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IJIWI AL-BALKHI

A Comparative Study
By

JUDAH ROSENTHAL

College of Jewish Studies, Chicago
OF THE many Jewish rationalists and heretics of the

ninth century only one is known to us by name, H.iwi alBalkhi.' Both the derivation and the spelling of this name
are uncertain. The name H.iwi is transmitted by old
sources in the following ways: vr1in,2t'1r,3 l'tn, ""lr4and
4'ri.5

These names are not Hebrew.6

It is possible to explain '1'rias a nickname for "heretic,"
because ir, ewir or w'im in Aramaic, La.. in Syriac and
in Arabic means a viper, serpent, and a mischievous
-

I See I. Davidson, Saadia's Polemic against Hiwi al-Balkhi New York,
1915 29 ff.; L. Ginzberg, Genizah Studies I (New York, 1928), 230;
A. Marmorstein, "The Background of the Haggadah, HUCA (VI 1929),
157 ff.; Edmund Stein, -nirr p-p-in D:zr; nn in mnlp -!D (Tel-Aviv,
1937), 210 ff.; Judah Rosenthal, II! lwp'u'Np'Imn nyr-z"l
rn
,'Diz
uny-urribt, jur"a Yivo-Bleter, XXVI, 2 (New York, 1945), 240 ff.; idem.
Horeb, IX (New York, 1946), 21 ff.
r1yD nsipnz nworx nrnni
2 Kitab al-anwar wal-maraqib by Ya'kub al-Qirqisani, ed. by Leon
Nemoy I (New York, 1939), p. 57 1.9.
3 Saadia, Amanat, ed. Landauer (Leyden, 1880), p. 37.
4Kitab ma'ani al-nafs, ed. Goldziher (Berlin, 1907), p. 16: nr ip
'Diznb% nn 9y i,t jir
;ryw 'i. An Arabic commentary on I Kings.
(Quoted by Davidson, op. cit. 98): D:zmb%"bn i'bD
I.-I.
5 Salman ben Yeruham in his commentary on Ecclesiastes. Quoted
by Davidson, op. cit. 95.; an Arabic commentary on Numbers, ibid.
Saadia in his Sefer Hagaluy (Harkavy, A., Studien und Mittheilungen,
V, 177).
6 Hevia 2om
as the name of the father of the king Orhoe of Edessa
occurs in the Chronicon Edessenum of the 6th century. See Assemani,
Bibliotheca Orientalis, I, 388.

317

318

THE JEWISH

QUARTERLY

REVIEW

man. Heretics were called in Syriac
^.7
We have also
to take into consideration the derivation from the Arabic
{
meaning "to gather something," corresponding to the
Hebrew 9m.8 We find Jewish scholars named 9m in the
late Gaonic period9 and Arabic books under the title t.A?
tS5%U',meaning compendium.I0 The name Asaph is also
found among the Syrians during the period under consideration. There is hence sufficient reason to assume that the
Hebrew name of Hiwi was 9DN.II
The opponents of Hiwi in their polemics against him,
even in books written in Hebrew, preferred the Arabic
name because it sounded similar to win snake, heretic.12
The accepted spelling of Hiwi's name is Hayawaihi or
Hayawayh.'3 The usual pronunciation "Hiwi" or "H.iwwi"
7 See Jacob Levy, Worterbuch iiber die Talmudim und Midrashim,
II, 19 s. v. ln,nn, mrrn; R. Payne Smith, Thesaurus syriacus, p. 1210 s. v.
and Lane's Arabic-English Lexicon, p. 681 s. v.
2.

See Lane's Arabic-English Lexicon, p. 678 s. v.

t

9 See Jacob Mann, The Jews in Egypt I (Oxford, 1920), 40 n. 1;

idem. Texts and Studies, I (Cincinnati, 1931), 133. Steinschneider
(JQR 0. S. XIII, 131) and Poznanski (I. c.) are mistaken when they
assert that we do not find the name 'DS among Jews in postbiblical
times.
'IOThe Arabic physician Abu Bakr al-Razi (Razes) called his medical
See P. Kraus and S. Pintes, "Al-Razi" in
encyclopedia SA-I tA.
The Encyclopedia of Islam., III, 1134. Cf. M. Steinschneider, Hebraische
Uebersetzungen, p. 723. Hai Gaon published a book under the title -nn
nbtnb. See Harkavy, in anyow nmirn (1896) III, 94-96; idem, oCwn
oDzI Da VII, 1 in Gratz-Rabinowitz, ,7bnr 'w rin IV. B. Lewin, Ginze
Kedem, III, 69ff.
by Bar Hebraeus in his
II A scholar named qDr is mentioned
Chronicon Syriacum. See Monatsschrift VI, (1857), 277; Assemani,
Bibliotheca orientalis, II, 313. On the legendary Jewish physician
Asaf Judaeus, see L. Venetianer, Asaf Judaeus, Budapest, 1915. Cf.
J. Derenbourg, REJ, XXV, 249; S. A. Poznanski, Hagoren, VII,
p. 113.
Is

Cf. Derenbourg,1.c.

Poznanski in Hagoren, VII, 113 n. 3. He vocalizes iP1!'. This
vocalization is accepted by Malter. See idem, Saadia Gaon. His Life
See idem, HUCA, Cincinnati,
and works, 384. Nemoy vocalizes ;;T.
I3

HIWI AL-BALKHI-ROSENTHAL

319

is based on an incorrect analogy to the biblical name of a
Canaanite tribe.14
Ijiwi al-Balkhi flourished in the second half of the ninth
century in Balkh, Persia.'5 Few details of his life are known
to us. We know that he was of Jewish origin,'6 but he belonged neither to the Rabbanites nor to the Karaites.'7 Both
factions of that period condemned him. Our information
about him is based on the writings of his opponents. We
learn that he wrote a polemical work in rhyme against the
Bible, containing two hundred questions and difficulties.'8
1930, VII, 389 n. 322. Goldhizer vocalizes ;n05 M. See idem, Theologische
Literaturzeitung 1916, 125-126.
14 Gen. 10.17; See Malter, loc. cit.; Davidson prefers the usual pronunciation Hiwi, which is accepted by the encyclopedias and therefore followed by the present writer.
15 The period of Hiwi's life is derived from a passage in Saadia's
Sefer Hagaluy. This work was written by Saadia in the years of his
expulsion after having been removed from the Gaonate by the Exilarch
David ben Zakkai (931-934). Saadia states that by that time Ijiwi's
book had already enjoyed popularity for more than sixty years, which
would put the date of its compilation about 870. See Harkavy, Studien
li
und Mittheilungen,V, 177. -ntrimowi:m t59m ji:9bn
S~y nitm
5D lnD buri o w '9. Cf. J. Mann, HUCA, XII-XIII, p. 412, note 3.
Balkh is a city in Afghanistan not far from Buchara. It was a center of
radical Manichaean sects. Manichaeism, Nestorian Christianity, Buddhism and Islam exerted an influence on the city. See El-Mas'udi's
Historical Encyclopedia entitled Meadows of Gold and Mines of Gems
translated from the Arabic by A. Sprenger, I (1841), 241 ff. Cf. Flugel,
Gustav L:, Mani und seine Lehre, 98; Enzyklopadie des Islam s.v. Balkh;
Walter J. Fischel, "The Jews of Central Asia," Historia Judaica, VII
(1945) pp. 46-47.
I6 See Saadia Sefer Hagaluy (Harkavy, loc. cit.): nuibo to '..
'7 Rapaport noticed that Ijiwi could not have been a follower of the
Karaites. See, idem, 3"D- nrinn note 31 (p. 146); The heretical rationalism of Hiwi in his explanations of miracles, as quoted by Ibn Ezra,
could not have originated among the Karaites.
Is Saadia in his commentary on n?82V -9D quoted by Judah ben
rm
Barzilai (Ilthe century): orbn m mnD 113D
b rn ORS nfrml
... nny. See idem, rrrvv9D by 1-',! ed. Halberstamm, 21. Cf. further
E. N. Adler and I. Broyde, "An Ancient Bookseller's Catalogue," JQR
XIII, 54 (No. 71) where a lzVmnn mb= is mentioned. Poznanski, ibid.,
329 (71) believes that it refers to Saadia's answer. Malter, op. cit. 387
argues against Poznanski, and holds that m:= rrin:nr
can refer only

320

THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW

We do not know in what language the book of Hiwi was
written; probably it was in Arabic, but the possibility
should not be excluded that he wrote in an Aramaic dialect,
since Aramaic was still used by Gentiles and Jews in Babylonia as late as the 11th century.'9
Both, Karaites and Rabbanites wrote polemics against
him. They saw in his work a menace to Judaism. Qirqisani
relates that the Sectarian Musa al-Zafrani (ninth century)
wrote a book of replies to questions submitted to him by
Hiwi.20 The Karaite exegete and polemist, Salman ben
Yeruham, in his commentary on Ecclesiastes 7.16, rejects
heretic charges made by Hiwi.2, He does not fail to curse
Hiwi on this occasion.22 Old anonymous Arabic commentaries on the Bible, which cannot be dated, mention questions and charges raised by Hiwi against the Bible. They
likewise do not fail to curse him.23
Of the Rabbanites, Saadia, more than sixty years after
IHiwiwrote his book, resumed the fight against him.24 The
literary activity of Saadia was to a great extent dedicated
to Uiwi's book because of the missing of the word rii (Refutation) in
the title of the book. From Saadia's answer we learn that Hiwi's book
was written in rhymes. See idem, stanza 61: o'rin jiuwn o). nnnxi nNxYiinxi. Cf. PseudoI9 Saadia'sPolemic,stanza 37: -m: 8i
Bachya: op. cit., 16 (Davidson, op. cit., 99). Pseudo-Bachya gives a
reason why Saadia did not answer Ijiwi in Arabic. But if Ijiwi became
a Christian Gnostic, as proven, he would have written his book in the
ninth century in Syriac. On Aramaic among Jews in Babylonia at
the geonic period, see I. N. Epstein, Der Gaonische Kommentar zur
Ordnung Tohorot, Berlin, 1915, 53 ff. rxo p'nv l: nniz Jim x^ nn
llwim
116 oi-Dpo
I'mi:;m 1-ID00 -niD 'V-m llw nrl"8Y,^iZ: l"n-Yi -In 11
DnD
Nil Iz-c

-Nx n1cVw;l:1-10: oixy
q

wolnw

nir-mnm qt4 w1n

1'.m Wxwr.

Epstein writes: Aram&ische Dialekte waren uber ganz Babylonien bis tief
herab in die erste Hdlfte des elften Jahrhunderts ziemlich verbreitet und
gesprochen sowohl von Nichtjuden . . . als auch von Juden.
ly 44.
20
i LA
5i
4
t
Qirqisani, loc. cit.: 46y
Cf. HUCA VII, 389.
Davidson, op. cit., 94 f.
22 Ibid.
23 Ibid. 95 ff.
2X

24

See note 15.

HIWI AL-BALKHI-ROSENTHAL

321

to combating the religious schism which menaced Judaism.
He wrote polemical works not only against Karaites but
also against other adversaries of Rabbinical Judaism. One
of his polemical works was directed solely against Hiwi,25
while he devoted much space to him also in other works.26
A fragment of his polemical work against Hiwi was discovered in the Genizah of Cairo. It has been edited three
times, by I. Davidson, S. Poznanski and S. A. Wertheimer.27
It is impossible to determine the length of Saadia's work
and we do not know if he replied to all of the two hundred
questions which Hiwi propounded.28 The Genizah fragment
is written in rhymed prose, and it contains about seventythree stanzas of four rhymes each. Saadia's authorship of
the Genizah fragment is well established by a threefold
N-IInY
Pll 1M -ppP.29
acrostic,which reads: (n)9: -vw 1qjy
It has been established that the Genizah fragment is a part
of the polemical work which Saadia wrote against HIwi,
since many of the questions set forth in the Genizah fragment are ascribed to Hiwi by other sources as well as by
Saadia himself in his other works.30
Malter, op. cit. 260-271.
For references to Ijiwi in the work of Saadia, see Davidson, op.
cit.; 82. On p. 82 n. 4 v"wn%b
zbnz has to be corrected into -rim zbnz
mlp1pt
',y, see Malter, op. cit. (385 1.5). Already Gratz noticed
that a part of Saadia's polemic in his philosophical work Emunot III
(ed. Slutski, 72-74) was directed against Ijiwi. See Gratz-Rabinowitz,
III, 473-4.
27 Israel Davidson,
Saadia's Polemic against Hiwi al-Balkhi. A fragment edited from a Genizah Mss. New York, 1915; S. Poznanski
V ':n rn nibw by ilez n-yo -i niZln, Warsaw, 1916; S. A. Wertheimer,
0,31N)nJIx: Jerusalem, 1925, 17-68.
28 Davidson assumes that Saadia's work contained about 460 stanzas
(idem, 34). It means that the published Genizah-fragment is only
about one-sixth or one-seventh of the work. But Davidson's assumption is very vague. Saadia sometimes devotes five stanzas to one
question and sometimes he deals with several questions in one stanza.
Cf. stanza 21 and stanzas 36-40.
29 Davidson, op. cit. 34.
Cf. J. Mann, Texts and Studies, II, 117-118.
30 See notes 44, 68, 71, 76.
25

26

322

THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW

Some Hebrew chronicles and philosophical works of the
Middle Ages and Abraham ibn Ezra in his commentary on
the Pentateuch have rescued the name of Hiwi from
oblivion.3'

According to Abraham ibn Daud, who wrote his chronicle about three hundred years after IIiwi, the influence
of the latter on Eastern Jewry was very great, and a
Bible expurgated by him was used as a textbook in
schoolS.32
rlwn1y)
'D

-nn

'DD

y

s\nb

llnnnD'U

m ii9"sn orm -nn
1-i-ir nn mn lmlnwzr
-ilynl nn
imUR
v
:
ulllS r'DDlil'
mnv -y rlnnibl MI'0onrinm
n

It is incredible that Hiwi's compilation of the two
hundred biblical questions could have been used as a textbook in schools. We must take the words of ibn Daud cum
grano salis.33 We do not find in Saadia's writings the testimony to which ibn Daud refers. Besides, as will appear
later, it is probable that Hiwi became a Gnostic Christian.34
Therefore, the statement of ibn Daud lacks plausibility.
From the polemical material against Ijiwi al-Balkhi
available to us today, we see that his main concern was to
question the authority of the Bible. Ijiwi criticized the
biblical conception of God, and the biblical command3I Pseudo-Bachya(11th century), op. cit. The Ijiwi passage is quoted
by Davidson, op. cit. 99; Moses ibn Ezra (1070-1139) in his Arabic
or owv; nmnry
(Davidson, 99-100);
tmvnmz np-in nm
work np-pn%iw
Abraham ibn Ezra (1092-1167) in his commentary on Gen. 1.1; 3.9;
Ex. 14.27; 16.13; 34.29. Abraham ibn Daud (1110-1180) in his C9o

nlnpn, Medieval Jewish Chronicles, ed. A. Neubauer, I, 66. For later
sources see Davidson, op. cit. 102 ff.
32 See, A. Neubauer, op. cit. Cf. Saul Lieberman po'n v-rir 28; B. M.
Lewin, GinzeKedemVI, 14.
33 On the reliability of Ibn Daud as an historian see -pi-io

'n -in

npin rinr intrim :nib' x#Rt, %wniwnvnn

i~nbix,

V, 96-97;

I. Elbogen, "Abrahamibn Daud als Geschichtsschreiber."Festschrift.
zu J. Guttmanns70. Geburtstag,1915, p. 199 sq.
34 See below.

323

IIWI AL-BALKHI-ROSENTHAL

ments and stories. The charges and questions of Hiwi
may be summarized and subdivided into the following
groups:

A. Godis unjust, withoutaffectionandfavors evil.
1. He accepted the gift of Abel, but rejected without
reason that of Cain.35
2. The people of the earth and all the animals were
destroyed in the flood, although they were guiltless.36
3. Why does God never refrain from inflicting punishment
on the world?37
35Stanza 5. The question why God did not accept the offerings of
Cain was disputed in ancient times. The reason given in Gen. 4.7 is
difficult to understand. The Septuagint offers here another text. Philo
deals with this question, and his answer corresponds to that of the
rabbis, namely that Abel brought his offerings from the best of his
sheep while Cain brought his from the worst fruits of earth. See Philo,
"De sacrificiis Abelis et Caini," 88 (Loeb Classical Library, II, 160)
"A/,eXbf' -'VEyKEV oV rd abra ovU ronvabrbv rp6rov, &XX'avrl je.v
aVTt

a6PvXXov
('/AiIvXa,
&Vrt% U

be'

VfWrepTWV KaL bevrepeLwv

70OEV7-KOTrWV Eppw/Aeva

irpwna,

Kal

1rpeoa,Bvepa
rtmrepa
Julian

Kat

the

Apostate discusses the same question in his book against the Christians.
See Kara raXtXatcozv
(LoebClassicalLibrary,III, 418) Saadia'sanswer:
ann 'n
mo-ph

onn rtam 11rhvri 1

' =I ilmn mvnn Z corresponds to

that of the Midrash. See Gen. r.22.5 (ed. Theodor-Albeck, 207-8):
. . . In:n~nw iitx ni-iizan mri oa wa: in
I1vmrow

..

nilovn

In 'IIrirn-lbri -ln9 1-1

In.

36 Stanza 25. Cf. Pseudo Philo (Fragments, Philo, ed. Yonge, IV,
277): "Why is it that God when He threatens to extirpate mankind
does also destroy the irrational animals?" The rabbis tried to justify

the destruction of animals in the flood. See Sanhedrin 108a: nvrwn z
by

rnin

1R ...

imn by nnnn iyly:nmw nthn lini, -i'b ynibn ~yiD-r,,nbt -IV= i
in-ip In yinn =mioDwn n
nnrin nnnm br.n o-ib on.. . nn

svn

Vm
mb
rin n 1
pi.
n
DI
1- ', ' nnin
J1Vrl OD y: N nlnnni
D-I0nS JD'96 O"p) -nr -12b '= -.I

D-T
m
n-I btronowe rvzy o-e
v b6
mi
D?Vxmirnr6 im
o-Wint
1z noim
t6bt -Iy- nl:nnni
nz Hn
OnI:
JlVrl -nbt Imnn rzy

Cf. Gen. r., 28.6:

I9pip
...

ixl

'=-I'

D3
irxli Cy

O
own
I-'ty

'=-I . . . ,DU:

r
Inmn -I-I
on;vlyn. Cf. L. Ginzberg,
Legendsof the Jews, V, 180, n. 32.
37 Stanza 24. The question is based on rabbinic conceptions and
interpretations.

