APPENDIX: DO JEWS EMIT A PECULIAR ODOR?
I have treated the Jews in every important phase of the life of the world about them. I have traced them back to their origins as described (but how mistakenly understood!) by the author of Genesis. I have described them as workers, or rather as a race of fortune-hunters, people instinctively reluctant to submit themselves to the less glamorous labors of mankind. I have surveyed them, through dark unfriendly lenses, pursuing vain, greedy careers as lawyers, physicians, money-lenders, merchants, gangsters; as citizens of a country and of the world; as actors and theatrical managers; as conductors of brothels, licensed and unlicensed; as social climbers confusing and belittling all fine social standards; also as Zionists following a hastily dyed banner.
There is still another matter which I cannot allow to become a part of the regular body of my book. It is a matter on which I do not think I care to venture either an opinion or a guess. I refer to the peculiar bad odor which attaches to the name Jew. The word odor is here to be understood as physical, not moral. From time immemorial people have believed that, aside from religious considerations, there is in the flesh and the make up of the Jew a mysterious odorous canker that renders association with him uncomfortable in the extreme. Genesis records that the Egyptians shrank from physical contact with the Jews. The chronicles of other nations and other times, though not as eloquent, yield similar testimony.
What is the truth in all this? Unable to undertake the role of an impartial witness, I am here summoning the testimony of three men, each the greatest intellect and the most representative personality of his century: Sir Thomas Browne for the seventeenth century, Voltaire for the eighteenth, and Heinrich Heine for the nineteenth:
Sir Thomas Browne:
"That Jews stink naturally, that is, that in their race and nation there is an evil savour, is a received opinion we know not how to admit; although concede many questionable points, and dispute not the verity of sundry opinions which are of affinity hereto. We will acknowledge that certain odours attend on animals, no less than certain colors; that pleasant smells are not confined unto vegetables, but found in divers animals, and some more richly than in plants. And though the Problem of Aristotle inquire why no animal smells sweet beside the Parde? yet later discoveries add divers sorts of Monkeys, the Civet Cat, and Gazela, from which our Musk proceedeth. We confess that beside the smell of the species, there may be individual odours, and every Man may have a proper and peculiar savour; which although not perceptible unto Man, who hath this sense, but weak, yet sensible unto Dogs, who hereby can single out their masters in the dark. We will not deny that particular Men have sent forth a pleasant savour, as Theophrastus and Plutarch report of Alexander the great, and Tzetzes and Cardan do testify of themselves. That some may also emit an unsavory odour, we have no reason to deny; for this may happen from the quality of what they have taken; the factor whereof may discover itself by sweat and urine as being unmasterable by the natural heat of Man, not to be dulcified by concoction beyond an unsavory condition: the like may come to pass from putrid humours, as is often discoverable in putrid and malignant feavors. And sometime also in gross and humid bodies even in the latitude of sanity; the natural heat of the parts being insufficient for a perfect and thorough digestion, and the errors of one concoction not rectifiable by another. But that an unsavory odour is gentilitious or national unto the Jews, if rightly understood, we cannot well concede; nor will the information of reason or fence induce it.
"For first, Upon consult of reason, there will be found no easie assurance to fasten a material or temperamental propriety upon any nation; there being scarce any condition (but what depends upon clime) which is not exhausted or obscured from the commixture of introvenient nations either by commerce or conquest; much more will it be difficult to make out this affection in the Jews; whose race however pretended to be pure, must needs have suffered inseparable commixtures with nations of all sorts; not only in regard of their proselytes, but their universal dispersion; some being posted from several parts of the earth, others quite lost, and swallowed up in those nations where they planted. For the tribes of Reuben, Gad, part of Manasses and Naphthali, which were taken by Assur, and the rest at the Sacking of Samaria, which were led away by Salmanasser into Assyria, and after a year and a half arrived at Arsereth, as is delivered in Esdras; these I say never returned, and are by the Jews as vainly expected as their Messias. Of those of the tribe of Judah and Benjamin, which were led captive into Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar, many returned under Zorobabel; the rest remained, and from thence long after upon invasion of the Saracens, fled as far as India; where yet they are said to remain, but with little difference from the Gentiles.
"The Tribes that returned to Judea, were afterward widely dispersed; for beside sixteen thousand which Titus sent to Rome unto the triumph of his father Vespasian, he sold no less than an hundred thousand for slaves. Not many years after, Adrian the Emperour, who ruined the whole Countrey, transplanted many thousands into Spain, from whence they dispersed into divers Countreys, as into France and England, but were banished after from both. From Spain they dispersed into Africa, Italy, Constantinople, and the Dominions of the Turk, where they remain as yet in very great numbers. And if (according to good relations) where they may freely speak it, they forbear not to boast that there are at present many thousand Jews in Spane, France, and England, and some dispensed withall even to the degree of Priesthood; it is a matter very considerable, and could they be smelled out, would much advantage, not only the Church of Christ, but also the coffers of Princes.
"Now having thus lived in several Countries, and alwaies, in subjection, they must needs have suffered many commixtures; and we are sure they are not exempted from the common contagion of Venery contracted first from Christians. Nor as fornications unfrequent between them both; there commonly passing opinions of invitement, that their Women desire copulation with them rather then their own Nation, and affect Christian carnality above circumcised venery. It being therefore acknowledged, that some are lost, evident that others are mixed, and not sure that any are distinct, it will be hard to establish this quality upon the Jews, unless we also transfer the same unto those whose generations are mixed, whose genealogies are Jewish, and naturally derived from them.
