The Image of the Jews in Greek Literature: The Hellenistic Period / Edition 1

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This landmark contribution to ongoing debates about perceptions of the Jews in antiquity examines the attitudes of Greek writers of the Hellenistic period toward the Jewish people. Among the leading Greek intellectuals who devoted special attention to the Jews were Theophrastus (the successor of Aristotle), Hecataeus of Abdera (the father of "scientific" ethnography), and Apollonius Molon (probably the greatest rhetorician of the Hellenistic world). Bezalel Bar-Kochva examines the references of these writers and others to the Jews in light of their literary output and personal background; their religious, social, and political views; their literary and stylistic methods; ethnographic stereotypes current at the time; and more.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Surely the crown of [Bar-Kochva's] career. . . . One cannot imagine this magisterial volume ever being, or needing to be, replaced."--The Henoch

"Gives innovative readings of almost all the texts it considers. . . . The result is invigorating and challenging."--Bryn Mawr Classical Review (Bmcr)

"A major reference work on an important aspect of ancient Judaism."--International Review of Biblical Stds

"Bar-Kochva . . . provides erudite reinterpretations of many of the texts, showing that Greek views of Jews in this period are a complicated issue."--Near East Archaeological Society Bltn

The Henoch
“Surely the crown of [Bar-Kochva’s] career. . . . One cannot imagine this magisterial volume ever being, or needing to be, replaced.”
Bryn Mawr Classical Review (BMCR)
“Gives innovative readings of almost all the texts it considers. . . . The result is invigorating and challenging.”
International Review Of Biblical Stds
“A major reference work on an important aspect of ancient Judaism.”
Near East Archaeological Society Bltn - Mark W. Chavalas
“Bar-Kochva . . . provides erudite reinterpretations of many of the texts, showing that Greek views of Jews in this period are a complicated issue.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520253360
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 2/2/2010
  • Series: Hellenistic Culture and Society Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 632
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Bezalel Bar-Kochva is Jacob M. Alkow Professor of the History of the Jews in the Ancient World at Tel Aviv University, Israel, and the author of Pseudo Hecataeus "On the Jews": Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (UC Press), among other books.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations ix

List of Abbreviations xi

Acknowledgments xiii

Introduction 1

Part I From Alexander and the Successors to the Religious Persecutions of Antiochus Epiphanes (333-168 B.C.E.)

1 Theophrastus on Jewish Sacrificial Practices and the Jews as a Community of Philosophers 15

2 Aristotle, the Learned Jew, and the Indian Kalanoi in Clearchus 40

3 The Jewish Ethnographic Excursus by Hecataeus of Abdera 90

4 Megasthenes on the "Physics" of the Greeks, Brahmans, and Jews 136

5 Hermippus of Smyrna on Pythagoras, the Jews, and the Thracians 164

6 The Diachronic Libels and Accusations (A): Mnaseas of Patara and the Origins and Development of the Ass Libel 206

Part II The Hasmonaean Period: From the Jewish Revolt to the Roman Conquest (167-63 B.C.E.)

7 The Diachronic Libels and Accusations (B): The Seleucid Court Scribe(s) and the Blood Libel 253

8 Agatharchides of Cnidus on the Sabbath as a Superstition 280

9 The Diachronic Libels and Accusations (C): Lysimachus of Alexandria and the Hostile Accounts of the Exodus 306

10 Posidonius of Apamea (A): The Man and His Writings 338

11 Posidonius of Apamea (B): The Jewish Ethnography in Strabo's Geographica-Mosaic Judaism versus Second Temple Judaism 355

12 Posidonius of Apamea (C): Josephus on the Siege of Jerusalem by Antiochus VII Sidetes (132/1 B.C.E)-Antiochus the Pious and Hyrcanus the Tyrant 399

13 Posidonius of Apamea (D): The Anti-Jewish Libels and Accusations in Diodorus and Apion 440

14 The Geographical Description of Jerusalem by Timochares, the Siege, and the Libels 458

15 The Anti-Jewish Ethnographic Treatise by Apollonius Molon 469

Conclusion 517

Appendix: The God of Moses in Strabo Ivor Ludlam 525

Bibliography 543

Index 577

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