Obrazy na stronie

of Olophernes it is said, that "he, seeing all that the God of Israel did, strongly believed in God, and circumcised the flesh of his fore-skin, and was added to the house of Israel unto this day;" that is, he and his posterity continued in the Jewish religion. Now here is mention made of his being circumcised, previous to his addition, or his being proselyted to the Jewish church; but not a word of baptism, or dipping, in order to it; see Judith xiv. 6.



Third, Mention is made of proselytes in the New Testament, Matt. xxiii. 15. Acts ii. 10. and vi. 5. and xiii. 43. but nothing is said concerning their admission, and the manner of it. Indeed, in the Ethiopic version of Matt. xxiii. 15. the words are ren lered, They baptize one proselyte; which see ns to have respect to the custom under consideration; but then this is but a translation, and not a just one. The Ethiopic version is not only reckoned not very good, but of no great antiquity. Ernestus Gerhard says of the antiquity of it, he dare not affirm any thing certain. And Ludolph, in his history of Ethiopia relates that he could find nothing certain concerning the author and time of this ver. sion; but thinks it probable it was made at the time of the conversion of the Habessines, or a little after, but not in the times of the apostles, as some have affirmed; and in the margin, a little after, he observes, that in an Ethiopic martyrology, St Frumentius, called abbot of Salama, is said to be audior of it; who, according to another place in the said history, seems to have lived in the fourth century, in the times of Athanasius, and is thought to be the first foun-ler of the christian religion in Ethiopia, and the first bishop in it. Scaliger takes the Ethiopic version to be a recent one; and De Dieu, from what the authog or authors of the version of the evangelist Matthew, add at the end of it, sus_ pects that they were of the Maronites, who became subject to the pope of Rone A. D. 1182. and so this version is too late a testimony for the antiquity of such a custom; and the closing the translation o some of the epistles with desiring the prayers of Peter and others, shews what sort of persons they were who translated them, and in what times they lived. The title of the book of the Revelation in this version, is, "The vision of John, which John was bishop of the metropolis of Constantinople, when he suffered persecution;" by which it appears not to be ancient. Hence Dr Oven1 calls it a novel endeavour of an illiterate person; and the trauslation of the clause itself in Matt. xxiii. 15 is censured by Ludolphus as ridiculous; the word by which it is rendered being used in the Ethiopic language to convert a man to christianity, or to make a man a christian; which is by it absurdly attributed to the Scribes and Pharisees.

[ocr errors]

Fourth, As there are no traces of this custom in the writings before, at, or about the times of John, Christ, and his apostles; so neither are there any in those which were written in any short time after; as, not in Philo the Jew, who

Ilira; Positionum ex Ling. Heb. Chald Syr. Ar. & Ethiopir. Pos. 5. 1. 3. C..4. Ibid. 1. 3. c. 2. *In Append. ad Matt. p. 584. &c. of the Scriptures, p. 343. vid. Theologoumen. 1. I. c. 1. p. 4.

& Hist. Ethiop. Of the divine Original, Lexic. Ethnop, Col. qışl

lived in the first century; who, though he is said by some to be ignorant of Jewish customs, yet one would think he could not be ignorant of such as were used at the admission of proselytes; since he lived at Alexandria, where it may be supposed many proselytes were, more than in Judea, and of the manner of their admission he could not but have knowledge both then and in former times; and he makes mention of proselytes, and of them as equally partakers of the same privileges, and to be treated with the same honour and respect as homeborn citizens", and as they were admitted by Moses; but is altogether silent about this custom of baptizing, or dipping them; nor is there the least trace or hint of this custom in any Rabbinical books, said by the Jews to be written a little before or after; such as the books of Bahir, Zohar, the Targums of Onkelos on the Pentateuch, and of Jonathan Ben Uzziel on the prophets.

Fifth, Josephus, the Jewish historian, lived in the same age, a little after Philo, was well versed in the affairs of the Jews, even in their religious rites and ceremonies, having been a priest among them. He not only observes, that many of the Gentiles came over to their religion, but even speaks of whole nations who became Jews, and that they were made so by circumcision; as of the Idumæans, whom Hyrcanus conquered, and suffered to remain in their own land, on condition that they would be circumcised, and conform to the laws of the Jews; and who, out of love to their country, did comply with circumcision, and so became Jews P: and of the Ituræans, whom Aristobulus fought against, and added part of their country to Judæa, and obliged the inhabitants, if they would remain in their country, to be circumcised, and live after the laws of the Jews, and quotes Strabo, who, upon the authority of Timogenes, says, that he enlarged the country of the Jews, and made part of the country of Ituræa theirs, joining them to them by the bond of circumcisions. By which accounts it appears, that both these people were made Jews, or were proselyted to them by circumcision; but not a word is said of their baptism, or dipping; which, according to this custom, as is said, must have been of men, women, and children, which, had it been practised, could not have been well omitted by the historian. He also speaks of Helena, queen of Adiabene, and of her son Izates, embracing the Jewish religion; and relates how desirous Izates was of being circumcised, that he might be a perfect Jew, without which he could not; but for a time he was dissuaded from it by his mother, and a Jewmerchant, who instructed them; but afterwards, being exhorted to perfect the work by one Eleazer, who was more skilful in Jewish affairs, he submitted to circumcision: but neither Josephus nor Eleazer say a word about his baptism, or dipping; which yet, according to the pretended custom as then prevailing, was necessary, as well as circumcision, to make him a complete proselyte.

