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A Letter of Menasseh ben Israel

Elkan Nathan Adler

<plain_text><page sequence="1">A LETTER OF MENASSEH BEN ISRAEL. By ELKAN NATHAN ADLER. (Read before the Society on March 26, 1904.) The letter which is here edited and translated is a holograph docu? ment written by the famous Menasseh Ben Israel from Amsterdam in 1648. It occupies two large folio pages, written in a tiny but very legible hand, and runs into a third page, a facsimile of which is here given. It was edited and translated in Spain, and bought by me in Lisbon. Unfortunately it is difficult to decide to whom it was addressed. Menasseh boasted of his acquaintance with many of the non-Jewish savants of his time. The fact of its having been in Spain and written in Spanish might suggest its being addressed to a learned Spaniard who had written on Bible chronology and whom the writer regarded as an authority on the subject. The greater part of the letter, dealing with chronology, though ingenious, is of less import? ance than the conclusion of the letter, which gives very interesting autobiographical details. It does not settle the doubts which exist as to his birthplace, though it suggests that Menasseh Ben Israel was born in Lisbon.1 In all probability also it implies that he had carried out his intention of visiting America, although his statement that he had " lost his estate in the varying fortunes of America " is capable of the interpretation that he had invested money in some trading expedition to Brazil, which had not turned out satisfactory. But the facilities for making such American investments were not so great 250 years ago as they are, unfortunately, to-day. The account of the Rabbi's division of his day is distinctly interesting, and suggests a parallel with the famous letter of Maimonides, written when the latter was Court physician at Cairo. 1 Another suggestion is that he was born at La Rochelle in France. 174</page><page sequence="2">MENASSEH BEN ISRAEL, Em nome de fua Naca5, Ao CEL&amp;ISSIMO ^I|CI?E DE ORANGE ~Wt?? HENB?H^E, ^fuavinda a nofla Synagoga0 de T. T. . Em companhia da SERENISSIMA RAYNHA RI C A UmiA "?lBt O s Britannia, rnia. Ifecitada em UMSTERDAMA, aos X XII. deMayode y40 2.</page><page sequence="3">A LETTER OF MENASSEH BEN ISRAEL. 175 The Encyclopaedic works which he said he was writing do not appear to have ever been published. Perhaps they will turn up hereafter as the spoil of some hunter after modern MSS. His Bibliography especially would have been of value. It is referred to in Hottinger's Bibl, Orient. The other facsimile is that of the title-page to an exceedingly rare tract by Menasseh Ben Israel. My copy is bound up with his Fragilidad Humana. It is a small quarto of eight pages, probably printed by Menasseh himself. It contains a congratulatory address in Portuguese, addressed by him, in the name of his " nation," to the Prince of Orange on his visit to their Talmud Torah Synagogue, on May 22, 1642, in company wdth Queen Henrietta Maria of England, " worthy Consort of the Most August Charles, King of Great Britain, France, and Ireland." This seems to be the oration referred to by Lucien Wolf on page xxiii of his introduction to " Menasseh Ben Israel's mission to Oliver Cromwell." If this is the case the pamphlet, as appears from the facsimile, is not accurately described. Or was there a separate pamphlet " extolling the Queen of Charles the First" ? The address of congratulation is dedicated to the six Parnassim of the Congregation :? " 0 Senhor Doctor Abraham Ferrar. O Senhor Aharon A-Coen. O Senhor Yeosuah Yesurun Rodrigues. 0 Senhor Moseh de Mesquita. O Senhor Jahacob Coen Enriques. O Senhor Abraham Franco." The contemporary hand has added to the second and last name respectively the names " De Zouveiro " and " Mendes." Menasseh is fond of dedications, and sometimes contrives to introduce two into a single pamphlet. A Latin translation of this tract was also published by Menasseh, and figures in Jacobs' and Wolf's Bibliography Volume of the Anglo-Jewish Exhibition Publications. In the body of the Address precedence is given to the Queen, probably because she wTas a lady. Historically, it is not without interest, because it brings Menasseh Ben Israel into connexion with the Royal House supplanted by his patron Oliver Cromwell. The</page><page sequence="4">176 A LETTER OF MENASSEH BEN ISRAEL. Prince of Orange is praised for his capture of the impregnable