The Riddles of Solomon in Rabbinic Literature

Download The Riddles of Solomon in Rabbinic Literature

Post on 19-Jan-2017

218 views

Category:

Documents

0 download

Embed Size (px)

TRANSCRIPT

<ul><li><p>The Riddles of Solomon in Rabbinic LiteratureAuthor(s): S. SchechterSource: Folklore, Vol. 1, No. 3 (Sep., 1890), pp. 349-358Published by: Taylor &amp; Francis, Ltd. on behalf of Folklore Enterprises, Ltd.Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1253100 .Accessed: 14/06/2014 03:26</p><p>Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms &amp; Conditions of Use, available at .http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p><p> .JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range ofcontent in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.</p><p> .</p><p>Folklore Enterprises, Ltd. and Taylor &amp; Francis, Ltd. are collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve andextend access to Folklore.</p><p>http://www.jstor.org </p><p>This content downloaded from 62.122.72.154 on Sat, 14 Jun 2014 03:26:34 AMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=taylorfrancishttp://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=felhttp://www.jstor.org/stable/1253100?origin=JSTOR-pdfhttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsphttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p></li><li><p>THE RIDDLES OF SOLOMON IN </p><p>RABBINIC LITERA TURE. </p><p>HE place which the Solomon Riddles occupy in the literature of almost every nation suggested to me that </p><p>the publication of a previously inedited Hebrew text on the </p><p>subject, with an English translation and a few introductory and explanatory remarks, will not be without interest to the readers of FOLK-LORE. </p><p>As to the Hebrew text, it is edited for the first time from the Midrasli Hackephez, existing only in Yemen MSS., of which the British Museum has four copies, bearing the </p><p>press marks Oriental 2351 and Or. 2380-82. Our copy is </p><p>prepared from Or. 2382. The MSS. vary very little, and the only essential variation we found we have inserted in its </p><p>place. The Bodleian (see Dr. Neubauer's Catalogue, No. </p><p>2492) and the Royal Library in Berlin also possess copies of this Midrash. In the catalogue of the latter, by Dr. Stein- </p><p>schneider, p. 71, a full description is given of this work, and we see there that its compiler, Yachya Ben Sulieman, wrote as late as I430. The new version of the Riddles, which we give here, would accordingly have no claim to </p><p>any great antiquity. But, on the other hand, it has been </p><p>proved already, at least with regard to other Midrashic col- lections coming from Yemen, that the Jews in this country were, up to a comparatively late date, in possession of very ancient Rabbinic sources, which had long before dis- </p><p>appeared among their coreligionists in Europe. Thus the late age of the compiler wbuld not prove much against the </p><p>antiquity of his version of the legend. Now, it is true that that part of the Rabbinic literature </p><p>in which the Solomon Riddles are mentioned at all, as the </p><p>THE RIDDLES OF SOLOMON IN </p><p>RABBINIC LITERA TURE. </p><p>HE place which the Solomon Riddles occupy in the literature of almost every nation suggested to me that </p><p>the publication of a previously inedited Hebrew text on the </p><p>subject, with an English translation and a few introductory and explanatory remarks, will not be without interest to the readers of FOLK-LORE. </p><p>As to the Hebrew text, it is edited for the first time from the Midrasli Hackephez, existing only in Yemen MSS., of which the British Museum has four copies, bearing the </p><p>press marks Oriental 2351 and Or. 2380-82. Our copy is </p><p>prepared from Or. 2382. The MSS. vary very little, and the only essential variation we found we have inserted in its </p><p>place. The Bodleian (see Dr. Neubauer's Catalogue, No. </p><p>2492) and the Royal Library in Berlin also possess copies of this Midrash. In the catalogue of the latter, by Dr. Stein- </p><p>schneider, p. 71, a full description is given of this work, and we see there that its compiler, Yachya Ben Sulieman, wrote as late as I430. The new version of the Riddles, which we give here, would accordingly have no claim to </p><p>any great antiquity. But, on the other hand, it has been </p><p>proved already, at least with regard to other Midrashic col- lections coming from Yemen, that the Jews in this country were, up to a comparatively late date, in possession of very ancient Rabbinic sources, which had long before dis- </p><p>appeared among their coreligionists in Europe. Thus the late age of the compiler wbuld not prove much against the </p><p>antiquity of his version of the legend. Now, it is true that that part of the Rabbinic literature </p><p>in which the Solomon Riddles are mentioned at all, as the </p><p>THE RIDDLES OF SOLOMON IN </p><p>RABBINIC LITERA TURE. </p><p>HE place which the Solomon Riddles occupy in the literature of almost every nation suggested to me that </p><p>the publication of a previously inedited Hebrew text on the </p><p>subject, with an English translation and a few