Appendix II. Philo of Alexandria and Rabbinic Theology.

(See Book I. chap. iv., note ).

In comparing the allegorical Canons of Philo with those of Jewish traditionalism, we think first of all of the seven exegetical Canons which are ascribed to Hillel. These bear chiefly the character of logical deductions, and as such were largely applied in the Halakhah. These seven canons were next expanded by R Ishmael (in the first century) into thirteen, by the analysis of one of them (the 5th) into six, and the addition of this sound exegetical rule, that where two verses seem to be contradictory, their conciliation must be sought in a third passage. The real rules for the Haggadah – if such there were – were the thirty-two canons of R. José the Galilean (in the second century). It is here that we meet so much that is kindred in form to the allegorical canons of Philo. Only they are not rationalising, and far more brilliant in their application. Most taking results – at least to a certain class of minds – might be reached by finding in each consonant of a word the initial letter of another (notariqon). Thus, the word misbeach (altar) was resolved into these four words, beginning respectively with m, s, b, ch: Forgiveness, Merit, Blessing, Life. Then there was gematria, by which every letter in a word was resolved into its arithmetical equivalent. Thus, the two words, Gog and Magog = 70, which was the supposed number of all the heathen nations. Again, in Aṯbash the letters of the Hebrew alphabet were transposed (the first for the last of the alphabet, and so on), so that sheshakh (Jer_25:26; Jer_51:41) became babel, while in Albam, the twenty-two Hebrew letters were divided into two rows, which might be exchanged (L for A, M for B, etc.).

In other respects also the Palestinian had the advantage of the Alexandrian mode of interpretation. There was at least ingenuity, if not always truth, in explaining a word by resolving it into two others, or in discussing the import of exclusive particles (such as ‘only,’ ‘but,’ ‘from’), and inclusives (such as ‘also,’ ‘with,’ ‘all’), or in discovering shades of meaning from the derivation of a word as in the eight synonyms for ‘poor’ – of which one (Ani), indicated simply ‘the poor;’ another (Eḇyon, from aḇah), one who felt both need and desire; a third (misken), one humiliated; a fourth (rash from rush), one who had been emptied of his property; a fifth (dal), one whose property had become exhausted; a sixth (dakh), one who felt broken down; a seventh (makh), one who had come down; and the eighth (ḥelekh), one who was wretched – or in discussing such differences as between amar, to speak gently, and daḇar, to speak strongly – and many others. Here intimate knowledge of the language and tradition might be of real use. At other times striking thoughts were suggested, as when it was pointed out that all mankind was made to spring from one man, in order to show the power of God, since all coins struck from the same machine were precisely the same, while in man, whatever the resemblance, there was still a difference in each.