"Again, if we concede a National unsavouriness in any people, yet shall we find the Jews less subject hereto than any, and that in those regards which most powerfully concur to such effects, that is, their diet and generation. As for their diet whether in obedience unto the precepts of reason, or the injunctions of parsimony, therein they are very temperate; seldom offending in ebriety or excess of drink, nor erring in gulosity or superfluity of meats; whereby they prevent indigestion and crudities, and consequently putrescence of humors. They have in abomination all flesh maimed, or the inwards any way vitiated; and therefore eat no meat but of their own killing. They observe not only fasts at certain times, but are restrained unto very few dishes at all times; so few that whereas St. Peters sheet will hardly cover our Tables, their Law doth scarce permit them to set forth a Lordly feast; nor any way to answer the luxury of our times, or those of our forefathers. For of flesh their Law restrains them many sorts, and such that compleat our feasts: That Animal, Propter conviva natum, they touch not, nor any of its preparations, or parts so much in respect at Roman Tables, nor admit they unto their board, Hares, Conies, Herons, Plovers or Swans. Of Fishes they only taste of such as have both fins and scales; which are comparatively few in numbers, such only, saith Aristotle, whose Egg or spawn is arenaceous; whereby are excluded all cretaceous and cartilaginous Fishes; many pectineal, whose ribs are rectilineal; many costal, which have their ribs embowed; all spinal, or such as have no ribs, but only a backbone, or somewhat analagous thereto, as Eels, Congers, Lampries; all that are testaceous, as Oysters, Cocles, Wilks, Scollops, Muscles; and likewise all crustaceous, as Crabs, Shrimps and Lobsters. So that observing a spare and simple diet, whereby they prevent the generation of crudities; and fasting often whereby they might also digest them; they must be less inclinable unto this infirmity then any other Nation, whose proceedings are not so reasonable to avoid it.
"As for their generations and conceptions (which are the purer from good diet), they become more pure and perfect by the strict observation of their Law; upon their injunctions whereof, they severely observe the times of Purification, and avoid all copulation, either in the uncleanness of themselves or impurity of their Women. A Rule, I fear, not so well observed by Christians; whereby not only conceptions are prevented, but if they proceed, so vitiated and defiled, that durable inquinations remain upon the birth. Which, when the conception meets with these impurities, must needs be very potent; since in the purest and most fair conceptions, learned men derive the cause of Pox and Meazels, from principals of that nature; that is, the menstruous impurities in the mother's blood, and virulent tinctures contracted by the Infant, in the nutriment of the womb.
"Lastly, Experience will convict it; for this offensive odor is no way discoverable in their Synagogues where many are, and by reason of their number could not be concealed: nor is the same discernable in commerce or conversation with such as are cleanly in Apparel, and decent in their Houses. Surely the Vilziars and Turkish Basha's are not of this opinion; who as Sir Henry Blunt informeth, do generally keep a Jew of their private Counsel. And were this true, the Jews themselves do not strictly make out the intention of their Law, for in vain do they scruple to approach the dead, who livingly are cadaverous, or fear any outward pollution, whose temper pollutes themselves. And lastly, were this true, yet our opinion is not impartial; for unto converted Jews who are of the same seed, no Man imputeth this unsavoury odor; as though Aromatized by their conversion, they lost their scent with their religion, and smelt no longer then they savoured of the Jew.
"Now the ground that begat or propogated this assertion, might be the distasteful adverseness of the Christian from the Jew, upon the villainy of that fact, which made them abominable and stink in the nostrils of all Men. Which real practise and metaphorical expression, did after proceed into a literal construction; but was a fraudulent illation; for such an evil savour their father Jacob acknowledged in himself, when he said, his sons had made him stink in the land, that is, to be abominable unto the inhabitants thereof. Now how dangerous it is in sensible things to use metaphorical expressions unto the people, and what absurd conceits they will swallow in their literals; an impatient example we have in our profession; who having called an eaten ulcer by the name of a Wolf, common apprehensive conceives a reality therein; and against ourselves ocular affirmations are pretended to confirm it.
"The nastiness of that Nation, and sluttish course of life hath much promoted the opinion, occasioned by their servile condition at first, and inferiour ways of parsimony ever since; as is delivered by Mr. Sandys. They are generally fat, saith he, and rank of the savours which attend upon sluttish corpulency. The Epithetes assigned them by ancient times, have also advanced the same; for Ammianus Marcellinus describeth them in such language; and Martial more ancient, in such a relative expression sets fourth unsavoury Bassa.
Quod jejunia Sabbatoriorum.
Mallem, quam quod oles, olere Bassa.
"From whence notwithstanding we cannot infer an inward imperfection in the temper of that Nation; it being but an effect in the breath from the outward observation, in their strict and tedious fasting; and was a common effect in the breaths of other Nations, became a Proverb among the Greeks, and the reason thereof begot a Problem in Aristotle.
"Lastly, if all were true, and were this savour conceded, yet are the reasons alleadged for it no way satisfactory. Huckerius, and after him Alsarius Crucius, imputes this effect unto their abstinence from salt or salt meats; which how to make good in the present diet of the Jews, we know not; nor shall we conceive it was observed of old, if we consider they seasoned every Sacrifice, and all oblations whatsoever; whereof we cannot deny a great part was eaten by the Priests. And if the offering were of flesh, it was salted no less than thrice, that is, once in the common chamber of salt, at the foot-step of the Altar, and upon the top thereof, as is at large delivered by Maimonides. Nor if they refrained all salt, is the illation very urgent; for many there are, not noted for ill odours, which eat no salt at all; as all carnivorous Animals, most Children, many whole Nations, and probably our Fathers after Creation; there being indeed in every thing we eat, a natural and concealed salt, which is separated by digestion, as doth appear in our tears, sweat and urines, although we refrain all salt, or what doth seem to contain it.
