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PAHLAVI LITERATURE, JEWS IN:

In the "Dinkard."

The Pahlavi or Middle Persian literature, extending approximately from the third to the tenth century C.E., is devoted mainly to the theology of Zoroastrianism. In its polemics, therefore, it naturally mentions and criticizes other religions, especially Judaism, Christianity, Manicheism, and, very guardedly, Mohammedanism. The more scanty historical and geographical literature also alludes occasionally to Jews. While some of these references are vague, others are of considerable importance, especially the statements in the "Dinkard" and the "Shikandgumanig Vijar" for religion, and in the "Dina-i Mainog-i Khiraṭ and the "Shatroiha-i Eran" for history and geography. In the "Shayast la-Shayast," vi. 7 (West, in "S. B. E." v. 297)—dating perhaps from the seventh century—there is an allusion to the Zandiks (a heretical Zoroastrian sect), the Jews, and the Christians as being "of a vile law," while according to the "Dinkard" (translated into English and edited by Sanjana, p. 24)—the longest and, from a religious point of view, the most important work in all Pahlavi literature; it dates from the ninth century, having been begun by Atur-farnbag, who flourished during the califate of Al-Mamun (813-833), and completed by Aturpaṭ, son of Hemeṭ, a contemporary of Zaṭ-Sparam, who was alive in 881—Judaism, Christianity, and Manicheism are all to be checked as degraded in creed and perilous to Zoroastrianism. In like spirit the "Dinkard" (p. 257) declares that the evil of the worst age of the world is due to the "sinful dispositions of all men, derived from the Yahudi [Jewish] religion" (comp. ib. p. 456), and the Zoroastrians were warned by the Dastur Seno (for the form of this name see Justi, "Iranisches Namenbuch," p. 279, Marburg, 1895) to keep aloof from Judaism, the laws and tenets of which were calculated to ruin and devastate the world ("Dk." p. 310).

Religious Disputations.

The "Maṭigan-i Gujastak Abalish" (i. 15) records a religious disputation between the Zandik Abalish and the orthodox Atur-farnbag, which was held before the calif Al-Mamun about 825, and at which Zoroastrians, Mohammedans, Jews, and Christians were present. The only point of Jewish religion mentioned in this polemic is called forth by the later Zoroastrian custom of performing ablutions in the morning with "gomez" to insure freedom from any possible defilement by the "druj nasu" (= "demon of dead matter"; comp. also the later "Sad-Dar," lxxiv. 1, transl. by West in "S. B. E." xxiv. 337-338). To uphold the practise of bathing on rising, Atur-farnbag appeals to "the Jews, the Christians, and the Mohammedans, each of whom, on rising at dawn, washes his hands and face, begins the invocation of God and the angels, and puts himself in a state of grace to receive food or to undertake his occupations" ("Maṭigan-i Gujastak Abalish," v. 12-15). It would seem, moreover, that this same Atur-farnbag was acquainted with the Gemara, if the reading "Gyemara" in "Dk." v. 1, §§ 2-3 be correct (comp. West. l.c. xlvii. 119-120; Preface, p. xiv.), and that he employed it in religious controversies. The "Ture" or Torah is likewise mentioned in the "Dinkard" with disapproval, being characterized as "the words of devils and unworthy of belief" (ed. and transl. Sanjana, pp. 604-605).

Furthermore, in this work (West, l.c. xviii. 399-410; comp. also the translation by Sanjana, pp. 90-102, which varies from West's version in several respects, the passage being a very difficult one) there is a refutation of a Jew who had attacked the Zoroastrian custom of "khvetukdas" or next-of-kin marriage. This term is understood by the modern Parsis to denote marriage of first cousins, although its ancient connotation is generally agreed to have implied such unions as those of brother and sister, father and daughter, or mother and son (comp. Justi, "Gesch. Irans bis zum Ausgang der Sasaniden," in Geiger and Kuhn, "Grundriss der Iranischen Philologie," ii. 434-437, and the literature there cited). The very circumstance that the Jew made this protest implies, moreover, that "khvetukdas" denoted a closer union than that of first cousins, since such a marriage is by no means abhorrent to Judaism (see Consanguinity Among Jews). The chapter of the "Dinkard" which records the controversy states only the fact that the Jew objected to the practise of "khvetukdas," giving no allusions either to his tenets or his arguments, but devoting almost its entire content to upholding the system, which it defends by drawing parallels with the excellent results obtained by the inbreeding of cattle.

