« הקודםהמשך »
ce and so Goverd, that ther, and they head of
that, at present, the Government could do more. But thus much it could do, and without delay. There would be no need to wait for Christian teachers, nor would there be any embarrassment from religious differences. Let Government but tread in the steps of the Rajah of Travancore, and an antidote might at once be set in motion to the theism and the infidelity which now is too likely to follow in the wake of our educational progress.
And now I cannot but press the consideration of the responsible position of England towards India, which that progress has created. During the last fifteen years a change has begun in the native mind, of the most momentous consequence. Mere science is overthrowing India's ancient misbeliefs and superstitions. The benevolent statesmen who instituted the Government system of education told the natives not to be afraid,—that they would not touch the question of religion,--that all which they contemplated was the mental and social elevation of the country, and that matters of creed and worship should be ignored. And they meant what they said. But surely they looked very little ahead of their own course; otherwise they would have seen that it was impossible for them to impart sound instruction in history, in astronomy, in geography, and other branches of general knowledge, without cutting away the very foundations of India's popular beliefs. And so it has come to pass. The educated youth of India are fairly being shaken out of their traditional creeds by the simple force of secular instruction. A vacuum has thus been created, and that vacuum either truth or error must fill. But who is to bring in the truth? Who only can do it? And who, above all others, is bound to do it? I appeal to England's conscience. She it is who has created the vacuum. She it is who has forced general knowledge upon India, and by that knowledge has undermined all the old religions. And unless she now replaces them with truth, hers will be the responsibility of India's exposure to a deism which can never be the basis of sound morals, or an atheism which must be destructive of all moral sense. We have come, therefore, to a crisis-a crisis eminently owing to England's educational work in India ; and if she now leaves her pupils as they are, and does not invite them to acquaintance with revealed truth, and that speedily, the burden of a rapidly spreading alienation from all serious belief, and therefore from the only habit of mind to generate good morals, will lie at England's door.
Some men, unhappily, there are, who will not much lay this thought to heart. But there is one view of the matter which minds the most mundane can hardly afford to despise. We may rely upon it, that India, educated but unprincipled, will never be a willing subject to England's rule. Her young men
are already asking why they should be governed by a foreign power? Their education too often puffs them up exceedingly; and proud of their acquirements, they fret against the yoke of an alien race. Let it be that they fret in vain; still there is no saying what amount of anxiety, and more than anxiety, may arise to a governing power from a population impatient of restraint, when throughout the cities, towns, and even villages of its land, the children have grown up to mock at their fathers' faith, and to own no faith beside.
J. H. Bp.
INSCRIPTIONS IN ANCIENT KARAITE HEBREW MSS.* It is satisfactory to know that the more the Hebrew inscriptions on the Crimean tombs are examined into, the more is their genuineness confirmed and established ; and even points, which at first sight appeared suspicious, have, on investigation, proved strongly in their favour. Of scarcely less interest, are the epigraphs or inscriptions found in the ancient Hebrew MSS. discovered in the Crimea. In many respects these epigraphs themselves are strongly confirmatory of the genuineness of the records on the graves of Tshufutkale, and the other Jewish burying places in the Crimea, and in them appear the same eras of the Israelitish or Samaritan exile, the old era of the Creation, and the more modern Jewish computation.
Neubauer, in his most interesting little volume, remarks with truth, that these Crimean discoveries have made us acquainted with several novelties. Inscriptions on rolls of the Law were unheard of, till many such were discovered on these Karaite rolls, and the directions of the Rabbins as to the mode of writing have in these MSS. been utterly set at nought. The MSS. exhibit also other striking peculiarities, and yet it is utterly impossible to conceive any fabrication, even in the case of the inscriptions found in them. Before the discovery of the Karaite MSS., the oldest Hebrew MSS. known were of the tenth or eleventh centuries; but among the Karaite MSS., now at St. Petersburgh, are several of much older date, one of the sixth, and even one belonging to the fifth century.
In proof of the statement that the various eras mentioned in
* Achtzehn Hebräische Grabschriften aus der Krim. Ein Beitrag zur bibli. schen Chronologie, semitischen Paläo. graphie n. alten Ethnographie. Von D. Chwolson. Mit 9 Tafeln. St. Peters. burg, 1865.