"Another cause is urged by Compegius, and much received by Christians; that this ill savour is a curse derived upon them by Christ, and stands as a badge or a brand of a generation that crucified their Salvator. But this is a conceit without all warrant; and an easie way to take off dispute in what point of obscurity soever. A method of many Writers, which much depreciates the esteem and value of miracles; that is, therewith to salve not only real verities, but also non-existencies. Thus have elder times not only ascribed the immunity of Ireland from any venomous beast, unto the staff or rod of Patrick; but the long tails of Kent, unto the malediction of Austin.
"Thus therefore, although we concede that many opinions are true which hold some conformity to this, yet in assenting hereto, many difficulties must arise: it being a dangerous point to annex a constant property unto any Nation, and much more this unto the Jew; since this quality is not verifiable by observation, since the grounds are feeble that should establish it; and lastly, since if all were true, yet are the reasons alleadged for it, of no sufficiency to maintain it."
Marie Francois Auret de Voltaire: (Dictionnaire Philosophique)
"You order me to draw you a faithful picture of the spirit of the Jews, and of their history, and – without entering into the ineffable ways of Providence, which are not our ways – you seek in the manners of this people the source of the events which that Providence prepared.
"It is certain that the Jewish nation is the most singular that the world has ever seen; and although, in a political view, the most contemptible of all, yet in the eyes of a philosopher, it is, on various accounts, worthy of consideration.
"The Guebers, the Banins, and the Jews, are the only nations which exist dispersed, having no alliance with any people, are perpetuated among foreign nations, and continue apart from the rest of the world.
"The Guebers were once infinitely more considerable than the Jews, for they are castes of the Persians, who had the Jews under their dominion; but they are now scattered over but one part of the East.
"The Banians, who are descended from the ancient people among whom Pythagoras acquired his philosophy, exists only in India and Persia; but the Jews are dispersed over the whole face of the earth, and if they are assembled, would compose a nation much more numerous than it ever was in the short time that they were masters of Palestine. Almost every people who have written the history of their origin, have chosen to set it off by prodigies; with them all has been miracle; their oracles have predicted nothing but conquest; and such of them as have really become conquerors have had no difficulty in believing these ancient oracles which were verified by the event. The Jews are distinguished among the nations by this – that their oracles are the only true ones, of which we are not permitted to doubt. These oracles, which they understand only in the literal sense, have a hundred times foretold to them that they should be masters of the world; yet they have never possessed anything more than a small corner of land, and that only for a small number of years, and they have not now so much as a village of their own. They must, then, believe, and they do believe, that their predictions will one day be fulfilled, and that they shall have the empire of the earth.
"Among the Mussulmans and the Christians they are the lowest of all nations, but they think themselves the highest. This pride in their abasement is justified by an unanswerable reason – viz., that they are in reality the fathers of both Christians and Mussulmans. The Christian and the Mussulman religions acknowledged the Jewish as their parent; and, hold this parent in reverence and in abhorrence.
"It were foreign to our present purpose to repeat that continued succession of prodigies, which astonishes the imagination and exercises the faith. We have here to do only with events purely historical, wholly apart from the divine concurrence and the miracles which God, for so long a time, vouchsafed to work in this people's favor.
"First, we find in Egypt, a family of seventy persons producing, at the end of two hundred and fifteen years, a nation counting six hundred thousand fighting men; which makes, with the women, the children and the old men, upward of two millions of souls. There is no example upon earth of so prodigious an increase of population; this people, having come out of Egypt, stayed forty years in the deserts of Stony Arabia, and in that frightful country the people much diminished.
"What remained of this nation advanced a little northward in those deserts. It appears that they had the same principles which the tribes of Stony and Desert Arabia have since had, of butchering without mercy the inhabitants of little towns over whom they had the advantage, and reserving only the young women. The interests of population have ever been the principal object of both. We find that when the Arabs had conquered Spain, they imposed tributes of marriageable girls; and at this day the Arabs of the desert make no treaty without stipulating for some girls and a few presents.
"The learned have agitated the question whether the Jews, like so many other nations, really sacrificed men to the Divinity. This is a dispute on words; those whom the people consecrated to the anathema were not put to death on an altar, with religious rites; but they were not the less immolated, without its being permitted to pardon any one of them.
Leviticus (xxxvii., 29) expressly forbids the redeeming of those who shall have been devoted. Its words are, "They shall surely be put to death." By virtue of this law it was that Jephthah devoted and killed his daughter, that Saul would have killed his son, and that the prophet Samuel cut in pieces Ding Agag, Saul's prisoner. It is quite certain that God is the master of the lives of men, and that it is not for us to examine His laws. We ought to limit ourselves to believing these things and reverencing in silence the designs of God, who permitted them.
"It is also asked what right had strangers like the Jews to the land of Canaan? The answer is, that they had what God gave them.
"No sooner had they taken Jericho and Lais than they had a civil war among themselves, in which the tribes of Benjamin was almost wholly exterminated – men, women, and children; leaving only six hundred males. The people, unwilling that one of the tribes should be annihilated, bethought themselves of sacking the whole city of the tribe of Manasseh, killing all the men, old and young, all the children, all the married women, all the widows, and taking six hundred virgins, whom they gave to the six hundred survivors of the tribe of Benjamin, to restore that tribe, in order that the number of their twelve tribes might still be complete.
"Meanwhile, the Phoenicians, a powerful people, settled in the coasts from time immemorial, being alarmed at the depredations and cruelties of these newcomers, frequently chastised them; the neighboring princes united against them; and they were seven times reduced to slavery, for more than two hundred years.
