Come and Hear™ to increase interfaith understanding
This page has been scanned from The Jewish Encyclopedia (1901-1906) to ensure availability for future students of Come and Hear™




Dilling Exhibit 283

[page 594] MILMAN, HENRY HART: Historian; born in London Feb. 10, 1791; died there Sept. 24, 1868. His career at Oxford was a brilliant one. He first became known through his dramatic poems "Fazio" (1815), "Fall of Jerusalem," "Martyr of Antioch," and others. In 1830 he published his "History of the Jews," a work which brought down on him the censure of the Church. This history is aggressively rationalistic; it treats the Jews as an Oriental tribe, and all miracles are either eliminated or evaded. He was nevertheless presented with a piece of plate by some representative Jews in recognition of his sympathetic attitude. His history was republished in 1863 and 1867.

Dean Milman was appointed Dean of St. Paul's in 1849. He was the first to translate Sanskrit epics into English. He edited Gibbon in 1838, and Horace in 1849. His ecclesiastical and theological sympathies were very liberal, as is shown by his "History of Latin Christianity" (1855), in which also occur several sympathetic references to the Jews.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Dictionary of National Biog.


S. J. I.


Dilling Exhibit 266

[page 594] MIN (p1. Minim): Term used in the Talmud and Midrash for a Jewish heretic or sectarian. Its etymology is obscure, the most plausible among numerous explanations being that given by Bacher, namely, that it is derived from the Biblical […] “species”, which has received in post-Biblical Hebrew the signification of “sect”; and just as “goy” which in the Bible has only the meaning of “nation,” took later the sense of “non-Jew,” so “min” received also the signification of “sectary.” As expressly stated by R. Nahman (Hul. 13b), the term “min” is applied only to a Jewish sectary, not a non-Jew. It is variously used in the Talmud and the Midrash for the Samaritan, the Sadducee, the Gnostic, the Judaeo-Christian, and other sectaries, according to the epoch to which the passage belongs. Yerushalmi states that there were, at the time of [page 595] the destruction of the Temple, no less than twenty-four kinds of minim (Yer. Sanh. x. 5). Thus the
tions of the
min who (the Midrash states) derided Alexander the Great for rising before the Jewish high priest Simon the Just (Lev. R. xiii.) was undoubtedly a Samaritan. The minim referred to in Berakot ix., on whose account the custom was established of closing the benedictions with the words “from eternity to eternity” in order to emphasize the existence of more than one world, were undoubtedly Sadducees, who, as known, denied the existence of another world. In passages referring to the Christian period, “minim usually indicates the Judaeo-Christians, the Gnostics, and the Nazarenes, who often conversed with the Rabbis on the unity of God, creation, resurrection, and similar subjects (comp. Sanh. 39b). In some passages, indeed, it is used even for “Christian”; but it is possible that in such cases it is a substitution for the word “Nozeri,” which was the usual term for “Christian.”


Dilling Exhibit 267

During the first century of Christianity the Rabbis lived on friendly terms with the minim. Rabbi Eliezer, who denied to the heathen a share in the future life, is said to have discoursed with the Judaeo-Christian Jacob of Kefar Sekanya and to have quietly listened to the interpretation of a Biblical verse he had received from Jesus (‘Ab. Zarah 16b; Eccl. R. i. 8). Ben Dama, a nephew of R. Ishmael, having been bitten by a snake, allowed himself to be cured by means of an exorcism uttered by the min Jacob, a Judaeo-Christian. These friendly feelings, however, gradually gave way to violent hatred, as the minim separated themselves from all connection with the Jews and propagated writings which the Rabbis considered more dangerous to the unity of Judaism than those of the pagans. “The writings of the minim,” says R. Tarfon, “deserve to be burned, even though the holy name of God occurs therein, for paganism is less dangerous than ‘minut’; the former fails to recognize the truth of Judaism from want of knowledge, but the latter denies what it fully knows” (Shab. 116a).

On the invitation of Gamaliel II., Samuel ha-Katan composed a prayer against the minim which was inserted in the “Eighteen Benedictions”: it is
called “Birkat ha-Minim” and forms the twelfth benediction; but instead of the original “Nozerim” (= “Nazarenes”, see Krauss in “J. Q. R.” v. 55; comp. Bloch, “Die Institutionen des Judenthums,” i. 193) the present text has “we-la-malshinim” (=“and to the informers“). The use of this change in the text was, probably, the accusation brought by the Church Fathers against the Jews of cursing all the Christians under the name of the Nazarenes. It was forbidden to partake of meat, bread, and wine with the min. Scrolls of the Law, tefillin, and mezuzot written by a min were burned (Git. 45b; Yer. Shab. 14b; ‘Ab. Zarah 40b;. Shulhan ‘Aruk, Orah Hayyim, 39, 1; ib. Yoreh De‘ah, 281, 1). An animal slaughtered by a min was forbidden food (Hul. 13a). The relatives of the min were not permitted to observe the laws of mourning after his death, but were required to assume festive garments and rejoice (Sem. ii. 10; Yoreh De‘ah, 345). The testimony of the min was not admitted in evidence in Jewish courts (Shulhan ‘Aruk, Hoshen Mishpat, 34, 22); and an Israelite who found anything belonging to one who was a min was forbidden to return it to him (see Hoshen Mishpat, 266, 2).

According to Maimonides (“Yad,” Teshubah, iii.) the term “min “is applied to five classes of heretics: to those who deny the existence of God and His providence; to those who believe in two or in more than two gods; to those who ascribe to God form and figure; to those who maintain that there existed before the creation of the world something besides God; and to those who worship stars, planets, or other things in order that these may act as intermediaries between them and the Master of the World.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: Sachs, in Orient, Lit. ii. 825; Dreifus, ib. iv. 204, vi. 620; Kirchheim. ib. v. 1; Jost, Gesch. des Jud.enthums und Seiner Sekten. i. 414; Gratz, Gnosticismus und Judenthum, Krotoschin. 1846, pasmm; M. Friedlander, Der Vorchristliche Judische Gnosticismus, Goettingen, 1898, passim; Bacher, in R. E. J. xxxviii. 38; Israel Levi, ib. xxxviii. 204; Schuerer, in Theologische Literaturzeitung, 1899. No.6; Goldfahn, in Monatsschrift, xix. 163; J. Derenbourg, in R. E. J. xiv. 30; Krauss, in J.Q.R. ix. 515


I. BR.