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Isaac, and Jacob dwelt two hundred and fifteen years in the land of Canaan, and yet there were only two generations.
III. ARITHMETIC, MATHEMATICS, ASTRONOMY, AND ASTROLOGY. 1. Arithmetic. The more simple methods of arithmetical calculation are spoken of in the Pentateuch, as if they were well known. The merchants of that early period, must, for their own convenience, have been possessed of some method of operating by numbers. And that they were able to do it, to some considerable extent, may be argued from the fact, that they had separate words, viz.
, for so large a number as 10,000.
2. Mathematics. By this we understand Geometry, Mensurations, Navigation, &c. As far as a knowledge of them was absolutely required by the condition and employments of the people, we may well suppose, that knowledge actually existed; although no express mention is made of them.
3. Astronomy. The interests of agriculture and navigation required some knowledge of astronomy. An evidence, that an attempt was made at a very early period, to regulate the year by the annual revolution of the sun, may be found in the fact, that the Jewish months were divided into thirty days each. (See Gen. vii. 11. viii. 4.) In astronomy, the Egyptians, Babylonians, and Phoenicians exibited great superiority. We are informed, there were magicians or enchanters in Egypt (Exod. vii. 11. Lev. xx. 27. xix. 31. Deut. xviii. 20.), denominated in Hebrew, because they computed eclipses of the sun and moon, and pretended to the people, that they produced them by the efficacy of their own enchantments. Some of the constellations are mentioned by name in Job ix. 9. xxxviii. 31, 32. Isa. xiii. 10. Amos v. 8. 2 Kings xxiii. 5.
4. Astrology. It is by no means a matter of wonder, that the Hebrews did not devote greater attention to astronomy, since the study of astrology, which was intimately connected with that of astronomy, and was very highly estimated among the neighbouring nations (Isa. xlvii. 9. Jer. xxvii. 9. 1. 35. Dan. ii. 13. 48.), was interdicted to the Hebrews. (Deut. xviii. 10. Lev. xx. 27.) Daniel, indeed, studied the art of astrology at Babylon, but he did not practise it. (Dan. i. 20. ii. 2.) The astrologers (and those wise men mentioned in Matt. ii. 1. et seq. appear to have been such) divided the heavens into apartments or habitations, to each one of which apartments they assigned a ruler or president. This fact developes the origin of the word, Beeλ(Bouλ, by, or the Lord of the (celestial) dwelling. (Matt. x. 25. xii. 24. 27. Mark iii. 22. Luke xi. 15-19.)
IV. Measures of Length are mentioned in Gen. vi. 15, 16. A knowledge of the method of measuring lands is implied in the account given Gen. xlvii. 20-27. Mention is made, in the books of Job and Joshua, of a line or rope for the purpose of taking measurements,,. It was brought by the Hebrews out of Egypt, where, according to the unanimous testimony of antiquity, Surveying
first had its origin, and in consequence of the inundations of the Nile, was carried to the greatest height. It was here, as we may well conclude, that the Hebrews acquired so much knowledge of the principles of that science, as to enable them, with the aid of the measuring line above mentioned, to partition and set off geographically the whole land of Canaan. The weights used in weighing solid bodies, (Gen. xxiii. 15, 16.) provided they were similar to each other in form, imply a knowledge of the rudiments of stereometry.
V. The Mechanic Arts.-No express mention is made of the mechanic arts; but that a knowledge of them, notwithstanding, existed, may be inferred from the erection of Noah's ark, and the tower of Babel; also from what is said of the Egyptian chariots, in Gen, xli. 43. xlv. 19. 1. 9. and Exod. xiv. 6, 7.; and from the instruments used by the Egyptians in irrigating their lands. (Deut. xi. 10.) It is implied in the mention of these, and subsequently of many other instruments, that other instruments still, not expressly named, but which were of course necessary for the formation of those which are named, were in existence.
VI. Geography.-Geographical notices occur so frequently in the Bible, that it is not necessary to say much on this point; but see Gen. x. 1-30. xii. 4-15. xiv. 1-16. xxviii. 29. xlix. 13., &c. Perhaps, however, it deserves to be repeated, that, in the time of Joshua, the whole of Palestine was subjected to a geographical division. (Josh. xviii. 9.) It is evident then, from their geographical knowledge, as well as from other circumstances already mentioned, that there must have existed among the Hebrews, the rudiments, if nothing more, of mathematical science.
VII. 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. Solomon was an illustrious pattern of knowledge and wisdom; and his skill in this science is sufficiently indicated, when we are told that he spake of trees, from the cedartree that is in Lebanon, even to the hyssop that springeth out of the wall: he spake also of beasts, and of fowls, and of creeping things, and of fishes. (1 Kings iv. 33.)
Traces of Philosophy strictly so called, that is, 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 conformable 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?" If the Shammai and Hillel of the Talmud are the same 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 ii. 25-35., and his son Gamaliel, so celebrated in the Talmud is the same with the Gamaliel mentioned Acts v. 34. xxii. 3.