)nn arwn oy

i9D

See Mekilta, enmvr- snnow (ed. Lauterbach, III, 205):

324

THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW

4. Why did God save Noah, who was no better than his
contemporaries?38

5. Wherein was Sodom more iniquitous than other
cities that it should have met with such severe punishment?39
6. Why did Jacob suffer so much?40
ly\p

\"9

p:n

1D 1
1'Nn
t _,,nzwrYnnwD nzw.
nm6nn
wyv-i nzb6nn b6 nm? nb6 1n1v uly
puni; Pes. r. ch. 23, 41 (ed. Friedman,
3Z)ywnW
1mzy' n

1':

J,br)

-p)Wz"in

See also Gen. r. 11.10...

*
rl"np
'mz
pp. 120b, 174a). Cf. Monatsschrift 44, 564.
1 flnfl
38 Stanzas 26-27: rn Wb
r
D Py- D ?KtWJ
rith ruir'D'9osD
3w yiTD
on b6 bimi. According to Marcion Noah will not be redeemed at the
Last Judgment. See Irenaeus, Contra Haereses, I, 27.3: Marcion dicit,
Cain et eos qui similes sunt ei . . . salvatos esse a domino ... Abel autem
et Enoch et Noe ... non participasse salutem. . . Cf. Adolf von Harnack,
Marcion; das Evangelium vom Fremden Gott. Eine Monograaphie zur
Geschichte der Grundlegung der katholischen Kirche, 1921, p. 117. The

conduct of Noah was criticized in ancient times. The Church-fathers
tried to prove that Noah was not drunk. They allegorized the verses
Gen. 9.21 ff. Cf. L. Diestel, Geschichte des Alten Testaments in der

christlichenKirche, 165. In the rabbinic literature there were different
views about the piety of Noah. See Sanh. 108a: wbt n3 n) nriin ri*t
'IDlN

...

W'pih

o-nn

rrn wnn pnx
wni o-iri ni-ii-i
6in rsnririn
prii, -ib rsni-iri
nrniin V"Dirinniirm. Cf. Tanhuma B. I, 32. The conception that

Noah was a just man is to be found in the apocryphic literature. See
the Book of Jubilees, 5.19. Cf. Ginzberg,op. cit. V, 178, n. 28.
39 Stanzas 57-58: ninimn
innbt rrny
oi-wcD
~i nmonn onn'm rin:
D
Marcion also criticized the destruction of Sodom
onin6lw onrilmm.

by God. Accordingto Marcion the Sodomites will be redeemedat the
Last Judgment. See Irenaeus, loc. cit.: Marcion dicit:... Sodomitas
salvatas esse a domino. Cf. Irenaeus, op. cit. IV, 28.1. Tertullian, op. cit.

IV, 59 f. Cf. further Harnack, op. cit. 95, 117, 141. The Rabbis emphasized the sins of the Sodomites. See Sanh. 10.3: ie'tW
nyn
obtrni. Cf. Gen. r. 40.7; Tanhuma
On'Dn,nswm *m trym',I nrny '1i%m
'ni
? je 1i ltI3im nlirn
in'. See however, Tosefta Sabbat 8 (end): mD=
rl1
b6i nlhI3ip3J
irnrztn'1imnDp1: o",1JDi3 1fli lintl D
flflnfD
iy
40 Stanzas 70-73. The rabbis tried to give an answer to the question
of the sufferingsof Jacob. See Gen. r. 84.3: o-p,r?nv nyva ene en nnb

1ODU
Drli Ipinn btivW1-1 b -inb
rD1rAopmlH
OvWpan
lotU- ranp 61iWa -anw'
by apy, lrnbt ]DV Ji y-i-n rlrl o61ya rlliwn nw9 Iwpaw b6bt btln9 linyi
Cf. nmrwinnrnbed. Buber,
mn
nmvwm mv-'p'aw.
Dl', iW 1)LD191111rO1i3pm
121: o-p-wn iD exln ne pi ... nfl 19lDWth
MpDnv 'nD 'n
'-113np, '
nf 1i1io1 . .. 1iyox mD:)apy, pil . .. mlniliomi onlnym 1riytm.

325

I*IWI AL-BALKHI-ROSENTHAL

7. Why did God subject the innocent offspring of Abraham
to bondage in Egypt?4I
8. Why did God prohibit the descendants of Lot and his
daughters, the Moabites and Ammonites, from being admitted into the assembly of the Lord? God caused Lot
and his daughters to commit incest.42
9. Why is the life of man full of suffering?43
10. Why did not God make man live forever?44
4' Stanzas 47-49. The question why God punishes the children for
the sins of the parents is an old heretic charge. See Origen, contra

Celsum, VIII, 40: Julian the Apostate, op. cit. 106 E (Loeb Classical Li-

brary,III, 345). The rabbis emphasized that God punishes the children
only when they follow the course of their parents. See the addition of
Onkelos to Ex. 20.5: Irnami nnn non bv= I'n9Wn -D. See also Sanh.
27b: I,tmbtvz onn ,=
nlzKt-Iplmwmrn . . . DIMby n1amInwrstl 1)2- =zn7
ozy
oD-rJn orninm1 'wyn. Cf. L. Ginzberg, die Haggada bei den Kirchenvatern. Exodus. Poznanski Jubilee Volume 208-209; Idem, Legends

of the Jews, VI, 40 n. 217. The answer of Saadia that God repaid the
children of Abraham for their sufferingscorrespondsto the opinion of
' inwhmD
the rabbis. See Seder Eliyahu Zuta, XI ~imnWv
IKr I -noD' 1'.
Cf. Saadia, Emunot, VI (Ed. Slutski, p. 100): O'n mi . . . wnivn Om]
'n-inKa 1:'mni IniD] IyDi -inK -iWK: ro
on-iinn rninm mKbt;1iy.
42 Stanzas 59-60. Lot and his daughters found defendersamong the

rabbis and also in the church. See Gen. r. 51.8 and 10. K99 In nrn 'i
D'Dt?W
OW6m' nmrovr mn',n Klit
nnn niK. Cf. Yalkut Shimeoni I,
nii
riimy
808. Clemens of Alexandria blames the daughters of Lot for the sin
of incest. See, idem, Pedagogus, II, 9 (Ante Nicene Christian Library,

N. Y. 1890, II, 258). Lot is considered one of the just men in the
apocryphic literature. See Wisdomof Solomon, 10.6. See also PseudoPhilo in the edition of the works of Philo by C. C. Yonge, vol. IV, 278.
Cf. Ginzberg, op. cit. V, 243 n. 288.
43 Stanzas 10-11. One of the charges of Marcion was that God of
the 0. T. is the "conditor malorum"and enjoys the sufferingsof men.
See Harnack, op. cit. 85 ff. 95, 141. The rabbis justified the creation
of sufferingsas a medium of chastisement from sins. See Sifre Deut. 32:
'bt
r b i ODnwroTm1n3TtW
i11m
fiDo-= Dn
WKn'
I 'K
Di"Inni,
O'niD' owwn -iviK Inmw"n'-i,' 'or .- . . i9 inmz u-o-aD" i9 inm nami r-r=w
'D 'y in olpD by rn=)v opnDn
1).6.
The answer given by
173y Irbtn 11'fl rii y-i is based on the Sifre. Cf. howSaadia: oD1" D'n1V nw

1Wy1

ever Gen. r. 9.10 where we find another reason for the creation of sufferings, namely: brimt -n rinu
44

Stanzas 12-15:

I-no" nin 'Di

-'11" n-n

'ibtv -ri Mil ryi DlOUtmn nnT?3
'.
b6

it

rKt mir mmrl

Cf. Emunot, IV

326

THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW

11. Why did not God make man holy and pure?45
12. Why did He implant evil in man?46
13. Why did not God destroy the evil spirit in man?47

B. Godis not omniscient.
14. He did not know where Adam was whenR
he was hiding
in the garden of Eden. (Gen. 3.9.)48
(ed. Slutski, 76-77) n'nn nw
note 43.
45

m'

Stanzas 16-18: rinni w3v...

rnz wmnnKi
v'n ''

mn3ni.
1rwzY

Cf.

I,X' mi 1'%Wvnp. Marcion also called

the human body "stercoribusinfersa." See Tertullian, AdversusMarcionemI, 29, III, II, IV, 21. Cf. Harnack,op. cit. 97. The Manichaeans
also held that the humanbody was not the creationof God but of Satan.
Saadia, EmunotIV (76), VI (100). Cf. also notes 43-44.
46

Stanza 19: niD" %m nl mn

humD nily.

Here the problem of free

will and justice is touched. Evidently I.iwi did not believe in free will.
He deals with the same problem from the angle of foreknowledgeof
God. See below note 101. Philo wrote a special treatise on this subject
"Quodomnis probusliber sit" (Loeb ClassicalLibrary, IX, 10 ff.). The
question was dealt with by the Rabbis. See Seder Elijaku Zuta, 12
(ed. Friedman, 193): ynn t,v nN3'pnbru ;'D n -umn ot. The Midrash
permits Cain to defend his crime with the excuse that the evil spirit
who was created by God prompted his deed. See Tanhumanvwu 9:
. n..

-r'

'.

F
'nn
nwi3 hn?iml

'

m

lo 1'? l.

But the rabbis empha-

sized at the same time the free will of men. See Aboth 3.15: 'nm Won
47

Stanza 30: i'myn

t'

n,6 nw-i y3Pnn'

by. Marcion called the

Satan angelus creatorisand God actor diabolis. See Tertullian, op. cit.
V, 16; II 10, cf. Davidson considers stanzas 19 and 30 one question.
See Davidson, Saadia'sPolemicagainstHiwi Al-Balkhi,p. 24.8 where 20
in parenthesis is apparently a misprint for 30. In reality stanzas 19
nnbt rnlyi
and 30 contain two different questions. Stanza 19: lir mnmvnn
-iw i3 refers to Gen. 6.5 and stanza 30 refers to Gen. 8.21. The question: ivm3ynb' nnv nwi- y-mnmr by which is based on Gen. 8.21 refers
to the time after the deluge. Ijiwi asked why God did not destroy
Satan (evil spirit) in the deluge when He destroyed all who sinned.
Cf. Poznanski, ZHB XIX (1916), 4.
48 See Ibn Ezras commentaryon Gen. 3.9. (In his longercommentary
'ninn
on Gen. ed. Friedlander, p. 39): niyv '9i5 nwrw
-i
bx min b6
Hi
. 1e6nn9
o-int M: lW izninnnxi p.-..

nmnny ipnnv,
. The same

charge was made by Marcion. See Tertullian, Adversus Marcionem,

327

HIWI AL-BALKHI-ROSENTHAL

15. He did not know where Abel was. (Gen.

4.9.)49

16. He did not foresee that mankind would commit evil
and be disobedient to His commands, because He later
regretted that He had created man. (Gen. 6.6.)5O
17. He put Abraham to the test, thereby showing clearly
He did not know whether Abraham would fulfill His
command.(Gen. 22.1..)5I
IV, 20. Cf. Harnack, op. cit. 39 ff. The Manichaeansalso charged the
biblical God. with ignorance. See Alfaric, op. cit. II, 142. Cf. also
the note 49 below. The rabbis explained ni'K of Gen. 3.9: What happened to you? Gen. r. 19.9: 1i mnn lR Cf. also n"ri nm D'11pi
rntn in Dcp1,v' 'm III, 14 no-Iny- innu I". Cf. y-m'1,, now 4. Philo
tried to explain this difficulty. See Quaestionesin Genesin. (The Works
of Philo, ed. C. D. Yonge, IV, 319).
49Stanza 6. The same charge was made by Marcion. See Harnack,
op. cit., 93: De Cain scisitatur ubinamfrater eius. The rabbinic point
of view is known. See Rashi s. 1. wr sibt nn2 -i
SoStanza 20: ... jrnn onivmo onri Irnmi nvy

my Diz' I'mm V 'Kt.
ir m ,nr 'z mniv npv

owsyn nxynv. This charge is connected with the one that God changes
his mind, a charge which Philo tried to repudiate in a special treatise,
Quoddeus sit immutabilis,21. Celsus and Marcion based on Gen. 6.6
their charge that God is not omniscient, since He repents. See Origen,
Contra Celsum,VI, 58; Tertullian, op. cit. II, 28: Mutavit sententiam
creator... paenituit in aliquo creatorem... nesciit qualis adlegeret.Cf.
Harnack, op. cit., 93. The rabbis felt the difficulty of this passage. See
r* m n y 'z 'i Dfnr
Tanhuma B. I. 30: 'n .1p-in rnn- 'rmin,
n nim
i
K vy
Dfnri 1ilz nw4 rinT1 'ni . .. . fln ntWp
lpIj n.n
n13
K rrnri'
onmim1p6 Cf. Gen.r. 27.4: orim1'K i :Dnwrn-p 1myvin, - nm m-i nn mz
11595K nxynrinD w nomI

nK ntAl- rriprI

I9 -IDm -I9Ir

cr'mm.

Stanzas 63-64. H.iwi derives from onnrr nKt rm 0'%Rml Gen. 22.12
that God is not omniscient. The charge that God is not omniscient
because of his testing Abraham was made also by Marcion and Simon
Magus of the ClementineHomilies. See Harnack, op. cit. 94: Marcion:
Deus nunc se cognovisse dicit quia Abraham timeat deum qui antea
ignoraverit. ClementineHomilies, III, 39. Saadia's answer rnyi nr,iy
vnBn 'nyinincorrespondsto the version in the Book of Jubilees, XVIII.
11. The Vulgate and the Peshitto too translate 'nylv ninyas a causative,
as if it were written 'nyn5i. The rabbis already felt the difficulty in
ascribing testing to God and therefore explained nm in the meaning of
5'

MM3
to elevate.
rm'D iv

See Gen. r. 55.6 nwt
Dci, '-i- *nrmbn wnU
btml
In the same manner they explained niDi -in n: of

D3z i9m.

Ex. 15.25and 20.20. See Mekilta,Bahodesh,9 (ed. Lauterbach,II, 272):
c:n

in:

i:monn1D

r

D

328

THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW

C. God is not omnipotent
18. He was afraid of Adam. He did not permit Adam to
eat of the tree of life. (Gen. 3.22.)52
19. After Adam and Eve were driven out of Paradise, God
placed at the east of it the Cherubim and the flaming
sword. Why did He not use other means or why did He
not make Adam forget the way to Paradise (Gen. 3.24.)?53
20. Why was He afraid of the builders of the Tower of
Babel (Gen. 11.6.)?54
21. Why did He change the name of Abram to Abraham
(Gen. 17.5.)? It indicates that He had to resort to magic
since He Himself could not alter fate.55
52 Stanzas 1-4.
In these stanzas Ijiwi points out two arguments to
prove the fear of God. The first are the verses Gen. 2.17 and 3.22. The
Gnostics proved from the prohibition of eating from the tree of knowledge and from the tree of life, the fear of God. See Origen, Contra
Celsum IV, 40; Irenaeus, Contra Haereses, III, 23.6. Porphyry, related
by Severianus, de mundi creatione, ed. Migne, Patrologia Graeca, 56,
p. 494. For the second argument see the following note.
53 Stanzas 2-4. Cf. Benjamin Lewin, 'zmrn iin
by 3-D: nlnlvno nryn,
nonn nw'bpi in crovrr in) III, 14.
ibnv, n=n6 ni-wri VI, 159; nflDfln
Hiwi identified the builders of the Tower of Babel
54 Stanzas 31-34.
of Gen. 6.2.4. This conception
(Gen. XI) with the wmim ' and '
corresponds to that of Pseudo-Eupolemus (See Freudenthal, Jacob,
Alexander Polyhistor, 92-93). The conception that the builders of the
rower wanted to fight against God is found in the Talmud. See
-wme -ry no . . . Ynyi pin m.-6 1,btrnzmn-nw ':n
Sanhedrin109a: msiv
nim--1-np Inm -D3 ym
Y-Jr r6y:n inzw n3w. Cf. -irn -wD ed. Goldschmidt,
28 f. The story of the Tower was criticised by contemporaries of Philo.
See, Philo, de confusione linguarum, ch. 2. Cf. Origen, Contra Celsum
IV, 21; Julian Apostate, op. cit. 135B. (Loeb Classical Library, III, 350)
,itvg
yap 'yo6 Kat TrovrorapaErMrlws &KELVW AvG2Aesetvac.
4,OtL
5sStanza 42. Hiwi proves the weakness of the biblical God from His inability to change the destiny of Abraham without changing his name. Philo
wrote a special treatise on this subject. He mentions men who ridiculed
the changing of the name of Abram to Abraham. See, idem, de mutatione
nominum, 61 (Loeb Classical Library, V, 173): Ka' 7rpWr/7V J7KOvoca

XXEVA&OVTOS KaLi KaTaKEpTO,o0VVTOS

avApOS

aLGOV KaL

aoe/3ovs

os

Myev- - Cf. Justin Martyr, Dialogus cum Trypho, chp. 113.
Ag6XMa
Ante Nicene Christian Library, (New York, 1890) I, 255. The rabbis

HIWI AL-BALKHI-ROSENTHAL

329

D. God changes His mind, which is a sign that He is
neither omniscient nor consistent.
22. Originally it was permissible to marry a sister, but later
God forbade it.56
23. God did not punish Cain with death for the murder of
his brother Abel. Nevertheless, He later commanded:
"Who sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be

shed."(Gen.4.12.)57
24. Originally everyone was permitted to offer sacrifices.
Later, however, these were restricted to the priests.58
25. God forbade work on the Sabbath. Nevertheless, He
permitted the offering of sacrifices on the Sabbath in the
Temple.59
explained the change of the name of Abraham by other reasons. See
b. Ber. 13a: iz9 m4 nvy: 9qDm10ni
wit ,w4 ny3rrinn arrnt4 tort an:1
1rlz o7iyn. Cf. Tosefta Berakot 1.13. The Tosefta stresses that there
was no difference between the names. anit and anrnw: inrino '.9 iy
141,I1;y n:nm t49v -y ann4 mn, . . . n=6 4i
m)e
t R:i rt4 annt4 arrmt wrpi
1Dy ninmm oint . Cf. Ginzberg, Legends of the Jews V, 232-3.
56 Emunot III (ed. Slutski, p. 69) vr '-mm rl'rl1'nt fl one '2 rlnnrpj
~Io.
57Emunot III (ed. Slutski, p. 70) mi y3 1Mrl i1= Pn -Y
P
1J1ri:,n
nxT- mT:rin
;'
-nnm 1rf
Cf. Stanza 7: t6 1w'flr1i? 16 ;rwi

?nnv3.The meaning of this question is rather obscure. The subject in
stanza 6 is Cain, but the question why God did not preserve Cain does
not make sense. Davidson therefore refers the question to Abel. But
his translation is forced and does not fit into the text. It would afford
better sense, if we should eliminate the first t6 so that it should read
r mvrz, w . The Mss. shows many deleted passages and cor?nnv3t6 13
rections. Benjamin Lewin saw the difficulty of this passage and he
read: nnr. t6 i3ni rmvx t6 rw why did God not destroy Cain? See
wir? ri=nfwrn i

VI, 160. Cf. the Geonic responsa in rwiv rnnp by

A. S. Wertheimer, p. 69: p rpi
mneInm. Cf. Philo, Quaestionesin
Genesin, 76 (Yonge, IV, 322). According to Marcion Cain will be
redeemedat the Last Judgment, but not Abel. See Harnack,op. cit. 117.
s8 Ibid.: rnjir Yin 6Z aym Iz nm a-m i: 1pp mixv ,n nwv8omr
1~.
59Ibid.: ri;yn

inn
non
n-i : p,i n'iy'n-. The conception
of the rabbis was that sacrifices are among the laws which are stronger

330

THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW

26. God first commanded Abraham to offer his son, but
when Abraham was about to fulfill the command God
prevented him from so doing.60
27. God first said to Balaam: "Don't go with them," but
later the angel said to him: "Go with them." (Num.
22.12.20.)6,
28. God first said to Hezekiah: "You will die and not
live." Later, however, he said to him: "I will give you
fifteen years more to live." (Isaiah 38.1.5.)62
29. God first chose the first-born as His servants, but later
He changed His mind and chose the Levites in their
stead. (Num. 8.18.)63
30. God forbade work on the sabbath, nevertheless, He
than the law which probhibits work on sabbath. nar nnri nlmy.
See Shab. 132b, Yeb. 7a. Cf. Matthew 12.5. See Das Evangelium
nach Matthauserlautertnach Talmud und Midrash, von H. L. Strack
und P. Billerbeck, 620 f. Cf. L. Ginzberg, Legends of the Jews, VI,
41.
60 Ibid.: .
iliyi ovr ;i~y;n pnx, by mrrint6ri mnl nmiv ;in n,mmn>
nIY3.;lbe 1ri

on it nzm pz -inn.

