The Pugio Fidei
The Barcelona confrontation constituted a serious self-imposed test for the new missionizing argumentation of Friar Paul Christian. As we have seen, the results were equivocal. Each side felt a measure of satisfaction with the outcome, along with a certain dissatisfaction. The ongoing preaching of Friar Paul Christian is a reflection of Christian satisfaction. Dissatisfaction is reflected in the extensive efforts to refine the new approach, efforts that culminated in Friar Raymond Martin's remarkable Pugio Fidei. Indeed, a useful perspective on this extremely important work is to see it as professional augmentation and refinement of the innovative but amateurish missionizing argumentation of Friar Paul. From this standpoint, the Pugio Fidei buttresses our argument for the seriousness of the new missionizing enterprise, for it is in many ways the magnum opus of medieval Christian missionizing among the Jews. No other work can match the Pugio Fidei for its dedicated effort to probe the Jewish psyche, for its massive collection of Jewish sources, or for its careful and sophisticated argumentation on the broadest possible range of theological issues. In all of this, the experience of Barcelona is clearly reflected. Every major criticism raised by the distinguished Jewish spokesman, Rabbi Moses ben Nahman, was heard, pondered, and addressed. As we shall see, much of the advance easily noted in the Pugio Fidei is simply the result of careful consideration of the issues raised by Rabbi Moses.
Friar Raymond Martin was an important figure in the missionizing school of Friar Raymond of Penyafort. Like most members of this circle, his initial interest lay in proselytizing among the Muslims. The events of 1263 seem to have led Friar Raymond into a concern with conversion of the Jews and with the Jewish texts through which such conversion might be achieved. It is not clear whether he was actually present at the Barcelona colloquy. By 1264, however, Friar Raymond was involved in the examination and expurgation of Jewish books. For the next decade and a half, he was deeply immersed in rabbinic
literature, composing his Capistrum Judeorum in 1267. The culmination of this study was a comprehensive missionizing manual—the Pugio Fidei —based on utilization of rabbinic sources in the service of Christian truth. Friar Raymond was a far different figure from Friar Paul Christian. Friar Paul seems to be simply a former Jew who used the knowledge gleaned in a traditional Jewish education for missionizing purposes. Friar Raymond, however, was one of a group of professional scholars devoted to the acquisition of all the knowledge necessary for the new missionizing enterprise. Jeremy Cohen has argued convincingly against the recurrent suggestion of Jewish origins for Friar Raymond. Given the lack of Jewish background and, indeed, his prior involvement in proselytizing among the Muslims, the professionalism of the entire enterprise is apparent in the extent to which a relative newcomer to the field of Jewish literature and anti-Jewish argumentation became a master of the discipline. Again, this reflects the general dedication and abilities of a small but intense band of mid-thirteenth-century churchmen who had committed themselves thoroughly to the missionizing endeavor.
It should be emphasized that the Pugio Fidei represents the efforts of more than one individual. Saul Liebermann argued tellingly for a group of researchers whose work is embodied in the book. Friar Raymond may have been the "principal investigator," but his achievement would have been impossible without the support of the rest of his research staff. Almost certainly the financial and personnel support reflected in the collaborative achievement of the Pugio Fidei flows from the missionizing circle at the hub of which sat the active and influential Raymond of Penyafort.
A few words about technical aspects of the Pugio Fidei are in order. The compendium is not addressed directly to the Jewish reader; it is a manual designed for missionizing preachers. It is written in Latin, indicating that the anticipated readership was to be composed of such missionizers. Citations from rabbinic literature are given in the original, reflecting the extensive new scholarship in Jewish sources and the author's intention to afford the best possible foundation for the utilization of these sources. The Hebrew and Aramaic citations are followed by painstakingly accurate Latin translations. In many instances, the translation of key or problematic words or phrases is buttressed by appeal to medieval Jewish authorities such as Rabbi Solomon ben Isaac of Troyes or Rabbi David Kimhi. The goal is to provide an impeccably correct translation, not for the sake of disinter-
ested scholarship but to obviate any potential Jewish objections. The author was obviously well aware of traditional Jewish scorn for questionable Christian renderings of authoritative texts and was determined to remove that issue from consideration. The proposed implications of the texts cited are then drawn and argued at length.
The range of Jewish sources cited is most impressive and reflects an expertise far beyond that of Friar Paul Christian or indeed any other previous Christian awareness of rabbinic literature. It has already been suggested that the wide-ranging knowledge of Jewish texts is a tribute to more than the impressive energy and intellect of Friar Raymond Martin; it represents a decade and a half of labor by a team of scholars, working with the backing of both ecclesiastical and lay authorities. Many of the texts cited by Friar Raymond are no longer extant in the versions he presents, giving rise to a modern controversy over the possible forgery of some of the citations in the work. While specific cases may be difficult to decide, the overall impression of massive compilation of authentic rabbinic materials cannot be denied. What is more, in a work so committed to scrupulous translation, there would seem to be little point in fabricating texts that Jews could readily dismiss as inauthentic. Indeed, the stance of mocking superciliousness adopted by Nahmanides toward Friar Paul disappears among Jews aware of the new knowledge amassed by Friar Raymond.
The basic strategy of the Pugio Fidei is the one we have already identified as the innovative tactic introduced by Friar Paul Christian. Out of the range of potential bases for argumentation with the Jews—scriptural, philosophical, and empirical—Friar Raymond committed himself to the use of scriptural arguments, understanding fully that the Jews had their own rich exegetical tradition that would have to be studied and exploited. Again, like Friar Paul, Friar Raymond utilized freestanding rabbinic dicta as well. In a striking way, Friar Raymond exploited these lines of argumentation over a very broad spectrum of issues, including those matters traditionally discussed from an empirical moral-ethical or historical perspective. The argumentation based on scriptural-rabbinic and pure rabbinic grounds extended eventually into the areas of the status of Jewish law and religious practice and the historic condition and fate of the Jewish people.