"At last they made themselves a king, whom they elected by lot. This king could not be very mighty, for in the first battle which the Jews fought under him, against their masters, the Philistines, they had, in the whole army, but one sword and one lance, and not one weapon of steel. But David, their second king, made war with advantage. He took the city of salem, afterwards so celebrated under the name of Jerusalem, and then the Jews began to make some figure on the borders of Syria. Their government and their religion took a more august form. Hitherto they had not means of rising a temple, though every neighboring nation had one or more. Solomon built a superb one, and reigned over this people about forty years.
"Not only were the days of Solomon the most flourishing days of the Jews, but all the kings upon earth could not exhibit a treasure of approaching Solomon's. His father, David, whose predecessor had not even iron, left to Solomon twenty-five thousand six hundred and forty-eight millions of French livres in ready money. His fleets, which went to Ophir, brought him sixty-eight millions per annum in pure gold, without reckoning the silver and jewels. He had forty thousand stables, and the same number of coach-houses, twenty thousand stables for his cavalry, seven hundred wives, and three hundred concubines. Yet he had neither wood nor workmen for building his palace and the temple; he borrowed them of Hiram, King of Tyre, who also furnished gold; and Solomon gave Hiram twenty towns in payment. The commentators have acknowledged that these things need explanation, and have suspected some literal error in the copyist, who alone can have been mistaken.
"On the death of Solomon, a division took place among the twelve tribes composing the nation. The kingdom was torn asunder, and separated into two small provinces, one of which was called Judah, the other Israel – nine tribes and a half composing the Israelitish province, and only two and a half that of Judah. Then there was between these two small peoples a hatred, the more implacable as they were kinsman and neighbors, and as they had different religions; for at Sichem and at Samaria they worshipped "Baal" – giving to God a Sidonian name; while at Jerusalem, they worshipped "Adonai." At Sichem were consecrated two calves; at Jerusalem, two cherubim – which were two winged animals with double heads, placed in the sanctuary. So, each faction having its kings, its gods, its worship, and its prophets, they made a bloody war upon each other.
"While this war was carried on, the kings of Assyria, who conquered the greater part of Asia, fell upon the Jews; as an eagle pounces upon two lizards while they are fighting. The nine and a half tribes of Samaria and Siches were carried off and dispersed forever; nor has it been precisely known to what places they were led into slavery.
"It is but twenty leagues from the town of Samaria to Jerusalem, and their territories joined each other; so that when one of these towns was enslaved by powerful conquerors, the other could not long hold out. Jerusalem was sacked several times; it was tributary to kings Hazael and Razin, enslaved under Tiglah-Pilser, three times taken by Nebuchodonosor, or Nebuchadnezzar, and at last destroyed. Zedekiah, who had been set up as king or governor by this conqueror, was led, with his whole people, into captivity in Babylonia; so that the only Jews left in Palestine were a few enslaved peasants, to sow the ground.
"As for the little country of Samaria and Sichem, more fertile than that of Jerusalem, it was re-peopled by foreign colonies, sent there by Assyrian kings, who took the name of Samaritans.
"The two and a half tribes that were slaves in Babylonia and the neighboring towns for seventy years, had time to adopt the usages of their masters, and enriched their own tongue by mixing with it the Chaldaean; this is incontestable. The historian Josephus tells us that he wrote first in Chaldaean, which is the language of his country. It appears that the Jews acquired but little of the science of the Magi; they turned brokers, money-changers, and old-clothes men; by which they made themselves necessary, as they still do, and grew rich.
"Their gains enabled them to obtain, under Cyrus, the liberty of rebuilding Jerusalem; but when they were to return into their own country, and those who had grown rich at Babylon, would not quit so fine a country for the mountains of Corlesyria, nor the fruitful banks of Euphrates and the Tigris, for the torrent of Kedron. Only the meanest part of the nation returned with Zerobabel. The Jews of Babylon contributed only their alms to the rebuilding of the city and the temple; nor was the collection a large one; for Esdras relates that no more than seventy thousand crowns could be raised for the erection of this temple, which was to be that of all the earth.
"The Jews still remained subject to Alexander; and when that great man, the excusable of all conquerors, had, in the early years of his victorious career, began to raise Alexandria, and make it the centre of the commerce of the world, the Jews flocked there to exercise their trade of brokers; and there it was that their rabbis at length learned something of the sciences of the Greeks. The Greek tongue became absolutely necessary to all trading Jews.
"After Alexander's death, this people continued subject in Jerusalem to the kings of Syria, and in Alexandria to kings of Egypt; and when these kings were at war, this people always shared the fate of their subjects, and belonged to the conqueror.
"From the time of their captivity at Babylon the Jew never had particular governors taking the title of king. The pontiffs had the internal administration, and these pontiffs were appointed by their masters; they sometimes paid very high for this dignity, as the Greek patriarch at Constantinople pays for his at present.
"Under Antiochus Epiphanes they revolted; the city was once more pillaged, and the walls demolished. After a succession of similar disasters, they at length obtained for the first time, about a hundred and fifty years before the Christian era, permission to coin money, which permission was granted them by Antiochus Sidetes. They then had chiefs, who took the name of kings, and ever wore a diadem. Antigonus was the first who was decorated with this ornament, which without the power, confers but little honor.
"At that time the Romans were beginning to become formidable to the kings of Syria, masters of the Jews; and the latter gained over the Roman senate by presents and acts of submission. It seemed that the wars in Asia Minor would, for a time at least, give some relief to this unfortunate people; but Jerusalem no sooner enjoyed some shadow of liberty than it was torn by civil wars, which rendered its condition under its phantoms of kings much more pitiable than it had ever been in so long and various a succession of bondages.