2. (Book I., chap. iv. And note ) The distinction between the unapproachable God and God as manifest and manifesting Himself, which lies at the foundation of so much in the theology of Philo in regard to the ‘intermediary beings’ – ‘Potencies’ – and the Logos, occurs equally in Rabbinic theology, though there it is probably derived from a different source. Indeed, we regard this as explaining the marked and striking avoidance of all anthropomorphisms in the Targumim. It also accounts for the designation of God by two classes of terms, of which in our view, the first expresses the idea of God as revealed, the other that of God as revealing Himself; or, to put it otherwise, which indicate, the one a state, the other an act on the part of God. The first of these classes of designations embraces two terms: yeqara, the excellent glory, and shekhinah, or shekhinṯa, the abiding Presence. On the other hand, God, as in the act of revealing himself, is described by the term memra, the ‘Logos,’ the Word.’ A distinction of ideas also obtains between the terms yeqara and shekhinah. The former indicates, as we think, the inward and upward, the latter the outward and downward, aspect of the revealed God. This distinction will appear by comparing the use of the two words in the Targumim, and even by the consideration of passages in which the two are placed side by side (as for ex., in the Targum Onkelos on Exo_17:16; Num_14:14; in Pseudo-Jonathan, Gen_16:13, Gen_16:14; in the Jerusalem Targum, Exo_19:18, and in the Targum Jonathan, Isa_6:1, Isa_6:3; Hag_1:8). Thus, also, the allusion in 2Pe_1:17, to ‘the voice from the excellent glory’ (τῆς μεγαλοπρεποῦς δόξης) must have been to the shekhinah. The varied use of the terms shekhinah and shekhinah, and then memra, in the Targum of Isa_6:1-13, is very remarkable. In Isa_6:1 it is the shekhinah and its train – the heavenward glory – which fills the Heavenly Temple. In Isa_6:3 we hear the Trishagion in connection with the dwelling of His shekhinṯa, while the splendour (ziv) of His shekhinah fills the earth – as it were, flows down to it. In Isa_6:5 the prophet dreads, because he had seen the shekhinah of the shekhinah, while in Isa_6:6 the coal is taken from before the Shekhintha (which is) upon the throne of the shekhinah (a remarkable expression, which occurs often; so especially in Exo_17:16). Finally, in Isa_6:8, the prophet hears the voice of the memra of Jehovah speaking the words of Isa_6:9, Isa_6:10. It is intensely interesting to notice that in Joh_12:40, these words are prophetically applied in connection with Christ. Thus John applies to the Logos what the Targum understands of the memra of Jehovah.

But, theologically, by far the most interesting and important point, with reference not only to the Logos of Philo, but to the term Logos as employed in the Fourth Gospel, is to ascertain the precise import of the equivalent expression memra in the Targumim. As stated in the text of this book (Book I., chap. iv. at note ), the term memra as applied to God, occurs 176 times in the Targum Onkelos, 99 times in the Jerusalem Targum, and 321 times in the Targum Pseudo-Jonathan. We subjoin the list of these passages, arranged in three classes. Those in Class I. mark where the term does not apply to this, or where it is at least doubtful; those in Class II. where the fair interpretation of a passage shows; and Class III. where it is undoubted and unquestionable, that the expression memra refers to God as revealing Himself, that is, the Logos.

Classified List of all the Passages in which the term ‘Memra’ occurs in the Targum Onkelos.

(The term occurs 176 times. Class III., which consists of those passages in which the term memra bears undoubted application to the Divine Personality as revealing Himself, comprises 79 passages.)

Class I. Inapplicable or Doubtful: Gen_26:5; Exo_2:25; Exo_5:2; Exo_6:8; Exo_15:8, Ex 10, 26; Exo_16:8; Exo_17:1; Exo_23:21, Exo_23:22; Exo_25:22; Exo_32:13; Lev_18:30; Lev_22:9; Lev_26:14; Lev_26:18; Lev_26:21; Lev_26:27; Num_3:39; Num_3:51; Num_4:37; Num_4:41; Num_4:45; Num_4:49; Num_9:18 (bis), Num_9:19, Num_9:20 (bis), Num_9:23 quat.; Num_10:13; Num_13:3; Num_14:11; Num_14:22; Num_14:30, Num_14:35; Num_20:12; Num_20:24; Num_23:19; Num_24:4; Num_24:16; Num_27:14; Num_33:2; Num_33:38; Num_36:5; Deu_1:26; Deu_4:30; Deu_8:3; Deu_8:20; Deu_13:5; Dt 13:19 (in our Version Deu_13:4; Deu_13:18); Deu_15:5; Deu_26:15; Deu_26:18; Deu_27:10; Deu_28:1, Deu_28:2; Deu_28:15; Deu_28:45; Deu_28:62; Deu_30:2; Deu_30:8; Deu_30:10; Deu_30:20.

