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William Wollaston (1659-1724), English Debt and Rabbinic Scholar

Rabbi Dr. Alexander Altmann

<plain_text><page sequence="1">William Wollaston (1659-1724): English Deist and Rabbinic Scholar1 By Rabbi Alexander Altmann, D.Phil., M.A. In the year 1724, there appeared in London an anonymous book called " The Religion of Nature Delineated " which was to become one of the most successful works of English Deism. It took the form of a letter addressed to " A. F. Esq.", and was signed by N. N., to which cryptic signature was appended the equally un revealing Hebrew notarikon NO?. The treatise comprised 218 pages and was written in pellucid and graceful language, setting out its theme under nine main heads. But not content to develop his subject logically and systematically, the author clinched his arguments by innumerable quotations from Latin, Greek, and Hebrew sources in their original texts. He was obviously extremely well versed in the languages and literatures on which he so lavishly drew, and apparently expected his readers to be sufficiently at home in the three learned tongues to appreciate the relevance of the passages quoted. In the very year of the publication of this book, its author died. Anonymity was lifted a year later when a second edition of the work appeared under his full name? William Wollaston.2 The book achieved rapid fame which was to last for over half a century, and spread far beyond the British Isles. We are told that 10,000 copies of it were sold in the course of a few years. In all, eight editions appeared, the last one coming out in 1759. As early as 1726, a French translation was published by Garrigue at the Hague under the title " Ebauche de la Religion Naturelle par Mr. Wollaston ", to be followed, in 1756, by a fresh edition in three volumes. In the Preface to the work the translator speaks of " l'applaudissement extraordinaire, que le Public a donne ? ce livre ", and greatly eulogizes the author. The two editions contain also a translation into French by de la Faye, Professor of Oriental Languages at the Hague, of Wollaston's copious Latin, Greek, and Hebrew notes, and supplementary notes by the translator. At the end, three supplementary chapters offer an evaluation of Wollaston's work. In England, a similar service was performed by John Clarke, dean of Salisbury, a younger brother of the famous Samuel Clarke and translator of Hugo Grotius. He not only wrote a " Preface containing a General Account of the Life, Character and Writings of the Author ", which was added to the last three editions (1738, 1750, and 1759) of Wollaston's work, but also published an English translation of the Latin, Greek, and Hebrew notes, which appears, side by side with the original texts, in the last two editions (1750 and 1759).3 In a prefatory note dated 17th April, 1750, he explains that " The Religion of Nature being a Book in great Esteem with her late Majesty Queen Caroline, she was pleased to command me to translate the Notes into English for her own use ; And there being a Demand for a new Edition, it was thought proper to publish this Translation." Queen Caroline, it may be noted, expressed her admiration for Wollaston in yet another way. In 1732 she placed a marble bust of him, along with Newton's, Locke's, and Samuel 1 Paper read before the Jewish Historical Society of England on ist November, 1948. 2 For biographical information see Samuel Clarke's Preface to the sixth, seventh, and eighth editions of the work (1738, 1750, 1759) ; Dictionary of National Biography (1909), Vol. XXI ; Nouvelle Biographe Ginirale, ed. Firmin Didot Freres, Paris (1866), Vol. 46. 3 Hugh James Rose, in his New General Biographical Dictionary (1844), Vol. VI, p. 337 (also in the following editions) makes the mistake of attributing the Notes to John Clarke. i85 R</page><page sequence="2">WILLIAM WOLLASTON (1659-1724) Clarke's, in her hermitage in the royal garden at Richmond. Unfortunately this marble bust has disappeared, and so has the fame of Wollaston's book of which it could be said as late as 1866 (in the Nouvelle Biographie Generale published in that year) that it still enjoyed celebrity. History has failed to confirm Queen Caroline's gracious gesture of putting Wollaston on the same level of importance as Newton and Locke. But the Queen was at least in good company so far as her judgment is concerned. John Conybeare, Rector of Exeter College, Oxford, in his "A Defence of Reveal'd Religion" (1732), sees in Wollaston's theory of morals a decided advance upon Locke's,1 and Christian Garve, in his " ?bersicht der vornehmsten Prinzipien der Sittenlehre" (1798), describes as the most noteworthy representatives of new principles in morals Samuel Clarke, Wollaston, and the man to whom his book is dedicated?Immanuel Kant.2 Within the compass of the present study only the barest outline can be given of Wollaston's place in the history of moral philosophy. In the great eighteenth century controversy between sense and reason in morals, Wollaston, like Samuel Clarke, Richard Price, and Thomas Reid, bases morals on reason, whilst Shaftesbury, Hutcheson, Adam Smith, and Hume stand on the side of sense and feeling.3 One may agree with Conybeare's summing up of Wollaston's main thesis when he says that it " is the most complete system of moral principles which hath yet been given us on the mere foot of natural reason ".4 By connecting the notions of truth and rightness, he shows that the good resolves itself into the true. One can contradict truth by one's actions as much as by any proposition or assertion. To treat things as being what they are not is the greatest possible absurdity. To talk to a post as if it were a man must be reckoned an absurdity. Conversely, to treat a man as a post, as if he had no sense and felt no injuries is likewise a denial of truth and therefore morally wrong. A more religious turn is given to this argument by introducing God as the Author of nature : to own things as they are is to submit to His Will as revealed in the books of nature. In other words, to act against truth is to contradict the truths as they have always subsisted in the Divine Mind. Wollaston thus links together morals and natural religion.5 But whereas Clarke founded the obligations of natural religion upon 1 Clifford Griffet!! Thompson, in his The Ethics of William Wollaston, Boston, Mass. (1922), p. 4, quotes Conybeare as saying of Wollaston that his theory was a discovery in morals "fit to be placed beside the discoveries of Newton in astronomy ". In actual fact, the words alleged to be a literal quotation do not occur in Conybeare's treatise though their meaning may be inferred from the context. Conybeare recalls that, in his famous Essay, Locke had made bold '' to think Morality . . . capable of Demonstration, as well as Mathematics ". Yet in his letter to Molineux he wrote, " Whether I am able to make it out, is another Question. Every one could not have demonstrated what Mr. Newton's Book hath shewn to be demonstrable ". Conybeare adds on page 239 (the reference quoted by Thompson), " We have lately indeed had a Noble Performance much in the Way which Mr. Lock propos'd ; and the Design hath been so well executed by Mr. Wollaston that however some objections may be made against certain Parts of his Book, yet it hath been receiv'd, in the general, with the highest Applause." 2 Cf. also Drechsler, ?ber William Wollaston's Moralphilosophie, Erlangen (1801). Thompson (loc. cit., p. 39) remarks that the Germans, guided by Garve's and Drechsler's interpretation, regarded Wollaston's system of morals as a precursor of Kant's. It should, however, be noted that Garve made a slightly different point. He felt that the Kantian principle, if strictly and consistently applied, was bound to lead to the doctrine of Wollaston, not vice versa. Cf. loc. cit., p. 172. On his failure to do full justice to Kant, cf. Albert Stern, ?ber die Beziehungen Chr. Garve's zu Kant, Leipzig (1884), p. 86. 3 Cf. D. Daiches Raphael, The Moral Sense (1947) p. 2 ; Erdmann, Geschichte der neueren Philosophie II, p. 107 ; W. Windelband, History of Philosophy, p. 504. 4 loc. cit., p. 239 ; Conybeare himself disagrees with Wollaston's thesis. In his view, neither morality nor religion can be reduced to Reason. Deism, he points out, is bound to lead to atheism. His treatise is mainly directed against Tindal's Christianity as old as Creation (1730). 5 Cf. Wollaston, The Religion of Nature Delineated, pp. 14-15.</page><page sequence="3">WILLIAM WOLLASTON (1659-I724) 187 a priori truths concerning God,1 Wollaston established them on the basis of the concept of truth as such. Morality merges into natural religion, both being founded upon reason. The radical rationalism of Wollaston's theory was bound to provoke attack. In 1725, " A Defence of Mr. Wollaston's notion of moral good and evil " appeared in answer to a letter by T. Boll which claimed to have refuted it. In the same year, John Clarke, Master of the Public Grammar School in Hull,2 wrote " An Examina? tion of the notion of moral good and evil advanced in a late book by W. W., entitled The Religion of Nature Delineated ". He criticizes Wollaston as " a person of consider? able parts, who might have made a fine book of it, had he set out upon a right bottom : but unluckily falling upon a whimsical notion of morality, and perhaps too much tickled with the novelty of it, and a desire to support and leave it as a legacy to the world, has so leavened his treatise with it as must render it disagreeable to the most judicious readers, and at the same time expose morality instead of recommending it ".3 Of greater historical interest is Hume's devastating attack upon Wollaston in his "A Treatise of Human Nature", which proceeds from the assumption that actions do not derive their merit from a conformity to reason, nor their blame from a contrariety to it. Actions may be laudable or blameable ; but they cannot be reasonable or unreasonable. Moral distinctions are not the offspring of reason. For reason is wholly inactive, and can never be the source of so active a principle as conscience or a sense of morals. " One might think," he says, " it were entirely superfluous to prove this if a late author, who has had the good fortune to obtain some reputation, had not seriously affirmed that such a falsehood is the foundation of all guilt and moral deformity." Like John Clarke, Hume calls Wollaston's doctrine a " whimsical system ", and endeavours to disprove it from its own premises.4 But it was Kant who gave the coup de gr?ce to the intellectualist theory of morals (and religion) by his distinction of pure reason and practical reason. Whilst Wollaston's position in moral philosophy is clear beyond doubt, his place in the history of English Deism stands in need of some clarification. When The Religion of Nature Delineated appeared in 1724, English Deism had already attained to a mature age. Exactly a hundred years earlier, in 1624, Herbert of Cherbury, the " father of English Deism ", had published his Tractatus de Veritate, in which the five communes notitiae of Natural Religion?God, worship, virtue and piety, repentance, and the future life?were derived from the natural reason instead of from Revelation. In 1652, Nathaniel Culverwell, one of the earliest Cambridge Platonists, had published a treatise on the Light of Nature in which he described Reason as " the candle of the Lord ", without, however, disputing the necessity of Revelation seeing that Reason had been weakened by the Fall of Man. Like Leah, it was blear-eyed, but not on that account to be despised. Religion must not be con 1 Cf. Samuel Clarke, A Discourse concerning the unalterable Obligations of Natural Religion, and the Truth and Certainty of the Christian Revelation. Being eight Sermons preached in the year 1705, at the Lecture founded by the Hon. Robert Boyle, pp. no ff. 2 Not to be confounded with John Clarke, Dean of Salisbury (1682-1757), who wrote the Life of Wollaston and translated the Latin, Greek, and Hebrew parts of his Notes. This John Clarke (1687 1734) was a classical scholar, and wrote, in addition to the book mentioned in the text, The Foundation of Morality in theory and practice considered in an examination of Dr. S. Clarke's opinion concerning the original of Moral Obligation (1730 ?). 3 loc. cit., pp. 2-3. 4 David Hume, A Treatise of Human Nature, Vol. II (1890), pp. 235-9.