Protest Against Dualism.

The assumed dualism of Judaism and Manicheism is naturally condemned when compared with the practical monism of later Zoroastrianism (comp. Jackson, "Iranische Religion," in Geiger and Kuhn, l.c. ii. 629-630); for the Hebraic recognition of evil as a rival power to good is somewhat casuistically interpreted by the Zoroastrian theologians as a plea for the necessity of itsexistence as a cosmic and moral force, while they themselves distinctly subordinate Ahriman, the principle of evil, to Ormuzd, the principle of good ("Dk." ed. Sanjana, p. 211). The "Dinkard" goes further than this, however, and declares that the Jewish Scriptures were first composed by Zohak, a monstrous dragon of the race of Ahriman, who dwelt at Babylon (Jackson, l.c., pp. 663-664; Spiegel, "Eranische Alterthumskunde," i. 530-544, Leipsic, 1871-78). This statement seems to be based simply on "odium theologicum," not on any actual misreading of proper names or popular legend.

Zohak and the Bible.

Zohak is said to have deposited the Bible in the "fortress of Jerusalem," and to have led the Jews to believe in Abraham and later in Moses, whom they "accepted as their prophet and messenger of faith, and unto whom they ascribe the salvation of sins committed" (Sanjana, l.c. pp. 372-373). Thrice Zohak made mankind submit to the Jewish faith (ib. p. 379)—possibly a vague allusion to the frequent collocation of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, or, more probably, of Abraham, Moses, and Elijah (or Enoch), the latter two as being the forerunners of the Messiah (comp. ib. p. 439, and Macler, "Apocalypses Apocryphes de Daniel," pp. 110-112, Paris, 1895).

The diabolical origin of the Bible is developed somewhat more specifically in the "Dinkard" (pp. 438-439). Here it is said that Zohak composed ten "universally noxious precepts" to counteract the ten beneficent regulations of the pious Jemshid (Spiegel, l.c. i. 522-530). These precepts of Zohak (evidently a reminiscence of the Decalogue) were written out at his command, and were preserved in Jerusalem. Since Abraham followed their teaching, "people came to look upon these precepts of Zohak as the work of the prophet Abraham, who was to come at the end of the world. . . . Thus every one of the Jewish race and faith came to look upon Zohak's religious words as meant for himself and to believe in them." These ten commandments, which show no resemblance to the Decalogue, but are, in fact, quite its reverse, may be summarized as follows (Sanjana, l.c. pp. 437-438): (1) the Almighty is the injurer of the universe; (2) the Devs (demons) must be worshiped as the source of all earthly prosperity; (3) men should practise injustice rather than justice; (4) men should act unrighteously and disgracefully in every matter; (5) men should lead greedy and selfish lives; (6) fathers should withhold from their children such training as would fit them in their turn for noble fatherhood; (7) the poor should be deprived of protection; (8) goats should be killed before reaching maturity, according to Jewish usage; (9) the Devs should sacrifice good and pious men as do the Jews; (10) men should be cruel, revengeful, and murderous. Only two of these commandments, the eighth and ninth, mention the Jews; the former referring to the sacrifices of kids as sin-offerings (e.g., Lev. iv. 23 et passim), and the latter possibly to a distorted reminiscence of some such passages as II Chron. xxviii. 3; Ps. cvi. 37-38; Isa. Ivii. 5; Jer. xix. 4-5, xxxii. 35; Ezek. xvi. 20-21; xxiii. 37, 39, which allude in condemnatory terms to human sacrifices practised in Israel, or even to the view maintained in the Midrash, Targum, and Talmud, that Jephthah actually sacrificed his daughter to Yhwh (comp. Jew. Encyc. vii. 95a). In any case the number of the commandments, ten, is a palpable imitation of the Decalogue.

