Judaism and Hellenism Reconsidered (Supplements to the Journal for the Study of Judaism) - PDF Free Download (2024)

Judaism and Hellenism Reconsidered

Supplements to the

Journal for the Study of Judaism Editor

John J. Collins The Divinity School, Yale University Associate Editor

Florentino García Martínez Qumran Institute, University of Groningen Advisory Board

j. duhaime – a. hilhorst – p.w. van der horst a. klostergaard petersen – m.a. knibb – h. najman j.t.a.g.m. van ruiten – j. sievers – g. stemberger e.j.c. tigchelaar – j. tromp

VOLUME 107

Judaism and Hellenism Reconsidered by

Louis H. Feldman

BRILL LEIDEN BOSTON 2006 •

This book is printed on acid-free paper.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Feldman, Louis H. Judaism and Hellenism reconsidered / by Louis H. Feldman. p. cm. — (Supplements to the Journal for the study of Judaism, ISSN 1384-2161 ; v. 107) Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 90-04-14906-6 (alk. paper) 1. Judaism—History—Post-exilic period, 586 B.C.-210 A.D. 2. Jews—Civilization—Greek influences. 3. Greek literature, Hellenistic—Jewish authors—History and criticism. 4. Hellenism. 5. Josephus, Flavius. I. Title. II. Series. BM176.F45 2006 296.09’014—dc22 2005058133

ISSN 1384–2161 ISBN 90 04 14906 6 © Copyright 2006 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands. Koninklijke Brill NV incorporates the imprints Brill Academic Publishers, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers and VSP. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, translated, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission from the publisher. Authorization to photocopy items for internal or personal use is granted by Brill provided that the appropriate fees are paid directly to The Copyright Clearance Center, 222 Rosewood Drive, Suite 910 Danvers, MA 01923, USA. Fees are subject to change. printed in the netherlands

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v

This book is dedicated to the sacred memory of my wife’s parents, Moshe Yaakov and Rivkah Blum, ‫ז”ל‬, who remained steadfast in the tradition of their ancestors and died ‫השם‬ ׁ ‫קדוש‬ ׁ ‫ על‬in Auschwitz. .‫קדשים תהיו‬ ׁ ‫ׂראל ואמרת אלהם‬ ‫יש‬-‫עדת בני‬-‫כל‬-‫דבר אל‬ “Speak to the entire assembly of the Children of Israel and say to them: ‘You shall be holy.’” (Leviticus 19:2)

vi

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vii

CONTENTS Preface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Introduction: The Influence of Hellenism on Jews in Palestine in the Hellenistic Period . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

xi 1

PART ONE

JUDAISM AND HELLENISM 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Homer and the Near East: The Rise of the Greek Genius The Septuagint: The First Translation of the Torah and Its Effects. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . How Much Hellenism in the Land of Israel? . . . . . . . . . . The Reshaping of Biblical Narrative in the Hellenistic Period . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Did Jews Reshape the Tale of the Exodus? . . . . . . . . . . . . Studies in the Ancient Jewish Mediterranean Diaspora. . .

37 53 71 103 129 135

PART TWO

ANTI-SEMITISM, PHILO-SEMITISM, CONVERSION TO JUDAISM 7. 8. 9.

Hatred for and Attraction to the Jews in Classical Antiquity 157 Reflections on Rutgers’ Attitudes to Judaism in the Greco-Roman Period . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 183 Conversion to Judaism in Classical Antiquity . . . . . . . . . . 205 PART THREE

STUDIES IN PHILO 10. Philo’s Version of the ‘Aqedah. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11. Philo, Pseudo-Philo, Josephus, and Theodotus on the Rape of Dinah . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

255 281

viii

contents PART FOUR

JOSEPHUS 12. Josephus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13. Josephus’ Liberties in Interpreting the Bible in the Jewish War and in the Antiquities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14. Rearrangement of Pentateuchal Material in Josephus’ Antiquities, Books 1-4 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15. The Influence of the Greek Tragedians on Josephus . . . . . 16. Josephus’ Biblical Paraphrase as a Commentary on Contemporary Issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17. Parallel Lives of Two Lawgivers: Josephus’ Moses and Plutarch’s Lycurgus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18. Josephus on the Spies (Numbers 13-14) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19. The Rehabilitation of Non-Jewish Leaders in Josephus’ Antiquities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20. On Professor Mark Roncace’s Portraits of Deborah and Gideon in Josephus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21. Josephus’ Portrayal (Ant. 5.136-74) of the Benjaminite Affair of the Concubine and Its Repercussions (Judg. 19-21) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22. The Importance of Jerusalem as Viewed by Josephus . . . . 23. The Concept of Exile in Josephus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24. Restoration in Josephus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

313 343 361 413 445 523 557 579 607

637 677 695 723

PART FIVE

RABBINIC INSIGHTS 25. Rabbinic Sources for Historical Study . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26. Rabbinic Insights on the Decline and Forthcoming Fall of the Roman Empire . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

763 783

Abbreviations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

805

Bibliography. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

813

Index of Passages from Ancient Texts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Jewish Scriptures. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Apocrypha . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

845 845 859

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ix

Pseudepigrapha. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dead Sea Scrolls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . New Testament. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Christian Church Fathers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Hellenistic Jewish Literature: Philo, Pseudo-Philo, Josephus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Other (Alleged) Graeco-Jewish Writers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Rabbinic and Allied Literature. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Classical Greek Authors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Classical Latin Authors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Near Eastern Languages. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

860 860 860 861 862 888 889 896 905 908

Index of Names and Subjects. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

911

Index of Greek, Linear B, Phoenician, Akkadian, Ugaritic, Punic and Royal Aramaic, Hittite, Latin, Hebrew and Aramaic Words . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

929

Index of Modern Scholars . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

943

x

contents

preface

xi

PREFACE This book is a collection of previously published articles, together with a new introduction. I am grateful to the journals and publishers as noted here for permission to reprint them. I have made a number of additions and corrections. I have adopted a uniform method in citations and have added comprehensive indices. I am grateful to Professor John Collins for helpful advice in preparing this volume. I am deeply appreciative of the tremendous technical assistance that I have received from my devoted student, Shlomo Schwartzbard, in preparing these articles for publication in this volume. The articles originally appeared in the following settings: “Homer and the Near East: The Rise of the Greek Genius,” Biblical Archaeologist 59.1 (1996) 13-21 (permission: Near Eastern Archaeology ; “The Septuagint: The First Translation of the Torah and Its Effects,” in From Strength to Strength: Lectures from Shearith Israel, ed. Marc D. Angel (New York: Sepher-Hermon, 1998) 147-61 (permission: Rabbi Marc D. Angel); “How Much Hellenism in the Land of Israel?” Journal for the Study of Judaism 33 (2002) 290-313 (permission: E. J. Brill); “The Reshaping of Biblical Narrative in the Hellenistic Period: A Review Essay,” International Journal of the Classical Tradition 8 (2001-2002) 60-79 (permission: Transaction Publishers, Rutgers University); “Did Jews Reshape the Tale of the Exodus?” Jewish History 12 (1998) 123-27 (permission: Haifa University Press); “Studies in the Ancient Jewish Mediterranen Diaspora,” International Journal of the Classical Tradition 7 (2000) 244-56 (permission: Transaction Publishers, Rutgers University); “Hatred for and Attraction to the Jews in Classical Antiquity,” in Reinterpreting Revelation and Tradition: Jews and Christians in Conversation, ed. John J. Pawlikowski and Hayim G. Perelmuter (Franklin, Wisc.: Sheed and Ward, 2000) 167-90 (permission: Rowman and Littlefield Publishing Group); “Reflections on Rutgers’ #Attitudes to Judaism in the Greco-Roman Period,’” Jewish Quarterly Review 86 (1995-96) 153-70 (permission: University of Pennsylvania Press); “Conversion to Judaism in Classical Antiquity,” Hebrew Union College Annual 74 (2003) 115-56 (permission: Hebrew Union College Press); “Philo’s Version of the ‘Aqedah,” Studia Philonica Annual 14 (2002) 66-86 (permission:

xii

preface

Brown University); “Philo, Pseudo-Philo, Josephus, and Theodotus on the Rape of Dinah,” Jewish Quarterly Review 94 (2004) 253-77 (permission: University of Pennsylvania Press); “Josephus (c.e. 37-c.100),” in The Cambridge History of Judaism, vol. 3: The Early Roman Period, ed. William Horbury, W. D. Davies, and John Sturdy (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999) 901-21, 1189-97 (permission: Cambridge University Press); “Josephus’ Liberties in Interpreting the Bible in the Jewish War and in the Antiquities,” Jewish Studies Quarterly 8 (2001) 309-25; “Rearrangement of Pentateuchal Narrative Material in Josephus’ Antiquities, Books 1-4,” Hebrew Union College Annual 70-71 (1999-2000) 129-51 (permission: Hebrew Union College Press); “The Influence of the Greek Tragedians on Josephus,” in The Howard Gilman International Conferences,I; Hellenic and Jewish Arts: Interaction, Tradition and Renewal, ed. Asher Ovadiah (Tel Aviv: Ramot, 1998) 51-80 (permission: Tel Aviv University); “Josephus’ Biblical Paraphrase as a Commentary on Contemporary Issues,” in The Interpretation of Scripture in Early Judaism and Christianity: Studies in Language and Tradition, ed. Craig A. Evans (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2000) 124-201 (permission: Continuum International Publishing Group); “Parallel Lives of Two Lawgivers: Josephus’ Moses and Plutarch’s Lycurgus,” in Flavius Josephus and Flavian Rome, ed. Jonathan Edmonson, Steve Mason, and James Rives (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005) 209-42 (permission: Oxford University Press); “Josephus on the Spies (Num. 13-14),” Internationales Josephus-Kolloquium Paris 2001, Muensteraner Judaistische Studien 12 (2001) 22-41 (permission: Institutum Judaicum Delitzschianum, Universitaet Muenster); “The Rehabilitation of Non-Jewish Leaders in Josephus’ Antiquities, “ in The Howard Gilman International Conferences, II: Mediterranean Cultural Interaction (Tel Aviv: Tel Aviv University, 2000) 81-104 (permission: Tel Aviv University); “On Professor Mark Roncace’s Portrait of Deborah and Gideon in Josephus,” Journal for the Study of Judaism 32 (2001) 193-220 (permission: E. J. Brill); “Josephus’ Portrayal (Ant. 5.136-74) of the Benjaminite Affair of the Concubine and Its Repercussions (Judg. 19-21),” Jewish Quarterly Review 90 (1999-2000) 255-92 (permission: University of Pennsylvania Press); “The Importance of Jerusalem as Viewed by Josephus,” Ramat-Gan: Bar-Ilan University (International Rennert Guest Lecture Series, 2 [1998])(permission: Bar-Ilan University); “The Concept of Exile in Josephus,” in Exile: Old Testament, Jewish, and Christian Conceptions (Leiden: Brill, 1997) 145-72 (permission: E.J.

preface

xiii

Brill); “Restoration in Josephus,” in Restoration: Old Testament, Jewish, and Christian Perspectives (Leiden: Brill, 2001) 223-61 (permission: E.J. Brill); “Rabbinic Sources for Historical Study,” in Judaism in Late Antiquity, Part 3: Where We Stand: Issues and Debates in Ancient Judaism (Leiden: Brill, 1999) 213-30 (permission: E.J. Brill); “Rabbinic Insights on the Decline and Forthcoming Fall of the Roman Empire,” Journal for the Study of Judaism 31 (2000) 275-97 (permission: E. J. Brill).

xiv

preface

introduction

1

INTRODUCTION: THE INFLUENCE OF HELLENISM ON JEWS IN PALESTINE IN THE HELLENISTIC PERIOD 1. The State of the Question During the past half century the monumental works by Goodenough (1953-68) and Hengel (1969, English trans. 1974) deserve special mention in seeking to break down the cultural barrier between Palestine and the Diaspora in the Hellenistic period. But how convincing is the case that they have presented? Moreover, in a way, even though he disagreed fundamentally with Goodenough in his evaluation of Philo, Wolfson (1948) likewise saw a fundamental bridge between Philo and the Palestinian rabbis when he postulated that Philo was a bilateral branch of Pharisaic Judaism, though it is fair to say that this particular view of Wolfson has not gained general acceptance in the scholarly world.1 Since the appearance of Martin Hengel’s Judentum und Hellenismus in 1969 and especially since the publication of the English version in 1974, this monumental work has been the subject of a tremendous amount of scholarly attention. It is fair to say that the majority of scholars have accepted Hengel’s thesis that Jews and Judaism in Palestine were already significantly influenced by Hellenism in the third and second centuries b.c.e. before the Maccabean revolt as seen in Jewish books of that era and archaeological evidence, and that the distinction between Diaspora and Palestinian Judaism, so far as Hellenization is concerned, is blurred. Indeed, two conferences, one at Bar Ilan University in 1998, entitled “Shem in the Tents of Japhet: I: Jewish Writings in Second Temple Times” and another at Harvard University in 1999 entitled “Shem in the Tents of Japhet II: A Conference on Hellenism and Judaism,” resulted in the publication of a volume of essays edited by James Kugel.2 Another symposium co-sponsored by the University

1 2

See Levine 1998, 8, n. 6. Kugel 2002.

2

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of Chicago and the University of Notre Dame in 1999 resulted in the publication of a volume of essays edited by John Collins and Gregory Sterling.3 Both supported Hengel’s thesis and carried it even further. However, before Alexander in the fourth century b.c.e. opened up much of the Mediterranean world and beyond to Greek thought, ancient travelers, such as Hecataeus of Miletus and Herodotus, as Momigliano4 has pointed out, did not find it easy to go into the interior of countries; and hence we must not expect that Greeks might have attempted to go up to Jerusalem to view the way Jews celebrated their festivals. Moreover, Greeks were generally monolingual and hence would have had difficulty in speaking to Jews. Furthermore, the Greeks disturbed the peace of the Persian Empire at the very time that Jerusalem was being rebuilt under the leadership of Ezra and Nehemiah and would hardly have been welcomed. To be sure, as Momigliano5 has noted, there are a number of developments in Judaea in the fifth and fourth centuries that parallel contemporary developments in Greece. Thus Nehemiah in some sense is a tyrant similar to Histiaeus and others who had been imposed as tyrants over Greek cities in Asia Minor by the Persians. Other parallels are the remission of debts and the law against intermarriages. Furthermore, the autobiographies of Ezra and Nehemiah remind one of the Epidemiai (“Visits”) of their contemporary, the fifth-century b.c.e. Ion of Chios, who recounts meetings with such famous political and literary figures as Cimon, Aeschylus, and Sophocles. Moreover, Momigliano6 cites the parallel between the biblical Book of Chronicles as a rewritten version of the Book of Kings and the works of the historians Ephorus and Theopompus in, to some degree, rewriting the works of Herodotus and Thucydides. Finally, he notes the parallel between the Book of Job and Aeschylus’ Prometheus Bound in their treatment of the problem of theodicy. However, the crucial point of difference in these parallel accounts is that no Greek mentions or attacks the Jewish parallel, and no Jew mentions or attacks the Greek parallel, and hence there is no reason to assume that either was aware of the other. 3 4 5 6

Collins and Sterling 2001. Momigliano 1975, 74. Momigliano 1975, 81. Momigliano 1975, 81.

introduction

3

The Bible in the Ten Commandments (Exod. 20:3-5 and Deut. 5:7-9) seems to be very explicit and very inclusive in prohibiting the making of “a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.” And yet, excavations at such places as Bet Alpha, Hammat Gader, Gerasa, Huseifa, Estemoa, Jericho, and Bet She’arim have revealed an extensive Jewish art and architecture. How can we explain the paintings and statues and mosaics, containing human, animal, and mythological figures found by archaeologists in Palestine in synagogues and cemeteries and even in private homes? How can we explain, for example, the frieze in the synagogue of Chorazin showing vintage scenes of the sort traditionally associated with the cult of none other than the Greek god Dionysus? In his magnum opus Goodenough7 has presented the thesis that this artwork represents a common language of live symbols centering on a hope for mystical salvation through no less than participation in the life of a self-giving deity. His theory is that the Jews took these symbols, which are subconscious, and gave Jewish interpretations to the values that they represent. He further claims that these interpretations are akin to those found in the Jewish philosopher Philo. This art, he postulates, represents popular mystic Judaism in contrast to the Judaism of the Talmudic rabbis. However, as Morton Smith8 has pointed out, Goodenough’s assumption that the value of a symbol remains essentially the same is simply not true. A red light means “stop” as a traffic signal, but in a red-light district it means “come.” To say that the Jews of Palestine, who, so far as we can tell, never heard of Plato, would have the same interpretation as the philosopher Philo, who refers to Plato as “most sacred” (Prob. 13), seems unlikely. Moreover, Philo is mentioned by no one, other than Josephus (who does not discuss Philo’s approach to philosophy), who lived in Palestine during this period, and indeed by no Jew until Azariah dei Rossi in Italy in the sixteenth century. Moreover, to assume that Philo best preserves Jewish interpretation of the period is begging the question. There is no evidence that Philo was the leader of a popular school that preserved the mainstream of mystic theological thought of that period. Philo’s admiration for

7 8

Goodenough 1953-68. Smith 1967, 55.

4

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Plato was hardly shared by the Jewish masses. In short, he may have preserved merely the mainstream of his own theology. Furthermore, to generalize about the Judaism of the Talmudic rabbis is unwarranted in view of the fact that they are constantly disagreeing with one another. Indeed, whereas earlier in his work Goodenough had generalized and claimed that all rabbis were rabbinic Jews, he later9 conceded that there were differences among them in their attitude toward images. Similarly, to equate “popular” Judaism with mystic Judaism and to equate them with the attitude of Philo is likewise to oversimplify, as we see in the differences between such a work as De Vita Mosis and Philo’s allegorical treatises. Moreover, Philo’s works were apparently little read, if we may judge from the fact that, aside from Josephus, only Heliodorus (9.9.3), a non-Jew, in the fourth century, of known writers cites him, and in his case only once and in a novel and to quote Philo’s remark (Mos. 2.195) that the Egyptians deify the Nile and regard it as a counterpart of heaven. He gives no indication that he or anyone else was fundamentally influenced by Philo’s ideas or method. For such influence we must turn to Christian Church Fathers, notably Clement of Alexandria and Origen in the third century and Eusebius in the fourth century.10 If we define Hellenization as the process of acculturation by which behavior, manners, culture (literature, philosophy, art), religious belief, ethical, social, political, economic, and material norms, etc., of a person or a group might be affected by the kind of Greek culture that spread in the lands that came under the rule of Alexander the Great,11 we may ask how much importance we should assign to archaeological discoveries that have come to light, especially in most recent years, and that seems to indicate that the material culture of the Jews, even in Israel, “was heavily indebted to, and in many cases totally dependent on, that of the regnant contemporary culture.”12 But this may simply indicate that the Jews, because they were not deeply influenced by the prevalent culture, lacked an architectural and artistic tradition of their own and had to turn so often to non-Jews for the design of buildings and of monuments. This 9

Goodenough 1965, 12:67. See Runia 1993. 11 Rappaport 1992, 1. 12 Levine 1998, 5. 10

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5

does not, however, necessarily mean that, after these buildings had been constructed, the Jews became interested in, let alone adopted, the ideas of the architects and builders. If archaeologists have found in Palestine Greek gods and heroes depicted on seals and bronzes from the Persian period (fifth and fourth centuries b.c.e.), we must not forget that there were many non-Jews living in the land. In any case, there is no indication that any Jew ever worshipped a Greek god during the two centuries before Alexander; and except for the brief period of Jason and Menelaus (175-162 b.c.e.) we have very little evidence of Jews who worshipped Greek gods thereafter. But are representations, for example, of the Greek god Helios in synagogues merely decorative, like those of Cupid in Italian Renaissance ketubot, or are they meaningful? The rabbis (b. Yoma 69b, b. Sanh. 64a) agree that already at the time of Ezra in the fifth century b.c.e. the Jews as a group were successful in resisting the temptation of idolatry. Hecataeus of Abdera (ap. Diod. 40.3.4), who is clearly describing the practices of the Jews in his day (ca. 300 b.c.e.), says that Moses permitted no divine images, being of the opinion that G-d is not in human form. That the impulse to idolatry had been eradicated is manifest from the book of Judith (8:18), probably dating from the second century b.c.e.: “For never in our generation, nor in these present days, has there been any tribe or family or people or city of ours which worshiped gods made with hands, as was done in days gone by.” Varro (ap. Augustine, De Civitate Dei 4.31) in the first century b.c.e. asserts that the ancient Romans worshipped the gods without an image and cites, in support of this, that the Jews do likewise, clearly referring to their practice in his own time, remarking that “those who first set up images of the gods for the people diminished reverence in their cities as they added to error, for he [Varro] wisely judged that gods in the shape of sensesless images might easily inspire contempt.” Strabo (16.2.35), in the first century b.c.e. and first century c.e., likewise praises Moses for forbidding the representation of G-d in the form of an image and declaring that “people should leave off all image-carving, and, setting apart a sacred precinct and a worthy sanctuary, should worship G-d without an image.” He clearly implies that Moses’ teaching on this subject was still being followed by the Jews. His contemporary Livy (ap. Scholia in Lucanum 2.593) is likewise impressed by the fact that there is no image to be found in the Temple in Jerusalem and generalizes that “they [the Jews] do not think that G-d partakes of any figure.” Tacitus (Hist.

6

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5.5.4), who, though prejudiced against the Jews, is relatively well informed about their customs and is clearly reflecting their practices in his own day, the early second century, states categorically that “they set up no statues in their cities, still less in their temples.” In the third century Cassius Dio (37.17.2), who generally seems well informed about the Jews and their history and practices, states that the Jews never had any statue of G-d and do not honor any of the usual gods. Indeed, we find that, according to Josephus (War 2.195), when Petronius, the Roman governor of Syria, came to place the image of the emperor Caligula in the Temple, the Jews, in a mass demonstration, protested that the setting up of a statue of a mortal man was forbidden not only in the Temple but everywhere else in the land also. To judge from the example of Rabban Gamaliel (m. #Abod. Zar. 3:4), the rabbis had no fear that seeing a statue of a pagan goddess, such as Aphrodite, the goddess of beauty, would attract Jews to pagan worship. When he was chided for going into a bathhouse that had a statue of Aphrodite, he explained that the bathhouse was not an ornament for Aphrodite but, rather, that Aphrodite was an ornament for the bathhouse. Hence the third-century Rabbi JoÈanan did not oppose mosaics with figures on them. The rabbis apparently realized that there was no danger of actual worship of pagan gods or symbols; hence they did not object to those Jews who earned their livelihood by making and marketing idols.13 Therefore, the proper interpretation of the appearance of such symbols or objects in Jewish homes and synagogues and cemeteries is not that they show how deeply hellenized they were but rather how confident the rabbis were that the possession of such objects would not lead to idol worship. The rabbis apparently were not fearful that if a Jewish craftsman produced idols he might be tempted to worship them; hence, they declared (b. #Abod. Zar. 19b, 52a) that an idol made by a gentile craftsman is immediately forbidden, since he must have worshipped it, whereas an idol produced by a Jewish craftsman is not forbidden, since we are confident that he has not worshipped it, and hence that it may be sold—to a gentile, of course. Indeed, the rabbis (b. B. Bat. 110a) quote a tradition embodied in a saying: “Earn your living by

13

See Urbach 1959, 236.