</page><page sequence="4">WILLIAM WOLLASTON (1659-1724) sidered a bird of prey come to peck out our natural eyes.1 There is a great deal of anti-clerical rebellion alive in this assertion of the autonomy of reason, yet one may also discern in some protagonists of Natural Religion a tendency to provide a rational foundation for the belief in Revelation. As Hunt observes, the men who first dis? coursed of the certainty of Natural Religion did so with a good Christian object in mind. They wished to establish the reliability of our natural faculties against the sceptic, and assumed that when this was done, the certainty of the Christian Revela? tion would follow as a matter of course.2 In this they were mistaken. In 1704, Toland had published his Letters to Serena from which Bishop Berkeley derived the conclusion that Natural Religion inevitably led to materialism, and which provoked his violent reaction to Deism.3 In the following year (1705), Samuel Clarke, in his Robert Boyle Lectures, presented his famous description of the Four Sorts of Deists, which reflects the variety of viewpoints into which Deism had shaded off by this time. The Deist of the first type believes in an eternal, infinite, intelligent Being but denies the Divine government of the world. The second subscribes to belief in Providence, but does not allow any difference between the morally good and evil. The third has faith in the just government of the world but denies the immortality of the human soul. The fourth, described as the only " true Deist ", believes in God, Providence, and the immortality of the soul without, however, admitting a Divine Revelation. It is this fourth type of Deist that Clarke hopes to convert.4 William Wollaston belongs to neither of the four types of Deists listed by Clarke, notwithstanding the fact that Lord Bolingbroke, himself an unsparing critic of the belief in Revelation, identifies him with the fourth.5 He believes in God, Providence, and Immortality?articles of faith which he most emphatically underpins by rational arguments in his book on the Religion of Nature?and he does not deny Revelation. On the contrary he confesses, towards the end of his book, when discussing the future life, that " Here I begin to be very sensible how much I want a guide ". But seeing that 44 the religion of nature is my theme, I must at present content myself with that light which nature affords ; my business being, as it seems, only to show what a Heathen philosopher, without any other help, and almost autodidaktos, may be supposed to think ". He expresses the hope " that neither the doing of this, nor anything else contained in this DELINEA 770jV, can be the least prejudice to any other true religion ". He makes the point that 44 whatever is immediately revealed from God, must, as well as anything else, be treated as being what it is : which cannot be, if it is not treated with the highest regard, believed and obeyed. That, therefore, which has been so much insisted on by me, and is, as it were, the burden of my song, is so far from undermining true revealed religion, that it rather paves the way for its reception ".6 In spite of Wollaston's protestations of belief in Revelation, his con? temporaries felt a measure of uneasiness about the nature of his belief. It hardly reflected the Christian viewpoint, and seemed to give credence to 44 any other true religion", as he put it. Moreover, it treated Revelation as a mere historical fact without due regard to the necessity attached to it owing to the corruption of natural 1 Gf. John Hunt, Religious Thought in England, Vol. II (1871), p. 335. 8 loc. cit., p. 333. 3 Cf. F. F. Heinemann, Toland and Leibnitz, The Philosophical Review (1945), Vol. LIV, p. 438. 4 loc. cit., pp. 115-123. 5 Cf. Lord Bolingbroke, Works, Vol. V (1777), p. 363. 6 loc. cit., p. 211.</page><page sequence="5">WILLIAM WOLLASTON (1659-I724) reason. Whilst Samuel Clarke had emphasized the aspect of the fall,1 Wollaston had failed to do so. He had, on the contrary, stressed the self-sufficiency of Reason, and had constructed a system of morality without recourse to Revelation. This, again, was very different from what more orthodox Deists such as Clarke had done. The latter, in his " A Discourse concerning the unalterable Obligations of Natural Religion, and the Truth and Certainty of the Christian Revelation" (1705), had founded morality not so much on the idea of Truth as on rational theology and Revelation. How offensive Wollaston's method must have been to the orthodox may be gauged by the fact that in 1737 the Glasgow Presbytery prosecuted Hutcheson for teaching the heresy that we can have knowledge of good and evil without, and prior to, a knowledge of God.2 This is what Wollaston, too, had implied by choosing to demonstrate the nature of the good before demonstrating the nature of God. No wonder then that Wollaston's position had to meet attack from orthodox quarters. So much had his book incurred suspicions of unorthodoxy that John Clarke, the author of his biography and translator of his notes, felt it necessary to vindicate the good name of Wollaston. " It is scarce worthwhile," he remarked at the end of his biographical introduction, " to take any notice of an idle or malicious reflection which has been cast by some over-zealous persons upon this gentleman's memory, as if he had put a slight upon Christianity by laying so much stress upon the obligation of Truth, Reason, and Virtue. Or as if he could not have believed alright, because he did not think it necessary to digress from his subject in order to insert his creed. Surely, a suspicion thus founded can deserve no regard." 3 A similar motive guided the editor of an abridged version of Wollaston's book, which appeared in 1726 (and in a second edition in 1737), under the title " A Com? pendious View of the Religion of Nature Delineated ". From the Preface to this edition we learn that Sir Richard Steele had inspired the compiler to undertake the work as an apologia for Wollaston seeing that one could " not in the least suspect the Author not to have been a Friend to the Christian Institution ". In an " Appendix concerning the Christian Religion" (pp. 129-154), the suggestion is put forward that Wollaston must have believed in " some farther light than that which Nature affords ". But whilst it is true that he expressly confessed to faith in Revelation, his position can hardly be described as being in harmony with orthodox Christian sentiment. His biographer, John Clarke, says of him that "The love of Truth and Reason made him love Free Thinking, and, as far as the World would bear it, Free Speaking too ". He adds that Wollaston " stressed the essential points of Natural Religion and the Christian Revelation ".4 But, in fact, Christianity plays no part whatever in Wollaston's Religion of Nature. One may describe his place in English Deism as a position intermediate between the more radical Deists, like Bolingbroke, who attacked Revelation, and the orthodox, like Clarke, who saw in Natural Religion a mere prelude to Revelation. We suspect that the deeper reasons for Wollaston's remarkable independence from Christian theology lie not so much in his " Free Thinking " as in the influence which Jewish theology exercised upon him. We have so far studiously refrained from 1 Revelation is necessary " to recover mankind out of their generally degenerate estate, into a state suitable to the original excellency of their nature ", loc. cit., p. 113. 2 Cf. Rae, Life of Adam Smith (1895), pp. 12-13, quoted by Norman Kemp Smith, Hume's Dialogues concerning Natural Religion (Oxford, 1935), p. 42, n. 1. 3 loc. cit., pp. xxix-xxx. 4 loc. cit., pp. xvi-xvii. R*</page><page sequence="6">i go WILLIAM WOLLASTON (1659-1 724) making any distinct reference to his intimate acquaintance with Hebrew literature, and endeavoured to place Wollaston within the general setting of English Deism. Let us now turn from Wollaston the Deist to Wollaston the Rabbinic scholar, and see whether the latter may not shed some light on the former. It may be observed that our author has so far escaped the attention of students interested in the subject of Hebrew scholarship among English divines of the period. None of the several studies in the field so much as mentions his name.1 Nor do we find any reference to Wol laston's indebtedness to the Hebraic legacy in any history of English Deism.2 The present paper may therefore be said to break new ground in tracing the scope and historical significance of Wollaston's Hebrew learning. It may also be considered a tribute, at this late hour, to the scholarship of this once so popular and now almost forgotten philosopher. Wollaston's The Religion of Nature Delineated contains in its footnotes nearly 150 Hebrew quotations and references. They are drawn from an extraordinarily wide range of Hebrew literature, and bear eloquent testimony to the author's Biblical and Rabbinic scholarship. John Clarke, his biographer, did not exaggerate when saying of Wollaston that he had " made himself Master of the Sentiments, Rites, and Learning of the Jews ".3 His interest and proficiency in the Hebrew tongue dates from his early days at Cambridge. Born, in 1659, as a member of an ancient family in Staffordshire, he entered Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, in 1674, and left it as Master of Arts in 1681. The story is told that at the college he gained some reputation as a scholar, but made an enemy of the College Dean by ridiculing him in an exercise at the schools. The Dean is said to have avenged himself by spreading scandals about his pupil. Once the don told him to write a copy of verses which it was intended to ridicule, but he evaded the issue by writing in Hebrew which no one understood. Naturally, he lost any chance of a fellowship.4 It may be surmised that Wollaston's interest in Hebrew was stimulated by the great reputation which Cambridge had achieved in the domain of both Biblical and Rabbinic literature. John Lightfoot, who has rightly been described as " the greatest of the Christian Rabbinical scholars ",5 became Vice-Chancellor of Cambridge University in 1653. When Wollaston entered Sidney Sussex College he was still alive, but died a year later (1675). The young undergraduate could therefore hardly have come under his personal influence but may have, none the less, profited from the atmos? phere of Hebrew studies created by Lightfoot. Nor could Wollaston have been in personal touch with Isaac Abendana, the noted Anglo-Jewish scholar, who was commissioned by Trinity College to translate the entire Mishnah into Latin. Having completed the manuscript of the work in 1675, he left Cambridge soon afterwards.6 It is most unlikely that young Wollaston should have made his acquaintance. Who 1 Cf. Cecil Roth, Maimonides and England, in " Moses Maimonides ", ed. I. Epstein (1935), pp. 209-14 ; S. Levy, English Students of Maimonides, in Miscellanies IV of the Jew. Hist. Soc. of England ; G. H. Box and Leon Roth in their respective essays in The Legacy of Israel, ed. Edwyn R. Bevan and Charles Singer. 2 Gf. John Hunt, loc. cit. ; Leslie Stephen, English Thought in the Eighteenth Century. 3 loc. cit., p. xv. 4 Gf. DNB, article William Wollaston. 5 Cf. G. H. Box in Hebrew Studies in the Reformation Period and After, " The Legacy of Israel," p. 356. 6 Cf. Israel Abrahams, Trans. Jew. Hist. Soc. of England, VIII, pp. 98-122, quoted by Box, loc. cit., p. 361-2.</page><page sequence="7">WILLIAM WOLLASTON (1659-1724) his teachers at Cambridge were is nowhere recorded.1 The late Dr. Travers Herford suggested the possibility that in Hebrew he was self-taught.2 However this may be, his familiarity with Rabbinic literature is truly amazing and has about it a natural ease and sureness of touch rarely to be found in non-Jewish writers. Though Wol laston is equally at home in Latin and Greek, his chief interest seems to have lain in Hebrew. In 1690 he published a Paraphrase of Ecclesiastes, and among his literary remains were found a Hebrew Grammar ; a Specimen Vocabularii Biblico-hebraici ; a work entitled "Judaica sive Religionis et Literaturae Judaicae Synopsis; and a " Treatise relating to the Jews, their Antiquities, Language, etc ".3 It may also be considered characteristic of his fondness for Hebrew that he concludes his magnum opus with the Hebrew notarikon Vm which John Clarke interpreted to stand for the laudatory phrase, fl^WYl "??, " Who is like unto God? And praise unto God." It is also noteworthy that the last letters following upon the Latin inscription which he composed for his own epitaph form another notarikon, K"T*0 ri"57K,4 which may stand for the words -p?K TOttO yiOTl bv " I render thanks for all Thy mercies, and shall recall Thy Truth." Wollaston's unpublished literary remains are, unfortunately, no longer available to us, but we possess ample evidence for his wide Hebrew reading in the footnotes of his The Religion of Nature. One may reconstruct, from the numerous Hebrew references which they contain, the Rabbinical library on which Wollaston was able to draw. It is, however, not always easy to determine the source of a quotation seeing that in many instances all reference to either the title of the book or the name of the author is omitted.5 Even when a reference is given, it mentions, as a rule, only the bare title 1 Mr. Wilfred S. Samuel, in a letter to the present writer, dated 2nd November, 1948, raised the question of Wollaston's possible Jewish contacts in Cambridge. " I like to think," he writes, " that W. W. knew Haham David Nie to in London, but I cannot guess at his Jewish contacts in his early days at Cambridge. He was too late, I fancy, for Isaac Abendana and too early for the Revd. Solomon Lyon. Nor can I call to mind any Jewish converts to Christianity who were scholars whom he is likely to have known." 