Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A review of Maharatz Chajes's Darkhei Hora'ah

Here's Franz Delitzsch's review of Darkhei Hora'ah by Rabbi Zvi Hirsch Chajes, for Rudelbach's Zeitschrift für die gesammte lutherische Theologie und Kirche (1844).

Here's a rough translation:
Chajes, known already for several books defending Maimonides (his favorite writer) against recent Jewish aspersions (מאמר תפארת למשה, עטרת צבי, דרכי משה), on the Targums (לקיים דברי אגרת, אגרת בקרת for Rapoport's review) and on the principles and inviolability of Scripture and Tradition (תורת הנביאים, משפט ההוראה) is one of a few Jewish scholars who combines a comprehensive knowledge of the Talmud and midrashic literature with a historical sense and critical skill. The aforementioned work is (after a general prologue on the purpose of man in general and Israel in particular) a historical-critical study of the Oral Law, its extent, and the reasons for its continuing bindingness. He offers, apart for its ephemeral apologetic aspect, an abundance of material useful even for Christian theologians. Because the gradual formation of the rabbinic Synagogue is an important subject for religious and Church history, and partly depends on linguistic studies, some solutions for questions in the history of the Apostolic period depend upon such as when the Temple sacrifices ceased; usually thought to be immediately with the destruction of the Temple. Chajes, discussing the question in the Israelitische Annalen (1840 26 38), answers using the Talmud, that the offering of sacrifices and the Passover sacrifice continued until the destruction of Betar. This confirms the testimony of Polycarp, that he kept a Passover with the Apostle John.


  1. anyone know the talmudic source for "until betar"?

  2. I'm sure you have this, but great read nonetheless (maybe some posters don't have it):

    Rav Hutner's daughter Dr. Bruria David's PHD on Maharatz Chajes:


  3. There is a new book by Ephraim Chamiel, Ha-Derekh ha-Memutza'at (The Middle Way): The Responses to Modernity in the thought of Shadal, Rav S.R. Hirsch, and the Maharatz Chajes. I have just paged through it, but it looks very insightful and comprehensive.

    Lawrence Kaplan



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