citadels of "Belduque,1 Grol, Wesel, Mastrick,2 Breda, and other cities, as of the greater part of Brazil, and so many more conquests in burning Africa." Of himself and the other dews he says that they recognise no longer Portugal or Spain, but Holland, as their native land. Perhaps Mr. Solomons will publish the little tract on some future occasion. Though hurriedly written, it quite deserves to be preserved. To return to the Letter. Three of his promised works are referred to eight years later as still unpublished, but " ready for the press," in the seventh section of the Vindiciae Iudaeorum (ed. Wolf, Menasseh Ben Israel's Mission to Oliver Cromwell, p, 147). They are there described as: (1) Bibliotheca Rabbinica. (2) Historia sive continuatio Flavii losephi ad haec usque tempora. (3) De Divinitate legis Mosaicae. A recent visit to Amsterdam has enabled me to investigate the question as to the identity of the person to whom the letter was addressed, and, on the whole, I incline to the belief that Menasseh's learned correspondent was Gerard Voss, who was one of the most distinguished humanists of his time. At the date of the letter he was professor in Amsterdam and Canon of Canterbury Cathedral. He died on April 17, 1649, and a work of his on bible chronology was posthumously published. This was the Cltronologiae Sacrae Isagoge sive de ultimis mundi antiquitatibus, Hague, 1659. This little work does not, so far as I could tell by a hasty examina? tion of the copy in the Bibliotheca Rosenthaliana, refer to Menasseh Ben Israel by name, but it deals with points touched on in the letter, e.g. the two periods of 430 years in paragraphs iv. and vii. Moreover, Gerard's son, Dionysius (not, as Lindo says, John Gerard), translated Menasseh's Coneiliador into Latin in 1633, when a young man of twenty-one. It is less likely that the correspondent was John Pineda, of Seville, who entered the Society of Jesus in 1572, and was therefore probably dead in 1648, though he lived to eighty, and wrote 1 i.e. Bois-le-Duc ?'s Hertogenbosch, 2 Maastricht.</page><page sequence="5">A LETTER OF MENASSEH BEN ISRAEL. 177 on Job and Ecclesiastes. It might have been Terence Alciato, a Jesuit professor at Rome, who died in 1671, but it was certainly not Hugo Grotius, who died in 1645. There are at least four letters of Menasseh in Amsterdam. Of two of these, Dutch translations have been published by my friend Mr. J. M. Hillesum, the amiable librarian of the Bibliotheca Rosen thaliana, in his article on Menasseh Ben Israel in the Amsterdamsche Jarrboehje voor 1899 (L. J. Yeen, Amsterdam). I hope he will publish all four in England and English. The two letters are both in Spanish, and addressed to Isaac Yossius in Stockholm. They are dated January 10, 1651, and March 10 of the same year, and contain an offer of his services to Queen Christina. He suggests that his Bibliotheca Rabbinica might serve as a catalogue to her Hebrew collection, and would cost six or seven thousand florins. He adds that he cannot publish all he wants, as he has lost his fortune in Brazil and Poland. TEXT OF A HOLOGRAPH LETTER OF MENASSEH BEN ISRAEL. Amsterdam, ultimo de Janro 1648. Magco y muy docto Sr. En dos lugares de la S.S. en materia chronologica, hallo solamte entre los nuestros | duda, y son sobre la duracion dal cap0 de Egypto, y del sagrado Templo : por q' con- | tando los anos de los Reyes de Israel desde el principio de Jeroboam hasta el | cap0 de Ossea, se hallan 241, y al mismo paralelo contando los de los Reyes ( de Jehuda hasta el sexto de Hizquiahu enel qual sucedio la dicha captividad | se hallan 261: en todo lo demas, siguen todos los Hebreos una misma opi- | nion en la computacion de los anos, sin q' entre ellos aya alguna controver- | sia. Por lo qual no seria de parecer q5 en esto se alterasse la opinion commu11. | Con este presupuesto, respondiendo por orden a sus obgecciones de vmd, digo q5 no siem- | pre se an de considerar los anos q' la s.s. senala de una misma suerte, mas | es fuerca pa la conciliacion de algunos lugares q' una vez se ayan de entender J cumplidos, otra empecados, como se podra ver en la segda parte de mi con ciliador | se los Rey. q. 32, e. q. 37 et in allijs locis, de otra manera no avria alguno q' pudiesse | dar salida a muchas difficuldades y ansi unas vezes dezimos, se usurpa el nu- | mero rotundo (pra pte q'87), otras qJ un dia VOL. V. M</page><page sequence="6">178 A LETTER OF MENASSEH BEN ISRAEL. entrado enel