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Against Apion

Overview

Against Apion was a polemical work written by Flavius Josephus as a defense of Judaism as a classical religion and philosophy, stressing its antiquity against what he perceived as more recent traditions of the Greeks. Against Apion cites Josephus' earlier work Antiquities of the Jews, so can be dated after C.E. 94. It was most likely written in the early second century.

Against Apion 1:8 also defines which books Josephus viewed as being in the Jewish Scriptures:

" For we have ...

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Against Apion

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Overview

Against Apion was a polemical work written by Flavius Josephus as a defense of Judaism as a classical religion and philosophy, stressing its antiquity against what he perceived as more recent traditions of the Greeks. Against Apion cites Josephus' earlier work Antiquities of the Jews, so can be dated after C.E. 94. It was most likely written in the early second century.

Against Apion 1:8 also defines which books Josephus viewed as being in the Jewish Scriptures:

" For we have not an innumerable multitude of books among us, disagreeing from and contradicting one another, [as the Greeks have,] but only twenty-two books, (8) which contain the records of all the past times; which are justly believed to be divine; and of them five belong to Moses, which contain his laws and the traditions of the origin of mankind till his death. This interval of time was little short of three thousand years; but as to the time from the death of Moses till the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, who reigned after Xerxes, the prophets, who were after Moses, wrote down what was done in their times in thirteen books. The remaining four books contain hymns to God, and precepts for the conduct of human life. It is true, our history hath been written since Artaxerxes very particularly, but hath not been esteemed of the like authority with the former by our forefathers, because there hath not been an exact succession of prophets since that time; and how firmly we have given credit to these books of our own nation is evident by what we do; for during so many ages as have already passed, no one has been so bold as either to add any thing to them, to take any thing from them, or to make any change in them; but it is become natural to all Jews immediately, and from their very birth, to esteem these books to contain Divine doctrines, and to persist in them, and, if occasion be willingly to die for them. "
In the second book, Josephus defends the historicity of the Jewish Bible against accusations made by Apion (who Josephus states is not Greek), arguing that Apion in fact rehashes material of Manetho's, though there was apparently some confusion between Manetho's references to the Hyksos and the Hebrews.[clarification needed]

Josephus on Apion's blood libel (Against Apion 2:8):

" Apion becomes other men's prophet upon this occasion, and says that "Antiochus found in our temple a bed, and a man lying upon it, with a small table before him, full of dainties, from the [fishes of the] sea, and the fowls of the dry land... he fell down upon his knees, and begged to be released; and that when the king bid him sit down, and tell him who he was, and why he dwelt there, and what was the meaning of those various sorts of food that were set before him the man made a lamentable complaint, and with sighs, and tears in his eyes, gave him this account of the distress he was in; and said that he was a Greek and that as he went over this province, in order to get his living, he was seized upon by foreigners, on a sudden, and brought to this temple, and shut up therein, and was seen by nobody, but was fattened by these curious provisions thus set before him; and that truly at the first such unexpected advantages seemed to him matter of great joy; that after a while, he inquired of the servants that came to him and was by them informed that it was in order to the fulfilling a law of the Jews, which they must not tell him, that he was thus fed; and that they did the same at a set time every year: that they used to catch a Greek foreigner, and fat him thus up every year, and then lead him to a certain wood, and kill him, and sacrifice with their accustomed solemnities, and taste of his entrails, and take an oath upon this sacrificing a Greek, that they would ever be at enmity with the Greeks; and that then they threw the remaining parts of the miserable wretch into a certain pit."

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781846376207
  • Publisher: Echo Library
  • Publication date: 1/20/2006
  • Pages: 84
  • Product dimensions: 0.20 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 6.00 (d)

Meet the Author

William Whiston (9 December 1667 - 22 August 1752) was an English theologian, historian, and mathematician, a leading figure in the popularisation of the ideas of Isaac Newton. He is now probably best known for his translation of the Antiquities of the Jews and other works by Josephus, his A New Theory of the Earth, and his Arianism.

Whiston succeeded his mentor Newton as Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge. Having lost the position over his theological views, he spent the rest of his life as a lecturer and writer.

Titus Flavius Josephus (37 - c. 100), born Joseph ben Matityahu, was a first-century Romano-Jewish scholar, historian and hagiographer, who was born in Jerusalem-then part of Roman Judea-to a father of priestly descent and a mother who claimed royal ancestry.

He initially fought against the Romans during the First Jewish-Roman War as head of Jewish forces in Galilee, until surrendering in 67 to Roman forces led by Vespasian after the six-week siege of Jotapata. Josephus claimed the Jewish Messianic prophecies that initiated the First Roman-Jewish War made reference to Vespasian becoming Emperor of Rome. In response Vespasian decided to keep Josephus as a hostage and interpreter. After Vespasian did become Emperor in 69, he granted Josephus his freedom, at which time Josephus assumed the emperor's family name of Flavius.

Flavius Josephus fully defected to the Roman side and was granted Roman citizenship. He became an advisor and friend of Vespasian's son Titus, serving as his translator when Titus led the Siege of Jerusalem, which resulted-when the Jewish revolt did not surrender-in the city's destruction and the looting and destruction of Herod's Temple (Second Temple).

Josephus recorded Jewish history, with special emphasis on the first century AD and the First Jewish-Roman War, including the Siege of Masada.

His most important works were The Jewish War (c. 75) and Antiquities of the Jews (c. 94). The Jewish War recounts the Jewish revolt against Roman occupation (66-70). Antiquities of the Jews recounts the history of the world from a Jewish perspective for an ostensibly Roman audience. These works provide valuable insight into first century Judaism and the background of Early Christianity.

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Table of Contents

Series Preface: The Brill Josephus Project Abbreviations and Sigla Acknowledgements

Josephus, Against Apion Book 1
Book 2

Appendix 1: Manetho Appendix 2: Pseudo-Hecataeus Appendix 3: Exodus Narratives in Cultural Context Appendix 4: The Judeans and the Ass Appendix 5: The Sources of the Apologetic Encomium (2.145-286)
Appendix 6: Judaism in Roman Dress?

Bibliography

Indices Ancient Authors Modern Authors Greek Words

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