from all later Jewish tradition,

The era of the Creation, which occurs in these inscriptions, presents greater difficulties. The old Crimean era exceeds the ordinary Jewish era by 151 years. Chwolson has pointed out the historical importance of this fact, as thus sufficient room is allowed for the period of the Persian supremacy, which is unduly curtailed in the ordinary chronology. But the question is, how did it happen that this ancient and more correct era was later supplanted by a less correct one, and that the only traces of it we should possess should be found in Crimean inscriptions.

Dr. Abraham Geiger, the learned Frankfort Rabbi, whose authority in such questions is of the greatest weight, thus discusses the question. He observes that such a method of computation as a reckoning from the Creation is, in itself, highly artificial. Nations usually compute from remarkable events in their history. The Jews could not well reckon from the era of the Seleucidæ, as such a reckoning would tend to keep alive the memory of events which they would gladly consign to oblivion. They would not compute from the epoch of the building of Rome. An era after the Asmonæan princes would not have found general acceptance; and so, compelled to seek some more general epoch which would give offence to none, they decided on that of the Creation. We may add, that, with the Sacred Writings in their possession, this was the most natural era to agree upon. The choice of the epoch of the Creation, remarks Geiger, may have been favoured by the general expectation of a Messiah. The expectation that “the days of the Messiah” would commence with the 5000th year, is of a very

the computea As long as the 40arly strong about

ancient date, and was peculiarly strong about the close of the 4000 years. As long as the 4000 years had not quite passed away, the computation after the Creation was popular, and men looked forward with eagerness to its close, at which time they expected the glorious days of the Messiah to commence. There was then no reason to shorten the time of the continuation of the Second Temple, nor the times of the Persian supremacy; and hence arose in Judea that old era, which was adopted also by the Jews who resided in distant countries, of which we have some traces in these inscriptions. The century which, according to that computation, closed the 4000 years, was the very time at which Messianic expectations were at their height, and therefore it cannot be thought strange that that century, being regarded as the era of approaching deliverance, should be styled “the time of Israel's deliverance," as in the ninth inscription, which belongs to the 702nd year after the Exile of the Ten Tribes, i.e. A.D. 6.

Chwolson has, indeed, suggested in his Memoir that this phrase may refer to some special deliverance of the Jews in the Crimea, or of those in Tshufutkale, of which there is no historical mention. But Geiger's conjecture seems in every way far preferable; and so far from Dr. Davidson's remark being correct, that “the conjecture is one which Chwolson rejects," that scholar himself, in a later letter in the Jüdische Zeitschrift, has expressed his concurrence with Geiger's views on this point, which, indeed, he has nowhere opposed. (Jüdische Zeitschrift, 1868. Heft 3, p. 237.)

As to the origin of the new era of the Creation, Geiger proceeds to remark that, when the century had passed away, and the Jewish national expectations were disappointed, (we need scarce note that the learned Rabbi speaks from a Jewish, not a Christian, standpoint,) the question arose, what was to be done? Rather than abandon their long-cherished expectations (or, as we would add, recognize the true Messiahship of Jesus of Nazareth), the Jewish scholars sought (as Christian prophetical espositors of our own time have often done) to correct their computations, and thus still to keep up their expectations of a coming Messiah. The reckoning, they would say, is erroneous, the Persian period is too long; and instead of the 185 years which had been rightly assigned to it, they curtailed the period to thirty-four years, the events of that period being themselves so confused, and the characters so confounded the one with the other. Thus arose the new era of the Creation, which was agreed to on all sides, and rapidly came into general use, so as ultimately entirely to supersede the more ancient and correct epoch. No doubt the termination of the 4000 years, according to this reckoning, in A.D. 240, was equally unfavourable to the Vol. 68.- No. 377.

3 A

Jewish national expectations, upon which it had at first rested ; but it was impossible twice to alter the era, and these results were at last attained, namely that the shortening of the Persian period was generally accepted, and the old era, which has just been re-discovered in these Crimean Inscriptions, was generally forgotten.

Such are the conjectures of Geiger as to the various eras which occur in these Inscriptions, and they bear upon their face the strong resemblance of truth. But here for the present we must close our paper.

C. H. H. W.

of Eng of the Cequired in

IS THE COLONIAL CHURCH WITHOUT LAW ? The constantly repeated assertion, that immediate and decisive legislation is required in order to determine, and define, the position of the Colonial Church, as also its relation to the Church of England, seems to invite an inquiry into such position and relation.

A very limited knowledge of the subject is sufficient to produce the conviction, that great practical issues are involved in the settlement of this question.

Property has been provided by English Churchmen for the maintenance of the Church of the Reformation in our Colonial possessions, and the intention of the donors, whether of munificent sums, given perhaps on several occasions, or of comparatively small contributions gathered in many of the cities, towns, and even villages of our land, may be assumed to have been for the maintenance of the doctrine, discipline, principles, and liturgy of the Church of England. But the independence of the mother Church, which has been exhibited in many Diocesan Synods in the Colonies; the imposition of tests to which the clergy in England are not subject; the adoption of regulations, which are to be binding on the clergy, under a particular Colonial Bishop, and which may differ, not only from the principles of the Church of England, but also from the regulations of other Diocesan Synods even in the same Colony, and, moreover, are to be binding on the Bishop himself, when once he has formally signed and ratified the acts of the Synod, although it is not possible to bind his successor in the See; the readi. ness also with which some Colonial Bishops have volunteered the resignation of their Letters Patent from the Crown,-all show that the property provided for the support of Bishops and Clergy of the Church of England, is in great danger of being quietly and silently appropriated for the support of a Church which is legislating for itself in important matters of principle, is instituting tests unknown in English dioceses, and may even, as in the cases to which allusion has just been made, openly express a desire to be altogether free from the Royal supremacy.

So clearly manifest is the difference between the structure of the Colonial bishoprics-erected originally with a jealous, indeed almost with a nervous, anxiety for the establishment of the Church of England in the Colonies—and the incongruous additions already perceptible, that, in examining them, we are forcibly reminded of Horace Walpole's account of the Restoration of old St. Paul's by Inigo Jones. “He made,” he says, “two capital faults. He first renewed the sides with very bad Gothic, and then added a Roman Portico . . . . which had no affinity with the ancient parts that remained.” Dean Milman remarks upon the cathedral so restored, that it bore a singular similitude to the religion which Laud sought to establish in the Church of England, retaining as much as would stand of the old mediæval building, but putting a new face upon it, making altogether an inharmonious and confused union of conflicting elements.* As regards the Colonies, we would most heartily exclaim, absit omen!

That a frustration of the intention of those who have contributed to the support of the Church of England in our Colonies is not imaginary, is evident from the fact, that Colonial Diocesan Synods have passed Acts for the management and control of the property of the Church; while they have also sought to obtain Bishops by election in the Synod, rather than by nomination of the Crown. Furthermore, the disposal of the property provided for the clergy is often claimed by these Synods, which are unknown either to British or Colonial law, and the control of the property provided for the episcopacy is, at the same time, sought by the election of the Bishop in Synod.

Such legally unknown Synods utterly contemn the limited powers and hesitating action of civil legislatures. First, they bind the Bishop; but only by green withs; and then, as if to show how comparatively weak were Atlas and Hercules, they undertake, voluntarily and eagerly, to relieve the Crown of the whole burden of the world ecclesiastical, and to strangle those serpents of legislative enactment supposed to be wickedly provided by earthly senates jealous of the growing strength of the infant Synod.

But while there is, in the present action of Colonial Diocesan Synods, a frustration of the intentions of those who have con

[merged small][ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »