The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah
PEREQ. - MONTHS - GOVERNORS, ETC.
THE BOOK YETSIRAH
Mishnah 1. In thirty-two wonderful paths of wisdom, Jah,
Jehovah Tsebhaoth, the God of Israel, the Living God, and King of the World,
God merciful and gracious, High and Exalted, Who dwelleth to Eternity, high and
holy is His Name, hath ordered [established, created?] (the world) by
three Sepharim [books]: by Sepher [the written Word], Sephar
[number, numeral] and Sippur [spoken word]. Others, pointing the worlds
differently, render these mysterious terms: Number, Word, Writing; others
Number, Numberer, Numbered; while still other see in it a reference to the
threefold division of the letters of the Hebrew alphabet, of which more
Mishnah 2. Ten Sephiroth [emanations] belimah1
[without anything, i.e. before these, the sole elements out of which all else
evolved], twenty-two letters of foundation (these constitute the Hebrew
Alphabet, and the meaning seems that the Sephiroth manifest themselves
in that which is uttered): three mothers (Aleph, the first letter
of Avveyr, air; Mem, the first letter of Mayim, water; and
Shin, the last letter of Esh, fire - although this may represent
only one mystical aspect of the meaning of the term 'mothers,' as applied to
these letters), sevenduplex2
(Pronounced 'soft' or 'hard,' viz. Beth, Gimel, Daleth, Kaph, Pe, Resh, Tau,
which are, or where in Hebrew capable of modification by a Dagesh - but this
also must be mystically understood) and twelve simpleones3
(the simple letters of the Hebrew Alphabet).
expression occurs already in Job xxvi. 7.
'twofold' might best express the meaning.
also the symbolical significance of the numbers 3, 7, 12 as the manifestation
of God - the Archetype of all else.
Mishnah 3. Ten Sephiroth belimah (the analogy is now
further traced in God and in man), the number of the ten fingers, five
against five, and the covenant of the One Only (God) placed between them
(the covenant relationship between God and man in the midst, even as it is
symbolised in the person of man which is between the twice five fingers) by
the word of the tongue (this, the relation Godward) and by the word of
sexualness [nuditas] (the relation earthwards - the one has become
Mishnah 4. Ten Sephiroth belimah - ten and not nine, ten and
not eleven - be informed in wisdom, and be wise in information; examine in
them, search out from them, and put the thing in its reality (certitude,
proper state?), and place again the Creator in His place.
Mishnah 5. Ten Sephiroth belimah - their measurement
ten, which have no end (limitation): depth of beginning (past) and
depth of ending (future), depth of good and depth of evil, depth of
height and depth of profundity (or, above and beneath), depth of east
and depth of west, depth of north and depth of south - One only Lord, God, the
true (approved) King, Who reigneth over all from His holy dwelling and
unto all eternity.
Mishnah 6. Ten Sephiroth belimah - their appearance like the
sheen of lightning (reference here to Ezek. i. 14), and their outgoings
(goal) that they have no end, His word is in them (the Logos manifest in
the Sephiroth), in running and in returning, and at His word like storm-wind
they pursue (follow), and before His throne they bend (in worship).
Mishnah 7. Ten Sephiroth belimah - their end is joined to
their beginning, like the flame that is bound up with the coal, for the Lord is
One only, and there is no second to Him, and before him what countest thou?
Mishnah 8. Ten Sephiroth belimah - shut thy mouth, that is
speak not, and thy heart, that it think not, and if thy heart run away, bring
it back to its place, for on this account is it said (Ezek. i. 14) 'they
run and return,' and on this condition has the Covenant been made.
Mishnah 9 and 10. Ten Sephiroth belimah - One: the
Spirit of the living God, blessed and again blessed be the Name of Him Who
liveth for ever - Voice and Spirit and Word, and this is the Holy Ghost.
Two: Wind (air, spirit?) from (out of) Spirit
- thereby ordered and hewed He the twenty-two letters of foundation, three
mothers, and 7 duplicate, and 12 simple ones, and one Spirit from (among) them.
