Tacitus, Histories 5.5

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מקורות ראשוניים ועתיקים T


Whatever their origin, these rites are maintained by their antiquity[1]: the other customs of the Jews are base and abominable, and owe their persistence to their depravity. For the worst rascals among other peoples, renouncing their ancestral religions, always kept sending tribute and contributions to Jerusalem, thereby increasing the wealth of the Jews[2]; again, the Jews are extremely loyal toward one another, and always ready to show compassion, but toward every other people they feel only hate and enmity. They sit apart at meals, and they sleep apart, and although as a race, they are prone to lust, they abstain from intercourse with foreign women; yet among themselves nothing is unlawful. They adopted circumcision to distinguish themselves from other peoples by this difference. Those who are converted to their ways follow the same practice, and the earliest lesson they receive is to despise the gods, to disown their country, and to regard their parents, children, and brothers as of little account.[3] However, they take thought to increase their numbers; for they regard it as a crime to kill any late-born child, and they believe that the souls of those who are killed in battle or by the executioner are immortal: hence comes their passion for begetting children, and their scorn of death.[4] They bury the body rather than burn it, thus following the Egyptians' custom; they likewise bestow the same care on the dead, and hold the same belief about the world below; but their ideas of heavenly things are quite the opposite. The Egyptians worship many animals and monstrous images; the Jews conceive of one god only, and that with the mind alone: they regard as impious those who make from perishable materials representations of gods in man's image; that supreme and eternal being is to them incapable of representation and without end.[5] Therefore they set up no statues in their cities, still less in their temples; this flattery is not paid their kings, nor this honour given to the Caesars. But since their priests used to chant to the accompaniment of pipes and cymbals and to wear garlands of ivy, and because a golden vine was found in their temple, some have thought that they were devotees of Father Liber, the conqueror of the East, in spite of the incongruity of their customs. For Liber established festive rites of a joyous nature, while the ways of the Jews are preposterous and mean. c


  1. עתיקותה של הדת היהודית - עדות לחוקיותה באימפריה הרומית.
  2. הנאמנות הכפולה של היהודים - שליחת מנחות לירושלים.
  3. ציון מפורש למומרים - מציין כיצד כל חייהם החברתיים משתנים בעקבות הגיור.
  4. הסיבות להתרבותם של היהודים: איסור על הפלות, רצח תינוקות וקיום מצוות פרו ורבו.
  5. ההבדלים ונקודות ההשקה בין הדת היהודית לדת המצרית. מעניין שהוא משווה בין שתי הדתות - אולי מבחינתו שתיהן נכנסות למעמד של דתות המזרח.

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