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116 § 106. Physics, NATURAL. History, Etc.
was judged to be in a way of recovery, who began to take his usual food, comp. Mark 5:43.
§ 106. Physics, NATURAL. History, AND Philosophy.
Physics, or natural philosophy, has secured but little attention in the East. A knowledge of the animal, vegetable, and mineral kingdoms, or the science of natural history, was always much more an object of interest. We are informed in 1 K. 4; 33. that Solomon himself had given a description of the animal and vegetable kingdoms.
Traces of philosophy, strictly so called, i. e. the system of prevailing moral opinions, may be found in the book of Job, in the 37th, 39th, and 73d Psalms, also in the books of Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, but chiefly in the apocryphal book of Wisdom, and the writings of the son of Sirach. During the captivity, the Jews acquired many new notions, particularly, from the Mehestani, and appropriated them, as occasion offered, to their own purposes. They at length became acquainted with the philosophy of the Greeks, which makes its appearance abundantly in the book of Wisdom. After the captivity, the language, in which the sacred books were written, was no longer vernacular. Hence arose the need of an interpreter on the sabbatic year, a time, when the whole law was read; and also on the sabbath in the synagogues, which had been recently erected, in order to make the people understand what was read. These interpreters learnt the Hebrew language at the schools. The teachers of these schools, who, for the two generations preceding the time of Christ, had maintained some acquaintance with the Greek philosophy, were not satisfied with a simple interpretation of the Hebrew idiom, as it stood, but shaped the interpretation, so as to render it comformable to their philosophy. Thus arose contentions, which gave occasion for the various sects of Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes. In the time of our Saviour, divisions had arisen among the Pharisees themselves. No less than eighteen nice questions, if we may believe the Jewish Rabbins, were contested, at that period, between the schools of Hillel and Shammai. One of which questions was an inquiry, “What cause was sufficient for a bill of divorce 7” If the Shammai and Hillel of the Talmud are the same § 106. Philosophy. 117
with the learned men mentioned in Josephus, viz. Sameas and Pollio, who flourished thirty four years before Christ, then Shammai or Sameas is undoubtedly the same with the Simeon, who is mentioned Luke 2: 25–35. and his son Gamaliel, so celebrated in the Talmud, is the same with the Gamaliel, mentioned Acts 5: 34. 22: 3. Anciently learned men were denominated among the Hebrews bor, as among the Greeks they were called oogol, i. e. wise men. In the time of Christ the common appellative for men of that description was yoguuatews, in the Hebrew -ot, a scribe. They were addressed by the honorary title of Rabbi, an, ozon, i. e. great or master. The Jews, in imitation of the Greeks, had their seven wise men, who were called Rabboni, 737. Gamaliel was one of the number. They called themselves the children of wisdom; an expression, which corresponds very nearly to the Greek guidooqos, Matt. 11: 19. Luke 7: 35. The heads of sects were called fathers, Matt. 12:27. 23: 1–9. The disciples, B***on, were denominated sons or children. The Jewish teachers, at least some of them, had private lecture rooms, but they also taught and disputed in synagogues, in temples, and in fact, wherever they could find an audience. The method of these teachers was the same with that, which prevailed among the Greeks. Any disciple, who chose, might propose questions, upon which it was the duty of the teachers to remark and give their opinions, Luke 2: 46. The teachers were not invested with their functions by any formal act of the church or of the civil authority; they were selfconstituted. They received no other salary than some voluntary present from the disciples, which was called an honorary, ruń, HoNorARIUM, 1 Tim. 5: 17. They acquired a subsistence in the main by the exercise of some art or handicraft. That they took a higher seat than their auditors, although it was probably the case, does not follow, as is sometimes supposed, from Luke 2: 46. According to the Talmudists they were bound to hold no conversation with women, and to refuse to sit at table with the lower class of people, John 4:27. Matt. 9; 11. The subjects, on which they taught, were numerous, commonly intricate, and of no great consequence; of which there are abundant examples in the Talmud, I 18 § 106. AcADEMICAL DEGREE.