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7

making idols and don’t be dependent on charity.” The same rabbis who were so liberal with regard to artistic representation were stringent, however, in insisting on social separation from non-Jews, especially with regard to wine and certain objects of food.14 Seth Schwartz15 suggests that the religious behavior and thought of the Jews who lived in the cities may have differed in no way from the life-style of the pagans in whose midst they lived. The rabbis, he suggests, who needed to take the Pentateuchal horror of paganism seriously in formulating their own views, also needed to develop a mechanism to allow them to live in the cities and to participate in some of the cities’ public activities. Hence, he says, the rabbis defined pagan religiosity as consisting exclusively of cultic activity. This, he concludes, will explain why the rabbis permitted statues and mosaics and the like with pagan motifs. But if so, we may ask, why would the rabbis make a sweeping statement that idolatry was no longer a problem in their day? Saul Lieberman16 makes the significant observation that though the Talmudic tractate b. #Abod. Zar. deals with idol worship, it does not attempt to refute the principles of idol worship, whereas the Church Fathers, such as Clement of Alexandria, Athenagoras, Theophilus of Antioch, Tertullian, Arnobius, and Lactantius, who were seeking to impress pagans, constantly engaged in polemics against idol worship; and the polemics against idol worship so often found in the Church Fathers are almost not found in rabbinic literature. As Urbach17 has pointed out, in all the sayings of the rabbis there is scarce evidence of the view commonly found in the Church Fathers that idols are the work of demonic powers acting through the medium of images and statues. Moreover, even though the name of Homer is mentioned by the rabbis (m. Yad. 4:6), they do not mention any of the stories about the gods found throughout the writings of Homer. The assumption that a Jewish craftsman who produced idols would not himself worship idols would seem to be in line with the traditional saying b. B. Bat. 110a) that one should rather hire himself out to idolworship than be in need of the help of his fellow creatures. A Cairo

14 15 16 17

Urbach 1959, 243-44. Schwartz 1998, 207. Lieberman 1950, 116. Urbach 1959, 154.

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Genizah text (y.#Abod. Zar. 42b),18 declaring that “In the days of Rabbi JoÈanan [the most prominent rabbi in the third century b.c.e.] they began to paint on walls, and he did not prevent them” and that “in the days of Rabbi Abun [fourth century] they began to make designs on mosaics, and he did not prevent them” confirms that the rabbis were apparently not worried by such infractions. Another incident establishing this view reports (ibid.) that Rabbi JoÈanan permitted his disciple Rabbi \iyyah bar Abba to retain a pitcher having the image of the Roman goddess Fortuna, on the grounds that it was for mere decoration and was not intended for religious use. Indeed, Lieberman19 notes that the rabbis are certainly knowledgeable about mystery cults and, indeed, use the Greek word μυστριον in connection with them (m. Ned. 2:1, m. #Abod. Zar. 2:3); and yet, there is no indication in rabbinic literature of the symbols of the mysteries. If archaeologists have found numerous instances of pagan figures in synagogues, the rabbis did not regard these infractions as being very serious, though apparently, to judge from the damage inflicted by iconoclasts, there was some dispute on the matter, and that while some Jews regarded them as innocent adornment, others disapproved of them and physically removed them.20 As Blidstein21 remarks, “The evidence so impeccably marshalled does not warrant a radical revision of the generalization that the artistic object was always peripheral to the religious experience. In language most familiar to those who created it, art was hiddur mitzvah (“adorning a commandment”), not more. Quite possibly, moreover, this peripheral character derives from biblical Judaism’s vigorous rejection of the mythic world-view and the subsequent demurral at absorption by an incarnational faith.” The very fact that the word “Hellenism” ( Ελληνισμς) takes on a new meaning in late antiquity, in that Ελληνες sometimes means “Greeks” and sometimes means “pagans,” is surely significant, as Bowersock22 has remarked, since for a Jew to use the word Ελληνες would clearly convey a highly negative connotation. The fact that the patriarch Rabbi Simeon ben Gamaliel (m. Meg. 1:8, y. Shab. 16.15c) permitted the translation of the Scriptures into Greek alone would

18 19 20 21 22

Cited by Baumgarten, 1999, 76. Lieberman 1950, 118-19. See Baumgarten 1999, 75. Blidstein 1973, 14. Bowersock 1990, 9.

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appear to indicate that he felt secure that permitting this would not lead to apostasy. Gerson Cohen23 goes so far as to say that even when there was a Hebrew equivalent the Jews used Greek, citing as an example the fact that the coffers used for the contribution of the annual half-shekel to the Temple were marked not with Hebrew but with Greek letters, asserting that this was so in order to make those coffers intelligible to all Temple personnel, and concluding that if in so insulated an area as the Temple Greek had made inroads, this is surely an indication that in more open areas of society it had triumphed over all rivals; but we may suggest that this was so since most of the half-shekels came from the Diaspora, where Greek was the majority language. Since Jews are forbidden not merely to practice idolatry but also to have physical contact with idolatrous objects, for example to be under a roof in the building that contains an idolatrous object (m. #Abod. Zar. 3:8, m. Shab. 9:1), as well as to derive benefit or enjoyment from such objects (m. #Abod. Zar. 3:1-9), this would certainly, as Blidstein24 remarks, restrict the Jew’s freedom of movement, especially in cities where statues were numerous. Indeed, Jews found themselves in a situation where they might feel themselves obliged to deny themselves public services that were superficially at least connected with idolatry, such as the public water supply. Hence, Rabbi JoÈanan (b. #Abod. Zar. 58b-59a), apparently confident that Jews would not actually worship such idols, excluded such public services from the stigma of idolatry. In any case, as Friedman25 has noted, when a practice or concept is to be found in both Greek and Rabbinic cultures, there is no way of tracing a direct line of influence, since many items—crossroads as places of potential danger, an open door while a feast is in progress, seeing a guest on his way, gilding the horns of an animal to be sacrificed, and gilding the horns of a sacrificial animal—that he discusses are also found in places far from the Mediterranean world. Moreover, as Hachlili and Levine26 have remarked, the intensive use of Jewish symbols, such as the Torah shrine, menorah, shofar, lulav, ethrog, and incense shovel on the mosaic floors of synagogues 23 24 25 26

Cohen 1994, 186. Blidstein 1974, 154. Friedman 1991, 47-48. Hachlili 1988), 347-55; Levine 1998, 155.

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at \ammath Tiberias, Beth Alpha, Huseifa, Na#aran, and Susiya, is much more marked in synagogues in Palestine than in those in the Diaspora. Levine27 finds it amazing that Diaspora synagogues, far from being more syncretistic and Hellenized than their Palestinian counterparts, show a lesser proclivity than their Palestinian counterparts to featuring figural representatations with distinctly pagan motifs. To explain this he suggests that the Jews felt more secure in their land where they were the majority. We may also add that the rabbis, being numerous and strong and watchful in their land, could afford to be more lenient in their interpretation of Jewish law. Moreover, there can be no doubt that in the third century such a city as Sepphoris in Galilee, where the patriarch resided and the Mishnah was codified and to which the seat of the Sanhedrin was transferred, attracted many rabbinic leaders and their students and was a stronghold of Jewish studies and values. In speaking of the impact of Hellenism we must also draw a distinction among the various areas of Palestine, since the impact appears to be considerably less in such areas as Upper Galilee and the Golan, whereas Hengel levels Hellenized Palestine into a single hom*ogeneous geographical and social entity, as Harrison28 remarks. But how then can we explain the fact that the Palestinian synagogues, much more than those in the Diaspora, feature representations with distinctly pagan motifs? It was Goodenough’s theory that in the days of the later Hasmoneans, of Herod, and Herod Agrippa, the Pharisees and the Sages wielded an almost absolute spiritual domination over the people. On the other hand, he notes, after the destruction of the Temple, the Patriarchs and Sages had no authority at all, and this extended even to the period of Rabbi Judah the Patriarch at the beginning of the third century. In a recent book, Schwartz29 has argued that in the period before the destruction of the Temple the authority of the Torah rested not so much on the consensus of the Jews as on the might of the imperial and native rulers of Palestine. But, we may reply, the fact that masses of Jews demonstrated against the introduction of the bust of Caligula into Jerusalem (War 2.184-203, Ant. 18.240-308) and threatened the Roman governor with an uprising unless he punished the Roman 27 28 29

Levine 1998, 154. Harrison 1994, 107 n. 1. Schwartz 2001, 56-57.

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soldier who had cut up a Torah scroll (War 2.228-31, Ant. 20.113-17) shows that it was popular feeling and not the act of the authorities that insisted on the authority of the Torah. Schwartz notes that there is remarkably little representational decoration in post-Maccabean Judea and explains this as due to the intolerance by the authorities of radical dissent, but we must respond by noting that there is little indication that the authorities issued decrees prohibiting it. One of Schwartz’s most striking theories30 is that a rabbinocentric account of the first four centuries centuries c.e. is inadequate, that the rabbis did not have any officially recognized legal authority until the end of the fourth century, and that the patriarchs, such as Rabbi Judah the Prince, acquired much of their influence precisely by relaxing their ties to the rabbis and by allying themelves with the Palestinian city counsellors, wealthy Diaspora Jews, and prominent gentiles. The Jewish world, he says, was ruled by the patriarchs as a sort of empire in miniature. He argues that Jewish Palestine between 100 and 350 scarcely differed from any other high imperial provincial society. But if there is any truth to the large numbers of students that individual rabbis, notably Rabbi Akiva (Ned. 50a), had, their influence must have been great. Schwartz31 asserts that “probably everywhere...the failure of the revolts [of 66-70, 115-117, and 132-135] had led to disaffection with and attrition from Judaism.” But, we may remark, 4 Ezra, which he cites, reflects the gloom felt by the Jews but does not indicate that it led to defection from Judaism. Schwartz comments that the book cannot have satisfied everyone and that “those whom it failed to satisfy will have reacted with panic, despair, and finally abandonment of Judaism.” Perhaps Schwartz is thinking of the reaction of some modern Jews to the Holocaust; but if we examine the writings of pagans (e.g., Dio Cassius), Christians, and the rabbis, we find no such mass defection. We may remark that the fact that apparently so few Jews converted to Christianity (so Justin Martyr, 1 Apology 53, writing in the second century) would indicate that Jews did keep their separate identity strong. Even after the conversion of the Roman emperors to Christianity in the fourth century it was paradoxically the Roman government that protected the Jews and their institutions.

30 31

Schwartz 2001, 103. Schwartz 2001, 108.

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Yet, Schwartz admits that cities with predominantly Jewish populations in the second and third centuries issued coins with pagan gods and symbols. He explains this as due to the fact that the rabbis had a weak hold, if any, on the rest of the Jews. Goodenough32 posits that in the days of the later Hasmoneans and of Herod, the Pharisees and Sages wielded an almost absolute spiritual domination over the people, but that in the period of the second and third centuries, when Yavneh and Usha were the centers of Jewish life, the patriarchs and sages had no authority at all. However, as Urbach33 contends, this flies in the face of all that we know about the authority of the sages in this period. As to the coins with pagan symbols, why not say that these cities contained pagans also, that the people who governed these cities were most likely non-Jews, and that the coins were intended for circulation not only in the cities but also in surrounding areas that did contain pagans? Schwartz argues34 that pagan art used by the Jews had a specifically pagan religious meaning and that this indicates a post-revolt collapse of any normatively Jewish ideological system; but if so we would have expected a tremendous outcry on the part of the rabbis of this period. Yet, even though the rabbis felt free to disagree with one another constantly, there is no such outcry. Indeed, as Sukenik remarks35: “Is it conceivable that there should have been at that time such a violent deviation from traditional Judaism in Galilee, the principal center of Palestinian Jewry after the destruction of the Second Temple, the residence of the Patriarchate and the seat of the Sanhedrin?” Schwartz36 contends that the patriarchs had little impact upon the lives of Palestinian Jews, that their main interest, especially in the fourth century, was in maintaining their ties with the Diaspora, and that this enhanced their fund-raising potential there. He argues that since the rabbis had so little influence, the constitutional role of the Torah was assumed by the Roman government and that in important and surprising respects Jewish Palestine was hardly distinguishable from other eastern provinces. We may remark, however, that the

32 33 34 35 36

Goodenough 1953-68. Urbach 1959, 151. Schwartz 2001, 159. Sukenik 1947, 5-6. Schwartz 2001, 128-29.

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government protected the Jews and apparently did not interfere with them; and the fact, as we have noted, that apparently so few Jews converted to Christianity even after Christianity became the state religion would indicate that Jews did keep their separate identity strong. Schwartz37 suggests that the rabbis’ disregard of compromises with idol worship allowed them to live and work in the cities, the very places where they could most easily accumulate wealth, social ties, and influence. But, we may respond, the main reason why the rabbis lived in the cities was that this was where their places of study attracted the largest number of students. According to Schwartz,38 “A citizen of Caesarea might be a proud Roman citizen, too, but also a Jew, a Samaritan, a Christian, or a Syrian, in addition to thinking of himself as being in some sense Greek. If he took his municipal responsibilities seriously, though, his Jewishness or Christianity would necessarily have been attentuated, for the public life of the city was pagan to the core.” This might have been true of Sardis in Asia Minor in the third century, where we have evidence of Jewish members of the city council, but what evidence is there that this was also true in Palestine, so holy to the Christians, after Christianity became the religion of the Empire? Schwartz himself39 acknowledges that the emperors explicitly recognized the Jews as a legitimate religious organization, with a clergy whose authority and privileges approximated those of the Christian clergy; but this does not mean that Jews held positions in civic life. The greatest paradox of all in Schwartz’s work is his theory that one of the main causes of the “rejudaization” of the Jews in 350-640 was the Christianization of the Roman Empire and that a great deal of the distinctive Jewish culture was nothing less than repackaged Christianity!40 The fourth to the sixth centuries is the period when the synagogue was reaching its maximal diffusion in the Palestinian countryside, precisely the period of maximal church construction. Schwartz’s explanation41 of this coincidence is that both point to the growing importance of religion in the self-understanding of the

37 38 39 40 41

Schwartz Schwartz Schwartz Schwartz Schwartz

2001, 2001, 2001, 2001, 2001,

165. 175. 192. 179. 201.

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villagers. This may well be an important factor, but we may also suggest that the building boom was accelerated by the economic prosperity and by the security fostered by the Empire, as well as by the rivalry between the emperor and the Church. It is the rabbis, Schwartz contends, who rejected the widespread conception of the synagogue as a holy place. Schwartz’s chief evidence is from archaeology, which, he claims,42 shows that the Jews, starting in the third century, especially in Palestine, experienced a period of unprecedented prosperity and demographic growth, despite the fact, we may add, that this was the century that is often thought to have been the key period in the decline of the Roman Empire. The Jews, he contends, engaged in extensive cultural borrowing from their pagan and Christian neighbors, even to the point that, he suggests, many synagogues were built with apses, a feature borrowed from the basilical church but adapted for use as a niche for Torah scrolls, and that many had chancel screens in front of the apses—another borrowing, he says, from church design. But, we may suggest, all that this last point may indicate is that the architects of the synagogues were sometimes or often the same as the architects of the churches. Schwartz43 contrasts the attitude of the rabbis and of the congregants to the synagogue: the former regarded it as primarily a place of Torah and the study of Torah, whereas the latter looked upon it as a reflection of the heavenly temple and as an inherently sacred space, which is very close to the Christian conception of the sacred. However, if we examine the rules (m. Meg. 3:1-3 and the Gemara that follows) concerning the sale of a synagogue building one sees that the rabbis viewed it as an inherently sacred space. Schwartz44 stresses that the ideology of the late antique community was characterized by tension between the hierarchy of the rabbis and the egalitarianism of the populace. While the Torah and the rabbis granted special status to priests and scholars, there is little evidence for these groups in the synagogue inscriptions. But, we may counter, this may indicate not tension between scholars and laypeople but merely that the inscriptions memorialize those who gave the money. One is reminded of the story of the person who asked the tourist guide in Tel Aviv: “After whom is the Mann Auditorium named—Horace 42 43 44

Schwartz 2001, 182. Schwartz 2001, 259. Schwartz 2001, 284.

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Mann or Thomas Mann?” His answer was: “Neither. It is named after the man who wrote the check.” Again, as Levine45 admits, one cannot assume the same measure of acculturation in the lower classes as in the upper, wealthier strata of society. The upper class could travel more readily for business or political purposes, could purchase goods from foreign countries, and could afford to build more lavishly. Moreover, cities were meeting places for various peoples and ideas, more so than in isolated and insulated villages. But apparently the great majority of Jews lived in small towns, such as the 204 villages in Galilee mentioned by Josephus (Life 235), none of which, he says (and which he had to be in some position to know, even if he may well be exaggerating, since he was the general in Galilee at the beginning of the Jewish revolt against Rome in 66), had fewer than 15,000 inhabitants. Levine46 assumes that the degree of Hellenization increased in the course of time, from the first to the fourth century; but he admits that in certain places, notably Egypt, we find more use of Hebrew names and of the Hebrew language as time went on. He explains this by suggesting that this was the result of severe political, social, and economic setbacks that it suffered in the first centuries. But, we may ask, why might this not also have been true in Palestine, where there were three wars with tremendous losses in lives and economic setbacks within a period of less than seventy years, coupled with successes in winning converts and “sympathizers” to Judaism?47 2. Greek Inscriptions in Palestine The most obvious evidence of Greek influence in Palestine during the early centuries c.e. is to be seen in the presence of Greek inscriptions. Thus Hengel48 points to the fact that we have a number of public inscriptions in Greek dating from the period of the Second Temple, and in particular he calls attention to the two famous warning inscriptions in Greek that prohibit non-Jews from entering the precincts of the Temple (CIJ 2.1400). But these warnings, we may note, are intended for Gentiles, whose language is most likely to be 45 46 47 48

Levine 1998, 24. Levine 1998, 26. See Feldman 1993, 288-415. Hengel 1989, 9.

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Greek, rather than for Jews; and hence they do not indicate primarily Hellenization of Jews. In addition, Hengel cites an honorific inscription in Greek dedicated to a donor from the Jewish community of Rhodes; but this also, we may note, is not an indication of Hellenization of Palestinian Jews but is in Greek because the honor is for a Jew coming from the Greek-speaking island of Rhodes. Furthermore, Hengel notes that Greek words occur in the copper scroll from Qumran; but here is hardly convincing evidence of Hellenization, since he cites a grand total of two Greek words. In addition, Hengel mentions that a good third of the epitaphs are in Greek. But we may remark that of 872 tombs 644 have no writing at all in them; and he gives no indication as to how many of the epitaphs are of Jews from Greek-speaking lands outside of Palestine. Indeed, he notes that Rahmani,49 in his catalogue of Jewish ossuaries from Jerusalem, remarks on the meager evidence from the ossuary inscriptions as to knowledge of Greek in Jerusalem and Jericho and their environments. He notes that in Nysa Scythopolis, a mere eighteen miles from Cana and Nazareth, there was a center of Dionysiac worship; but we may ask what evidence there is of Jewish knowledge of, let alone contact with or influence of this place upon Jews. He says50 that it is amazing how many significant Greek men of letters—he cites Meleager, Philodemus, Theodore, and Oenomaus, from Gadara, six miles from Galilee—were from the Graecized cities of Palestine and Transjordan from the second century b.c.e. onwards, But the important question to ask is whether the Jews mention, let alone are influenced by, these intellectuals; and whether these intellecuals mention Jews or Jewish thought. The only one who is mentioned in rabbinic literature is the second-century Oenomaus, who was particularly friendly with Rabbi Meir, the teacher of the apostate Elisha ben Avuyah. And how much of his cynicism did Oenomaus convey to Meir or any other of the rabbis? And how many Jewish writers in Greek did Gadara produce? 3. The Influence of Hellenism on Buildings in Palestine The fact that archaeological excavations have uncovered enormous numbers of ritual baths (miqva#ot) and strict burial practices is impor49 50

L. Y. Rahmani, cited by Hengel 1989, 9-10. Hengel 1989, 20.

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tant evidence that traditional Jewish practices remained extremely strong.51 As to the public baths, modern historians, as Stern52 has noted, tend to regard public baths in Late Antique Palestine as “Greek” institutions on the grounds that they were probably introduced by Hellenistic rulers; some have concluded, therefore, that public baths “reflect the influence of Hellenism.”53 Midrashic sources, however, describe them as ancient Hebrew institutions. Thus King Solomon is said to have built public baths (Mid. Eccl. Rab. 2.8.1), as did Joab, thus providing a “livelihood” to the people of Israel. (Mid. Sam. 25). That bath attendance was a widespread practice is clear from the statement ascribed to the early first-century Hillel, that it is a mitzvah (“commandment”) to attend public baths (Mid. Lev. Rab. 34.3, #Abot. R. Nat. B 30). The most visible signs of Greek influence are the theatres, amphitheatres, and hippodromes.54 To be sure, Herod did establish athletic contests in honor of the Roman Emperor, celebrated the most lavish and savage spectacles, and indeed built a theatre and an amphitheatre near Jerusalem. But, we are told (Jos., Ant. 15.277), the reaction of the populace was unanimously opposed to these spectacles, which, we are informed, the Jews regarded as an open break with their ancestral customs. If we ask why Herod, who was a realist and well aware of Jewish sensibilities, should have introduced such amusem*nts, we may surmise that he did so to please the large non-Jewish minority in his realm. 4. Hellenization in the Essenes and the Dead Sea Sect A number of scholars—Zeller,55 Lévy,56 Cumont,57 Carcopino,58 Dupont-Sommer,59 and Hadas60—have argued that the Essenes were influenced by the model of Pythagoras and the Pythagorean 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60

So Meyers 1992, 88. Stern 1994, 172-73. E.g., Schürer 1973, 2:55. Goodman 1994, 169. Zeller 1903, 307-77. Lévy 1927. Cumont 1930, 99-112. Carcopino 1956. Dupont-Sommer 1953. Hadas 1963, 194-97.

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brotherhood, since the latter also had a communal organization with special restrictions with respect to diet, sex, and dress, and were governed by a strict rule marked by absolute discipline under a leader with emphasis on study and on the doctrine of the immortality of the soul. Lévy goes so far as to argue that the avenue of this influence was a legendary life of Pythagoras that is now lost but that influenced not only Essenism but also Alexandrian Judaism, Pharisaism, and the Gospels as well. He argues that midrashic stories of Moses’ descent to the Lower World are adaptations of Pythagoras’ descent. In support of this theory we may remark that Josephus (Ant. 15.371) says that the Essenes are a group “who follow a way of life taught to the Greeks by Pythagoras,” but, we may comment, we should not believe on this basis that the Essenes borrowed from Pythagoreanism any more than that we should posit that the Pharisees borrowed from Stoicism because Josephus (Life 12) says that they are very similar to the Stoic school. Molin60a has noted that the parallels are more apparent than real and that there are basic differences between the Pythagoreans and the Essenes. We may suggest that the true forerunners of the Essenes are the Nazirites and the Rechabites (Jer. 35) of the Bible and that parallels with such apocryphal books as Enoch and with certain rabbinical dicta are closer. Finally, if indeed there are parallels, why not argue that Pythagoras and his followers were influenced by Jewish sources, as we see in the tradition in Hermippus of Smyrna (ca. 200 b.c.e., Ap. 1.164-65) that in practicing and repeating the warning not to pass a certain spot on which an ass had collapsed, to abstain from thirst-producing water, and to avoid all calumny, Pythagoras was imitating and appropriating the doctrines of Jews and Thracians. and that Pythagoras introduced many points of Jewish law into his philosophy? Likewise the first-century Antonius Diogenes (ap. Porphyry, Vita Pythagorae 11) says that Pythagoras learned the exact knowledge of dreams from the Jews among others. There is general agreement that the Dead Sea Sect, whether or not it is to be identified with the Essenes, in its strict interpretation of Jewish law, as they understood it, was strongly opposed to foreign influence. Yet, Levine61 insists that the sect in ideology and practices

60a 61

Molin 1955, 244-81. Levine 1998, 20.

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was heavily influenced by Greek ideas, though he adds that it was also influenced by Eastern ideas. He declares that among the sect’s fundamental beliefs and practices—determinism, dualism, the solar calendar, communal property, angelology, celibacy, the desire to create a utopia, and many organzational patterns—most have little, if any, roots in earlier Jewish tradition, whereas they are well attested in the Hellenistic and Eastern worlds of the third and second centuries b.c.e. But, we may reply, is it true that they have few roots in earlier Jewish tradition? The Essenes, according to Josephus (Ant. 13.172), who states that he spent some time living as an Essene (Life 10-12), were completely deterministic, believing that Fate is the mistress of all things. Although Josephus (Ant. 13.171) first speaks of the Essenes in his account of Jonathan the Hasmonean, who ruled in the second century b.c.e., he says that the Jews from the most ancient times (κ το πάνυ ρχαίου τν πατρίων) had three philosophies—Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes. Pliny the Elder (Nat. Hist. 5.73) similarly reports that they have existed through thousands of ages (per saeculorum milia). As for the rabbinic point of view with regard to free will, while it is true that it is based on the biblical statement (Deut. 30:15-19) that man has a free choice to do good or to do evil, the rabbis constantly stress the apparent paradox that everything is foreseen, as the great Rabbi Akiva (m. "Abot 3:15) insists. Indeed, we read (\ul. 7b), in the name of Rabbi \anina: “No man bruises his finger here on earth unless it is so decreed against him in heaven, for it is written, ‘It is of the L-rd that a man’s goings are established’ (Ps. 37:23). ‘How then can man look to his way?’ (Prov. 20:24).” There is no indication that the Greeks influenced the biblical statements in Psalms and Proverbs or Rabbi \anina’s interpretation.62 As for dualism, there are a number of passages in the Bible that clearly refer to a celestial Satan, in opposition to G-d: Job 1 and 2, Zech. 3:1-2, and 1 Chron. 21:1. In Job 1 and 2 Satan actually converses with G-d. In Zech. Satan is rebuked by G-d. In 1 Chron. Satan is referred to without a definite article, indicating that this is his personal name. There is no indication that any of these references was influenced by Greek thought. Moreover, the dualism of the

62 We find the same deterministic attitude in b. Yoma 38b, b. Soãah 2a, b. Nid. 16b, Mid. Eccl. Rab. 10:11, among other places.