a De Vita Mosis, l. 1. p. 685. De Monarchia, I. 1. p 818. De Legat. ad Caium, p. 1022. •Contra Apion. I. 2. s. 10. PAntiqu. 1. 13. c. 9. s. 1. So Josippon Ben Gorion, Hist. Heb. 1. 2. c. 9. & l. 4. c. 4. & 1. 5. c. 23 &. 1. 6. c. 13. 9 Antiqu, ib. c. 11. s. 3. so Josippos ibid. l. 4. € 9. Antiqu. ibid. 1. 20. c. 2. 3. 1. §,

[ocr errors]

Nor is any mention made of the baptism or dipping of Helena; which had it been used at this time, would not have been omitted by the historian; since it was by that only, according to this notion, that females were then made proselytes. He also speaks of another son of Helena, Monbaz, embracing the Jewish religion; but says nothing of his baptism.

Sixth, It may be inquired, whether or no any mention is made of this custom of receiving proselytes among the Jews by baptism, or dipping, in the Targums or Chaldee paraphrases. The most ancient ones extant are those of Jonathan Ben Uzziel of the prophets, and of Onkelos of the pentateuch; the one at the beginning, the other toward the end of the first century; in which nothing is met with concerning the admission of Jewish proselytes by dipping. The other paraphrases are by uncertain authors, and of an uncertain age. The Targum of the Megillot, or five books of Ruth, Ecclesiastes, Canticles, Lamentations, and Esther, is written by an unknown author; it is the latest of all the Targums. In that of Esther only the phrase became Jews, chap. viii. 12. iş rendered became proselytes; but nothing is said of their manner of becoming such. In that of Ruth, chap. i. 16. the requisites of a proselyte are particularly observed; where Ruth is introduced, saying, that she desired to be made a proselyte; when Naomi informs her what commands the Jews were obliged tọ observe; as to keep the Sabbaths and festivals, and not to walk beyond two thousand cubits (on the Sabbath-day); not to lodge with Gentiles; to observe the three hundred and thirteen commands; not to worship an idol, &c. to all which Ruth is made to agree; but not a syllable is said about baptism, or dipping; whereas, that, with a sacrifice along with it, before the building of the temple, and while the temple stood, and since, without it, is the only thing, according to this notion, by which females were admitted proselytes. In the Targum of Jonathan of Gen. ix. 27. the sons of Japhet are said to be made proselytes, and to dwell in the school of Shem. In the Jerusalem-Targum, and in that of Pseudo-Jonathan, the souls that Abraham and Sarah got in Ha. ran, Gen. xii. 5. are said to be the souls who were made proselytes by them; and in the same Targum of Gen. xxi. 33. at Beersheba, where Abraham planted a grove, he is said to make proselytes, and teach them the way of the world, of the world to come; but nothing more is said of the way and manner in which they were made such. In the Targum of Pseudo-Jonathan of Gen. xxxviii. 2. Judah is said to make the daughter of a Can a ite a proselyt‹ 89, and then married her; and in the same Targum of Numb. xi. 4. the mixed multitude who came with the Israelites out of Egypt, are interpreted proselytes; and no doubt but many of them were such; and Jarchi thinks the son of the Israelitish woman, whose father was an Egyptian, was a proselyte, since he was among the children of Israel, Lev. xxiv. 10. And Africanus affirms',

* Antiqu. c. 3. 9. 1.

These became proselytes in the times of Claudius Cæsar, Ganz Tzemach David, par. a. fol. 15. 2. & Juchasin, fol. 141. 1. Of king Izates, see Tacit. Annal. 1. 12. c. 18. 14.

'Apud Euseb. Eccl, Hist. l. 1. c. 7.


,3 M

[ocr errors]