"In their interline troubles, they made the Romans their judges. Already most of the kingdoms of Asia Minor, Southern Africa, and three-fourths of Europe, acknowledged the Romans as their arbiters and masters. "Pompey came into Syria to judge the nation and to depose several petty tyrants. Being deceived by Aristobulus, who disputed the royalty of Jerusalem, he avenged himself upon him and his party. He took the city; had some of the seditious, either priests or Pharisees, crucified; and not long after, condemned Aristobulus, King of the Jews, to execution.
"The Jews, ever unfortunate, ever enslaved, and ever revolting, again brought upon them the Roman arms. Crassus and Cassius punished them; and Metellus Scipio had a son of King Aristobulus, named Alexander, the author of all the troubles, crucified.
"Under the great Caesar, they were entirely subject and peaceable. Herod, famed among them and among us, for a long time was merely tetrach, but obtained from Antony the crown of Judaea, for which he paid dearly; but Jerusalem would not recognize this new king, because he was descended from Esau, and not from Jacob, and was merely an Idumaean. The very circumstance of his being a foreigner caused him to be chosen by the Romans, the better to keep this people in check. The Romans protected the king of their nomination with an army; and Jerusalem was again taken by assault, sacked, and pillaged.
"Herod, afterwards protected by Augustus, became one of the most powerful sovereigns among the petty kings of Arabia. He restored Jerusalem, repaired the fortifications that surrounded the temple, so dear to the Jews, and rebuilt the temple, itself; but he could not finish it, for he wanted money and workmen. This proves that, after all, Herod was not rich; and the Jews, though fond of their temple, were still fonder of their money.
"The name of king was nothing more than a favor granted by the Romans; it was not a title of succession. Soon after Herod's death, Judaea was governed as a subordinate Roman, by the pro-consul of Syria, although from time to time the title of king was granted, sometime to one jew sometimes to another, for a considerable sum of money, as under the emperor Claudius, when it was granted to the Jew Agrippa.
"A daughter of Agrippa was that Berenice, celebrated for having. been beloved by one of the best emperors Rome can boast. She it was who, by the injustice she experienced from her countrymen, drew down the vengeance of the Romans upon Jerusalem. She asked for justice, and the factions of the town refused it. The seditious spirit of the people impelled them to fresh excesses. Their character at all times was to be cruel; and their fate, to be punished.
"This memorable siege, which ended in the destruction of the city, was carried on by Vespasian and Titus. The exaggerating Josephus pretends that in this short war, more than a million of Jews were slaughtered. It is not to be wondered at that an author who puts fifteen thousand men in each village should slay a million. What remained were exposed in the public markets; and each Jew was sold at about the same price as the unclean animal of which they dare not eat.
"In this last dispersion they again hoped for a deliverer; and under Adrian, whom they curse in their prayers, there arose one Baroxhebas, who called himself a second Moses – a Shiloh – a Christ. Having assembled many of these wretched people under his banners, which they believed to be sacred, he perished with all his followers. It was the last struggle of this nation, which has never lifted its head again. Its constant opinion, that barrenness is a reproach, has preserved it; the Jews have ever considered as their two first duties, to get money and children.
"From this short summary it results that the Hebrews have ever been vagrants, or robbers, or slaves, or seditious. They are still vagabonds upon the earth, and abhorred by men, yet affirming that heaven and earth and all mankind were created for them alone.
"It is evident, from the situation of Judaea, and the genius of this people, that they could not but be continually subjugated. It was surrounded by powerful and warlike nations, for which it had an aversion; so that it could neither be in alliance with them, nor protected by them. It is impossible for it to maintain itself by its marine; for it soon lost the port which in Solomon's time it had on the Red Sea; and Solomon himself always employed Tyrians to build and to steer his vessels, as well as to erect his place and his temple. It is then manifest that the Hebrews had neither trade nor manufactures, and that they could not compose a flourishing people. They never had an army always ready for the field, like the Assyrians, the Medes, the Persians, the Syrians, and the Romans. The laborers and artisans took up arms only as occasion required, and consequently could not form well-disciplined troops. Their mountains, or rather their rocks, are neither high enough, not sufficiently contiguous, to have afforded an effectual barrier against invasion. The most numerous part of the nation, transported to Babylon. Persia, and to India, or settled in Alexandria, were too much occupied with their traffic and their brokerage to think of war. Their civil government, sometimes republican, sometimes pontifical, sometimes monarchial, and very often reduced to anarchy, seems to have been no better than their military discipline.
"You ask, what was the philosophy of the Hebrews? The answer will be a very short one – they had none. Their legislator himself does not anywhere speak expressly of the immorality of the soul, nor of the rewards of another life. Josephus and Philo believe the soul to be material; their doctors admitted corporeal angels; and when they, sojourned at Babylon, they gave to these angels the names given them by the Chaldeans – Michael, Gabriel, Raphael, Uriel. The name of Satan is Babylonian, and is in somewise the Arimanes of Zoroaster. The dogma of the immortality of the soul was developed only in the course of ages, and among the Pharisees. The Sadducees always denied this spirituality, this immortality, and the existence of the angels. Nevertheless, the Sadducees communicated uninterruptedly with the Pharisees, and had even sovereign pontiffs of their own sect. The prodigious difference in opinion between these two great bodies did not cause any disturbance. The Jews, in the latter times of their sojourn at Jerusalem, were scrupulously attached to nothing but the ceremonials of their law. The man who had eaten pudding or rabbit would have been stoned; while he who denied the immortality of the soul might be high-priest.