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Scrolls is parallel to the Iranian doctrine, as Winston63 has noted. As to angelology, most of the beliefs about the angels are expansions of older beliefs, for example Ezekiel’s vision of angelic destroyers, watchdog-like destroyers, and Zechariah’s angels restructuring the entire world. As for the desire to create a utopia, one need only recall what is found in Isa. 2:4: “They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation will not lift sword against nation, and they will no longer study warfare.” To be sure, Moshe Weinfeld64 has presented a point-by-point examination of the organization of the Qumran community and has noted congruences with the rules of seventeen religious associations (θίασοι) and guilds of the Hellenistic-Roman world, notably those of Ptolemaic Egypt, ranging from the third century b.c.e. to the second century c.e. However, though he finds a certain amount of similarity between these associations and the Qumran community, especially in disciplinary matters, he stresses that the Qumran sect differs from the pagan associations in its distinctly Jewish character. He convincingly concludes that no direct influence of one on the other can be proved. Moreover, we know of no adequate Jewish or Israelite precedent for the laws of organization of the Qumran community because we have no Jewish or Israelite writings of this genre that might be expected to deal with such subjects. We may guess that if we knew more about the Rechabites, the monastic-like group mentioned by the prophet Jeremiah (chapter 35), we might well find that the Qumran sect had modeled itself on them. 5. The Influence of Hellenization on the Hasmoneans and Herod Levine65 cites as an example of Hellenization in Palestine the fact that the Hasmoneans signed treaties with Rome. But this, in itself, is not an example of the influence of Hellenization. It was due to political necessity, since the Syrian Greeks were far more powerful

63 64 65

Winston 1966, 205. Weinfeld 1986. Levine 1998, 40.

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than the nascent Hasmonean state. The treaties in themselves had apparently little influence on the Jewish people. Levine66 remarks that while only inscriptions in ancient Hebrew script appear on the coinage of Hyrcanus I and Aristobulus I (end of the second century b.c.e.), Greek inscriptions begin to appear regularly from the time of Alexander Jannaeus (first century b.c.e.) onward. But, we may reply, this is due not to increased influence of Hellenization but to the fact that the land conquered by Alexander Jannaeus included areas that had sizable non-Jewish populations, and hence the inscriptions on the coinage had to be intelligible to them. Levine67 adds that Herod’s political loyalty was matched by his fascination with the readily accessible cultural and social world of his time, both in its Hellenistic and Roman versions. Nicolaus of Damascus,68 Herod’s close adviser and teacher, takes note of Herod’s enthusiasm for philosophy, rhetoric, and history. Herod’s personal commitment in this regard was reinforced by the people of his court, many of whom were non-Jewish, but all of whom bore either Greek or Latin names, a clear indication of their cultural proclivities. But, we must remark, these were not the cultural proclivities of the Jewish inhabitants of Herod’s kingdom, who despised him. Levine,69 citing Acts 2:9-11, notes that the Jews who had gathered in Jerusalem for Pentecost spoke each in his own native language: Parthians, Medes, Elamites, residents of Mesopotamia, Judea, and Cappadocia, Pontus, and Asia; Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, Cyrene, Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans, and Arabians. But there is no indication that they were all speaking Greek, let alone that they were influenced by Greek culture, let alone that the Jews native to Palestine were influenced by Greek culture.

66

Levine 1998, 42. Levine 1998, 46-48. 68 Nicolaus of Damascus, De Vita Sua, ap. Constantinus Porphyrogenitus, Excerpta de Virtutibus et Vitiis, 1. 69 Levine 1998, 52. 67

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Daube 70 contends that rabbinic methods of interpretation and reasoning were directly borrowed from Greek rhetoric. Similarly, Lieberman71 argues that the rabbis had good knowledge of Greek language, literature and culture, and that they were tolerant towards Hellenism and its adoption. But, as Sacha Stern72 has noted, Gedaliahu Alon73 challenges Lieberman’s evidence and suggests that Hellenism had only a marginal impact on the rabbis and their writings. Twenty years after he wrote his book highlighting Greek influence on the rabbis, Lieberman himself74 largely retracted his earlier claims, finding no evidence that rabbinic Judaism was influenced by Greek philosophy, religion and law in any significant manner. Similarly, Sandmel75 concludes: “Hellenization could be both extensive and intensive, but still it was a tenacious Judaism...being hellenized, this without any loss of identity or loss of essential characteristics.” But we must also note not only the similarities but also the differences between Greek and Jewish ideas. Thus, as we see notably in Pythagorean and Jewish doctrine, there is a sharp distinction between body and soul, whereas in Judaism they are inseparable. Again, whereas the Greeks emphasized the immortality of the soul, Jewish doctrine stresses the after-life. As to the possible influence of Greek philosophy upon the rabbis, we may note the significance of the fact that the three greatest names in Greek philosophy—Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle—are nowhere mentioned in the entire rabbinic corpus. We may well wonder about the Greek philosophic influence on people who regard Oenomaus of Gadara (ca. 120 c.e.) as the greatest Gentile philosopher of all time (Mid. Gen. Rab. 68.20, Pesiq. Rb. Kah. 15.5).76 We may suggest that when the Talmud (b. B. Qam. 82b, b. Soã. 49b, and b. Men. 64b) imposes a curse on those who instruct their sons in Greek wisdom (Èokmah yevanit), a good guess is that this wisdom is philosophy, Èokmah

70 71 72 73 74 75 76

Daube 1949, 239-62. Lieberman 1942. Stern 1994, 171. Alon 1943-44, 76-95. Lieberman 1963, 123-41. Sandmel 1978, 258. See Luz 1992, 42-80.

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being a translation of σοφία. That the rabbis were strongly opposed to the study of philosophy may be inferred from the fact that in the Talmudic passage noted above Greek wisdom leads to a gift of swine and that its teaching is cursed together with swine-herding, and hence is associated with the antithesis of Judaism.77 Some light may be shed on this question by an intriguing passage in the Talmud (b. \ag. 14b): “Four men entered Pardes (Paradise, the Garden), namely Ben Azzai and Ben Zoma, AÈer (Elisha ben Abuya), and Rabbi Akiva. The fact that we learn that it was AÈer (Elisha ben Abuya) alone78 who (b. \ag. 15b) was led astray by “Greek song” and who mutilated the shoots (the implication being that he entered into a fundamental investigation of the topic and apostasized) may be a clue. On the other hand, we are told, Rabbi Akiva departed unhurt (the implication being that he was so strong in his faith that an investigation of the topic did not weaken his faith). Daube79 contends that the seven principles of logic employed by Hillel in interpreting texts are of Alexandrian Greek origin and are parallel to principles employed by Aristotle; but Lieberman80argues that there is no reason to conclude that the hermeneutic methods were borrowed from the Greeks; rather it is merely the terminology that was borrowed. Indeed, as Towner81 has pointed out, the rabbis employ natural and primitive logical devices that are found all over the ancient world. In particular, Jacobs82 refutes the view that the rabbinic qal veÈomer (a fortiori reasoning) is identical with the Aristotelian syllogism. If, indeed, Bickerman and Hengel are correct in postulating that Judaism was so thoroughly Hellenized in the Hasmonean period, we may well ask, with Meyers,83 why so many essential elements of Judaism were yet to be articulated? How is it that the Pharisees and 77

Lieberman 1950, 100, has argued that in this ruling the study of Greek wisdom is not forbidden per se, but only because it leads to the neglect of Torah study. However, this does not account for the fact that this ruling refers specifically to Greek wisdom rather than to general extraneous studies. This may suggest that the cultural integrity of Israel is somehow at stake. 78 On Elisha ben Abuya see now Goshen-Gottstein 2000, 21-229, for a critical investigation of the traditions attributed about him. 79 Daube 1949, 239-64, and 1953, 27-44. 80 Lieberman 1950, 55-68, esp. 61. 81 Towner 1982, 101-35. 82 Jacobs 1961, 3-8. 83 Meyers 1992, 85.

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the Rabbis and the Qumran sectaries incorporated such conservative Semitic elements of Judaism into their movements? How can we explain, for example, the view of resurrection, so different from the Greek view, that came to be dominant in Judaism? Is it not ironic that while Jerusalem and the rest of Palestine were for five centuries undergoing a physical face-lifting architecturally and artistically under the political domination of the Hasmoneans and Herod and the Romans, the Jewish people themselves, and especially their rabbinic leaders, experienced an intensification of traditional Jewish education and values? The idea of developing a canon of biblical books and a special system of biblical interpretation is unique with the Palestinian Jews, so little impact did the ruling family and the Romans have on internal religious developments. 7. The Influence of Hellenism on Jewish Culture How much Greek influence was there on Jewish literature in Palestine? As Martha Himmelfarb84 has noted, the corpus of extant Jewish literature in Greek is considerably larger than that of any other subject people of the Hellenistic empires. But since the great majority of ancient literature is lost, this does not give us a definitive answer. Moreover, we are focusing on the Jewish literature produced in Palestine; and since we have evidence that the First Book of Maccabees was originally written in Hebrew85 and since Josephus wrote his Jewish War originally in Aramaic (War 1.3) and translated it into Greek in Rome with the help of assistants (Ap. 1.50) and wrote his other works in Rome, the only works by Jews that we definitely know were written in Greek in Palestine were the translation of Ben Sira into Greek ca. 180 b.c.e., additions to the book of Esther,86 and the history written by Justus of Tiberias.87 But the dependence of Ben Sira on Greek sources has been much exaggerated, as Sanders88 in his criticism of Middendorp89 has shown. It is a mistake to look only for Greek parallels with Ben Sira’s aphorisms, since he is perhaps 84 85 86 87 88 89

Himmelfarb 1998, 199. See Goldstein 1976, 14-16. Moore 1992, 632. Holladay 1983, 371-89. Sanders 1983, 29. Middendorp 1973, 8-24.

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also indebted to Egyptian wisdom,90 though it would appear more likely that he is indebted to the Book of Proverbs, e.g., 8:22-26, where wisdom speaks in praise of itself. It is particularly important to note that none of the rabbis wrote in Greek. Hengel91 states that the first Palestinian author, Pseudo-Eupolemus, known to us who wrote in Greek, the anonymous Samaritan, was writing in the second century b.c.e. at the time of Ben Sira. But if he is a Samaritan he is not a Jew, as we see from Josephus (War 2.232-46 and Ant. 20.118-36), as confirmed by Tacitus (Ann. 12.54). And, in view of the strained relations between Jews and Samaritans during the Hellenistic period, how could a Jew have spoken so favorably of Mt. Gerizim as the mount of the Most High G-d? How could a Jew have included in the genealogy of Genesis 10 Belus, Kronus, and the augur Asbolus? How could a Jew have identified Atlas with Enoch? And if he is a Samaritan, how could a Samaritan have spoken of Saul, David, and Solomon as legitimate Israelite kings, Eli as high priest, and Samuel, Elijah, and Jeremiah as prophets?92 Indeed, foreign cultures may be attacked most strongly precisely by those most under their influence, such as the deeply hellenized aristocrat Cato the Censor, who launched bitter attacks on Greek culture in Rome in the middle of the second century b.c.e.93 As Goodman94 has noted, no one has ever asked whether Jewish writers such as Ezekiel the Tragedian or the philosopher Philo thought of themselves as introducing Greek culture into Jewish education or whether Jews like the sectarians at Qumran consciously rejected the same culture. Indeed, when Philo, even though he prefaces his biography of Moses with a statement, apparently intended for both Jews and non-Jews, that he intends to answer those who refuse to treat him as worthy of memory (Mos. 1.2), he is not all apologetic about the extra-biblical remark that in his youth (Mos. 1.21) Moses was taught by teachers who came from various countries, including Egypt and Greece. In fact, as Goodman95 remarks, the most striking aspect of

90 91 92 93 94 95

Skehan and Di Lella 1987, 449-53. Hengel 1989, 21. See Holladay 1983, 162 n. 13; 185-86 nn. 30-31. See Astin 1978, 157-81. Goodman 1994, 168. Goodman 1994, 168.

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Jewish references to the prevalence of Greek culture among Jews, especially in Palestine, is their rarity. Indeed, Goldstein96 has noted that whereas the Greeks had a word (λληνίζειν) for “acting like a Greek,”97 and whereas the Romans had a word, pergraecari, for “acting Greek,” there is no Hebrew word in antiquity for “acting Greek.” Moreover, as Goodman adds, the hostility of Ben Sira is to non-Jews generally; and he does not mention the Greeks specifically. Again, when he mentions Jews who forsake the convenant (Sir. 41:89) he does not mention Greek culture specifically. Furthermore, the concept of a biblical canon owed nothing to the Greeks, since the word “canon” was not used in classical antiquity in the sense of a list of chosen “best authors,” but rather in the sense of the standard of a genre.98 As for Jews who had contact with Greek thinkers or writers, we have an account in Josephus (Ap. 1.176-83), who quotes Clearchus of Soli (ca. 300 b.c.e.), who, in turn, quotes Aristotle as saying that he met a Jew in Asia Minor who had come to converse with him and other scholars to test their learning and who was entertained by a large circle of friends. Aristotle was quite impressed with this Jew, who, he says, not only spoke Greek but also had the soul of a Greek, and, generalizing from the case of this one Jew, he gives the Jews the supreme compliment of remarking that they are descended from the Indian philosophers. But we are not told the name of this Jew; and the fact that the story is told not in a work of Aristotle or in an extant work of Clearchus but third-hand in Josephus raises questions as to the historicity of the incident. Moreover, it would seem to be dangerous to generalize from one person, and one, at that, who had had this experience not in Palestine but in Asia Minor. One specific way in which Hellenism might have influenced Judaism was through the institution of the educational instrument known as the gymnasium. Indeed, we hear (1 Macc. 1:14-15) that in the 170s b.c.e., “the wicked left the ancient laws, joined themselves to the gentiles, and built a gymnasium according to the customs of the nations.” As we see from the parallel account in 2 Macc. 4:7-13, the symbol of the gymnasium was the wearing of the broad-brimmed 96

Goldstein 1981, 70-71. See the fourth-century Libanius, Orations 11.103: λληνίζειν τ"ν βάρβαρον, “Hellenize the barbarian.” 98 See Easterling 2003, 286. 97

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hat in the gymnasium. There can be no doubt that the gymnasium was a distinctly Greek phenomenon.99 But there is no indication in 1 Maccabees or 2 Maccabees that the gymnasium built by the Hellenizers in Jerusalem had any previous history or background in Palestine or that after the Hellenizers were overthrown it had any later history. In the pages of Josephus, though he covers the period of the Hellenizing high priests Jason and Menelaus and the Hasmoneans, Herod, and his successors in great detail, there is no mention of a gymnasium or gymnasiarch anywhere in Palestine. Significantly, despite his ambitious building projects, Herod did not build any gymnasia in Palestine. In a revealing statement, Levine100 admits that indications that religious, literary, and philosophical influences were absorbed would certainly suggest an advanced degree of Hellenization, but he admits that such instances are relatively rare. Having been frustrated in establishing influence in this all-important area, he then proceeds to broaden the definition of Hellenization to include influence in the economic, social, political, and material realm, where he finds the evidence of influence to be much more common. But it is precisely the religious area that was the most important influence on the everyday lives and everyday feelings of Jews where he finds so little direct impact. But aside from attacks on athletics and theatrical performances, the Jews write remarkably little—and nothing in Ben Sira and Jubilees—about the dangers of Greek culture. When Josephus (Ap. 1.7) does mention Greek culture he speaks of it with contempt, especially compared with the antiquity of Jewish culture: “In the Greek world everything will be found to be modern, and dating, so to speak, from yesterday or the day before: I refer to the foundation of their cities, the invention of the arts, and the compilation of a code of laws.” As for the celebration of Hanukah, the Jews stress the repurification of the Temple and the wickedness of the Syrian king Antiochus more than the wickedness of renegade Jews. Bickerman101 argues that the Jews borrowed from the Greeks, especially Plato, the belief in the power of education to achieve wisdom. It was the Greeks, according to Bickerman, who introduced 99

Goodman 1994, 168-69. Levine 1998, 18. 101 Bickerman 1962, 204. 100

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to the world the belief that membership in a civilization could be achieved by education rather than by birth. The reformers similarly introduced the idea that membership in a civilization could be achieved by education rather than by birth. He contends that it was from the Greeks that the Pharisees learned this idea; but the fact is that the Pentateuch itself, which surely dates from before the time that the Jews had contact with the Greeks, declares (Deut. 6:7) that you [Jews] are commanded “to teach them [i.e. the words of G-d] diligently to your children.” There is no evidence in rabbinic literature or in Greek literature that as a result of contact with the Greeks, Simeon ben Shetach (y. Ket. 8.11.32c) early in the first century b.c.e. made the first attempt to create a school system, and that a comprehensive scheme toward this end was carried out by Joshua ben Gamala shortly before the destruction of the Temple in the first century c.e., whereby teachers were appointed in every province and chidren were required to be sent to these schools from the age of six or seven (B. Bat. 21a). Goodman102 admits that most of the major changes that took place in Judaism during this period could have occurred regardless of the spread of Hellenism. In particular, it is unlikely that the concept of a biblical canon could been influenced by the Greek canons, for example of the ten Attic orators, since the canon was not always the same ten or ten at all.103 Moreover, the pagan list of authors were certainly less authoritative than the biblical authors, and the term “canon” owed nothing to the Greeks. Rather, as Goodman104 suggests, the emergence of distinct sects, trends, and philosophies during this period owed more to the adoption of divergent calendars and different ways of interpreting biblical texts than to the influence of Hellenism. Goodman105 is surprised that there is so little expression in the literature of this period of opposition to Hellenization. That the Dead Sea Scrolls have no criticism of the Hellenizers is, however, not surprising, inasmuch as the Dead Sea Sect was so far removed from Greek ideas that they were apparently not deemed worthy of comment. As to the fact that there is no criticism of the Jewish 102 103 104 105

Goodman 1994, 168. Easterling 2003, 286. Goodman 1994, 168. Goodman 1994, 169.

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king Aristobulus I for calling himself “philhellene” (Ant. 13.318), this may have been his way of seeking to ingratiate himself to the many non-Jews in his real, and in any case his reign of one year (104-103 b.c.e.) was too short to warrant conclusions. The ultimate, and by far the most important, test is how much intermarriage there was. Ezra (1 Esdr. 8:96) enjoins against mixed marriages, but he does not mention Greeks at all. Levine himself106 cites the example of the intermarriage of Alexander the Great and of his soldiers with Persian women and their adoption of various Persian customs. But there is remarkably little evidence in the writings of Josephus and the rabbis, numerous and far-ranging and filled with digressions as they are, that intermarriage was frequent in the Hellenistic and Roman periods.107 Levine’s conception of the Hellenistic world is of “a veritable potpourri of cultural forces, a marketplace of ideas and fashions from which one could choose.”108 He is perhaps thinking of certain poems of Herodas and of Theocritus describing conditions in Alexandria; but how far did this penetrate Jewish circles in Palestine? The one rabbi, the second-century Elisha ben Abuyah, who was, indeed, influenced by Greek song (b. \ag. 15b), that is, presumably poetry, remains an isolated example in rabbinic literature. 8. The Influence of Hellenization on Jewish Languages One key area of the influence of Hellenization is on the languages used by Jews. In the early contact between Greeks and Jews, namely in the translation of the Pentateuch into Greek, Naomi Cohen109 has commented on the influence not of Greek on Hebrew but of Hebrew on Greek in the Septuagint. She cites the case of Νμος. What has changed is not the meaning of Torah but that of Νμος, which in Greek means “Law,” but in Judeo-Greek has metamorphosed to include the entire contents of the Pentateuch—stories, poetry, etc. Inasmuch as the everyday language of the Jews in Palestine was Aramaic, one would expect, if the influence of Greek was as great 106 107 108 109

Levine 1998, See Feldman Levine 1998, Cohen 2002,

19. 1993, 487 n. 169. 19. 34.

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as some have suggested, a considerable number of Greek words in the Aramaic texts that are extant from this period. But the number of Greek words that have been found in first and second century Aramaic texts is minuscule. It is remarkable, as Wasserstein110 has noted, that there are practically no Greek loanwords in the Dead Sea Scrolls. This cannot be sheer chance, since the Qumran sectaries were very deliberate in everything that they did or said or wrote. Indeed, Wasserstein111 suggests that the rabbis borrowed these words not directly from Greek but rather from the Aramaic koine, which the Jews shared with their non-Jewish neighbors. As for the Aramaic manuscripts found at Qumran, only five isolated words and one formula are clearly due to Greek influence. Moreover, as Lewis112 has pointed out, the influence of the native Aramaic is so strong that in the Greek documents in the second-century Bat Babatha archive the individual letters of words are written separately, as is true in the writing of Aramaic. Furthermore, we find a number of Semiticisms in these documents,113 such as direct discourse after λ%γω, omission of the definite article, the occurrence of the nominative absolute, the reference first to east and then to west in mentioning boundaries, and the phrase πάντα κύρια καί β%βαια, which is a literal translation of the Aramaic formula, ‫וכלא ׁשריר וקים‬. When a letter is found in Greek in the Bar Kokhba collection, Yadin explains that this is because no scribe knowing Hebrew or Aramaic was available,114 the clear implication being that normally such a letter would have been written in Hebrew or Aramaic. Josephus (Ant. 20.264-65), writing in the first century, says that “our people” do not favor those persons who have mastered the languages of many nations, the most popular of which, in the Mediterranean world, was Greek. Those funerary inscriptions that are in Greek are at a very elementary stage. It is not until the second century that we find, in the Bar Kochba correspondence, private letters that are in Greek. Sevenster115 and Levine,116 referring to 110 111 112 113 114 115 116

Wasserstein 1995, 119. Wasserstein 1995, 124. Lewis 1989, 6. Lewis 1989, 13. Yadin 1971, 130. Sevenster 1968, 70. Levine 1998, 78-79.