Three: Water from beneath (wind), He designed and hewed in them thou vavohu, slime and dung - designed them like a bed (a garden bed), hewed
them like a wall, covered them like pavement. Four: Fire from water, He
designed it and hewed in it the throne of glory, the Ophanim and Seraphim, the
sacred living creatures, and the angels of service, and of these three He
founded His dwelling place, as it is said, He maketh His angels breaths
(winds), and His ministers a flaming fire.
Mishnah 11. Five: Three letters from out the simple ones: He
sealed spirit on the three, and fastened them in His Great Name why
(Jehovah, of which these three letters are the abbreviation; what follows shows
how the permutation of these three letters makes the varied relationship of God
to creation in time and space, and at the same time, so to speak, the immanence of His manifestation in it). And He sealed with them six outgoings
(ends, terminations): He turned upwards, and He sealed it with why.
Six: He sealed below, turned downwards, and sealed it with hwy. Seven:
He sealed eastward, He turned in front of Him, and sealed it with wyh.
Eight: He sealed westward, and turned behind, and sealed it with
ywh. Nine: He sealed southward, and turned to His right, and sealed it
with hyw. Ten: He sealed northward, and turned to His left, and
sealed it with yhw.
Mishnah 12. These are the Sephiroth belimah - one: Spirit of
the living God, and wind (air, spirit? the word ruach means all these), water,
and fire; and height above and below, east and west, north and south.
Mishnah 1. Twenty-and-two letters of foundation: three mothers,
seven duplex, and twelve simple ones - three mothers #m), their
foundation the scale of merit and the scale of guilt, and the tongue of statute
trembling (deciding) between them. (This, to be mystically carried
out, in its development, and application to all things: the elements, man,
Mishnah 2. Twenty-two letters of foundation: He drew them,
hewed them, weighed them, and interchanged them, melted them together
(showing how in the permutation of letters all words - viewed mystically as the
designation of things - arose), He formed by them the nephesh of all that is
formed (created), and the nephesh of everything that is to be formed
Mishnah 3. Two-and-twenty letters of foundation: drawn in
the voice, hewn in the wind (air, spirit?) fastened on the mouth in five
places: (hx) (the gutturals among the Hebrew letters), Pmwb (the
labials), qkyg (the palatals), tnl+d (the linguals), Cr#sz (the
Mishnah 4. Twenty-two letters of foundation, fastened in a
circle in 231 gates (marking how these letters are capable of
forming, by the permutation of two of them, in all 231 permutations); and
the circle turns forwards and backwards, and this is the indication of the
matter: as regards what is good, there is nothing higher than gn(
(oneg), 'delight,' and nothing lower than hgn (negah), 'plague'
(stroke). In such manner He weighed them and combined them, with them all,
and them all with ) with them all, and them all with
) b with them all, and them all with b, and thus the rest, so that it is found that all that is formed and
all that is spoken proceeds from one Name (the name of God being, as it
were, the fundamental origin of everything).
Mishnah 5. He formed from Tohu that which has substance, and
made that which is not into being, and hewed great pillars from the air, which
cannot be handled; and this is the indication: beholding and speaking He made
all that is formed and all words by one Name - and the indication of the
matter: twenty-two numbers and one body.
Mishnah 1. Three mothers - #m): their
foundation, the scale of guilt and the scale of merit, and the tongue of the
statue trembling (deciding) between them.
Mishnah 2. Three mothers - #m) - a great
mystery, marvellous and hidden, and sealed with six signets, and from them go
forth fire and water, and divide themselves into male and female. Three mothers,
#m) their foundation, and from them were born the fathers (rerum
natur� semina), from which everything is created (fire is regarded as
the male principle, water as the female principle, and air as combining the
two: ) is the first letter of the Hebrew word for air, m for that
of water, # the last for that of fire).
Mishnah 3. Three letters, #m) - in the world:
air, water, fire; the heavens were created in the beginning from fire, and the
earth was created from water, and the air trembles (the same word as that
in regard to the tongue between the scales of the balance, indicating the
intermediate, inclining to the one or the other) between the fire and the
Mishnah 4. Three mothers, #m) - in the year:
fire, and water, and wind. Heat is created from fire, cold from water, and
moderate from the wind (air) that is intermediate between them. Three
mothers, #m) - in the nephesh: fire, water, and wind. The head was
created from fire, and the belly from water, and the body from wind that is
intermediate between them.