In the "Shikandgumanig Vijar."

Unfavorable as are the criticisms on the Jews in the "Dinkard," they are far less hostile and explicit than those in the "Shikand-gumanig Vijar," a polemical work of the latter part of the ninth century. Marṭan-farukh, the author of this book, in the course of his defense of the Zoroastrian religion, criticizes the Mohammedans, the Christians, the Manicheans, and the Jews, the twelfth and thirteenth chapters, as well as a few paragraphs of the eleventh, being devoted to the last-named. In these sections Marṭan-farukh cites numerous passages from the Bible, which is characterized as "full of delusion" and "of every iniquity and demonism" ("Shikand-gumanig Vijar," xiii. 4, xiv. 2). The verses quoted are mainly from the Pentateuch, although a few are from Isaiah, and one is from the Psalms. The list of such verses is as follows, excluding mere vague reminiscences: Gen. i. 2-3; ii. 16-17; iii. 9, 11-16, 18-19; vi. 6; Ex. xx. 5 (scarcely, as has been suggested, an attempt to translate Gen. iv. 15); Deut. xxix. 4, xxxii. 35 (less probably a paraphrase of Nah. i. 2); Ps. xcv. 10; Isa. xxx. 27-28, xlii. 19. The source of these citations has not yet been determined with any degree of certainty. It seems safe to affirm, however, that it was not a complete translation of the Bible into Pahlavi from which Marṭan-farukh quoted his texts, even though there may once have been such a version which has long since disappeared (comp. Jew. Encyc. iii. 190b, vii. 317b). This is shown by the variations in the rendering of Gen. ii. 16-17 and iii. 11 in the "Shikand-gumanig Vijar." The former verses are translated thus: "The Lord, who is the sacred being himself, commanded Adam thus: 'Eat of every tree which is in this garden, except of that tree of knowledge; because when thou eatest thereof you die'" (ib. xiii. 18-20); "The sacred being commanded Adam thus, 'Thou shalt not eat of this one tree which is in paradise'" (ib. xi. 352); "When you eat of this tree you die" (ib. xiii. 143). Gen. iii. 11 is translated: "Mayest thou not ever yet ["agarat"] have eaten of that tree of knowledge, of which I said ["guft"] that you shall not eat?" (xiii. 33), and also: Mayest thou not ever yet ["hargizhica"] have eaten of that tree of which I commanded ["farmuṭ"] that you shall not eat?" (xiii. 139).

Biblical Names.

The spelling of the Hebrew proper names offers little help in the determination of the source used by the "Shikand-gumanig Vijar," especially as the entire work is a Pazand transcription in Avesta letters of a Pahlavi original. The names in question are as follows: "Abrahim" ("Abreham" in "Daṭistani Denig," xxxvii. 90); "Adam"; "Adino" (= ); "Asarasarã" (a misreading of Pahlavi "Asrayilan" [= "Israelites"]); "Asinaa" (in the Sanskrit version, "Asinaka" [= "Isaac"]; comp. West, l.c. xxiv. 225, note 4); "Havae" (= "Eve"); "Hurusharm"(="Jerusalem" [Pahlavi, "Aurishalem," in "Dina-i Mainog-i Khiraã," xxvii. 67; "Aurushalim," in the "Dinkard"; comp. ed. Sanjana, glossary to vol. vi.]); "Mashyae" (= "Messiah" [Pahlavi, "Mashikha," in "Daãistan-i Denig," xxxvii. 90-91]); "Mushae" (= "Moses"); "Zuhuṭ," "Zuhudã," "Zuhudaa" (= "Jew," "Jews," "Jewish" [Pahlavi, "Yahuṭan," in "Dina-i Mainog-i Khiraṭ," xxvii. 67, "Shayast la-Shayast," vi. 7, and "Dinkard," passim; on the misreading of Pahlavi "y" as "z," comp. Haug, "Essay on Pahlavi," in his "Pahlavi-Pazand Glossary," p. 97, Bombay, 1870; Kirste, "Semitic Verbs in Pehlevi," pp. 5-7, Vienna, 1903]).