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Josephus’ statement (Ant. 20.264) that skill in languages is common to ordinary freemen and even slaves, conclude that the knowledge of Greek was common among the Jews of Palestine; but Josephus says only that such skill can be acquired irrespective of social class.117 Moreover, as Wasserstein118 has noted, a very high proportion of the Greek loanwords in rabbinic literature are also found in other Aramaic dialects, notably Syriac, so that it is most likely that they were borrowed not from Greek directly but only indirectly from these other dialects; and these borrowed words share the results of certain internal Aramaic developments. Thus these Aramaicized Greek words should, paradoxically, be seen not as deliberate adoption of Greek ways but as an indication that the Jews in Palestine felt at home within the Aramaic Near East. Therefore, the question of Greek influence on the Jews in Palestine is to be viewed in the way the Greek language and traditions were adapted to their own native and distinctive and time-honored background. Indeed, so strong is the Aramaic tendency in rabbinic Judaism that the rabbis went so far as to claim that Ezra receive the revelation of the Torah in Aramaic (b. Sanh. 21b); and Rabbi Judah in the name of the third-century Rav was able to assert that Adam, the first man, spoke in Aramaic (b. Sanh. 38b). The question thus becomes how did the Jews manage to maintain their indigenous character and unique self-definition and time-honored culture and values while adapting to contact with the Greek language and culture? As for Greek loan-words in the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Copper Scroll, written in Mishnaic-like Hebrew, contains four words derived from Greek;119 In the Aramaic papyri from Murabba#at and NaÈal \ever there are ten Greek words.120 Cotton121 has noted that the Qumran texts evince a deliberate and conscious avoidance of Greek words, and that the Greek that they do use shows the influence of the local Aramaic language of the writers. She remarks that certain linguistic features in the Scrolls reflect the local spoken Aramaic language of the writers and that the pervasive Semiticisms in the papyri

117

So Lewis 1969, 588. Wasserstein 1995, 124. 119 ξ%δρα, περιστ*λιον, λη, and στατρ. 120 σφάλεια, ξίφος, πίτροπος, +ωμα-οι, .πατεία, α/τοκράτωρ, Κα-σαρ, Σεβαστς, παρχεία. 121 Cotton 2000, 324. 118

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from the Judean Desert stand in sharp contrast to the resistance of the Greek language to native influences in the Greek papyri from Egypt. Indeed, certain lexicographical features of these texts from the Judean Desert are either not attested at all in the Greek papyri from Egypt or occur in them only at a much later period. Furthermore, why are we so sure that the Jewish art of this period was influenced by Hellenism rather than by Oriental currents? Indeed, Rachel Hachlili122 has written: “A distinctive feature of Jewish art is the antithetic composition, which occurs in almost all figurative and decorative subjects, and which is one of the basic elements of Oriental art.” She remarks that Jewish art is one of the best examples of an Oriental art in Late Antiquity in that it projects the spiritual value of a subject rather than a realistic conception such as, we may remark, was a hallmark of Greek art. An example of this Orientalizing may be seen in the famous depiction of the sacrifice of Isaac in the Beth Alpha synagogue. She notes that the hands of the figures are placed in front of the objects that they are supposed to be holding in defiance of the laws of perspective and that objects are set one above the other without regard for distance.123 The absence of individual characterization and the exaggeration in the dimensions of the head and eyes are clearly due to Oriental rather than to Greek influence. Other Oriental and non-Greek features are the effort to express artificially the picture of a living being into a pattern as well as richness of effect. She suggests that these non-Hellenic features can be found in ancient Assyrian and Hittite and in contemporary Parthian art.124 9. Non-Greek Influence on Judaism As Winston125 has indicated, the notion of an eschatological judgment by fire, as found in the Dead Sea Scrolls is found in the Iranian Yasna 31.3. The doctrine of a world conflagration, so common in Greek literature, is likewise found, as he indicates, in Iranian literature.126 And why speak only of the influence of the Greeks upon the Jews? 122 123 124 125 126

Hachlili 1988, 376. Hachlili 1988, 366-68. Hachlili 1988, 368. Winston 1966, 205-9. Winston 1966, 207.

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It is also possible that the Jews had influence upon the Greeks. The new stylistic form combining prose and poetry that was introduced by Menippus of Gadara, a short distance east of the Jordan River, evidently has Semitic roots.127 Moreover, Hengel128 admits that the “mythological geography” of the Ethiopian Enoch and its demonology may go back to a Near Eastern environment as reflected in authors such as Hesiod and that the doctrine of two spirits, found among the Essenes, is ultimately Iranian. One possible indication of non-Greek influence may perhaps be seen in the statement of Hecataeus of Abdera (ap. Diodorus 40.3.8) that after Moses, “as a result of becoming subject to foreign rule and mingling with other nations (both under Persian rule and under that of the Macedonians who overthrew the Persians) many of their traditional practices were disturbed.” In a similar vein Strabo (16.2.37) says: “His [Moses’] successors for some time abided by the same course, acting righteously and being truly pious toward G-d; but afterwards, in the first place superstitious men wre appointed to the priesthood, and then tyrannical people.” But that Hecataeus and Strabo are not referring to the inroads of Hellenization is clear from the fact that Hecataeus speaks of changes under both the Persians and Macedonians. Moreover, Hecataeus speaks of changes in religious practice rather than changes of ideas. In the last analysis we must explain the triumph of the rabbis and the Talmud. Why would Christian emperors, who generally were not eager to seek a confrontation with the Christian clergy, have permitted this, though Justinian in the sixth century forbade the Deuterosis, that is the Mishnah? And if the Jews were so indebted to Christian institutions, why do the Church Fathers, who are often so eager to belittle and to denounce the Jews, not make a point of this? One thing does seem clear: the masses seem to have remained true to the Jewish tradition and to have become more and more immersed in the study of the rabbinic tradition. Moreover, most importantly, if the triumph of the rabbis is due to the Christian emperors, how can we explain the triumph of the rabbis in Babylonia under the Parthians and Sassanians, who were not Christians? Is it that the presence of a predominantly Jewish population and strong, confident 127 128

So Hengel 1980, 118. Hengel 1989, 46-47.

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rabbinic leadership allowed the Palestinian Jewish population much more latitude in this regard than we find in the Diaspora? 10. The Influence of Hellenization on Other Nations According to Levine,129 ancient sources themselves testify to the impact of Greco-Roman culture on the lives of conquered nations. He notes that Josephus (Ant. 1.121), in considering the names of cities, regions, and peoples, as well as political institutions, has the following to say about the pervasiveness of Hellenistic influence: “Some of the nations [descended from Noah’s progeny] preserve the names given by their founders, but some changed them, in order to make them appear more intelligible to their neighbors. The Greeks are the ones who are responsible for this.” But we may note that Josephus cites only the influence of the Greeks in getting nations in the Near East descended from Noah to change their names. He says that it is the Greeks who set this precedent, embellishing the nations whom they conquered with names they could understand. This, we may remark, is for matters of international relations. It is the Greeks, he says, who imposed on the peoples whom they conquered forms of government, as though they were descended from themselves. He does not say that the Jews, under the influence of Hellenization, imposed changes of forms of government.

129

Levine 1998, 29.

homer and the near east

PART ONE

JUDAISM AND HELLENISM

35

36

chapter one

homer and the near east

37

CHAPTER ONE

HOMER AND THE NEAR EAST: THE RISE OF THE GREEK GENIUS

1. Introduction In his inaugural lecture as Regius Professor of Greek at Oxford in 1936, E. R. Dodds urged classicists to learn “something at first hand of that world background against which Greek culture arose and from which it was never completely isolated save in the minds of classical scholars.”1 In a recent letter to me, Martin Bernal writes that he looks upon Cyrus Gordon, who pioneered in composing seminal works connecting the Greek and Near Eastern world, as “one of the greatest and most original scholars of the twentieth century.” As Saul Levin has remarked, Professor Gordon’s insight into Ugaritic mythical poetry has supplied something unique to Hellenists: he has shown how this poetry is more akin to Greek epic than any other Semitic literature—and, for that matter, more akin than what has come to light of Anatolian literature in Indo-European languages.2 While other scholars have pursued mainly the relationship of the rediscovered Ugaritic corpus to the Bible, Professor Gordon has sensed the greater affinity of spirit between Ugaritic and Homeric poetry. It is interesting to note that classicists have now come around to his view of the Bronze Age East Mediterranean, without, in most cases, fully acknowledging him. Most significantly, in the preface to the second edition of his Early Greece, Oswyn Murray has written prophetically: “Finally, an observation about the future of my subject, which is the formation of Western culture. Each year it become more obvious that there is no such thing as Greek history, as distinct from Roman history, or the history of the Phoenicians or the Etruscans. Seas unite more often than they divide, and the Greeks discovered themselves when they discovered their sea and the peoples which surround it. It is not Greece but the Mediterranean world which possesses a history and a destiny of its own.3 1 2 3

Dodds 1936, 11. Letter to the author, November 13, 1994. Murray 1983,

38

chapter one

The two outstanding examples of this new trend in classical studies pioneered by Professor Gordon are Walter Burkert, The Orientalizing Revolution: Near Eastern Influence on Greek Culture in the Early Archaic Age and Sarah Morris, Daedalos and the Origins of Greek Art.4 Most recently Ludwig Koenen, in his presidential address in 1993 to the American Philological Association, warned that we can no longer look at early Greece in isolation from the Near East but admitted that “what is known to researchers, however, does not always reach the classroom, and the general public is hardly aware that our picture of ancient cultures and, in particular, of early Greek culture, has undergone dynamic changes.”5 The fact that the Gilgamesh epic has been found not only in Mesopotamia but also, to be sure in fragmentary form, in Asia Minor and in Palestine, and that it was translated into Hurrian and Hittite, should have been a clue for us of the unity of the East Mediterranean world. What has, I believe, revolutionized the subject of East Mediterranean influence upn Greece are four hypotheses that are increasingly gaining the day. One is the thesis that the eighth century b.c.e. marked a Greek renaissance and the speculation as to the role played by the Near East in that renaissance. Second is the thesis that the Greeks acquired the alphabet from the Phoenicians not in the eighth century b.c.e. but as early as 1100 b.c.e. Third is the challenge to Milman Parry’s theory of Homer as an oral poet and the impact of a Near Eastern written traditioon of epic upon Homer. Fourth is the increasing recognition that Hesiod, Homer’s alleged younger contemporary, was influenced by Near Eastern motifs. At last, literary scholars, who generally do not work as easily across national frontiers as do archaeologists, are beginning to catch up. I wish here to comment on recent scholarship pertaining to the four theories that have challenged the communis sensus with regard to the connection of the Near East with the rise of the Greek genius. 2. Establishing Influence First, a word about method. We must avoid falling into the trap of parallelomania, the neologism introduced by Samuel Sandmel.6 If we 4 5 6

Burkert 1992; Morris 1992. Koenen 1994, 1. Sandmel 1962, 1-13.

homer and the near east

39

wish to assert the likelihood of influence, it is important to establish that it was chronologically possible for commercial contact to have occurred and that such contact was considerable and over a period of time, the implicatin being that cultural contact generally follows trade routes. This has surely been established; for example, we know that many Achaean merchants and craftsmen lived at Ugarit. Secondly, the literary material must have existed at the time of the commercial contact. The argument goes that since there are striking similarities between the art, architecture, and administration of the Achaean palaces and the non-Greek centers of the second millennium b.c.e., such as Mari on the Euphrates and Ugarit in Syria, the cultural influence may well have included poetry.7 Thirdly, the actual literary and other cultural parallels must be sufficiently unique to fulfill a rigorous set of relevant criteria. Fourthly, the parallels, both in the realm of ideas and in actual language, must be sufficiently numerous, complex, and detailed, and must involve central features of the material being compared, so as to rule out sheer chance.8 One important caveat: to show influence is not to show origin; and to show origin is not to show fundamental influence. The works, above cited, by Burkert and Morris, go far toward establishing the fulfillment of these four criteria. Indeed, as early as the Mycenaean period (2000-1200 b.c.e.), we find that a number of Near Eastern words have already entered the Greek language: Linear B ki-tÙn, “tunic,” Phoenician ktn; Linear B ku-ru2 -so, Greek χρυσς, Phoenician Èrß; Linear B e-re-pa, Greek λ%φας, “ivory,” Hittite laÉpa; Linear B ku-mi-no, Greek κύμινον, “cummin,” Hebrew ‫ ;כמון‬Linear B sa-sa-ma, Greek σσαμον, “sesame,” Phoenician áámn. In Homer we find a number of words that appear to be derived from the Near East: λ-ς (Iliad 15.275), “lion,” Hebrew ‫ ;לישׁ‬γαυλς (Odyssey 9.223), “bowl,” “bucket,” Ugaritic gl, Hebrew ‫ ;גלה‬κ2νεον (Iliad 9.217), “basket,” and καν3ν, “shield-grip” (Iliad 13.407), Ugaritic qn, Punic and Royal Aramaic qn", Hebrew ‫ ;קנה‬κρκος, “saffron” (Iliad 14.348), Hebrew ‫כרכם‬, Akkadian kurkanç; 4θνη, “fine tissue” (Odyssey 7.107), Hebrew ‫אטון‬. In particular, we may note that Phoenician craftsmen had apparently settled in Crete, Euboea, Attica, and Sardinia9 as early as the ninth century b.c.e.; and Greeks, in turn, were trading 7 8 9

Kirk 1962, 106. Penglase 1994, 7. Balmuth 1992, 215-27.

40

chapter one

with settlements on the coast of Syria.10 How is it that Near Eastern motifs and scientific and mathematical information could have been transmitted to the Greeks when there was an obvious language barrier? It would appear that some of the Near Eastern settlers were bilingual poets, just as in the Near East itself there were bilingual poets who, in the second millennium b.c.e., had been able to translate from Akkadian to Hurrian to Hittite. Indeed, there were bilingual experts already in the third millennium, translating from Sumerian to Eblaite and from Sumerian to Akkadian, among other languages; and some of them may have been poets, as Hallo has suggested.11 3. The Greek Renaissance In 1981 a ground-breaking symposium was held in Athens, the theme of which was the Greek renaissance of the eighth century b.c.e.12 The participants of that symposium agreed that the so-called Dark Ages in Greek history between the twelfth and eighth centuries b.c.e. were hardly as dark as they are generally regarded. Still, the eighth century marked important new developments, which, indeed, form the background of the great Greek civilization with which we are all familiar. This is the century marked by a rapid growth of population that led to the founding of colonies and the expansion of commerce beyond the Aegean. There was a revival of representational art, a marked program in sacred and domestic architecture,13 the alleged introduction of the alphabet, a revival of interest in the heroic age that culminated in the development of epic poetry, and, most probably, the formation of the polis. Was Homer the cause or the effect of these developments? A clue may be found in the fourth book of the Odyssey, which tells of Menelaus’ wanderings to Cyprus, Phoenicia, Egypt, North Africa, and the western Mediterranean. Moreover, Burkert14 has called attention to the passage in Homer (Odyssey 17.383-85) which mentions craftsmen (δημιοεργο5), including carpenters, seers, and singers, noting striking resemblances with Sumero-Akkadian

10 11 12 13 14

Braun 1983, 5-14. Letter to author, December 6, 1994. Hägg 1983. Snodgrass 1971, 416. Burkert 1983a, 115-20.

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incantation texts. In particular, he notes one special technique of seers, namely hepatoscopy, which originated in Mesopotamia and which spread to the West in remarkably similar form and terminology. The impetus for the eighth-century b.c.e. renaissance, indeed, may have been contact with Near Eastern culture, including epic literature, just as contact with the East may have served as one of the catalysts for the Renaissance in the fourteenth century c.e. 4. When Was the Alphabet Borrowed? Anyone who has tried working with the clumsy syllabic script of Linear B will recognize how great a handicap it must have been to the development of literature. The usual view is that it was in the eighth century b.c.e. that the Phoenicians introduced the Greeks to the Phoenician alphabet, the so-called Cadmean letters. Not only the names of the letters and their order but also the forms of the earliest Greek letters are clearly indebted to West Semitic.15 An eighth century b.c.e. date for this borrowing seems to be confirmed by the fact that no Greek inscriptions using the alphabet have been found from before that period.16 However, if Joseph Naveh is correct, a comparative analysis of the characteristic traits of the West Semitic script and those of the earliest Greek inscriptions indicates that the Greeks borrowed the alphabet approximately three centuries before the earliest known Greek inscription. This is a classic case of the danger of the argumentum ex silentio and reminds one of the story about the Greek and the Jew who were comparing notes. The Greek said: “The other day they were digging in the Acropolis in Athens, and do you know what they found? Wires. And do you know what that proves? It shows that 2500 years ago, in the age of Pericles, the Greeks had telephones.” Whereupon the Jew said: “The other day they were digging in the old city of Jerusalem; and do you know what they found? Nothing. And do you know what that proves? It

15 Naveh 1982. For a slightly different view on the earliest West Semitic letter names and their order see Hallo 1958, 324-38. 16 Carpenter 1933, 27. Barry B. Powell (1991, 19-20) concludes that the Greek alphabet was created about 800 b.c.e. But even he admits that a parallel to the lack of inscriptions prior to this date may be found in Cyprus, where, within a certainly continuous tradition, there are no examples of Cypriote writing between the eleventh and eighth centuries b.c.e.

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shows that 3000 years ago, in the age of King Solomon, the Jews already understood the principle of the wireless.” De nihilo nihil fit. We may, in fact, note that though it is generally conceded that the Hebrews adopted the alphabet in the twelfth or eleventh century b.c.e., only one Hebrew inscription—the Gezer Calendar (which may, in fact, be Phoenician)—definitely dates from a period (the tenth century b.c.e.) earlier than the eighth century b.c.e. The fact that the earliest Greek writing is from left to right or boustrophedon (alternating from left to right and from right to left) indicates that it is in accord with the proto-Canaanite script of the late twelfth century, that is, before right-to-left writing became standard ca. 1050 b.c.e.17 Moreover, on these earliest Greek inscriptions the sigma has the shape of the thirteenth- and twelfth-century vertical shin; the mu, with five equal strokes, is like the pictographic mem resembling water; the omicron, with a dot in the center, resembles the pictographic ayin, an eye with the pupil, which is found in the eleventh-century Proto-Canaanite inscriptions.18 The Phoenician script was a uniform one, whereas there are considerable local variations in the Greek script, which would seem to be due to its development over a period of time. Most of the writing materials, notably wax tablets and leather rolls, were not durable; hence, we have no Greek alphabetic inscriptions before the eighth century b.c.e. Writing, in all probability, was in the hands of a very small number of specialists, as it was in the Near East, and thus inscriptions did not appear on pottery. 5. Homer as Literate Poet If this dating of the borrowing of the alphabet is correct, the socalled Dark Age of illiteracy in Greece must be revised. The fact that Phoenician inscriptions dating from the ninth century have been found in Cyprus and Sardinia and that there was a Greek settlement in Phoenicia in the ninth century indicates that the two 17

Naveh 1982, 177-78. Naveh 1982, 181. Other close parallels between the earliest Greek letters and the proto-Canaanite are the box-shaped theta, the I-shaped zeta, the delta, epsilon, nu, xi, pi, qoppa, and rho. The variations in the shapes of the earliest Greek letters would be explained as due to the fact that the Proto-Canaanite alphabet which they adopted was then in the process of evolution from pictographic to linear forms. 18

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peoples lived side by side during the so-called Dark Age. An inscription recently found at Qubur el-Walaydah in the Negev, dating from ca. 1200 b.c.e.;19 an ostracon found at ‘Izbet ‘arãah, east of Tel Aphek, dating from the twelfth century b.c.e.;20 and an inscription found on a bowl unearthed in Crete near Knossos, dating from the late eleventh century b.c.e.,21 have led Cross to conclude that they give added support to Naveh’s theory. All of this gives us reason to dispute Muhly’s conclusion that during the period from 1000 to 700 b.c.e. there was no direct involvement of Greece in the Near East and that the Homeric epics developed in a period of virtual isolation from the eastern world.22 Moreover, Albright23 has noted that the word βύβλινος (“papyrus”), which appears in Homer’s Odyssey (21.391) and which is derived from the name of the Phoenician city Byblus, was most probably borrowed at a time when Byblus was the most important city and port on the Canaanite coast, namely from the early third millennium to the early eleventh century b.c.e. After that date, Byblus lost its preeminence to Sidon and Tyre. If this is so, as Albright concluded, we need no longer hesitate to admit the continuity of the tradition of writing in the Greece of the early Iron Age.24 If the alphabet was borrowed by the Greeks from the Phoenicians as early as the eleventh century b.c.e., Homer or his syndicate or his scribes may well have used it. Since the epoch-making articles by Milman Parry (1971), the prevalent view has been that Homer, genius though he was, was an illiterate bard, operating as an oral poet who manipulated various formulaic expressions by numerous permutations and combinations. If so, we may ask, what was his genius? He was nothing more than an expert card player. Indeed, H. T. Wade-Gery, troubled by this, conjectured that the Greeks adopted the alphabet for the express purpose of recording the Homeric poems (1952). Albert Bates Lord, Parry’s co-worker in Yugoslavia, suggested that the very idea of 19

Cross 1980, 2-4. Naveh 1978, 31-35. 21 Cross 1980, 15-17. 22 Muhly 1970, 19-64. 23 Albright 1950, 165. 24 Likewise, as Albright (1950, 165) points out, the fact that the initial letters of the Greek names for Tyre (Τρος) and Sidon (Σίδων, Odyssey 13.286 etc.) go back to the time when the two initial sades were still differentiated, namely in the Bronze Age, indicates that they were borrowed by the Greeks during the Mycenaean period. 20

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recording the Homeric poems, as well as the Cyclic epics and the works of Hesiod, came from observation of or from hearing about similar activity going on in the Near East.25 Lord theorized that Homer dictated his poems to a person who could write.26 But, as Lloyd-Jones has remarked, these theories raise more difficulties than they resolve.27 In the first place, the new invention would have been intelligible only to the inventor and his immediate circle. It is more likely that alphabetic writing had been in existence for some time and that poets realized its advantages. It is no longer heresy to ask whether the importation of the Phoenician alphabet influenced Homer in more than merely providing the letter forms. In the story of Bellerophon in the Iliad (6.169), Burkert28 notes that the fatal letter is written on a folded tablet.29 It is not written in clay; but this is perfectly consonant with a wooden tablet, such as was used by the Phoenicians. Muhly observes that all early Greek inscriptions down to approximately 550 b.c.e., with only two possible exceptions, are in dactylic hexameter verse, indicating that the epics were well known.30 Even Parry’s son, Adam Parry, had come to the conclusion that the Homeric poems could not have been composed without the aid of writing.31 Indeed, several studies have shown that the epithets used by Homer are not meaningless formulas, as one finds in oral poetry, but rather deliberately and carefully chosen.32 Moreover Jasper Griffin notes important differences between the style and language of the speeches of characters in the Iliad and the direct words of Homer himself.33 Furthermore, in a highly sophisticated study, Shive criticizes Parry for working from lexica of Homer rather than from the text itself. Shive concludes that far from being thrifty (as an oral poet would be expected to be), Homer has been profuse, naming Achilles, for example, in the dative case alone in thirty-two ways. He concludes that “the underestimated factor is

25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33

Lord 1960, 156. Lord 1953, 124-34. Lloyd-Jones 1992, 56. Lloyd-Jones 1992, 56. Burkert 1983b, 52. For Near Eastern antecedents of the Bellerophon story see Hallo 1994. Muhly 1990, 93. Parry 1966, 177-216. Whallon 1975; Austin 1975. Griffin 1986, 36-57.

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whose meaning is suitable in the particular context.”34 Recent critics have increasingly demonstrated the brilliance of Homer’s metrical and formulaic effects, his patterns of imagery and theme, his use of simile,35 and his narrative strategies.36 Finally, a glance at the extensible sheet at the end of Whitman’s book on Homer37 indicates, most remarkably, that the six major episodes of Book 24 of the Iliad correspond precisely to the six major episodes of Book 1, except that they are in precisely inverse order. This hardly seems like the work of an illiterate oral poet. 6. Homer and Near Eastern Epics On the contrary, the Homeric poems, in their deliberate organization, seem to have much more in common with the epics of Mesopotamia, all of which were written, and with traditions of writing and schools of scribes. Even in epithets there are parallels, as noted by Burkert,38 between the characteristic epithets of the chief characters in the Akkadian epics—for example, the hero Enlil in Atrahasis 1.8 (=Gilgamesh 11.16) and Utnapishtim “the far-away” (Gilgamesh 10-11)—and in the Ugaritic epic where Baal is “the rider of clouds.” Epithets such as “knowledgeable in battle” (Gilgamesh 4.6.30) and “good in shouting” (Gilgamesh 11.117) are surely reminiscent of Homer.39 Like Zeus in Homer, the moon-god Nanna in the Sumero-Akkadian prayer to the moon god40 is referred to as “father, begetter of gods and men.” Characters in Gilgamesh as in Homer “speak to their own heart” (Gilgamesh 10.1.11 ff.).41 There is a similar verbal parallel between command and performance of an act.42 Likewise, Gilgamesh and Homer have similar stereotyped formulas for sunrise and sunset.43

34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43

Shive 1987, 130. Scott 1974. Hobka 1991, 472. Whitman 1958. Burkert 1992, 115-16. Burkert 1992, 116. Pritchard 1955, 385-86 Burkert 1992, 116. Burkert 1992, 116-17. Burkert 1992, 116.