2 In answer to an inquiry by the present writer dated 13th December, 1948, as to the possible teachers from whom Wollaston learned his rabbinics, the late Dr. Travers Herford wrote : " Now about the chief subject of your letter, i.e. the possible teachers from whom Wollaston learned his Rabbinics. I have not been able to search my library as thoroughly as I should have done when I was younger and physically less infirm. I can only, therefore, offer you a few suggestions in the hope that you might find them useful. In the first place, is it likely that Wollaston had any Jewish teachers at all ? At the time of his mature life there were (so I have always understood) very few Jews in England outside London and what there were, including those in London, were principally engaged in trade and commerce. There may have been a teacher or teachers among them, but I have never heard of one. It seems much more likely to me that Wollaston was self-taught. The works of John Lightfoot, the most distinguished Hebraist and Rabbinist of Wollaston's contemporaries, were accessible to him. So also were the earlier works of the Buxtorfs and others. If Wollaston wished to master Rabbinics as of course he did, he could, by using such helps as these, learn a great deal without any living teacher. I speak with some experience, for that is how I learned what I know of Rabbinics. I never had a teacher except for elementary Hebrew, and even that I learned mostly by myself. I think that Wollaston may have been in a similar case." 3 Cf. John Clarke's Life of Wollaston. Unfortunately Wollaston's literary remains are no longer extant. Sidney Sussex College, as Dr. Erwin I. J. Rosenthal of Cambridge informs me, has preserved no MSS. of his. 4 John Clarke records in his Preface to the seventh and eighth editions of Wollaston's book the epitaphs composed by him for his and his wife's memorials. 5 A few examples will illustrate Wollaston's strange method of quoting. As to the omission of book titles : R. Gedalya ben Solomon Lipsch?tz' Commentary, Ez Shatul, on Albo's Sefer Ha-Ikkarim is quoted as " R. Gedal " ; Joseph Moscato's Commentary, Kol Jehudah, on Jehudah Ha-Levi's Kuzari is referred to as " Muscatus " ; the Biblical Commentaries by Rashi, Abraham Ibn Ezra, Kimhi, Alshek, and Abrabanel are quoted simply by their authors' names. That in itself should occasion no misgivings, but one begins to feel a little anxiety when left in doubt as to the source of quotations given</page><page sequence="8">192 WILLIAM WOLLASTON (1659-1724) or the author's name without troubling to quote " chapter and verse ". Only in three cases out of almost 150 is the reference a precise one.1 Again, in quoting names of books or authors, Wollaston employs the utmost economy. Such names as are given appear in but the scantiest abbreviation.2 One sympathizes with the French and English translators of the notes who made hardly any attempt to trace and check Wollaston's cryptic references.3 One has to realise that the notes were insufficiently prepared for the press,4 and that the severe criticism they met from several quarters is largely deserved.5 At the same time, there is a disarming charm about the infor in the name of Abrabanel and Ibn Ezra. Does Wollaston refer to Abrabanel's Commentary on the Bible or to its frequently quoted Commentary Nahalat Abot on the Pirke Abot ? As to Ibn Ezra, which of his works is the source of the quotation, the Biblical Commentary or some other work ? As to the omission of authors' names : Elijah ben Vidas' Reshit Hokmah is invariably quoted without giving the author's name. A reference to the author occurs once when the name of the book is in turn omitted. As a rule, Wollaston is content to mention either the name of the book or of the author. He regards it obviously a waste of time to mention both. In most cases, the identity of the author is, of course, apparent from the name of the book quoted. 1 On page 69, note a : Albo b.2.c.i9 ; on p. 71, n.h. : Mor. nebok. 3. 12 ; on p. 176, n.a : Rashi, Gen. xliv, 10. 2 A few examples will suffice : S.B. (p. 13, n. a) obviously stands for " Sefer Bereshit " ; S. Hhas. for Sefer Hasidim ; Nahh. Ab. for Nahalot Abot; Qab. ven. for Kab we-Naki ; Men. hamma. for Menorat Ha-Maor ; etc. etc. As for the abbreviation of authors' names : Ab. Ez. stands for Abraham Ibn Ezra ; R. Is. Abuh. for R. Israel Aboab ; etc. Unfortunately the identity of the author referred to as " Is. Lev." (p. 213, n. b) cannot be established. 3 Whilst Clarke leaves Wollaston's references to Hebrew sources in their abbreviated and often abstruse manner of quotation, de la Faye, the orientalist responsible for the translation of the notes in Garrigue's French edition, at least spells, in many cases, the names in full and in footnotes of his own, at times indicates the author. Thus he gives Joseph Albo as the author of" Le Livre des Articles Saadias Gaon as author of" Le livre Emunah ", Abouaf as author of " Menorat hamaor ". To Rashi he applies the name " Rabbi Salomon Jarchi ", a mistake which was rather common and dates back to the sixteenth century (see JE, Vol. X, p. 324). Occasionally he also indicates the chapter from which Wollaston derived his quotation. Thus, he correctly indicates Mishnah Berakot IX as the source for Wollaston's reference on p. 104 (p. 177 in Garrigue's edition of 1726). He seems to be particularly at home with Maimonides' Moreh Nebukim, seeing that he is able to trace Wollaston's frequent quotations from that work. But apart from this, no serious effort is made to check the Hebrew references in Wollaston's Notes. 4 In fairness to the author, it has to be pointed out that the book was not originally intended for a wider public. According to the " Advertisement " prefixed to the 1724 (anonymous) edition, " A few copies of this book, tho not originally intended to be published, were printed off in the year 1722, but, it being transcribed for the press hastily, many errata and mistakes got into it, which could not all be presently observed." In view of " some talk of a piratical design " upon the extant copies of the book, the author " thought fit to reprint it himself, more correctly ". Cf. also the concluding paragraph of the work (p. 218) where it is said distinctly, " I have also printed a few copies of this Sketch, not with any design to make it public, but merely to save the trouble of transcribing." It has also to be borne in mind that the book is addressed to one who had expressed a desire to hear the author's thoughts on the subject, and was likely to appreciate the notes even in their incomplete state. Wollaston is quite explicit on this point when addressing his friend in these terms : "At the foot of the page I have in some places subjoined a few little strictures principally of antiquity, after the manner of annotations : such as, when I came to revise these sheets, I could recollect upon the sudden (in a footnote : Some more were added in the second impression) ; having no commonplace book to help me, nor thought of any such thing before that time. They may serve sometimes a little to explain the text ; and sometimes to add weight; but chiefly to divert you, who know very well how to improve any the least hint out of the Ancients, and I fear will want to be diverted." 5 One need not take too seriously the rude remarks made by John Clarke, Master of the Public Grammar School in Hull, in his An Examination of the Notion of Moral Good and Evil (pp. 2-3) : " The Latin and Greek Quotations are generally very little to the purpose. But what he could mean by his frequent Quotations from the Rabbinical Writers, especially upon such a subject, unless it was to make a Parade of his great Reading in a sort of Authors remarkable for nothing but Stupidity and Lying, must be the Wonder of every Man of Sense that reads him. He knew very well what kind of Character the Rabbis have amongst the learned, and how well they deserve it, and must be sensible, tho' their Character was the reverse of what it is, how little to the Purpose of his Readers it was to trouble them with Quotations, they would none of them, or not one in ten thousand understand." Garrigue (loc. cit., pp. 411-12) quotes this malicious attack and takes up the cudgels on behalf</page><page sequence="9">WILLIAM WOLLASTON (1659-1724) 193 mality and almost privacy of these notes in which Wollaston's associative memory rather than purposive research is at work. Though meant for the sake of illustration rather than argument, they reveal, at the same time, the sources and background of his thinking. Above all, they make it strikingly clear how deeply he is steeped in Rabbinic literature, and how familiar he is with its very idiom of expression. Sen? tences in the vernacular are freely interspersed with Rabbinic phraseology and, in one case, the whole note consists in the curt yet allusive formula y*y* Vwa, employed in the manner of Abraham Ibn Ezra.1 Fortunately, we have been able to trace the exact sources of the greater part of Wollaston's Hebrew references,2 and thus to make possible a correct estimate of his Rabbinic scholarship and its influence on his thinking. Wollaston's Hebrew References.?There is nothing particularly striking about Wollaston's quotations from the Hebrew Bible of which there are altogether twelve, drawn from Genesis, Deuteronomy, Kings, Jeremiah, Psalms, and Proverbs. But our interest is immediately aroused when we find him quoting on two occasions the Targum Onkelos and, in many instances, some of the medieval commentators on the Bible. He is familiar with Rashi, and also knows the Commentaries of Abraham Ibn Ezra, David Kimhi, Levi ben Gerson, Isaac Abrabanel, and Moses Alshek. He quotes Ibn Ezra's interesting observation " that rDK m Hebrew is to will, in Arab, to nill (though in Arab the word is written ?ox) * and in another place, that the same word even in the same language sometimes signifies *DDm a thing and its contrary ". The quotation is given in support of his theory that " Words are but arbitrary signs of our ideas " whereas facts (i.e. actions) 44 are the very conception of the mind brought forth ", and therefore, 44 the most natural and express representations of them." 3 One single quotation is from Kimhi's Commen? tary, and another from Levi ben Gerson's interpretation of Exodus in, 17. Abrabanel is cited six times in all. In one instance Wollaston quotes him in support of the idea that the precept of honouring parents is cc commonly following, or rather adhering to that of worshipping the Deity ". In a footnote he remarks that46 We indeed usually divide the two tables of Moses's law so, that the fifth commandment (Honour thy father and thy mother) falls in the second : but the Jews themselves divide them otherwise ". After mentioning the views of Philo and Josephus, he continues, " Abrabanel reckons the fifth commandment the last of the first table : and says their Hhakamim do so : and in the offices of that nation these commandments are mentioned as written ntP?n ntP?ri mmVn 4 From Alshek's Commentary he quotes a brief remark on Gen. xxvi, 8. In addition to the exegetical works mentioned, he cites, in two instances, the commentary on Proverbs called Kab we-Naki (xxn, 6 ; xxx, 19). From the quotations listed we may draw the inference that Wollaston made use of at least two different editions of the so-called 44 Rabbinic Bible ". He must have had recourse to the first edition of this type which was published by Felix Pratensis of Wollaston and the Rabbis. His apologia will be referred to in another context. But even he could not help criticizing the Notes as partly useless, almost in their entirety badly digested, and lacking in preciseness of quotation. He complains that passages are cited without naming their sources, and that furthermore, authors5 names are almost in every instance unrecognizable through abbreviation. 1 p. 120, n. e. 2 A table of Wollaston's Hebrew References and, where traceable, of their sources is set out in an Appendix to the present paper. 8 pp. 12-13. 4 p. 164.