The Pugio Fidei is both comprehensive and well organized. The entire second part is devoted to the crucial argument that the Messiah has already come. As noted earlier, this is the linchpin of the new Christian missionizing. Were the Jews to be convinced that the Mes-
siah had already come, they would in fact be recognizing Jesus as that Messiah and abandoning the Jewish faith. The third part of the Pugio Fidei is divided into three sections. The first seeks to prove, as always, on the basis of rabbinic texts, the concept of the Trinity; the second seeks to substantiate the Christian doctrine of original sin and the resultant need of all humanity for redemption. Building on these two assertions, Friar Raymond then argues, in the third and final section of Part III, that God sent his word or his son or his wisdom for the redemption of humanity and to prove key Christian dogma such as the virgin birth, the passion of Jesus, his resurrection, the efficacy of baptism, and the significance of the eucharist. In this final section of Part III, he also addresses himself to the issues of Jewish law and the historic fate of the Jewish people.
As Friar Raymond proceeds to establish basic tenets of Christianity from Jewish sources in the third section of Part III of the Pugio Fidei, he, in a sense, moves chronologically through the life span of Jesus, linking his claims with those theses that he already proved—or set out to prove—in the previous sections. He begins with the assertion that God "had to send his word or his son or his wisdom" for the salvation of humanity, building on the notion of original sin and inevitable punishment which he had argued in the previous section. He next claims that the Messiah is God, thereby linking section three of Part III with the arguments already encountered in section one. In several chapters, he explores the ramifications of the notion of a Messiah-Deity who redeems sinful mankind. He then proceeds to argue the doctrine of virgin birth and to establish the proper genealogy of the Messiah-Deity. Chapter 11 of this section of the Pugio Fidei is devoted to proof of the assertion that "our Lord Jesus Christ did not come to abolish the laws and the prophets, but to fulfill them." Related to this is chapter 12, which continues to assert that "the ceremonial laws should not be observed literally." From this point, Friar Raymond buttresses, still on the basis of rabbinic sources, key Christian practices and beliefs, including baptism, penitence, the eucharist, the passion, the descent of Jesus into hell, resurrection, and ascension. He concludes on a negative note—the iniquity and punishment of the Jewish people.
In all of this, there is again the sense of building on the foundations laid by Friar Paul Christian. Friar Paul had projected a positive and negative thrust to his argumentation, attempting to prove, on the one hand, key Christian notions concerning Jesus and, on the other, seeking to dismiss the cornerstone of Jewish life, Jewish law. Friar Ray-
mond retained the dual thrust but does so far more fully, arguing for a very broad range of Christian beliefs and practices and expanding the critique of Judaism to include not only an attack on Jewish law but a damning statement on Jewish status and fate as well.
The growth and development of the new missionizing approach is reflected in more than just this expansion of the volume of source material collected and the range of issues addressed. Equally—indeed more—significant is the enhanced sophistication exhibited in the utilization of rabbinic materials.
Evidence of this augmented sophistication is found, first of all, in the elaboration by Friar Raymond of a basic view of rabbinic literature. In his 1263 disputation, Friar Paul nowhere introduced general observations on the talmudic sources he cites, observations that would enable him to counter contradictory evidence extracted from the vast "sea of the Talmud." Indeed, it was his rival, Rabbi Moses, who insisted on discussing the nature of rabbinic literature, establishing the two categories of halachic or legal materials, which every Jew was obliged to accept, and aggadic or nonlegal materials, which were inherently more personal and assent to which might be suspended under certain circumstances. In contrast to Friar Paul's cavalier attitude to the materials he sought to exploit, Friar Raymond was careful to adumbrate at the outset a view of rabbinic literature and the pitfalls associated with it. Friar Raymond begins by noting—and rejecting out of hand—the traditional Jewish view of the Oral Law as given by God on Sinai and passed on through the generations until committed to writing by the rabbis. For Friar Raymond, this view, which posits the divine truth of all rabbinic statements, is contradicted by "the innumerable absurdities which are found in the Talmud" and "can be considered nothing other than the insanity of a deranged mind." In place of this unacceptable notion of the Oral Law, Friar Raymond suggests a more complex stance. There are in the Talmud statements "which recognize the truth, which in all ways exhibit and present the doctrine of the prophets and the holy patriarchs, which—as shall be clear in this book—exhibit strongly and unequivocally Christian truth, and which destroy and confound the perfidious faith of presentday Jews." Friar Paul is willing to see such talmudic statements as divinely inspired and accurately transmitted. In contradistinction, there is much material that is contrary to and incompatible with religious truth. Such material can lay no claim to divine provenance or to human acceptance. This distinction will be critical for Friar Ray-
mond. Because of the greater mastery of rabbinic sources reflected in the Pugio Fidei, Friar Raymond will adduce some rabbinic statements to prove Christian truth and, at the same time, reject other rabbinic views as perverse and false. In a real sense, the growing mastery of talmudic literature brought Friar Raymond to approximately the same pragmatic position taken by Rabbi Moses a decade and a half earlier: talmudic literature is vast; some of it is acceptable (for the purposes of one faith or the other), and some of it is not. Friar Raymond's development beyond Friar Paul in this regard is clear.
The same kind of maturation can be discerned in the substance of the arguments advanced. To appreciate this development, let us focus on one major issue, the argument that the Messiah had already come. Both Friar Paul and Friar Raymond began their cases with this crucial contention. Friar Paul had attempted to prove this assertion by utilizing one key biblical verse, Genesis 49:10, with relevant rabbinic exegesis. He had further attempted to buttress his case by citing two freestanding rabbinic dicta. Let us examine the extension of this argumentation in the Pugio Fidei.
At the outset, Friar Raymond strengthens the case considerably, examining four major biblical passages and their related rabbinic exegesis. These passages are Daniel 9, Genesis 49:10, Daniel 2, and Malachi 3:1–2. Each of these important passages is examined at great length, with the case for its Christological implications based on scrutiny of extensive rabbinic exegesis. Let us examine in some detail the case erected on the basis of Genesis 49:10, enabling us to view comparatively the approach of the two Dominican friars.