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chapter one 7. Parallel Motifs

Furthermore, there are parallel motifs between Near Eastern epics and Homer. In the first place, as Professor Gordon, followed by Considine and Walcot,44 has noted, there are eight striking parallels between the Baal-Anath text 137, where Baal is restrained from doing violence to the envoys by the goddesses Anath and Ashtoreth, and the scene in the Iliad (1.188-222), when Achilles is about to slay Agamemnon, but is restrained by two goddesses, Athena and Hera. Again, the very lines with which the Akkadian story of Gilgamesh begins might well apply to Odysseus: “He who saw everything (to the end) of the land, (who all things) experienced, (considered) all! The (hidden) he saw, (laid bare) the undisclosed. He brought report of before the Flood, achieved a long journey, weary and worn.”45 It was not until 1969, seven years after the publication of Professor Gordon’s Before the Bible, that the text of the Akkadian epic, Atrahasis, was for the first time published in anything approaching its entirety. (This epic dates from a few generations after the time of Hammurabi in the seventeenth century b.c.e.) One such striking parallel between Near Eastern epic and Homer, as noted by Burkert,46 is the casting of lots by the gods and the division of the universe into heaven, earth (including the underworld), and sea (Atrahasis 1.1116, Gilgamesh 11.15-18). Similarly, in the Iliad (15.187-93), Poseidon declares that as a result of the casting of lots, he received the sea, Hades received the underworld, and Zeus received the sky. In both cases it is lots, rather than war (as is usually the case) or inheritance, that determines the division. Likewise, as Burkert47 remarks, the oath that Hera is made to swear, by heaven and earth, and the waters of the underworld (Iliad 15.36-38 and Odyssey 5.184-86), is paralleled in an Aramaic treaty text dating from the eighth century.48 Again, the scene (Iliad 5.330-431) in which Aphrodite has been wounded by Diomedes and complains to her father Zeus and mother Dione and earns a mild rebuke from her father is paralleled in Gilgamesh

44 45 46

Gordon 1962, 180-81; Considine 1969, 85-159; Walcot 1970, 273-75. Hallo 1991, 173-81. Burkert 1992, 90. On lots and games cf. Hallo 1983, 19-29; 1993b, 83*-

88*. 47 48

Burkert 1992, 93. Pritchard 1969, 659; Fitzmyer 1967.

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6.1-9). There Ishtar, rebuked by Gilgamesh, complains to her father Anu and her mother Antum and is rebuked by Anu.49 Similarly, as Albert Bates Lord has noted,50 the closest parallel to the Patroclus narrative is to be found in the Gilgamesh epic. In both epics the gods decide that the friend of the hero must perish for the hero, and the companion’s death is followed by a lament by the hero.51 Another striking parallel is to be seen in the scenes (Iliad 18.318-22 and Gilgamesh 8.2.17-19) in which Achilles and Gilgamesh, respectively, while mourning over their slain companions, are compared to lions grieving over lost cubs.52 Lions, we may remark, are not frequent in Greece, and similes are most likely the work of the author, since no one asked the author to introduce them. Burkert53 has pointed to the parallel between the opening lines of the Odyssey and the opening of Gilgamesh: in both instances the hero wanders far and wide and sees many things, while his name is not mentioned. Again, as Gresseth54 has noted, there is a parallel between Utnapishtim and the Odyssey’s Alcinous in that both have a transport service, consisting of a magical ship, to take stranded mortals back home. In both cases their respective islands can be approached only across difficult and dangerous waters. Furthermore, there is good reason to believe that roots of the portrayal of Circe in the Odyssey lie in Anatolia or Mesopotamia, especially in the Gilgamesh epic, where we find a goddess, Ishtar, who turns her lovers into animals, and in the Akkadian myth of Nergal and Ereshkigal.55 Likewise, as Crane has pointed out, Lesky’s suggestion that Atlas was descended from the HurroHittite figure Upelluri is attractive because by looking at Upelluri we may render intelligible the Homeric passage describing Atlas.56 Again, there is a striking similarity in language between the Odyssey:

49 Burkert 1992, 98. Burkert (1992, 98) notes the further parallel that Antu is the feminine form of Anu; hence they, as Mr. and Mrs. Heaven, correspond to Zeus and Dione (the feminine form of Zeus). 50 Lord 1960, 197. 51 Pritchard 1969, 86. 52 On lions cf. also the parallel between the chameleon (“lion of the earth”) and the “earth-lion” of Gilgamesh 11.296; cf. now Sjöberg 1984, 217-25. 53 Burkert 1992, 117. Withholding the name of the protagonist (or of the deity apostrophized) is standard in Sumerian poetry. 54 Gresseth 1975, 8). 55 Crane 1988, 61-85. 56 Crane 1988, 63.

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“Of such a kind is the insight of mortal men, as the day which the father of gods and men brings in” (18.136-37), and the Akkadian “I Will Praise the L-rd of Wisdom”: “Their insight changes like day and night. When starving they become corpses; when replete they vie with their gods” (1.43-45). Likewise, Mondi57 cites the parallel between the Homeric shield of Achilles: “And upon it he made the earth and the sky and the sea, the tireless sun and the waxing moon, and all the constellations that wreathe the sky” (Iliad 18.483-85), and Psalm 136:5-9: “to him who made the heavens,...the earth upon the waters,...the great lights,...the sun,...the moon and the stars.” Furthermore, the scenes on the shield of a city of peace in which the leaders are dispensing justice, repelling aggression, and harvesting, while the king stands by watching happily, correspond to the description in Psalm 72. Furthermore, Burkert58 has pointed to the beginning of the Enuma Elish, where we read that when above the heavens did not exist nor the earth below, Apsu was there, the fresh water ocean, “the first, the begetter,” and with him Tiamat, the saltwater sea, “she who bore them all.” Parallel to this is the Homeric passage (Iliad 14.201) where Hera declares that she wishes to go to Oceanus, “origin of the gods,” and Tethys, the “mother.” Tiamat is also written as tiamtu, “the sea,” as well as tawtu, of which Tethys is an exact transcription. Furthermore, Professor Gordon has pointed out the parallels between Ugaritic guilds and the Homeric δημιοεργο5 (Odyssey 17.381-86), masters of some craft, whether prophets, physicians, builders, or bards, and who are specifically mentioned as being “strangers,” that is, foreigners.59 Shortly after the passage in the Iliad, where Hera says that she wishes to go to Oceanus, we find the incident (Iliad 14.214-23) in which Hera asks Aphrodite for “love and desire” so as to bring together Oceanus and Tetys, who had been contemplating divorce. Thereupon Aphrodite gives Hera a κεστ7ς 8μ2ς, usually translated as an “embroidered girdle.” Brenk plausibly suggests that we have here a reference to a saltier, running across the chest, such as we find in descriptions of Ishtar in the Descent of Ishtar to the Underworld, and that the parallel is to the quarrel between Apsu and Tia57 58 59

Mondi 1990, 187. Burkert 1992, 92-93. Gordon 1956, 136-43.

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mat, who had been “separated a long time from bed and love.”60 Moreover, the visit to the underworld is a central motif in both Gilgamesh and Homer (Odyssey, Book 11). Still another striking parallel with the Odyssey is to be found in the Hittite tale of King Gurpanzah, who shoots many princes at a banquet with his magic bow and thus wins back his wife.61 8. Hesiod and the Near East The increasing recognition that Homer’s younger contemporary Hesiod was influenced by the Near East makes it more likely that Homer was similarly influenced.62 Indeed, in his already standard commentary on Hesiod’s Theogony, West goes so far as to conclude that Greece is part of Asia; Greek literature is a Near Eastern literature.63 Walcot64 has shown how similar the Babylonian epic Enuma Elish is to Hesiod’s Theogony in its portrayal of an all-powerful and just king of the gods. Walcot65 has also noted a close parallel between the Babylonian epic of Era and an autobiographical passage in Hesiod’s Theogony. Moreover, there is a striking parallel between Hesiod’s account of the Five Ages (Works and Days 106-201) and the extant portion of the Akkadian Shulgi’s Prophecy, probably dating from the end of the second millennium b.c.e., though pretending to be much earlier.66 Another parallel is with the Akkadian Atrahasis, which, like Hesiod, divides all history into five periods.67 In particular, there is a striking parallel between the succession myth, which recounts the emasculation of Ouranos by Kronos and the overthrow of Kronos by the storm-god Zeus (which is so fundamental to Hesiod’s work),

60

Brenk 1977, 17-20; Pope 1970, 178-96. Kirk 1962, 107; Hallo 1993a, 183-92. 62 See, for example, Walcot 1966, 1: “It is not an exaggeration to say that the publication of texts and translations of the Hittite Kumarbi and Ullikummi myths has revolutionized our knowledge of the Near Eastern background of Hesiod’s Theogony.” As Walcot notes, the fact that scholars increasingly accept the hypothesis of Near Eastern influence on Hesiod is largely due to the work of Hans G. Güterbock (1946). 63 West 1966, 31. 64 Walcot 1966, 32-49. 65 Walcot 1966, 51-53. 66 Koenen 1994, 20-21. 67 Koenen 1994, 20-21. 61

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and the version in the Phoenician-Hurrian-Hittite-Akkadian cosmological myths of Anu the sky god (whose very name corresponds to Ouranos, and who likewise is castrated), Kumarbi, and the stormgod. The parallel also exists in Herennius Philo’s translation of the Phoenician History of Sanchuniathon.68 In both the Near Eastern and Hesiodic versions the parents beget children who are confined within their mother; the father hates them, but the mother does not. The first god is castrated by the second, births result from the blood or seed of the castrated god, the father swallows the children because they are dangerous, and stones are substituted for the children.69 Moreover, Burkert70 has noted an independent tradition, namely the Near Eastern parallel in the Kumarbi myth, to the Titans, the Titanomachia, and the banishment of the Titans to Tartarus. The fact that parallels in Homer are to be found concentrated in the ∆ι7ς π2τη (“guile of Zeus”) (Iliad 14.200-79) has not been satisfactorily explained, unless we suggest that there is here direct borrowing. There is likewise a parallel between Hesiod (Works and Days 799), where we find the phrase “to eat one’s heart” and the Sumerian and Egyptian statement, “do not eat your heart,” that is, worry. Some would say, as they did with Professor Gordon’s “Homer and Bible” (1955) and Before the Bible (1962), that several of these parallels are commonplaces; but the total effect is what counts. There is now fairly general agreement that the Near East did influence Homer’s alleged younger contemporary, Hesiod, increasing the likelihood that it also influenced Homer.

68 See Güterbock 1948, 123-34; Walcot 1966; West 1966, 19-31; Pope 1955, 55-58; and Pope 1987, 219-30. The four generations of gods according to Philo of Byblos (Hypsistos, Ouranos, Kronos, Zeus) are confirmed as ancient by the Canaanite-Hurrian-Hittite myths of Kumarabi and Ullikummi, which are roughly contemporary with the Ugaritic myths. There is reason to think, as Pope suggests, that the Ugaritic myth knew of the tradition that the weather-god had displaced his predecessor El as king of the gods, just as Zeus did Kronos. The Ullikummi myth tells how Kumarbi attempted to regain the throne by using the diorite giant Ullikummi as his champion, just as Kronos used the Titans in a vain effort to displace Zeus. West (1988, 171) admits that in his youthful edition of the Theogony he argued that the succession myth was of Mycenaean origin, but that he later came to the view that it was influenced by the Near Eastern version. He concludes, moreover, that the theogonic allusions in Homer’s Iliad (1.396-406, 14.201-7, 15.187-93), while differing from Hesiod’s account, are equally oriental in origin. 69 Barnett 1945, 100-1. 70 Burkert 1984, 90.

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9. Conclusion In summary, I believe that whereas Professor Gordon’s conclusions concerning the relationship of Homer and the Near East were greeted by many wih skepticism and disbelief, the evidence, of which we have given a mere sample, keeps accumulating to vindicate him. Indeed, he was a full generation ahead of his time. To appreciate him adequately would require another scholar with the breadth of knowledge and versatility of a Professor Gordon. One is, indeed, reminded of Livy’s encomium of Cicero (120.50): Vir magnus, acer memorabilis, et in cuius laudes persequendas Cicerone laudatore opus fuerit. “A great man, keen, remarkable, and for expounding whose praises there would have been need of a Cicero to praise him.”71

71 I am grateful to William W. Hallo and Marvin H. Pope for a number of helpful suggestions in connection with this essay.

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the septuagint

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CHAPTER TWO

THE SEPTUAGINT: THE FIRST TRANSLATION OF THE TORAH AND ITS EFFECTS

1. Introduction: The Importance of Alexandria Surely one of the greatest reformers in Jewish history was a non-Jew, Alexander the Great, who, in his brief lifetime in the fourth century b.c.e., did much to spread the Greek language and Greek thought among the various peoples that he conquered. From a Jewish point of view, the most significant thing that he did was to establish cities, the most important being Alexandria in Egypt, where he invited Jews to settle (Josephus, Against Apion 2.35) and where, according to at least one papyrus fragment (Papyri Giessen University 5.46) dating from the first century c.e. the Jews numbered 180,000 in a total population of perhaps 500,000 to 600,000—30 to 36 per cent of the whole.1 Moreover, the Jews were either citizens or were granted isopolity (equal rights) with the Greeks (Josephus, Against Apion 2.38),2 though they were, in any case, to a considerable degree self-governed. Indeed, Josephus (Antiquities 14.188) says explicitly that Julius Caesar in the first century b.c.e. set up a bronze tablet for the Jews in Alexandria declaring that they were citizens, though, admittedly, there is good reason for disputing Josephus’ motives in making such a statement.3 Inasmuch as Alexandria within a century after its founding apparently displaced Athens as the cultural center of the Mediterranean world, the Jews, who until the fourth century b.c.e. had been largely farmers in Eretz Israel and Babylonia, rather suddenly found themselves in

1

See Delia 1988, 286-88. The matter is disputed. See Kasher 1985, 233-61. Gruen 2002, 73, convincingly calls attention to the statement in the London Papyrus 1912 (Corpus Papyrorum Judaicarum 153, lines 94-95) in which the Emperor Claudius advises the Jews of Alexandria not to aim at more rights than they have previously had, the implication being that they did not possess the rights of citizenship. 3 See Barclay 1996, 70. 2

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large numbers in the midst of the leading center of Greek culture. In effect, Alexandria was the New York City of its day. 2. The Purpose and importance of the Septuagint Our earliest papyri pertaining to the Jews of Egypt are in Aramaic, presumably reflecting the language that they brought with them from Eretz Israel; but within two generations, certainly by 270 b.c.e., the papyri are no longer in Aramaic but rather in Greek. It was approximately in that year, according to a number of sources—the Pseudepigraphic Letter of Aristeas; Philo, De Vita Mosis 2.25-44; Josephus, Antiquities 12.12-118; Talmud, Megillah 9a-b, Soferim 1.7—that Ptolemy II Philadelphia is said to have commissioned a translation on the island of Pharos off the coast of Alexandria by seventy or seventy-two (hence Septuagint) Jewish elders from Jerusalem of the Torah into Greek for the huge library that he was establishing in Alexandria. As Bickerman,4 who is not addicted to exaggeration, points out, this is the most important translation ever made; “it opened the Bible to the world and the world to the Word of G-d. Without this translation London and Rome would still be heathen, and the Scriptures would be no better known than the Egyptian Book of the Dead.” Whether Ptolemy’s purpose in doing this was to show favor to the Jews, whose backing he needed inasmuch as he and his Macedonian and Greek followers amounted to no more than perhaps ten per cent of the population of Egypt and hence he needed the support of the Jews as middlemen in administration and as soldiers in his army, there is certainly significance in the fact (Letter of Aristeas 308) that the translation, when completed, was presented first to the Jewish community and only thereafter (Letter of Aristeas 312) to King Ptolemy. Whether the translation was needed by the Jews to combat anti-Semitism, such as that embedded in the work by Manetho of about the same period, or to combat the Samaritan claims to the priority of their Torah, or perhaps to win converts to Judaism, certainly the translation was particularly useful, since apparently the great majority of the Jews in Egypt by that time had forgotten their Hebrew and Aramaic.

4

Bickerman 1988, 101.

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3. The Nature of the Translation In order to appreciate the effect of this translation we must realize that even if we are reading a document in the original there is a vast gap between the thought behind the language and the language itself. Just as no two people will play the score of a musical composition in exactly the same way, so also when we are translating a text, especially one which has so many different levels of meaning—and even containing a musical score (trop) as well. The Italians have a phrase: “traduttore traditore”—“a translator is a traitor.” The translator is always in a dilemma. If the translation is literal, one is avoiding the issue of translation. Rabbi Judah bar Ilai (Kiddushin 49a) says that he who translates a verse literally is a liar and he who adds thereto is a blasphemer. In our own day we may somewhat mitigate the problem by presenting alternate translations in parentheses, or we may explain the translation in a footnote. In any case, we may place the original on a page facing the translation so that one may compare the two. In antiquity this was not done; and if a person did not know the original word in a text his only contact with the text was with the word used by the translator. What is particularly important about the Septuagint is that, according to Philo (De Vita Mosis 2.37), who, himself being an Alexandrian, certainly knew the traditions about the translation, the translators “became, as it were possessed, and, under inspiration, wrote, not each several scribe something different, but the same word for word, as though dictated to each by an invisible prompter.” Philo (De Vita Mosis 2.39) compares the translation to a work of geometry, in which the sense does not admit of variety of expression. Indeed, he says (2.38), the Greek words corresponded literally with the original Hebrew.5 He even goes to the extent of speaking of the translators as prophets and priests of the mysteries, “whose sincerity and singleness of thought has enabled them to go hand in hand with the purest of spirits, the spirit of Moses” (De Vita Mosis 2.40). Indeed, the Talmud (Megillah 9a) presents the translators as divinely inspired. As a result, although Ptolemy placed 5 Philo (2.38) speaks of the original as being in Chaldean, that is, Aramaic. Indeed, Azariah dei Rossi, Me’or Enayim 1.9, explains the changes in Philo’s version of the Pentateuch by stating that he was translating not from the Hebrew but from a Chaldean (that is, Aramaic) version.

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the elders in separate rooms, G-d prompted each of them so that independently they emerged with the same translation, even making certain deliberate changes, some of which are noted there, in order to avoid ambiguities or contradictions or theological problems or seeming insults to the royal family. It is not surprising, in view of such a remarkable tradition, that the leaders of the Jewish community (Letter of Aristeas 310-11) declared that since the translation was “in every respect accurate, it is right that it should remain in its present form and that no revision of any sort take place.” When this was unanimously agreed to, a curse was pronounced upon any one who should add to or subtract from or modify the translation. Apparently, the Alexandrian Jews looked upon the translation as one is required to look upon the commandments in the Torah (Deuteronomy 4:2; cf. 12:32): “You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it.” Indeed, there is very good reason to believe that Philo, though writing treatise after treatise on the Torah, had little or no knowledge of the Hebrew original.6 In fact, so far as we can tell, the Torah was read in the synagogue in Greek, if we may judge from the Cairo scroll of the Septuagint of Deuteronomy (Papyrus Fouad 266), dating from the first century b.c.e., which indicates that the reading was according to a triennial cycle. One would have thought that at least the leaders of the Jewish community in Alexandria would have realized the limitations and even dangers of a translation and would have done their best to encourage the study of Hebrew in their schools. On the contrary, aside from the translator of the Apocryphal book of Ecclesiasticus, who rendered it into Greek in 132 b.c.e. and who, in his prologue admits that “things originally spoken in Hebrew have not the same force in them when they are translated into another tongue,” there is no indication in Philo or any other writer who might have eminated from Alexandria that the Jews lamented the loss of their ability to read the Bible in the original language. In fact, they celebrated the completion of the translation as an annual holiday (Philo, De Vita Mosis 2.41). Who were these translators, and what was their attitude toward their Jewish heritage and toward the Greek language and culture? 6 See Feldman 1993, 55. If Philo had known the Hebrew original one would have expected him to cite it, especially where it differed from the Septuagint. Moreover, despite his voluminous writings, he never cites the name of even a single rabbi of the time.

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According to the Letter of Aristeas (121), they were men of excellent education, thanks to their distinguished parentage, chosen by the high priest himself; and they had not only mastered Jewish literature but had also given considerable attention to the literature of the Greeks.7 According to the Letter of Aristeas (235, 296), at the banquet honoring the translators not only the king, but especially the philosophers who were present, expressed admiration for the translators. Indeed, the king is represented (Letter of Aristeas 321) as accounting it a privilege to be associated with such “cultured” men. 4. The Choice of Vocabulary by the Translators To be sure, the translators did, in some instances, make an effort to use distinctive vocabulary in referring to the Jewish religion as against paganism. In fact, whereas Scripture uses the same term, ‫מזבח‬, for a Jewish and pagan altar, the Septuagint uses the word βωμς with reference to heathen worship, whereas it uses the word θυσιαστριον, a rare term in Greek cults, in referring to the altar of G-d. Significantly, also, the Septuagint uses the word μάντις in referring to heathen soothsayers, whereas it reserves the word προφτης when speaking of Hebrew prophets. Again, whereas the usual Greek word for a votive offering is νάθημα, the Septuagint translated the Hebrew ‫ קרבן‬as δρον. Likewise, whereas in pagan religious terminology ε/φημία is used to indicate words of good omen, prayer, and praise, the Septuagint uses the word ε/λογία, which in Greek usually means simply “praise” and does not belong to cultic language, to translate the religious term ‫ברכה‬. Furthermore, the Greek word :λσος, which in pagan terminology means “sacred precinct,” is used in the Septuagint only with the reference to the pagan ‫אשׁרה‬, some kind of cult object made of wood. Moreover, when speaking of images of pagan deities the translators never use the common Greek terms :γαλμα or είκ3ν but rather use the word ε;δωλον (our English word “idol”), which really means “phantom.” Finally, one would have expected the translators to use the word μνος, “alone,” frequently in referring to a monotheistic religion;

7

Similarly, Philo (De Vita Mosis 2.32) asserts that the high priest, in selecting the translators, sought those “who had received an education in Greek as well as in their native lore.”

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yet, it is found only once (Deuteronomy 32:12). Presumably, the reason why this word is avoided is that it commonly occurs in Greek prayers referring to the superiority of the god in question to other deities. Likewise, although one would have expected the translators to use the word πρτος, “first,” in referring to G-d, they never use it, most likely because the pagan Greeks use it often in their hymns in referring to their gods; rather, they prefer εστερα, generates not pity but hysteria. To render the word ‫חסיד‬, as the Septuagint usually does, by the Greek word ?σιος, “religious,” “devout,” “holy,” loses the connotation of kindness and mercy and reduces religion to performing religous duties as such. In Hebrew the word ‫ נפשׁ‬has a wide range of meaning: soul, life,

11 12

See Hadas 1958; 1959, 72-82. Buber 1951.