Mishnah 5. Three mothers, #m) - He drew them,
and hewed them, and melted them together, and sealed with them the three
mothers in the world, the three mothers in the year, and three mothers in the
nephesh - male and female.
(Now follows a further mystical development and application.) The
letter ) He made King in the Spirit, and bound upon him the crown
(this refers to farther mystical signs indicated in the Kabbalistic figure
drawn on p. 438 of the 'History of the Jewish Nation'), and melted them one
with the other, and sealed with them: in the world the air, in the soul life,
and in the nephesh (living thing) body - the male with #m), the
female with M#). m He made King in the waters, and bound on
it the crown, and melted them one with the other, and sealed: in the world
earth, and in the year cold, and in the nephesh the belly - male and female,
male in #)m, and female in )#m. # He made King
in the fire, and bound on it the crown, and melted them one with the other, and
sealed with it: in the upper world the heavens, in the year heat, in the
nephesh the head - male and female.
Mishnah 1. Seven duplex letters,
trpk dgb (it will here be noticed that we now proceed from the numeral 3 to the
further mystic numeral 7), accustomed (habituated, adapted, fitted) for
two languages (correlate ideas); life, and peace, and wisdom, and
riches, grace, and seed, and government (the mystic number 7 will here he
noted), and accustomed (fitted) for two tongues (modes of
pronunciation) `bb `tt `rr `pp `kk `dd `gg, - the formation of soft and hard, the formation of
strong and weak (the dual principle will here be observed); duplicate,
because they are opposites: the opposites - life and death; the opposites -
peace and evil; the opposites - wisdom and folly; the opposites - riches and
poverty; the opposites - grace and ugliness; the opposites - fertility and
desolation; the opposites - rule and servitude.
Mishnah 2. Seven duplex letters, trpk dgb; corresponding
to the seven out goings; from them seven outgoings: above and below, east and west, north and south, and the
holy Temple in the middle, and it upbears the whole.
Mishnah 3. Seven duplex, trpk dgb; He drew them, and
hewed them, and melted them, and from them, in the world the stars (the
planets), in the year the days, in the nephesh the issues, and with them He
drew seven firmaments, and seven earths, and seven Sabbaths, therefore He loves
the seventh under all heavens.
Mishnah 4. Two letters build two houses (here the number
of possible permutations are indicated). Three letters build six houses,
four build twenty-four houses, five build 120 houses, six build 720 houses, and
from thence go onward and think what the mouth is not able to speak, and the
ear not able to hear. And these are the in the world - seven: the Sun, Venus,
Mercury, the Moon, Saturn, Jupiter, Mars. And these are the days in the year;
the seven days of creation; and the seven gates of issue in the nephesh: two
eyes, two ears, and a mouth, and the two nostrils. And with them were drawn the
seven above all that is delight under the heavens.
Mishnah 1. The properties of the twelve simple letters
(or their attributes) - y+xzwh qc(s Nl - their foundation: sight, hearing, smell,
speech, eating, concubitus, working, walking, anger, laughter, thinking, sleep.
Their measurement twelve boundaries in the hypothenuse (points in
transverse lines), the boundary N. E., the boundary S. E., the boundary E.
upwards, the boundary E. downwards; the boundary N. upwards, the boundary N.
downwards, the boundary S. W., the boundary N. W., the boundary W. upwards, the
boundary W. downwards, the boundary S. upwards, the boundary S. downwards, and
they extended and go on into the eternal (boundless space), and they are
the arms of the world.