The translations of the verses cited in the "Shikand-gumanig Vijar" are, in general, fairly accurate. The principal variations from the text as represented by the Hebrew are as follows: Gen. i. 2, "There first arose earth, without form and void, darkness and black water; and the breathing of the sacred being ever yearns over the face of that black water" ("Shikand-gumanig Vijar," xiii. 6-7). Gen. iii. 18-19 is translated (ib. xiii. 38-40): "Thy eating shall be through the scraping off of sweat and the panting of thy nostrils, until the end of thy life; and thy land shall grow all bodily refuse and dung." The original of the verse translated "I am the Lord, seeking vengeance and retaliating vengeance, and I retaliate vengeance sevenfold upon the children" (ib. xiv. 5-7), is somewhat obscure. It may be based on Nah. i. 2 (R. V.), or on Deut. xxxii. 35, or on Ex. xx. 5. The last seems the most probable source, not only in view of the fact that the great majority of the Old Testament citations in the "Shikand-gumanig Vijar" are taken from the Pentateuch, but also on account of the so-called Targum of Jonathan, which expands the phrase "jealous God" into "a jealous and avenging God, and avenging myself with jealousy," while the "sevenfold" vengeance is evidently a misunderstanding of the "third and fourth generation." The only citation, however, which seems to give any real clue to the original version employed by Marṭan-farukh is Gen. iii. 14. According to the "Shikand-gumanig Vijar" (xiii. 42-44), "He spoke to the serpent thus: 'Thou shalt be accursed from amid the quadrupeds and wild animals of the plain and of the mountain; for thee also there shall be no feet; and thy movement shall be on thy belly, and thy food shall be dust.'" This version is very probably also based on the Targum of Jonathan, which adds to the Hebrew original the phrase, "and thy feet shall be cut off."

Haggadic Stories.

In addition to direct citations from the Bible, whose basis may have been, at least in part, the Targum of Jonathan, the "Shikandgumanig Vijar" contains four stories, purporting to be from the sacred writings of the Jews. The first of these (ib. xiv. 36) states that "every day he prepares, with his own hand, ninety thousand worshipers, and they always worship him until the night-time; and then he dismisses them, through a fiery river, to hell." This tale is founded on the Talmudic legend that no portion of the heavenly host praises God for more than a single day; for at the end of that time they are dismissed to the stream of fire from which they were created (comp. Dan. vii. 22; Ps. civ. 4), while a new company of angels takes their places (comp. Jew. Encyc. i. 586a). The same chapter also relates ("Shikand-gumanig Vijar," xiv. 40-50) how the Lord visited Abraham to comfort him in his old age and his affliction. Abraham thereupon sent his son Isaac to fetch wine from paradise, and entreated the Lord to drink of it. Ignorant of its provenience, however, God refused to do so, until He was assured by His host of the purity of its origin. The legend is evidently a confusion of the account of the visit of the Lord to Abraham in the plains of Mamre (Gen. xviii.) with the story of the wine brought by Jacob to his father, Isaac (Gen. xxvii. 25); for according to the Targum of Jonathan and Yalḳ., Gen. 115, this wine was contained in the grapes made at the creation of the world and was borne from paradise to Jacob by the archangel Michael. The third story ("Shikand-gumanig Vijar," xiv. 58-70) likewise has a Talmudic basis. In dire poverty a righteous man beseeches divine aid, and in answer to his prayers an angel descends from heaven, and tells him that the sum of joy and sorrow may not be changed. In recognition of his piety, however, there is destined for the petitioner in the future life a throne the feet of which are of jewels; and he may if he wishes have the benefit of one of these feet on earth. After consultation with his wife, the pious man declines to mutilate his reward in heaven, even though he knows that his sufferings in this world must otherwise continue unabated. This legend is taken from the account of Ḥanina b. Dosa, who received under similar circumstances a golden table-leg from paradise. His wife, however, had a vision in which she beheld the righteous feasting in heaven at three-legged tables, while her husband's board had but two supports. When she told her dream to Ḥanina, he immediately prayed to God to withdraw the bounty for which he must pay so dearly; and he thus chose earthly poverty rather than diminution of heavenly bliss (Ta'an. 25a; Ber. 17).