ano se cuenta por un ano, | y aun otras, q' qdo dize tal ano, se ha de entender passado aquel ano. Y no se pueden | entender los aiios assi mismo ajustados sin mas ni menos dias como ya algun dia | platique una nueva secta de Theologos (de quo vide in pref, de Term, vitae). Por | lo qual no seria de parecer q' se alterasse la eomputacion de los aiios hasta el I diluvio q' fue a los 1656 de la criaeion del mundo, en cuyo ano hizo Noah I los 600 de suo vida; y Metuselah, murio: y assi dizen los Antigos sabios, qJ aver es- | perado el dio bendito aquellos 7 dias (gen. vii. 4), fue pa q* antes del diluvio se acabassen | de celebrar los 7 dias funerales del dicho Metuselah. II. Es assi mismo contra el sagrado Texto, dezir q' la concepcion de Abraham fue | a los 135 anos de Terah su padre, pues claramte dize (gen. ix. 26) Y fue Terah | de 70 anos y engendr? a Abram: segun esto enel ano 70 de Abram que fue | el de 3018 le revelo Dios la captividad de sus hijos por espacio de 400 anos, que | con 30 mas desde este tiempo hasta q' tuvo a Ishac, siendo ya de 100 anos (gen. xxi. 5), | se integra el numero de los 430 del Exodo cap. xii. Y porq* la s.s. dize enel gen. xii. 4 | q' Abr? era de 75 anos quando salio de Haran, sueltan Tosaphot y el Seder olam esta | difti culdad, diziendo q' dos vezes salio de Haran porq' despues q' Dios le revelo esta prophecia | bolvio a Haran, y alii estuvo cinco anos, y se volvio a salir. I III. Deste tiempo se an de contar los 430 anos del cap0 de Egito: y no obsta d[egir]se | enel Exodo la estancia de los hijos de Israel, porq' segun observaron los Antigos | los Patriarchas gozaron todos deste illustre nombre, y ansi lo affirman en Beresit | Raba Parasa. 63. Pruevan q' Ishac se llamo Israel del gen. lxvi. donde s5 dize | y estos nombres de hijos de Israel los vinientes a Egipto, Jahacob y sus hijos etc. luego Jahacob queda tambien incluhido enel nombre de hijo de Israel q5 fue [. . -dre Ishac, y por la misma consequencia, se puede tambien atribuhir a Abram y [. . puedo dezir en esta materia. Y no tienen contra esto valor las obgeciones q5 [. . . pone ; porq' o Hiyob no es 33r Yobab, ni ay author q* tal affirme, mas solamente el docto Aben Ezra dize, q' un Jshaqui lo dixo, llamandole por esso author vano y | ridiculo. El otro texto del cap vii del Parolipomenon, se ha de explicar conforme ] R. Selomoh, a saber q' desde el verso 25 Y Eefah su hijo empieca a contar de Efraim | la nueva descendencia q' tuvo de su nueva muger Beriha: y segun esto desde | este Refah hasta Jeosuah, no uvo mas que ocho generaciones. | IV. No puede seguirse la opinion de los 430 suponiendose q* Keat no entro en Egito: porq' es contra el s. Texto, donde en el gen. xlvi. 2. numerandose las almas q' entraron co Jahacob en Egipto se cuentan, los hijos de Leui Guerson Keat y Merari. V. No ay alguna certitud sobre quien fuesse Job, ni en q' tiempo floreciesse: mas de los antigos unos affirman, aver vivido en tiempo de</page><page sequence="7">A LETTER OF MENASSEH BEN ISRAEL. 179 Jahaeob, y son los q' tienen el matrimonio de Dina; otros en tiempo de Mosen, otros enel de los Juezes, otros en el de Asueros, otros en el de la reyna Saba, y aun otros q' fue de los q' subieron a Jerusalem del capt0 de Babilonia: eon q' de esta Historia, se no puede coneluhir argumfco alguno.? VI. Sara muger de Abra, no fue hija de Terah, mas su nieta hija de Aran, f pudo en eierta manera dezir Abrah? q3 era su hermana; pq' eonsta de la s.s. que a los nietos se da nombre de hijos, luego siendo nieta de Terah, es como si fueste su hija, y desta suerte hermana de Abram; y ansi quieren los Antigos q3 aquella rOD* Tsca de q3 alii se trata, sea Sara, porq* aquella diccion significa princeza, o Senora, f es lo mismo q' Sara, VII. Los 480 aftos de la salida de Egipto hasta el quarto de Selomoh se cuentan diver- | samente, como se podra notar en la segda parte de mi Conciliador q. i. sobre el L? de los Juezes. | VIII. Los 70 anos de la captividad de Babilonia se an de contar del cap0 de Zidkiahu | en cuyo tiempo se destruy? el sagrado Templo qJ fue enel ano de 3338 de la cri- | acion del mundo en el onzeno del rey Zidkiahu, y se acabaron enel de 3408 enel | segundo de Dario. Y por q3 Ciro a los 3390 anos dio licencia a q' se edificasse el Tern- [ plo, y en esto se cumplieron los 70 empecados del cap0 de Jeoyakim y Daniel | q' fue a los 3319, viendo el dicho Daniel q5 segun su cuenta los 70 anos eran ya eumpli- | dos, y q' con todo cessaua la fabrica del Templo, y el pueblo no era redemido, se ad- | miro grandamte diciendo yo Daniel considere los libros, el numero de los anos etc. \ f entonces le fue respondido lo delas 70 semanas, y declarado q' aquellos 70 anos | se entendian del cap0 de Zidkiahu, y no del de Jeoyakim ut supra. I IX. Tocante a la tabla de los reyes de Jehuda y Israel, me parece muy bien dispu- | esta : yo en aquella 2a pte de mi Conciliador, hize dos, figuiendo en ellas des- | pues de aver conciliado las diffieuldades, el literal del Texto, con los pontifices | y prophetas q3 florecieron en aquellos tiempos : a ellas me remitto.