Mishnah 2. Twelve simple letters, qc (s Nl y+x zwh. He drew
them, and melted them, and formed of them the twelve constellations in the
world (sign of the Zodiac): Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo,
Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Capricornus, Aquarius, Pisces (these are
expressed in the original in an abbreviated, contracted form). These are the
twelve months of the year: Nisan, Iyar, Sivan, Tammuz, Abh, Elul, Tishri,
Marcheshvan, Kislev, Tebheth, Shebhat, Adar (thus the number twelve is
marked, first in the functions of man, then in the points of the compass, then
in the starry skies, and then in the year). And these are the twelve leaders
in nephesh (living beings): two hands, and two feet, and two kidneys,
the spleen, the liver, the gall, the intestine, the upper stomach, the lower
stomach (perhaps gullet, stomach, and intestine - at any rate, three organs
connected with deglutition and digestion). He made them like a land
(province), and set them in order like war, and also - this as against that,
ordered God. Three mothers, which are three fathers, because from them issue
fire, wind, and water. Three mothers, and seven duplicate, and twelve simple
Mishnah 3. These are the twenty-two letters with which the
Holy One has founded (all), blessed be He, Jah, Jehovah Tsebhaoth, the
living God of Israel, high and lifted up, dwelling eternally, and holy is His
Name, exalted and holy is He.
Mishnah 1. Three fathers and their generations, seven
subduers and their hosts (planets?), seven boundaries of hypothenuse -
and the proof of matter: faithful witnesses are the world, the year, and the
nephesh. The law (statute, settled order) of the twelve, and of the
seven, and of the three, and they are appointed over the heavenly dragon, and
the cycle, and the heart. Three: fire, and water, and wind (air); the
fire above, the water below, and the wind (air) the statute intermediate
between them. And the demonstration of the matter: the fire bears the water,
m is silent, # hisses, and ) is the
statute intermediate between them (all these have further mystic meaning
and application in connection with words and ideas).
Mishnah 2. The dragon is in the world like a king on his
throne; the cycle is in the year like a king in his land; the heart is in the
nephesh like a king in war. Also in all that is pursued God has made the one
against the other (opposite poles and their reconciliation): the good
against the evil; good from good, and evil from evil; the good trying the evil,
and the evil trying the good the good is kept for the good, and the evil is
kept for the evil.
Mishnah 3. Three are one, that standeth alone; seven are
divided, there as against three, and the statute intermediate between them.
Twelve are in war: three loving, three hating, three giving life, three giving
death. The three loving ones: the heart, the ears, and the mouth; the three
hating ones: the liver, the gall, and the tongue - and God a faithful king
reigning over all: one (is) over three, three over seven, seven over twelve,
and they are all joined together, the one with the other.
Mishnah 4. And when Abraham our father had beheld, and
considered, and seen, and drawn, and hewn, and obtained it, then the Lord of
all revealed Himself to him, and called him His friend, and made a covenant
with him and with his seed: and he believed in Jehovah, and it was imputed to him
for righteousness. He made with him a covenant between the ten toes, and that
is circumcision; between the ten fingers of his hand, and that is the tongue;
and He bound two-and-twenty letters on his tongue, and showed him their
foundation. He drew them with water, He kindled them with fire, He breathed
them with (air); He burnt them in seven; He poured them forth in the
The views expressed in the Book Yetsirah are repeatedly
referred to in the Mishnah and in other of the most ancient Jewish writings.
They represent, as stated at the outset, a direction long anterior to the
Mishnah, and of which the first beginnings and ultimate principles are of
deepest interest to the Christian student. The reader who wishes to see the
application to Christian metaphysics and theology of the Kabbalah, of which Yetsirah
is but the first word, is referred to a deeply interesting and profound work,
strangely unknown to English scholars: Molitor, Philosophie d. Gesch.
oder uber d. Tradition, 4 vols. English readers will find much to interest them
in the now somewhat rare work of the Rev. John Oxley: The Christian
Doctrine of the Trinity and Incarnation (London, 1815, 2 vols.)
The principles laid down in the Book Yetsirah are
further carried out and receive their fullest (often most remarkable)
development and application in the book Zohar ('Splendour' - the edition used by
us is the 8vo. edition, Amsterdam, 1805, in 3 vols, with the Amsterdam edition
of the Tikkune Zohar; other Kabbalistic books used by us need not here be
mentioned). The main portion of the Zohar is in the form of a Commentary on the
Pentateuch, but other tractates are interspersed throughout the volumes.
5. Dogmatic Theology. - This is fully treated of in the
text of these volumes.