Friar Paul, it will be recalled, had combined this important verse with the rabbinic identification of the scepter as the exilarchs of Babylonia and the legislator as the patriarchs of Palestine, arguing that rabbinic understanding of the verse shows that political power had remained vested in Judah until after the advent of Jesus as Messiah. Later lack of such political power must therefore be taken as proof that the Messiah had already come. Nahmanides attacked this argument in double fashion, first contending that Friar Paul had distorted the meaning of the rabbinic passage. He counterclaimed that the rabbis, in their exegesis, had been addressing only a specific legal issue, for which they sought a proof text in this verse; they had not, however, been suggesting overall exegesis of the verse. In passing, Nahmanides further noted, as he often did, that this rabbinic exegesis in no way supported Christian truth. Even granting Friar Paul's reading of the rabbinic exegesis, the phenomenon of ongoing Jewish polit-
ical power through the age of early Christianity and its subsequent annulment would indicate the advent of the Messiah many centuries subsequent to the lifetime of Jesus. We have already noted that this Nahmanidean thrust was both widely recurring and highly effective.
Friar Raymond's use of Genesis 49:10 and rabbinic exegesis of this key verse is far sharper. He begins by quoting the verse and translating it in the accepted Christian manner, understanding Shiloh as a reference to the Messiah. Immediately, however, he buttresses this explication of the text by appeal to the traditional Jewish translation in Aramaic, arguing, in effect, that the allegedly Christological interpretation is reflected in Jewish literary tradition itself. Friar Raymond singles out two key terms for special attention: (1) shevet, which he takes to mean political authority, as attested in the Targum and buttressed by Psalms 45:7, and (z) mehokek, which he translates as scribe or legislator, as supported by the Targum and buttressed by Deuteronomy 33:21 and its Targum and by Isaiah 33:22. In sum, Friar Raymond contends, from Jewish exegesis of the verse, that it points unequivocally to the messianic replacement of Jewish political authority.
At this point, Friar Raymond introduces the first of two rabbinic views which, in his eyes, make Genesis 49:10 clear prediction of Jesus as Messiah. The first of these two views is quoted from two midrashic sources. According to the first and lengthier of the two:
"The scepter shall not depart from Judah"—this is the Chamber of the Hewn stone, which was given as part of the portion of Judah, as is said: "He rejected the clan of Joseph; he did not choose the tribe of Ephraim. He did choose the tribe of Judah, Mount Zion which he loved" —the mount which excels in Torah. It is further said: "The Lord loves the gates of Zion" —gates which excel in the law. "Nor the ruler's staff from between his feet"—these are the inhabitants of Jabez who guard the laws of Israel in the Great Sanhedrin which sits in the Chamber of Hewn Stones, in the portion of Judah, as is said: "And these are the clans of scribes living at Jabez." What then is the meaning of "the scepter shall not depart from Judah?" It is to teach that the Sanhedrin was only given power to judge capital cases so long as it was located in the Chamber of Hewn Stones. Since it was exiled from there elsewhere, capital cases have been annulled, as is said: "You shall carry out the verdict that is announced to you from that place which the Lord chose." "Until Shiloh comes"—this means the messiah.
Thus, this rabbinic tradition seems to relate the advent of the Messiah to the location of the Great Sanhedrin in the Chamber of the Hewn
Stones. At the point of departure from this sacred place, the Great Sanhedrin was to lose its jurisdiction over capital cases and, more significant for Friar Raymond and his purposes, the Messiah was to arrive.
Friar Raymond does not proceed immediately to close the circle. Instead, he quotes a number of talmudic passages that indicate the reality of a variety of Jewish courts, focusing in particular on the Great Sanhedrin of seventy-one judges, and of the infliction of capital punishment. Having established these realities, he then quotes two sources that speak of the suspension of capital cases prior to the destruction of the Second Temple.
The rabbis taught: "Forty years prior to the destruction of the Temple, capital cases were abolished."
Forty years prior to the destruction of the Temple, the Sanhedrin was exiled and established itself at Hanut. What are the implications [of this move] ? Rav Isaac bar Avdimi said: "To teach that they no longer judged cases involving fines." You suggest that the [move relates to] cases involving fines? Rather, [the move teaches that] they no longer judged capital cases. Rashi explains: "Does the Chamber of Hewn Stones cause [suspension of] cases involving fines? Rather, [it causes suspension of] capital cases. For capital cases cannot be judged in any locale; they can only be adjudicated when the Great Sanhedrin is located in the Chamber of Hewn Stones, as is said: "You shall promptly repair to the place which the Lord your God has chosen."
Friar Raymond's case is far more meticulous and precise than that of Friar Paul. He argues (1) that a clear rabbinic tradition understood Genesis 49:10 to apply to the Great Sanhedrin, its location in the Chamber of Hewn Stones, and its authority to decide capital cases; (2) movement out of the Chamber of Hewn Stones would mean the suspension of the power to decide capital cases; (3) such movement and such suspension would be related to the advent of the Messiah; and (4) such movement and such suspension did in fact take place forty years prior to the destruction of the Second Temple; thus, (5) the messianic advent predicted in Genesis 49:10 as a concomitant of the removal of the Great Sanhedrin and suspension of its prerogatives in capital cases must have taken place at that juncture. The reasoning is far more rigorous than Friar Paul's, and the date of forty years prior to the destruction of the Second Temple coincides nicely with the actual chronology of the life and death of Jesus.
Having advanced one rabbinic tradition concerning Genesis 49:10 and having argued that this understanding of the verse proves the advent of the Messiah shortly before the destruction of the Second Temple, Friar Raymond proceeds to a second such rabbinic tradition, in this case the one used earlier by Friar Paul. Friar Raymond begins by citing the brief passage from Sanhedrin: "It is taught: 'The scepter shall not depart from Judah'—these are the exilarchs in Babylonia who rule the people with a scepter. 'And the ruler's staff'—these are the descendants of Hillel who teach Torah to Israel." Once again, Friar Raymond exhibits a concern with buttressing the accuracy of an exegetical tradition, in this case that of the Talmud. To this end, he quotes Rabbi David Kimhi on the meaning of shevet and mehokek, in an effort to indicate the reasonableness of the rabbinic exegesis.