Antiently, learned men were denominated among the Hebrews D', as among the Greeks they were called dopo, that is, wise men. In the time of Christ, the common appellative for men of that description was gauuarsus, in the Hebrew, a scribe. They were addressed by the honorary title of Rabbi,, that is, great or master. The Jews, in imitation of the Greeks, had their seven wise men, who were called Rabboni, Gamaliel was one of the number. They called themselves the children of wisdom; expressions which correspond very nearly to the Greek podopos. (Matt. xi. 19. Luke vii. 35.) The heads of sects were called fathers (Matt. xii. 27. xxiii. 1-9.), and the disciples, ba 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 ii. 46.) The teachers were not invested with their functions by any formal act of the church or of the civil authority; they were self-constituted. They received no other salary than some voluntary present from the disciples, which was called an honorary, Tun, HONORARIUM. (1 Tim. v. 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 ii. 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 iv. 27. Matt. ix. 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.1
VIII. The diseases to which the human frame is subject would naturally lead man to try to alleviate or to remove them: hence sprang the art of medicine. In the early ages of the world, indeed, there could not be much occasion for a science which is now so necessary to the health and happiness of mankind. The simplicity of their manners, the plainness of their diet, their temperance in meat and drink, and their active life (being generally occupied in the field, and in rural affairs), naturally tended to strengthen the body, and to afford a greater share of health than what we now enjoy. The powers of human nature were not then so much prejudiced by luxury and intemperance, which are now the occasion of so many diseases: and to this unhappy source is owing our advancement in the knowledge of physic. Antiently, at Babylon, the sick, when they were first attacked with a disease, were left in the streets, for the purpose of learning from those who might pass them, what practices or what medicines had been of assistance to them, when afflicted with a similar disease. This was perhaps done also in other countries. The Egyptians carried their sick into the temple of Serapis; the Greeks carried theirs into those of Esculapius. In both of these temples, there were preserved written receipts of the means by which various cures had been effected. With the aid of these recorded remedies, the art of healing assumed in the progress of time the aspect of a science. It assumed such a form, first in Egypt, and at a much more recent period, in Greece; but it was not long before those of the former were surpassed in excellence by the physicians of the latter country. That the Egyptians, however, had no little skill in medicine, may be gathered from what is said in the Pentateuch, respecting the marks of leprosy. That some of the medical prescriptions should fail of bringing the expected relief is nothing strange, since Pliny himself mentions some which are far from producing the effects he ascribes to them. Physicians are mentioned first in Gen. 1. 2. Exod. xxi. 19. Job xiii. 4. Some acquaintance with chirurgical operations is implied in the rite of circumcision. (Gen, xvii. 11-14.) There is ample evidence, that the Israelites had some acquaintance
1 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. 1. The candidate for the degree was examined, both in respect to his moral character and his literary acquisitions. 2. Having undergone this examination with approbation, the disciple then ascended an elevated seat, Matt. xxiii. 2, 3. 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. 4. A key was presented to signify, that he might now open to others the treasures of knowledge. (Luke xi. 52.) 5. Hands were laid upon him; a custom derived from Numb. xxvii. 18. 6. A certain power of authority was conferred upon him, probably to be exercised over his own disciples. 7. Finally, he was saluted in the school of Tiberias, with the title of Rabbi, 27, in the school of Babylon, with that of Master, D.
with the internal structure of the human system, although it does not appear that dissections of the human body for medical purposes, were made till as late as the time of Ptolemy. That physicians sometimes undertook to exercise their skill, in removing diseases of an internal nature, is evident from the circumstance of David's playing upon the harp to cure the malady of Saul. (1 Sam. xvi. 16.) The art of healing was committed among the Hebrews, as well as among the Egyptians, to the priests; who, indeed, were obliged by a law of the state, to take cognisance of leprosies. (Lev. xiii. I14. 57. Deut. xxiv. 8, 9.) Reference is made to physicians who were not priests, and to instances of sickness, disease, healing, &c. in the following passages, viz. 1 Sam. xvi. 16. 1 Kings i. 2-4. xv. 23. 2 Kings viii. 29. ix. 15. Isa. i. 6. Jer. viii. 22. Ezek. xxx. 21. Prov. iii. 18. xi. 30. xii. 18. xvi. 15. xxix. 1. The probable reason of King Asa's not seeking help from God, but from the physicians, as mentioned in 2 Chron. xvi. 12., was, that they had not at that period recourse to the simple medicines, which nature offered, but to certain superstitious rites and incantations; and this, no doubt, was the ground of the reflection, which was cast upon him. The balm or balsam was particularly celebrated, as a medicine. (Jer. viii. 22. xlvi. 11. li. S.) About the time of Christ, the Hebrew physicians both made advancements in science, and increased in numbers. It appears from the Talmud, that the Hebrew physicians were accustomed to salute the sick by saying, "Arise from your disease." This salutation had a miraculous effect in the mouth of Jesus. (Mark v. 41.) According to the Jerusalem Talmud, a sick man was judged to be in a way of recovery, who began to take his usual food. (Compare Mark v. 43.) The antients were accustomed to attribute the origin of diseases, particularly of those whose natural causes they did not understand, to the immediate interference of the deity. Hence they were denominated by the antient Greeks, Maryes, or the scourges of God, a word which is employed in the New Testament by the physician Luke himself (vii. 21.), and also in Mark v. 29. 34.
IX. Various diseases are mentioned in the sacred writings, as cancers, consumption, dropsy, epilepsy, fevers, gangrenes, Leprosy, (respecting which see pp. 327-329. supra,) lunacy, &c. Concerning a few diseases, the nature of which has exercised the critical acumen of physicians as well as divines, the following observations may be satisfactory to the reader.
1. The Discase of the Philistines, mentioned in 1 Sam. v. 6. 12, and vi. 18., has been supposed to be the dysentery: but it was most probably the hæmorrhoids or bleeding piles, in a very aggravated degree.
2. The Disease of Saul (1 Sam. xvi. 14.) appears to have been a true madness, of the melancholic or atrabilarious kind, as the an
1 Mark v. 26. Luke iv. 23. v. 31. viii. 43. Josephus Antiq. Jud. lib. xvii. c. 6. § 5. 2 Schabbath, p. 110.