An examination of these passages would show that, for caution’s sake, we have sometimes put down as ‘inapplicable’ or ‘doubtful’ what, viewed in connection with other passages in which the word is used, appears scarcely doubtful. It would take too much space to explain why some passages are put in the next class, although the term memra seems to be used in a manner parallel to that in Class I. Lastly, the reason why some passages appear in Class III., when others, somewhat similar, are placed in Class II., must be sought in the context and connection of a verse. We must ask the reader to believe that each passage has been carefully studied by itself, and that our conclusions have been determined by careful consideration, and by the fair meaning to be put on the language of Onkelos.

Class II. Fair: Gen_7:16; Gen_20:3; Gen_31:3; Gen_31:24; Exo_19:5; Lev_8:35; Lev_26:23; Num_11:20; Num_11:23; Num_14:41; Num_22:9; Num_22:18; Num_22:20; Num_23:3, Num_23:4, Num_23:16; Num_27:21; Num_36:2; Deu_1:32; Deu_4:24, Deu_4:33, Deu_4:36; Deu_5:24, Deu_5:25, Deu_5:26; Deu_9:23, (bis); Deu_31:23; Deu_34:5.

Class III. Undoubted: Gen_3:8; Gen_3:10; Gen_6:6 (bis); Gen_6:7; Gen_8:21; Gen_9:12, Gen_9:13, Gen_9:15, Gen_9:16, Gen_9:17; Gen_15:1; Gen_15:6; Gen_17:2; Gen_17:7; Gen_17:10, Gen_17:11; Gen_21:20, Gen_21:22, Gen_21:23; Gen_22:16; Gen_24:3; Gen_26:3; Gen_26:24, Gen_26:28; Gen_28:15; Gen_28:20, Gen_28:21; Gen_31:49, Gen_31:50; Gen_35:3; Gen_39:2, Gen_39:3; Gen_39:21; Gen_39:23; Gen_48:21; Gen_49:24, Gen_49:25; Exo_3:12; Exo_4:12; Exo_4:15; Exo_10:10; Exo_14:31; Exo_15:2; Exo_18:19; Exo_19:17; Exo_29:42, Exo_29:43; Exo_30:6; Exo_31:13; Exo_31:17; Exo_33:22; Lev_20:23; Lev_24:12; Lev_26:9; Lev_26:11; Lev_26:30; Lev_26:46; Num_14:9 (bis); Num_14:43; Nu 17:19 (in our Version Num_17:4); Num_21:5; Num_23:21; Deu_1:30; Deu_2:7; Deu_3:22; Deu_4:37; Deu_5:5; Deu_9:3; Deu_18:16; Deu_18:19; Deu_20:1; Deu_23:15; Deu_31:6; Deu_31:8; Deu_32:51; Deu_33:3; Deu_33:27.

Of most special interest is the rendering of Onkelos of Deu_33:27, where instead of ‘underneath are the everlasting arms,’ Onkelos has it: ‘And by His memra was the world made,’ exactly as in Joh_1:10. This divergence of Onkelos from the Hebrew text is utterly unaccountable, nor has any explanation of it, as far as I know, been attempted. Winer, whose inaugural dissertation ‘De Onkeloso ejusque Paraphrasi Chaldaica’ (Lips. 1820), most modern writers have simply followed (with some amplifications, chiefly from Luzatto’s ‘Philoxenus,’ אהב הגר makes no reference to this passage, nor do his successors, so far as I know. It is curious that, as our present Hebrew text has three words, so has the rendering of Onkelos, and that both end with the same word.

In classifying the passages in which the word memra occurs in the Jerusalem Targum and the Targum Pseudo-Jonathan, we have reversed the previous order, and Class I. represents the passages in which the term undoubtedly applies to Personal manifestation of God; Class II., in which this is the fair interpretation; Class III., in which such application is, to say the most, doubtful.

Classified List of Passages (according to the above scheme) in which the term ‘Memra’ occurs in the Targum Jerushalmi on the Pentateuch.