Vol. 68.-No. 379.
Aus der Petersburger Bibliothek. Beiträge und Dokumente zur Geschichte des Karäerthums und der karäischen Literatur. Von Adolf Neubauer. Leipzig, 1866,
the tomb inscriptions are found also in the epigraphs in the MSS., we may cite the epigraph No. 8 at the end of a Pentateuch roll (No. 14), which is given in full in the original, both by Chwolson and Neubauer. It runs as follows:-“This is the perfect and trustworthy law of the holy congregation of our brothers of Chazar, which they have here dedicated, the Congregation of Kerim, the superior (upper) Congregation, in the year 1485 of our Exile, the 700th i.e. 4700] of the Creation, and it is holy to the God of Israel, it shall not be sold nor redeemed for ever, and may the God of Israel bless this congregation which have dedicated it, and may the Lord preserve them alive, may He reckon them in the writing of the peoples, and with His people Israel ! May they be written among the living in Jerusalem, and cleave unto the house of Jacob in this day! and may their king at the head of them live for ever in his truthfulness, Amen and Amen saith David the son of Isaac Sangari, &c.” The dates above correspond to A.D. 789. The fact of Isaac Sangari, by whose instrumentality the king of the Chazars had been converted to Judaism, baving died in A.D. 767, proves that the dates above must be the date of the Israelitish exile, and the era of the Creation the old Crimean era, of which we have spoken in our former paper.
In the epigraph No. 9 to another roll of the Pentateuch, one Elijah the son of Solomon the scribe states that he sold the book of the Law, which his father had written, to Beik (Beg), the son of Jaldugan, the governor of the city Kaffa by the sea shore, in the year 1494 of our Exile, and 709 (4709) of the Creation. The dates here must be explained as before; as, independently of other reasons, David Sangari appears among the witnesses to this sale, and the sale was thus effected some seven or eight years later than the date of the preceding epigraph.
One of the most interesting and valuable of the synagogue rolls is that numbered No. 2. It is written upon leather, and is remarkable for its departures from Rabbinical rules. The substance of the epigraph on it is thus given by Neubauer :" Joshuah says, we must here inscribe the wonders which God has done for us, who can recount what has happened to us all during the 1500 years we have lived in this Exile. We have come into the hands of fire-worshippers and water-worshippers, they have plundered, wasted, and shed our blood, they have taken our sacred books, and have made mock of the same. This our latest enemy, Prince Gatam, has embittered it still more; he marched with an army of a people not very strong, the Tatraksians, who would have utterly destroyed us, had not God sent us help in our brothers, the Chazars, who have become Jews, with their Prince Mibsam at their head. These have saved these sacred Rolls, have taken the fortress Dora (Theodora) in the year in which we live, 4565 of the Creation, 1501 of our Exile, so may God still continue to help us, and to send the prophet Elijah our prophet in our days ! Amen."
The date of the Exile here is again that of the Samaritan exile, but the era of the Creation is the one at present adopted by the Jews, and the date accordingly corresponds to A.D. 804 or 805. We cannot yet cast much light on the precise historical allusion. Munk has, however, remarked that it is curious how Gatam of the race of Edom (Gen. xxxyi. 16) is contrasted here with Mibsam. The latter name appears also in Scripture as that of a son of Ishmael (Gen. xxv. 13).