introductory and explanatory remarks, will not be without interest to the readers of FOLK-LORE. </p><p>As to the Hebrew text, it is edited for the first time from the Midrasli Hackephez, existing only in Yemen MSS., of which the British Museum has four copies, bearing the </p><p>press marks Oriental 2351 and Or. 2380-82. Our copy is </p><p>prepared from Or. 2382. The MSS. vary very little, and the only essential variation we found we have inserted in its </p><p>place. The Bodleian (see Dr. Neubauer's Catalogue, No. </p><p>2492) and the Royal Library in Berlin also possess copies of this Midrash. In the catalogue of the latter, by Dr. Stein- </p><p>schneider, p. 71, a full description is given of this work, and we see there that its compiler, Yachya Ben Sulieman, wrote as late as I430. The new version of the Riddles, which we give here, would accordingly have no claim to </p><p>any great antiquity. But, on the other hand, it has been </p><p>proved already, at least with regard to other Midrashic col- lections coming from Yemen, that the Jews in this country were, up to a comparatively late date, in possession of very ancient Rabbinic sources, which had long before dis- </p><p>appeared among their coreligionists in Europe. Thus the late age of the compiler wbuld not prove much against the </p><p>antiquity of his version of the legend. Now, it is true that that part of the Rabbinic literature </p><p>in which the Solomon Riddles are mentioned at all, as the </p><p>THE RIDDLES OF SOLOMON IN </p><p>RABBINIC LITERA TURE. </p><p>HE place which the Solomon Riddles occupy in the literature of almost every nation suggested to me that </p><p>the publication of a previously inedited Hebrew text on the </p><p>subject, with an English translation and a few introductory and explanatory remarks, will not be without interest to the readers of FOLK-LORE. </p><p>As to the Hebrew text, it is edited for the first time from the Midrasli Hackephez, existing only in Yemen MSS., of which the British Museum has four copies, bearing the </p><p>press marks Oriental 2351 and Or. 2380-82. Our copy is </p><p>prepared from Or. 2382. The MSS. vary very little, and the only essential variation we found we have inserted in its </p><p>place. The Bodleian (see Dr. Neubauer's Catalogue, No. </p><p>2492) and the Royal Library in Berlin also possess copies of this Midrash. In the catalogue of the latter, by Dr. Stein- </p><p>schneider, p. 71, a full description is given of this work, and we see there that its compiler, Yachya Ben Sulieman, wrote as late as I430. The new version of the Riddles, which we give here, would accordingly have no claim to </p><p>any great antiquity. But, on the other hand, it has been </p><p>proved already, at least with regard to other Midrashic col- lections coming from Yemen, that the Jews in this country were, up to a comparatively late date, in possession of very ancient Rabbinic sources, which had long before dis- </p><p>appeared among their coreligionists in Europe. Thus the late age of the compiler wbuld not prove much against the </p><p>antiquity of his version of the legend. Now, it is true that that part of the Rabbinic literature </p><p>in which the Solomon Riddles are mentioned at all, as the </p><p>This content downloaded from 62.122.72.154 on Sat, 14 Jun 2014 03:26:34 AMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p></li><li><p>The Riddles oj Solomon in The Riddles oj Solomon in The Riddles oj Solomon in The Riddles oj Solomon in </p><p>Midrash on Proverbs and the Second Targum to Esther, are, according to the best authorities, not older than the tenth </p><p>century,l whilst neither the Talmud of Jerusalem nor that of </p><p>Babylon, nor any of the other earlier Midrashim (homiletic comments on the Old Testament), ever allude to them. But the silence of these sources may be explained on other </p><p>grounds. Indeed, it would seem that the earlier Rabbis </p><p>purposely avoided touching on the whole subject. For we read in the name of R: Samuel bar Nachmani, a famous </p><p>Aggadist of the third century: "He who translates the words Malkath Sheba as 'the Queen of Sheba' is mistaken, its real meaning being 'the kingdom of Sheba."'" It is </p><p>hardly necessary to say that this Rabbi Samuel's explana- tion is against all grammar. But we know from other </p><p>places that this Rabbi was rather fond of such forced in- </p><p>terpretations of Scriptural stories, which in their simple meaning would rather be irreconcilable with the ideal which posterity has formed of their heroes.2 We may therefore assume, I think, that also in the present case the passage quoted was also meant as a protest against some legends about Solomon, current at the time, which the Rabbis considered unworthy of the Solomon idealised by a later generation. The legend which scandalised the Rabbis was probably that which is to be found first in the Pseudo-Sirach,3 according to which the relation be- tween Solomon and the Queen ended in a love affair of which Nebuchadnezzar was the result. This legend, again, is based on the Scriptural words: " And the King Solomon gave unto the Queen (Malkath) of Sheba all her desire" (I Kings, x, 13; 2 