Friar Raymond was far from satisfied with his predecessor's use of this equation of scepter with the exilarchs and ruler's staff with the patriarchs or rabbis. Rather than pointing simply to the contemporary lack of exilarchs and patriarchs, as Friar Paul had done, Friar Raymond cites a related talmudic passage:
Herod was a servant of the Hasmonean dynasty. He desired a certain young woman. One day he heard a heavenly voice saying: "Any servant who now rebels will be successful." He rebelled and killed all of his masters, but left alive the young woman. When the young woman saw that he wished to marry her, she ascended the roof and lifted her voice and said: "Anyone who claims to descend from the Hasmonean dynasty is a servant, for no one remains from that dynasty but this young woman." The young woman then fell from the roof to the ground and died. . . . Herod then said: "Who teaches: 'Be sure to set as king over yourselves one of your own people.' " They said to him: "The rabbis." He arose and killed all the rabbis, leaving only Baba ben Bota to afford him counsel.
This passage, which depicts Herod's alleged extermination of both the Hasmonean house and the rabbis, is taken by Friar Raymond as evidence of the fulfillment of the prophecy of Jacob as understood in the second rabbinic tradition: the scepter, which the Talmud had seen as a reference to the exilarchs and which Friar Raymond proposed as a reference to the Hasmoneans, and the ruler's staff, which both took as a reference to the rabbis, had supposedly disappeared as a result of the Herodian onslaught. This disappearance must then mean the advent of the Messiah at precisely that point, that is, the reign of Herod. Once again, the vagueness of Friar Paul's argumentation gives way to
sharper and more precise use of the rabbinic texts. Of course, this second argument is far less impressive than the first. The obvious exaggeration of the rabbinic tale and the replacement of the exilarchs with the Hasmoneans weaken the case. Our general sense, however, of Friar Raymond's restless search for greater rigor and precision is once more supported by his revision of his predecessor's contention.
The same enhanced sophistication can be noted in Friar Raymond's use of freestanding rabbinic dicta. Remaining with the arguments for the advent of the Messiah, we recall that Friar Paul had adduced two such rabbinic dicta to prove that the Messiah had already come. The first associated the advent of the Messiah with the destruction of the Temple; the second reported an alleged conversation between Elijah and Rabbi Joshua ben Levi. Friar Paul's understanding of both of these aggadot was quickly attacked by Nahmanides. The second involved the simple reading of the text itself.
Indeed it is indicated explicitly here that he has not come. For Rabbi Joshua ben Levi asked Elijah when he would [italics mine] come. Likewise Rabbi Joshua ben Levi asked the Messiah himself: "When will [again, italics mine] you come?" Thus he has not yet come. Rather he has only been born, according to the simple meaning of these aggadot. But I do not even believe in them.
The first evoked from Rabbi Moses his standard argument that, were the statement taken literally, it would refute rather than support Christian contentions. Since the destruction of the Temple took place well after the death of Jesus, association of the Messiah's birth with the catastrophe of the year 70 negates Christological claims.
Clearly, Friar Raymond was well aware of the weaknesses of the specific aggadot adduced by Friar Paul. While remaining faithful to the latter's approach, Friar Raymond was insistent on dismissing both of the rabbinic statements utilized in 1263. As noted earlier, the foundation for such dismissal had been carefully laid in Friar Raymond's broad stance on rabbinic literature. For him, such statements were indicative of "the innumerable absurdities which are found in the Talmud." He does not, however, reject these materials arbitrarily, nor does he cite Jewish arguments against their utilization. Rather, he quotes them carefully and finds alleged inner flaws.
The process of discrediting these problematic aggadot begins with an examination of the connection between the destruction of the Second Temple and the birth of the Messiah. Friar Raymond quotes three
versions of this tradition. The first tells the story of the Jew, the oxen, and the Arab. To this story is appended an observation by Rabbi Abun: "Why is it necessary to learn this from this Arab? Indeed this is clearly stated in Scriptures, for it is written: 'And the Lebanon trees shall fall in their majesty.' What is written immediately afterward? 'But a shoot shall go forth from Jesse.' " The second version of the tradition that links the destruction of the temple with the birth of the Messiah is shorter and simply establishes a scriptural basis for the linkage.
Rabbi Samuel bar Nahman said: "Whence do you know that, on the very day that the Messiah was born, the Temple was destroyed? For it is said: 'Before she labored, she was delivered; before her pangs, she bore a son. Who ever heard the like; who ever witnessed such events?' Indeed, at the moment when the Temple was destroyed, the Jews cried out like a woman in childbirth, as is said: 'I hear a voice as of one in travail, anguish as of a woman bearing her first child.' "
The third and lengthiest version tells the story of Elijah hearing a heavenly voice announcing the destruction of the Temple and the birth of the Messiah. When Elijah asked where the Messiah had been born, he was told that the birth had taken place in Bethlehem. He visited Bethlehem and found a woman and her newborn son; he informed her that the infant would serve as the savior of Israel. The aggadah ends with a subsequent visit by Elijah to Bethlehem five years later.
Five years later Elijah said: "I shall go and see the savior of Israel, whether he is growing in the form of a king or in the form of a heavenly angel." He went and found the woman standing at the entrance to her house. He said to her: "My daughter, what is the lad like?" She said to him: "My master, did I not tell you that it was a great misfortune that, on the very day on which he was born, the Temple was destroyed? Indeed, he has legs, but cannot walk; he has eyes, but cannot see; he has a mouth, but cannot speak. Behold he lies like a stone." While he was still speaking, a wind blew from the four corners of the earth and deposited the lad in the Great Sea. Elijah rent his clothes and tore his hair and cried out: "Woe! The salvation of Israel has been lost!" A heavenly voice went forth and said to him: "Elijah, it is not as you think. Rather, four hundred years he shall dwell in the Great Sea, eighty years in the column of smoke near the descendants of Korah, eighty years at the entrance to Rome; the remaining years he shall visit all the great kingdoms until the end of days."