NotE.—A sort of academical degree was conferred on the pupils in the Jewish seminaries, which, after the destruction of Jerusalem, were established at Babylon and Tiberias. The circumstances, attending the conferring of this degree, are described by Maimonides, Jad chazaka, Lib. VI. 4, as follows. I. The candidate for the degree was examined, both in respect to his moral character and his literary acquisitions. II. Having undergone this examination with approbation, the disciple then ascended an elevated seat, Matt. 23: 2. III. A writing tablet was presented to him to signify, that he should write down his acquisitions, since they might escape from his memory, and, without being written down, be lost. IV. A key was presented to signify, that he might now open to others the treasures of knowledge, Luke 11:52. W. Hands were laid upon him; a custom derived from Num. 27: 18. VI. A certain power, or authority, was conferred upon him, probably to be exercised over his own disciples. VII. Finally, he was saluted, in the school of Tiberias, with the title of Rabbi, a n, in the school of Babylon, with that of Mas
§ 107. ANTiquity of CoMMERce.
Merchandize, in its various branches, was carried on in the East, at the earliest period of which we have any account; and it was not long before the traffic between nations, both by sea and land, was very considerable. Accordingly frequent mention is made of public roads, fording places, bridges, and beasts of burden; also of ships for the transportation of property, of weights, measures, and coin, both in the oldest parts of the Bible, and in the most ancient profane histories, Gen. 10: 4–5. 12: 5. 23: 16. 37:25, 26. 42: 1–5. Judg. 5: 17. Exod. 20:23. 25: 4. Deut. 3: 14. 19: 3. Josh. 13: 2. 1:2: 5: 13: 13. 1 Sam. 27: 8–10. 2 Sam. 3: 3. 13: 37. 15: 8.
§ 108. Commerce of the PHEN1c1ANs, ARABIANs, AND Egyptians.
The Phenicians anciently held the first rank, as a commercial nation. They were in the habit, either themselves in person or by their agents, of purchasing goods of various kinds throughout all the East. They then carried them in ships on the Mediterranean, as far as the shores of Africa and Europe, brought back in return merchandize and silver, and disposed of these again in the more Eastern countries. The first metropolis of the Phenicians was Sidon; afterwards Tyre became the principal city. Tyre was built two hundred and forty years before the temple of Solomon, or twelve hundred and fifty one before Christ. The Phenicians had ports of their own in almost every country, the most distinguished of which were Carthage, and Tarshish or Tartessus in Spain. The ships from the latter place undertook very distant voyages; hence any vessels, that performed distant voyages, were called ships of Tarshish, on nois. Something is said of the commerce of the Phenicians in the 27th and 28th chapters of Ezekiel, and the 23d chapter of Isaiah.
120 § 109. MERCANtile Routs.
The inhabitants of Arabia Felix carried on a commerce with India. They carried some of the articles, which they brought from India, through the straits of Babelmandeb into Abyssinia and Egypt; some they transported to Babylon through the Persian gulf and the Euphrates; and some by the way of the Red Sea to the port of Eziongeber. They thus became rich, though it is possible, their wealth may have been too much magnified by the ancients. The eminence of the Egyptians, as a commercial nation, commences with the reign of Necho and his successor Psammeticus. Their commerce, nevertheless, was not great, till Alexander had destroyed Tyre and built Alexandria.
§ 109. MERCANtile Routs.
The Phenicians sometimes received the goods of India by way of the Persian gulf, where they had colonies in the islands of Dedan, Arad, and Tyre. Sometimes they received them from the Arabians, who either brought them by land through Arabia or up the Red Sea to Eziongeber. In the latter case, having landed them at the port mentioned, they transported them through the country by the way of Gaza to Phenicia. The Phenicians increased the amount of their foreign goods by the addition of those which they themselves fabricated, and were thus enabled to supply all parts of the Mediterranean. The Egyptians formerly received their goods from the Phenicians, Arabians, Africans, and Abyssinians; in all of which countries, there are still the remains of large trading towns. But in a subsequent age, they imported goods from India in their own vessels, and eventually carried on an export trade with various ports on the Mediterranean. Oriental commerce, however, was chiefly carried on by land. Accordingly vessels are hardly mentioned in the Bible, except in Ps. 107: 23–30. and in passages, where the discourse turns upon the Phenicians, or upon the naval affairs of Solomon and Jehoshaphat. The two principal routs from Palestine into Egypt, were the one along the shores of the Mediterranean from Gaza to Pelusium, and the other from Gaza by the way of mount Sinai and the Elanitic branch of the Red Sea.