Class I. Of undoubted application to a Personal Manifestation of God: Gen_1:27; Gen_3:9; Gen_3:22; Gen_5:24; Gen_6:3; Gen_7:16; Gen_15:1; Gen_16:3; Gen_19:24; Gen_21:33; Gen_22:8; Gen_22:14; Gen_28:10; Gen_30:22 (bis); Gen_31:9; Gen_35:9 (quat.); Gen_38:25; Gen_40:23; Exo_3:14; Exo_6:3; Exo_12:42 (quat.); Exo_13:18; Exo_14:15; Exo_14:24, Exo_14:25; Exo_15:12; Exo_15:25 (bis); Exo_19:5; Exo_19:7, Exo_19:8, Exo_19:9 (bis); Exo_20:1; Exo_20:24; Lev_1:1; Num_9:8; Num_10:35, Num_10:36; Num_14:20; Num_21:6; Num_23:8 (bis); Num_24:6; Num_24:23; Num_25:4; Num_27:16; Deu_1:1; Deu_3:2; Deu_4:34; Deu_26:3; Deu_26:14; Deu_26:17, Deu_26:18; Deu_28:27; Deu_28:68; Deu_32:15; Deu_32:39; Deu_32:51; Deu_33:2; Deu_33:7; Deu_34:9, Deu_34:10, Deu_34:11.

Class II. Where such application is fair: Gen_5:24; Gen_21:33; Exo_6:3; Exo_15:1; Lev_1:1; Num_23:15; Num_23:21; Num_24:4; Num_24:16; Deu_32:1; Deu_32:40.

Class III. Where such application is doubtful: Gen_6:6; Gen_18:1; Gen_18:17; Gen_22:14 (bis); Gen_30:22; Gen_40:23; Gen_49:18; Exo_13:19; Exo_15:2; Exo_15:26; Exo_17:16; Exo_19:3; Deu_1:1; Deu_32:18; Deu_34:4, Deu_34:5.

Classified List of Passages in which the term ‘Memra’ occurs in the Targum Pseudo-Jonathan on the Pentateuch.