To these three aggadic traditions that link the birth of the Messiah with the destruction of the Second Temple, Friar Raymond adds two other rabbinic texts that seem to reflect the advent of the Messiah. The first is the story of Rabbi Joshua ben Levi and the Messiah, which Friar Paul had utilized. The second is a homily on Malachi 3:16.
Rabbi Cohen and Rabbi Joshua said: "In the past one would perform a commandment and the prophet would write it down. Now when one performs a commandment, who writes it down? Elijah writes it down and King Messiah and the Holy One blessed be he affix the seal, as is written: 'The Lord has heard and noted it, and a scroll of remembrance has been written at his behest concerning those who revere the Lord and esteem his name.' "
All of these statements, including the two utilized by Friar Paul, evoke Friar Raymond's wrath. "Behold what sorts of things the Jews concoct concerning their alleged Messiah." He begins his specific criticisms by negating the two efforts to link the birth of the messiah with the destruction of the Temple on scriptural grounds. Friar Raymond rejects the proposed exegesis of Isaiah 10:34–11:1 and 66:7. As to the general notion of advent of the Messiah at or near the time of the destruction of the Temple, Friar Raymond argues that, were this normative Jewish belief, the rabbis would never have supported the messianic pretensions of Simon bar Kokhba, as he had described in detail in an earlier chapter of his opus. To be sure, Friar Raymond had just argued that rabbinic exegesis of key biblical verses proves that the rabbis indeed believed that the Messiah had already come, and he will soon adduce his own freestanding rabbinic materials to prove the same point. In these cases, however, one could contend that true doctrine was expressed but not fully understood by its Jewish expositors. The overt statements concerning the birth of the Messiah defy any misunderstanding. The subsequent actions of the Jews at the time of Simon bar Kokhba indicate that in fact the Jewish world rejected out of hand the statements Friar Raymond had cited. Finally, Friar Raymond claims that there was in fact no known Jewish messianic pretender from the time of the destruction of the Second Temple. The only known messianic figure of the period was Jesus of Nazareth, to whom the cited materials clearly bear no reference. For Friar Raymond, the result of these considerations is absolute repudiation of all these rabbinic dicta.
While repudiating the specific aggadot adduced by Friar Paul Christian, Friar Raymond remained convinced of the validity of the approach. What he proceeds to do, therefore, is to present further talmudic material that does, to his mind, clearly indicate the advent of the Messiah, indeed, at precisely the time of the appearance of Jesus.
Friar Raymond's first such proof of the advent of the Messiah at the time of Jesus derives from two rabbinic versions of a broad cosmological scheme. According to this scheme, world history was supposed to divide neatly into units of two thousand years each—two thousand years of vanity or lack of Torah, two thousand years of Torah, and two thousand years of messianic times. While both of these versions agree on the basic structure of human history, they end on differing notes. The version that Friar Raymond quotes from Tractate Sanhedrin ends "But because of our extensive sins, the number of years have diverged as they have diverged," meaning that the messianic period, which was to have begun in 4000 A.M. (= 240 C.E. ), was postponed. The version quoted by Friar Raymond from Tractate Avodah Zarah concludes "But because of our extensive sins, the number of years have diverged by seven hundred and fourteen," meaning a messianic date of 4714 A.M. (= 954 C.E. ). Friar Raymond argues that the discrepancy in endings proves that neither was part of the original cosmological tradition. To this rabbinic tradition, reached through elimination of divergent accretions, Friar Raymond adds a second, drawn from exegesis of Isaiah 60:22, "I the Lord will speed it in due time." "Rabbi Joshua ben Levi juxtaposed 'in due time' with 'I will speed it'—if they are worthy, I will speed it; if not, [it will come about] in due time." For Friar Raymond, this meant that the messianic arrival could be advanced; it could not, however, be retarded. The result for Friar Raymond is as follows: (1) there is an authentic rabbinic tradition that posits the coming of the Messiah in the year 4000 A.M. (= 240 C.E. ); (2) since this date has long since passed, the Messiah must already long ago have arrived; (3) since Jesus is the only significant figure who fulfills the biblical prophecies associated with the Messiah, then he must in fact be the Messiah; (4) the discrepancy between the predicted year 240 C.E. and the earlier appearance of Jesus is to be explained by the rabbinic view that the advent of the Messiah could be advanced but not retarded. This proof from rabbinic literature has two advantages over those proposed by Friar Paul Christian. In the first place, it is subtler and hence does not allow for the objec-
tion drawn from Jewish support for the messianic pretensions of Simon bar Kokhba. Moreover, it offers precision in dating the Messiah at the very time of the appearance of Jesus.
Friar Raymond's second proof for the advent of the Messiah, based on freestanding rabbinic sources, is drawn from statements concerning world political history and the realities of that history. He cited two conclusions drawn from the same biblical verse, Micah 5:2. According to the first, "the Son of David will not come until the Wicked Kingdom [Rome] shall spread its power over Israel for nine months." According to the second, "the Son of David will not come until the Wicked Kingdom shall spread its power over the entire world for nine months." To these two brief statements, Friar Raymond juxtaposes two more: (1) a brief note that one hundred eighty years prior to the destruction of the Second Temple, the Wicked Kingdom spread its power over Israel, and (2) a lengthier depiction of the ten rulers who have ruled or will rule over the entire world, a list that begins with God and ends with the Messiah. This second source is the more significant for Friar Raymond, because the ninth of these universal monarchs is none other than "Caesar Augustus, emperor of Rome." Friar Raymond thus concludes: (1) the Messiah could not come until Rome had ruled over Israel and the world for nine months; (2) Roman rule over the entire world was achieved under Augustus; (3) therefore, the Messiah must have been born at the time of Augustus; and (4) the only messianic figure from precisely that period is Jesus of Nazareth.