"It is commonly said that the abhorrence in which the Jews held other nations proceeded from their horror of idolatry; but it is much more likely that the manner in which they at the first exterminated some of the tribes of Canaan, and the hatred which the neighboring nations conceived for them, were the cause of this invincible aversion. As they knew no nations but their neighbors, they thought that in abhorring them they detested the whole earth, and thus accustomed themselves to be the enemies of all men.
"One proof that this hatred was not caused by the idolatry of the nations is that we find in the history of the Jews that they were very often idolaters. Solomon himself sacrificed to strange gods. After him, we find scarcely any king in the little province of Judah that does not permit the worship of these gods and offer them incense.
The province of Israel kept its two calves and its sacred groves, or adored other divinities.
"This idolatry, with which so many nations are reproached, is a subject on which but little light has been thrown. Perhaps it would not be difficult to efface this stain upon the theology of the ancients. All polished nations had the knowledge of a supreme God, the master of the inferior gods and of men. The Egyptians themselves recognized a first principle, which they called Knef, and to which all beside was subordinate. The ancient Persians adored the good principle, Orosmanes; and were very far from sacrificing to the bad principle, Arimanes, whom they regarded nearly as we regard the devil. Even to this day, the Fuebers have retained the sacred dogma of the unity of God. The ancient Brahmins acknowledged only one Supreme Being; the Chinese associated no inferior being with the Divinity, nor had any idol until the times when the populace were led astray by the worship of Fo, and the superstitions of the honzes. The Greeks and the Romans, notwithstanding the multitude of their gods, acknowledge in Jupiter the absolute sovereign of heaven and earth. Homer, himself in the most absurd poetical fictions, has never lost sight of this truth. He constantly represents Jupiter as the only Almighty, sending good and evil upon earth, and with a motion of his brow, striking gods and men with awe. Altars were raised, and sacrifices offered to inferior gods, dependent on the one supreme. There is not a single monument of antiquity in which the title of sovereign of heaven is given to any secondary deity – to Mercury, to Apollo, to Mars. The thunderbolt was ever the attribute of the master of all, and of him only.
"The idea of a sovereign being, of his providence, of his eternal decrees, is to be found among all philosophers and all poets. In short, it is perhaps as unjust to think that the ancients equalled the heroes, the genii, the inferior gods, to him whom they called the father and master of the gods, as it would be ridiculous to imagine that we associate with God the blesses and the angels.
"You then ask whether the ancient philosophers and law-givers borrowed from the Jews, or the Jews from them? We must refer the question to Philo; he owns that before the translation of the Septuagint the books of his nation were unknown to strangers. So great people cannot have received their laws and their knowledge from a little people, obscure and enslaved. In the time of Osis, indeed, the Jews had no books; in his reign was accidentally found the only copy of law then in existence. This people, after their captivity at Babylon, had no other alphabet than the Chaldaean; they were not famed for any art, any manufacture whatsoever; and even in the time of Solomon they were obliged to pay dear for foreign artisans. To say that the Egyptians, the Persians, the Greeks, were instructed by the Jews, were to say that the Romans learned the arts from the people of Brittany. The Jews never were natural philosophers, nor geometricians, nor astronomers. So far were they from having public schools for the instruction of youth, that they had not even a term in their language to express such an institution.
The people of Peru and Mexico measured their year much better than the Jews. Their stay in Babylon and in Alexandria, during which individuals might instruct themselves formed the people to no art save that of usury. They never knew how to stamp money; and when Antiochus Sidetes permitted them to have a coinage of their own, they were almost incapable of profiting by this permission for four or five years. Indeed, this coin is said to have been struck at Samaria. Hence, it is, that Jewish medals are so rare, and nearly all false. In short, we find in them only an ignorant and barbarous people, who have long united the most sordid avarice with the most detestable superstition and the most invincible hatred for every people by whom they are tolerated and enriched. Still, we ought not to burn them.
From Voltaire to Heinrich Heine is a long step only in time. The natures of the men were very similar, in spite of the difference between the two worlds into which they were both injected. Heine began as a Jew, the career which was to make him the pre-eminent man of letters of his century. He began on the lowest rung of the ladder: I feel safe in letting the case rest where he leaves it in his famous ballad entitled Disputation. To make it readable in English, I have had to take some important liberties, both of rhyme and rhythm:
In the aula at Toledo
all the trumpeters are blowing.
From the city to the tourney
merrily the mass is flowing.
This is not to be a combat
wherein steel on steel advances.
Finely edged and deft scholastic
words will be the only lances.
Gallant Paladins whose thoughts are
only for the sex that fires
have surrendered the arena
to the rabbis and the friars.
For the iron helmets wherein
All high matters are disputed
scapula and arbei-confuss
this day will be substituted.
Which God is the true and only
God? The one whose brawny story
Rabbi Judah of Navarre says
is the fabric of man's glory?
Or the Christian God the Friar
Jose the Franciscan swears is
Father, Holy Ghost and Saviour
as the crucifix he wears is?
Out of a profound conviction
backed by logic learned at college
and quotations from authorities
one cannot but acknowledge,
They will argue out the matter;
each will set a little faster
the procession of the facts that
will decide which God is master.
They have both agreed beforehand
that, no matter how contrary,
he who loses shall embrace the
godhead of his adversary.
For the Jew, should he be vanquished,
baptism is the grim provision.
And the Christian, if he lose, must
undergo a circumcision.
Each one had eleven followers,
brave as only champions could be,
pledged to share his fate no matter
what the outcome of it would be.
So that while the Friar's backers
with unflinching faith and steady
hold the sacred water vessels
for a lively Christening ready,
swinging sprinkling brooms and censers
wherefrom incense smoke is rising,
briskly do the rabbi's followers
whet their knives for circumcising.
In the hall, prepared for battle,
rest, relentless, both the forces,
and the crowd awaits the signal,
eager for the brave discourses.