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vital spirit, mind, self, person, living creature, anyone. It may even refer to a dead being. The Septuagint consistently translates the word by the Greek ψυχ, which, to be sure, also has a wide range of meaning: breath, life, spirit, ghost, soul, mind, reason, understanding. However, we must try to put ourselves in the mindset of readers in the Hellenistic period. Inasmuch as Socrates and Plato were the most popular and most influential of Greek philosophers during this period, when seeing the word ψυχ the reader would think of its contrast with the word σμα, especially as discussed in Plato’s Phaedo. According to Plato, the body is the prisonhouse of the soul, and death is to be welcomed as an opportunity for the soul to flit free from that confinement. In Jewish thought, however, the body and the soul form a harmonious unity; at the resurrection G-d will judge body and soul as one (see b. Sanhedrin 91a-b). When Philo (De Migratione Abrahami 26) uses the image of athletic combat to express the fight of the soul against the body and its passions, he is reflecting the Platonic view implicit in the Septuagint’s translation. Again, in rendering the word ‫ צדק‬by the Greek word δικαιοσ*νη, the translators were introducing a concept that relates, on the one hand, to social customs and institutions, as seen in the popular definition of δικαιοσ*νη as “rendering every man his due” (Plato, Republic 1.331E3-4) and, on the other hand, to an abstract epistemological principle, as Plato defines it in the Republic as a Form or Idea that is the harmony of wisdom, courage, and temperance. For the Greeks it is an abstract intellectual idea; for the Jews it is righteousness, the humanitarian virtue par excellence, benevolence that goes beyond one’s legal obligations. The translation of ‫ ברית‬in the Septuagint by διαθκη is similarly misleading. The Hebrew word, at least initially, does not mean “agreement” or “covenant” or “alliance.” Rather, it refers to the relationship of a master to his subject, through which he protects the latter unilaterally. The Greek word originally meant “promise” or “pledge.” It later came to mean “disposition of property by will” or “testament”; and, indeed, in the Talmud (e.g., b. Baba Meíia 152b) ‫ דיאתיקי‬refers to a disposition of property, especially by will and testament. Moreover, in rendering the Hebrew Tetragrammaton by the Greek word Κ*ριος (“L-rd”) the translators were employing a word that is common in the mystery religions, so popular among the Greeks. Again, in translating ‫“( עליון‬Highest”) with reference to G-d by the

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Greek word >ψιστος, “highest,” they were applying to G-d the epithet that was applied particularly to Zeus (Pindar, Nemean Odes 1.60, etc.). Moreover, the term is used of the deity Sabazios.13 And yet, we have even found an inscription (Corpus Inscriptionum Judaicarum 2.1443), dating from the second or first century b.c.e., recording that a synagogue in Egypt was dedicated to G-d the Most High (Aψιστος). Indeed, in the Letter of Aristeas (15-16), the alleged author, Aristeas, who is represented as a non-Jew but whom scholars generally regard as actually a Jew, is quoted as telling King Ptolemy Philadelphus that “the same G-d who has given them their law guides your kingdom also, as I have learned in my researches. G-d, the overseer and creator of all things, whom they worship, is He whom all men worship; and we, too, your Majesty, though we address Him differently, as Zeus and Dis; by these names men of old not unsuitably signified that He through whom all creatures receive life and come into being is the guide and lord of all.” Hence Zeus and G-d are equated as a single divine principle. In fact, the Septuagint goes further in rendering ‫( אלקים לא תקלל‬Exodus 22:27) as θεοBς ο/ κακολογσεις, “You shall not curse gods,” whereas the rabbinic tradition (Sanhedrin b. 66a) understands this to mean “You shall not curse judges.” Indeed, and very significantly, both Philo (De Specialibus Legibus 1.53) and Josephus (Antiquities 4.207, Against Apion 2.237), who adopt the Septuagint’s translation here, explain that the reason for this injunction is that the very word “G-d” is sacred. In contrast to this liberalism, we may note that the Torah itself (Deuteronomy 7:25) requires that Israelites burn the graven images of the Canaanites. 5. Alleged Platonic Influence in the Translation In particular, we may note the importance of the Septuagint’s translation of the admittedly obscure name of G-d as ‫“( אהיה אשׁר אהיה‬I am that I am,” Exodus 3:14) by γ3 εCμι D EΩν (“I am the One who is”). In Philo (De Somniis 1.230) this becomes τ7 Gν, “that which is,” thus converting the personal G-d of Judaism into the Platonic Absolute of philosophy.14 We may perhaps perceive Greek philosophical influence in the 13 14

See Feldman 1993, 74. See Smith 474.

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Septuagint’s translation of the opening words of the Torah. For ‫ בראשׁית‬the Septuagint has ν ρχH, which, to be sure, means “in the beginning.” But the word ρχ has a very special significance in the history of Greek philosophy, since Thales, the first Greek philosopher, and his successors were all concerned with the question “What is the ρχ?”, that is, what is the prime substance of which everything in the universe is a variation? His answer “water” (Diogenes Laertius, Lives of Eminent Philosophers 1.27) is the beginning of a whole series of speculations on this subject. It is possible that the danger in such speculation may be alluded to in the mysterious Talmudic passage (\agigah b. 14b) about the four great sages who entered ‫( פרדס‬Paradise), one of whom, Rabbi Akiba, the greatest of all, said to the others, “When you arrive at the stones of pure marble [that is, giving the illusion of water], do not say ‘Water, water.’” One of these sages was Elisha ben Abuyah, who later became an apostate, of whom it is said (\agigah b. 15b) that “Greek song did not cease from his mouth,” presumably an allusion to the influence the Greek culture, including philosophy, had upon him. In this connection, we may note that Aquila, in his translation of the Bible, avoided the translation of ‫ בראשׁית‬as ρχ and instead rendered it as κεφαλαίI, that is, “in essence,” “in sum,” deriving ‫ בראשׁית‬from ‫ראשׁ‬, “head.” Moreover, we may note that the Septuagint renders ‫ ברא‬with ποίησεν, which implies creatio ex aliquo. Aquila, Symmachus, and Theodotion, in their versions, render it as =κτισεν, implying creatio ex nihilo, using a word which is employed with reference to founding a city, planting a grove, establishing a worship, or inventing anew. Josephus (Antiquities 1.27), in his account of creation, likewise uses =κτισεν. To be sure, Josephus elsewhere (Against Apion 2.121) refers to the G-d who made heaven and earth and uses the verb ποισαντα, but there, significantly he is citing the statement of Apion, who, he says, asserts that the Jews swear by the G-d who made (ποισαντα) heaven and earth and sea not to show goodwill to any foreigner. We may surmise that the Greek reader of the Septuagint would perceive Platonic influence in the translation of ‫( תהו ובהו‬Genesis 1:2, “without form and void”) as ρατος καί κατασκε*αστος (“unseen and unformed”), the implication being that prior to the creation of the visible world was the creation of the invisible world, a key Platonic doctrine. Indeed, Philo (De Opificio Mundi 29, 36-37) thus explains the so-called two accounts of creation in the opening chapters of Genesis.

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There may also be a Platonic allusion in the translation of ‫גחנך‬ (“your belly,” Genesis 3:14) by τJ στθει σου καK τH κοιλίL (“upon your chest and belly”) with reference to the curse placed upon the serpent; the reference may be, though admittedly problematic, to the Platonic division of the human faculties into the rational, spirited, and appetitive, assigned respectively to the head, chest, and abdomen. The heart of Platonism is the method of dialectic. The key statement of Socrates is D νεξ%ταστος βίος ο/ βιωτ7ς νθρ3πI (Plato, Apology 38A5), “the unexamined life is not worth living for a human being.” This examination (or cross-examination or criticism) that Plato elsewhere (e.g., Phaedrus 276A) refers to as =λεγχος, requires a readiness to question all facile assumptions. It is, therefore, particularly significant that the Septuagint translates ‫הוכח תוכיח את עמיתך‬ (Leviticus 19:17), “You shall surely rebuke your neighbor”) as λεγμJ λ%γξεις τ7ν πλησίον σου (“You shall cross-examine your neighbor with cross-examination”). Perhaps the most important consequence of the elevation of the Septuagint is that it was regarded by the most influential Jewish thinkers of Alexandria, Aristobulus (second century b.c.e.) and Philo (ca. 20 b.c.e.-40 c.e.) as being consonant with Plato. The former (cited by Eusebius, Praeparatio Evangelica 13.12.1) asserts that it is clear that Plato followed the tradition of the law that we use, and “he is conspicuous for having worked through each of the details contained in it.” Realizing that the question might arise as to how Plato could have known the Torah before the Septuagint, he presents the thesis (ibid.) that there had been translations even before the Septuagint and, in fact, even before the Persian conquest (525 b.c.e.),15 As for Philo, who declares (De Mutatione Nominum 223) that he philosophizes “according to Moses,” he describes Plato as “most sacred” (Quod Omnis Probus Liber Sit 13), and he never openly disgrees with him. Indeed, it became proverbial that “either Plato philonizes or Philo platonizes” (Jerome, De Viris Illustribus 11). Plato’s alleged indebtedness to the Greek Bible likewise became proverbial (e.g., Numenius of Apamea cited by Clement of Alexandria, Stromata 1.22.150.4): “What is Plato but Moses speaking in Attic Greek?” 15 A papyrus from Oxyrhynchus (41.2944) suggests that at least some biblical themes were known to the Greeks even before the death of Plato. See Modrzejewski 1995, 66. However, we have not a single fragment of any translation before the Septuagint.

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6. The Influence of the Septuagint How much of an influence did the Septuagint, whether directly or through Philo, have upon the Greek-speaking Jews of Alexandria and elsewhere? We may sense the influence of the Septuagint, as reconciled with Plato, upon Philo’s nephew, Tiberius Julius Alexander, who, as a young man, appears in one of Philo’s philosophical treatise, De Providentia (fragments 1 and 2), and asks why, if G-d created the world, just four elements were taken and how one can maintain the existence of Providence when there is so much injustice in the world. Apparently, the uncle’s answers proved unsatisfactory, inasmuch as we find that the nephew, who eventually reached the high offices of procurator of Judaea (Josephus, Antiquities 20.100-103), governor of the most important province of the Roman Empire, Egypt (Josephus, Jewish War 2.309), and second in command to Titus at the Roman siege of Jerusalem (Jewish War 5.45-46, 510; 6.237-42), “did not remain faithful to his ancestral customs,” as Josephus (Antiquities 20.100) puts it. In fact, Philo’s popularity with the early Christian Church is due, in part at least, to the fact that he was regarded as the interpreter par excellence of the allegorical interpretation of the Septuagint version.16 Philo himself (De Migratione Abrahami 89-93) castigates those who treat the literal interpretation of the laws with easy-going neglect and instead interpret them allegorically. Philo’s reply is that one should give attention to both the literal and allegorical; but if there were some Jews who were excessive allegorists it is not because they found this allegorizing built into the Septuagint version. In any case, it would seem remarkable that Paul, who traveled to a number of cities in the Mediterranean world where Jews were concentrated, does not appear to have visited by far the largest Jewish community in the Diaspora, Alexandria, where it would seem that Philo, with his concept of the Logos as the first-born son of G-d (De Agricultura 51), the man of G-d (De Confusione Linguarum 41), and a second G-d (Quaestiones in Genesin 2.62), should have been particularly appealing to Paul. Why did he not go to Alexandria, the greatest prize of all from the point of view of the sheer number of Jews? One guesses that a, perhaps the, reason may have been that the Jewish community

16

See Runia 1993.

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of Alexandria was well organized as a πολίτευμα (Letter of Aristeas 310), with magistrates (:ρχοντες) who formed a senate (γερουσία) of elders (πρεσβται) (Philo, In Flaccum 73-85), headed by an ethnarch (θνάρχης), who, at least in the time of Strabo, who lived in the latter half of the first century b.c.e. and at the beginning of the first century c.e., and who visited Alexandria, was very powerful, if we may judge from Strabo’s comment (ap. Josephus, Antiquities 14.117) that the ethnarch “governs the people and adjudicates suits and supervises contracts and ordinances, just as if he were the head of a sovereign state.” Such an independent community and under such strong leadership may well have been able to exclude undesirable visitors. A letter of Clement of Alexandria discovered by Morton Smith17 records a tradition that Mark arrived in Alexandria from Rome and composed his Gospel there. The one first-century Jew from Alexandria who, we hear in the New Testament (Acts 18:24-19:7), was converted to Christianity and who sought to convert others is Apollos, who, significantly enough, apparently did none of his eloquent missionary activity in his native Alexandria (though Codex D of Acts 18:25 states that he was “instructed in his own country in the word of the L-rd”) but rather traveled to Ephesus and Corinth in Greece. One may guess that the powerful leadership of the Alexandrian Jewish community prevented him from preaching what was to them a heresy, and hence he left for communities that were not under such strong leadership. According to Acts 18:25, though he spoke and taught accurately the traditions concerning Jesus, he knew only the baptism of John. According to Acts 18:26, Priscilla and Aquila had to correct his theological views. Paul (Acts 19:1, 1 Corinthians 1:12) apparently had contact with Apollos and with his teaching, but there is no indication in these passages that Apollos had been influenced by Philo’s allegorical interpretation of the Bible. Though the argumentum ex silentio is inconclusive, the fact that the Church Fathers during the first three centuries,including Clement of Alexandria, do not mention conversion of Jews to Christianity in Alexandria at all would seem significant, especially in view of the fact that the city of Alexandria had by far the largest Jewish community in the world at that time. The first definite indication of direct influence of Philo on Chris-

17

Smith 1973, 446-52.

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tian writers is to be found in Clement of Alexandria (ca. 160-215), who was born a century after the death of Philo. One may guess, though there is no direct evidence anywhere, that just as the revolt of Bar Kochba (132-135) was a watershed in the relations of Jews and Christians in Palestine, since Christians could not accept Bar Kochba as the Messiah, so the revolt of Lukuas-Andreas (115-117) a few years earlier may have marked a watershed in relations between Jews and Christians in Egypt, since the Christians presumably could not accept the king (called Lukuas in Eusebius, Historia Ecclesiastica 4.2.4; called Andreas in Cassius Dio 68.32) proclaimed by the Jewish rebels in Cyrene, Egypt, and Cyprus, who gives the appearance of a messianic figure and who at first was enormously successful. Ancient Alexandria apparently had many synagogues (Philo, Legatio at Gaium 132), including one that was so large and so beautiful that the Talmud (Sukkah b. 51b) quotes Rabbi Judah as saying that one who has not seen it has never seen the glory of Israel. But Alexandria apparently had no yeshivot. Nevertheless, intermarriage was not a major problem; when Philo (De Specialibus Legibus 3.29) does mention it, he speaks of its consequences not in his own day but at some vague time in the future. Presumably, the sheer number of Jews and their concentration in certain areas, together with the virulent anti-Semitism that pervaded Egypt at this time, made such unions less likely.18 Apostasy was also apparently infrequent.19 It is significant that when non-Jewish writers, though, to be sure, the number of such writers is not great, mention Jews and their observances they speak of the Jews as if all Jews observe the practices demanded by their religion; and they never refer to Jews who are negligent in their observance of the Sabbath or dietary laws or any other aspect of Jewish observance. Apparently, the more common method of expressing deviation from the Jewish tradition was probably simply non-observance.20 We may find a clue in Philo’s comment (De Specialibus Legibus 1.186) that the fast of the Day of Atonement is carefully observed not only by those

18 Among the by now many thousands of papyri that we have there is only one unambiguous mention, dating from the second century b.c.e., of an intermarriage beween a Jew and a non-Jew (Berlin Papyrus no. 11641 [unpublished]). See now Barclay 1996, especially 107-8. 19 See Feldman 1993, 79-83; Modrzejewski 1995, 56-61; and Barclay 1996, 104-6. 20 See Barclay 1996, 108-12.

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who are zealous for piety but also by those who never act religiously in the rest of their life. The Rabbis themselves apparently had second thoughts about the Septuagint translation, especially after it became the official version of the Christian Church, so that a Church Father, such as Justin Martyr (Dialogue with Trypho), regarded it as more authentic than even the Hebrew original. Whereas in Megillah b. 9a, the Rabbis speak of the translators as being divinely inspired, in Soferim 1:7 they compare the day when the translation was completed to the day when the Golden Calf was built. No one can doubt the beauty of the Greek language and of much of Greek literature. Indeed, this would seem to be acknowledged in the Torah itself (Genesis 9:27): “May G-d enlarge Japheth” (the ancestor of the Greeks), a passage quoted by the Talmud (Megillah b. 9b) shortly after relating the story of the translation. But the blessing is “may he [Japheth] dwell in the tents of Shem,” rather than the reverse. The main question is: which is primary, the Hebrew or the Greek Philo. Philo read Plato in the original but the Torah in Greek. Maimonides read Aristotle in translation but the Torah in the original. And yet, the changes from the original Hebrew in the Septuagint, whether or not they are Platonizing, and the influence, potential or actual, of the writings of the philosopher Philo were of little effect, so far as assimilation, let alone intermarriage, is concerned. If losses to the Alexandrian Jewish community occurred, it was due to riots such as occurred in the year 66 (Josephus, War 2.497), when the renegade Jewish governor Tiberius Julius Alexander let loose the Roman soldiers upon the Alexandrian Jews and killed 50,000 of them; and when the Jews two generations later sought independence under a messianic-like leader, Lukuas-Andreas (115-117 c.e.). In the latter case, the fact that the Jews, at the beginning of thel revolt, were able to kill 220,000 of their opponents in Cyrene and 240,000 on the island of Cyprus (Cassius Dio 68.32.1-3) would appear to indicate that when the revolt was finally suppressed two years later the losses suffered by the Jews must have been tremendous. If there were some Jews, such as Dositheos the son of Drimylos (3 Maccabees 1:3, Corpus Papyrorum Judaicarum 127) in the third century b.c.e.,21 who was fully integrated into the political and religious affairs of state

21

See Modrzejewski 1995, 56-61.

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and who abandoned his ancestral beliefs, such Jews were apparently few in number and there is no indication that they were led to their apostasy by the changes made in the Septuagint. The case of Philo’s nephew Tiberius Julius Alexander is, like that of Dositheos, apparently exceptional. As governor of Egypt he must have participated in pagan cults; but Josephus (Antiquities 20. 100) says only that he did not abide by the practices of his people. Apparently, there were Jews who sought to be integrated culturally with non-Jews; and we may guess that in his famous letter (Corpus Papyrorum Judaicarum 153) the Emperor Claudius was addressing himself to such Jews, since he orders Jews not to aim at the acquisition of new rights but to enjoy quietly “in a city not their own” all the good things it could give them, but that they should not participate in gymnastic contests, a goal which some them apparently sought and that would have given them social status. The fact that he specifically prohibited them to send two embassies to Rome would apparently indicate that the community itself was split, presumably on political matters and on the question of cultural integration with the non-Jewish community. If, however, there was little assimilation and intermarriage, perhaps the main reason was that that there was a great deal of anti-Jewish feeling; and this apparently was to a great degree responsible for continued strength, in numbers at least, of the Jewish community of Alexandria.

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hellenism in the land of israel

71

CHAPTER THREE

HOW MUCH HELLENISM IN THE LAND OF ISRAEL? Review of: John J. Collins and Gregory E. Sterling, eds., Hellenism in the Land of Israel (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 2001). Pp. ix + 343.

Occasionally, perhaps once in a century, a work appears that becomes the point of departure for all further works in that field. There can be little doubt that in the field of the response of Judaism to Hellenization that work is the monumental two-volume study by Martin Hengel, Judentum und Hellenismus: Studien zu ihrer Begegnung unter besonderer Berücksichtigung Palästinas bis zur Mitte des 2 Jh.s v. Chr. (Tübingen: Mohr, 1969; second revised and enlarged edition, 1973), English translation by John Bowden: Judaism and Hellenism: Studies in Their Encounter in Palestine during the Early Hellenistic Period, 2 vols. (London: SCM Press; Philadelphia: Fortress, 1974). An enormous discussion, of which this volume is the latest and most significant, has centered around Hengel’s thesis1 that “from about the middle of the third century b.c.e. all Judaism (i.e. Palestinian, as well as Diaspora) must really be designated ‘Hellenistic Judaism’ in the strict sense.” It is important to bear in mind, as Fergus Millar has noted,2 that “his thesis is that of a Christian theologian: that the early Hellenistic period saw a significant process of mutual assimilation and comprehension between Judaism and Paganism, which was brought to a halt by the nationalistic reaction under the Maccabees, and was only resumed and brought to fruition in the preaching of Christianity to the Gentiles.” Like Erwin Goodenough, who sought to find the bridge in art,3 Hengel seeks to understand the triumph of Christianity as due to the fact that its way had been paved by Hellenistic Judaism. But we may well ask why, if the process of Hellenization had begun so early, it took so long for Christianity to prevail. 1 2 3

Hengel 1974, 1:104. Millar 1978, 1. Goodenough 1953-68.

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The most important essay in this volume is that by Hengel himself,4 which begins with the statement, “May I make a small addition to the title of my article: ‘Judaism and Hellenism Revisited’—yes, but not revised” [italics his]. In this article Hengel remains convinced that his thesis has not only been confirmed but indeed strengthened “by new archaeological discoveries, excavations, inscriptions, coins, and also by new texts, for example from Qumran. Almost all the essays in this volume agree with Hengel. Significantly, however, Hengel, neither here nor elsewhere, has attempted systematically to reply to, let alone refute, the questions and objections raised by a number of scholars.5 To show the influence of Hellenism on the Jews of Palestine even prior to Alexander Hengel6 points to the story, found in Clearchus of Soli and cited by Josephus (Ap. 1.179-83), of Aristotle’s meeting before Alexander in Asia Minor (ca. 347-345 b.c.e.) with a Jew who “not only spoke Greek but had the soul of a Greek.” But what does this passage tell us about the Hellenization of the Jews of Palestine? It speaks rather about the Hellenization of one Jew. Moreover, while it is true that this Jew came originally from Coele-Syria, he became Hellenized because, as Bar-Kochva has shown in his interpretation of this passage,7 he was a guest (πιξενο*μενος, “was entertained as a guest,” “had hospitable relations,” “was intimate”) [over time] with many [Greeks] and because he would go down from the high places [in Asia Minor] to the coastal places. It is the coast of Asia Minor that was the cradle of Greek civilization, and it is there that he presumably came into contact with Greek intellectuals. Moreover, there is good reason to think that the whole incident is imaginary, since, according to Aristotle in this anecdote, the Jews are descendants of the Indian philosophers called Kalanoi, whereas we know of no such Indian group. And even if the incident really occurred, Aristotle speaks of the Jews as descended from Indian philosophers; he does not say that the Jews generally are Hellenized as this one Jew was. In fact, he seems to be surprised that the Jew knew Greek

4

Hengel 2001, 6-37. In particular, we may note Momigliano 1970, 149-53; Herr 1977-78, 20-27; Millar 1978, 1-21; Stern 1991, 3-21; Feldman 1977, 371-82; idem 1986, 83-111; idem 1992, 3-44. 6 Hengel 2001, 11. 7 Bar-Kochva 1997, 435-81, and 1999, 241-50. 5

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and was so deeply imbued with Greek culture. Hengel8 finds in the work of the Chronicler clear allusions to Hellenistic warfare, Greek money and large-estate economy; but these are external accouterments rather than the key to Hellenization, which must be cultural and in the realm of ideas and attitude toward life. When, indeed, Hengel asserts that the clue to the Chronicler’s history is the idea of divine retribution and personal responsibility, we must point out that this is hardly original with the Chronicler, since divine retribution is spelled out in the Pentateuch, particularly in the blessings for fulfilling the commandments (Deut. 28:1-14) and the curses for failing to fulfill them (Deut. 28:15-69); and personal responsibility is spelled out in Deut. 24:16: “The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, nor shall the children be put to death for the fathers; every man shall be put to death for his own sin.” We find very similar language in Jer. 31:29: “Every man will die for his own sin, and the man who eats the sour grapes, his own teeth will be set on edge” and very similarly and at length in Ezek. 18. Hengel9 insists that the theme of Judaism and Hellenism has a long history even before Alexander and cites the fact that the prophets remember that the Philistines came from Crete and the western islands. But the important question is what Greek ideas and attitudes the Philistines brought to Palestine and which of these ideas and attitudes did the Israelites borrow from them. If the Philistines came from Crete did they bring the Cretan Linear A method of writing with them? Thus far no Linear A tablets have been found in Palestine. And if they did bring Linear A tablets the question would remain, even when those tablets will be deciphered, what cultural content those tablets contained. Hengel10 notes that the concept of conversion to Judaism and, in fact, the very neologism προσλυτος, are not to be found in pagan literature. Judaism, he says, with its universal claim of religious truth, became attractive to the Greeks because it had more affinity to the teaching in the philosophical schools than to the local pagan cults. But this is the very reverse of Greek influence upon the Jews; it is

8

Hengel 2001, 11. Hengel 2001, 12. 10 Hengel 2001, 13. 9

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the influence, and indeed, the profound influence, of Judaism upon the Greeks. And, in any case, we have no statement of anyone of the masses11 who were converted to Judaism that he was influenced by that person’s perception of an affinity between Judaism and the teaching of the philosophical schools. Hengel12 notes that Nicholaus of Damascus, the most learned scholar of his time and a Peripatetic philosopher, philosophized with King Herod the Great during a sea trip to Rome.13 But even if this trip is not a fiction, as some have believed,14 this will tell us about the Greek influence upon Herod; it does not tell us about the Greek influence upon the masses of the Jews. Hengel15 cites the astonishing degree of Greek influence seen in recently published Samaritan bullae and coins which antedate Alexander. But this will tell us about the Hellenizing of the Samaritan rulers; it does not tell us about the attitude toward the Greek language, let alone toward Greek thought, of the masses of the Samaritans. As for the influence of the anonymous Pseudo-Eupolemus upon Jews,16 it does seem highly likely that he was a Samaritan,17 inasmuch as he speaks of Abraham as having been received as a guest at “the temple Argarizin, which is interpreted ‘mountain of the Most High,” a clear complimentary reference to the sacred mountain of the Samaritans.18 Moreover, the fact that he cited, without challenge, the Greek belief identifying Enoch, who is depicted as so pious in the Bible (Gen. 5:21-22), with the Greek mythical Atlas, makes it unlikely that he would influence the Jews. Moreover, in view of the strongly negative attitude of the Jews toward the Samaritans,19 it seems hardly likely that such Hellenization would have had an influence upon the Jews; in fact, it is more likely that the Jews would have been particularly revolted by such Hellenization. Again, if, indeed, Theodotus,20 author 11 On the tremendous success of proselytism by Jews in the Hellenistic and early Roman periods see Feldman 1993, 288-341. 12 Hengel 2001, 14. 13 Nicholaus of Damascus, De Vita Sua, ap. Constantinus Porphyrogenitus, Excerpta de Virtutibus et Vitiis, 1, cited by Stern 1974, 1:248-49. 14 See Stern 1974, 1:250. 15 Hengel 2001, 14. 16 Hengel 2001, 15. 17 Holladay 1983, 1:158-59. 18 Ap. Eus., Pr. Ev. 9.17.5. 19 See Anderson 1992, 941-43. 20 See Hengel 2001, 15.