-| Con esto Magco Sr. he suelto las dudas q' vm. propone co' mas brevedad f menos exacta- | mte de lo q' yo quisiera; pero assi lo ha permitido el cielo q' yo no sea mio, ni pue- | da responder c? mas dilatacion a lo docto. Porq' supuesto q3 y? estoy mediocremte | informado en las Las Hebreas, Caldeas, Arabigas, y Latinas, perdido la hacienda entre | las varias fortunas de l3America, de libre f solamfce predicador, me fugete a la escuela | donde leo el Talmud q3 es nuestra Theologia, c? q' me perdi a mi, por avansar a otros, cap- I tivandome de suerte q3 teniendo concebido las mej ores obras no uvo mas dia en q3 hizi- | esse linea : con q3 perdi el gusto. Y pr q3 umd vea qs no es exageracion pondere lo sigui- | ente, dos horas se ocupan en el Templo cada dia, seys en la escuela, una y media | en la Academia publica, y par? ticular de los senhores Pereyras, en las quales hago offi- | cio de Presi dente, dos en las correctiones de mi Typographia, q3 todo passa por mi</page><page sequence="8">180 A LITTER OF MENASSEH BEN ISRAEL. ma- I no : de las 11 a las 12, doy audiencia a todos los q5 fa, me aguardan p' sus negocios y visitas. | todo esto es preeiso. Juzgue vmd. el tiempo q5 sobra pr los cuydados domesticos, y responder | a 4 e a 6 epistolas q3 se ofrecen por semana, de los quales ni aun hago copia por me | faltar el tiempo. Pero si el Altissimo Sr disponiere- mis cosas de fuerte, q5 yo pueda | escuzar los 500 Cruzados q5 y? tendo de renda, o a lo menos eonsiga librarme de | la molesta ocupaeion de la escuela, q' proeuro, entonces podre con mas liberali dad I y satisfacion servir a los amigos, y particularmte a umd, cuyo ingenio reverencio despues | q' lehi aquellos tan ingeniosos e prudentes discursos, anhelando essa obra Chronolo- | giea, tan digna de su admiravel talento. Las q' yo he sacado de seys anos a esta ( pte a luz, son la segda pte de mi Conciliador, el libro de la fragilidad humana, la | oracion gratulatoria que hize a su Alteza, y el Thesoro de los dinim de nuestros | ritos y ceremonias, este en mi lengua materna lusitana, porq* yo soy por patria Lixbonen- \ se. Las q' tengo entre manos son, Nuestra historia desde el tiempo en q5 acab? flauio I Josepho hasta nuestros tiempos. Notas sobre todas las obras del mismo flavio I Josepho . de la divinidad de la ley de Mose contra epicureos: y una bibliothe- | ca de todos los Los Hebreos, materias, y juizio. Obras en q' no tengo poco trabaja- | do, sin fruto, pues q' no tengo Mecenas, ni tampoco quien se quiera persuadir que | para aquel officio del Talmud se podrian hallar muchos, y para estotro de mas | honra y utilidad a los nuestros, raros. Con esto me despide, hora vale aniantissimo S. | El Haham Menassih ben Israel. | TRANSLATION. Amsterdam, last of January, 1648. Illustrious Master and most learned Sir,? In two passages of Scripture only have we doubt as to Chronology, and these are as to the duration of the Captivity in Egypt and of the Holy Temple, for, counting the years of the Kings of Israel from the beginning of Jeroboam until the capture of Ossea, there are 241, and parallel therewith, counting those of the Kings of Jehuda until the 6th of Hizquiahu, in which the said captivity occurred, there are 261. For all the rest all the Hebrews have the same opinion in the computation of the years, without there being any controversy among them. Wherefore it would not be likely that common opinion would change in this. This being taken for granted (assuming this), answering your objections in order, I say that the years of Scripture have not always to be regarded as subject to t he same fate, but perforce in order to reconcile some passages we have at one time to take them as complete, at another as fractions, as may be seen</page><page sequence="9"></page><page sequence="10">A LETTER OF MENASSEH BEN ISRAEL. 