</page><page sequence="10">194 WILLIAM WOLLASTON (1659-I724) at Venice in 1517-18, and was the only one to contain the commentary Kab we-Naki on Proverbs.1 He must also have used one of the B?mberg editions of the Bible which contained Ibn Ezra's Commentary on the Tor ah (absent from the afore-mentioned edition). He may have consulted the Basle edition of 1618-19, arranged by the elder Buxtorf. Levi ben Gerson's Commentary on the Torah he could have known only from the Mantua edition of 1476-80. For the Biblia Rabbinica published at Amsterdam which contains this Commentary commenced to appear only as late as 1724, the year in which Wollaston's book was published. Alshek's commentary, called Torat Mosheh, he obviously knew in the Venice edition of 1601. The only grammatical work quoted by Wollaston is Elijah Levita's Tishbi, a dictionary of 712 difficult words, which he may have used either in the Basle edition of 1529 or in the Hebrew-Latin one of 1541, arranged by the Christian Hebraist Paul Fagius. We now turn our attention to Wollaston's quotations from Mishnah, Talmud, and halakic works. Being familiar with Rabbinic Hebrew, he had no need to resort to the Latin translation of the Mishnah which Surenhusius had brought out in Amsterdam (1698-1703). He seems to have been quite at home with the tractate Abot, which by its very nature was able to supply him with the type of ethical maxims required in support of his statements of moral truths. Thus he cites the injunction, "Judge not thy neighbour until thou art come into his place " (Abot 2, 5) in corroboration of his thesis that " Whatever is either reasonable or unreasonable in B with respect to C, would be just the same in C with respect to B, if the case was inverted " whence " it follows that a good way to know what is right or wrong in relation to other men is to consider what we should take things to be were we in their circumstances ".2 There occur in all six quotations from Abot. Wollaston read this tractate?referred to by him as P. Ab(oth)?not only by itself but also with the help of Isaac Abrabanel's lucid commentary, Nahalat Abot (Venice, 1544). He quotes this commentary five times. It served him, incidentally, as a mine of information on Talmudic and Midrashic topics not otherwise accessible to him. Thus the Rabbinic doctrine that " all souls were created in the beginning " is referred to as " an opinion mentioned in Nahh. ab. &amp; al. often ".3 In addition to the afore-mentioned quotations from Abot, we meet five more from other tractates of the Mishnah. Having put the case for the efficacy of prayer in spite of " the order of events, proceeding from the settlement of nature ", he is confident to have answered the statement of the Mishnah in Berakot (9, 3), which calls a man's crying to God over what is past " a vain prayer ". To Wollaston it is not vain at all. He holds that " the prayers which good men offer to the All-knowing God, and tlie neglect of others, may find fitting effect already forecasted in the course of nature ".4 From the Mishnah in Peah (5, 4) he quotes the case of a person rendered poor in a certain situation, though in fact a rich man (ntftP T\T)M&lt;2 "W), which serves him as an illustration of the principle that " In order to judge rightly what any thing is . . . the whole description of the thing ought to be taken in ".5 That the rather intricate and technical tractate Peah should have yielded Wollaston this apt and felicitous quotation testifies to a high degree of familiarity with the Mishnah. Other quotations are taken from Kiddushin (1, 1), Sotah (9, 9), and Abodah zarah (4, 7). 1 Gf. JE, Vol. III, pp. 158-60. 2 p. 129. 3 p. 89, n. c. * p. 104. 5 p. 19.</page><page sequence="11">WILLIAM WOLLASTON (1659-I724) 195 The fact that Wollaston quotes a fair number of Talmudic sayings cannot be taken as evidence of his direct acquaintance with the Talmud. More than once he mentions such dicta in the name of medieval authorities in whose works he found them cited and discussed. In other instances he vaguely refers to them as sayings of " The Jews " or of 44 The Jewish Doctors ". Sometimes no reference to any source is given. We must assume that in all these instances his knowledge of Talmudic lore is derived from medieval sources. Thus, the Talmudic discussion of the problem of Divine Justice?summed up in the phrase mi pHX?is quoted not in the name of the Talmud (b. Berakot yd) but of no less than six medieval authors.1 Certain Talmudic sayings about disciplining one's tongue and 44 other sayings of this kind " he found collected in the work of a medieval moralist.2 Probably his knowledge of the Talmudic phrase snn pt2?V ?cited in another context3 without any reference?is derived from that particular work. He translates it, 44 To throw dust upon a man's reputation by innuendos, ironies, etc.," which is not far removed from the original meaning of the phrase, and has the advantage of happily preserving the metaphor. The Talmudic dictum, " God sitteth and feedeth all, from the horns of the unicorn even unto the eggs of insects " (b. Shabbat lojb)?quoted with the accom? panying reference, 44 as the Jews speak "?4 is obviously known to him from a chapter of a medieval work from which other quotations occur on the same page in the subsequent footnote. We meet with about twenty second-hand citations of Talmudic phrases and statements in Wollaston's book. He is not always impressed with the Rabbinic point-of-view, and does not withhold occasional criticism. Thus he describes the severity with which the Talmudic sages condemn every kind of idle talk as " superstitious preciseness which carries things too far ",5 In another context he approves of the rabbinic principle of 44 erecting a fence around the Law ", but proceeds to qualify his approval : 44 To appoint things as the Jewish Doctors have done, to be rmn*? r^o, or marn p tnan m ,Trnr6 no, would be right if they were judiciously chosen, and not so very particular and trifling." He admits, however, that 44 some of their cautions are certainly just ", and adduces as an example those bearing on sexual relationships.6 Of halakic works Wollaston knows Moses Maimonides' great code, the Mishneh Torah, and Joseph Caro's Shulhan Aruk with Moses Isserles' Supplements. He is particu? larly interested in the former work which must have appealed to him as a systematic and lucid presentation of the entire body of Jewish Law and doctrine. He quotes from it on six occasions : once from Hilkot Deot (6, 8) ; twice from Hilkot Teshubah (3, 14 ; 5, 1, 3) ; three times from Hilkot Tefillah (4, 15 ; 5, 5 ; 5, 9) ; once from Hilkot Berakot (1, 7) and, again, once from Hilkot Ishut (14). It is worth observing that he allows his own views on certain matters of practical import to be influenced by halakic rules which he found laid down in Maimonides' Code. Thus, he suggests that private prayer should be spoken no louder 44 than just to make it audible to our selves ", and remarks in a footnote : 44 This we find often among the Dinim of the Jews." He quotes in support of this statement two passages from Maimonides. The first one (Hilkot Berakot 1, 7) he finds cited and insisted upon by a medieval moralist (R. Eleazar Azkari) ; the second (Hilkot Tefillah 5, 9) he ventures slightly to amend on the basis of its quotation in the Shulhan Aruk (Orah Hayyim 101, 2).7 His other 1 p. i io, n. a. 2 p. 171, n. b. 3 p. 143, n. g. 4 p. 95, n. a. 5 p. 171, n. b. 6 p. 175, n. a. 7 p. 123, n. f.</page><page sequence="12">WILLIAM WOLLASTON (1659-1724) references to the latter work are to Orah Hayyim 98, 1 (concerning devotion in prayer 1 and Eben Ha-Ezer (concerning Jewish marriage laws).2 Of particular interest is Wollaston's acquaintance with the literature of the medieval Jewish moralists. Here he proves himself at home in a region least known to Christian students of Jewish lore. No more convincing evidence of his proficiency in Jewish learning could be found than the fact that he was sufficiently equipped to explore this difficult terrain in which the ethics and ritual of Halakah join hands with mysticism. He is well versed in R. Judah the Hasid's Sefer Hasidim which so faithfully reflects the asceticism and mystical bent of the circle from which it sprang. Of its two recensions?the one printed in Bologna in 1538, the other preserved in a Parma MS. and published as late as 1891-3 by Wistinetzki?he knew, of course, only the first one, possibly in the Cracow edition of 1639, or in David Gr?nhut's Frankfurt edition of 1713. Though an avowed rationalist and by no means a friend of mysticism, he found in this strange book enough that appealed to him as a moral philosopher. He quotes from it nine times. Most of the passages cited paraphrase Talmudic sayings. Another medieval moralist known to Wollaston is Isaac Aboab I, whose famous and popular work, the Menorat Ha-Maor, is referred to twice. A great deal of support for his own moral teachings he found also in Eliezer Azkari's Sefer Haredim which expresses the devotional fervour of the mystics of sixteenth-century Safed. In this book the attempt is made to catalogue, as it were, the six hundred and thirteen precepts of the Torah plus Rabbinic Law with reference to the organs of the human body engaged in the performance of the Mizwot. This may be a queer idea. But Wollaston seems to be impressed by it. For in connection with his discussion of the " Truths belonging to a Private Man ", he makes the following observations : " He must subject his sensual inclinations, his bodily passions, and the motions of all his members to reason ", and adds in a footnote : " The author of S. Hhared reckons eight, the right use of which comprehends all practical religion : the heart, the eye, the mouth, nose, ear, hand, foot, and JTttn ttftCV The duties respecting these are the subject of that (not bad) book." 3 As in the case of the Sefer Hasidim, he ignores the mystical elements of the book, and draws exclusively on ethical and devotional maxims. There are, apart from the general reference we have just noted, seven quotations from it. They deal with marital relations, respect for parents, the sanctity of truth (permitting a white lie only in the furtherance of peace), and devotion in prayer. Similar in kind are his (five) quotations from another, rather more intricate work of the Safed school, i.e. the Reshit Hokmah by Elijah ben Moses De Vidas, a book steeped in kabbalistic thought which Wollaston could not have found easy reading. It is all the more remarkable that he should have been able to draw from it a number of references relevant to his own purposes. We now come to the most important class of Hebrew references in Wollaston's work, i.e. his quotations from medieval Jewish philosophy, a field closely akin to his own domain of rational theology. They clearly prove how intimate was his acquaint? ance with the major works of that branch of literature. Some of those works had been made available to Christian scholars in Latin translations. Johannes Buxtorf II had rendered into Latin the Moreh Nebukim of Maimonides (Doctor Perplexorum, Basle, 1629) and the Kuzari of Judah Ha-Levi (Liber Cosri, Basle, 1660). Wollaston had no need to resort to these translations. Saadya Gaon's magnum opus, the Sefer Ha-Emunot 1 p. 124, n. a. 2 p. 157. 3 p. 169, n. c.</page><page sequence="13">WILLIAM WOLLASTON (1659-1724) 197 We-Ha-Deot, must have been known to him in either the Constantinople edition of 1652 or in the rather poor Amsterdam edition of 1647. He quotes this work four times. Bahya Ibn Pakudah's Sefer Hobot Ha-Lebabot is cited twice. It is impossible to suggest which of the numerous editions of this extremely popular treatise he may have used. We are in a more fortunate position in regard to the Kuzari. From his reference to a remark by Muscatus, we gather that he read the Kuzari in the Venice edition of 1594 which contains Joseph Moscato's commentary, Kol Jehudah. He quotes two passages from the text of the Kuzari itself. Much more frequent are Wollaston's citations of Maimonides' celebrated Moreh Nebukim. They number fourteen in all, and cover substantial elements of Maimonides' theology. But honours are almost evenly shared with Joseph Albo whose Sefer Ha-Ikkarim, the classical work on Jewish dog? matics, is quoted no less than thirteen times. By once referring to " R. Gedal's words ", he betrays the fact that he studied the Sefer Ha-Ikkarim in the Venice edition of 1618 which contains the commentary called Ez Shatul by Gedalyah ben Solomon Lipsch?tz. Finally, our author is at home with Manasseh ben Israel's half philosophic, half mystical treatise Nishmat Hayyim, from which he quotes twice. There is hardly any important topic in Wollaston's exposition of Natural Religion in which the influence of medieval Jewish philosophy does not make itself felt in some degree. A brief analysis of the quotations referred to will substantiate this point. The first Section of his book deals with the nature of moral good and evil. It will be remembered that its main thesis stresses the essential identity of the good and the true. In this connection he quotes in the name of Elijah de Vidas' Res hit Hokmah the pregnant formula, 44 God is called Truth " (n?K K1p2 rr3pn)j which goes back to Albo (Ikkarim II, 27) and, ultimately, to the Talmudic dictum, 44 The seal of the Holy One, blessed be He, is Truth." He finds a kind of parallel to it in Chrysostom who 44 defines truth in the same words which philosophers apply to Deity".1 He adduces support for his notion of truth as the basis of morality also from Maimonides' statement that 44 a good man acts in accordance with the truth for the sake of the truth ",2 and mentions in vindication of the overriding power of truth 44 a passage somewhere in S. Iqqar ". (Cf. Ikkarim II, 28), where it is said 44 that he who worships an Angel 'n rpVttf NIH (as being what he is, the messenger of God) is not guilty of idolatry ".3 In asserting another fundamental principle of morality, that of Free Will, he quotes from Cicero on the one hand, and from Maimonides and Abrabanel on the other.4 In another place, he records Albo's view (Ikkarim IV, 5) that of human actions 44 some are free, some necessary, and some made up of necessity and freedom ".5 In discussing Aristotle's notion of the good as the middle of two extremes, he seems to be impressed by Albo's criticism of it (Ikkarim I, 8), but remarks that the difficulty pointed out had been felt by Aristotle himself and that44 Therefore R. Albo might have spared that censure ".6 Of infinitely greater significance than the more or less casual references noted so far are Wollaston's quotations relating to the subject of the existence, attributes, and providence of God. Here the influence of the medieval Jewish authors bears on the very substance of his thought. His proof for the existence of a First Mover is clearly modelled on the medieval Jewish discussion of Aristotle's and Ibn Sina's arguments. Having quoted Aristotle and his neoplatonic commentator Simplicius, he remarks, that 44 Not only those Arabian philosophers called Hebr. D^IIT?, Arab. 1 p. 15, n. a. 2 p. 15, n. f. 3 p. 14, n. b. 4 p. 7, n. e. 5 p. 64, n. c. 6 p. 25, n. b.