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of a poem in Greek, with its central focus on Shechem, which he refers to as a sacred city,21 and with its reference to Sikimius as the son of the mythical Hermes,22 was, as most scholars believe,23 a Samaritan, it would seem unlikely that such a writer would have influenced the Jews. Hengel24 vigorously reiterates his view, derived from Bickerman,25 that Hellenistic reform in Jerusalem from 175 to 164 b.c.e. was not the idea of Antiochus Epiphanes but that it was the high priestly reformers Jason and Menelaus who inspired Antiochus. He argues that what happened under Antiochus was both an exception to an undeniable general pattern and a break with the established relations betweem the Seleucid kings, notably Antiochus III, and the Jews of Judea, and hence that the motivation for suppression of Judaism must have come from within the Jewish ranks. Collins26 is the one author in this volume who challenges Hengel on this point and convincingly notes27 that all our primary sources (1 and 2 Macc., Dan., as well as pagan sources) ascribe primary responsibility to Antiochus. Moreover, he sought not merely to reform Jewish observance but to suppress it. Hengel28 draws attention to a whole series of significant Greek philosophers and other learned men in the second and first centuries b.c.e. in Phoenician coastal cities as well as in Gadara in Transjordan and concludes that Jewish aristocrats must have been aware of their ideas. Hence, he concludes, it would be extremely improbable if the reformers Jason and Menelaus could not have grounded their criticism of the law in the intellectual sphere and possibly even have put it into writing. The problem, however, is that, according to our major sources of the revolt, 1 and 2 Macc. and Jos., the motives of Jason and Menelaus were not intellectual but desire for power and wealth. Cities such as Gadara, to be sure, had a significant tradition of Greek education, but, as Collins29 notes, there is no indication

21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29

Ap. Eus., Pr. Ev. 9.22.1. Ap. Eus., Pr. Ev. 9.22.1. See Holladay 1989, 2:58-60, 84-85, n. 13. Hengel 2001, 16-22. Bickerman 1937. Collins 2001, 38-61. Collins 2001, 51. Hengel 1974, 1:299. Collins 2001, 44.

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that there was any such tradition in Jerusalem prior to 175 b.c.e. Momigliano30 has raised a crucial point when he says that Hengel talks about the degree of Hellenization of third-century Judaism without asking himself in a preliminary way what we know about that Judaism. Hence, he says, Hengel’s book really deals with the Hellenization of an unknown entity. The fact is that the Jewish texts that we can safely date between 300 and 180 b.c.e. are insufficient to give us a clear picture of contemporary daily life in Judea. However, to judge from the observations of Hecataeus of Abdera (ap. Diod. 40.3.5-6), the Jews as a community are structured in a fundamentally non-Greek fashion and show utter obedience to the high priest when he expounds the commandments to them. As Millar31 has remarked, it is precisely the nature of the start of the Hellenizing movement after 175 b.c.e., which was instituted by elements within the Jewish community, that shows how un-Greek Jerusalem had remained up to that point and how novel were the Hellenistic ways of life that were introduced. There had been no previous gymnasium in Jerusalem, and even the wearing of the Greek broad-brimmed felt hat (π%τασος) was regarded as an outrageous novelty (2 Macc. 4:7-14). To judge on the basis of alleged Hellenistic influence on Jewish literary works of a few writers and to conclude from this that Judaism had become Hellenistic in its views and attitudes is to ignore the private views and practices of the Jewish masses. In minimizing the role of Antiochus Epiphanes and in stressing the role played by the Jewish Hellenizers, Hengel32 has built a case based on a few bits of evidence, mostly from Josephus, who, being a proud priest and a descendant of the Hasmoneans (Life 2), had a personal stake in discrediting the usurpers Jason and Menelaus and who, through his own personal career in going over to the Romans and throughout his Antiquities, is eager to establish the importance of being obedient to the powers that be.33 It is to ignore the fact that the prohibition of Jewish observances was enforced by Antiochus’ orders and by his employees. That the alleged Hellenization was not deep-seated would seem to be indicated by the fact that Antiochus Epiphanes’ successor, Antiochus V, quickly and suddenly agreed to allow the Jews to live in accordance with their 30 31 32 33

Momigliano 1970, 151. Millar 1978, 9. See Millar 1978, 20. See Feldman 1998b, 74-90.

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ancestral laws (Jos., Ant. 12.382). If, indeed, the Hellenization had started so much earlier and was so deep-seated, how can we explain, as Hengel34 admits, the fact that political-religious identity of the Jews became stronger and that idol-worship, certainly an integral element in Hellenization under Antiochus Epiphanes, ceased to be a danger. The most prominent institution of Hellenization in the Greek world was the gymnasium; yet, we do not hear of any gymnasium in Jerusalem or anywhere else in Judea after the abortive attempts of the Hellenizing high priests at the time of Antiochus Epiphanes. Indeed, as Collins35 insists, the most striking thing about the Jewish encounter with Hellenism, both in the Diaspora and in Palestine, was the persistence of Jewish separatism in matters of worship and cult. Bickerman36 had seen an analogy between the reformers such as Abraham Geiger in the first half of the nineteenth century in Germany, who had been influenced by the non-Jewish milieu of the Enlightenment in which they found themselves and who had been impressed by Protestant critical biblical scholarship; but, we may respond, the problem with this analogy is that there is no indication in 1 and 2 Macc. that Jason and Menelaus were intellectuals who had been influenced by any Greek philosophical or theological or other ideas, whereas the Jewish religious reformers of the nineteenth century were serious religious thinkers who were deeply influenced by earlier and contemporary philosophical currents. Hengel37 says that it can hardly be doubted that the Hellenistic reformers had their own religious “ideology.” But what was that ideology? To illustrate this ideology he38 cites the views of Aristobulus, who compares the universal G-d of Israel with the religious opinions of the Greek philosophers. But Aristobulus was not a Palestinian. Hengel says that perhaps he was already influenced by the negative experiences in Jerusalem, but there is no evidence that Aristobulus had any contact with Palestinian Jews. He cites the equation of G-d and Zeus in the Letter of Aristeas, but this work is clearly not Palestinian but Alexan-

34 35 36 37 38

Hengel 2001, 24. Collins 2001, 55. Bickerman 1979, 87-88. Hengel 2001, 20. Hengel 2001, 21.

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drian. Collins39 notes that some have argued that this identification represents the view of a non-Jew in the Letter of Aristeas, but Collins argues that we have an almost identical formulation in Aristobulus (ap. Eus., Pr. Ev. 13.12). However, we must note that Aristobulus was not a Palestinian. Hengel says that it is unthinkable that a considerable part, even a majority, of the Jewish upper class did not engage in religious reflection, but where is the evidence for this statement? How can he generalize about the Jewish upper class? How big was this upper class? Hengel40 dismisses the argument that we have no texts about the religious self-consciousness of the radical Hellenists in Jerusalem, since, he says, the defeated party in ancient Judaism has seldom left its own testimonies. But we do know a good deal about the views of the Sadducees, even though they were the defeated party; and Josephus has recorded at some length the views of the revolutionaries against Rome even though he had utter disdain for them. Similarly, one would expect that the views of the opponents of the maintream Judaism in the Hellenistic period would be recorded in order that they might be thoroughly refuted or, at the very least, ridiculed. Hengel41 speaks of the necessity of the Hasmonean kings to be Hellenized, since they could exist politically as states only if they had “an army trained and equipped in the Greek manner, with Greek fortress- and palace-building, with an efficacious economy and taxcollecting in Greek style and the use of Greek language at least in all foreign affairs with other city-states and kingdoms.” But all these are external matters; there is no necessary contradiction, for example, between adopting Greek methods of warfare and maintaining distinctive Jewish religious beliefs and attitudes in day-to-day living. The fact that the Hasmonean kings themselves adopted Greek attitudes, so that Aristoblus I, notably, came to be known as Φιλ%λλην (Ant. 13.318), did not extend to the masses. The fact that the Hasmonean kings preferred foreign, that is Greek, bodyguards was, it would seem, due to their distrust of the Jewish masses for such sensitive positions. Thus Josephus, who certainly knew what Hellenism was, reports (Ant. 15.267) that more than a century after the Antiochus’

39 40 41

Collins 2001, 40. Hengel 2001, 22. Hengel 2001, 22.

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attempt at Hellenizing the Jews Herod corrupted the ancient way of life, which had hitherto been inviolable, so that those things were neglected that had formerly induced piety in the masses. Hengel42 suggests that the Hasmoneans for economic reasons sought to attract pilgrims and visitors and that the growing influx of pilgrims from Greek-speaking towns in Palestine and from the Diaspora, especially at the time of the three pilgrimage festivals each year, brought with them not only the Greek language but also Greek ways. But one guesses that because of difficulties and danger in traveling the number of Jews from the Diaspora was not great; thus, so far as we know, Philo (Prov. 2.64), who was very wealthy, came only once.43 Hengel’s survey of Jewish literature written in Greek in the Maccabean era yields only three authors—Jason of Cyrene, Eupolemus, and Pseudo-Eupolemus. But, as Collins44 notes, Jason of Cyrene was not a Palestinian, since he came from Cyrenaica. We have already noted that Pseudo-Eupolemus was most probably a Samaritan and hence would have been viewed with abhorrence by the great majority of Jews. Collins45 disagrees with the view that Jews were antagonistic to Hellenistic culture and cites Philo and the author of the Wisdom of Solomon as writers who are vehement in their denunciations of idolatry while at the same time embracing Greek philosophy. But, we must remark, they are not Palestinians, and the title of this book is Hellenism in the Land of Israel. Collins notes that synagogues were dedicated to pagan Ptolemaic kings; but, in all probability, this was because the Jews were particularly eager to proclaim their loyalty, especially since they could not share in the state religion. In any case: this is not Palestinian. He46 remarks that the author of 4 Maccabees wrote good Greek. But again this is not Palestinian. Gruen,47 convinced of Hengel’s thesis, cites48 the Hellenization 42

Hengel 2001, 25. Hengel 1974, 25, says that the annual temple tax of a half shekel was a custom probably introduced by the Hasmoneans as a universal bond to link up the whole Diaspora with the Temple in Jerusalem. However, in 2 Chronicles 24:5, we read that King Joash told the priests and the Levites to collect from all Israelites every year. 44 Collins 2001, 45. 45 Collins 2001, 41. 46 Hengel 2001, 41-42. 47 Gruen 2001, 62-93. 48 Gruen 2001, 71-74. 43

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in the writings of Aristobulus and Artapanus, but neither of these is a Palestinian. He also cites49 the alleged kinship of the Jews and the Spartans (1 Macc. 12:23), but, we may comment, this is not Hellenization of Palestinian Jews but an attempt at Judaization of the Spartans. As for Gruen’s citation50 of Cleodemus-Malchus, who mentions that Heracles married a granddaughter of Abraham, there is a real question as to whether he was a Jew or Samaritan or pagan. We may suggest that if the title of his work was Concerning Jews, a Jew would most probably not have given such a title. Moreover, if the existing fragment (Jos., Ant. 1.239-41) comes from his Concerning Libya,51 it was most probably not composed by a Palestinian Jew. Gruen52 mentions Tacitus’ speculations concerning the origin of the Jews, one of which derives them from Crete, and another of which derives them from the Solymoi of Asia Minor. But these are Tacitus’ theories; there is no indication that Palestinian Jews shared such views. Doran53 focuses54 on the curriculum of the gymnasium that Jason established in Jerusalem. It was, he suggests, a military school and a school of civic preparation that attempted to inculcate piety toward the gods. We know about Greek gymnasia in general, but what evidence do we have as to the curriculum of Jason’s gymnasium? Doran55 notes that we do find instructions regarding education in one of the Dead Sea Scrolls (1QSa 1:6-9), but it hardly seems likely that the pattern here specified for the ultra-pietistic Dead Sea Sect would be at all similar to that of Jason’s departure from the Jewish tradition. Doran56 cites at length Ben Sira as the one teacher of whom we have evidence of what he was teaching around the time of Jason’s gymnasium. But Ben Sira identifies Wisdom and Torah and the importance of keeping the commandments. He suggests that Ben Sira’s emphasis on proverbs and maxims is also found in the Greek poet Theognis. Moreover, the study of proverbs and figures is part of the training in argumentation among the Greeks, notably in Aristotle’s Rhetoric, and Doran suggests that Ben Sira was aware of 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56

Gruen 2001, 77-78. Gruen 2001, 79-80. See Jacoby 1954-69, 273, fragments 32-47. Gruen 2001, 80-81. Doran 2001, 94-115. Doran 2001, 96. Doran 2001, 97. Doran 2001, 98-102.

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Greek rhetorical style. This is reminiscent of the later Greek manuals of Progymnasmata. But we may well ask what evidence we have that Jason would have adopted Ben Sira’s methods or curriculum. Next Doran57 suggests that the questions raised by the chronographer Demetrius might parallel those raised in the textual studies of the Alexandrian scholars Zenodotus, Callimachus, Eratosthenes, and Aristophanes of Byzantium. But we may remark that Demetrius was not a Palestinian, and there is no evidence that any Palestinian knew his work, let alone was influenced by it, unless the Demetrius of Phalerum mentioned by Josephus (Ap. 1.215) is to be identified with him. Doran58 raises the question whether once invited to the games, Judeans were allowed to participate in sacrifices to Heracles. According to 2 Macc., Jason thought so. Doran suggests that there was a debate present in Judaism about this issue. He notes that Eupolemus (ap. Eus., Pr. Ev. 9.34.18) says that Solomon sent to Souron at Tyre the golden pillar that was later set up in the temple of Zeus in Tyre. He notes that immediately after this statement Theophilus (ap. Eus., Pr. Ev. 9.34.19), another historian, is quoted as saying that Solomon sent to the king of the Tyrians the left-over gold, and that the king made a lifelike likeness of his daughter and put the golden pillar as a covering on the statue. From this Doran concludes that Theophilus wants to say that Solomon did not send a golden pillar and that there was a debate, similar to what the epitomist (2 Macc.) reports concerning Jason’s intentions as to what is appropriate behavior for Judeans. However, Theophilus, in the extant fragment, does not indicate who sent the golden pillar. He says only that Solomon sent the gold that was left over. It is therefore quite possible that Solomon had previously sent the pillar. Moreover, there is no indication that when Solomon sent the pillar he knew that the king of Tyre would set it up in the temple of Zeus. Doran would have us think that Solomon’s sending the pillar to the king of Tyre was a precedent for compromising the concept of monotheism. However, there is no indication in 2 Macc. that Jason sought to justify his religious reform by citing the action of Solomon as a precedent. Indeed, the Bible itself (1 Kings 11:1-13) sharply condemns Solomon’s idolatry, and G-d tells him that his kingship will be torn away from him. Doran 57 58

Doran 2001, 103. Doran 2001, 109.

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cites the Septuagint’s version of Exod. 22:27 (“You shall not revile gods”), as interpreted by Philo (Mos. 2.203-4, Spec. 1.53, QE 2.5; we may add Jos., Ant. 4.207, Ap. 2.237), as suggesting that a debate was taking place within Judaism as to the permissibility of worshipping other gods. However, we must counter that the Septuagint’s translation and the interpretation given by Philo and Josephus do not permit polytheism; all that they say is that one is not permitted to speak ill of other people’s religion because of the very word “G-d.” Doran then proceeds to cite other passages in Philo, notably Opif. 27-28, which speaks of “the most holy dwelling-place of manifest and visible gods (θεν). He suggests that this allows for some recognition of other deities, while recognizing the supremacy of the Jewish G-d—i.e. a kind of henotheism. Surely, however, if we read Philo, Dec. 52-65, we see that he specifically and clearly denounces polytheism, and in particular the worship of the heavenly bodies. Hence, the translation of θεν here should be “divine powers,” a view that Doran himself mentions but with which he is not satisfied. Doran concludes by suggesting that Jason’s reforms were not as radical as has been painted and that Hellenization is too amorphous a term to describe what was happening in pre-Maccabean Jerusalem; but, we must remark, there is no hint of this in our major sources—1 and 2 Macc. and Jos. Van Henten59 compares the honorary decree for Simon and his sons transmitted in 1 Macc. 14:25-49 in the light of four honorary decrees for Ptolemaic kings composed by Egyptian priests and some other officials: the Canopus decree of 238 b.c.e., the Memphis decree of 217 b.c.e., the Memphis decree of 196 b.c.e. (Rosetta Stone), and the Alexandria decree of 186 b.c.e. (usually called the Second Philae decree). He compares the structure of these four decrees with that of Simon’s in five respects: date, reference to the assembly of those who issued the decree, motivation for the decision, the decision itself, provisions for the publication of the decree. He concludes that the basic structures of all five documents seem to be rather similar. In them the ruler personifies the state. This presentation of rulership suggests that this view is typical of the Hellenistic ideology of rulership. His conclusion that the decree in 1 Macc. 14 is an innovation in the Jewish context is confirmed by the analysis of the earlier usage of a sample of the relevant vocabulary. But, we may remark, the wording 59

Van Henten 2001, 116-45.

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of this decree does not tell us about the degree of Hellenization of the Jewish people in Palestine in this period. It tells us about the leaders, who clearly were influenced, and influenced deeply, by Hellenization, perhaps because they realized that their political position, which was weak, depended on keen bargaining and alliances with the Seleucids, whose language and outlook was, of course, Greek. Simon wanted to impress his contemporary rulers: hence he hired people who could word his decree in a way that they would appreciate. Once Simon decided to draw up the decree in Greek, which he did for political reasons, his scribes naturally turned to Greek models, and this will explain the parallels in order of topics, vocabulary and style. On the basis of a comparison between 1 Macc. 14:27-49 and the priestly decrees from Ptolemaic Egypt Van Henten argues that the legitimization of Simon’s leadership is a new development in Hellenistic Judaism, corresponding to a trend in depicting the ruler’s image in Ptolemaic Egypt as presented in the priestly decrees. He adds that this view of Simon as ruler may have been articulated because of the interaction of Jewish and non-Jewish elites in Egypt and Judea. He suggests, quite convincingly, that the decree was issued in order to legitimize his position and power, which were still disputed by some of the Jews. But, we must remark, this tells us about Simon’s aims; it does not tell us about the attitude of the rank and file of Jews in Palestine toward Hellenization at this time. Krenz60 comments on Van Henten’s essay. He supplements it by citing other texts from the same era drawn from laws and decrees from Syria and Asia Minor. He concludes that the five recurrent components are the standard structure in Ptolemaic, Syrian, and Asian inscriptions, as well as in 1 Maccabees. He does, however, note some problems and some differences: in 1 Macc. the people are credited with taking the initiative in the enactment; in the Egyptian decrees it is priests. Furthermore and most important, he notes that the semantic field of honorific decrees remained the same for eight centuries from Homer to the flowering of Hellenistic Christian communities. Here he should have remarked that this shows that the author of the decree in 1 Macc. did not necessarily draw upon Hellenistic models, since he would have found the same semantic field in much earlier decrees. Krenz adds that the translator of 1 Macc. (from the original in Hebrew) shaped the Greek text to sup60

Krenz 2001, 146-53.

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port the heirs of Simon’s claim to the hereditary kingship. However, he notes another difference between the decree in 1 Macc. and the other four decrees, namely that the text in Macc. does not include the formula for legal enactment. Also, and more important, there is nothing that corresponds to the γαθH τ*χN wish or invocation of a god before the decision is reported; hence, though the decree follows the traditional Greek format, Simon did have regard for Jewish sensibilities with regard to polytheism. But, again, the parallels with other decrees tell us only that Simon sought legitimization as a ruler; the form and language of the decree tells us nothing about the degree of Hellenization of the masses of Jews. Van der Horst61 cites an inscription from the first half of the third century that is the epitaph of a boy with a Latin name, Justus, the son of a father with a Greek name and of a mother with a Greek name, written in Homeric hexameters. It actually mentions Hades and Moira, two utterly pagan concepts. Yet, it is Jewish. It was found in Beth She’arim, where famous rabbis were buried. Yet, as van der Horst admits, a complete corpus of all the epigraphic material from Palestine covering the period from Alexander to Muhammed is still in the planning stage. He suggests that more than half of the Jewish epigraphic material from the period between Alexander and Mohammed is in Greek, but he wisely declines to conclude from this that for majority of Jews in Palestine their native language was Greek. In particular, he cites Josephus’ statement (Ant. 20.264) that the Jews do not favor those who have mastered the languages of many nations. Since the great majority of inscriptions are epitaphs, he deserves credit for admitting that this raises a question as to how representative these inscriptions are for the population as a whole. However, he admits, following Lee I. Levine,62 that the only area in which the influence of Hellenistic culture upon the Jewish people can be more or less quantified is in epigraphy. If, he says, we take our period, from Alexander to the Muslim conquest, spanning almost a thousand years, (but, we must remark there are surely vast differences within this period) as comprising about thirty-three generations, and if we take a generation to average one million Jews in Palestine (but this is surely a low estimate for the majority of this period),63 we have 61 62 63

Van der Horst 2001, 154-74. Levine 1998, 180. See Baron 1952, 1:370-72, n. 7.

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nine hundred inscriptions from thirty-three million Jews, that is one for every 37,000 Jews. If we take the estimated 1800 inscriptions of the projected Corpus Inscriptionum Iudaeae/Palestinae as our basis, we would reach .025 per cent, i.e. 18,500 Jews. Do these inscriptions belong to a very tiny upper class? Van der Horst concludes that this is not so, since there are numerous very simple and poorly executed tombstones with inscriptions in poor Greek that undeniably stem from lower strata of Jewish society. But, we must remark, the fact remains that we have a very, very small sample of what ordinary Jews in Palestine felt about the Greek language, let alone Greek culture. Van der Horst admits that the texts on the tombstones were generally incised by professional stonecutters who had a large number of stock phrases to provide their clients with examples, and he admits that a majority of the inscriptions were found in urban cities. He notes the paucity of Greek inscriptional data in Upper Galilee; hence, we must distinguish various areas in Palestine. Van der Horst64 also cites fourteen Samaritan inscriptions, but he does not indicate their date. But, we must ask, what does Samaritan evidence tell us about Jewish evidence, since the two communities had so little to do with one another, despite their living in such close proximity, and, in fact, hated and even fought one another. Van der Horst65 declares that papyri, coins, and literary souces suggest strongly that many (but, we must ask, how many?) Jews in Judea and Galilee were able to speak or understand Greek, even if they did not belong to the upper class. Certainly, van der Horst would have to admit, coins and literary sources were from the upper class. As to papyri, he admits that ninety per cent of the thirty in the Bar Kochba archive are in Hebrew and Aramaic. From the fact that there are three documents in Greek he concludes that for many (but he himself asks how many?) Palestinian Jews, Greek, the lingua franca of the Near East in the Roman period, had become the language of their daily life. Needless to say, this hardly seems warranted. He notes that a letter from the Bar Kochba archive bristles with errors and hence was not written by cultural elite;66 but again we must ask how representative one letter is. To be sure, however, he notes that of the thirty-six documents in the Babatha archive twenty-six are in 64 65 66

Van der Horst 2001, 160. Van der Horst 2001, 160. Van der Horst 2001, 160-61.