The last story ("Shikand-gumanig Vijar," xiv. 75-78) states that the Lord boasted of slaying "in one day an assemblage of sinners, as well as innumerable innocents." And when the angels talked much of the unreasonable performance, He then spoke of it thus: "I am the Lord, the ruler of wills, superintending, unrivaled, and doing my own will; and no one assists or is to utter a murmur about me." The source of this passage is uncertain. It may be suggested, however, that it rests upon some such passage in the Bible as Job ix. 22, 12: "He destroyeth the perfect and the wicked." "Behold, he taketh away [R. V. "he seizeth the prey"], who can hinder him? who will say unto him, What doest thou?" (comp. Ezek. xxi. 3-5; Dan. iv. 35).

Allusions to Jewish History.

Allusions to Jewish history are found in two Pahlavi works, the "Dina-i Mainog-i Khiraṭ," which was probably written before the Arabic conquest of Persia, and the "Shatroiha-i Eran," a geographical treatise dating perhaps from the ninth century. In the former work there is a passage (xxvii. 64-67) which states that Loharasp, the Aurvaṭ-aspa of the Avesta("Yasht," v. 105), whose capitalhas been located at Balkh by Firdusi, Ṭabari, Mas'udi, Yaḳut, and others, "demolished the Jerusalem of the Jews, and made the Jews dispersed and scattered." This is repeated in the "Dinkard" (West, l.c. xlvii. 120-121; ed. Sanjana, l.c. pp. 611-612), with the additional statement that Loharasp was accompanied on this expedition against Jerusalem by Bukht-narsih, or Nebuchadnezzar. At the basis of this tradition there plainly lies a historical foundation. According to the Armenian translation of the chronicles of Eusebius (ed. Aucher, Venice, 1818, i. 22), Nebuchadnezzar had married a Median princess, while Alexander Polyhistor states ("De Judæis," fragment 24, in Eusebius, "Præparatio Evangelica," ix. 39, §§ 4-5) that he was assisted in his expedition against Zedekiah by a contingent of Medes. Of the several hypotheses which might be advanced to reconcile the classical and Pahlavi accounts, it seems most plausible to assume that the Greek versions mentioned the Medes as the Iranians best known to them, while the Pahlavi writings naturally refer to the Bactrians as the representatives of Iran. Both Medes and Bactrians may, therefore, denote the same body of troops in the army of Nebuchadnezzar, or there may have been divisions of both among his followers. It seems, at all events, practically certain that he had Iranian allies in his expedition against Judah which ended in the destruction of Jerusalem and the downfall of the kingdom in 586; and it appears equally clear that a tolerably accurate tradition of this fact is preserved in the passages cited from the "Dinkard" and the "Dina-i Mainog-i Khiraṭ."

Yezdegerd's Jewish Wife.

The references to the Jews in the "Shatroiha-i Eran" allude to the Sassanian period, and concern chiefly the Jewish wife of Yezdegerd I. (399-420). According to §§ 46-47, "the cities of Shus [Shushan] and Shuster were built by Shoshan-dukht [?], wife of Yazdkarṭ I., son of Shahpuhr [Sapor]. She was the daughter of the Reshgalutak, King of the Jews; she was the mother of Bahram [V.] Gor." The reading of the name of this princess is somewhat uncertain. It can scarcely be "Shayan-dokht," as Darmesteter first thought; but his later conjecture that it is "Shasyandokht" is more plausible. A still better reading is "Shoshan-dukht," regarded by Blochet as formed from the Hebrew ("lily") and the Pahlavi "dukht," "dokht" = "daughter" (for similar names having "dukht" as the last member, see Justi, l.c. pp. 492-493). The foundation of the two cities Shosh and Shoshtar by her is explained by Marquart ("Erānšahr," pp. 53 (note 1), 144, Berlin, 1901) as a tradition based on the similarity of their names to her own, although it may also denote that she established Jewish colonies in them. The name "Shoshan-dukht" is likewise read, however, "Gasyan"dukht" (= "glory of the throne") by Justi (ib. Supplement). The high station of the "resh galuta" or Exilarch in Persia at this period makes such a marriage between his daughter and the king not altogether improbable, while such epithets as "alathim," "al-khashm" (= "hard," "wicked"), "dafr" (= "stinking"), and "bazah-kar" (= "sinner"), applied to Yezdegerd, find their explanation in great part in his religious laxity as shown by his toleration of Jews and Christians during a portion of his reign (comp. Justi in Geiger and Kuhn, l.c. ii. 526; Modi, "Aiyadgar-i Zariran," etc., pp. 137-143).