181 in the second part of my Conciliador, e.g. Kings q. 32 and q. 37 and else? where. Otherwise there would he no possible means of solving many difficulties. And thus we sometimes say that the round number prevails (First Part, q. 87), and at others that a single day begun of the year counts as a year, and again at others, if such and such a year is mentioned, it means that the year has passed. And the years cannot be understood as being adjusted to the same, with neither more nor less days, as a new sect of Theologians have for some time (of whom vide in the preface to the Term. Vitae). And accordingly it would not seem that the computation of years has altered ever since the flood, which was in the year of the world 1656, in which year Noah was 600 years old and Metuselah died. And thus said the ancient sages, that if God waited for those seven days (Gen. vii. 4) it meant that he waited before the flood till the finish of the celebration of the seven days of the funeral of the said Metuselah. II. It is in the same way contrary to the sacred text to say that the conception of Abraham was in the 135th "year" of Terah his father, since it is clearly stated (Gen. xi. 26): " And Terah was seventy years old when he begat Abram." In accordance with this it was the seventieth year of Abram, which was 3018, that God revealed to him the captivity of his descendants for a space of 400 years, which, with thirty years more from this time until Ishac's, he being 100 years (Gen. xxi. 5), makes up the number 430 of Exodus xii. And since Scripture says, in Gen. xxi. 4, that " Abram was 75 years old when he went forth from Haran," Tosafoth and the Seder Olam solve this difficulty by saying that twice went he forth from Haran because after God had revealed to him this prophecy he returned to Haran and stayed there five years and then went forth again. III. From this time you have to count the 430 years of the captivity of Egipt, and no doubt arises from what is said in Exodus, " the stay of the children of Israel," for, as the ancients observed, the Patriarchs all used this illustrious name, and thus they say in Beresit Raba, Parasa 63, proving that Ishac called himself Israel from Gen. lxvi. 8, where it says : " These are the names of the children of Israel that came forth into Egipt, Jahacob and his sons ;" that is, therefore, that Jahacob was likewise included in the name of Son of Israel, which was that ... of his father Ishac, and by the same argument it could also be attributed to Abram and . . . can be said herein. And the objections which . . . makes have no validity against this, for or Hiyob is not 22V Yobab, nor does any author affirm this, but only the learned Aben Ezra says that one Ishaqui said it (and calls him for this an empty and ridiculous author). The other text of cap. vii. of Chronicles can be explained according to P. Selomoh, i.e. that from ver. 25, " And Refah his son," one begins to count from Efraim the new dependency which ho got from his wife Beriha, and according to this from that Refah up to Jeosuah there were only eight generations.</page><page sequence="11">182 A LETTER OF MENASSEII BEN ISRAEL. IV. The opinion that the 430 years begins from the entry into Egipt cannot be maintained ; for it is contrary to the sacred text, where in Gen. xlvi. 2, counting the souls which entered with Jahacob into Egipt, are counted " the sons of Leui, Guerson, Keat, and Merari." V. There is no certainty as to who was Job or when he flourished, but of the ancients some maintain that he lived in the time of Jahacob, and there are that hold him the husband of Dina; others in the time of Moseh, others in that of the Judges, others in that of Asueros, others in that of Queen Saba, and again others that he was of those who came up to Jeru? salem from the captivity of Babilonia : and so from his story no argument can be concluded. VI. Sara, the wife of Abram, was not the daughter of Terah, but was his niece, the daughter of Aran, and Abraham could in a certain way say that she was his sister, for it follows from sacred scripture that nephews are called sons, and so being Terah's niece, it is as though she had been his daughter, and so Abram's sister. And so the Ancients agree that the rDD"1 Ysca, who is here mentioned, is Sara, for that word means princess or lady, and is the same as Sara. VII. The 430 years of the Exodus from Egipt till the fourth of Selomoh are differently reckoned, as can be noted in the second part of my Conciliador, q. i., on the Book