Class I: Undoubted: Gen_2:8; Gen_3:8; Gen_3:10; Gen_3:24; Gen_4:26; Gen_5:2; Gen_7:16; Gen_9:12, Gen_9:13; Gen_9:15, Gen_9:16, Gen_9:17; Gen_11:8; Gen_12:17; Gen_15:1; Gen_17:2; Gen_17:7; Gen_17:10, Gen_17:11; Gen_18:5; Gen_19:24 (bis); Gen_20:6; Gen_20:18; Gen_21:20; Gen_21:22, Gen_21:23; Gen_21:33; Gen_22:1; Gen_24:1; Gen_24:3; Gen_26:3; Gen_26:24; Gen_26:28; Gen_27:28; Gen_27:31; Gen_28:10; Gen_28:15; Gen_28:20; Gen_29:12; Gen_31:3; Gen_31:50; Gen_35:3; Gen_35:9; Gen_39:2, Gen_39:3; Gen_39:21; Gen_39:23; Gen_41:1; Gen_46:4; Gen_48:9; Gen_48:21; Gen_49:25; Gen_50:20; Exo_1:21; Exo_2:5; Exo_3:12; Exo_7:25; Exo_10:10; Exo_12:23; Exo_12:29; Exo_13:8; Exo_13:15; Exo_13:17; Exo_14:25; Exo_14:31; Exo_15:25; Exo_17:13; Exo_17:15, Exo_17:16 (bis); Exo_18:19; Exo_20:7; Exo_26:28; Exo_29:42, Exo_29:43; Exo_30:6; Exo_30:36; Exo_31:13; Exo_31:17; Exo_32:35; Exo_33:9; Exo_33:19; Exo_34:5; Exo_36:33; Lev_1:1 (bis); Lev_6:2; Lev_8:35; Lev_9:23; Lev_20:23; Lev_24:12 (bis); Lev_26:11, Lev_26:12; Lev_26:30; Lev_26:44; Lev_26:46; Num_3:16; Num_3:39; Num_3:51; Num_4:37; Num_4:41; Num_4:45; Num_4:49; Num_9:18 (bis); Num_9:19, Num_9:20 (bis); Num_9:23 (ter); Num_10:13; Num_10:35, Num_10:36; Num_14:9; Num_14:41; Num_14:43; Num_16:11; Num_16:26; Num_17:4; Num_21:5, Num_21:6; Num_21:8-9; Num_21:34; Num_22:18, Num_22:19; Num_22:28; Num_23:3, Num_23:4; Num_23:8 (bis); Num_23:16; Num_23:20, Num_23:21; Num_24:13; Num_27:16; Num_31:8; Num_33:4; Deu_1:10; Deu_1:30; Deu_1:43; Deu_2:7; Deu_2:21; Deu_3:22; Deu_4:3; Deu_4:7 (bis); Deu_4:20; Deu_4:24; Deu_4:33; Deu_4:36; Deu_5:5 (bis); Deu_5:11; Deu_5:22, Deu_5:23, Deu_5:24 (bis); Deu_5:25, Deu_5:26; Deu_6:13; Deu_6:21, Deu_6:22; Deu_9:3; Deu_11:23; Deu_12:5; Deu_12:11; Deu_18:19; Deu_20:1; Deu_21:20; Deu_24:18, Deu_24:19; Deu_26:5; Deu_26:14; Deu_26:18; Deu_28:7; Deu_28:9; Deu_28:11; Deu_28:13; Deu_28:20, Deu_28:21, Deu_28:22; Deu_28:25; Deu_28:27, Deu_28:28; Deu_28:35; Deu_28:48, Deu_28:49; Deu_28:59; Deu_28:61; Deu_28:63; Deu_28:68; Deu_29:2; Deu_29:4; Deu_30:3, Deu_30:4, Deu_30:5; Deu_30:7; Deu_31:5; Deu_31:8; Deu_31:23; Deu_32:6; Deu_32:9; Deu_32:12; Deu_32:36; Deu_33:29; Deu_34:1; Deu_34:5; Deu_34:10, Deu_34:11.

Class II. Fair: Gen_5:24; Gen_15:6; Gen_16:1; Gen_16:13; Gen_18:17; Gen_22:16; Gen_29:31; Gen_30:22; Gen_46:4; Exo_2:23; Exo_3:8; Exo_3:17; Exo_3:19; Exo_4:12; Exo_6:8; Exo_12:27; Exo_13:5; Exo_13:17; Exo_32:13; Exo_33:12; Exo_33:22; Lev_26:44; Num_14:30; Num_20:12; Num_20:21; Num_22:9; Num_22:20; Num_24:4; Num_24:16; Num_24:23; Deu_8:3; Deu_11:12; Deu_29:23; Deu_31:2; Deu_31:7; Deu_32:18; Deu_32:23; Deu_32:26; Deu_32:38, Deu_32:39; Deu_32:43; Deu_32:48; Deu_32:50, Deu_32:51; Deu_33:3; Deu_33:27; Deu_34:6.

Class III. Doubtful: Gen_6:3; Gen_6:6 (bis); Gen_6:7 (bis); Gen_8:1; Gen_8:21; Gen_22:18; Gen_26:5 (bis); Exo_4:15; Exo_5:2; Exo_9:20, Exo_9:21; Exo_10:29; Exo_14:7; Exo_15:2; Exo_15:8; Exo_16:3; Exo_16:8; Exo_19:5; Exo_25:22; Lev_18:30; Lev_22:9; Lev_26:40; Num_6:27; Num_9:8; Num_12:6; Num_14:11; Num_14:22; Num_14:35; Num_15:34; Num_20:24; Num_23:19; Num_27:14; Num_33:2; Num_33:38; Num_36:5; Deu_1:26; Deu_1:32; Deu_4:30; Deu_5:5; Deu_8:20; Deu_9:23; Deu_11:1; Deu_13:18; Deu_15:5; Deu_19:15; Deu_25:18; Deu_26:17; Deu_27:10; Deu_28:1; Deu_28:15; Deu_28:45; Deu_28:62; Deu_30:2; Deu_30:8, Deu_30:9, Deu_30:10; Deu_31:12; Deu_33:9.