6. Historic Theology. - To describe and criticise the various
works which come under this designation would require the expansion of this
Appendix into a Tractate. Some of these compositions have been referred to in
the text of these volumes. For a general account and criticism of them I must
again refer to the 'History of the Jewish Nation' (see especially the chapters
on 'The Progress of Arts and Sciences among the Jews,' and 'Theological Science
and Religious Belief in Palestine'). For the historical and critical account of
Rabbinic historical works the student is referred to Zunz, Gottesd. Vortr. d.
Juden, ch. viii. The only thing which we shall here attempt is a translation of
the so-called Megillath Taanith, or 'Roll of Fast;' rather, a Calendar
of the days on which fasting and mourning was prohibited. The oldest
part of the document (referred to in the Mishnah, Taan. ii. 8) dates from the
beginning of the second century of our era, and contains elements of even much
greater antiquity. That which has come down of it is here given in translation:4
the glosses on and in the text have been omitted. The edition of the Tractate
in its present form used by us is that of Warshau, 1874, and consists
(with comments) of 20 octavo (double) pages. For the criticism of the work see
specially Gr�tz, Gesch. d. Juden, vol. iii. pp. 415-428, and Derenbourg,
Hist. de la Palest. pp. 439-446. A special tractate on the subject is Schmilg's
inaugural dissertation, Leipzig, 1874. It need scarcely be said that these
writers entertain different views as to the historical dates specially
commemorated in the Megillath Taanith, and the events to which they refer.
Comp. also Wolfius, Biblioth. Rabb. vol. i. p.385, vol. ii. p. 1325,
vol. iii. p. 11963. My edition of Wolfius has the great advantage of the
marginal notes and corrections by the great Jewish historian, the late Dr. Jost,
who, many years ago, gave me his copy.
TAANITH, OR ROLL OF FASTS.
These are the days on which it is not lawful to fast, and
during some of them mourning must also be intermitted.
1. From the 1st day of the month Nisan,
and to the 8th of it, it was settled about the daily sacrifice (that it should
be paid out of the Temple-treasury) - mourning is prohibited.
2. And from the 8th to the end of the Feast (the 27th) the
Feast of Weeks was re-established - mourning is interdicted.
1. On the 7th Iyar the dedication of the
wall of Jerusalem - mourning is prohibited.
2. On the 14th is the day of the little
(the second) Passover - mourning is prohibited.
3. On the 23rd the sons of Acra5
issued from Jerusalem.
abstain from giving historical notes. For the different explanations of the
commemorative dates the reader is referred to the books already mentioned.
4. On the 27th the imposts were removed
from Jud�a and Jerusalem.
1. On the 17th Sivan the tower of Zur
2. On the15th and 16th men of Bethshean
and of the plain were exiled.
3. On the 25th the tax-gatherers were withdrawn from Judah and
1. On the 14th Tammuz the Book of Decisions ('aggravating
ordinances') was abrogated - mourning is prohibited.
1. On the 15th Abh the season of
wood-offerings (for the Temple use) of priests (comp. Jos. War ii. 17.
6) - mourning is prohibited.
2. On the 24th we returned to our Law.
1. On the 7th of Elul the day of the
Dedication of Jerusalem - mourning prohibited.
2. On the 17th the Romans withdrew from
Jud�a and Jerusalem.
3. On the 22nd we returned to kill the apostates.
1. ON the 3rd Tishri the mention of the Divine Name was removed
from public deeds.
1. On the 23rd Marcheshvan the Sorigah
(a partition-wall in the Temple, supposed to have been erected by the heathen,
comp. 1 Macc. iv. 43-46) was removed from the Temple-court.
2. On the 25th the wall of Samaria was
3. On the 27th the meat offering was again brought on the
1. On the 3rd the Simavatha (another
heathen structure) was removed from the court or the Temple,
2. On the 7th is a feast day.
3. On the 21st is the day of Mount
Garizim - mourning is prohibited.
4. On the 25th the eight days of the Feast of Lights (Chanukah)
begin - mourning is prohibited.
1. On the 28th the congregation was re-established according to
the Law. (This seems to refer to the restoration of the Sanhedrin after the
Sadducean members were removed, under the rule of Queen Salome. See the
historical notes in Appendix IV.)
