left among them who knew the Torah by heart, and he" ('Uzair, i.e. Ezra), "when God brought him to life after 100 years, dictated (املى) to them the Torah from memory, accordingly marvelled at that." Under the circumstances it was not surprising that they should marvel, but it is surprising that anyone should believe such a story. Even Second (or Fourth) Esdras tells us nothing so absurd. Yet both it and Baizawi agree that Ezra was a Hafiz of the Torah, not a compiler of a forged Torah. If the tale told in Second Esdras were true, it would show that, just as the Qur'an would not perish if every copy of it were burnt, because there are men who know it by heart, and who could and would dictate it to others, so the Torah did not perish, because Ezra knew it by heart and dictated it to his scribes. This does not establish the destruction of the Torah, as Shaikh Rahmatu'llah thinks it does.

It may be well to mention, however, that no scholar accepts the Second (or Fourth) Book of Esdras as the work of Ezra. A study even of its contents proves that the earlier part of it was written between 81 and 96 A.D., and the later part as late as 263 A.D., whereas Ezra lived in the fifth century before Christ. (Such passages as 2 Esdras ii. 47; vii. 28, 29, &c., show that the book was written after Christ's time, and not before it.) The book was never accepted by the Jews. The latter join with all scholars in rejecting the fable which is told in this book, though in the third century of the Christian era some people who knew no Hebrew were foolish enough to let themselves be deceived by it.

We must now show that the Torah and other ancient Sacred Books of the Jews did not perish in Nebuchadnezzar's time. This will be clear, if we prove that they still existed in Ezra's day, much more than a hundred years after the destruction of the Temple by the Babylonians. The proof is not difficult, for in the genuine Book of Ezra, which is in the Canon of both Jews and Christians, we are told that Ezra "was a ready scribe in the Torah of Moses" (Ezra vii. 6;


compare Nehemiah viii), and that the Law of God (the Torah) was in Ezra's hand when he went up to Jerusalem from Babylon (Ezra vii. 14). Therefore it is clear that the Book of the Torah had not been destroyed in Nebuchadnezzar's time. This Biblical testimony is sufficient; but it does not stand alone. In a Hebrew work entitled the Pirqey Abhoth (بِرقَىْ آبهَوْت), said to have been composed in the second century of the Christian era, it is said: "Moses1 received the Torah from Sinai, and handed it down to Joshua, and Joshua to the Elders,2 and the Elders to the Prophets, and the Prophets handed it down to the men of the Great Synagogue." The Great Synagogue is said to have been a body of learned men established by Ezra, and their main duty is said to have been to preserve the Torah and to teach it. The Talmud says of them that, after the Babylonian Captivity, "the men of the Great Synagogue restored the Magnificence (i.e. The Torah) to its ancient state." In accordance with this the Pirqey Abhoth says3 that "They used to utter three sayings: 'Be ye careful in judgement; and Raise up many disciples; and Make a hedge for the Torah.’" The last saying signifies, "Take means to preserve the Torah from all possible injury or corruption." This has been done most carefully. No nation has ever taken such care of its religious books as the Jews have for ages past taken of theirs. They have kept a record even of the number of words and letters in the Sacred Text. One other passage from the Pirqey Abhoth we quote, to show what importance the Jews attached to the Torah. In it we read: "Simon4 the Just was one of the survivors of the Great Synagogue. He used to say: 'The world exists through (stands on) three things,—the Torah, and Worship, and kind deeds.'" The Jews have handed the Old Testament in the original Hebrew and Aramaic

1 Pirqey Abhoth, i. I.
2 Those mentioned in Joshua xxiv. 31.
3 Pirqey Abhoth, i. I.
4 Pirqey Abhoth i. 2.