The Midrash puts the same charge in

the mouth of Abraham. See Gen. r. 56.7: wnp' pnrn z "

nvt4

bi=4

iiio nm iryi I-ry mn n1 - n 4 nip ' nimm mrnim y?t 1
I' nrin i 't
iy;ri it. The answer of the Midrash to this charge is that Abraham

misunderstood the command of God:

riryn

t6

mlnnmrm'snp'Dt.
6I Ibid.: l: imnwrnmy1in 4'7p'= mnir by ayi=

?31onv 1

" iinn nivr

n

1I

in nrii

owmwn
myl7 1-inni. This question was already dealt with in the rab13 DT-m1nni
rari
n 1T:
m
binic literature. See Makkot lOb: ...i**lzle1'm
one4J Dip wnr Darmy 1 'n t

r
wnii

nrnnnrIn. Cf. Tanhuma B. IV, 139.

The answer of Saadia was: wiv"D'oV34nomt1 mynzl
ly3D IV1 D'V4o21'z
fix.
62 Ibid. The rabbinic point of view was that penitence can change
the verdict of God. See R. H. 17b: -ir ny-ipmz miwn rilrn lrn', i1
D-iKv
iz'i. Hiskia repented his sins, he prayed to God and practised charity, thereuponGod prolongedhis life, see Y. Sanh X, 2; Lev.r.
10.5. Cf. Tertullian op. cit. II, 17.
63 Ibid. The opinion of the rabbis was that the firstborn forfeited
their rights because of their sins. They were the first to offer sacrifices
to the golden calf. See Y. Meg. 1.11. nin,1'm i't4 o'wn nron'-i inI

HIWI AL-BLAKHI-ROSENTHAL

331

permitted Joshua to fight on the sabbath when he besieged
Jericho. (Joshua 6.)64
31. God first chose the Tabernacle as the place of His
glory, but later God chose the Temple as His seat.65
32. God first blessed men with power to subdue the earth,
but later destroyed them. (Gen. 1.28;7.23)66
33. God promised Palestine to Isaac. Nevertheless he
permitted Hagar to give birth to Ishmael who annulled the
promise to Isaac. (Gen. 16.15; 17.8.19; 26.3.)67
34. God blessed Jacob, but made the children of Esau
more prosperous than the children of Jacob. (Gen.
28.13 f.)68
64 The Church-Fathers derived from the violation of the Law of
Sabbat by Joshua during the siege of Jericho the proof that the laws of
the Torah were temporary and not eternal as held by the Jews. See

Tertullian, AdversusJudaeos, IV. (The Ante Nicene ChristianLibrary
III, 155). The same charge was made by Marcion. See Tertullian,
Adversus Marcionem, II, 21. Cf. Harnack, op. cit. 93. The rabbis tried
to justify the action of Joshua. See Num. r. 14.5: 'rvwi niyvDorK K"T
n. nv
6s Ibid.

Kim D'1DK
9 fD

T'

yrn'

-1D.

According to the rabbis the temple was one of the objects
the creation of which was planned even before the creation of the world.
See Pes. 54a; Gen. r. I, 4 (ed. Theodor-Albeck, 6): wKimnD'1mx ,iyn

W-1p.m, mw .. . 61y.-, w1mv
66

Up

Stanzas 22-23. &' Do- n:1'

... .1=D
rnriln
'iM1KTrflfl?
1r
Stanza 22 may be considered a continuation of stanza 20. Hiwi
proved that God is not omniscient, because He first blessed the first
generation and later destroyed it. This charge, like the following one,
may be considered as the continuation of the previous. They deal with
the problem, of God changing his mind.
67 Stanza 50: 1'DU; iK?Zv - lmyv 'y?'+15v
68 Stanzas 66-68:
. . I
ny'M Urns, u-y
iKnr ID n:nv
qlyi~n I nO.
.u..
r1nKD
inK1ViinK. Cf. EmunotIII (ed. Slutski, 74): K1-Tv-iy -nKfn
. p.. ;I+pfl
nTflKT -mi1m nptnmn nw1KT nKw1. Hiwi wanted to prove that
God annulled His first blessing of the patriarchs. He brings two proofs:
1. Jacob was a wanderer. The blessings of his father Isaac were not
fulfilled. 2. The Jews, the children of Jacob are slaves of the Romans,
the descendants of Esau. We find the same argument in the book of
Julian the Apostate, op. cit. 209D (Loeb Classical Library, III, 378-9).
Cf. J. Guttmann, Monatsschrift, XXVIII, 298.
n'in.

332

THE JEWISH

QUARTERLY

REVIEW

35. God promised Palestine to the children of Israel, but
swore afterwards that He would not let them enter it.
(Num. 14.29 ff.)69

E. God likes blood and sacrifices.
36. Fat and blood are accepted by God as sweet savor.70
37. God delights in candles, songs, shewbread, the smell of
incense, the offering of flowers and wine, oil and fruit. He
likes to dwell in a Temple.71
69 From an Arabic commentary on Numbers 14.23. Davidson, 95-96.
Cf. Poznanski, Hagoren VII, 123. See above note 67.
70 Stanza 28: nnp-ii
i1x: 1'K OUl Mn by nr'wi. Cf. Emunot III (ed.
Slutski 72): iK n1,,nmnWirno OKn1umipr 1i7D -nmym 1,7,= ?Y 'i1K 'Y'n-I
mn;nn o.,
nnwpm9. See also Salman ben Yerulam's commentary on
Eccl. 7.16. (Davidson, 94). Marcion's criticism of sacrifices is known.
See Tertullian, op. cit. II, 22 cf. The rabbis tried to in various ways
to justify sacrifices. One point of view was that sacrifices purify
ownm
In
the man who offers them. See Lev. r. 30.12: nn9 't I Wa-Om
uzv9m 'ni

...

ODrnt t

Yfz D-1K

o'mmn

D1fL 'm

T
-IO npI "yom(y
CiW)
TDVTK
I9Tm
J'iK 1Inpn.
Mvn KD?Z) D'I

rxnrpn-mnn

&'K
6mW

Another point of view was that sacrifices were a necessary concession
to the low standard of the people freed from Egyptian slavery. See
Lev. r. 22.5: wmxip D'KwD 1irn1w'2xon try 'inm wDu1in ?K1W' 1TV' 16
"3s1p?

I'm' ;.

pint

..on
. .m1DxK

D,"1p

l

O'-1'pD

1'f1 ... 0-.,Y6

Clemens in his Recognitions held
t?yn r'ris 1r1m ...
rmnm ypnY i.
the point of view of the Talmud. See idem, XXXVI. We find the
same point of view in More Nebukim of Maimonides. See, More, III, 17.
For Saadia's answer see Malter, op. cit. 210, n. 482.
7' Emunot, III end (ed. Slutski, 73): pmoixi -'Tvyvv -3n,
'W1n.
Marcion and Mani made the same charges. See Harnack, op. cit.
93, 100. Alfaric, op. cit. II, 142. 0. G. von Wesendonk, die Lehre des
MVani, 43. For the rabbinic point of view see previous note. Cf.

Ex. r. 34.1: rn1m.:

1??lKnl
i

7 nvy nvvD n'mp -inW -TyVm Kv n"n'p-TiW; Num. r. 15.4: i`K
11
rn "KWKUpf
ibid. 5: ,n. t6v
t&'K
D6 =
mmnvKU
rKnW
1-ix
1-Tiz
InlK nliMn Kt'K19 'nmDKKi ... rn1nm 1-ix to-l iw *I-x1 Inil . Tanhuma
According to the
B. IV, 23b-24a: uoz9 rmimn ln-c mirTnm lil :Vpn.
.1.:.

pVO D -'

nVY nm1K NIm

pinn

o:innni

IDw'

o0n1y

rabbis the purpose of revealing to Ezekiel the heavenly throne was to
demonstrate to him that God is not in need of the services performed
in the Temple, since innumerable hosts of angels minister to Him in
heaven; hence it is for Israel's sake that the Temple will be rebuilt.
See Seder Eliyahu Rabba, 6, ed. Friedman, 34. Cf. Ex. r. 34.1.

333

HIWI AL-BALKHI-ROSENTHAL

F. The Bible is full of anthropomorphisms.72
38. God rested after His work.73
39. God walked up and down.74
40. God renders women barren and likewise makes them
give birth to children.75
72The entire criticism of Marcion of the biblical God is based on the
anthropomorphisms ascribed to Him in the 0. T. Marcion rejected
the allegorical interpretation of the 0. T. by the Church. He claimed
M' 5civ aMXXyopewv rTv ypa4n'v. See Harnack, op. cit. 62, 84.
Celsus and Porphyry also criticised the same anthropomorphisms.
See Origen, Contra Celsum IV, 71 ff.: Celsus . . . ridicules those passages which speak of God's words of anger addressed to the sinners and
of treatments delivered against sinners. Celsus criticised the resting of
God in the seventh day. See Origen, op. cit., VI, 61. Porphyry proved
from Ex. 31.18 the admissibility of creating idols in the image of a
man, since God is presented as having fingers. See Harnack, Kritik

des Neuen Testamentsvon einem griechischenPhilosophendes 3. Jahrhunderts,88.
73 Stanza 21: iinnm rZmr nw3vn m'n nv
nwo. The problem of God
resting occupied the minds of previous generations. Philo, as well as
the Rabbis explained nimnvl and n'in as causative verbs. It means God
made the world rest. See Philo, Legum allegoriae I, 18 (Loeb Classical

6
Trl 7ravwv o Oeos ov 7rae-ra
Library I, 156): 6t7XWbo-aev
irouov, Gen. r. 10.8 (ed. Theodor-Albeck. 86): 'n nom 1? m' lnzmin
iM

1n

IM

nv1

...

lvily

nK

-T"mp,DKm

-y'1'm

M,

iVym

1

. . .

1 '1-'O
mZ?? r6?ol nnflfl 1W nfww
n3n nTT3 u.I- 7n:, pnnp. See also Mekilta, Bahodesh 7
Omliny1
,ywn
(ed. Lauterbach, III 255): noKwnmn tmi -Ty', 1 V6 rW1yl ywn olf nfl
nIo . . .zYVI'l
ninzl 9 I,M 161AKiK bywn Ol,31~nin
K:inW lt):c
ip
1Y"' Mi
mywmn3n oDw -niwym niy . The answer of Saadia: l3ins w'ml ni nn,
'n=

lnzw

l..

.
.Kwlru

'1.n

'D1' 'O

Umn

goes back to the Midrash. In his Emunot Saadia gives another explanation of mnl nimnv. See Emunot, ed. Slutski 54. Ki rnyimnilt nmnvn
VIIlrlvll -131,- K8:cl, nln'ty MllinK,NMmrvr.
74 Stanza 21: in3i v ninl
niyn -rin bybl. Cf. also Emunot, ed. Slutski,
53 where Saadia writes: i~ n'nrwlpnmKi1 Ov) irm 1,mml Kflmnn'O mvTn bYl
ntr nIODIil ?VDyD Ki nmw' ti om rininx. Some of the Tannaim
denied that God ever came down from heaven. See Suk. 5a: m' 61iO
nvvi

,n'zW

n-l-'.

Stanza 64: 8inil
lyi oyu. It may refer to Gen. 16.2, 20.18,
Isa. 66.9. Ijiwi probably wanted to prove from Isa. 66.9 the divine birth of Jesus. This passage is another proof that Hiwi was a
Christian.
75

334

THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW

41. God is represented as having affections.76
42. God is represented as eating and accepting bribes.77
G. God does not work miracles.
43. There was nothing miraculous in the Israelites' crossing
the Red Sea. The fact was that Moses kntew the ebb and
the flow of the tides while the Egyptians did not. 78
44. Manna was not a miraculous food. It was the Persian
plant Tarnjabin found in the deserts of the Near East.79
76

Stanza

21: innn

nlV

19pi

19

pzi li3vnr w'xyn

nnv

rxynn

nrtw.

See notes 51, 73, 74. Cf. Emunot, ed. Slutski, 51: by
rpr'
rpv ,np'r

K nnn wiv -inim
wD'NpvT Dn.I

pm Iz nnim
n. Saadia denies

any attributes to God.
77Stanzas 51-56: iK n rrnr mn nmwi
r ... DnFi -nw 'z
n-iv,t
unF izmv mmKw. This charge is based on Gen. 18.8. Anastasius the
Sinaite was asked the same question by an heretic. The rabbinic explanation of ~i:K is known. The angels niade it appear as if they ate.
See Pseudo-Jonathans. 1. Gen.r. 48.14 and Baba Mez. 86b: wnz iwi3
1I,KW.
78 This explanation of the miracle by Hiwi is ascribed to him by the
Karaite Joseph ben Abraham ha-Kohen al-Basir in his book nDnn
'InD(quoted by Davidson, 98) and by Abraham ibn Ezra in his commentary on Ex. 14.27. Artapanus, a Jewish Hellenist of Alexandria
(second century B. C. E.) rationalised the crossing of the Red Sea.
See C. Muller, Fragm. hist. graec. III, 223. Mq,44Tras/LEv ol'v -yeclv,
W'ElpOV

ovTa

io-v Mwvwov r7s Xwpas rXv
77

rtpv
yrwTLv

oavra

bLat'qpas rijs OaXak7os ro 7rXiOos7repacwoaL Cf. German translation by Paul Riessler in his AltjudischesSchrifttum,p. 191. Cf. Judah
Halevi's refutation of attempts to explain the miraclesin a rationalistic
n Dnu
'1W1
nK
way: mi p9D . . . 27
'K '9
'pnwKi
1 3T
iynr'It9ini
O'Dnp'9D~ rni'py int ... Im'In NKi ri'nnnv Ki1'9Wsm
(Kusari, ed.
Is. Metz, 14).
79 Ibn Ezra on Ex. 16.13. Cf. the edition of Ibn Ezra's commentary
on Ex. by J. Fleischer (Vienna, 1926) p. 108: ~i ymn1D'r'n rvYy ipnnrz
bti'
K1UinInD '97;4
l:2?Kl Or:m01,
y mrli lnn nt ru:n z9-inKWr'nnK nml,
,IKmlrnnrU KIA1p':n-n mK:prinitID19 "'rv D=r:^ Ion llDn.- M-iy Y-1Kmitor ay
OWz'
npv Kmi.-I
'9 min9 nrw'9. Cf. Fleischer, niv nwm
Inn ' p'D

. . .

Inniwia y'minin rrnr;rnivi L. Blau-Festschrift,Vienna, 1926, 241-243.
Baidawi, one of the commentators of the Koran, also explains the
miracleof Manna in a naturalway. He identifies Mannawith the plant
-

.. _i(Baidawi

on the Koran II, 54) See Lanes's Arabic-English

n3
Dictionary,I, 306. Cf. Emunot, introduction, ed. Slutski, 12: mrir
z 6= nml
m
m -ni'-mn mm
pD9z
nxi
-isni lon nim 1,3y '. An
p..-I

HIWI AL-BALKHI-ROSENTHAL

335

45. The face of Moses was "horny" when he came down
from Mount Sinai because it was wizened by long fasting.8H. The Bible admits the existence of many gods.80a
46. The Godhead is represented as three.8'
47. God chose Israel as His own portion but gave the other
nations into the care of the other gods.82
Irish monk of the seventh century tried to explain the miracleof Manna
rationalistically. According to him Manna was hail. Augustine in
his treatise de mirabilibus scripturaesacrae libri tres. See G. Diestel,
Bibel und Naturkunde,in TheologischeStudien und Kritiken, 1863, 292.
8o

Ibn Ezra on Ex. 34.29: 5zm K5W-lZwy z nto yW9 in ninsy ipnim,
niv', ,nv 3Din. It is missing
= ibv"i Dyi I,pm
inz ri

ni-,ylDD189mi',n

in the commentaryon Ex. ed. by J. Fleischer. See ibid, P. 333.
8oa The pagan adversaries of monotheism held that both Judaism
and Christianity admit the existence of many gods. Porphyry proved
from the verse 55pn K5 w',5 Ex. 22.27(28) which the LXX translates
literally eovs oiv KaKoXO'Y7OElS traces of polytheism in the 0. T.
See Harnack, Kritik des Neuen Testaments von einem griechischen
Philosophendes 3. Jahrhunderts,p. 90. Porphyry quoted also Deut.
13.3, Josh. 24.14 and Jer. 7.6 as a proof of polytheism in the Bible.
See Harnack,1.c. According to the Talmud the gnostics and polytheists drew their criticism of Jewish monotheism also from other
passages in the Bible. See Sanh. 38b: D'1sm onDirlwn
OlpnD5D
Du-K nvy3. Comp. Men. 100a; Y. Ber. IX, 1 and
12'
... WNm'l
Gen. r. 8, ed. Theodor-Albeck, 61 ff. also Ex. r. 29: i15K u,nn 1'n5K '- 'mm
WinD I'lli 15 1noK mv5 o,m5 inK 051ya W'
nl,.l5K 151n DIk4'K5hW -I m
01D'5K 51p oy ymTn. For discussions
D'-2'n1? min2 tow on5
..
DK

between rabbis and heretics about polytheistic passages in the Bible,
see A. Buchler, "Ueberdie Minim von Sephorisund Tiberias im zweiten
und dritten Jahrhundert," in Hermann-Cohen-Festschrift,
271 ff. Cf.
also Pesikta de R. Kahana ed. Buber, 188a: nrrw 'Dihn K5K 0'5

I'm.