1. On the 2nd a feast day6
- mourning is prohibited.
feast seems to refer to the death of King Herod; that on the 7th Kislev to the
death of King Jann�us.
2. On the 22nd the work, of which the
enemy said that it was to be in the Temple, was destroyed - mourning is
interdicted. (This seems to refer to the time of Caligula, when, on the
resistance of the Jews, the statute of the Emperor was at last not allowed to
be in the Temple.)
3. On the 28th King Antiochus was removed from Jerusalem
(supposed to refer to the day of the death of Antiochus, son of Antiochus
Epiphanes, in his expedition against the Parthians).
1. On the 8th and the 9th, days of joy
on account of rain-fall.
2. On the 12th is the day of Trajan.
3. On the 13th is the day of Nicanor
4. On the 14th and on the 15th are the
days of Purim (Feast of Esther) - mourning is prohibited.
5. On the 16th was begun the building
the wall of Jerusalem - mourning is prohibited.
6. On the 17th rose the heathens against
the remnant of the Scribes in the country of Chalcis and of the Zabedaeans, and
Israel was delivered.
7. On the 20th the people fasted for
rain, and it was granted to them.
8. On the 28th the Jews received good
tidings that they would no longer be hindered from the sayings of the Law -
mourning is prohibited.
On these days every one who has before
made a vow of fasting is to give himself to prayer.
(In extenuation of the apparent harshness and literality of our
renderings, it should be stated, that both the Sepher Yetsirah and the Megillath
Taanith are here for the first time translated into English.)
III. LIST OF HIGH-PRIESTS FROM THE ACCESSION
OF HEROD THE GREAT TO THE DESTRUCTION OF JERUSALEM.
Herod the Great ... 1. Ananel. 2.
Aristobulus. 3. Jesus, son of Phabes. 4. Simon, son of Boethos. 5.
Matthias, son of Theophilos. 6. Joazar, son of Boethos.
Archelaus ... 7. Eleazar, son of Boethos. 8.
Jesus, son of Sie.
Quirinius ... 9. Ananos (Annas).
Valerius Gratus ... 10. Ishmael, son of
Phabi. 11. Eleazar, son of Ananos. 12. Simon, son of Camithos. 13.
Vitellius ... 14. Jonathan, son of Ananos.
15. Theophilos, son of Ananos.
Agrippa I. ... 16. Simon Cantheras, son of
Boethos. 17. Matthias, son of Ananos. 18. Elionaios, son of
Herod of Chalcis ... 19. Joseph, son of
Camithos. 20. Ananias, son of Nedebaios.
Agrippa II. ... 21. Ishmael, son of Phabi. 22.
Joseph Cabi, son of Simon. 23. Ananos, son of Ananos. 24.
Jesus, son of Damnaios. 25. Jesus, son of Gamaliel. 26.
Matthias, son of Theophilos.
The People during the last war ... 27. Phannias,
son of Samuel.
IV. LIST OF PROCURATORS OF JUDAEA.
3 B.C. to 66 A.D. ... 1. Ethnarch Archelaus.
2. Coponius. 3. M. Ambivius. 4. Annius Rufus. 5. Valerius
Gratus. 6. Pontius Pilate. 7. Marcellus. 8. King Agrippa.
9. Cuspius Fadus. 10. Tiberius Alexander. 11. Ventidius
Cumanus. 12. Antonius Felix. 13. Porcius Festus. 14.
Albinus. 15. Gessius Florus.
V. LIST OF ROMAN GOVERNORS OF SYRIA.
6 B.C. to 69 A.D. ... 1. P. Quinctilius Varus. 2.
3. C. Marcius Censorinus (?) 4. L. Volusius
Saturniuns. 5. P.
Sulpic. Quirinius. 6. Qu. Caecilius Creticus
Silanus. 7. Cn.
Calpurn. Piso. 8. Cn. Sent. Staurninus (?) 9.
10. L. Pompon. Flaccus. 11. L. Vitellius. 12.
13. C. Vibius Marsus. 14. C. Cass. Longinus.
15. C. U.
Quadratus. 16. [Domitius Corbulo. 17. C. Itius
18. Cestius Gallus. 19. C. Lic.