</page><page sequence="14">WILLIAM WOLLASTON (1659-i724) JI?Vdd?VKj but many of the elder Jews have agreed with the Greeks in this matter, and added arguments of their own ". He cites at some length the various forms which the demonstration of the impossibility of an infinite series took in a number of Jewish writers such as Saadya, Jehudah Ha-Levi, Maimonides and Albo.1 Strangely enough, he omits all reference to the treatment of the subject by the Christian schoolmen, and mentions only an argument adduced by Justin Martyr.2 In trying to elucidate his point that " an infinite succession of effects will require an infinite efficient, or a cause infinitely effective ", he offers for an illustration the case of " a chain hung down out of the heavens from an unknown height ", and adds in a footnote : " This matter might be illustrated by other similitudes (even nVtpVtf nVspn might serve for one) : but I shall set down one more. ... It occurs in Hhob. halleb. and afterwards in Resh. Hhokm. Suppose a row of blind men, of which the last laid his hand upon the shoulder of the man next before him, he on the shoulder of the next before him, and so on till the foremost grew to be quite out of sight ; and somebody asking, what guide this string of blind men had at the head of them, it should be answered that they had no guide nor any head but one held by another, and so went on, ad infin., would any rational creature accept this for a just answer ? Is it not to say that infinite blindness (or blindness, if it be infinite) supplies the place of sight, or of a guide ? "3 The simile quoted by Wollaston is taken from Bahya's Hobot Ha-Lebabot (i, 2), which, in turn, had borrowed it from Islamic sources.4 It was used in illustration of the contrast between those whose religion rests on the " blind " acceptance of tradition, and those who profess their faith on the basis of philosophic conviction. The former must be guided by the latter. Wollaston, who obviously relished the simile, turned it to good advantage for his own purpose. Having demonstrated the existence of a Prime Mover, Wollaston proceeds to interpret it as " necessary existence " : " A Cause or Being that has in nature no superior cause, and therefore (by the terms) is also unproduced and independent, must be self-existent : i.e. existence must be essential to him ; or, such is his nature that he cannot but be." 5 He derives this concept entirely from medieval Jewish sources, as his references show. After briefly referring to Aristotle, he mentions that " The Arabic philosophers, Maimonides, Albo, &amp; al. pass, teach all that God exists necessarily ". He quotes repeatedly the medieval Hebrew term by which God is designated as nWS?n n^irifc in contradistinction to all other beings who are ntiCSftn ItPDK. He records the classical interpretation of the Tetragrammaton as indicating God's necessary existence. He cites Philo, Abrabanel and Gersonides to this effect, purposely omitting " others who write after the same manner ". As an interesting parallel to the Biblical name of God, he mentions Plutarch's saying that " Thou art " is the most complete appellation of Deity.6 Wollaston does not enter deeply into the medieval discussion of the term " necessary existence " nor does he mention Alfarabi's and Ibn Sina's distinction of essence and existence, which lies at the root of that term. In identifying the uncaused 1 p. 66, n. a ; 67, n. c. 2 p. 66, n. a. 3 p. 67 and note d. 4 Cf. F. Dieterici, Die Philosophie der Araber im X. Jahrhundert, Erster Teil, Einleitung und Makrokos? mos (Leipzig, 1876), p. 90. A. S. Yahuda, in his Introduction to the edition of Bahya's Arabic text (Leiden, 1912), p. no, note 1, points to Luke vi, 39, as the source of Bahya's simile, without noticing the more immediate parallel in the Islamic source mentioned. 6 p. 68. 6 p. 68, n. a.</page><page sequence="15">WILLIAM WOLLASTON (1659-I724) !99 existence of the Prime Mover with necessary existence, he lays himself open to the criticism which Ibn Roshd levelled against Ibn Sina.1 But he does not seem to be aware of the fallacy of this identification. For him, the argument for the existence of a Prime Mover lays the ground also for God's necessary Being. He adds, however, a second argument which, upon closer examination, reveals itself as a curious com? bination of Maimonides' third proof for the existence of God, and Saadya's demon? stration of the impossibility that the world should have created itself. He argues that there must be such a necessary Being, 44 For (beside what has been said already) if there was not at least one such Being, nothing could be at all." 2 His quotation from Maimonides' third proof makes it clear that the nerve of the argument is ontologicai rather than cosmological. 44 Something must be m&amp;PS?n S^ina, otherwise *m rPTV H?"Z But he immediately gives it a new aspect by adding, 44 For the universe could not produce itself, and then produce the rest : because this is supposing a thing to act before it is." He refers to this latter argument as " a very old one " which he found in Saadya and Bahya.4 Unfortunately, it spoils the logical impeccability of the proof to which it is joined. On the other hand, this combining of arguments furnishes striking evidence of Wollaston's familiarity with medieval Jewish authors. Again, the absence of any reference to the Christian schoolmen has to be noted. From God's necessary existence Wollaston derives the notion of His eternity. But what do we mean by eternity ? He makes the point that 44 Adequate ideas of eternity and infinity are above us ", and mentions that 44 Many philosophers there? fore have thought themselves obliged to deny that God exists in time".5 After a reference to Plato and Plutarch, he quotes Maimonides' statement that 44 there can be no relation between Him and time " (Moreh I, 52), and recalls that " Albo has a whole Chapter to show that " He is not subject to time " (Ikkarim II, 18-19). Again, he does not elaborate details such as the definition of time according to Aristotle, which underlies Maimonides' statement, nor is he aware of Crescas' opposition to it. But he makes an interesting observation on Albo's distinction between two kinds of time, one being 44 unmeasured duration, which is conceived only in thought and has perpetual existence, having existed prior to the creation of the world ", and 44 time which is numbered and measured by the motion of the sphere ". The former is called 44 abstract time " (mVttD pTn)&gt; the latter is, in Albo's view designated by the rabbinic expression, "the order of time" (D^?T T70). Albo himself distinctly declares that God is independent of time in both senses, and Wollaston seems to have understood him correctly. But he interprets him to mean that the Rabbis would exempt God only from being subject to the created 44 order of time ", not from participating in " abstract time ", which is, after all, not to be considered 44 true time ". Wollaston feels that such a limitation of the use of the term 44 time " does not help us to clarify the problem of God's relation to time. He finally quotes Albo's saying that 44 we cannot say of God that He is older to-day than He was in the time of David or when He created the world ".6 Wollaston's outline of the attributes of God follows in large measure the medieval Jewish pattern. In demonstrating the unity of God, he mentions that Maimonides 44 having proved that there must be some Being who exists necessarily, or whose * Cf. de Boer, Die Widerspr?che der Philosophie nach Al-Gazzali und ihr Ausgleich durch Ihn Rosd (1894), p. 42 ; Fritz Bamberger, Das System des Maimonides (Berlin, 1935), pp. 29-31. 2 p. 68. 3 ibid. n. b. 4 ibid. n. c. 5 p. 69 and n. a. 6 p. 69, n. a.</page><page sequence="16">200 WILLIAM WOLLASTON (1659-1724) existence is necessary i?ES7 nmM, proceeds from this necessity of existence to derive incorporeity, absolute simplicity, perfection, and particularly unity ",1 Wollaston does likewise. He emphatically states that God is but One, and that his manner of existence is not shared by any other being. " If any other could partake with Him in it, He must ... be deficient and limited." 2 It is remarkable to find Wollaston repeat the stern rejection of any violation of God's Unity which from Saadya onward forms a recurrent theme in medieval Jewish philosophy. Though there is a solitary quotation from Lactantius 3 in support of monotheism, one can hardly reconcile Wollaston's attitude with his supposed faith in the Christian doctrine of the Trinity. Moreover, in the course of his discussion of the nature of God, he emphasizes the point that " there can be no corporeity in God ", and that He " exists in a manner that must be uniform, always one and the same, and in nature un? changeable ".4 He also repudiates every kind of pantheism. God is neither infinite space nor infinite duration.5 He makes a spirited attack on Spinoza, and deplores the fact that " such gross Atheism as this should ever be fashionable ".6 As to the Rabbinic designation of God as "Place" (oipfc), he quotes the saying of ' ' the ancients " which declares that tc God is the place of the world, but the world is not His Place ". He explains that the sentence merely expresses God's " omnipresence and immensity ", though he realizes that " there is a Cabbalistic reason assigned too".7 Wollaston agrees with Maimonides in yet another important aspect concerning the doctrine of Divine attributes. He makes the point that " when we speak of the internal essential attributes of God positively, as that He is omniscient, omnipotent, eternal, &amp;c, the intent is only to say that there is no object of knowledge or power, which He does now know or cannot do, He exists without beginning and end, &amp;c. . . That is, we may speak thus without pretending to comprehend His nature." 8 Here we have clearly a restatement of Maimonides' doctrine of negative attributes, though Wollaston does not distinctly refer to his Jewish source. There are other instances of direct dependence on Maimonides without express acknowledgment. Thus, Wollaston takes care to explain that " When we ascribe mercy to God, or implore His mercy, it must not be understood to be mercy like that which is called com? passion in us ".9 This is an echo of Maimonides' words in Moreh I, 54. These and other instances only illustrate the fact that Wollaston's mind is deeply and often unconsciously saturated with medieval Jewish thought. Wollaston's treatment of the problem of Divine Providence?perhaps the most fascinating part of the book?is, again, largely influenced by Maimonides' discussion of the subject. Like Maimonides, who in this respect follows Aristotle, he sees a Divine Providence at work in the " laws and provisions " of Nature.10 He quotes from Moreh III, 17, the Talmudic statement that " God sitteth and feedeth all, from the horns of the unicorns even unto the eggs of insects ",n which, along with similar Rabbinic sayings, Maimonides explains to mean that Providence takes care of the species of all living creatures, not of their individual members. Wollaston finds no difficulty in associating himself with this interpretation of the purposiveness of Nature as evidence of a general Providence. He is not so sure whether to agree with Maimo? nides that particular cases relating to inanimate or irrational beings such as " a leaf's 1 p. 70, n. c. 2 p. 70. 