Tarphon, or Tryphon

Tarphon, or Tryphon a Jewish rabbi of the 2d century A.D., belonged to a sacerdotal family. He was a friend and contemporary of rabbi Akiba, and for some time rector of the school at Lydda. He was noted as a bitter enemy of Christianity, and declared that, although the gospels and the other writings of the "Minim," or Christians, contained the sacred name of the Deity, they ought to be burned; that heathenism was less dangerous than Christianity; that heathens offended from ignorance, while Christians did so with full knowledge; and that he would prefer seeking shelter in a heathen temple rather than in a meeting-place of the Minim (Talm. Shabbath, fol. 116, col. 1). This, his animosity against Christianity, induced some, as Lightfoot, Carpzov, and others, to maintain that rabbi Tarphon is the same Trypho who is the interlocutor in Justin Martyr's Dialogue, an opinion which probably owes its origin to Eusebius (Eccl. Hist. 4:18), but which has little or no probability in its defense. In the Pirke Aboth, 2, 20 sq., we have the recorded maxim of this sage: "The day is short, the labor vast; but the laborers are slothful, though the reward is great, and the Master presseth for dispatch. It is not incumbent upon thee to complete the work, and yet thou art not at liberty to be idle about it. If thou hast studied the law much, great reward will be given thee; for faithful is thy employer, who will award to thee the hire of thy labor, and be aware that the award of the righteous will be in the future which is to come." See Basnage, Histoire des Juif (Taylor's Eng. transl.), p. 524; De Rossi, Dizionario Storico degli Autori Ebrei (Hamburger's Germ. transl.), p. 321, s.v. "Tryfon ;" Etheridge, Introduction to Hebrew Literature, p. 65; Friedlander, Patristische und talnmudische Studien (Vienna, 1878), p. 136 sq., 147; Fürst, Bibl. Jud. 3, 449. (B. P.)

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