Pseudo Hecataeus, "On the Jews": Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora

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Overview

Debate over the authenticity of "On the Jews" has persisted for nearly 1,900 years. Bezalel Bar-Kochva attempts to overcome this stalemate in his finely detailed and convincingly argued study that proves the forgery of the book and suggests not only a source for the text, but also a social, political, and cultural setting that explains its conception.
Bar-Kochva argues that the author of this treatise belonged to the moderate conservative Jews of Alexandria, whose practices were...

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Overview

Debate over the authenticity of "On the Jews" has persisted for nearly 1,900 years. Bezalel Bar-Kochva attempts to overcome this stalemate in his finely detailed and convincingly argued study that proves the forgery of the book and suggests not only a source for the text, but also a social, political, and cultural setting that explains its conception.
Bar-Kochva argues that the author of this treatise belonged to the moderate conservative Jews of Alexandria, whose practices were contrary to the contemporary trends of Hellenistic Judaism. They rejected the application of Greek philosophy and allegorical interpretations of the Holy scriptures and advocated the use of Pentateuch Hebrew as the language for educating and for religious services. They showed a keen interest in Judea and identified themselves with the Jews of the Holy Land. "On the Jews," then, was the manifesto of this group and was written at the peak period of the Hasmonean kingdom. Its main purpose was to legitimize Jewish residence in Egypt, despite being explicitly prohibited in the Pentateuch, and to justify the continued residence of Jews there in a time of prosperity and expansion of the Jewish independent state.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520268845
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 5/13/2010
  • Series: Hellenistic Culture and Society Series
  • Pages: 414
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.92 (d)

Meet the Author


Bezalel Bar-Kochva is Professor of Ancient Jewish History, Tel Aviv University, and author of Judas Maccabaeus (1989) and The Seleucid Army (1976).
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Table of Contents

Illustrations
Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
I Hecataeus, His Work, and the Jewish Excursus 7
1 The Man, the Ethnographic Genre, and Hecataeus's Egyptian Ethnography 7
2 The Jewish Excursus 18
II The Passages in Against Apion: Text and Translation 44
III The Question of Authenticity 54
1 Mosollamus the Jew and Bird Omens 57
2 Ptolemy I and the Jews 71
3 Hezekiah the High Priest 82
4 Religious Persecutions and Martyrdom 91
5 The Destruction of Pagan Temples and Altars 97
6 Jewish Emigration to Phoenicia 101
7 "Many Fortresses of the Jews" 105
8 The Geography of Judea and Jerusalem 107
9 The Annexation of Samaria to Judea by Alexander 113
IV Date of Composition 122
1 The Anachronistic References 122
2 Terminus ante Quem 137
3 Pseudo-Aristeas and Pseudo-Hecataeus 139
V The Author: Origin, Education, and Religious Group 143
1 Descent and Provenance 143
2 Greek Education 148
3 Jewish Education 159
4 The Religious Division of Egyptian Jewry and the Author's Affiliation 168
VI The Framework, Literary Genre, Structure, and Contents 182
1 Monograph or Excursus? 182
2 The Title of the Treatise and the Literary Genre 187
3 The Structure of an Ethnographical Work 191
4 The Structure of On the Jews: The Place and Role of the Hezekiah Story 219
VII The Purpose of the Book 232
Conclusion 249
App. A The Hezekiah Coins 255
App. B The Dating of Pseudo-Aristeas 271
Extended Notes 289
Chronological Table 303
Plates 309
Abbreviations 319
References 321
Index of Names and Subjects 363
Index of Greek Terms in Transcription 375
Index Locorum 377
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  • Posted July 6, 2014

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