3 p. 70, n. e. 4 p. 74. 5 ibid. 6 p. 76, n. c. 7 p. 75, n. a. 8 p. 94. 9 p. 115. 10 p. 95. 11 p. 95, n. a.</page><page sequence="17">WILLIAM WOLLASTON (1659-I724) 20I falling from a tree, a spider's catching a flie, etc." are to be regarded as due to pure chance. He wonders how it is possible to separate them in every instance from the cases of rational beings. Moreover, he considers it difficult to comprehend what mp?, perfect accident, is.1 Having strongly asserted, and amply illustrated, the " fact " that there is a general Providence at work in the universe, Wollaston poses the question " how to account for that providence which is called particular ; or that which respects (prin? cipally) particular men ".2 Like Maimonides, he takes it as certain that there is such a Providence, seeing that " rational beings and free agents are capable of doing and deserving well or ill ".3 But whilst Maimonides makes the degree of providential care dependent on a man's measure of intellectual perfection, and makes allowance, in exceptional cases, for the suspension of natural laws by way of miracle,4 Wollaston is concerned to explain the operation of particular Providence within the framework of general Providence. " If a good man be passing by an infirm building, just in the article of falling, can it be expected that God should suspend the force of gravitation till he is gone by, in order to his deliverance ; or can we think it would be increased, and the fall hastened, if a bad man was there, only that he might be caught, crushed and made an example ? .... In short, may we expect miracles ?"5 Wollaston men? tions that " some have talked to this purpose ". He quotes Albo and Abrabanel, and records in the name of Isaac Aboab a statement which goes back to Nahmanides : it expresses the view that " the good or evil which happens to a man in this world by way of reward or punishment is in fact due to the operation of a miracle, and repre? sents a mystery, notwithstanding the impression that it happens in the natural course of things ".6 Wollaston does not accept this view-point. He suggests that " It is not impossible that such laws of nature, and such a series of causes and effects may be originally designed that not only general provisions may be made for the several species of beings, but even particular cases, at least many of them, may also be provided for without innovations or alterations in the course of nature ". He realizes that " this amounts to a prodigious scheme ", but considering " what a Being God is, incomprehensibly great and perfect ", one cannot deny " such an adjustment of things to be within His power ".7 Again falling back upon Maimonides, Wollaston makes it clear that God's manner of knowing must be " different from and infinitely transcending all the modes of apprehending things, which we know anything of".8 He quotes Maimonides' words to this effect,9 and mentions his striking utterance that " To attempt to comprehend the manner of God's knowing is the same as to endeavour to be ourselves God ".10 As to the possibility of God foreknowing things without abolishing the freedom of the will, he once more relies on Maimonides' solution of the problem. After quoting from Moreh III, 20, he adds, " Much might be inserted upon this subject (out of Abarb. particularly) which I shall omit." 11 Wollaston is at pains to show that his concept of Providence does not preclude the efficacy of prayer. God foreknows the petitions of man, and designs the course of happenings accordingly. " Thus the prayers which good men offer to the All-knowing God, and the neglect of others, may find fitting effect already forecasted in the course of nature." 12 He quotes Albo's statement that Prayer " is a branch growing out of the notion of Providence ", and that " Every one who believes in Providence must 1 p. 95, n. b. 2 p. 98. 3 ibid. 4 Gf. Moreh Nebukim III, 18-19 ; II, 29. 5 p. 99. 6 p. 99, n. e. 7 p. 103. 8 p. 101. 9 p. 101, n. e. 10 p. 102, n. a. 11 p. 102, n. b. 12 p. 104.</page><page sequence="18">202 WILLIAM WOLLASTON (1659-I724) believe that prayer will help and save him from misfortune ".1 But he also records the saying of the Sefer Hasidim 44 that we should not pray for the impossible, or that which is contrary to nature, or the unseemly, or that God should change the world by way of miracle ".2 Having concluded his arguments for a particular Providence, Wollaston enters into a discussion of the old problem of theodicy. How can belief in a Divine Provi? dence be upheld when we see " that things do not seem to be dealt with according to reason, virtuous and good men very oft labouring under adversity, pains, persecutions, whilst vicious, wicked, cruel men prevail and flourish " ? 3 Wollaston mentions that 44 The Jews, who call this case niDl STCH lb SHI p*HE5 have written many things about it". He refers to the Moreh Nebukim, Sefer Ha-Ikkarim, Menorat Ha-Maor, and Nahalat Abot.* He adds, 44 So have the Heathen philosophers too : Seneca, Plutarch, Plotinus, Simplicius." He does not find the answers of either always just. Thus he cannot agree with the Talmudic answer (quoted in the name of Sefer Hasidim and Menorat Ha-Maor) which is summed up in the formula V? pn-js STEH p p'HE-5 He is more in sympathy with the suggestion that sufferings endured by the righteous are in the nature of a test. But he thinks that the way of solving the problem by reference to ni?Ettn Vll1?} (metempsychosis) or what the Kabbalists call TD^, " is worst of all." He quotes this particular solution from Manasseh ben Israel's Nishmat Hayyim.6 Among the answers advanced by Wollaston himself is one which he cites in the name of Abrabanel, but which, in fact, derives from the Talmud. He paraphrases the Talmudic statement, *inK pTl ?VlttHj by saying that44 Men ought to be considered as members of families, nations, mankind, the universe, from which they cannot be separated : and then from the very condi? tion of their being it will appear that . . . the innocent cannot but be sometimes involved in general calamities or punishment, nor the guilty but share in public prosperities ".7 In a previous context he agrees with Maimonides that 44 There are not more evil than good things in the world, but surely more of the latter ".8 Wollaston's doctrine of the human soul is, again, indebted to the Jewish philo? sophers. Having demonstrated the absurdity involved in the assumption of a thinking matter,9 he examines the suggestion that the soul is a mere faculty of thinking, super added to certain systems of matter. He dismisses this theory as well, and insists that the soul is a spiritual substance. He argues that if the faculty of thinking were con? sidered inherent in a material substance, that faculty would have to be considered as the substratum of further faculties such as reflecting, comparing, judging, willing, and many more, comprising the sum total of the psychic functions. These latter faculties would thus be in the nature of faculties of a faculty, which cannot be admitted.10 The reason why this cannot be admitted is not elaborated in the text. But two footnotes illumine the background of Wollaston's thought. One refers to a statement by Locke,11 the other to one by Saadya,12 who refuted the Kalam doctrine of the soul by using against it the very notion of the Kalam that an accident cannot be the substratum of another accident.13 There is reason to believe that Wollaston's treatment of the problem of the soul I p. i2i, n. a. 2 p. 120, n. f. 3 p. no. 4 p. no, n. a. 5 ibid. 6 ibid. 7 p. 113 and n. f. 8 p. 71, n. h. 9 pp. 186-9. 10 PP- J89-i93. II p. 191, n. a. 12 p. 192, n. a. 13 Cf. Saadya Gaon, The Book of Doctrines and Beliefs, ed. Alexander Altmann (Oxford, 1946), p. 142, n. 8.</page><page sequence="19">WILLIAM WOLLASTON (1659-I724) 203 was greatly stimulated by a perusal of Manasseh ben Israel's treatise on the subject. His insistence on the soul being a substance, not an accident, echoes the elaborate exposition of this theme in the second chapter of the Nishmat Hayyim. There is, in addition, a lengthy quotation from the first chapter of that work relating to 44 that fine body in which the soul is clothed, and from which it is never separated, accord? ing to an old tradition He adds that " Saadias long before him joins to the soul pi ; which he says is D^VlVin p (*]T inv) pH, etc." 2 The Saadya passage referred to also occurs in the Nishmat Hayyim (II, 4), but does not bear the meaning which Wollaston mistakenly attributes to it. Saadya does not " join " a subtle body to the soul but conceives the soul itself to be a bodily substance, only " finer, clearer, purer, and simpler than the substance even of the celestial spheres ".3 Manasseh ben Israel, however, does suggest that the spiritual substance of the soul has for its vehicle a subtle material body which remains united with it even after death. This notion of a 44 spiritual body " seems to be derived from the neoplatonic concept of pneuma as a kind of mediator between body and soul. Wollaston himself quotes a passage from Hierocles, the neoplatonic teacher at the school of Alexandria, who distinguished between our mortal body and the fine, spiritual (pneumatic) body which communicates life to the former.4 He adopts this notion from Hierocles and, particularly, from Manasseh ben Israel, in whose Nishmat Hayyim he found " much concerning that fine body in which the soul is clothed ",5 and he does so for two reasons. Firstly, it helps him to explain the survival of the soul long after its separation from the body : there still remains, connected with the soul, some kind of body, i.e. that 44 fine vehicle " which prevents death from reducing the soul to a state of abolute insensi? bility and inactivity.6 Secondly, it offers a solution to the problem as to how the soul, being a spiritual substance, can act upon the material body. Wollaston seems to disregard both Descartes' theory of " vital spirits " as a medium of contact between body and soul, and the famous doctrine of the 66 two clocks " which Geulincx had invented and which Malebranche had further developed. He revives, instead, the concept of a " fine body " and interprets it as " some refined and spirituous vehicle, which the soul doth immediately inform ; with which it sympathizes ; by which it acts, and is acted upon ; to which it is vitally and inseparably united ".7 Finally, Wollaston draws on Jewish sources in describing the " difference of human souls with respect to perfection and imperfection ". It lies, in his opinion,44 in their different degrees and habits of reasonableness or unreasonableness." 8 He remarks that 44 The Jews, who generally say that by the practice of religion the soul acquires perfection and life eternal, lay such a stress upon habits of piety that R. Albo makes the effect of giving 1,000 zuzin in charity at once by no means equal to that of giving one zuz and repeating it 1000 times ".8 His last Hebrew quotation relates to the immortality of the soul achieved by piety and reason. It blends into a strange unity the view-points held by traditionalists and rationalists respectively. Whoever the author may have been to whom Wollaston refers as 44 Is. Lev.", the sentence he quotes in his name admirably reflects his own attitude of faith in Reason and a godly life. Translated into English, the sentence runs as follows : 44 He who fulfils the commandment of God will achieve good understanding (sekel tob), and the reward p. 197, n. a. p. 197, n. a. ibid. ibid. pp. 196-9. Gf. Saadya, loc. cit., p. 146. P- 197 p. 213. p. 213, n. a.</page><page sequence="20">204 WILLIAM WOLLASTON (1659-1724) of true understanding is the survival of the soul after the body has perished, its attachment to the Active Intellect (!), and the enjoyment of Life everlasting." 