Chron. ix, I2; and Bertheau, ad loc.). The best way to make an end to all such stories was, therefore, to explain the word Malkath as if it were </p><p>1 See Zuns, Die gottesdienstliche Vortrdge, p. 268, and Munk's edition of the Second Targum, p. io. Comp. also Rapoport, Erech Millim, p. 23. </p><p>2 See Baba Bat/ira, I5a, and Sabbath, 56a and b. 3 See Pseudo Ben Sira, ed. Steinschneider, p. 2Ib; Munk's Second </p><p>Targum, p. 23; and A. Epstein's Beitraege, etc., p. I22. </p><p>Midrash on Proverbs and the Second Targum to Esther, are, according to the best authorities, not older than the tenth </p><p>century,l whilst neither the Talmud of Jerusalem nor that of </p><p>Babylon, nor any of the other earlier Midrashim (homiletic comments on the Old Testament), ever allude to them. But the silence of these sources may be explained on other </p><p>grounds. Indeed, it would seem that the earlier Rabbis </p><p>purposely avoided touching on the whole subject. For we read in the name of R: Samuel bar Nachmani, a famous </p><p>Aggadist of the third century: "He who translates the words Malkath Sheba as 'the Queen of Sheba' is mistaken, its real meaning being 'the kingdom of Sheba."'" It is </p><p>hardly necessary to say that this Rabbi Samuel's explana- tion is against all grammar. But we know from other </p><p>places that this Rabbi was rather fond of such forced in- </p><p>terpretations of Scriptural stories, which in their simple meaning would rather be irreconcilable with the ideal which posterity has formed of their heroes.2 We may therefore assume, I think, that also in the present case the passage quoted was also meant as a protest against some legends about Solomon, current at the time, which the Rabbis considered unworthy of the Solomon idealised by a later generation. The legend which scandalised the Rabbis was probably that which is to be found first in the Pseudo-Sirach,3 according to which the relation be- tween Solomon and the Queen ended in a love affair of which Nebuchadnezzar was the result. This legend, again, is based on the Scriptural words: " And the King Solomon gave unto the Queen (Malkath) of Sheba all her desire" (I Kings, x, 13; 2 Chron. ix, I2; and Bertheau, ad loc.). The best way to make an end to all such stories was, therefore, to explain the word Malkath as if it were </p><p>1 See Zuns, Die gottesdienstliche Vortrdge, p. 268, and Munk's edition of the Second Targum, p. io. Comp. also Rapoport, Erech Millim, p. 23. </p><p>2 See Baba Bat/ira, I5a, and Sabbath, 56a and b. 3 See Pseudo Ben Sira, ed. Steinschneider, p. 2Ib; Munk's Second </p><p>Targum, p. 23; and A. Epstein's Beitraege, etc., p. I22. </p><p>Midrash on Proverbs and the Second Targum to Esther, are, according to the best authorities, not older than the tenth </p><p>century,l whilst neither the Talmud of Jerusalem nor that of </p><p>Babylon, nor any of the other earlier Midrashim (homiletic comments on the Old Testament), ever allude to them. But the silence of these sources may be explained on other </p><p>grounds. Indeed, it would seem that the earlier Rabbis </p><p>purposely avoided touching on the whole subject. For we read in the name of R: Samuel bar Nachmani, a famous </p><p>Aggadist of the third century: "He who translates the words Malkath Sheba as 'the Queen of Sheba' is mistaken, its real meaning being 'the kingdom of Sheba."'" It is </p><p>hardly necessary to say that this Rabbi Samuel's explana- tion is against all grammar. But we know from other </p><p>places that this Rabbi was rather fond of such forced in- </p><p>terpretations of Scriptural stories, which in their simple meaning would rather be irreconcilable with the ideal which posterity has formed of their heroes.2 We may therefore assume, I think, that also in the present case the passage quoted was also meant as a protest against some legends about Solomon, current at the time, which the Rabbis considered unworthy of the Solomon idealised by a later generation. The legend which scandalised the Rabbis was probably that which is to be found first in the Pseudo-Sirach,3 according to which the relation be- tween Solomon and the Queen ended in a love affair of which Nebuchadnezzar was the result. This legend, again, is based on the Scriptural words: " And the King Solomon gave unto the Queen (Malkath) of Sheba all her desire" (I Kings, x, 13; 2 Chron. ix, I2; and Bertheau, ad loc.). The best way to make an end to all such stories was, therefore, to explain the word Malkath as if it were </p><p>1 See Zuns, Die gottesdienstliche Vortrdge, p. 268, and Munk's edition of the Second Targum, p. io. Comp. also Rapoport, Erech Millim, p. 23. </p><p>2 See Baba Bat/ira, I5a, and Sabbath, 56a and b. 3 See Pseudo Ben Sira, ed. Steinschneider, p. 2Ib; Munk's Second </p><p>Targum, p. 23; and A. Epstein's Beitraege, etc., p. I22. </p><p>Midrash on Proverbs and the Second Targum to Esther, are, according to the best authorities, not older than the tenth </p><p>century,l whilst neither the Talmud of Jerusalem nor that of </p><p>Babylon, nor any of the other earlier Midrashim (homiletic comments on the Old Testament), ever allude to them. But the silence of these sourc...</p></li></ul>