See notes 81-83.
8I Stanza 50: 5z'vvi D'-n
Cf. Ibn Ezra on Gen. 18.6.
,in-ID

O'DKIDU
NW 1lK2'l

5K mw5%5n1vn' 589r5
npw) UnYK rinrK.
t
) '915DK
nxt
K51 ) torm-inKton OwvK owZ
p n3
n. See Justin Martyr, Dialogus
imnrzn73m 1

cum Trypho,chp. 56. In his discussion with the Jew Trypho, Justin
wants to prove the Trinity from Gen 18. The rabbinic point of view
is defended by Trypho and it is that the three men of Gen. 18.2 do not
include God. See Shebu. 35b yin wrT-pon-imK2 mninmw'ni?Kv mlov i
91imi K8m'-i w: . .. 1,3'yn In snKi KmOKi 3mK -intin nmw ~in minv -.Ir
iKb'n -t nnbtan,3'n Gen. r. 48.10.
82 Stanzas 36-40: '-i pin W't D'zTnwn
w',nbt 'pn n9D 19 no
O'Dwr11'UI '-6 I nrnm D'Knp-p -inn p'mn'K wm' rnnt4p ... wn6

nmwm

336

THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW

48. God commanded sacrifices to be made on the Day of
Atonement to a demon (i. e. Azazel).83
I. The Bible contains contradictions.84
49. Gen. 15.5 contradicts Deut. 7.7.85
50. II Sam. 24.9 contradicts I. Chron. 21.5.86
j
VNW1... 1'WVDl 1'Nlm oi O'Kl^
i:
'9 ]'lpn
iMr
Yl1 DK1
ir-T- 1--T by O 't D l-i 1.m ... imnn lw"p inlm oyv u-inim. See also

D'9DDM f:lW

i1i2n1

the anonymous Arabic commentary on Deut. 32.9 quoted by Davidson (96-97). Julian the Apostate based his charge of polytheism in
the 0. T. on the same argument. See idem, op. cit. 99E (Loeb Classical
Library, III, 340): Twv be' 'aXXwvO6vOv,657rcos7lv' OLif1LOL 6LoLKO-VVTat
7tVTLVO9V AVwetav 7re7ro1rcwacAccording to rabbinic sources
Oeois, o'v'
God appointed angels as rulers of all the nations after the building of
the Tower of Babel but He preserved for Himself only the rule of the
people of Israel. See PRE, Chp. 24: 99 iKrW'1 nniUmi nK 99 by 116D runi
See also Pseudo-Jonathan on Gen. 11.8 and Deut. 32.8-9.
ipnn.
The official rabbinic writings contest the conception that Deut. 4.19
admits the justification of worship of the heavenly bodies and the
angels. It is maintained that the sages who translated the Bible into
Greek permitted themselves a very free rendering of Deut. 4.19
in order to obviate any misunderstanding. Cf. Mekilta KnD9 (ed.
Lauterbach I, 112); Y. Meg. I, 9; B. Meg. 9a; Masseket Soferim 5.
Cf. Ginzberg, Legends of the Jews, V, 205.
83 Emunot (ed. Slutski, 73): or8n itntyb
88p
I8,m-Ivb 121pr sywvn-,
0'19DD. It was also one of the charges of Julian the Apostate. See
idem, op. cit. 299B (Loeb Classical Library, III, 402): T7rep be a7roTpoiratwv

-7raKov7av

raXv

6ova Xeyer

See also the edition

of C. I.

Neumann, Julianus contra Christianos (Leipzig, 1880), 217. Neumann
quotes Cyrillus of Alexandria (Fifth Century), who held that according
to Julian Moses sacrificed to the di averrunci, deities who avert evil in
contradiction to idols as expressed in Ex. 22.19. Julian translated coneot a9rorpotrary to the LXX itmty not with a97ro7ro,uraLos but with
lraoLo. See also Joma 67b: i'w ov8iy n'Wv i wnD"n-i rn-iin
nippn nK
... on. Lev. r. 22; Maimonides, More Nebukim III, 32.
ninvnn
rsyi
84 Since very early times the harmonization of contradictions in the
Bible was one of the hermeneutics. The rabbis and the Church tried
to harmonize contradictions. In the Gaonic period the literature of
harmonization of contradictions in the Bible was increasing, which was
a sign of the challenge of the Bible by various heretics. See HUCA
XIV (1939) 339; Ginze Kedem, V (1934) 145.
85 Stanza 43: See also Saadia's translation of Deut. 7.7: orem D
,ylin DUnn DpmunmKin oynn. For other rabbinic interpretations of D
,
nnawn. ed. Enelow, 181.
uYnn one see Hul. 89a and nty,'i
i
86Emunot III (ed. Slutski, 72): n im pin;-rr
m Nwr1
nxpD -nr

337

HIWI AL-BALKHI-ROSENTHAL

51. I Kings 7.13-14 contradicts II Chron. 2.13.87
52. II Kings 8.17 ff. contradicts II Chron. 29.2.88

J. Many commandments, statements and stories of
the Bible lack reason.
53. Many commandments of the Bible lack detailed
instructions as to how to fulfill them (mnixn rvrr). They
lack also a rational motivation

(mnixn '3yu). 89

rz"
See Saadia's commentary on the Barayta of
wswmw.
R. Ishmael, ed. Muller (Oevres completes IX, 83). See also Pesikta
Rabbati 44a; Jalkut Shimeoni, II, 165. Cf. L. Ginzberg, Legends of the
Jews, VI, 270 n. 120.
87Ascribed to Hiwi by an anonymous Arabic commentary on I Kings
(Davidson, 98). This contradiction was also dealt with by the rabbis
and by the Church fathers. See Ginzberg, op. cit. 295, n. 61.
i
88Emunot III (ed. Slutski 72): i n wr
i
wnz
in'w'
;rt
a,1
o''ti
wmv pn3 Irn pim 'nW
Ahazia could not be aged 42
m
ipW'IWrvi.
years at the death of his father, because the latter was only 40 years
old when he died. This difficulty was already noticed by the rabbis.
See Tosefta Sota 12.3; Seder Olam Rabba XVIII (ed. Ratner, 73). Cf.
the "Oldest Collection of the Bible Difficulties by a Jew," JQR XIII
(O.S.), 361.
890-imanD nlYon 'wr1 na-11KW
mlnn mtm:9Dn jrtnrni 0-1spo ONKtMn nY) 'It
in. It is evident from the answer of Saadia that Hiwi made two criticisms of the Bible: one concerning the lack of nison 'Wvr and the other
concerning the lack of niso; ny. Concerning the first charge it is
known that the rabbis based on the lack of nison vWrvm
their contention
that the oral law (rm ynv mni) is on an equal status with the written
law (an:w ;rrin). See Sifra on Lev. 26.46: )n: nflyin 'nww nn3n ;lin;
;lmin;l -3nzn)v11)3n ;lwvn-I' 3'D vmn. . . -,I ipz 'LAIann 'LAiKvW'9 mrl
,',D
mwo
Cf. Tanhuma, Noah annza inn
l
"i'priprl
1y'W1
nwm 9 iynv nni ni9:.
Concerning the second charge, the lack of
nison;yu the rabbis were divided in the opinion if it is admissible to
search after a rational motivation of the commandments. See Sanh.
21b: iWz) lnYu 1i1n) n1tvipo nnvl
;mnin;m Oyu 12n) ti~ rn 9Dn pns, -i-K
;lr ....
61ym 9ri) I.n- See also Pes. 119a: nDzw on imll
p'ny nD=6
nrin Oyu Inr, nin vor -1pbny. Yoma 67b: vnilDn bnipin nK ... p-1
n
n-iliui ;lon nsYini tuyv nrn~i -i,tn niOKi I;n iRw jm,by n'WO lDw;iw
0-n-1
. . . insnD

'

j9

Inl

bn-p-p

-i

mK -i

mKin

on riln

wSyn -irzn

KDW1vninvn;m

-rYWI y-iiY

onn
nmnD1
nrwi. Cf. Hag. 13a; Cant. r. 1.17. See also Bet ha-Midrasch by A. Jellinek, V, 45: -n )Dn itvw9 nirn nyu n"n1p1; wIn? K1f n'nyf
v
ON'rin
)D
--i'tn ?vwn no )Dn nrnti
nnto
See Die Dikduke
Ha-Teamim des Ahron ben Moscheh ben Ascher . . . von S. Baer und H. L.
Strack, 53: . . . 0o81)ntKil ODniDc 1-m-1 r;mbv ;mi Oyu l Wno n iwrll iKWb OK1

338

THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW

54. What is the reason for the punishment inflicted on
Cain?90
55. What was the meaning of the vision of Abraham during
the "covenant of pieces?"9'
56. Why does the Bible dedicate so much space to the
story of Eleazar, the servant of Abraham?92
57. Why did Abraham accept the command of God to
sacrifice his own son?93
58. Why did Jacob marry four wives? Would not the
history of the Jewish people have had another course if he
had married only one wife?94
59. Why should the ashes of a red heifer cleanse the unclean
and vice versa?95

60. How could the breaking of the head of the heifer atone
for the people when they committed no crime?s6
in
wyt

r

l
nil

14

W '

t6

rhiD

ir
lnnit'n. Cf. further

1i~l w -pDi vni

Maimonides,Mishne Torah,Hilkot Meila 8.8; HilkotMikvaot11.12.
The active participle rnri has here
Ki l
90 Stanza 6: ninn1K
iy.
the meaning of "a wanderer"and it refers to the punishment of Cain
to be a wanderer -in y3 (Gen. 4.14). Saadia holds that Cain was not
punished for the murder of Abel but for his arrogance. See note 57.
We find the same question in the collection of questions addressed to a
Gaon. See mn7WnzYnpby A. S. Wertheimer, 69: mn'-in wy wri' rnK
9I

Stanzas 44-46: ur'3y n3nni m o-nrrx
r

nom nyto.

The covenant of

pieces is criticised here. See note 185.
92 Stanza 35: r'on zK
OD'T
n
Durru-i 1 I.Mnz' D'M
mSpy ...
1pTYp
l9 mnn. The rabbis dealt with this question. See Sifra
0113 nDl'9
Shemini 5; Gen. r. 60.8 (ed. Theodor-Albeck,650).
'rnW9'
93 Stanzas 61-62: rinron
mul'',
=)i~ Innnn
im
Dni
rnDli nnn. Davidson (p. 72, n. 235) holds that it refers to Isaac but
Poznanski proved that it could refer only to Abraham. See ZHB,
36, n. 3.
XIX, 7 and idem, Amm rnny )SDn nimmwr,
atinrnlOK D',nw.
94 Stanza 69: nnzina min it itKap i? . . . nli OKl
95 Emunot

III (ed. Slutski, 73):

r
nsmiayn

wnw

r'own.

It is an old

heretic question which the rabbis tried to answer. See Tahnuma B.
onn
mnammuOi=D um,9y wnm ynmix U-IMlmKlipin
IV, 116: . . . mnw9. . . Iniw
Cf. Num. r. 19(3).
96 Emunot III (ed. Slutski, 74): nriny mizy by nim 'vvyni.
The

HIWI AL-BALKHI-ROSENTHAL

339

61. Why did God make His light dwell among men, and
leave His angels without light?97
62. Circumcision is without reason. It is simply mutilation.98
63. There is no mention of reward and punishment in the
future world in the Bible.99

64. God did not create the world ex nihilo.Ioo
rabbis dealt with this question. See Sifre on Deut. ?210; Sota 46b.
Cf. Ginzberg, op. cit. V, 357 n. 296.
1m
97 Emunot III (ed. Slutski 72): nrn n noni
,w' 'in 9m wnni
-iA min D'wn?1rwzm 1nn
n p' lnuA. See also Saadia's com'nS
mentary on .riwn ni9D (Quoted by Judah ben Barzilai in his commentary on rnrr n9 ed. Halberstamm,pp. 21, 234). Cf. Du1nionnYlr ed.
Lewin, I, 17. This question occupied the minds of the rabbis. See
VVr
'w
Tanhuma B. II, 94: ,i6 61y VwlIZlx rn9 1D IDnwn :IDn
wD'DV minon
rirnnrrri
m
y no rir. Cf. Hagoren, VII,
Inrw owlnnn
120.
98Stanza 41: n rnvw i rnn
by nryi. Cf. Emunot III (ed. Slutski
i vwn'
i
m3'-i lu y
73): ri,wi inuvinn
nlwr'W
1'S nlix
'p'=W-n
Dwrrrr yrr7 nnn l:nn nVl1' nVwi: D'?n
. Circumcision was since
l3r
ancient times a subject of criticism by the Gentiles against the Jews
See Strabo, Geographie,16.2, 37; Apion, Josephus, contra Apionem,
II, 13 (Loeb Classical Library, I, 346): Kal T'fIv TCOv
aol&o)v XXevaUet

See Th. Reinach, Textesd'auteursgrecs et romains, index
ireprTO/iv.
s.v. circumcision. Also the Church Fathers fought against circumcision. See Justin Martyr, Dialogus cum Trypho, 19.30. Cf. Ginzberg,
op. cit. V, 268-269.
99Emunot III (ed. Slutski 74): m'i b m rni'
0D'VIr,
3
-iv
N3f 6w
my. Gratz and J. Guttmann are of the opinion that questions 11 and 12 of the 3rd chapter of Emunotare of Christian and Islamic origin respectively. E. Stein is of the opinion that these questions
go back to Ijiwi. See Gratz-Rabinowitz,
III, 473; J. Guttmann, Monatsschrift, 28, 298; E. Stein in min'1p-wo, 221. According to Josephus the
Sadducees did not believe in a future life and in reward and punishment after death, see Antiquitiesof theJews 18, 1, 3-4. Marcionalso held
that the Old Testament does not mention reward in the future life.
See Tertullian, AdversusMarcionem:III, 24; coelesteregnumnon predicatumest apud creatorem.The Manichaeansalso maintained that the
Scripture does not mention future life.
IOO
Pseudo Biachya,op. cit. ed. Goldziher, 16.11.20-24. (Davidson 99).
HIiwiexplained ni iinnas the material from which God created the
world. See Poznanski, Hagoren,VII, 116-117. Cf. Emunot, introduction, p. 20, where it is evident that Saadia.disputes Uiwi's opinion of

340

THE JEWISHQUARTERLYREVIEW

65. Man has no free-will; everything is predestined.IoI
It must be admitted that of these sixty-five questions,
not all can be referred with certainty to Hiwi's.102 Some
of those listed above as separate queries may really be
duplicates of one another.IO3 Davidson counted only
forty-seven

questions'04 and Poznanski

only forty-four.I05

For our own part, we have included all hypothetical
questions of Hiwi, and all those mentioned at the end
of the third chapter of Amanat by Saadia.
An analysis of the questions and difficulties dealt with
by Hiwi shows that the majority of them may be found in
other non-Jewish and Jewish sources.
Injustice, wickedness,

ignorance, weakness, falsity, fond-

ness for blood, sacrifices, on the part of God, and anthropomorphism, polytheism, inconsistency and illogicality in
the Bible were charges levelled previously by Marcion,
the creation of the world. It seems that Hiwi did not believe in creatio
ex nihilo. Neither did Marcion believe in it. See Tertullian, Adversus

MarcionemI, 155 creatormundumex aliqua materiasubiacentemolitus
est. Ibn ar-Ravendi, the Islamic heretic of Jewish origin, a contemporary of Uliwi also denied creatio ex nihilo.
IOI According to Moses ibn Ezra in his work tbu6bt npnn'
.9
m enn
np'pnmi (Quoted by Davidson, 99-100). Marcion also denied free will.

Harnack op. cit. 97-98: Si scivit non est in culpa is qui prescientiamdei
vitarenon potuit . . . sed ille qui talemcondidit. Accordingto Moses ibn
Ezra, H.iwi was under the influence of the Islamic sect of Gabariya
which denied free will.
102 Gratz (I. c.) and J. Guttmann
(I. c.) do not ascribe the last two
of the twelve questions in the 3rd chapter of Emunot III (ed. Slutski
73-74) to Hiwi. See above note 99. Poznanski ascribes to Uiwi only
the questions 4, 7 and 11. See idem z:nn 'iin by i'on niirvn 13 n. 2.
Until recently no one has ascribed the ten questions dealing with the
abrogation of the law to Hiwi rintim 'nis iun Emunot, III (ed. Slutski
69-70). See however above note 57 where we have evidence that one
of the questions dealt with by Saadia goes back to Hiwi. We are entitled to ascribe the others also to him.
103 The questions 9 and 11; 12, 13 and 64; 14, 15 and 53; 36 and 57; 38
and 40.
I04

Davidson, 26.

IO5

Poznanski, op. cit. 13. n. 2.

HIWI AL-BALKHI-ROSENTHAL

341

Celsus, Porphyry, Julian the Apostate, the Gnostics and
the Manichaeans.io6
Rabbinic literature is full of allusions to criticisms of
the Bible made by various heretics.107 Indeed, the rabbis
found it necessary to pay special attention to the reconciliation of seeming contradictions in the Scriptural
text.'o8

It is therefore impossible to see any originality in most
of Hiwi's charges. Even in the rationalistic explanation of
miracles he was not original. The miracle of the crossing
or the Red Sea was already rationalized by Artapanus, the
Jewish Hellenistic writer of the second century B. C. E.IO9
Similarly, the miracle of manna in the desert was explained
rationalistically by an Irish monk of the seventh century
C. E. ;IIOwhile Saadia, ardent opponent of Hiwi, though he
was, tried nevertheless to rationalize miracles."', It was,
in fact, a common rationalism of the period which influenced
Hiwi and Saadia alike.
io6 See Marmorstein, op. cit. E. Stein, op. cit., Edward J. Young,
Celsus and the Old Testament, The Westminster Theological Journal,
VI, 2 (May 1944). See also the notes to the enumerated questions of
Ijiwi in the present paper and notes 138-143.
I07 See A. Marmorstein, "The Background of the Haggadah", HUCA,
VI, 145 ff.
I08 See note 84.
I09

See note 78.

-O See note 79. Rationalistic

explanation of the miracles related in
the Bible occupies the minds of scholars until today. For modern
explanation of Manna see, F. S. Bodenheimer, The Manna of Sinai,
The Biblical Archaeologist, X, 1 (1947), 2 ff. Major Claude S. Jarvis
who was Governor of Sinai for fourteen years reported that he once
witnessed the miracle of striking water from the rock in the desert.
See C. S. Jarvis, Yesterday and To-day in Sinai, 1932, 174; idem, The
Israelites in Sinai, Antiquity, VI (1932), 434 ff.
imti n-i
t li
III See Ibn Ezra on Gen. 3.1: i'tv i9
vnnn
nvwi
-n- b6 linen ca wvn z
Cf.
nii.
ri' In= rin onem oe Z ny-n
Abraham S. Halkin, "Saadia's Exegesis and Polemics," Rab Saadia
Gaon, Studies in His Honor. Edited by Louis Finkelstein. New York,
1944, 117ff.