1 It will have become evident from the foregoing account how closely Wollaston, the English Deist, is related to Wollaston, the Rabbinic scholar, and how much the former is indebted to the latter. No other figure in English Deism shows a similar acquaintance with, and appreciation of, the legacy of Jewish thought. Culverwell, in his treatise on " The Light of Nature " (1652), is outspokenly hostile and mis? informed. In his view, the Jews, like the sceptics, cast doubt on all the conclusions of philosophy, Hmiting certainty to what he calls 44 an oriental tradition, a Rabbinical dream, a dusty manuscript, a remnant of antiquity, a bundle of testimonies ",2 He has obviously never heard of Maimonides. Bishop Butler, in his famous 44 Analogy of Religion " (1736), speaks of Judaism as a manifestation of 44 natural religion ",3 but does not draw on Hebrew sources at all. Others seem to disregard Judaism altogether. It was left to Wollaston's great Hebrew learning to introduce the Jewish legacy into English Deism. The peculiar position which he holds within that move? ment of thought, and which has been analysed earlier, is in no small measure determined by the Jewish element in his thinking. While Wollaston's Rabbinic scholarship is a unique phenomenon in English Deism, it should cause little astonishment if viewed against the background of seventeenth-century Rabbinic learning amongst Christian savants and divines. The pioneering work which the Buxtorfs, father and son, had performed in opening up the study of Rabbinics to Christian scholarship had borne rich fruit. It had stimu? lated research in the rabbinic field not merely as an adjunct to biblical exegesis but for its own sake. The Christian Hebraists of the sixteenth century?men like Sebastian Muenster, Paul Fagius, and Edward Lively?had studied the Hebrew language and the classical rabbinic commentators of the Bible chiefly with the purpose of vindicating the Christian interpretation of Holy Writ.4 Others of a more humanistic bent of mind like Joseph Scaliger (1540-1609) and Isaac Casaubon (1559-1614) were interested in medieval rabbinic literature chiefly as a key to Arabian philosophy.5 But the position is changed in the seventeenth century. The elder Buxtorfs Bibliotheca Rabbinica, and his son's Latin translations of Rabbinic classics had focussed attention on the rabbinic legacy as such. In France, Jean Plantavit (1576-1651) had composed his gigantic Thesaurus Synonymus Hebraico-Chaldaico Rabbinicus, and also published a Florilegium Rabbinicum. In Holland, Peter Cunaeus?a disciple of the famous Johann Drusius (1550-1616)?had written an elaborate work, De Republica Hebraeorum, which met with widespread interest, was published in several editions, and appeared, with valuable annotations by Johann Nicolai, in a Leyden edition (1703). In Ger? many, orientalists like Wilhelm Schickard, Johann F. Frischmuth, and Johann H. 1 p. 213, n. b. 2 Cf. Hunt, loc. cit., Vol. II, p. 336. 3 Cf. Joseph Butler, The Analogy of Religion II, vii, 49 (ed. W. E. Gladstone, Oxford, 1895, p. 306). 4 Cf. Erwin I. J. Rosen thai, Sebastian Muenster's Knowledge and Use of Jewish Exegesis, in " Essays in honour of the Very Rev. Dr. J. H. Hertz " (1942), p. 352 ; Siegfried Stein, Phillipus Ferdinandus Polonus, ibid, pp. 397 ff. ; Erwin I. J. Rosenthal, Edward Lively : Cambridge Hebraist, in " Essays and Studies Presented to S. A. Cook " (ed. D. Winton Thomas (1950), pp. 95 ff. 5 Cf. Isaaci Casauboni Epistolae insertis ad easdem responsibus, Rotterdam, 1709, Letter 972 (written in I59I)&gt; PP? 568~9&gt; where he asks a friend to procure for him the Venice edition of the Biblia Hebraica and also Kimhi's " Michlal et Liber Schoraschim " and, at the same time, confesses that his aim in studying these works is not " ut Hebraeos Rabbinos intelligam . . . sed ut harum ope Arabicam intelli gere queam ".</page><page sequence="21">WILLIAM WOLLASTON (1659-I724) 205 Majus 1 made their contributions to the elucidation of rabbinic thought. In England brilliant work was done by Edward Pococke (i 604-1691) and John Lightfoot (1602 1675). Pococke's Porta Mosis (1655) made Maimonides' Commentary on the Mishnah available in the original Arabic text (in Hebrew characters) side by side with a Latin translation. Lightfoot's Horae Hebraicae et Talmudicae was another remarkable piece of scholarship. A veritable tradition of Rabbinic Studies had been created at continental and English universities. Already at about the middle of the seventeenth century, scholars were conscious of this tradition. Thus, John Seiden, in the Preface to his great treatise, De Jure Naturali et Gentium Juxta Disciplinam Ebraeorum (1665), could write with appreciation of the labours of his predecessors in the field of Rabbi nics.2 That tradition had been enriched and greatly enhanced in prestige by the time Wollaston wrote his works at the beginning of the eighteenth century. That he eagerly absorbed its spirit may be gauged by the fact that among his literary remains ?unfortunately lost to us?there were manuscript treatises on subjects closely allied to Rabbinics. Though we are not in a position to assess their degree of scholarship, we may, from our knowledge of the book we have analysed, safely assume a high level of achievement. Wollaston inherited not only the tradition of Rabbinic learning which we have referred to, but yet another tradition closely allied to it. We may call it the tradition of respect for, and even veneration of, Maimonides. When Wollaston's critic, John Clarke, Master of the Public Grammar School at Hull, wrote his scurrilous attack upon the Rabbis,3 Garrigue was able to rebut it by cataloguing a whole list of Christian scholars who had eulogized Maimonides and other rabbinical authors.4 " One has to be pretty well a newcomer to the Republic of Letters to ignore the merit of the Rabbis cited by Mr. Wollaston," he scathingly remarks. Clarke had pretended that amongst the scholars the Rabbis had a bad reputation. " I do not know," Garrigue retorts, " to which scholars Clarke refers. If to contemporary ones, I know some of the first order and belonging to several nations respectively, who by no means entertain the notions concerning the Rabbis attributed to them by Clarke. If he wishes to speak of the dead, I will quote for his benefit the testimonies of several famous men of letters who did not write as he did." After describing Maimonides as " the most learned man of the twelfth century ", he mentions without actually quot? ing them the following works in which Maimonides is mentioned : Joseph Scaliger's Letters : 5 Casaubon's Letters : 6 Cunaeus' Republique des Hebreux ; 7 Sontagius' 1 Schickard wrote Mishpat Ha-Melek. Jus Regium Hebraeorum e Tenebris Rabbinicis erutum luci donatum (Strasbourg, 1625) '&gt; Johann Frischmuth published Dissertationes II De Septem Noachi Praeceptis ad Gen. IX, in " Thesaurus Theologico-Philologicus sive Sylloge Dissertationum Elegantiorum ad Selectiora et Illustriora Veteris et Novi Testamenti loca " (Amsterdam, 1701). 2 Cf. loa cit., pp. 34-5. 3 Cf. above, p. 192, n. 5. 4 Cf. Garrigue, Ebauche de la Religion Naturelle par Mr. Wollaston, Traduite de PAnglois, avec un Supplement, et autres Additions considerables, A la Haye, 1726, pp. 411-12. 5 Cf. Iosephi Scaligeri Epistolae, Lugduni Batavorum (Leyden), Letter 62, pp. 193-7 : " Moreh Ha-Nebukim non potest satis laudare. Ego non tantum ilium librum sed etiam omnia illius Magistri opera tanti facio, ut solum ilium inter Iudaeos desiisse nugari dicam." 6 Cf. Casaubon, loc. cit., Letter 433 (1605), p. 231 : " Incomparabilis Rabbenu Mosis Maimonis filii Moreh Nebukim." Letter 439 (1605), p. 234 : "... quam ut in nugis Rabbinorum tempus perdes. E quorum puridissimis scriptis paucos Magistros excipio, et omnium maximum Mosern Rambam, quem ego cum paucis demiror sic, ut nihil supra." Garrigue refers to Letter 24 only. But no mention of Maimonides can be found there. 7 Cf. Cunaeus, De Republica Hebraeorum Libri Tres (Leyden, 1703), Book i, ch. 2, pp. 22-3 : " Est in admiratione hominum scriptor maximus, Rabbi Moses Ben Maimon, is, qui Talmudicam doctrinam sepositis nugamentis feliciter complexus est divino illo opere, quod ipse Mishneh Tor ah appellat."</page><page sequence="22">2o6 WILLIAM WOLLASTON (1659-1724) Titres des Psaumes ; 1 Drusius' Opuscules ; 2 Schickard's Du Droit des Hebreux ; 3 Glassius' Rhetorique Sacree ; 4 Frischmuth's Dissertation i of the Sept Preceptes de Noe ; 5 Samuel Petit's Observations * A thousand others, he says, could be added to this list.7 This may be exaggerated, but one could easily find more names of illustrious people further to augment this already impressive galaxy of competent witnesses. In Wollaston's own generation, Robert Glavering, Bishop of Peterborough, was an ardent admirer of Maimonides, from whose Mishneh Torah he translated two chapters into Latin.8 He was confident that the memory of Maimo? nides which had hitherto flourished " will continue to flourish for ever ".9 Another contemporary of Wollaston's, the great German philosopher, Leibniz, also shared these sentiments. He speaks of Maimonides as one who 6 fuit in philosophia, mathe maticis, medica, arte, denique, sacrae scripturae intelligentia insignis ".10 This high estimation is by no means confined to Maimonides though he certainly occupies the foreground of interest in the tradition which we have traced in brief outline. Other rabbinic writers such as Albo, Abrabanel, and Manasseh ben Israel also enjoy a position of great repute.11 It should, however, be noted that in many instances admiration for Maimonides and his peers goes hand in hand with ill-concealed disdain for the generality of rabbis. No praise is too high for Maimonides, but it is not infrequently coupled with some derogatory remark about the " pettiness " (nugae) of the rank and file of the rabbis. Maimonides and a handful of others are the exception to the rule, and all the more praiseworthy because they do not conform to the general picture of the Jew. This attitude certainly prevails in Scaliger,12 Casaubon, 13 and a host of others.14 It is, however, not characteristic of Wollaston. Though his occasional remarks concerning the minutiae of Jewish Law15 seem to echo the old prejudice about the " pettiness " of Judaism, his appreciation of the Hebrew legacy is indeed catholic and profound. The astounding range of rabbinic literature on which he draws, and the sympathetic manner in which he enters into its spirit 1 Garrigue's references to this and the following works (except those by Drusius and Frischmuth) could unfortunately not be checked. Garrigue gives p. 96 as the place of reference. 2 Cf. Joh. Drusius the Elder, Opuscula (1609), ch. 49. 3 No reference given. 4 Preface. 5 Cf. Frischmuth, loc. cit., Dissertation I, p. 154 : " Praestat tarnen hie R. Maimonidem disseren tem audire, qui eruditorum diver bio ineptire desiit." In discussing the question whether the Noachian laws?said to conform to the Law of Nature?were given by Divine Revelation or whether they had been implanted in man's reason at his creation, he mentions that the rabbis had assumed the first alternative whilst Maimonides had decided in favour of the second. At least, this is how he interprets Maimonides : " Quanto rectius, silente Scriptura, posterior sensus admitti debere videtur, quem Rabbinorum coryphaeum Maimonidem perspexisse haud obscure ex eo colligere est, dum ait: \vb ntau njnn, Naturalis ratio illuc inclinat. Item njnn V^on, Naturalis ratio suadet." ? Book III, ch. 2. 7 loc. cit., p. 412. 8 Cf. Robert Clavering, R. Mosis Maimonidis Tractatus duo: 1. De doctrina legis, sive educatione puerorum. 2. De natura &amp; ratione Poenitentia apud Hebraeos (Oxford, 1705). 9 Quoted by James Townley, The Reasons of the Laws of Moses. From the " More Nevochim " of Maimonides (1827), P* Wl' 10 Cf. A. Foucher de Careil, Leibniz, la Philosophie Juive et la Cabale (Paris, 1861). 11 As to Albo and Abrabanel cf. Garrigue, loc. cit., who refers to Bayle's Dictionary and Buxtorf's Bibliotheca Rabbinica. On Manasseh ben Israel's high reputation cf. Monatsschrift f?r die Geschichte und Wissenschaft des Judentums, Vol. V (1856), pp. 295 ff. 12 Cf. the passage quoted above, p. 205, n. 5. 13 Cf. the passage quoted above, p. 205, n. 6. 14 Cf. the passage from Cunaeus cited above, p. 205, n. 7. 15 Cf. above, p. 195.</page><page sequence="23">WILLIAM WOLLASTON (1659-1724) 207 raise him far above those whose cult of Maimonides was somehow in the nature of a double-edged sword. This third tradition to which Wollaston is heir goes back to the Renaissance concept of the essential unity underlying all human thought and justifying the hope in a common religion of the future. The essence of the Divine, so that concept implied, manifests itself not in one particular religion but in the totality of revelations granted to mankind. This universal theism is shared by men like Marsilius Ficinus, Erasmus of Rotterdam, Thomas Morus, and Jean Bodin.1 It survived into the seventeenth century among a group of thinkers who resisted the revival of theo? logical dogmatism instituted by the Reformers,2 and many of whom were attracted to Jewish thought as a vehicle of a more " natural" type of religion.3 Judaism seemed to enter into a kind of prestabilized harmony with Natural Law (Hugo Grotius ; John Seiden ; Johann Frischmuth) 4 or with Natural Religion (in some of the Cambridge Platonists).5 Even a superficial glance at the writings of these men reveals their basic concept of universal truth. For it is indeed symbolic of their belief in the essential oneness of the human mind that they delight in quoting, almost on every page, the classical Greek and Latin authors side by side with patristic and rabbinic authorities. One has to view Wollaston's fondness for trilingual quotations against the background of this seventeenth-century humanist tradition. The simi? larity is indeed striking when one compares Wollaston's Notes with the copious annotations in works like Selden's De Jure Naturali, etc., or Henry More's Defence of the threefold Cabbala. Even the names of authors and books we meet in More's treatise seem to be identical with those familiar from Wollaston's work,6 although it is true that the latter's range of Hebrew knowledge is incomparably larger. Nor can it be said of Wollaston that he shared the Cambridge Platonists' view that " Pytha? goras and Plato had their Philosophy from Moses ". That " credible fame " 7 was a legacy from the Middle Ages which, in turn, had inherited it from Jewish Hellenistic and Christian Patristic writers.8 More was still naive enough to believe that a complete identity of view prevailed between the cabbalist interpretation of the Bible and his own neoplatonic-Cartesian philosophy. " Wherefore the Cartesian philosophy being in a manner the same with that of Democritus, and that of Democritus the same with the physiological part of Pythagoras his philosophy, and Pythagoras his philo? sophy the same with the Sidonian (cf. Vossius, De Hist. Graec. lib. 3 ; Strabo, lib. 16 : Moschus a Sidonian), as also the Sidonian with the Mosaical ; it will necessarily follow that the Mosaical philosophy in the physiological part thereof is the same with the Cartesian." 