In an epigraph, No. 13, on another Pentateuch roll, the writer of the same, one Joseph son of Elijah, surnamed Genithi, says that he had finished this roll in the village Ziburza on a Tuesday, “the first of the month Adar, 4503 after the Creation, 1155 after the Seleucian era," i.e. A.D. 843. This is again the usual Jewish era of the Creation. In another epigraph on a Pentateuch roll we read that Rabbi Joseph, son of R. Elijah, son of the scribe Joseph son of Elijah Genithi, presented this roll to the community of the village Zabak as a memorial of his brother Isaac, who died childless, on Wednesday the 11th of the month Ab,“ in the year 4665 after the Creation, after the era according to which we reckon in the coinmunities of Matarcha, Karakuban, and Thochth.” The deed of gift is subscribed by Jacob the son of Moses of Taman, who died in a.d. 958, and the inscription on his tombstone is among those described in full by Chwolson. An examination into these dates proves that the Matarkian era is identical with the usual Jewish era. But though the use of the Rabbinical era of the Creation seems to have thus early become common, the old era was still in use. In an inscription (No. 38) on a fragment of the Psalms (cod. No. 72), a certain Hosh'anah ben Michael says that he had bought this book from Chanūkah ben Shemarjah in Matarcha, and had presented it to the community in Soichat in the year 1241 of the Seleucian era, 689 after the Creation. The former date proves that the latter era is after the present reckoning, and accordingly corresponds to A.D. 929. But the wife of the said Chanūkah ben Shemarjah appears also in an inscription at the end of a complete roll of the Pentateuch (cd. No. 19) as having presented that roll with the permission of her husband to the community at Kertsch in the year 831 (i.e. 4831) of the Creation, which latter date must be plainly computed after the old Crimean era, in which the year 4831 corresponds to A.D. 920.
In another fragment of the Pentateuch (No. 78) there occurs an entry (No. 57) by Abraham ben Simchah, in which he says that he had presented this Pentateuch, which was bought, in the year 1281 of the Seleucian era, from Rabbi Ephraim, an envoy from Jerusalem to his son-in-law Noah son of Būkik “ the
prince of the Chazars." The year 1281 of that era corresponds to A.D. 969. Much interest is connected with this same Abraham ben Simchah. Prof. Chwolson tells us that during his journey in the Caucasus in 1840-1, A. Firkowitsch was informed by an old Rabbi in Derbend, that the Jews of Mangelis, a village in the neighbourhood of that city, had concealed for a long time an ancient record in the walls of their Old synagogue. After considerable search he discovered, in the south wall of the synagogue, an ancient roll, in which the following records were found in the same hand writing :
“I Joshua ben Elijah, one of the Karaites, as I came by the village Tagbasar (Tegebsar, according to Neubauer's punctuation) in the neighbourhood of Derbend, found with Mar Joseph ben Bachshi the text of the travels of Jehudah ben Mosheh Misrachi, which Abraham ben Simchah Hasafardi (i.e. of Kertsch) had copied from an inscription on an old Pentateuch roll in Hamadan. I copied it for myself in the year 5273 after the Creation (i.e. A.D. 1513), on Tuesday, the 5th of the month Siwan, on the eve of the Pentecost.”'
The second runs as follows:
“I, one of the faithful in Israel, Abraham ben Mar Simchah of the city of Safarad (Kertsch) in the kingdom of our brethren, the pious proselytes, the Chazars,- in the year 1682 after our Exile, that is 4746 after the Creation, according to the era after which our brethren, the Jews in the city of Matarcha, reckon, when the envoys of the prince of Rosh Meshech, [Russia, imitated after Ezek. xxxvii. 2, &c.] came from the city Zijob (i.e. Kiow) to our master, the Chazar Prince David, in order to search into the matters of religion —was sent by him (Prince David) to Persia and Media, in order to purchase ancient Pentateuchs, the books of the Prophets, and the Hagiographa, for the Chazar communities. In Elam (Ispahan] I heard that in Shushan [Hamadan] an ancient roll existed, and when I came there, our brethren, the children of Israel, showed it to me in a great assembly. At the end of this roll was inscribed the description of the travels of R. Jehudah the Corrector. They (the Jews in Hamadan) told me that the father of the same was the first inventor of the vowel signs and accents in order to lessen for the pupils the difficulty of learning to read the Scriptures. I begged them to sell the roll to me, but they refused to do this. I copied that description word for word, as the words of the Corrector were to me very precious, and I attached thereto an explanation of his words which were obscure, but which were intelligible enough to me. May his pious merits protect me, so that God may bring me back to my house alive and well, Amen !"
“Every word of this record,” says Graetz, “bears upon it the stamp of genuineness.” Joshua ben Elijah could not have fabricated such a document, he would not likely have been acquainted with the historical fact that the Russian prince actually sent out an embassy in A.D. 986 to inquire into the