342

THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW

The originality of Hiwi lies in his heresy. He is the only
Jewish heretic known to us who compiled such a list of
difficulties and queries. Many attempts have been made to
trace the immediate sources from which he drew his arguments against the Bible.112 The purpose of the present
study is to call attention to parallels to Hiwi's attacks in
the contemporary literature of various heretical origins.

(To be continued)

112 See

note 1.

HIlWI AL-BALKHI
A Comparative Study
(Continued from JQR, N. S. XXXVIII
By

[1948] 317-342)

JUDAH ROSENTHAL

College of Jewish Studies, Chicago
The ZOROASTRIANS.

Pseudo-Bachya (eleventh century) makes Hiwi a follower
of the Magi, which means that he was a Zoroastrian."13
This is repeated by Maimon ibn Danan (second half of the
fifteenthcentury) in his chronicle. nrl-In CUoD
The
-.II4
WY
theory of Zoroastrian influence on Hiwi deserves attention.
The conquest of Persia by Islam in the middle of the
seventh century resulted in the downfall of Zoroastrianism
as the national religion of Persia. But the conversion to
Islam did not take place at once. We have ample evidence
of the survival of the Zoroastrian religion during the
following three centuries.IIS
The polemical literature of the eighth and ninth centuries,
as well as the Gaonic literature, has numerous references to
Zoroastrians.1"6 The latter took part in religious disputations in the defense of their High God Ormuzd.1I7 They
maintained that the Bible and all religions based on revelation, such as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, were the
work of the devil Ahriman. The diabolic origin of the Bible
is asserted throughout the Pahlavi literature of the period.118
11 Cf. Davidson, op. cit. 99.
'-I81
ni
WU
r:j
b
nSrn:U
na-n n,- mn
n sznn rwai3
Dl fw #ws:9,
. . . m r anrnvm niln
'n s1i .1rn7 rinii
nt rivn nrlin 127D. Cf.

Davidson, op. cit. 103-104.
IIs For Zoroastrianism in Persia after the Islamic conquest, see
William Jackson, ZoroastrianStudies, 177 ff.; Grundrissder iranischen
Philologie, by W. Geiger and E. Kuhn, II, 553 if.; J. Guttmann, Die
Philosophiedes Judentums,59 f.
II6 See Edward C. Browne, A LiteraryHistory of Persia, vol. I (Cambridge, 1929) 200 ff., 206 f.; wnnn 1 nipins niAn ed. J. Muller, Cracow,
1893, p. 21.
I7 L. H. Gray, The Jew in Pahlavi Literature,2.
sr8 Gray, ibid.; James Darmstetter, REJ XVIII, 3.
419

420

THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW

An important Zoroastrian polemical work written in the
Pahlavi language dates back to the second half of the ninth
century."I9 The name of the book is Shikand Gumanik
Vijar, meaning "doubt dispelling explanation," and it was
written by one of the last defenders of Zoroastrianism in
Persia, Martan Faruk.
The work of Martan Faruk, although available in an
English translation, has attracted little attention among
Jewish scholars.120 David Kaufmann was the first to
consider it a source of Ijiwi's heresy.12I Davidson on the
other hand, made but little use of it in his edition of
Saadia's reply to IjiWi,I22 while Edmund Stein in his recent
study of Hiwi likewise underestimates it.I23
The chief purpose of Martan Faruk's work was to refute
the teachings of Judaism, Christianity, Islam and Manichaeism. He points out the apparent inconsistencies and
contradictions in the Scriptures of other religions. Chapters
13 and 14 of the compilation deal specifically with the Old
Testament and the Jewish religion. The former treats of
the story of creation as told in the Bible. The main counter
arguments adduced by Martan Faruk are:
1) The narrative lacks details about the position and
limits of the earth. (Was the earth limited or not? If so,
ri9 By Pahlavi we understand the language of Persian literature
from the middle of the third century until the Islamic conquest of
Persia. Pahlavi is identical with Parthian or Middle-Persian. Cf.,
Grundriss,I, 1.249.
120 The originalPahlavi text of this work has not yet been discovered.
Only the Pazdan-Sanskritversion of this work dating from the 12th
century is in existence. The Pazdan and Sanskrit texts were published
in the year 1887 in Bombay. An English translation of this work by
E. W. West appeared in the SacredBooks of the East, vol. XXIV (Oxford, 1885) pp. 116-251. See Grundriss,II, 116-7.
1,I REJ, XXII, 287-288. A French translationby James Darmesteter
of chaps. XIII-XIV, which appeared in REJ XVIII, 1-15, attracted
the attention of Kaufmann and he compared the attacks of Martin
Faruk against the Bible with the criticisms of Uiwi.
022 Davidson, op. cit. 29 f., 80-82. That Davidson made little use of
Martan Faruk's work is evident from his scanty excerpts from it.
223 Stein, loc. cit., 215.

421

HIWI AL-BALKHI-ROSENTHAL

what lay outside of it? If not whither did infinity
reach ?)124

2) It lacks a descriptionof God.'2S
3) If all that God had to do was to say: "You shall
come into existence, why did it take Him six days to create
the world? If it took Him a full six days to create the world,
124For the Zoroastrianconception of time and space see Grundriss,
II, 629-630. The opinion found in Mishna Hag. II, 2: 'n iznonmi:
nint6 --i a"96 no nv6i no ;19y,6 no 6iy ic mnHi~ i98
(8nnn) m-1 wo:nmay be understoodas a rabbinic attitude to such questions. Cf. "The
Oldest Collectionof Bible Difficultiesby a Jew," JQR (O.S.), XIII, 359:

n'r 10lpD nU' lvn lopi 1ne I'M
-lii ?
?^
6y . .. .rIi
* . .pnn 'Z 1nnin1'DrTlw
-ipmn'z Yi: -To In...

1

v

m'

3V
D'

iq

n, pl%n'1l?..
125 In Zoroastrianisman anthropomorphicconception of the ruling
gods prevailed. See J. Scheftelowitz, Die altpersischeReligionund das
Judentum, 7. The anthropomorphicliterature of the gaonic period,
the Mysticism of the YordeMerkabah,developed under the influence
of such questions. Cf. P. Bloch, "Die jiidische Mystik und Kabbala,"
in WVinter
und Wunsche,III, 223 ff.; G. Sholem, Major Trendsin Jewish Mysticism, 62 ff. The passages 50-63 and 68-91 form a long discussion against the biblical conception of God, particularly as it is
expressed in the narrative of the creation of light. The author tries to
show that the story of the creation of light as told in the Bible implies
a dualistic conception of God, and that the God of the Bible is inferior
and weaker than Ormuzd (Zoroastriansheld that their religion was
monotheistic. See Grundriss,II, 629-630). The story of the creation
played a great role in the development of Jewish mysticism. Rabbinic
Judaism solved the difficulties dealt with by our author through the
conception that light was not created by God, but that it emanatedfrom
God's splendor. God's splendor was the beginning of all creation. See
Gen. r. 3.4 (ed. Theodor-Albeck,p. 20): gpoym ino inimm-m p1no
190D,ly 61ln

xpDoD
rn

il't p'^ntm n6vz

.m.

ivl

Philo expresses the same

view in words similar to those of the Haggadah. See Freudenthal.
AlexanderPolyhistor. I, 71. Ch. Albeck, Introductionto Gen. r. p. 86.
Many haggadic sayings express the opinion that light was not created
at the same time as the world, but that it had existed before. See
Bahir, 3 (quoted by Kasher in his n6rv nnin s. 1.): nnnvi 'moirnl -R
J16D

-IV ;rny

,13Y'hl'

bt-11.1 -11m. nt 1OU1lpt "'B9tl

,im "-n n:8:z.r
m'x
;'tl nn1ho

:''1m.,

nrzrv

0'rh

nhn61y"

-.1ri
Dp

minzn. The opinion ex-

pressed in the Kabbalah is that darkness was not created, but that it
arose through mixox. See ni'xt nrio ed. Jellinek 2: ,vy ninv 'Isymi
-,i
Cf. D. Neumark, Geschichtederjuid. mittelD== ' n6 z) ".
alterlichenPhilosophie, I, 195. For the rabbinic sources in this subject,
see Kasher's ;1v n.iin s. 1. In general the rabbis limited the discussion
of cosmogonic problems.

See Hag. l1b: awn

wini nvynn pwirv 1pt.

Cf. Gen. r. 1.10. Cf. further Hag. 13a and Gen. r. 8.2.

422

THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW

then it is scarcely plausible to speak of His creating it from
nothing.126

4) How could the days have been numbered before the
creation of the sun? The Bible says expressly that the sun
was created only on the fourth day.127
5) Why did God rest on the seventh day?"28
6) There existed already in the first days of the created
world a contradiction between the will of God and the will
and the desire of Adam and Eve. If despite God's will that
Adam and Eve should obey Him, they nevertheless disobeyed Him, it is obvious that He was not omnipotent. If,
on the other hand, it was His will that they should disobey
and turn away from him, then there is a patent contradiction between His command and His will.129
The conceptionof creatioex nihilo is here attacked. The advocates
of Zoroastrianismbelieved in two eternal material elements, in eternal
light and eternal darkness. See Grundriss,III, 668.
127 This question was already dealt with in the apocryphic and hellenistic literature. According to the Book of Jubilees God created light
on the first day of creation, II, 2. Philo came to the conclusion that
time is more recent than the world. He writes: "It is quite foolish to
think that the world was created in six days or in space of time at all.
Why? Because every period of time is a series of days and nights, and
these can only be made such by the movement of the sun as it goes
over and under the earth, but the sun is a part of heaven, so that time
is confessedly more recent than the world." (Legumallegoria,I, 2 ff.).
The Gnostics also pointed to this inconsistency in the story of Creation. Cf. Origen, Contra Celsum,VI, 60. The point of view of the
Haggada was that the sun and celestial spheres were created on the
first day. Cf. Hag. 12a: irn ti7 I1WKin D1'm
11= nriKmn In In K lrn
. . npmnn
r'n'
-16o
'N'1y
vwinc, -1'TY 1:DirOrlp. Gen. r. 3.5: -rD mn'NW
pi nip Dolmt. Cf. J. Freudenthal, Alexander Polyhistor. I, 72; PseudoBachya, Wvmnrn-nn
ed. Broyde, 8; Maimonides, More NebukimII, 30:
126

1x'n
vDnv.-i nit

1x
onil-)Ip nibt

trn1 mrby mvjplrv rnDpinnn mnw-l

See note 73.
129 The author here touches upon the most complicated philosophical
and theologicalproblem,that of divine foreknowledgeand free will. The
Rabbinic point of view was that the foreknowledgeof God is not causaiDxi:, Aboth,3.15 (19).
nrwvnm
tive, and is expressedin the saying: milnn
Cf. Sayings of the Jewish Fathers,by Ch. Taylor, 59, n. 38. Philo also
emphasized the free will of every man. See idem, Quodomnis probus
liber sit, 1. Josephus, however relates that the Pharisees also believed
in fate. He tries to harmonize their belief in fate with their belief in
I28

HIWI AL-BALKHI-ROSENTHAL

423

7) For what purpose was the Garden of Eden created?
Did not God foresee that Adam would be expelled from
it?130

8) For what purpose did God create the tree of knowledge if he forbade Adam and Eve to eat of its fruit? It is
evident from God's injunction and command not to eat of
the tree of knowledge that he wanted men to remain
ignorant and that ignorance was desired by Him more then
knowledge and wisdom.131
9) It is evident that God is not omniscient because when
he came to the Garden of Eden he raised his voice and
asked Adam: "Where are you?" God apparently did not
know where Adam was.'32
10) Similarly, from the fact that despite His threat,
Adam and Eve ate of the tree and not only did not die but
became more intelligent than before and were better able
free will. (Antiquitiesof the Jews, 18, 1.3). The contradiction between
foreknowledgeand free will was already pointed out by Marcion. See
Tertullian, C. Marcionem,II 5 ff.; Harnack, op. cit. 97-98. Cf. Further, P. Alfaric, op. cit. II, 143, where it is related that the Manichaean
Addas, a pupil of Mani, made the same charges against God. Peter in
the ClementineHomilies defends the free will of man against Simon
Magus. (ClementineHomilies, XX, 3).
130 Perhaps that is one of the reasons why Philo did not take the
paradise story literally, but explained it allegorically. See Legum
allegoria,I, 28-30; de PlantationeNoe 8; for the allegoricalexplanation
of the paradise story in later literature, see Ginzberg, Legends of the
Jews, V, 91, n. 50.
'3' The Gnostics attacked the prohibition of eating of the tree of
knowledge,proving from it the jealousy of God. See Origen, C. Celsum,
IV, 40. Irenaeus, C. Haereses, III, 23.6; ClementineHomilies, III, 39.
Hiwi al-Balkhi repeated the charges of the Gnostics. See note 52. The
Haggadahmaintainedthat before the fall, divine wisdom was bestowed
upon Adam of which God deprived him afterwards. The forbidden
fruit gave him human knowledge, but he was deprived of true knowledge and Godlike wisdom because of it. Ginzberg, op. cit. V, 118.
Cf. Yalkut Shimeoni, I, 34: mnnu I-Innorr TKu 1n. Death is, according
to this Midrash, not a result of the fall.
132 The same charge was made by Marcion, see Terutllian, C. Marcionem, IV, 20; Cf. Harnack, op. cit. 93 f. The Manichaeans also
charged the biblical God with ignorance,Alfaric, op. cit. II, 142. Cf.
notes 48-51.

424

THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW

to discern between good and evil, it is again apparent that
God is not omnipotent.'33
In the 14th chapter, Martan Faruk continues his charges
and attacks on the God of the Old Testament. He assails
the anthropomorphisms in the Bible and cites in evidence
a number of passages. God is full of vengeance, wrath and
anger. He is without compassion and is cruel.'34 He killed
hundreds of thousands of men in one night.135 He changes
His mind and repents.'36 These charges are based on passages from the Bible and on talmudic legends.137
I33 Many reasons are given in rabbinic, and also in patristic literature, why Adam did not die on the day he sinned, as God had threatened. See Ginzberg,Legendsof the Jews, V, 98, n. 72. From Gen.r. s. 1.
it is evident that the rabbis emphasized the end of verse Gen. 2-17:
ninn nilt and not the beginning: lI:D rnil z. Cf. Pseudo-Jonathan s. 1.

bivp =,nmn;iri

btn"rn

ni and Pesikta Zutarta s. l. imn lIPb oar D

ninr w'nrn. Cf. further, Tora Shlemah,233, n. 243.
134 These charges based on many biblical passages, such as Ex. 20.5,
Deut. 32.25, 41, Isa. 47.3, 30.27-30, Ezek. 25.14-17, Micah 5.14 and
many others, are of Gnostic origin. Comp. Origen, ContraCelsum,IV,
71 ff., IV, 36; Julian the Apostate, op. cit. 106E (LoebClassicalLibrary,
III, 344, idem; 160D (p. 362), 161A (ibid. p. 364-365); Clementine
Homilies, II, 39 ff. Cf. A. Marmorstein, "The Background of the
Haggadah," HUCA, VI (1929), 151. Cf. the criticism of the Islamic
heretic of Jewish descent of the ninth century, ar-Ravendi, concerning
the anger of God, Der Islam XIX (1931), p. 13.
I35 Julian the Apostate criticized the situation in which, because a
few transgressedthe laws promulgatedby God, all whom Moses brought
out of Egypt were to die in the desert. See Julian the Apostate, op. cit.
161A (LoebClassicalLibrary,III, 364).
136This charge could also be based on the ten changes enumerated
by Saadia in his Emunotat the end of the third chapter (Emunot,ed.
Slutzki, 69-70). The following may be added: It is forbidden, according to the Law, to make images, but God Himself told Moses to erect
the brass serpent (Cf. M.R.H, 3.8; Sapientia Solomonis, 16.7). God
commanded through Moses that sacrifices be brought to Him, but
He later expressed through the prophets His dissatisfactionwith sacrifices. ShikandGumanikVijar, Chp. XIV, 32-33. This charge is based
mainly on Gen. 6.6; I Sam. 15.11 and on the story of Jonah. In the
time of Philo people made the same charges. Philo wrote a special
treatise Quoddeus sit immutabilis,in order to prove that God does not
change his mind. Cf. ibid. 21. The same charge was repeated by
Marcion, Celsus and others. See Tertullian, C. Marcionem,II, 24;
Origen, C. Celsum,VI, 58. Cf. Harnack, op. cit. pp. 92-93. UIiwirepeated the charge. See notes 56-69.
I37 See Josef Perles, Monatsschrift,(XXII, 1873), 20 ff.; The Treatise

1IWI AL-BALKHI-ROSENTHAL

425

It is superfluous to add that these charges are not original.
They can be traced to the works of Marcion,'38 Celsus,139
Porphyry,140 Mani,141 Julian the Apostate,142 and to the
arguments of Simon Magus as reported in the Clementine
Homilies.143 As a Zoroastrian source, the argument of light
plays an important role in this controversy.
Martan Faruk must have been a man of remarkable
erudition. He was well acquainted with many portions of
the Bible and with the apocryphal, pseudepigraphic and
haggadic literature.144 Many problems pertaining to the
sources from which he drew his information are still
unsolved.145 He probably drew his knowledge of the Bible
Taanit of the Babylonian Talmud CriticallyEdited... by Henry Malter
(New York, 1930), p. 111. Cf. note 146.
I38 Harnack, op. cit. 84 ff., 147 ff.; A. Marmorstein,loc. cit., Edmund
Stein,"AlttestamentlicheKritik in der spaethellenistischenliteratur,"in
CollectaneaTheologicaSocietatis TheologorumPolonorum,XVI (1935).
139 See Catholic Encyclopedia s. v. "Celsus the Platonic"; RealEncyclopadiesder klassischen Altertumswissenschaften,
s. v. "Celsus"
No. 20; Edward J. Young, "Celsus and the Old Testament," The
WestminsterTheologicalJournal, VI, 2 (1944) 179 ff; E. Stein, op. cit.
140 A. V. Harnack,Kritik des Neuen Testaments
von einemgriechischen
Philosophen des 3. Jahrhunderts;tJatholic Encyclopedia s. v. "Neoplatonism," IV, "Porphyry"; Stein, op. cit.
141 See Flugel, G. L., Mani, seine Lehren und seine Schriften,(1862),
Alfaric, op. cit. 1, 122; II, 143. 0. G. von Wesendonk,op. cit.
142 The book Kcar&
deals with the Old Testament, and
FaXvXaLwv
it is preserved in the work Against Julian by Cyril of Alexandria
(first half of the fifth century). The works of Julian are edited in the
Loeb Classical Library with an English translation by Wilmar Cave
Wright. Cf. Stein, op. cit.
143 See Catholic Encyclopedia s. v. "Clementines." According to
A. V. Harnack, Dogmengeschichte,
p. 62, the Clementines were written
at the beginning of the fourth century. The date of the Clementines
is a matter of controversy among Church historians. The Clementines
is a polemical work against the neo-platonic school of Porphyry and
his disciples. Cf. REJ, XL (1900) 89 ff.: Les elementsjuifs dans les
Pseudo-Clementines.
144The familiarity of Martan Faruk with the Talmud is not astonishing. The author of another Zoroastriantheological work also seems to
have known the Gemara. See SacredBooksof theEast, XLVII, 119-120.
Cf. Gray, Louis H., The Jew in Pahlavi Literature,3.
145 Darmesteter, REJ, XVIII, 5.