Underneath the golden canopy,
with their courtiers gathered round them,
beam the king and queen. The queen is
such a child, it does confound them.
Pert French nose, small chin, and tiny
white teeth roguishly, beguiling:
bright, bewitching are the rubies
of her mouth when she is smiling.
What a change is this from Paris!
What a horror to befall her!
Known at home as Blanche de Bourbon,
Donna Blanca here they call her!
And the king's name is Don Pedro,
with the nickname of The Cruel.
But this day he looks a little
less the brute and more the fool.
If the smile he gives the friars
to the Jews is no less sunny,
it's because they lead his troops and,
more important, lend him money.
Now the sound of drum and trumpet
blare the signal. Soon the battle
of religions is to break out,
and the wordy sabres rattle.
The Franciscan friar opened
with a burst of sacred passion,
and his voice now harsh, now growling,
crowed up in a curious fashion:
"In the name of God the Father
and the Son and Ghost," he cried out,
"Let me first make sure that every
Devilish sprite in you has died out."
(He had learnt that in such combats
little devils oft have hidden
In the insides of the Jews, and
prompted them when they were chidden.)
Having thus yanked out the devil
with his loudest exorcism,
the Franciscan flared with dogmas
quoted from the catechism.
Firstly, he explained, the godhead,
wherein three are comprehended,
may be one God, when convenient,
or the three in one God blended.
Then he told how in a stable,
with its beasts of burden laden,
God was born, and how his mother
bore Him yet remained a maiden.
How they recognized His presence
in the Bethlehem stable manger,
with a calf and heifer lowing
meekly round the lighted stranger.
How the Saviour, now grown older,
from king Herod's minions flying,
went to Egypt and, still later,
bowed to Pilate, still defying,
and was crucified. How Pilate
really wanted to release him,
but the cursed Jew cried only
crucifixion would appease him.
How the Lord, albeit buried
in a dark and bowldered prison,
on the third day into heaven
had in princely triumph risen.
And when as the proper time comes
he'll return to earth in splendor
at Jerosophat to judge them,
every jewborn proud offendor.
"Tremble Jews!" the friar thundered.
"It is he whom you tormented
cruelly, with thorns and scourges,
and your lying unrepented!
"It is plain that the vindictive,
foul and conscienceless behaviour
that resulted in the murder
of our precious one the Saviour,
"still is strong in you, O demons,
spewed out by the lower regions;
that your bodies are the barracks
of the Devil's scary legions.
"Is not this the grave opinion
of Aquinas famed in story
as the Mighty Ox of Learning
by the monks of pious glory?
"O, you Jews! you are hyenas,
wolves and jackals foul and hateful,
graveyard prowlers who think only
those who lick the great are grateful.
"Not content with being monkeys,
gallows-birds and bate perfidious,
you must emulate the mud-born
crocodile and vampire hideous.
"You are owls and you are ravens,
rattlesnakes, disgusting adders,
cockatrices, screech-owls, Christ will
trample out like empty bladders.
"Toads and blindworms vipers! must you
really burn? Or would you rather
save your souls? Then flee the rabbi
to the bosom of the Father.
"Seek the church of love, the bright one,
where the well of mercy bubbles.
Bow your head into the hallowed
basin and wash off your troubles.
"Wash away the ancient adam
and the vices that efface it.
From your heart the stain of rancor
wash, that God's love might replace it.
"You can surely hear the Saviour.
And how well your new names suit you!
On his bosom shed the cohens
and the levys that pollute you.
"For our God is love incarnate,
like a little lamb that's cherished.
To atone your sins he let you
nail him on the cross, and perished.
"Therefore we are mild and human,
slow to get into a passion,
fond of peace and charitable,
in the Saviour's gentle fashion.
"And hereafter up in heaven,
into seraphim converted,
we shall wander, blest forever,
lilies in our hands inserted.
"We shall walk in spotless raiment
(Not the stupid grey we're wearing!)
Made of silk, brocade and muslin,
Ribbons brightening to daring.
"On our tonsures golden tresses
where the bald spots now distress them!
Charming virgins deft of finger
into pretty knots will dress them.
"In those higher spheres the goblets
in circumference so spacious
will, for holding golden wine, be
infinitely more capacious.
"On the other hand, much smaller
than the mouths of earthly ladies
will the mouths be of the darlings
of whose joy our rapture made is.
"So in drinking, laughing, kissing
we shall pass the ages proudly,
singing happy hallelujahs,
singing sacredly and loudly."
Here the friar ceased. His followers,
sensing an illumination,
hastened forward with their vessels,
for the baptism-operation.
But the water-hating Hebrews
seemed obsessed with sickly grinning;
and the rabbi of Navarre rose,
cleared his throat, and made beginning:
"For the sake of my salvation,
I suppose, you have behowled me,
and with dung-carts of abuse and
barrows full of insults fouled me.
"Each man follows but the method
to his wants best calculated.
So, instead of being angry,
thank you, I'm propitiated.
"First, your trinitarian doctrine
Jews will never learn to swallow.
You might teach them how to see it,
but you cannot make them follow.
"That three persons in your godhead
and no more are comprehended
is most moderate. The ancients
on six thousand gods depended.
"I am ignorant entirely
of this God of yours, my brother.
Nor have I the precious honor
to have met his virgin mother.
"I regret that some twelve hundred
Years back (your church professes)
he should have encountered with us
"That the Jews in truth destroyed him
rests upon your say-so solely,
the delicta corpus having
on the third day vanished wholly.
"It is equally uncertain
whether he is a connection
of our God who never married
to the best of our recollection.
"Our God like a bleeding lambkin
for his people perish? Never.