(Book I., chap. iv., note ) Only one illustration of Philo’s peculiar method of interpreting the Old Testament can here be given. It will at the same time show how he found confirmation for his philosophical speculations in the Old Testament, and further illustrate his system of moral theology in its most interesting, but also most difficult point. The question is, how the soul was to pass from its state of sensuousness and sin to one of devotion to reason, which was religion and righteousness. It will be remarked that the change from the one state to the other is said to be accomplished in one of three ways: by study, by practice, or through a good natural disposition (μάθησις, ἄσκησις, εὐφυΐ́α) exactly as Aristotle put it. But Philo found a symbol for each, and for a preparatory stage in each, in Scripture. The three Patriarchs represented this threefold mode of reaching the supersensuous: Abraham, study; Jacob, practice; Isaac, a good disposition; while Enos, Enoch, and Noah, represented the respective preparatory stages. Enos (hope), the first real ancestor of our race, represented the mind awakening to the existence of a better life. Abraham (study) received command to leave ‘the land’ (sensuousness). But all study was threefold. It was, first, physical – Abram in the land of Ur, contemplating the starry sky, but not knowing God. Next to the physical was that ‘intermediate’ (μέση) study, which embraced the ordinary ‘cycle of knowledge’ (ἐγκύκλιος παιδεία). This was Abram after he left Haran, and that knowledge was symbolised by his union with Hagar, who tarried (intermediately) between Kadesh and Bered. But this stage also was insufficient, and the soul must reach the third and highest stage, that of Divine philosophy (truly, the love of wisdom, φιλοσοφία) where eternal truth was the subject of contemplation. Accordingly, Abram left Lot, he became Abraham, and he was truly united to Sarah, no longer Sarai. Onwards and ever upwards would the soul now rise to the knowledge of virtue, of heavenly realities, nay, of the nature of God Himself.

But there was yet another method than ‘study,’ by which the soul might rise – that of askesis, discipline, practice, of which Scripture speaks in Enoch and Jacob. Enoch – whom ‘God took, and he was not’ (Gen_5:24) – meant the soul turning from the lower to the higher, so that it was no longer found in its former place of evil. From Enoch, as the preparatory stage, we advance to Jacob, first merely fleeing from sensuous entanglements (from Laban), then contending with the affections, ridding himself of five of the seventy-five souls with which he had entered Egypt (Deu_10:22, comp. with Gen_46:27), often nearly misled by the Sophists (Dinah and Hamor), often nearly failing and faint in the conflict (Jacob’s wrestling), but holpen by God, and finally victorious, when Jacob became Israel.

But the highest of all was that spiritual life which came neither from study nor discipline, but through a good natural disposition. Here we have, first of all, Noah, who symbolises only the commencement of virtue, since we read not of any special virtue in him. Rather is he rest – as the name implies – good, relatively to those around. It was otherwise with Isaac, who was perfect before his birth (and hence chosen), even as Rebekah meant constancy in virtue. In that state the soul enjoyed true rest (the Sabbath, Jerusalem) and joy, which Isaac’s name implied. But true virtue, which was also true wisdom, was Paradise, whence issued the one stream (goodness), which again divided into four branches (the four Stoic virtues): – Pison, ‘prudence’ (φρόνησις); Gihon, ‘fortitude’ (ἀνδρία); Tigris, ‘desire’ (ἐπιθυμία), and Euphrates, ‘justice’ (δικαιοσύνη). And yet, though these be the Stoic virtues, they all spring from Paradise, the Garden of God – and all that is good, and all help to it, comes to us ultimately from God Himself, and is in God.