426

THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW

from a Syriac version.146 A lively interchange between
Persian and Syriac literature, especially the eastern Nestorian branch of the latter, took place in the previous centuries
and continued until the ninth century.'47 We know that
Nestorian jurisprudence was under the influence of the
talmudic law..48 It is correct, therefore, to assume that
Syriac writings formed the channel through which the
knowledge of the Bible and talmudic legends reached
Martan Faruk, who was one of the last defenders of
Zoroastrianism.
The work of Martan Faruk could have been known to
Hiwi in Balkh, which was the seat of radical Manichaean
sects.
ISLAMIC ATHEISTS

Other heretic influences must receive consideration, since
the Near East of the eighth and ninth centuries teemed
with various Islamic heretics called Zindiqs.
Islamic heretics of the ninth century drew their arguments from Zoroastrian sources. The radical sectarians of
Islam in the first centuries of its existence, such as the
Carmatians, Ismailiya and others, were Zoroastrians in
disguise, who wanted to undermine Islam through Zoroastrian ideas.I49 The famous legend of the three impostors,
146 According to Maimonides the Bible was translated into Persian
hundredsof years before Mohammed. See jwn nmbtin Kobetz ed. Lich^nninn~blmi
tenberg, II, 3: pril js p6il nsnnmj1ivr mvbt j1ivi mvp'mym
0

D nlbn

0D:%o19

mnyv omlp ryi.

Also Theodoret (fifth century)

alludes to a Persian rendition of the Bible. See Gray, op. cit. 7, n. 1.
Theodoret seems to be unreliable. He mentions many other fictitious
translations. A Persian work of the 11th century, the Dabistan contains fragments of a Persian translation of the book of Genesis. See
The Dabistan or School of Manners, Paris, 1843, II, 299.
147A. Baumstark, Geschichte der syrischen Literatur, 105, 115, 125,

215, 296.
148 V. Aptowitzer,
die syrischen Rechtsbacher und das mosaischtalmudische Recht, 2 ff.
'49 D. Chwolson,die Ssabier und der Ssabismus (St. Petersburg,1856),

HIWI AL-BALKHI-ROSENTHAL

427

Moses, Jesus and Mohammed, which appeared in the 12th
century in Western Europe, and which was ascribed to the
Emperor Frederick the Second, probably goes back to a
Zoroastrian source.'50 The social-revolutionaries of the
ninth and tenth centuries in the Near East, the Carmatians,
already knew this legend.'5' Such a legend could originate
only among the remnants of the fire-worshippers. They
considered the founders of Judaism, Christianity and Islam
as impostors. In the works of Arabic authors of the ninth
century there are many references to Zindiks (heretics)152
and their criticisms of the Bible.
Ali ibn Rabban at-Tabari (847-861) writes in his Book of
Religion and Empire:'53 "The wicked Zindiks have used
abuses against the Scriptures saying: The Wise and Merciful One (God) could not have revealed such things nor
have ordered such prescriptions dealing with the sprinI, 288. Ibn al-Mukaffa, the translator of the book Kalila We-Dimna
from Pahlavi into Arabic was one of the most learned men during the
reign of Al Mansur (712-775) but suspected of Zindikism, or free
thinking. Al Mansur is reported to have said: "I never found a book
on Zindikismwhich did not owe its origin to Ibn al-Mukaffa."
ISOSee Massignon, Louis, "Esquisse d'une bibliographieQuarmate"
in A Volumeof OrientalStudies presentedto E. G. Browne,p. 336.
1S' Massignon,Louis, Revuede l'histoiredes religions,LXXXII, 74-78.
The story of three impostors who will appear before the coming of
Messiah, is to be found in the early-medieval apocalyptic literature,
a fact overlooked by scholars dealing with this problem. See nnmx-iy
n'vz, (publishedby M. Higger in his nnzr nl:in, 125-130) ninir nIvy
D6lpm nini-i 6va D'DAn nW6v mro -rapm 11im nimn .ypm n-lp 6iypi nlSt
Dl:m
oww
.-I D-1
'Y'Dlo I9 O'Nzly DI-I 0-i m
111Doxy
ypil
Op,ya 0-N101m
D'D
Dnp,y1
nmliDm
0-30
D'wri. Cf. r
'w-riz) by Judah Kauffmann

(Jerusalem, 1943), p. 315. See also m'rvi ninim(publ. by A. Jellinek in
his w-v,v nz II, 58): o-imiz o'6vn
im H1Ul: O'lpm
Ni
N0,1 0-n11
O'lp0Z'1Y
0,M'3-1

6ilyn

nilm

0o-1m1 nl'-Ui:

rv

;T'rpT vny 1pwri nrii
0'R)
O"
lon-3
wD1oynw. Cf. Kauffmann,

-oy,I+

OD2p
Doxy

0'

op. cit. p. 318.
IS} About the meaning of the word "zindiq," see E. G. Browne, A
Litera.ryHistory of Persia (Cambridge, 1929), I, 159.
I53 The Book of Religion and Empire, by Ali Tabari, translated by
Mingana (1922), pp. 51-52. Cf. ibid. 10, 165 f.; ZDMG, LXXXV,
38ff.

THE JEWISH QUARTERLYREVIEW

428

kling of blood on the Altar'54 and on the garment of the
priests and the imams;I55with the burning of bones, with
with
the obscenities and garbage mentioned therein
;I5C

persistencyin anger and wrath;157 with the order to desert
the houses when their walls shine with white, because this
would be a leprosy affecting these houses;158 with the command to group of Israelites to march against another with
swords and to fight with endurance among themselves until
they perished in striking and beating one another.I59 Moses
ordered that the tribes should curse each other. Moses did
not leave any of them without curses . .v0 o Ezekiel shaved
his head and his beard.. i6I Hosea married a loose
woman.. "?Ii2
'54 It is known that the Gnostics rejected animal sacrifices and criticized the God of the 0. T. because of it. See ClementineHomilies,
III, 45. Cf. 0. G. von Wesendonk, op. cit., 42 f. The point of view of
the rabbis was that God demanded animal sacrifices for the good

'rwix nrimpnmn. See
Dm4onm

of men. See Lev. r. 30.12: . . . oznizt1 i':

also Lev. r. 22.5; Maimonides, More NebukimIII, 32; Saadia, Emunot,
HUCA, VI, 174 ff. See note 220.
ed. Slutski 72; Cf. AMarmorstein,
I55 Lev. 8.30.
xS6 II Kings 23.20; II Chron. 34.5.
157 See note 134.
is8 Lev. 14.33 ff. See note 222.
1S9 Ex. 32.27-29. The rabbis tried to justify the action of Moses.
See Seder Elijahu, R. 4 (ed. Friedman, 17): bp 1' p-ix rin yrn' m
ws u'14 3In8
wnin IN oN-wnm %xy: ,'lm
V'14o nm
mnnmVr 1Irnly nm
n1h.1no

nm-ipl yiiW

,I~Yz) iw -nii

ri~n

Ki Tissa: wnnrnDn
o-n.
-1,X:

i
w-y1

,

w'mnNZ
nnm vvi nAi-inv1Crm
I.-:DmD
nmr
nvir
lnrin
i nnX or: om

::DD

-

nm -ln n

'lAn

"n i01

VN3 qll'l

lCy
IVY

~Iym lnVY0. lDnnvl

liJ~ym

NHi

1i 'n

a-im
:'mw
m)8D.

ir'

,'

Tanhuma,

nm np,1 -IVY m
nwrinlcz

wC,nl

Cf. Ginzberg,Legendsof the Jews, op. cit. III, 130; VI, 54.
'0 Lev. 26.16-44; Deut. 27.11-26; Deut. 28.15-68.
Maimonides deals with the shaving of the beard by
I6I Ex. 5.1.
Ezekiel in his More Nebukim. His opinion is that it was only a vision.
See More Nebukim,II, 46.
z62 lIbs. 1.2. We find the same charge in the collection of "Bible
no
Nir D
iz
. ..
D'i30 yvlnwix
Difficulties" (JQR, XIII, 368): nmtr
-rn

.
.7YI

nrrn.

rnr nnpi 'OVrl

''

rr,-yr.

The rabbis tried to justify the

command of God to Hosea to marry an adulteress. See Pes. 87a: -in
The
opinionof; Ma:imonid
Yes1ith
no ,'3p, nw nm nl
.1t l?li nc1VYm
oz0to3.
ilrim wmnr.
OttIm by;ninniw1,iw
19 -rimn ruit nwNripi 19 i9 -ioim
iKmw' niwxv iN qK nliW6 91z' min. The opinion of Maimonidesis that

429

HIWI AL-BALKHI-ROSENTHAL

The most important Zindik (Islamic heretic) of the ninth
century was Ibn ar-Ravendi.'63 In his Book of Emeralds he
severely attacked Islam. He says: "It is clear that reason
is the greatest gift of God to his creatures. The miracles
of the prophets including those of Muhammad were deceptions. There are mainy kinds of deception: among them
are such which it is difficult to recognize as deceptions.
The prophets were only magicians."I64
An Arabic author of the twelfth century, Ibn al-Djawzi,
relates that Ravendi did not believe in creation ex nihilo and
that he wrote a book on the eternity of matter. Incidentally,
al-Djawzi states that the father of Ravendi was a Jewish
heretic. According to al-Djawzi, the Jews warned the
Muslims in the following words: "Ravendi will corrupt
your Scriptures as his father corrupted our Torah. His
father taught that there were no prophets besides Moses."i6S
it was only a vision. See Maimonides, loc. cit. Cf. Ginzberg, op. cit.
VI, 356.
I63 Salman ben Yeruham, a Karaite contemporary of Saadia Gaon
mentions Rawendi and his influence in Jewish spheres. Salamanwrites
in his commentary on Eccl. 7.16: manniw'nD nliy -rta nm rai rnin'
in.: onirn -=9 wpanl O'pii

19 I'KCv
owny aim1D'KrriK Un'ly')'
. .. 1nln.1n1 1'K'13.1 Kma wN'9ri .'D
...
-z13KbiK '-wo1 rn1D1i'Bn

D

CD
-N3DE.

See S. Pinsker, Lickute Kadmoniot,27a. The Karaite scholar of the
14th century, Aaron ben Elijah of Nicomedia, mentions Rawendi in
his philosophical work o"rn yy. He writes about him: 1jm m=3 rit
int
'-iflwn m. See o"rn yy ed. Steinschneider-Delitzsch,
giri nin-p it:

18. Cf. ibid. 301. S. A. Poznanski, Hagoren, VII (1908), 128-129;
I. Goldziher in Gedenkbuch
an David Kaufmann (Breslau, 1900), p. 101;
D. S. Margoliouth, "Atheism" in Hastings Encyclopaediaof Religion
and Ethics, II, 188 ff.; Paul K. Kraus published the Book of Emeralds
by Rawendi, together with a German translation of it in his "Beitrdge
zur islamischen Ketzergeschichte"
in Rivista delgi studi orientali, XIV
(1933), 93-129, 335-379; W. J. Fischel, Historia Judaica, VII (1945),
46-47.
164 P. Kraus, loc. cit. 112-113, 123 n. 2.
\ a-5s ;
1
16S Der Islam XIX, 2: j
ts
rl,
y
iAJI
i; e ) t
s'?
J
The
Ibid, 4:
opinion that there were no other prophets besides Moses corresponds to that of the Samaritans. See James A. Montgomery, The
Samaritans, 225 ff.; I. Ben Zvi, oznriwin

n,

135.

430

THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW

As already mentioned, Martan Faruk, the author of
Shikand Gumanik Vijar, and the Islamic Zindiks drew their
arguments from the polemical literature of the Gnostics.
The Christian Gnostics of the Near East, the Manichaeans,
inherited the older polemical literature against Judaism
and the Old Testament and made use of it in their disputations with Jews. None of the attacks and arguments against
the Old Testament since the early Hellenistic times was
forgotten or lost. The Bible criticism of the Jewish Hellenists of the time of Philo of Alexandria'66 and the radical
polemics of Marcion, Celsus, Porphyry, Mani, Julian the
Apostate and others are repeated in literary documents of
the eighth and ninth centuries. The works of Mani, the
founder of the Manichaean sect, were translated into all
Oriental languages.'67 His severe criticism of the Old Testament was known to all dualists and heretics of the Near
East.'68 Islamic heretic influences on Hiwi are therefore
very probable.
(To be continued)

I66 Cf. "AlexandrianJewish Literalists" by Mon. J. Shroyer, JBL,
LV (1936), 261 ff.
167 P. Alfric, op. cit. I, 55 ff.; Cf. also M. Lidzbarski, "Warumschrieb
Mani aramaisch?" OLZ, XXX (1927), 914.
I68 Hatred for the Old Testament was inherited by the various Manichaean sects of the Middle Ages. See, Ignaz von Dollinger, Beitrage

zur Sektengeschichte des Mittelalters, vol. 1. "Geschichte der gnostischmanichaeischen Sekten im fruheren Mittelalter" (Miunchen 1890), pp. 16,

18, 45, 55, 83, 139, 157 and passim. Idem, vol. II: "Documentezur
Geschichte der Waldenser und Katharer," passim. Sharenkoff, Victor N.
A ,Study of Manichaeism in Bulgaria with special reference to the Bogumils

(New York, 1927), 46, 57. 77.

IJIWI AL-BALKHI
A Comparative Study

(Continuedfrom JQR, N. S. XXXVIII [1948]419-430)
By

JUDAH ROSENTHAL

College of Jewish Studies, Chicago
CHRISTIAN HERETICS
THE Saadia Genizah fragment, published by Davidson in
1915, contains passages which indicate that Ijiwi believed
in the Trinity and was a Christian. The passage: rit iint
~'IDVDw
"vn
o
rinnt(stanza 50) and
nXnn
btT.16 riv
TOIV
the passage ImRti 9-irtn nnwzbu
13jrt 'n (stanza 54)
indicate clearly that Hiwi was a Christian.169 Davidson,
therefore, came to the conclusion that Ijiwi showed a
leaning toward Christianity as well as the religion of
Zoroaster.170 Marmorstein is inclined to see a Marcionite
influence on Hiwi.171 Stein emphasizes the Manichaean
influence on him.172 But neither Marmorstein nor Stein
both of whom see in Hiwi a gnostic Christian, was able to
trace Ijiwi's arguments to Gnostic sources contemporary
with him. It is our purpose to call attention to these
sources.
In the polemical works of the church of the early Middle
Ages we find repeated all the arguments of the heretics
against the Old Testament, and, of course, refutations of
them.
69 See note

81.
Davidson, op. cit. 31.
'7' HUCA, VI, 157. See, however, p. 161 where he lets the question
open.
170

172

Stein, loc. cit. 215.
79

80

THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW

Of great importance are the charges found in the work
of Anastasius Sinaita, patriarch of Antioch at the end of the
seventh century.173 In his Hodegos (Viae dux) or Guide, he
relates that while he was visiting in the East a number of
so-called difficulties were submitted to him by deserters
from the Orthodox Church. In addition, a collection of 154
Questions and Answers on biblical subjects is ascribed to
him. The greatest part of these Aporia (Difficulties) deal
with the New Testament, but about forty of them refer to
the Old Testament.
The most important Aporia found in his Hodegos are:1174
(1) The second doubt or question put before me by the
deserters from the church was: Who tells me that Genesis
is the composition of Moses? For it has no title, such as
have the rest of the Books, those of the prophets.175
(2) Besides, most of it appears not to be in accordance
with truth, such as the declaration of God concerning the
eating of the forbidden fruit;176
(3) And that concerning the four hundred years of the
tribulation of Israel in Egypt, for they suffered hardship
for one hundred and forty years; that is, after the death of
Joseph.I77
'73 See Otto Bardenhewer, Geschichte der altkirchlichen Literatur
(Freiburg in Breisgau, 1932), vol. V, 41 ff. The works of Anastasius
Sinaiticus were published by J. P. Migne in the collection of Patrologia
Graeca,vol. 89.
'74 Migne, P. G., vol. 89, pp. 283 ff.; Cf. Gray, Edward McQueen,
The Old TestamentCriticism,46, 230.
17S AevTrpa abropla aroToTaTrJV rTS 'EKKX0alas ...
Tts got
Xfo f,
OTl Mwoiws oTl fvty'ypaa 7,i
reiveoF-s; ov yap rvyekypa7rTac. ..
176 HXtv O"Tl
Kal 7rXeo-ra 4atLveTaU, At) a XeOvovo-a fi W'V Ell Kat
7 a7ro6ao-ts roV- NOve, ? irepl TrqS p&W,o-ws, Gen. 2.17; 3.22. See

note 131.
177 Ka tl lrep' rW5zv
hVT6.wv rv?S KaKCfTEWS roiV 'IopaiX r's 'v Atyh7rryT
EKao-TOv yap Teo-o-apaIKOVTaXpovovs eTaXat7rw'pfloTav TOvr eoT- /erTa
T'V O'varov 'Iwo--40. According to the rabbis the Jews were in
Egyptian bondage 210 years. See rwn 3nv NryiK 'an' -i 1n,
n
'an1 :?

w3v nWly O'nK n r'aYDi i'r

iinK orriam rW]y. Cf. Midrash

81

HIWI AL-BALKHI-ROSENTHAL

(4) And, similarly, the term which God fixed for the life
of man was not maintained in the case of Noah, for he said
that man of that time, until the flood, should live one
hundred and twenty years.I78
(5) Again, though He had given orders for the complicated Levitical meat offering, God stated later through
Isaiah and Jeremiah that He had given no commandment
unto Israel concerning sacrifices or concerning burntofferings.I79
(6) Again, having promised that the law should be a
statute forever, why did He not make His ordinances
everlasting laws?180
Hagadolon Gen. ed. Schechter, 237; SederOlamRabba,3, ed. B. Ratner,
p. 15; Pirke de R. Eliezer, 48; "Bible Difficulties by a Jew," JQR
(0. S.), XIII, 360, 1.9.
O OpoS, 6v eIrev O'
6 OeS repl T?s (s Tw-v a'vOpAnrwv
178 '0Al1S
OVTTE
KaTaKXVO7IOv1
7yeyoAev erl roiV Nc'5e. Erev yap PK' Xp'OVs /.LXpl TOVL

See Gen. 6.3; 9.29. The last three
&KElVOVS..
roVS AvOpwcnrovs
questions come under the charge that God changes His mind. See
note 136. The rabbis dealt with this question. See Y. Nazir 7.2: i'n

trv

rUr3 1'?3' i'm1 V31 nKl DlWK ON

D' O"

1iKiNp

]W O')W?l UK

Midrash Hagadol on Gen. ed. Schechter, 125. Cf. also
rwroon'yi.
the Targumim on Gen. 6.3: limn, OK 1,3Wp'vWy rimn prir narr, n-im.
...