The particular exilarch who was the father of Shoshan-dukht or Gasyan-dukht is not certain, although, from the passage in the "Shatroiha-i Eran," he would seem to have been in office in 407, the year in which Bahram Gur or Gor was born (comp. Spiegel, l.c. iii. 341). He may have been, therefore, either Mar Kahana or Mar Yemar or Mar Zuṭra I., who successively filled the position of resh galuta for brief periods about that time (Grätz, "Gesch." 3d ed., iv. 463). At all events the queen can hardly have been the daughter of Huna b. Nathan, as has been supposed; for, despite the favor which he enjoyed at the court of Yezdegerd, he was never exilarch. According to the "Shatroiha-i Eran," moreover, the same Jewish princess established a colony of her coreligionists at Gai, a quarter of Ispahan (§ 54). In like manner Narses, "the son of a Jewess" ("Narsai Yahuṭakan"), "founded" the city of Khwarezm, the modern Khiva (ib. § 10), although the town itself is mentioned as early as the Avesta ("Yasht," x. 14) under the name "Hvairizem" (comp. Geiger, "Ostiranische Kultur im Altertum," pp. 29-30, Erlangen, 1882; Modi translates, in his "Aiyadgar-i Zariran," etc., p. 61, "The chief of the Jews founded the city of Khvarzem"). This Narses was evidently the younger brother of Bahram Gur; he could scarcely have been the vizier of his father, Yezdegerd I. (comp. Justi, "Iranisches Namenbuch," p. 223a). For the general relations of the Jews in Persia during the Sassanid period, See Persia.

Bibliography:
  • West, Pahlavi Literature, in Geiger and Kuhn, Grundriss der Iranischen Philologie, ii. 75-129, Strasburg, 1895-1904;
  • idem, Pahlavi Texts, 5 vols. = S. B. E. v., xviii., xxiv., xxxvii., xlvii., Oxford, 1880-97;
  • Dinkard, translated and edited by Peshotan Dastur Behramji Sanjana, 9 vols., Bombay, 1874-1900;
  • Dina-i Mainog-i Khiraṭ, edited in Pahlavi by Andreas, Kiel, 1882;
  • by Sanjana, Bombay, 1895;
  • and in the Pazand-Sanskrit version by West, Stuttgart, 1871;
  • Shikand-gumanig Vijar, edited by Hoshang Dastur Jamaspji Jamasp-Asana and West, Bombay, 1887;
  • Gujastak Abalish, edited and translated by Barthélemy, Paris, 1887;
  • Shatroiha-i Eran, edited and translated by Blochet, in Recueil des Travaux Relatifs à la Philologie et à l'Archéologie Egyptiennes et Asyriennes, xvii. 165-176, ib. 1895;
  • and translated by Modi, Aiyadgar-i-Zariran, Shatroiha-i-Airan, and Afdiya va Sahigiya-i-Sistan, pp. 50-121, Bombay, 1899;
  • Darmesteter, Textes Pehlvis Relatifs au Judaïsme, in R. E. J. xviii. 1-15, xix. 41-56;
  • idem, La Reine Shasyân Dôht, in Actes du Huitième Congrès International des Orientalistes, ii. 193-198, Leyden, 1892;
  • Gray, Kai Loharasp and Nebuchadrezzar, in W. Z. K. M. xviii. 291-298.
J. L. H. G.
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