The third of Friar Raymond's proofs—from freestanding rabbinic dicta—for the advent of the Messiah is actually quite close to the second. He begins by quoting a passage from Bereshit Rabbah, which illustrates the importance of honoring one's parents by describing the bounteous rewards heaped on Esau for his noble treatment of his father, Isaac. Among these rewards was even the delay of redemption through the Messiah. "And whence do you know that this honor [extended by Esau to his father] shall delay the salvation which will come about through King Messiah? For it is said: 'For thus said the Lord of Hosts—he who sent me after honor.' After the Holy One blessed be he repays Esau the reward for the honor which he extended to his father, he will send me [i.e., the Messiah]." Again, Father Raymond draws on the notion of maximal Roman power during the reign of Augustus and argues that the rabbinic texts reflect the advent of the Messiah during that period, indicating once more that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah depicted in these rabbinic sources.
Thus, after repudiating a number of rabbinic traditions concerning the advent of the Messiah, Friar Raymond finds others that, for him, are both reasonable and reflect the arrival of the Messiah at a date identical with that of the appearance of Jesus of Nazareth. The valuable new approach of Friar Paul Christian had once more been substantially improved and refined.
Thus, a close look at one particular issue shows us how much more sophisticated the arguments advanced by Friar Raymond Martin in the Pugio Fidei had become. The combination of extensive augmentation of rabbinic source materials, broadening of the issues addressed to cover the entire range of Christian dogma and practice, and greater precision in argumentation points to a concerted campaign to build on the foundations laid by Friar Paul Christian in establishing truly effective new missionizing argumentation for use among the Jews.
We have already noted a number of times that serious missionizing argumentation always included both a positive and negative thrust, a case for one's own faith and a disparagement of the religious tradition of the opponent group. The specific argumentation that we have analyzed thus far has revolved around the effort to prove a major Christian assertion, that the Messiah has already come. As indicated earlier, Friar Paul had intended to include in the Barcelona confrontation a major negative statement about the Jews and their faith, the contention that Jewish law—the pillar of Jewish life—had lost all validity. That issue was never joined at Barcelona; it was, however, clearly pursued by Friar Paul in his subsequent preaching and is extensively addressed in the Mahazik[*]Emunah. Not surprisingly, in the Pugio Fidei, Friar Raymond treats this issue at great length. To gain a fuller sense of this negative argumentation, let us examine in some detail Friar Raymond's case concerning Jewish law.
He begins his case with the introduction of major Jewish objections to the notion of suspension of the ceremonial law and with his refutation of these objections. He focuses on the Jewish claim, based on key biblical verses, that aspects of the ceremonial law constitute an eternal covenant between God and the people of Israel. Four sets of issues and four sets of biblical verses are identified: (1) circumcision—Genesis 17:13; (2) sabbath—Exodus 31:16; (3) Passover—Exodus 12:14 and 12:24; and (4) Pentecost, the Day of Atonement, and Tabernacles—Leviticus 23. The crucial word in all these verses is the Hebrew 'olam, which, Friar Raymond asserts, means "eternal" according to the Jews and "for the ages" (but not eternal) according to Christians and "according to the truth of the matter."
Having established these Jewish objections, Friar Raymond proceeds to rebut them. His technique, standard for the Pugio Fidei, depends not on assertion of Christian exegesis of the term 'olam but rather on proving that Jewish sources themselves exhibit the Christian—and, for him, correct—rendition of the term. The evidence he produces is the following: (1) I Kings 1:22 and the gloss of Rashi on that verse; (2) Deuteronomy 15:17 with the rabbinic comment in Midrash Devarim and the gloss of Rashi; (3) Numbers 19:21 and the gloss of Rashi; (4) the statement of the Babylonian Talmud, Tractate Kiddushin, on Deuteronomy 15:17; and (5) the observation of Rabbi David Kimhi on the meaning of the term 'olam in Deuteronomy 15:17. The net result of these rabbinic sources is, for Friar Raymond, confirmation of his contention that 'olam does not mean eternity, or at least need not mean eternity, and that its use in verses regarding circumcision, the sabbath, and the rest of the ceremonial law does not imply everlasting performance of the commandments.
To be sure, thus far Friar Raymond has merely eliminated Jewish objections and indicated that the ceremonial law need not be everlasting, as the Jews claim. He next makes a more positive case, arguing from Rabbi David Kimhi that there are three Hebrew terms that are used to designate eternity: (1) nezah[*] , (2) selah, and (3)'ad. "Since therefore none of these three terms is used for the law, when there is mention of circumcision, sabbath, sacrifices, and other ceremonial laws, but rather [the text uses] 'olam, that is 'for the ages,' as has been shown, thus it is clear beyond doubt that the ceremonial laws were not meant to be observed literally forever but rather up to an appointed time, that is up to the advent of the Messiah."
Even with this more positive assertion, Friar Raymond does not rest his case. He continues by introducing a number of rabbinic texts that speak of a new Torah in the future epoch. Specifically, he cites (1) Midrash Kohelet on Ecclesiastes 2:1, which speaks of "the new Torah of the world to come"; (2) Midrash Kohelet on Ecclesiastes 11:8, which speaks of the "Torah of the Messiah"; and (3) the locus classicus in Jeremiah 31, which expatiates on "the new covenant of the days to come," which Friar Raymond, basing himself on the Mekhilta, asserts to be yet another reference to a new law.
This abstract notion of a new law is given more precise content through a citation from Midrash Kohelet, on Ecclesiastes 1:11, which speaks of an eventual remembrance not of the miracles of Egypt or even of the miracles that followed the exodus from Egypt but rather of
ultimate remembrance of the miracles of the world to come, closing with a quotation from Jeremiah 23:7. This tradition is reinforced by two further texts, one from the Palestinian Talmud and one from the Babylonian Talmud. The former of these two parallel sources relates, in the name of ben Zoma, that
Israel will no longer recall the exodus from Egypt in the future, during the days of the Messiah. What is the reason for this? "Assuredly a time is coming—declares the Lord—when it shall no more be said: 'As the Lord lives, who brought the Israelites out of the land of Egypt,' but rather 'As the Lord lives, who brought out and led the offsprings of the house of Israel from the northland and from all the lands to which I have banished them.' "
Thus one shift in the new law will be a shift in the pattern of communal recollection, with remembrance of the early miracles in Israelite history giving way—and properly so—to celebration of later and greater miracles wrought by God through his Messiah. Given Friar Raymond's earlier extensive case for the advent of the Messiah, he then concludes that Jewish recollection of the early miracles, such as the exodus from Egypt, should indeed give way to new recollections. The old ceremonial law had lost its meaning and validity.