Jerome accepted the rabbinic interpretation of this passage. He
translates Gen. 6.3: Hoc est habebuntcentumvigenti annos ad agendam
poenitentiam. See M. Rahmer, die hebrdischenTraditionen, Breslau,
1861, 23.
I79 I4aXuv
be fvrelEXa,evos TO lrOMVKpEWV 'EKEUvO AVlTlKPV, iS-Tepov
lrepl OVo2fl'v'ebTel4nqo-tvO6NOEs&a 'HoatOV, Kat 'Iepe/AOV6Tl OVE'ev
Xaro rw 'IopaqX, ovu 7repl rTv 0XOKcKTavwaTwv. See Isa. 1.11; Jer.

7.22. See also Question XLVI. See note 136.
ISO
IIIaHXtvme brooX6evos
OpeK T-O

Ta

I

rpourTyica

vPolAoAval'wvtov elvai' TOV voPov. HcI,S
Ta VOALK& a" vta; This question
avroi

could not be directed against the Jewish conception of the Law.
Accordingto the rabbis the Law is everlasting. See Deut. r. 8.6: ': W
NWVmD
Ourl -m K' O'nVa Ni '1z11Y
n mnK.
nNw KW ,K'l 0'na N D:nm Y'-1n 3K -in: nrj'W
DID= 131i: mm?1-nm
niK rm~'. Cf. Maimonides,
Sifra, end: rinym in-mivnm7 mv-i wm pm

K l:.1m rwm
;.rnn 1hi wam1Dl mnl-imm

Mishne Torah, Yesode Torah, 9.1. Christianity and Islam held that
the Law given to Israel was only temporaryand not eternal. The Jews
disputed this. The question of the abrogation of the Law as held by
Christians and Muslims was widely discussed in the polemics between

82

THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW

(7) And, having promised to give to the seed of Israel all
the land extending from Egypt unto the Euphrates as a
possession, He did not give them even a tenth of such land
in accordance with his promise.'8'
The most important heretical questions dealing with the
Old Testament in the Collection of Questions and Answers
ascribed to Anastasius are
(1) How can the following verse be understood: "The
sons of God saw the daughters of men" (Gen. 6.2)?183
(2) Why does the Law differentiate between clean and
unclean animals, since everything that God created was
:182

good (Gen. 1.31)?184
the Jews and Gentiles in the Middle Ages. In his philosophicalwork
Amanat, Saadia answered the arguments of those who believed in the
abrogation of the Law. See Saadia, Emunot, ed. Slutski, pp. 66 ff.
Cf. notes 55-69.
18xKal
wVVraat,qevos8t86O'varW-alrepMaTl 'Io-panX a7ro AllyrTov
6rO8&KaTOr
US TroVEvp&proV KaTraoXeolv, o
vAepos Tfs v'7rooTXeacrots. See Gen. 15.18. It is one of the charges of
OIEWS 8k&DKev

the Gnostics that God does not keep His promises. This charge was
repeated by Uiwi. Cf. "Bible Difficulties,"JQR (0. S.), XIII, 360, 1.7.
182Migne, op. cit. 314 ff.
183 Question XXV: llMS V07oT7OV
rO, IboPTveOl vlol roV 0eoi T&S
Ovyarepa Tr'v abOponrxv; See Pirke de R. Eliezer, chp. 22 and
YalkutShimeoni I, 44, where the story of the fallen angels is told. The
story refers to Gen. 6.2, 4. The conception of the O'ri,m 3mas angels
goes back to the apocryphal literature. Cf. The Book of Enoch; VIXIX; The Book of Jubilees,VI. The rabbis combatted this conception.
Targum Onkeles,Pseudo-Jonathan,and Gen. r. render O'riK 3n with
twm 3n resp. wmmnn"= or nrvr- 'am. Gen. r. relates-that Rabbi Simon

ben Yochai pronounceda curse upon everyone who translated O'riK ':
literally. Cf. Gen.r., ed. Theodor-Albeck,247. Cf. further the rabbinic
commentaries s. 1. A rationalistic Muslim theologian of the first half
of the eleventh century, Ibn Hazm, criticised the literal interpretation
of trIK "m JQR XIII (1901), 237. See the opinion of Maimonides:
r 01m O'UKm 3 Dvir I, 196. The same question is found
0l'v9rn1 D0'1r'
in a collection of questions addressed to a gaon and published by S. A.
Wertheimer MV3nnAip (Jerusalem, 1899) 69-70. Cf. L. Ginzberg, die
Haggada bei den Kirchenvaternund in der apocryphischenLiteratur
(Genesis), Berlin, 1900, p. 75.
184 Question XXVI: El 7ra'raTa o-a 47hrohqev 6 0E s KaXa& XLav,
7rcs /eTa

TavTa 7rept KaOapwVKaL 'KaO4pTcrwv
towlv 4oi;

The con-

83

HIWI AL-BALKHI-ROSENTHAL

(3) Why did God command Abraham to sacrifice at the
covenant of pieces a heifer three years old, a she-goat three
years old, a ram three years old, a turtle dove, and a young
pigeon (Gen. 15.9)?185
(4) Why did God command Abraham to circumcise

(Gen. 17.10)?I86
(5) How can the following phrase be understood: "And
I will harden Pharaoh's heart" (Ex. 10.3)?187
(6) Why did Job curse the day of his birth (Job 3.3)?i88
ception of the rabbis was that the dietary laws were given in order to
purify Israel. See Gen. r. chp. 44: nm Ina qnxi MiK nlx;ni in3 Mi :?K ::
nrnnried. Theodor-Albeck,p. 424-425. Cf. note 154.
185

Question XXVII:

Ala

rl 6b rA@vat

7rpookratev

O'
6 0ebs

Tc$

'Afl3paa,ubai,aXw TpteTltovo-av, Kal alcya TpteTltOVo-aV, Kal Kpl'V
rperLtov,ra, rpvTyova,Kat IrepJtopepav;The same question was asked
by I.iwi. See above n. 91.
I86 Question XXVIII: Ti 67t)romr
TrEpcryut'vatahro'v 7rpooiratev;
Circumcisionwas criticised also by I;Iiwi. See above note 98.
187 Question XXIX:.III,s
r6OV' "EYw -KXfptVVWTfPV Kapt'lav
wOqre'ov
bapaw;" This question touches the problemof free will fromthe point
of view of the will and justice of God. The rabbis dealt with this questJ K vl 1'3,' 6
tion: See Ex. r. 13.4: ivy'v 1nn ritJn
llnns jm:n p3m',n#K
I apm . ... t'rr

Dfl'
Dtv'D
o

87'pi la 87': iwK fla

nK

wlT

"
'3M'.: '37 malwn

oDma in rinnn. The Church Fathers tried to justify the hardening of

the heart of Pharaoh by God. See, Origen, de principiis, III, 1. Cf.
Herford, R. T. Christianityin Talmudand Midrash, 320; W. Bacher,
die Agada der palastinischenAmoraer, I, 258. Maimonides deals with
this problem in his o'p-iBmanzlchp. 8. Cf. The Eight Chaptersof Maimonides on Ethics by Joseph Gorfinkel, 16-17; Musa Maimunis Acht
CapitelArabischund Deutschvon M. Wolff, p. 57, n. 1.
I88 Question XXX: TLivos Y''VEKa
KaraparaL JIco r'7v t'71tupav
avirov;The meaning of the question is why did Job suffer so much that
he even cursed the day of his birth. The rabbis gave various reasons
for the suffering of Job. See b. Baba Bathra 15b: o6iy; iin mn iDri
t6lo1 1D :'ti
wmp n 1nDWv
q-nrnisnnn o-imD' 1'9y
iMpi 1 t6m
61yS tinp
D613l pn iviwt -iZ r"rym,i-iv Vm-pii 99s qmni. Similar questions concerning the sufferingof man were asked by Hiwi. See Saadia's polemic,
42. One of the charges of Marcion against the God of the 0. T. was
that He is unjust and takes delight in the sufferingsof men. See Harnack, op. cit., 85 ff., 95, 141. The rabbis emphasized the justice of God
in the sufferings of men. See Gen. r. chps. 9-10, Midrash Makiri on
Psalms chp. 51. See also Saadia, Emunot,ed. Slutski, pp. 76-77, 131.

THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW

84

(7) In what manner did Satan appear before God and
the angels (Job 2.1)?i89
(8) If the king of Babylon is allegorically interpreted
as the devil, why does God call him, through his prophet
Jeremiah, His "servant," for He says: "And now have I
given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the
King of Babylon, My servant; and the beasts of the field
also have I given him to serve him." (Jer. 27.6).,90
(9) Why did an angel hinder Balaam from going with
the messengers of Balak, after God Himself had given him
permission to go with them (Num. 22.32)?'9'
(10) What power did the curse of the sorcerer (Balaam)
have since God prohibited him from cursing (Numbers
chaps. 22-24) ?I92

6 b4a3oXos vcrlov ro3Oeoi uHera
189 Question XXXI: Hw's EO7o o'
rwv ay ye'Xwv;The pseudopigraphicand rabbinic literature identify
Satan with the serpent of the paradise. See GreekApocalypseof Baruch,
chp. 9; Revelationof John, 12.9. See TargumJonathan on Gen. 3.15.
For a description of the serpent, see, Gen. r. 19.19. Cf. Ginzberg,Legends of the Jews, V, 94, 123.
I90 Question XXXII: El o IaaAXebfsBaf3v'XCvoos
aXeyopeZrat els
&Laf3oXov,Hcos o Re6o 3a 'IepejutovBoDXovav'irov rpoaayopevft. . .
The allegorical interpretationof Nebuchadnezzaras the devil is not of
Jewish origin. Most of the midrashic sources do not include Nebuchadnezzar among the servants of God. Abot de R. Nathan includes
Neb. among the men who were designed servants of God, but adds "he
did not deserve it." See Abot de R.Nathan, ed. Schechter, p. 121:
nnn mnl
,11s nlw11V

y mnp)

Sn1z

Hos o
eo%s,frLTprp//as rG. BaXaa&M7ropevO'vaL7rpos BaXaK, BLa rov a'yyeXov av',rovKCOVXEl;The same question was asked by Hiwi. See above, note 61.
192 Question XXXIV: loLav iuxwv
dxev 7 rov a'vrEcosa&pa,ort
I9I

Question XXXIII:

3V6KC'OXvaTEvavro'v

o Re6

apaooaL;

It refers

to Joshua

24.10,

where

we find that God says to the Israelites, "And I saved you from his
hand." The rabbis dealt with this question and they explained that
Balaam was not able to curse the Israelites against the will of God but
that he wanted to influence God thereby. See Pseudo-Jonathanon
Num. 23.1: 3)y ninno unDv min moy nx-pmI':v;l
i'.r
;11=: nn ]1;m:'mwnvni)mnpin linv oyi=
rnv-

1i: 1- rvoW o-rn1
mini smp. We find

85

HIWI AL-BALKHI-ROSENTHAL

(11) Was it just to punish the children for sins of their
parents?I93

(12) How can the following verse be understood: "But
the Lord hath not given you a heart to know, and eyes to
see, and ears to hear, unto this day." (Deut. 29.3)?I94
(13) Why was Moses, because of a small transgression,
allowed to see the Holy Land only from a distance and
prohibited from leading the people into it (Num. 20.12;
Deut. 32, 48-52)?'95
(14) Why did not God hinder Yephta from sacrificing
his daughter as He prevented Abraham from sacrificing
his son (Judges 11.39)?I96

the same question in the "Bible Difficulties,"JQR (O.S.), XIII, 363: P1:
I
iV'i
n
=-I
nyly ri
mw no. Cf. Ginzberg, Legends of
n ozni'D
the Jews, VI, 132.
'93 Question XXXV:
HIxs rO &LKaLov c7OeratL, Tw'v 7raLcCv v're'p
rwv 7rarEp&VKOXarojiEv'v; It refers to Ex. 20.5 and Ex. 34.7. The

Gnostics charged that the God of the 0. T. is unjust because He punishes children for the sins of their parents. See note 41. The rabbis
emphasized that God punishes children only when they follow in the
paths of their parents. See the addition of TargumOnkeleson Ex. 20.5:
e'm 1'D%Wn -i.
See also Sanh. 27b: inv ti xl, ln-i,
n
;inrimmm nr
... 0o32 by ninti.
2n:l..
o;ln,mm bwyn 1btnmmwz orin om: by 1n12M -Ipm9
Cf. L. Ginzberg, op. cit., VI, 40 (n. 217). Idem, "die Haggadah bei den
Kirchenvatern," Exodus, Livre d'hommage a la memoire du Dr. Samuel
o;n-i,

Poznanski,Varsovie, 1927, 208-209.
'94 Question XXXVI: HII.
ro, ..
V1X'or
TL U77roreta&
I95 Question XXXVII:

.

See note 187.

c
TLLKpa%V7rTX,.t,.XetLav

rop-

be rov
pwOev lbrETV
0 Mwva7s rpoo-eraxOq r'v
etazayeiv
uay
Xaov EKWXVOvf;The rabbis dealt with this question. See Tanhuma
'Zi 'MDOintD;l
M' lY'
-inp
n1oi ; O 1mA1D
B: IV, 121: int)tA&i . . .
mvp
... *oDv riVD " 1;y.
I96 Question XXXVIII: ALa 'T OVK EKW'XV0VO60e6o 6' 'vJe4oe
OviraLr'v Ovyarepa, cOs Kai roTv'Afpaa4&;We find the same question in the Midrashic literature. See Tanhuma B. III, 114: ilnConiy
tI1'i

n1 m",p+

-i'tIH

nr1i1

36

mprnv

vWpmD
1no ri-n nilVD

nnix

1f
rnIn
ni1 1t6 im n
Oinm orir
n' .
Np tvW immm nt r7t nriis'

wvipn

ni-

'IV1 i
. im. We

mn"pin
. ....

)9

rnn

find the same
. . . niini
question in the collection of questions addressed to a Gaon published
-minno.
by Wertheimer,n6v rinmp, p. 70: nriv nr ?HDD

THE JEWISH

86

QUARTERLY

REVIEW

(15) How can the story about the witch of En Dor be
understood (I Sam. 28)?I97
(16) What was the ephod with which the priest interrogated God (I Sam. 25.9; 30.7, 8)?'98
(17) What was the statue which appeared before Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. 2.31-35)?'99
(18) Why does God sometimes change the names of
people

?200

The book of Photius of Constantinople of the ninth
century is more voluminous; it contains 324 questions and
many of them deal with the Old Testament.2o0 The most
important of them are:
r H
197 Question XXXIX:
To Kd Mm'
yyaoarTpLuv0ov;
Iw's vo7yTE0'
The narrative of the witch of En dor gave rise to various interpretations. Some deny the reality of the apparition and hold that the witch
deceived Saul. See Jerome on Is. III, VII, 11 (Migne, Patrologia Latina
XXIV, 108); Ezech. XIII, 17 (P. L., XXV, 119). Others attribute it
to the devil who assumed Samuel's appaerance. Basil, on Is. VIII, 218
(Migne, P. G. XXX, 497), Gregory of Nyssa (P. G. XLV, 107-8).
Others look upon Samuel's apparition as real. See Josephus, Antiquities
of the Jews, VI, 14, 2; Origen, Ambrose and Augustine on I Samuel,
chp. 28. Cf. Catholic Encyclopedia, X, 736.ab. The rabbis looked upon
Samuel's apparition as real. See Lev. r. 26.7, Yalkut Shimeoni on
I Sam. 28. The rationalistic view that necromancy, like sorcery in
general, is nothing but a fraud, is first met with among authors who
flourished about 900. See Kimhi on I Sam. 28.25. Cf. Ginzberg
Legendsof the Jews, VI, 237.
198 Question XL:
TL 7'V ro efovb, bt' o0v Er7qpWra o lepeVs rOV
0Eov; See Ginzberg, op. cit. III, 169.
'99 Question XLVIII:
6o-eLa EIKCWVrC,. Na#ovXoov0'oop;
TLs 7
The statue of the dream of Nebuchadnezzar was dealt with allegorically
in hellenistic and midrashic literature. See Josephus, Antiquities of the
Jews X, 10, 4; Tanhuma B. II, 91-92; Cf. Ginzberg, op. cit. VI, 415
n. 80.
200
Question LI: Tives 'v r'j FpacLA `mepa 'xovrTes ovoiatra,

vorepov

irzrcvoiaro-0ar7v,

Kal

Lalrl;

The

same

question

was

asked

by Ijiwi. See above p.
201 See Catholic Encyclopedia s. v. "Photius of Constantinople."
The
works of Photius were published by J. P. Migne in his Patrologia
Graeca, CI-CV. The collection of Questions and Answers under the
name Amphilochia because they were dedicated to his pupil Amphilochius of Cyzicus, are to be found in vol. 101, pp. 46 ff.

87

HIWI AL-BALKHI-ROSENTHAL

(1) Why does not Moses mention the kingdom of
heaven ?202
(2) Why, since Adam had transgressed and deserved
the punishment of death, did his son, who did not commit
any crime, die, and even before Adam?203
(3) What is the meaning of "and the eyes of them both
were opened" (Gen. 3.7) and how does a transgression have
the power to open eyes?204
(4) Why did Moses call the earth invisible?205
(5) What is the meaning of: "Let us make man in our
image" (Gen. 1.26) ?2o6
(6) What is the meaning of: "Behold, man is become
as one of us, to know good and evil" (Gen. 3.22)
?207

202
Question VI: Tt Bt 7rorq MwuXs rwCvoipavoCv ov ,Ule,umraLt
The same charge was made by Hiwi. See above
BaatYLelas,c
n. 99.
203 Question XI: ALa ri rovi 'A%aA 'AaP1qpKOKroS
KacLro roiv Oavarov

betal,UEvov frTl/lltov,

O roVrov

rats

i&?

t7/.iapTf7KWS 7rporTEevTa;

See note 193.
204 Question XIV: TL 'rtL ro . . . The rabbis stressed that the forbidden
fruit gave Adam and Eve human knowledge, but that they lost true
knowledge and Godlike wisdom because of it. See Gen. r. 12.6: mwv
ninimmn1i'tim -w9 y:nti -w9 inw-pi r,ni it 1n i9X livI-I oInD 190,2 wnn-r.
Concerning the ekpression omnio 3zsymnp9nnithe rabbis explained that
God made Adam notice what he had lost through his transgression.
See Gen.r. 19.7: rnm' ni - nv,1 .1.
. Ti
'01. See note 207.
n'DI
205Question XVI: ka rl aoparov r?7v Py7v ot MWari7s ,uvaoev;
The Septuagint translates inn (Gen. 1.2) with aoparos meaning invisible. The Gnostics wanted to prove from it that God was unable to
create a perfect world. See note 213.
2o6 Question XXXVI:
KaTa rl r lp?yraTCl HOl?7c7W/oIV &VOTrpnrov
KCar ELKova 771gerepav;" It is an old charge of the heretics. See b. Sanhedrin 38b: wrmiie n:l v6x=c o-it nvy) 0onxnonniwn Ozn"n I-1p9)W
Olp'ni
i6x omim nti. See also Gen. r. 8.3; b. Ber. 9.1. The Church Fathers
based on this passage their dogma of Trinity. See Ginzberg, "die Hag-

gadahbei den Kirchenvatern,MGWJ, 43, (1899), 61.
Tt oa LtaL'EL
rT
207 Question XXIII:
'I8ov 'A8ai. y6Yov'ev ts zlS
E
KaX6oVKatl ro7pO'v." See note 204. Cf. the
'wv, rOV -ytlv'KEtV
criticism of Ibn Hazm of this passage. JQR (0. S.) XIII, 236.