that the Jews had genealogical tables, in which an account was kept both of original Jews and of proselytes; as of Achior the Ammonite, and Ruth the Moabitess, and those who came out of Egypt mixed with the Israelites; and which continued to the times of Herod, who burnt them, that his family might not be known. But to return to the Targums; in the Pseudo-Jonathan's of Exod. xviii. 6, 7. Jethro is made to say to Moses, as before observed, that he was come to be made a proselyte; and Moses is said to make him one; but in what manner it isot said; and so the rest before mentioned; indeed, the same Targum of Exod. xii. 44. is, " And every stranger who is sold for a servant to an Israelite, bought with money, then thou shalt circumcise him, and thou shalt dip him, and so shall he eat of it," the pass-over. Now in this Targum of Exod. xxvi. 9. not only mention is made of the Misnah, but it abounds with Talmudic fables and traditions, and so must be written after both the Misnah and Talmud; and in the Targum of Numb. xxiv. 19. mention is made of the city of Constantinople, which shews it to be not ancient, and that it is not the work of the true Jonathan. And besides all this, the case of the servant refers not to a proselyte, who became so of choice, but to a bought servant, who, according to the original law in Gen. xvii. 12, 13. was obliged to be circumcised; and so, according to the Rabbinic custom, to be dipped; but then, according to these writers, baptism, or dipping for servitude, was a different thing from baptism, or dipping for proselytism; the one was on a civil, the other on a religious account; the one was repeated when a servant was made a free man, and the other never ". The same Pseudo-Jonathan, in his Targum of Deut. xxi. 13. to the conditions required of a beautiful captive in order to be married to an Israelite, this is added, that she should dip herself, and become a proselytess in his house; but the text has nothing of it, nor the Targum of Onkelos; nor is this custom to be met with in the paraphrases of the true Jonathan; only in this, which was written after the Talmud, and does not come within the time under consideration.

Seventh, Nor is there any mention of such a custom in the Jew's Misnah, or Book of Traditions; which is a collection of all the traditions among the Jews, which had been handed down from age to age, and were collected toge ther from all parts, and written in a book of this name, in order to be preserved. This was written by R. Judah Hakkadosh, in the middle of the second century, A. D. 150. or as others, in the beginning of the third century, reckoning the date of it 150 years from the destruction of the temple; which brings it to the year 220. and here, if any where, one might expect to meet with this rite or, custom; but no mention is made of it. Dr Gale seems to allow it upon what Dr Wall has transcribed from Selden, which he granted without exami nation. The doctor says, It is not only mentioned in the Gemara, but in the text of the Misnah itself; which, as he suggests, speaks of a child becoming a

"Vid. Maimon. Issure Biah, c. 13 .3 .11, 12, & Schulchan Aruch, par. 2. c. 267. s. g. w Reflections on Wali's History of Infant-Baptism, p. 337. History, Introduction, p. 49.


proselyte by baptism, or dipping; but the passage he has from Selden says no. such thing; which runs thus 2: "A she stranger, a captive, and a maiden, who are redeemned and become proselytes, and are made free, being under (or as in the following section, above) three years and one day old, are allowed the matrimonial dowry;" that is, when they come to age, and are married ; but not a word is here of being made proselytes by baptism, or dipping; indeed, the tradition shews, that minors may be proselyted, and than a man's sons and daughters may become prosélytes with him; but there is no need to have recourse to a tradition for this; the law is express, that a stranger who desires to be a proselyte to the Jewish religion, and to eat of the pass-over, must be circumcised, and all his males, and then he and all his children, males and females, may be admitted to eat of it, Exod. xii. 48, 49. only the circumcision of the males is required, but no baptism, or dipping of any. There is a passage in the Misnah, which perhaps some may think countenances this custom; which is this, "A stranger who is made a proselyte, on the evening of the pass-over, the house of Shammai say, he dips and eats his pass-over in the evening; but the house of Hillell say, he that separates from uncircumcision, is as he that separates from a grave." Now it should be observed, 1. That here is a division about this matter, be it what it may; Shammai, and his party, assert, that a proselyte newly made, might dip and eat his pass-over that evening; but Hillell, and his party, dissent, for a reason given; and the determination, in all cases, was generally according to Hillell, as it was in this; so we learn from Maimonides 2. This baptism, or dipping, was not on account of proselytism, but for ceremonial uncleanness; for it goes along with cases of that kind instanced in before. The Canon begins thus, "A mourner (who was unclean according to the cerimonial law) dips and eats his pass-over in the evening; but eats not of the holy things: he that hears tidings of the death of his (friend or relation) and who gathers to him bones, dips, and eats of the holy things:" and then it follows," A stranger who is made a proselyte, &c." - 3.1 his rule, according to Saammai, was concerning one already made a proselyte and therefore the dipping, or baptism, he prescribes to him, in order to his eating the pass-over that evening, was not to make him a proselyte; but for some other reason. Wherefore, 4. This strongly makes against admission of proselytes by baptisin, or dipping, at that time; for if he ha i been made a proselyte that way, there would have been no reason for a second dipping to qua lify him for the pass-over. 5. The case of such an one, according to Hell is, that being just come out of heathenism, he was unclean, as one that touched a dead man, a bone, or a grave; and therefore could not eat of the pass-over that evening, but must wait seven days, until he has purified according to the law in Numb. xix. 11-19. 6. After all, the view of Hillell, in putting such


De Synedriis, 1. 1. c. 3. same in Misn. Ediot, c. 5. s. 8.

[ocr errors]


Misn. Cetubut, c. 1. s. 4. Ib. Pesachim, c. 8. s. 8. the
Hilchot Korban Pesach, c. 6.s. 7.

« PoprzedniaDalej »