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and the chief rulers in their synagogués P.
Which lets us into the reason why persons were scourged in their synagogues.
9.9. The chief rulers of the synagogues being also the judges of the people in many cases, especially those which regarded religion, chose to give sentence against offenders, and see their sentence executed in the synagogue 9. For punishment being designed in terrorem, what more likely way to strike an awe, and deter men from falling into the like errors, than to have it executed in their religious assemblies, and in the face of the congregation? And this accounts for that confusion there is in the Jewish writers when they speak of beth din and beth cheneseth ; their courts of law and their synagogues being often put one for the other'. Our Lord foretold that his disciples should be scourged in the synagogues S; and St. Paul informs us that he was an instrument in fulfilling this, having beaten them that believed in every synagogue'. This of scourging persons in their synagogues is a custom that has prevailed among the Jews from that time down to our own. Uriel Acosta declares, that after he had been excommunicated, this among other conditions of public penance was prescribed him by the chief of the Jews at Amsterdam, that he should re
P Maimon. Hilcoth Taanioth, c. 1. §. 17. Vid. Vitr. de Synag. vet. p. 554. 562-3. et 777. Seld. de Syned. I. 1. c.7. p. 863.
9 Persons were always scourged in the presence of the judges. Vid. Vitr. p. 777. et Seld. de Syned. 1. 2. C. 13. .6. p. 1502, fin.
? As also their beth midrash. Vid. Vitr. de Syn. vet. Prol. p. 28. et p. 134-5. 525. 554. 578. 744. 749. Light. vol. 2. p. 135, 136.
s Matt. X. 17. and xxiii. 34. · Acts xxij. 19. and xxvi. 11.
ceive forty stripes save one in the synagogueu : and Rabbi Jacob ben Asher reports it to have been the custom in Germany that the whole congregation after evening prayer, on the day of expiation, should receive forty stripes in the synagogue by way of penance, Karo says the same, but speaks of it as a more universal practice. And Epiphanius, in the history he gives of Joseph the apostle, expressly says that he was forced away by the Jews into their synagogue, and there scourged y.
u Vid. Vitr. de Syn. vet. 1. 3. p. 1. c. II. p. 776. fin.
x Vid, Seld. de Syned. I. 1. c. 7. p. 878. y Contra Hæres. tom. 2. l. 1. p. 135. Vid. Vitr, 1. 3. C. II. p. 776.
CHAP. VI, in two Parts. Part I. Shewing that the Jewish magistrates
when under the Romans had the power of inflicting capital punishments. Part II. That the jurisdiction of the high priest
and council over the Jews in religious matters extended even to foreign cities.
PART I. The Introduction. ST. PAUL was so eager in harassing the poor Christians, that he not only beat and imprisoned them in Judæa", but persecuted them even to strange cities b; and had letters from the high priest and Jewish sanhedrim to the synagogues and brethren at Damascus, that if he found any of that profession there he might bring them bound to Jerusalem for to be punished. It is said that he breathed out threatenings and slaughterd: that he persecuted this way unto the deathe: and when the saints were put to death, he gave his voice against them f. There are two things here which offer themselves to our inquiry : the first is, whether the Jews, being at this time under the Roman yoke, had the power of inflicting death or any corporal punishments upon criminals ? and, secondly, taking it for granted that they had, how the authority of the high priest and Jewish council could be extended to Damascus or any foreign cities?
Learned men, I find, differ not a little in their
• Acts viii. 3. xxii. 4. 19. and xxvi. 10, u. b Ch. xxvi. 11.
d Acts ix. 1.
c Ch. ix. 2. and xxii. 5. e Ch. xxii. 4.
I Ch. xxvi. 10.
opinions concerning the power left with the Jewish magistrates when their country was made a Roman province. I have met but with two authors who have professedly wrote on this subject. They both maintain the same side of the question. The one is a learned foreigner, Zechariah Huber, advocate and senator 5; the other our ingenious and learned countryman Mr. Lardner". The reasons urged by these gentlemen are far from giving me satisfaction, and I cannot but think there is much greater probability on the other side of the question. Many authors tell us their opinion on this subject, but add little or nothing to shew upon what foundation they build. The great and learned Grotius says, that with regard to scourging, their power remained safe after Judæa was reduced to a province': in another place, that the power of the sanhedrim was restrained when Judæa was made a province, it being ordained, as in almost all other provinces of the Roman empire, that the senate should put no one to death without the consent of the Roman governor, all other judiciary power belonging to the sanhedrim being preserved to them k. It is much to be regretted that he has not given us his authorities for what he here asserts. I am fully persuaded that he was not always of this mind: for in his book de Jure Belli et Pacis he has these words ; Sic apud Judæos mansit sceptrum in synedrio etiam post confiscationem Archelail:
so the sceptre remained among the Jews in the “ sanhedrim even after the confiscation of Archelaus,"
g In a book entitled Dissertationum Libri Tres, Dissert. 1. l. 1. 1 In his Credibility of the Gospel History, vol. 1. chap. 2. i In Joann. xviii. 31.
k In Matt. v. 22. p. 45. a. I. 35. | L. 3. c. 15. §.9. p. 851. pr.
i.e. after Judæa was made a Roman province. He is speaking, in the words both before and after this sentence, of the power granted to kings by their conquerors, in which all acknowledge was included jus gladii, or the power of taking away the lives of their subjects. He has indeed quoted the Talmudists, as saying that capital judgments were taken away from the sanhedrim forty years m before the destruction of Jerusalem". But this by no means comes up to the point: for had they meant that the power of inflicting death was taken away from them by the Romans when their land was made a province, they should have said that capital judgments were taken from the sanhedrim above sixty years before the destruction of Jerusalem: for it was sixtyfive years, I think, before that dreadful overthrow that Quirinus was sent by Augustus to confiscate the goods of Archelaus, and reduce his ethnarchy to a Roman province. Let me add to this, that the indefatigable and most learned Selden fully proves from the Talmudical writers that the meaning of this saying is not that capital judgments were wholly taken away, but that they were interrupted, and much disused to what they had formerly beeno: and I doubt not but this whole dispute had been set by him in the clearest light from the best authorities, had it pleased God to grant him life to have finished what he proposed P. Grotius tells us
m The learned Wagenseil contends that instead of forty it should be read four years, Carm. R. Lipmanni Confut. p. 312. 318. pr. 326 et 327.
o In Matt. v. 22. p. 45. a. I. 41.