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then, Voltaire had no good cause to say, that Jofephus did not include the book of Job among the writings of the Hebrew canon.
Jews did not call Jacob, Israel, nor themselves
ONLY further accufe him of injuries to Jose
phus in another chapter of this treatise. It is in the forty-ninth, where he discusses this question, 'Whether the Jews were instructed by other nations,
or other nations by the Jews.' Here I find him guilty
of such a number of misrepresentations, as perhaps can scarce be paralelled in fo few sentences.
As it is my professed intention to fhew that Mr. Voltaire gives false accounts of Josephus, I might omit animadverting upon his first paragraph; where, from Philo's telling us, “ That Israel is a Chaldaean ' word, that it was a name the Chaldaeans gave to
the just who were consecrated to God; that israel fignified, seeing God;' he concludes, ' That this a
lone seems to prove, that the Jews did not call Jacob, Ifrael; that they did not take upon
themselves * the name of Israelites, till such time as they had * some knowledge of this Chaldaean tongue, which ' could not be but when they were slaves in Chal& '
daea. And the rather that here indeed I cannot blame him for wrong quotation. Nevertheless I cannot forbear observing, that there is in it very false reasoning. For Mofes represents, not the Hebrews, as Mr. Voltaire supposes, but God himself, whose knowledge of all languages will not be disputed, to have bestowed the name of Israel upon their great progenitor, which"again gave rise to the nation's being called Ifraelites. He also makes God to have subjoined * at the same time, a very different interpretation of it from that by this dreaming allegorist, and an interpretation which hath its foundation in an Hebrew etymology. Nay Philo himself, in his treatise concerning drunkenness, sets forth God altering Jacob's name into Israel, and produces the ve
* Thus Mofes acquaints us, that the person who wrestled with Jacob in human form, said unto him, “Thy name shall no more be cal' led Jacob, but Ifrael; for as a prince haft thou power with God ! and with men, and hast prevailed.' Gen. xxxii. 28. Wherefore ifrael must be derived from the Hebrew words, 10 dominari, principem ele, et Deus. How strange is it then that Philo's explication of it should have been adopted by so many fathers in the Christian church, as Origen, Eusebius, Didymus of Alexandria, and even Jerome in one place! though indeed he argues against it in another, al considerable length, as violent and unnatural; it being necessary for defence of it to suppose that it is an abridgment of three Hebrew words, with the alteration of some of their letters, and the suppression of others. Compare his Treatise de Nominibus Hebraicis, Bened. edit. fom. 2. P: 536, and his Commentary upon the passage in Genesis,
before the cap
ry words of Scripture, quoted below, concerning
to make him fee those things which he had before * heard, for the fight is more faithful than the ears,
the oracle founded, His name shall not be called Jacob, but Israel shall be thy name, because thou haft prevailed powerfully with God and with man. Jacob then is a name of learning and proficiency, depending upon the powers of hearing, but Israel
of perfection, for the name denotes the sight of • God.' And agreeably he introduces Mofes calling his people in his time, by the name of the children of Ifrael: * "For it is rightly faid, the children of If• ráel groaned on account of their labours.' Since then God was the author of the name of Israel, both according to Moses and Philo, were the unacquaintedness of the Hebrews, who however had their original from Ur of the Chaldees, as great as Mr. Voltaire supposes, till they were carried into that country by their enemies, his inference from the passage of Philo, in the beginning of his History of his Mifibid. p. 215. The same gloss is also to be found in the Apostolic Constitutions, lib. 7. cap. 37. and lib. 8. cap. 15. But when Daille brings this as an evidence, that these Constitutions were a later production than the third century, as he does in his Book de Pseudepigraphis Apoftolicis, lib. 1. p. 188. edit. Harderovici, 1683; faying, Their authors must have borrowed it from the fathers in that age of the church, he must certainly have forgot that Philo taught the explication long before.
• See Philo, p. 333. and compare Exod. ii. 23, 24.
sion to Caligula, must fall to the ground. I give now a literal translation of it, that every reader may judge how far it will bear his superstructure upon it: * That sort of men,' (he is speaking of the fupplicant or devotional kind, το έχετικον γενος) is called indeed in
the Chaldaean tongue, Israel; but, the name being • interpreted into the Greek language, seeing God.'
But let us now consider his gross misrepresentations of Josephus here, which must be still more inexcusable than his false reasoning, Flavian Jofe
phus, says he, in his reply to Appíon, Lysimachus, s and Molon, plainly acknowledges, that the Egyp
tians taught other nations circumcision, as Hero* dotus testifies. But does Josephus confess, that the practice of circumcision was learned by the Jews from the Egyptians, which is evidently Voltaire's meaning, since otherwise he acknowledges nothing to his purpose? I think he does it not, either in express terms, or by just deduction. Let us examine the passage. To confute Appion's charge, that the Jews were an upstart race, he observes, * • Neither
was Herodotus the Halicarpaslian, ignorant of our • nation, but appears to have mentioned it after some fashion ; for writing about the Colchians in his fecond book, he says, “ The Colchians, and Egypti,
ans, and Ethiopians, do alone of all men practise “ circumcision from the beginning: for the Phoeni“ cians and Syrians in Palestine, confess they learned ♡ it from the Egyptians; but the Syrians about Ther
modon, and the river Parthenius, and their neigh« bours the Macrones, say they learned it lately from ļ the Colchians: and these are they who only of a!! • See Book I. against Appion, Sect. 2 2. Hudson's edit,
“ men are circumcised; and they seem to do so in " the fame manner with the Egyptians. But I can“ not tell as to the Egyptians or Ethiopians, which “ of them learned it from one another.” Thus far Josephus quotes Herodotus, then follows his own reflection. 'He (meaning Herodotus) hath said there'fore, that the Syrians in Palestine are circumcised; but the Jews only, of them that inhabit Palestine, are circumcised: he therefore hath mentioned this, knowing about them.' Now is there here any plain acknowledgment by Josephus, that the Jews learned circumcision from the Egyptians? Herodotus indeed, according to him, relates that they confessed it; but he himself does not in terms own the truth of that account. Nor can it be argued from his filence, that he thought it juft: for that he makes no objection to Herodotus's affertion, that they confessed they derived the custom from the Egyptians, can never be a proof that he believed it had its rise from them, when he only produced the passage against Appion, who had not reproached the Jews with having borrowed that ceremony from the Egyptians, but merely denied that the Greeks had any knowledge of them. Every one must perceive, it was enough against his adversary, to fhew that Herodotus had mentioned a practice prevalent among the Jewish nation; nor had he any
business to discuss whether he gave a right or wrong account of its introduction, as there was no controversy between them upon that point. There are even strong reasons against putting such a construction upon Josephus's amitting to contradict Herodotus about the original of circumcision among the Jews; because he cannot be supposed, without