88

THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW

(7) Why did God establish paradise since He was about
to expel Adam from it?208
(8) How can the following saying by God to Moses be
understood: "See, I have set thee as a God of Pharaoh?"
(Ex. 7.1)?2o9
(9) Why does not Moses mention the creation of angels
at the creation of the world?2Io
(10) What is the meaning of ephod?2I1
(11) If God created light, He did not create darkness
because they fight each other.212
(12) Why did God create wild animals and reptiles?2I3
(13) Whom did Moses call sons of God (Gen. 6.2, 4)?2I4
(14) How can Abraham be called faithful since he said:
"O Lord God, Whereby shall I know that I shall inherit
it" (Gen. 15.8)?2I5
Question LI: Atart nrov 7rrapabcEtovkvrevvoev o Oe9s, ,eXXWv
TWv'Aba,uit aivrovi;See note 130.
209 Question
LIII: IHCs voiriov ro elpfl,evov 7rapa rov Oiov -rw
MWcrE "'Ibov 5E&OKA oe 09Pv 4apaC';" The Septuagint translates
O';1t4 in Ex. 7.1 Oc-s, God. The rabbis rendered O'mt4 here "a patron."
See Onkeles s. 1. (Cf. however Targum Jonathan s. 1. t4nn In, nwiw
,v"i' wniK41i'K
ynwi6 which seems to render o'1K here literally.) See
208

6Ov'S CKiaXetV

0',NiK
T
'-niM n my,-i
nivw
also Rashi s. 1. and Maimonides.
yny6
~ini W-iip Dvir. I, 205. See note 69.
/
210 Question
OUK EOTXEV b' -r
LXXIX:
AtaLT
a&y'yeXWv AWfl/7v
KOo/.L0yEVELa Mcoo-s; In rabbinic literature there is a controversy
on what day the angels were created. See Gen. r. 1.2 (ed. TheodorAlbeck, 5).
2II Question CII: T1 &qXo? rd E'ovb; The same question was put
before Anastasius. See note 198.
212
olPYfUpEV, OVK av-ro's
Question CCL: Et r 4Cs o Oeo's i
Ur aKoros

broqcr-ev

ivavrLa

ya&p TravrTa aXX'Xots;

See note

125.

Question CCLI: Ata-r -ra OqpLa Kat ra ep7reTa 7E700tfKEV O
co's; The rabbis emphasized the idea that even the seemingly useless
creatures like flies and wild animals are an essential part of the crea-7 i'9K
mnw
rn
tion of Man. See Ex. r. chp. 10: on iKt onlK
213

K in ...l in
DOm
214

D:ZJ.- D'Vin'l m'ly-11 O':int li:

'nl.

Question CCLV: Ttvas vtovis 6O3V K6KX-qKE MCOiOiS; See note

183.
215

rc

Question CCLVIII: IHxs
yvw'ao/at
9e&,, "Kar&r't

'A,Bpaa,u 7rto-ros ovo/AdLe-ratL flpKlKWs
. The
rovro orT KXflpOVO/LTa
Tv

HIWI AL-BALKHI-ROSENTHAL

89

(15) Why did an angel attack Jacob (Gen. 32.25)?2i6
(16) Why is it written that Jacob blessed his children
since he certainly cursed some of them (Gen. 49.28) ?2I7
(17) Why did an angel want to kill Moses (Ex. 4.24)?2.8
(18) Is it just to punish children for the sins of the
parents ?2I9
(19) Why did God prescribe building the Tabernacle for
Him (Ex. 24 ff.) ?220
(20) Why did Moses break the tablets (Ex. 32.13)?22I
Gnostics always pointed out the faults of the biblical heroes. Peter in
Clementine Homilies defends the just men of the Bible against the
accusations of the Gnostics. See Clementine Homilies, II, 52; Harnack,
Marcion, 92, 104-105. Cf. Marmorstein, loc. cit. 181. The rabbis tried
in various ways to exonerate Abraham from the sin of disbelief in God
in his asking proof of God that He will keep His promise. Some held
that Abraham committed a sin by asking this questions. See Ned.
32a: ilnpil tV lnlVin by t'l9l'
)9D 1VN iRlnWl ... 1:'1K wrJn4 way) ri
).o
,mWv'K'z ym4 ;v: 'm:. See also Gen. r. 44.6 and Rashi s. 1.
2I6 Question CCLIX:
TLvos E'VEKEV K7raXaLet -rc 'IlaKw3 o6 ayyEXos;
Cf. L. Ginzberg, "die Haggadah bei den Kirchenvatern, Genesis," 120.
217 Question CCLX:
HI4s evXoXyiqoat-rovs 7ra-Lbaso 'IaKWK4
Xry7E-at
Cvtots brapao-aievos; The rabbis dealt with this question. Their
opinion was that Jacob blessed at the conclusion of his blessing also
those of his sons (Simon and Levi) whom he had cursed at the beginn 'Kty'iK
ning. See Pesikta Rabbatir. 28a: olrnnmil o'wil n1 l:yw
CK
...
.64 ... oninvin nK mnnpi. See also Rashi on Gen. 49.28.
DZI11 Ctn K
218 Question
CCLXIII: Atarrt' r,3oovuX'O o a&yyeXos avWEXEtv-rov
Mcov,oiv; Cf. L. Ginzberg, "die Haggadah bei den Kirchenvatern, Exo-

dus," Livre d'hommagea la memoiredu Dr. SamuelPoznanski,Varsovie
1927, p. 204.
219 Question CCLXVI: H(Is
rO 5LKatovo?TeErat, TC?3V7rat&ov v'7rep
TWv7roripwv KoXatoThVcva;See note 193.
220 Question
CCLXVIII: T-v UK'qVqV -rt 57ro-re yevEoOaL 7rpoaOTcatev; All the Gnostics criticised the God of the 0. T. for His command to build Him a temple and to offer Him animal sacrifices. See
Clementine Homilies III, 45. The Septuagint and Josephus had difficulties in translating biwr nm in I Kings, 8.13 and II Chron. 6.1. See
Septuagint s. 1.; Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, 8.20.2. They emphasized that the Temple was built not as a dwelling for God but for
His name. The rabbis emphasized that animal sacrifices were commanded not for the benefit of God but for the benefit of Men. See
note 70.
221
Question CCLXIX: ta-rTL ras 7rXacKas ovPerpm/ev; See the

90

THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW

(21) How can we understand leprosy of clothes (Lev.
13.47 if.)?222
(22) Why did Moses command the heaven and the earth
to be witnesses (Deut. 32.1)?223
(23) Why was God so angry at Moses and Aaron when
they brought forth water from the rock (Num. 20.12-13)?224
(24) Why was Moses, because of a small transgression,
allowed to see the land only from a distance, and why was
he prohibited from leading the people into
(25) Why did David wear an ephod (II Sam. 6.14;
I Chr. 15.27)?226
(26) What did Adam do in paradise?227
(27) Is not the verse Gen. 1.2 a proof that the earth is
eternal, since it says: "And the earth was?"228
it?225

explanation of the rabbis why Moses broke the tables of the Law: See
Shab. 87a: rrim4 nisn a"-inn -nn Kl,iWnD9 rim nm4 w-n- 'o mniilm nK nw'S
.IDD1 -I= m4Ki
nnrvw Inz nw

0-:DInIn 1wKr
' UIto
ICnU 1zw t6K Kia
i-p ,-pn
4
ion WInmv
O-ri

1z
Im

-I-1 ln

. . .

222
Question CCLXX: Hc7s ev ,tartots Xeirpa rytve-ro;Leprosy of
clothes and of houses is considered by the rabbis as one of the weak
points of Jewish apologetics. See b. Yoma 67b: ownin iinvn mnipinnit
Cf. note 158.
nmul ... * 1vilwn
ynlin
iwnri.
jml y
223 Question
CCLXXIX: AtartL rov ovpav6v Kat T7v 7yjv bta,uap-

rvpeo-Oat 7rpooeTracXLO;
See the various reasons the rabbis gave why

Moses commanded the heavens and the earth to be witnesses. See
Sifre on Deut. r. 32.1: ? 306.
It
224 Question CCLXXVIII: T' 5ro
Kat -rc?
copytcrOqrx MWVovEZ
ro vibWpiK T-s wrrpas E ycayev;See note 195.
'Aapwv oeos, ItVLKa
225 Question
CCLXXXI: TI 57'ro-re bta cT/Kpav 7rX?7/./e.Xetav
Ncoio-i- 7roppweOvt'etv 7rpoTerTcXOt Tr)v yiIv, eTaoyayetv be' rv
Xadv (KWXl'Ofl;See note 195.
226 Question CCXCII: AtaTt o Acaqt5 ro &/ov
7reptcE3AXe-ro;
The
Septuagint translates -nrntin II Sam. 6.141andI Chron. 15.27 with oroXq'
(a garment) in distinction from the ephod of the High Priest in Ex.
chp. 28 which is translated rchrwAts.The rabbis explained David's
wearing a precious garment on the occasion of bringing in the ark as

respect for the ark. See Num. r. 4.21: l-:.- mzz: wm o0'D vz9.
227 Question
CCXCIV: TIt erpaTTev 'Aba,u cv 7rapabEIor; Cf.

Bible Difficulties, JQR (0. S.), XIII, 359.
228 Question CCXLIX: E' ,1v
'vVX yi,
r
'
yi- "v." Cf. Rashbam s. 1.: ini Irnnnn

ro; X-yet yap. " 'H
v ii zinz
n9 i n-,mti lpo

91

H.IWI AL-BALKHI-ROSENTHAL

(28) There was not yet a law commanding the honoring
of father and mother. Why then was Ham condemned as
a father-murderer (Gen. 9.25) ?229
(29) Why, when Ham committed a sin, was his son,
Canaan, cursed (Gen. 9.25) ?230
(30) Why was not Noah punished for his drunkenness?
Is not his drunkenness a proof that he was not a just
man (Gen. 9.21)?23I

'os btayopeveL
vo,uov /LA7rw Trevros
7ris 6 Xa,u cs 7rarpaXotas
KptveTrat; According to one of the rabbis the Naochide laws, the laws
which were incumbent upon every human being before the revelation
on Sinai included the prohibition of castration, the misdeed committed
by Ham on his father, Noah. See Sanh. 56b: niisn
yr w n-rvnIn- tw229

Question

Ttliav

T6v

CCLVI:

Tov

7rTarepa Ka' T-rv ,u'qrepa,

230 Question
rov Xa,u -rrTaK6roS,o CKELVOV
CCLVII: Tt 57'7rome
7ratsrip4Otq;See note 193. The same question was asked by the rabbis.
See Geit. r. 36.7: Y,pnn iD1l ton on; TanhumnaB. I, 49: nnto) 1y= nwi on.

Some of the rabbis stated that Canaan committed

his grandfather. See Pirke de R. Eliezer, 23:
KYM1 on MMD l'llKi

'

tw1 KY'1lol

In-Inn

the crime on

r)l... 1- I=

Ulm lVCpl 1'zt4K

-y

nt4nwi
UK1

-nv
Y3

r Ki I'= niyi. Philo tried to prove that Canaan
= rnz nivY in vyOv
took part in the crime of his father Ham. See Philo, de sobrietate, 32
Tras,
(Loeb Classical Library, III, 460): o be e4' ots e'rpos rlKfloE
o--rc This opinion
atrLas EXCsVKaL Trs pa&SKap7rol4LevosXavaav
is also shared by the rabbis. See Gen. r. Ioc.cit.; Tanhuma, loc. cit.
Cf. Ginzberg,Legendsof theJews, V, 191-192. Saadia reads in Gen. 9.25:
Cf. Ibn Ezra s. 1.
ly)z 'w4 iir.
231

Question CCXCVII:

KeraL ,1er02, Kat ov bt1wo-t

ALKaws be o Ni-e rvyyXav&v, bLaTa &aLcr5Kr'V; See note 215. The same charge

was made by Hiwi (Davidson, 52). According to, Marcion, Noah will
not be redeemed when Jesus will appear at the last judgment (Harnack,
Marcion, 117). The conduct of Noah was criticised in ancient times.
The Church Fathers tried to prove that Noah was not drunk. They

allegorized the passage Gen. 9.21. Cf. L. Diestel, Geschichtedes Alten
Testamentsin der christlichenKirche, 165. In rabbinic literature there
were different views concerning the piety of Noah. See Gen. r. 29.4
and 30.9, and Tanhuma B. I, 32. See also the Book of Jubilees 5.19.

Cf. L. Ginzberg, op. cit. I, 167, 168; V, 178 n. 28, 190.

92

THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW

(31) Where in the Scriptures do we find that Adam was
deceived by the devil
?232

(32) Why did God appear to Moses in a thornbush and
not in another plant (Ex. 3.2)
?233

(33) Why did God command David to count the people
(II Sam. 24.1)?234
(34) If God is the Creator of light, why does he hide
himself behind clouds?235
(35) Why did God allow David to sink so low (II Sam.
11) ?236

(36) Why does Isaiah leave the vision and turn to earth
and heaven
?237

232 Question
CCXCVIII: H6o0'evEtXT-r rTs rpaq5-s Xace-tv V'ro rov)
&acoqXovrov 'Aba,u d7rarcT7Oivat; See note 189.
MwCOOei
233 Question CCC: Atarl ev
& d3r KaL OVK eV 'Tepco 4mre -rC?
67r-rave-rato 9eos; The rabbis gave various reasons for the revelation
of God to Moses in a thorn bush. See Mechilta de-Rabbi Simon b.
Jochai, ed. D. Hoffmann, p. 1. Cf. Ex. r. 2.
Cf. I Chron. 21.1 where it is written that
234 Question CCCXIV:
Satan seduced David to count the people. According to the rabbis,
David's sin consisted not so much in taking the census as in doing it
"without making every man give a ransom for his soul," half a shekel as
prescribed by Moses. See Ex. 30.11. See Ber. 62b. Cf. Ginzberg,
op. cit. VI, 270. We find the same charge in the collection of "Bible
n Cpw
... .n
nKwcmi
Difficulties" JQR, XIII, 369: ... nww mn4
n-i,p
. by A. S.
U-ym iNL n mn NLln Nin OK. Cf. also the collection mi
CDu.
Wertheimer,p. 70: oyn rm;r 'n1iK '" inU -Ir[
23S Question 77 on p. 43 of volume 101 of Patrologia Graeca by Migne.
The same question was asked by Martan Faruk. See Shikand Gumanik
Vijar, XIII, 62-23.
236 Question CCCII: AtarTl Oea7rEULosAaLta
rapaX&,peTrat 7rEUELv
The rabbis tried to exonerate
ei-s a,aprtaV Kat rore rt7XtKavbrt7v;
David from the sin of adultery. They held that Bath Sheba was a
-nir nw nnnn,6 mxrl i:
divorced woman. See Shab. 56a: mn-niDo mniz
inwm&.Cf. notes 215, 231.
237 CLXIX:
Atarl, aiq4ets r7v dpatLv, 'HUaaas 7rEpt ovpaVOv KaL
,y's btaXat4faivet; It refers to Isa., 1. 1-2 and implies that ch. 6 of
Isaiah (the vision) is the continuation of the first verse of chp. 1. This
was already recognized by the rabbis. See Mekilta, Shirata 7: im wnlz
rn nt 'In Irrly 19vr mn1 =2
DopIr)I'm '' Itc :nn: Ur'1 - 00m ninn
; iinn -nirmi. See also Rashi s. 1.

HIWI AL-BALKHI-ROSENTHAL

93

(37) Why was the act of prophecy darkened by obscure
visions

?23

8

(38) Why are the Scriptures obscure?239
It is necessary to add that many of the questions raised
by the heretics concerning the interpretations of difficult
passages in the Old Testament can be understood only in
the light of the church's current exegesis.
The Zoroastrian, Zindik (Islamic heretic), and Manichaean (Christian heretic) attacks on the Old Testament and
on Judaism shed new light on Jewish heresy of the ninth
century and particularly on the biblical criticism of Hiwi
al-Balkhi. Nearly all the charges and Bible difficulties of
Hiwi al-Balkhi can be traced to Manichaean dualistic
origins and are found in the sources just quoted.
These sources also shed new light on the Jewish aporia
or Difficulties literature, which the Cairo Geniza has
brought to light. This branch of Jewish literature is
probably a result of the frequent disputations which took
place between Jews and Jewish and non-Jewish heretics.
From various places in the Diaspora, correspondents sent
questions to the Gaonim not only on halakic but also on
theological matters. The Gaonim stressed in their answers
that they were well versed in the Bible and they encouraged
the correspondents to communicate with them on all questions concerning the Bible.240 The correspondents had to
meet the challenge of the heretics and therefore to be armed
with necessary spiritual weapons.
The largest document of Jewish aporia literature which
the Geniza has brought to light, the "Oldest Collection of
Bible Difficulties," published by Schechter in the JQR, Vol.
238 Question

'
CCIV: Aia r'

rpo4377,rELa ro-s

rTs a4aeLaas

TpOirOS

oVVE8TKLLaTat;
239
240

Question CLII: Tt kvrtv 7 auaaeLa
See JQR (ns), IX, 150.

Trs

rpa4s; See note 89.

94

THE JEWISH QUARTERLY REVIEW

XIII, demands, therefore, new investigation. It must be
compared with the criticisms of the Bible raised by nonJewish heretics of that period, although the rabbinic origin
of that fragment is well established.241
The heretical attacks on the Old Testament quoted in
the preceding pages are a proof of the increasing challenge
to the Bible by its adversaries in the early Middle Ages,
and they bring to light a new background of Jewish heresy
in the ninth century, one which has not been sufficiently
emphasized until now.

24! An analytical
investigation of the questions contained in this
document by the present writer is due to appear in volume XXI of
HUCA.