Samuel the Little

Samuel The Little (שמואל הקטן), a contemporary of Gamaliel 2, is known in Jewish history as the author of the prayer against the Minim, or Jewish Christians. In the Talmud treatise Berakoth, fol. 28b, we read: לתקן ברכת הצדוקים עמד שמואל הקטן ותקנה להם רבו גמליאל לחכמים כלום יש אדם שיודע ברכות לפני רבן גמליאל על הסדר ביבנה אמר שמעון פקולי הסדיר שמונה עשרה; i.e. "Simon Pakuli arranged the eighteen benedictions before rabban Gamaliel, in Jabne, in their present order. Rabban Gamaliel said to the sages, 'Is there none who knows to prepare a benediction against the Zaddukim or Sadducees?' Then arose Samuel the Little and prepared it." This ברכת הצדוקים , or, as it is generally called, ברכת המינים, "the benediction against the Minim, or Jewish Christians," is the twelfth of the so-called Sh'mone Esre, or Eighteen Benedictions [ comp. the art. SYNAGOGUE], and originally read ולמלשינים אל תהי תקוה ולמינים, i.e. "let there be no hope for the Minim and calumniators." That this prayer was directed against Jewish Christians is testified by Epiphanius (Ep. adversus Hoeres. 29, 9; ed. Petav. p. 124), who states: οὐ μόνον γὰρ οἱ τῶν Ι᾿ουδαίων παῖδες πρὸς τούτους ῾τοὺς Ναζεραίους] κέκτηναι μῖσος, ἀλλὰ ἀνιστάμενοι, ἕωθεν καὶ μἐσης ἡμἐρας καὶ μερί τὴν ἑσπέραν, τρὶς τῆς ἡμέρας ὅτε εὐχὰς ἐπιτελοῦσιν ἑαυτοῖς ἐν ταῖς συναγωγαῖς, ἑπαρῶνται αὐτοῖς καὶ ἀναθεματίζουσι τρὶς τῆς ἡμέρας φάσκοντες ὃτι Ε᾿πικαταράσι ὸ θεὸς τοὺς Ναζεραίους. With regard to these words of Epiphanius, Grätz remarks that Epiphanius, being by birth a Jew, is a competent witness that this formula was directed against the Jewish Christians. It will be seen that the remark of Dr. Ginsburg, in Kitto's Cyclop. s.v. "Synagogue" (p. 906, note), is not justified either by the statement of Epiphanius or that of the Jewish historian Grätz. See Grätz, Gesch. d. Juden, 4, 434; Derenbourg, Histoire de la Palestine, p. 344-346; Schürer, Lehrbuch der neutestamentlichen Zeitgeschichte, p. 502. (B.P.)

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