9 One will readily agree that the passion for unity of belief could not 1 Cf. Ernst Gassirer, Die Philosophie der Aufkl?rung (T?bingen, 1932), pp. 182-8 ; Wilhelm Dilthey, Gesammelte Schriften (Leipzig and Berlin, 1921), Vol. IL 2 Cf. Cassirer, loc. cit. 3 Gf. Alexander Altmann, "Judaism and World Philosophy," in The Jews?Their History, Culture, and Religion, edited by Louis Finkelstein (New York, 1949), vol. i, pp. 650-660. 4 Cf. Hugo Grotius, The Rights of War and Peace, Transl. by A. C. Campbell (1814), Book I, ch. 1, 10, 15, 16, 18 ; Seiden, loc. cit. ; Frischmuth, loc. cit. 5 Gf. Henry More, The Defence of the Threefold Cabbala (1662). 6 The following is a short list of such names : Aristotle, Metaphysic ; Plotinus, Enneads ; Plutarch, De hide et Osiride ; Lucretius, De Natura rerum ; Philoponus, Metaphysic ; Philo Judaeus ; Justin Martyr, Protrepticus ; Augustine, De Civitate Dei ; Lactantius, Divina Justitia ; Maimonides, Moreh Nebukim ; Manasseh ben Israel. 7 More, loc. cit., p. 54. 8 Cf. Altmann, loc. cit., p. 626. 9 More, loc. cit., pp. 99-104.</page><page sequence="24">208 william wollaston (1659-1724) be indulged in to greater excess. Here everybody seemed to agree with everybody. Maybe it was the exorbitant price paid for the longing after religious unity in an age split into such a multitude of religious sects. Wollaston is altogether of a different frame of mind. His outlook is sober and factual. His grasp of relationships in the history of philosophy is clear and unbiased. Yet his predilection for putting side by side the classical pagan and the Jewish Christian writers is strangely reminiscent of the more uncritical humanists of the seventeenth century, and betrays his kinship with the Renaissance tradition of which he was one of the last outposts in an age rapidly moving away from the larger vista of the past. His combination of learning and philosophy struck his contemporaries as a little queer, and perhaps they were right. Yet one should not forget that there is more in his Latin, Greek, and Hebrew quotations than meets the eye. It is a silent affirmation of the humanist's faith in the essential oneness of the human race, and does not ill fit a man who was both a Deist and a rabbinic scholar. APPENDIX Wollaston's Hebrew References Traced to their Sources The figures and small letters in the left column indicate the page and footnote containing the reference. (The pagination is identical throughout the first six editions of Wollaston's The Religion of Nature Delineated. The last three editions, which contain John Clarke's English translation of the Notes, have a different pagination.) The second column reproduces Wol? laston's references (without the texts quoted by him in either English or Hebrew). The third column indicates, wherever possible, the exact source of the quotation. 7 e Maim. Nahh. Ab. 8 c Prov. ii a Rashi 11 b Alshek 12 b Maim. 12 g ;4?. 2%ra 13 a SJ?. 14 b 5. Iqqar. 15 a TfoyA. hhokm. 15 f Maim. 19 a Tfl/tfz. Afaw. P/tf. 25 b ?. Albo 26 a Maim. 30 c ?. Hhared. Ab. Ezra 30 d 5. i/A&amp;y. Moses ben Maimon, Mishneh Torah, Hilkot Teshubah, V, Isaac Abrabanel, Nahalat Abot. Proverbs vi, 12-13. Rashi, Commentary on the Torah, Gen. xxvi, 8. Moses Alshek, Torat Mosheh on Gen. xxvi, 8. Moses ben Maimon, Mishneh Tor ah, Hilkot Tefillah, V, 5. One of the two phrases quoted occurs in Gen. xxiv, 48, and the other seems to tally with Gen. xvn, 1, the abbreviation should therefore represent " Sefer Bereshit Joseph Albo, Sefer Ha-Ikkarim II, 28 (ed. Husik, 1946, Vol. II, p. 184). Elijah ben Moses Vidas, Reshit Hokmah, evidently quoting from Albo, loc. cit. II, 27 (ed. Husik II, pp. 167, 171) who, in turn, interprets the Talmudic dictum, " The seal of the Holy One, blessed be He, is Truth." (b. Shabbat 55a ; b. Sanhedrin 64a.) Mishnah, Peah V, 4. Albo, loc. cit. I, 8 (ed. Husik I, p. 84). Eliezer Azkari (Azikri), Sefer Haredim, ch. 4. Abraham Ibn Ezra, Commentary on the Torah, Gen. xx, 12. Judah the Hasid, Sefer Hasidim. The reference cannot, however, be traced in the edition of David Gr?nhut (1713), or in that of David Abterode (1724). The first Bologna edition (1538) and the Cracow edition of 1639 were not available for consultation. There is also no trace of the reference in Wistinetzki-Freimann's edition of the Parma Recension (1924). The quotation slightly para? phrases the Talmudic passage, b. Shabbat 105^.</page><page sequence="25">34 b Albo 35 a Ab. Ez. S. Hhas. william wollaston (1659-I724) Albo, loc. cit. I, 8 (ed. Husik I, p. 89). 209 56 a 57 a 57 b 64 c 66 a Prov. Qab. ven. No reference given Prov. R. Albo Mor. Nebok. S. Kozri S. Emunoth Muscatus 67 c S. Iqqar. 67 d Hhob. halleb. Resh. hhokm. 68 a Maimonides Albo Abrabanel R. L. b. Gersh. 68 c S. Emun. Hhob. halleb. 69 a Maimonides Albo R. Gedal Albo b. 2 c. ig 70 c Mor. nebok 71 e Mishn. 71h Mor. nebok. 3, 12. 75 a Thishbi The ancients 87 c P. Ab. 89 c Nahh. ab. R. D. Qimhhi 94 c Maim. 95 a as the Jews speak 95 b Mo. Nebok. 99 c Onq.'s paraphrase Rashi 99 e R. Albo R. Is. Abuh. Sefer Hasidim, ed. Gr?nhut, ch. 666, p. 45a. Also in Wisti netzki-Freimann's edition, ch. 138, p. 63. Proverbs xxn, 6. Kab we-Naki (Commentary on Proverbs), b. Abodah zara 546. Proverbs xiv, 15. Albo, loc. cit. IV, 5 (ed. Husik rv1, p. 35). Moses ben Maimon, Moreh Nebukim I, 73 (ed. M. Fried lander, 1881, I, p. 339). Jehudah Ha-Levi, Sefer Ha-Kuzari V, 18 (ed. D. Cassel. 1869, p. 409). Saadya Gaon, Sefer Ha-Emunot we-Ha-Deot I, 1 (ed. A. Altmann, 1946, p. 56). Joseph Moscato, Kol Jehudah (Commentary on the Kuzari), Venice, 1594, p. 278a. Albo, loc. cit. II, 11 (ed. Husik II, pp. 62, 66). Bahya Ibn Pakudah, Sefer Hobot Ha-Lebabot I, 2 (ed. M. Stern, 1856, p. 36). Elijah ben Moses Vidas, loc. cit. Moses ben Maimon, Moreh Nebukim I, 57 ; II, 1 (ed. Friedlander I, pp. 204 ff. ; II, p. 21). Albo, loc. cit. II, 5, 27 (ed. Husik II, pp. 32 ff., 167). Levi ben Gershom. Saadya Gaon, loc. cit. I, 2 (ed. Altmann, pp. 58-9). Bahya, loc. cit. I, 5 (ed. Stern, p. 40). Moses ben Maimon, Moreh Nebukim I, 52 (ed. Friedlander I, p. 182). Albo, loc. cit. II, 18 (ed. Husik II, pp. 108 ff.). Gedalyah ben Solomon Lipsch?tz, Ez Shatul (Commentary on the Sefer Ha-Ikkarim), Venice, 1618 ; Frankfurt a. d. Oder, 1788, on Ikkarim II, 18. Albo, loc. cit. II, 19 (ed. Husik II, p. 116). Moses ben Maimon, Moreh Nebukim I, 57 (ed. Friedlander I, pp. 203 ff.). Mishnah, Abodah zarah IV, 7. Moses ben Maimon, Moreh Nebukim III, 12 (ed. Friedlander HI, p. 37). Elijah Levita, Tishbi, ed. Paul Fagius, 1541, p. 101. Rashi on Exodus xxxm, 21. Cf. Midrash Rabba, Exodus xlv, 6 ; Midrash Tanhuma, Ki tissa, 27. Mishnah, Abot III, 1. Isaac Abrabanel, loc. cit. David Kimhi. Moses ben Maimon, Moreh Nebukim, I, 54. b. Shabbat loyb, quoted in Moreh Nebukim III, 17. Moses ben Maimon, Moreh Nebukim III, 17 (ed. Friedlander in, P. 75). Targum Onkelos on Exodus ix, 33. Rashi, Commentary on the Tor ah, Exodus ix, 33. Albo, loc. cit. I, 18, 21 ; III, 10 (ed. Husik I, pp. 163, 174 ; III, p. 98). Israel Aboab, Menorat Ha-Maor III, 2, 4, 2, and III, 3, 3, 2-4 expresses, in different words, an identical view-point, which goes back to Nahmanides, Commentary on the Torah, Exodus vi, 2. s</page><page sequence="26">2IO WILLIAM WOLLASTON (1659-1724) 101 a 102 a 102 b 104 a 110 a 113 f 114 c 115 b 117 d 120 a 120 b 120 f Abrabanel Sed. teph. Maim. Maim. Maim. Mishn. mass. Berak. The Jews Mo. nebok. S. Iqqar. Men. hamma. Nahh. ab. S. Hhasid. Nishm. hhaiy. Abarb. pass. Maimonides The Jews S. Hhas. No reference given Chald. par. No reference given S. Hhas. 120 g No reference given 121 a Albo 122 a Maim. S. Hhas. and the like everywhere 123 b Nahh. ab. 123 d Abarb. S. Hhared. quoted out of SeMaK 123 f Maim. R. El. Azquari Maimonides Shulhh. aruk Or hhadash 124 a Or hhaiy. 127 b Psalm 129 d P. Aboth 137 b RJbL 138 e Nahh. Ab. 139 a S. Hhas. 141 e Mishn. 142 1 Prov. Qab venaqi 143 g No reference given 144 a Maim. Abarb. l55 a S. Hhared. Maim, in hilk. ish. Isaac Abrabanel. Seder Tefillah (Shemoneh Esreh). Moses ben Maimon, Moreh Nebukim III, 20. loc. cit. Ill, 21. loc. cit. Ill, 20. Mishnah, Berakot IX, 3. b. Berakot, ja. Moses ben Maimon, loc. cit. Ill, 17-24. Albo, loc. cit. IV, 13-15. Isaac Aboab, loc. cit. VIII, 3, 1, 1-4. Isaac Abrabanel, loc. cit. Sefer Hasidim, ed. Gr?nhut, ch. 164, pp. 13^-140 (ed. Wist. Freidmann, ch. 15, pp. 15 ff.). Manasseh ben Israel, Sefer Nishmat Hayyim IV, 11 (ed. Leipzig, 1862, pp. gyb-gSa). cf. Kiddushin 40a ; Albo, loc. cit. IV, 40 (ed. Husik IV2, p. 388). Moreh Nebukim I, 36. b. Berakot 31^ et passim. Wollaston knew the rule referred to (" The Torah speaketh in the language of man ") from Moreh Nebukim I, 26. Sefer Hasidim. 2 Kings xvii, 41 ; Psalms xcvn, 7 ; Deut. xn, 2. Tar gum Onkelos on Deut. xu, 2. Jer. xxvii, 17. Sefer Hasidim, ed. Gr?nhut, ch. 794, p. 51a (ed. Wist. Freimann, ch. 516, p. 146). b. Yebamot 1056. -. Wollaston may have known the phrase from Sefer Haredim where it is quoted in ch. 4 of the first section. Albo, loc. cit. IV, 1 (ed. Husik IV1, p. 145). Moses ben Maimon, Mishneh Torah, Hilkot Tefillah, IV, 15. Sefer Hasidim, ed. Gr?nhut, ch. 158, p. 13a (ed. Wist. Freimann, ch. 11, pp. 7-9; also chs. 441-3; 1585, pp. 129, 387). Cf. b. Berakot 34^. Isaac Abrabanel, loc. cit. Eliezer Azkari, loc. cit., Mizwot 'Aseh, ch. 4, 50, quoting Isaac ben Joseph of Corbeil, Sefer Mizwot Katan (SeMaK). Moses ben Maimon, Mishneh Torah, Hilkot Berakot I, 7. Eliezer Azkari, loc. cit., Mizwot 'Aseh, ch. 3, 6. Moses ben Maimon, loc. cit. Hilkot Tefillah V, 9. Joseph Caro, Shulhan Aruk, Or ah Hayyim, 101, 2. Joseph Caro, loc. cit. 98, 1. Psalms cix, 11 ; cxxviu, 2. Mishnah, Abot II, 5. R. Joshua ben Levi. Isaac Abrabanel, loc. cit. Mishnah, Sotah IX, 9. Proverbs xxx, 19. Kab we-Naki on Prov. xxx, 19. b. Baba Batra 1650. Moses ben Maimon, Mishneh Torah, Hilkot Deot VI, 8 ; Hilkot Teshubah III, 14. Cf. Mishnah, Abot III, 15. Eliezer Azkari, loc. cit., Mizwot 'Aseh, ch. 7, 8. Moses ben Maimon, Mishneh Torah, Hilkot Ishut XIV.</page><page sequence="27">william wollaston (1659-1724) 211 155 b Resh. hhokm. 155 c! a Jewish commentator 156 a Shulhh. ar. with the ad? ditions of R. Mo. Iserles (Eben ez.) 157 a Resh. hhokm. 163 a S. Hhared. 164 b Abrabanel 164 e Deut. S. Hhar. 166 b R. Elaz. Azq. 169 a in Jewish language 171b no reference given R. El. de Vidas 171 c P. Ab. 175 a the Jewish Doctors 175 b Mishn. 176 a Rashi, Gen. xliv, 10 176 e S. Hhasid. 178 b S. Iqqar. 192 a S. Haemun. 197 a JVishm. hhaiy. Saadias 200 a S. Iqqar. 207 d P. Aboth. 209 e Prov. 211 b S. Iqqar. 213 a R. Albo 213 b Is. Lev. Elijah ben Moses Vidas, loc. cit., quoting from b. Sotah 17a. Joseph Caro, loc. cit., Eben Ha-Ezer, and Moses Isserles' Supplements, passim; the quotation is from Mishnah, Kiddushin I, 1. Elijah ben Moses Vidas, loc. cit. Eliezer Azkari, loc. cit., quoting b. Kiddushin, 306. Isaac Abrabanel, Commentary on the Torah, Venice, 1579, on Exodus xx. Deut. xxxii, 7. Eliezer Azkari, loc. cit. ibid. b. Berakot 170. Midrash Rabba, Leviticus xxvi, 7 ; b. Hagigah $b. Elijah ben Moses Vidas, loc. cit. Mishnah, Abot I, 14. Mishnah, Abot I, 1 ; Berakot I, 1. b. Tamid 32a ; Jonah ben Abraham Gerondi, Shaare Teshubah II, 17, quotes a paraphrase of the statement in the name of Mishnat Derek Erez. Albo, loc. cit. Ill, 23 (ed. Husik III, p. 204), quoting Sifre on Deut. xvn, 11. Saadya Gaon, loc. cit. VI, 1 (ed. Altmann, p. 143). Manasseh ben Israel, loc. cit. I, 13 (ed. Leipzig, p. 22a). Saadya Gaon, loc. cit. VI, 3 (ed. Altmann, p. 145-6). Albo, loc. cit. Mishnah, Abot IV, 21. Proverbs xi, 2. Albo, loc. cit. ibid.</page></plain_text>

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