He is not so philanthropic,
and, besides, too precious clever.
"He is far from love incarnate.
Rarely to affection yields he.
God of thunder, God of vengeance,
thunders not caresses wields he.
"Yes, our God is great and living.
In his heavenly hall is glory,
and compared with him eternal
ages are but transitory.
"He is living. He is lusty.
Not a priestly myth to fright us,
Like your consecrated wafer,
or the shadow of Cocytus.
"He is strong and He is daring.
Sun and moon and constellation
in his hands, like people, vanish
when he frowns his indignation.
"Ah that terrifying greatness,
sings King David, none can measure!
Heaven his throne and earth his footstool
are but playthings of his pleasure!
"He is fond of pleasing music.
Festal hymns to Him are grateful.
But like grunts of suckling pigs He
finds the chimes of churches hateful.
"Where Leviathan the mighty
swims the awful floorless ocean,
now and then the Lord will tease him
and the waves into commotion,
"(save, of course, upon the ninth day
of the month of Ab, the morrow
when they burnt his holy temple
that is still his day of sorrow!),
"more than a hundred miles Leviathan
measures, and the sea's his feeder,
Bigger than Og King of Bashan,
with a tail thick as a cedar.
"But his flesh is very dainty,
and its flavor is perfection,
as God's favorites will find out
on the day of resurrection.
"God will choose among the pious
only those whose faith was stable,
and for them, and for them only,
will he set his golden table.
"With a little garlic whitely
dressed, and browned in wine, and toasted,
pieces of Leviathan will
look like Matelotes roasted.
"Can you see white garlic gravy
that horseradish bits embellish?
Such a dainty even our friar
Jose and his friends would relish.
"And the raisin sauce about it
makes a most delicious jelly.
You have but to taste it and it's
practically in your belly.
"What the Lord has cooked is for you,
fish and meat. If you are able
to withstand a circumcision,
you're assured a place at table."
Smirking, smiling, spoke the rabbi,
words enticing and insulting;
and the sound the other Jews made
with their carvers was exulting,
as though it were but a matter
of arranging for the friar
to give up the precious foreskin,
forfeit to the rabbi's ire.
But the monks remained unshaken
by the rabbi's sour derision,
and were far from being ready
to submit to circumcision.
And the Friar Jose hotly
cried: "The Jew has disregarded
reason, and the laws of logic
most ignobly has discarded.
"What has fish to do with wafer?
Raisin sauce with Christ's salvation?
Shall a touch of garlic banish
the bad odor of a nation?
"From the rabbi's shameless bragging
one cannot determine whether
This Jew-God of his is fiddler,
lawyer, cook or toreador.
"Is my garb that of a jester?
Do I look as if I'd fool them?
I advise baptismal water
though it might no more than cool him".
To this speech the cautious rabbi
with a fawning answer followed.
He was boiling over. But a
Hebrew's gall is better swallowed.
He recited from the Mishna
treatises and commentaries,
quoted from the Tausvus-Yontoff
where it delicately varies.
And the angry friar mourning
arguments he was in want of,
raged: "I hope the devil takes you
with your graceless Tausvus-Yontoff."
"Can profanity go further!"
Up the rabbi leaps and screeches,
and the patient years forgotten,
like a maniac's now his speech is.
"If the Tausvus-Yontoffs nothing,
What remains O vile detractor!
Lord, you cannot overlook this!
Punish, God, this malefactor!
"Is not Tausvus-Yontoff really
your own very self? And can he
go on living who has used your
name more wretchedly than any?
"Bid the earth consume him like the
wicked followers of Korah
whose misdeeds were not against you
but against your holy torah?
"Punish, Lord, this wicked baseness
with your loudest thunder's thunder;
with the pith and brimstone with which
you laid sodom's sinners under.
"Show this old capuchin what you
did to Pharaoh to assure him
that you really meant to free us.
Smite him, but you need not cure him.
"With a hundred thousand warriors
marched Mizzrayim's lord and master,
all in armor shining, but you
marched before us, stronger, faster.
"You but raised your arm to drown them.
Pharaoh and his host were smitten
with less effort than this friar
needs to drown a common kitten.
"Strike, Jehovah, at this baldhead
that the wicked may see clearly
that the lightnings of your anger
are not smoke and bluster merely.
"Then I'll sing your praise and glory,
evermore and O so proudly.
I will dance and sing like Miriam.
I will even sing more loudly."
At this point the outraged friar
interrupted in a fury:
"God Almighty, if you heard him,
Slay him and his lousy Jewry.
"Before Ashtoreth and Belial,
Lucifer whose vain ambition
blindly led him with the rebel
angels down into perdition,
"I defy and mock you, rabbi,
with your devilfish unsavory.
I have eaten Jesus Christ and
I am proof against your knavery.
"O, instead of talking to you
I would sooner roast and bake you,
You and all your race, upon a
Funeral pyre, devil take you!"
So the rabbi and the friar
merge the fight in chaos utter.
Plainly it is pointless for them
to go on to rail and stutter.
Twelve long hours this thing has lasted,
neither showing signs of tiring,
though the ladies stifle half yawns
and their gallants are perspiring.
Even the court has grown impatient.
So the king, to end their snarling,
holds his hands up, and to Donna
Blanca turns, and asks that darling:
"Tell me, frankly, your opinion.
Who is right here, who is liar?
To whom would you give the verdict,
to the rabbi or the friar?"
Donna Blanca's eyes are thoughtful
that before had shone so gladly.
Donna Blanca's childlike mouth is
wistful as she answers sadly:
"How can I say who is right here?
Whose the precious truth is solely?
But I fear me both the rabbi
and the friar smell most foully!"