What Friar Raymond had thus undertaken for the festivals of recollection, he does for such ritual obligations as circumcision and the sabbath. In all these instances, the procedure is the same—extensive citation of rabbinic sources designed to prove that the old law was intended to give way to a new and spiritualized meaning. While it would be tedious to follow Friar Raymond's argumentation in all these areas, one further set of claims does merit our attention. He argues that it had in fact been God's will that the ceremonial law be historically suspended through the agency of Roman decree. The Romans were intended to serve as a vehicle of divine will in suspending the superannuated law. In the face of this divinely ordained Romanexecuted suspension of Jewish law, the Jews insisted on renewing for themselves the demands of the law, not, however, in fulfillment of divine commandment but in contravention of God's desires. This is a most unusual and audacious claim and warrants a brief look at the sources mustered in its support.
Friar Raymond introduces this new tack with a citation from Midrash Tehillim on Psalms 75:11, which reads "All the horns of the wicked I will cut; but the horns of the righteous will be lifted up." The
midrash proceeds to elaborate ten horns granted by God to Israel: (1) the horn of Abraham; (2) the horn of Isaac; (3) the horn of Joseph; (4) the horn of Moses; (5) the horn of prophecy; (6) the horn of Torah; (7) the horn of the priesthood; (8) the horn of the levitical family; (9) the horn of Jerusalem; and (io) the horn of the King Messiah. Having established these ten bounties, the midrash then suggests:
Since Israel has sinned, these [ten horns] were taken from them and given to the gentiles, as is said: "After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and exceedingly strong; and it has great iron teeth; it devoured and broke in pieces and stamped the residue with its feet; and it was different from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns." For the gentiles of the world were allegorized in these beasts. Indeed, when the horns of the gentiles are in existence, then the horns of Israel are cut down, as is said: "In blazing anger, he has cut down all the horns of Israel."
Friar Raymond has taken a midrash designed to warn and chastise Jewish listeners by suggesting a recurrent oscillation in the fate of the Jews and the gentiles, based on Jewish sin or virture, and has transformed it into a rejection of the Jews and a permanent suspension of many aspects of Jewish life, including Jewish law.
A second source is adduced by Friar Raymond to argue more specifically for divine suspension of Jewish law.
How God removed the legal requirements from the Jews through the agency of the Romans, especially circumcision and the sabbath, and how the devil restored these two and other [such legalisms] is reflected in their own literature in the Talmud, in Tractate Me'ilah, in the chapter Kodshe Mizbeah[*] .
The story quoted by Friar Raymond involves efforts by the Jews to overturn the Roman decrees against Jewish law. The key element in the story concerns the visit of Rabbi Simon bar Yohai and Rabbi Eliezer ben Yose to the Roman emperor. On their way to this crucial encounter, they were asked by a demon if they would like his assistance, which was accepted. The demon then infected the emperor's daughter and was subsequently exorcised by Rabbi Simon bar Yohai. In gratitude, the emperor promised to grant any wish the rabbi might make. His request was for the annulment of the imperial edict against Jewish law, and this request was speedily granted. Friar Raymond concludes:
Now let your good sense perceive, O reader, how, through these two traditions it is evident that God removed from the Jews, through the agency of the Romans, sabbath and circumcision and other ceremonials. "In blazing anger he has cut down all the horns of Israel," of which one was the law, as was indicated above. He never restored these to them, neither through his own agency nor by the angels nor by any other sacred figure. Rather, the Jews themselves regained circumcision, sabbath, and the rest through diabolical miracles, as has been shown in the preceding tradition. No one therefore should observe any longer—unless he be thoroughly demonic—those things which God removed and the devil so liberally and freely restored to the Jews by involving himself in obvious fashion.
This is a fascinating instance of Friar Raymond's exploitation of aggadic materials.
Friar Raymond makes a second major attack on Jewish beliefs, this one aimed at Jewish status and hopes for the future. As we have noted earlier, implicit in the claim that the Messiah has already come is the concomitant assertion that Jewish fate is sealed and that Jewish hopes for future betterment are vain. In the previous chapter, it was shown that Friar Paul's assertion of the prior advent of the Messiah elicited from Rabbi Mordechai ben Joseph both rebuttal and reassurance to his fellow Jews that the divine scheme of history still promised them future salvation. True to his goal of providing argumentation on every significant issue, Friar Raymond was not content with the implicit corollary of Jewish hopelessness; in the concluding chapters of his opus, he strove to provide extensive rabbinic materials that might be utilized to argue the case explicitly. In the process, what Friar Raymond did was to advance traditional Christian claims of downtrodden Jewish status, the meaning of this status, and the utter hopelessness of the Jewish situation, claims that generally rested on an empirical foundation, and to buttress these traditional allegations with his new-style recourse to talmudic texts. We shall not follow Friar Raymond's case in great detail but shall restrict the discussion to the crucial elements only.
Friar Raymond begins with a verse from Hosea, which, he claims, the Jews have distorted through their pointing of the Hebrew test. The Jews traditionally understand that verse to mean "Woe to them indeed when I turn away from them." According to Friar Raymond, rabbinic falsification through punctuation obscures the true meaning
of the verse, which is, "Woe to them when I take on flesh." According to him, it is in the light of this true meaning of the verse that the prophet's concluding warning must be understood: "For their evil deeds I will drive them out of my house. I will accept them no more; all their officials are disloyal." Thus, in Friar Raymond's reading, the paradigmatic statement of Israel's sin and punishment is contained in these verses, properly understood. To be sure, this is not precisely use of rabbinic exegesis to produce a Christological statement; it is, rather, exposure of alleged rabbinic tampering that was intended to obscure the essential meaning of an important scriptural text.