of Judges. VIII. The seventy years of the Captivity of Babilonia is counted from the capture of Zidkiahu, in whose time the sacred Temple was destroyed, which was in the year 3338 of the creation of the world, in the eleventh of the King Zidkiahu, and ended in the year 3408 in the second of Dario. And since Cyrus (Ciro) in 3390 gave permission to build the Temple, and therein are completed the seventy from the captivity of Jeoyakim, and Daniel, who was in 3319, when the said Daniel saw that according to his reckoning the seventy were already completed, and that the fabric of the Temple was altogether complete, and the people was not redeemed, he was greatly surprised, saying, " I Daniel have considered the books, the number of the years, &amp;c," and he was then answered as to the seventy weeks, and it was declared that these seventy years were to be understood from the captivity of Zidkiahu, and not of Jeoyakim as above. IX. Touching the Table of the Kings of Jehuda and Israel, it seems to me very well ordered. I, in this second part of the Conciliador, made two, following in them, after having reconciled the difficulties, the literal Text with the priests and prophets who flourished in those times: and I refer to them. With this, Sir and Master, I have resolved the doubts you propound, with the greatest brevity and with less exactitude than what I should have wished : for Heaven has so disposed it that I am not my own, nor able to reply at greater length to the learned. For granted that I am moderately</page><page sequence="12">A LETTER OF MENASSEH BEN ISRAEL. 183 informed in the Hebrew, Chaldee, Arabic, and Latin languages, I have lost my estate in the varying fortunes of America (" perdido la hacienda entre las varias fortunas de PAmerica"); from being independent and only preacher, I must submit to teach at the school where I read the Talmud, which is our Theology, whereby I am lost to myself, in order to advance others, being so much a prisoner that after having conceived the finest works, there was not a single day more in which I wrote a line, and have lost the taste. And that you may see that it is no exaggeration, think of the following. Two hours are spent in the Temple 1 every day, six in the School, one and a half in the public Academy,2 and the private one 3 of the Senhores Pereyras/ in which I have the office of President, two in the corrections of my printing-press, which all passes through my hands. From eleven to twelve I give audiences to all who require me for their affairs and visits. All this is precise, judge then how much time remains for domestic cares and to reply to the four or six letters which come every week, of which I keep no copy, for the time fails me. Still, if the Most High will order my affairs in such wise that I may be able to dispense with the 500 cruzados which is my income, or at least attain to free me from the troublesome occupation of the school which I look after, I shall thereafter be able to serve my friends, with more liberality and satisfaction, and particularly you, whose genius I reverence, ever since I read those so clever and learned discourses, eagerly admiring that chronological work so worthy of your admirable talent. Those (works) which I have produced in the last six years are the Second Part of my Oonciliador, the book of Fragilidad Humana, the congratulatory address I held for his Highness, and the Thesoro de los Dinim of our rites and ceremonies, the last in my Portuguese mother tongue, for I am a Lisbonian by patrimony. Those I have now in hand are Our History from the time where Flavius Josephus left off till our own times; Notes on all the works of the same Flavius Josephus; Of the Divinity of the Law of Moses against the Epicureans; and a Biblio theca (Bibliography) of all the Hebrew Books, their contents,6 and my criticism thereof: works in which I labour greatly but without profit, for I have no Mecenas nor either any one who can be persuaded that many can be found for that office of the Talmud, but few for this other, though it is of more honour and utility to our people. With this I close for the present: Farewell, most beloved Sir, El Haham Menasseh ben Israel. 1 Synagogue. 2 Beth Hamedrash. 3 Yesiba. 4 One of these was perhaps Abraam Isac Perera referred to in my Spanish list of the Jews of Amsterdam in 1655, vide the Transactions of the Jewish Hi^ torical Society of England, vol. iv. p. 227. 5 Cp. Hillesum, p. 51.</page></plain_text>