Friar Raymond does proceed to adduce more direct rabbinic evidence for what he sees as the Jewish situation. He raises the question of the precise nature of the Jewish sin that produced the terrible results that he (in accord with Christian tradition in general) perceived in post-Second Temple Jewish fate. The answer, for Friar Raymond, lay in the well-known passage in the Babylonian Talmud that discusses the sin that brought about the destruction of the Second Temple. This discussion proceeded from the rabbinic sense of the disparity between the generations that preceded the destruction of the First Temple and those that preceded the destruction of the Second Temple. Whereas the former were viewed as guilty of major sins, expressed traditionally as the sins of idolatry, fornication, and murder, the general concern of the latter for the careful fulfillment of Jewish law presented a significant problem. The rabbinic answer was to highlight the shortcoming of sin'at hinam[*] , pointless hatred. This well-known rabbinic view is turned by Friar Raymond into rabbinic acknowledgment of guilt for the pointless rejection of the Messiah sent by God to save Israel. This is the heart of his case against the Jews and for the eternal rejection of the Jewish people. He does add further texts and does elaborate related sins, including the acceptance of false messiahs and the absurd expectation of a future Messiah. His case, however, rests with the rabbinic concern over the sin that brought in its wake the destruction of the Second Temple and the exile of a seemingly punctilious group of Jews, and with the rabbinic suggestion of pointless hatred as the explanation for these disasters, this pointless hatred being explained in terms of rejection of the promised Messiah. This is not the most impressive of Friar Raymond's arguments; there is a sketchiness and arbitrariness that is generally not characteristic of the work. Nonetheless, it does show us the basic system at work once again. Friar
Raymond insists on developing his argumentation as explicitly as possible. In making his case for the abandonment of the Jewish people by their God, he continues to utilize the rabbinic sources on which his entire prior case had been constructed.
Before concluding our discussion of the Pugio Fidei, one further point must be made. I suggested earlier that the arguments leveled by Rabbi Moses ben Nahman were quite effective and were pondered seriously by Friar Raymond as part of his effort to refine the innovative argumentation of Friar Paul Christian. Let us look back fleetingly at our discussion of the Pugio Fidei to test this suggestion. Rabbi Moses's first line of defense had been intense battling over the meaning of each text adduced by Friar Paul. Clearly, Friar Raymond was aware of this possibility and attempted to forestall such Jewish argumentation through his careful citation and translation of texts, with evidence for the propriety of his translation regularly provided. Rabbi Moses's next ploy was to argue for the implausibility of Jewish perception of Christian truth combined with tenacious maintenance of adherence to Judaism. Friar Raymond, like his predecessor, has no telling response to this Jewish claim, but surely his insistence on the depravity of the Jews is related to this issue. The Jews are portrayed negatively throughout the work, in part in an effort to explain the anomaly of rabbinic insight into Christian truth and ongoing Jewish rejection of the truth. To be sure, this is a tack likely to have little positive impact on a Jewish audience.
The next two lines of Nahmanidean argumentation are similarly reflected in the Pugio Fidei. Rabbi Moses had struck harshly and effectively at Friar Paul's tactic of deliberate abstraction, insisting at every turn on introducing the historical figure of Jesus and showing how the Messiah of the rabbinic texts could not be identical to the Christian Messiah. Friar Raymond was acutely sensitive to the weakness of Friar Paul's position and the strength of Rabbi Moses's rebuttal. He in fact dismisses out of hand rabbinic statements advanced earlier by Friar Paul, adducing in their place only texts that harbored no obvious inconsistencies between the Messiah depicted therein and the Christian claimant. Every one of the rabbinic statements advanced by Friar Raymond speaks of a messianic figure that is chronologically consistent with the historical Jesus. Finally, the Nahmanidean ploy of rejecting aggadic literature in general is obviated by recourse to the full range of rabbinic texts, including halachic texts as well. The sim-
ple repudiation suggested by Nahmanides—for his Christian listeners, at least—is blunted by utilization of this wide range of rabbinic citations from the realm of halachah as well as the realm of aggadah.
Finally, one last item in Nahmanides' arsenal should be mentioned. Obliquely at most in the public proceedings and quite openly in his Hebrew report on the confrontation, Nahmanides, as part of his case, pointed to the personal shortcomings of his Dominican opponent. There are a number of slurs on Friar Paul's general lack of intelligence and, more specifically, his limited knowledge of rabbinic literature—"you fail to understand law and halachah, [comprehending] only a bit of the aggadah with which you have become familiar." This criticism was probably quite accurate for Friar Paul. There is no real evidence for wide-ranging familiarity with rabbinic texts. Not so with Friar Raymond. The extensive efforts to collect Jewish sources obviated this line of Nahmanidean response as well. Rabbi Moses would not have been pleased at the notion that his telling arguments had paved the way for a careful refinement of the new missionizing thrusts, but that was in fact one of the results of his efforts.
The claims for Christian truth and Jewish error and hopelessness drawn up by Friar Raymond Martin—all on the basis of a reading of Jewish sources—constitute the fullest missionizing case ever developed in medieval Christendom for use among the Jews. It involved the most serious effort to penetrate Jewish thinking, the most extensive amassing of Jewish texts, the fullest range of theological and practical issues ever addressed, and the most careful utilization of Jewish data ever undertaken by Christian missionizers. The Pugio Fidei represents the high-water mark not only of the mid-thirteenth-century missionizing effort but, in many ways, of medieval Christian proselytizing argumentation against the Jews altogether.
To say all this is not, of course, to indicate that this argumentation had to be successful. After all, as Nahmanides had argued, Jews had read the same texts for many centuries without reaching Christological conclusions. The fullness and sophistication of the case laid out by Friar Raymond Martin was no guarantee of its effectiveness. What it did mean was that Jews exposed to this new argumentation were challenged as never before to adumbrate for themselves increasingly sophisticated counterargumentation. It is to the reflections of this Jewish response that we now proceed.