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Greek. But, we must remark, this is a single archive. Van der Horst notes “the observation in rabbinic literature that in Caesarea Maritima (and certainly also elsewhere) synagogue services were conducted in Greek.”67 This leads him to the same conclusion [that Greek for many Jews in Palestine had become the language of their daily life]; and this is turn, he adds, is confirmed by the famous Justinian Novella 146 of 553 c.e. But the Justinian Novella applies to the entire Byzantine empire: how effective would it be in Palestine? Note the late date. The Jerusalem Talmud (So«. 7.1.21b) has preserved a revealing anecdote about two rabbis who entered a synagogue in Caesarea around the turn of the fourth century and found Jews reciting the most basic of prayers, the Shema, in Greek. When one of the sages, astounded by the scene, wished to stop the service, the second replied that it was preferable for the congregation to recite these prayers in Greek than not at all! Van der Horst says that there is no sign that the acquisition of Greek was felt as very difficult.68 But we may recall Josephus’ remark (Ant. 20.263) that he labored strenuously to partake of Greek prose and poetry, after having gained a knowledge of Greek grammar, although the habitual use of his native tongue prevented his attaining precision in the pronunciation. Van der Horst69 admits, following Levine,70 that the degree of Hellenization was clearly of a different order in the first to fourth centuries than in third to first centuries b.c.e. Here, we must remark, we should be careful about generalizing. He does note, but does not comment on, the fact that the production of Jewish literature in Greek in Palestine seems to have decreased after 70. We may conjecture that this may reflect a reaction among intellectuals against Hellenization. On the other hand, van der Horst notes that the proportion of Greek inscriptions as compared to Hebrew and Aramaic increases. Because the inscriptions are so few and perhaps unrepresentative, we should hesitate to suggest that this indicates an increased Hellenization among the people as a whole. Van der Horst71 concludes that the burden of proof is on the shoulders of those who want to maintain that Greek was not the 67 68 69 70 71

Van der Horst 2001, Van der Horst 2001, Van der Horst 2001, Levine 1998, 26. Van der Horst 2001,

161. 61. 162. 166.

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lingua franca of many Palestinian Jews in the Hellenistic-RomanByzantine period, in view of the fact that more than 50 per cent, maybe even 65 per cent, of the public inscriptions are in Greek. But, as he himself admits, the public inscriptions are very few in number and may indicate only the use of Greek for official purposes by the administrators. If the Talmud (b. B. Bat. 21a) is correct in stating that Joshua ben Gamla in the first century introduced an ordinance requiring elementary education for boys [but: compulsory elementary education of males in Palestine was surely not in Greek]. He ends with statement: that the degree of use and understanding of Greek probably varied strongly according to locality and period, social status, and educational background, occasion and mobility. Van der Horst72 mentions several Greek words even in the Copper Scroll from Qumran. But Vanderkam, in this volume,73 speaks only of individual Greek letters. Vanderkam74 notes that of the 850 or so manuscripts at Qumran 27 Greek manuscripts have been identified. He concludes that Greek was sufficiently widely used and accepted to make its presence felt even among an unusual, traditional, and learned group like the one at Qumran. But the fact that nineteen of these Greek manuscripts come from cave 7, where all the surviving texts are in Greek would indicate that Greek was confined to a small group in that cave. VanderKam75 starts his essay with the statement that the combined literary, numismatic, and inscriptional evidence shows that Greek was widely used in Palestine and indicates that this was not considered objectionable. In the first place, we may respond, what is true in the fourth century b.c.e. may not be true in the first century b.c.e. and may not be true in the third century c.e. In the second place, the literary evidence, as we have already indicated, is extremely limited, and this will tell us about a small percentage of the population; and, again, one must distinguish among various periods of time. Moreover, in the case of the Greek Additions to Esther, the views expressed, far from showing the influence of Hellenism, are more conservative than those found in the Hebrew version.76 As for the numismatic evidence, one must not forget that there was a large 72 73 74 75 76

Van der Horst 2001, 161. VanderKam 2001, 178. VanderKam 2001, 177. VanderKam 2001, 175-81. So Leaney 1976, 291.

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non-Jewish population in Palestine throughout this period; and coins in Aramaic and Hebrew would have been unintelligible to them. As for inscriptions, we have already indicated what a small sample we have of these inscriptions, most of which are epitaphs. As for the Greek texts at Qumran, we have already commented on the fact that they constitute an extremely small percentage of the texts that have been found thus far. This assumes that there was a single sect in all of the caves at Qumran. Since they are found in only two of the caves, we suggest that they may be the product of a very small group of dissidents, or if all of the caves are of a single sect, they may be the product of a small group who happened to have found refuge in those particular caves. It is surely significant, as Cotton has noted,77 that the Qumran texts that are not in Greek evince a deliberate and conscious avoidance of Greek loanwords. Moreover, as she remarks, the Greek of these texts is filled with Semiticisms and reflects the local spoken Aramaic language of the writers. Furthermore, the texts have certain lexicographic features that are not found at all in Greek papyri from Egypt or from the rest of the Near East or occur only at a much later period; and, as Cotton78 conjectures, this may reflect the influence of the Aramaic world in which they were written. The fact that in the Copper Scroll scattered individual Greek letters are found at the ends of lines and at the end of the description of a particular treasure is surely no more an indication of literacy in Greek than is the use of Greek letters in modern mathematics. Freyne79 poses a number of interesting and important questions, in pursuance of Fergus Millar’s programmatic study of the Roman Near East, based on regional variations.80 To what extent were Galilee’s cultural affiliations shaped by Phoenician encroachment or Iturean expansion? Did they express themselves as vestiges of an older Semitic lifestyle or as mediums of Greek language and culture? How did the emerging Judean state view such developments? What, if any, contributions to the later cultural mix did the various dynastic changes make? Freyne is to be commended for resisting the temptation to give simple answers to these complex questions. 77 78 79 80

Cotton 2000, 324. Ibid. Freyne 2001, 182-215. Millar 1993.

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As to the Phoenicians, Freyne81 notes that the fact that the Phoenician language continued to be used in inscriptions and coins indicates a certain cultural conservatism, even when Greek had increasingly become the language of administration and commerce in the region generally. Furthermore, he notes that the Phoenician religion continued to be practiced from the pre-Hellenistic to the Hellenistic Age. The encounter with Hellenism was not a new or threatening experience; it was rather an enrichment of native qualities. As to the Itureans, Freyne notes that they had a less developed sense of both territory and culture that goes with a strong assertion of identity. They were in a relatively undeveloped state when they first encountered the Greek way of life. He cites their local conservatism in religious matters, although eventually a distinctive Iturean culture, because of their precarious life-style as brigands, virtually vanished under the weight of Greek and Roman presence in the East.82 He concludes that neither the Phoenicians nor the Itureans were the agents of an active Hellenization process in Galilee. As to Galilee, though it did not preclude the adoption and adaptation of Greek ways in terms of trading, ceramic production, architectural forms, and even language, the extent of the mingling was both selective and limited.83 But, we may remark, manufacturing and trading are superficial, not real, Hellenization of attitude, thought, religion, and culture. Thus, Galilee resisted full participation in the Greek way of life. Freyne84 agrees with Millar in emphasizing the importance in Galilee of a distinctive sacred literature, in establishment and maintenance of a separate identity in a way that not even the Phoenicians could aspire to. He argues that the issue of Hellenism becomes a question of how the Hasmoneans dealt with the region, as seen in coinage, architecture, and military organization. But these aspects, as we have remarked, tell us how the rulers, in their administration, reacted to Hellenism; they do not tell us how the masses felt about it. On the basis of coin patterns and pottery Freyne argues that with respect to Hellenization there was a considerable difference between Upper and Lower Galilee;85 but these 81 82 83 84 85

Freyne Freyne Freyne Freyne Freyne

2001, 2001, 2001, 2001, 2001,

185. 194. 209. 210. 202.

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are relatively superficial matters, and we would have to know more as to the relative size of the Jewish and non-Jewish population to determine the degree of Hellenization of the Jewish population. Cohen86 has clearly written the most ingenious of all the essays in this volume. He discusses three places where we would not expect to find evidence for Jewish Hellenism: Qumran (4Q339, 4Q340), the revolutionaries in the Jewish war of 66-73, and rabbinic literature. As to Qumran he notes that there are fragments containing lists of the false prophets and of the Netinim (temple slaves or royal merchants) mentioned in the Bible. He suggests that such collections of names are works of scholarship and constitute Hellenization of Judaism, since it is scholars of the Hellenistic Age who first drew up lists of all sorts of things.87 Such lists are frequently found in rabbinic lore. We may, however, remark that there is no particular cultural significance in such lists, since it is a mechanical matter to draw up lists. If the lists included explanatory matter that included distinctively Greek ideas, we could speak about the influence of Hellenism. Moreover, one guesses that the drawing up of lists is simply the work of teachers. Once universal compulsory elementary education for boys was instituted, according to tradition by Joshua ben Gamla in the first century, who is also said to have established sound pedagogical principles (b. B. Bat. 21a), we may guess that teachers compiled lists. They did not have to be reminded by Hellenistic scholars to do so. As to rebels against Rome, Cohen88 suggests that the war itself, its course, its leadership, and its ideologies are a manifestation of Jewish Hellenism. He notes, in particular, the participation by non-Judean Jews and non-Jews in the war, who were predominantly Greekspeaking; and he suggests the possibility that some of the things that the revolutionaries said and did can be explained by appeal to a hellenized Judaism. Josephus, the historian of the war, says Cohen, does not want to give the impression that the rebels enjoyed broad support; he has every reason to deny any connection between the rebels and an ideology that could endow legitimacy on them. But, we may respond, he does give legitimacy to Eleazar ben Jair at Masada by putting Platonic arguments about the immortality of the soul 86 87 88

Cohen 2001, 216-43. Cohen 2001, 221. Cohen 2001, 224-30.

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into his mouth (War 7.344-48). Cohen notes that Simon bar Giora, the leader of the revolutionaries, was the son of a proselyte and a native of Gerasa, a hellenized city. But Cohen himself admits that Josephus (War 4.487) mentions another Gerasa, a village in Judea not far from Jerusalem, just before he mentions that Simon came from Gerasa (War 4.503); and this is not the hellenized city of the Decapolis.89 Cohen remarks that if despite his gentile origins, Bar Giora could make himself the leader of the revolutionaries, the movement must have been a variegated phenomenon. But, we must remember, this was precisely the era of large numbers of converts, and most of the rabbis stress the importance of treating them as equals. Moreover, Simon himself was not of gentile origin: only his father was, as Cohen recognizes. Cohen is right in noting evidence that some Romans did desert to the revolutionary cause who may have brought their Hellenism with them, but there is no indication as to the number of such deserters, let alone the nature of Greek ideas that they might have brought with them. In particular, Cohen notes the statement of some of the revolutionaries that the world is a better temple for G-d than this one (War 5.458-59: these are the retorts of the revolutionaries to the exhortations of Titus). Cohen finds the source of this statement in Zeno the founder of Stoicism,90 but more likely this is Josephus’ view, like the Platonic thoughts in Eleazar ben Jair’s speech at Masada (War 7.344-48). Since Gentiles joined the revolutionaries, of course the latter noticed what the Gentiles said and did; but did this influence their Weltanschauung? Rather, it was an alliance of necessity or convenience. As for Hellenism in rabbinic literature, Cohen cites b. Ber. 8b, which quotes Rabbi Aqiva and Rabban Gamaliel in their admiration for certain practices of Medes and Persians. He also cites Rabbi Joseph’s hostile comments about Persians and claims that such ethnographic interest comes from the Greeks. In particular, he suggests that these statements reflect a Herodotean view of the world.91 However, Cohen92 admits that the Bible itself condemns

89 90 91 92

Cohen Cohen Cohen Cohen

2001, 2001, 2001, 2001,

225-26. 230. 235. 234.

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the ways of the Canaanites, the Egyptians, and the Babylonians [add the Amorites]. He admits that explicit appreciation for the customs of Gentiles is not found in any other passage by ancient Jews and is uncommon even in Jewish texts written in Greek. We may ask why? If there had been Hellenic influence in this area, why only here? Wouldn’t we expect to find it in Philo and Josephus, both of whom were certainly exposed to Hellenism? Cohen93 can find only one passage in Philo (Prob. 74: praise of Magi and Gymnosophists as researchers) and one passage in Josephus (War 7.351-57: praise of Indians’ readiness to die). This, we may remark, is a typical sermonic device, to tell your followers that they should be ashamed to be inferior to their opponents in certain respects. The various essays in this book deal with the impact of Hellenism upon the Jews. Only Rajak94 raises the point whether there was a counterattack, namely the attraction of non-Jews to Judaism or to Jewish practices. She then adds95 that that would be to enter a new discussion. But, we may remark, surely that discussion is relevant in a book dealing with Hellenism in the Land of Israel. She96 raises the question whether in connection with one of Josephus’ favorite phrases, “both Greeks and barbarians,” Jews were to be counted as one or the other or sometimes one and sometimes the other. We may comment that since Josephus’ primary audience, at least for the Antiquities and Against Apion was non-Jews,97 for non-Jews barbarians means non-Greeks. Thus, we may note that Philo actually includes the Jews among barbarians (Mos.2.12). Indeed, Josephus says (War 1.3) that the War was directed to the barbarians up-country: this must be Jews. Rajak98 notes that the sense of difference of Judaism from Hellenism was more significant politically, sparking off both small conflicts and large-scale revolts. She adds that historical hindsight lends significance to the uniquely Jewish, since Judaism triumphantly survived through its distinctive form, rabbinism, rather than its more obviously Hellenized manifestations. But then she adds that neither of these points undermines Hengel’s argument. We may ask why not? If 93 94 95 96 97 98

Cohen 2001, 243 n. 91. Rajak 2001, 244-62. Rajak 2001, 259. Rajak 2001, 244. See Feldman 1998, 46-49. Rajak 2001, 248.

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Hellenism started at such an early period (i.e. pre-Maccabean) and was so deep-seated and manifested itself in so many ways, why did it not triumph? Rajak99 proposes that Greeks were regularly urban citizens of some polis, while Syrians tended to be rural, or at least to be people living in villages and towns without either formal constitutions or official Roman standing. Yet, in his account of the flare-up in the city of Caesarea which precipated the revolt in 6 c.e., Rajak admits that Josephus (War 2.266) says that the Jews took up arms against the Syrians. Rajak100 explains that the opponents of the Jews are not designated “Greeks” because the point at issue for the Jews (with whom Josephus sympathizes) is precisely that this was no Greek city. Yet, the self-designation of the non-Jews is precisely as Greeks, and they are so characterized when Josephus in the next sentence sets out their side of the argument. But, we may add, Josephus is speaking in his reportorial or editorial comment immediately thereafter (War 2.268) when he appraises the two sides and says that the Jews had the advantage of superior wealth and physical strength, whereas the Greeks had the support of the military. One guesses that the nonJewish inhabitants of Caesarea are called Syrians because they spoke a Syrian (i.e. Aramaic) language. They are also called Greeks because they spoke Greek. One recalls that the sole criterion of admission to the Eleusinian Mysteries was that the initiates had to speak Greek. Apparently, they were not excluded if they spoke another language also. Rajak101 says that on at least one occasion in the War (1.17) Greeks are “us” to Josephus. But, we may comment, here Josephus says that it would be superfluous to narrate the ancient history of the Jews, “seeing that many of the Jews before me have accurately recorded the history of our ancestors, and certain of the Greeks have translated (μεταβαλντες) these records into their native language without going completely astray (διμαρτον) to a great degree from the truth (ο/ πολB τOς ληθε5ας).” Rajak says that Josephus “can only be referring to the Hellenistic Jewish authors whose work was based on the Greek Bible, writers such as those whom he himself, many years later, identified in a similar assertion in Against Apion (1.218). 99

Rajak 2001, 253. Rajak 2001, 253. 101 Rajak 2001, 257. 100

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Not only were these writers manifestly Jews, but it is extremely hard to believe that Josephus, even at an early stage in his career, was so ignorant as to believe otherwise.”102 But we may remark that according to Ap. 1.215, “Our antiquity is sufficiently established by the Egyptian, Chaldaean, and Phoenician records, not to mention the numerous Greek historians.” Josephus then enumerates eight historians who “have made more than a passing allusion to us. The majority of these authors have misrepresented the facts of our primitive history, because they have not read our sacred books, but all concur in testifying to our antiquity....Demetrius of Phalerum, the elder Philo, and Eupolemus did not go completely astray (διμαρτον) to a great degree from the truth (ο/ πολB τOς ληθε5ας). It is clear from the identity of the language used that Josephus is referring to the same historians here as in War 1.17; and yet, in 1.17 he refers to them as “certain of the Greeks” and contrasts them with many of the Jews. It is true that many, indeed most, scholars believe that the reference in Against Apion to Demetrius is not to Demetrius of Phalerum but to Demetrius the chronographer, that the reference to Philo is to Philo the author of an epic On Jerusalem, and that the reference to Eupolemus is to the historian whose fragments are cited by Clement and Eusebius. It is clear that in Against Apion he regards Demetrius of Phalerum, Philo the Elder, and Eupolemus as nonJews, since his whole point is that Greek (i.e. non-Jewish) historians have referred to the antiquity of the Jews, his comment being that most of these Greek authors have misrepresented the facts of Jewish history, whereas a few others (clearly Josephus, at least, thought of Demetrius, Philo the Elder, and Eupolemus as non-Jews) did not. Rajak says that the passage in Against Apion shows that Josephus is able to deploy a linguistic and cultural rather than an ethnic definition of what is Greek.103 She concludes that we can now see how Jews could perfectly well have been classed among the Hellenes, and that in the War Josephus saw no disgrace in the Jews being classed as barbarians, but that in the later works (she cites only one passage in one work, Ap.) the overt barbarian identification has fallen away, whereas the context of the passage in Ap. makes it clear that Josephus looks upon the writers whom he names as being non-Jews. 102 103 104

Rajak 2001, 257. Rajak 2001, 257. Sterling 2001, 263-301.

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Sterling104 tests Hengel’s hypothesis that Palestininan Judaism had been as thoroughly hellenized as the Diaspora by comparing Jerusalem and Alexandria from c. 175 b.c.e. to 135 c.e. He chooses them because they are two of the most important communities in Second Temple Judaism and because we have enough information about the two communities to permit a comparison.105 However, we may remark, this would be like comparing present-day China and France through comparing Beijing and Paris. In the first place, we may ask what per cent of the Jews of Egypt lived in Alexandria. According to Philo (Flacc. 43), who was closer to such matters than we are, especially since he was in a position of leadership of the Alexandrian Jewish community, there were no fewer than a million Jews in Egypt in 37. The number of Jews in Alexandria in 37 has been estimated, based upon a fragment of the Acta Alexandrinorum as reconstructed and interpreted by Von Premerstein, Koenen, and Delia,106 as 180,000. So also Sterling. The latter figure does not seem unreasonable, if we are to give any credence to Josephus’ statement (War 2.497) that in the year 66 the Roman soldiers, unleashed by the governor Tiberius Julius Alexander, massacred 50,000 Jews in Alexandria. It would seem likely that the economic, cultural, and religious attitudes of the Jews of Alexandria differed considerably from those of the Jews of the rest of Egypt, but Sterling neglects to consider this. Various estimates have been given as to the population of the Jews of Jerusalem in 66.107 Broshi108 estimates that it was 82,500, Sterling conjectures 75,000. The Jewish population of Palestine at that time has likewise been variously estimated,109 but at least some credence should be given to Josephus, who as commander in Galilee at the beginning of the war against the Romans, should have had some idea as to the number of Jews there, and who states that in Galilee there were 204 towns and villages (Life 235), of which the smallest had 15,000 inhabitants (War 3.43). Again, it would seem likely that the economic, cultural, and religious attitudes of the Jews of Jerusalem differed considerably from those of the Jews of the rest of Pales105 106 107 108 109

Sterling 2001, 264. Delia 1988, 286-87. See Feldman 1984, 366-69. Broshi 1975, 5-14. See Baron 1952, 1:370-72.

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tine. Sterling neglects to consider this. He compares Jerusalem and Alexandria in three respects: the political-social situations, including the population and revolts; linguistic practices; and social-religious practices. He is, however, aware that conditions changed tremendously during this long period of time. He realizes that Jerusalem was a Jewish city, whereas Alexandria was a Greek city. He notes the vast difference between the Jewish revolt in Jerusalem against the Syrians and later the Romans, on the one hand, and the refusal of the Alexandrian Jews to revolt against the Romans in 70, whereas they did revolt in 115. The big issue in Alexandria was citizenship, but not in Jerusalem. He concludes that resistance to Hellenism fueled nationalism in Jerusalem, while exclusion from Hellenism fueled nationalism in Alexandria. He neglects, however, to consider the factors of messianism, independence, mistreatment by Roman procurators, etc. in Jerusalem. Moreover, it was not Hellenism but privileges (though, admittedly, not exclusively) connected with citizenship, notably exemption from poll tax and exemption of landed property from taxation that were key factors in Alexandria. Sterling comments on the linguistic situation by comparing the writings of each community, but, we must note, this will tell us about a very small percentage of the population. He has charts comparing the literary works produced in both places but admits that there are many question marks. Thus, the first chart, which lists texts that were likely either composed or translated in Jerusalem, lists Philo the Epic Poet’s On Jerusalem with a question mark. Indeed, he admits that it might have been composed in Jerusalem or in Alexandria or somewhere else. In his discussion, though not in his chart, he mentions the Tobiad romance and admits that it might have been composed in Jerusalem, Transjordan, or Egypt. Indeed, even Hengel110 concludes that this work was not composed in Palestine but in Egypt. Moreover, how many manuscripts do we have of this work? None. It is merely assumed that Josephus had such a work as his source. Sterling lists Eupolemus with a question mark: as we have noted, Josephus (Ap. 1.218) lists him as a pagan. He lists the Alexander Romance. How many manuscripts do we have of this work? None. It is merely assumed that Josephus had such a work as his source. He lists the Greek translation of Ruth, Song of Songs, Lamenta110

Hengel 1974, 1:88.

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tions, Ecclesiastes, and some Psalms, but there is no evidence that the translation was made in Jerusalem. He lists Lives of the Prophets with a question mark. Most likely, as Schermann postulated,111 the original language was Hebrew; what we have is a Greek translation; and some of the Greek manuscripts are clearly Christian products. Sterling cites Aquila with a question mark; according to tradition, he was born a pagan, converted to Christianity, and then to Judaism. Hence, to cite him as an example of the influence of Hellenism on Judaism is stretching a point; rather, the literalism of his translation is a reaction against the Septuagint. All in all, of the eight works that Sterling cites as Graeco-Jewish literature produced in Jerusalem, six have question marks after them.112 He omits the Greek translation of Ecclesiasticus by the grandson of Ben Sira, the history of Justus of Tiberias, possibly the historical work of Jason of Cyrene (which is summarized in 2 Maccabees), and possibly the translation of 1 Maccabees. In sum, there are too many question marks to make for an effective comparison. In his epilogue Goodman113 says that while it has seemed obvious to some that Jews living as a minority in Diaspora communities were more likely to imbibe the surrounding culture than those in the homeland, on reflection it is evident that an embattled minority might in theory have rejected Greek mores more vigorously than the relaxed community in the land of Israel, where cosmopolitan culture was brought to Jerusalem by pious pilgrims whose use of Greek did not impede their devotion to Judaism. To this we may comment that we know that there were a tremendous number of pilgrims. Josephus (War 6.425) gives a figure of 2,700,000 for Passover in 66, but we do not have the diary of even a single Diaspora Jew indicating what cosmopolitan culture he brought to Jerusalem. Philo (Prov. 2.64) tells us that he went once to offer prayers and sacrifice, but all that he tells us about that trip is that while in Ascalon in Palestine on his way to Jerusalem he asked why there were so many pigeons at the crossroads and in each house, and he was told that it was not lawful to catch them for food.

111 112 113

Schermann 1907. Sterling 2001, 279. Goodman 2001, 302-5.

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Goodman raises the interesting question why no Graeco-Jewish literature has survived from the period after 100 c.e. to match the writings from before that time, and he answers that the Christians, who were responsible for preserving the earlier literature had their own literature after 100, and rabbinic Jews had no interest in writing down what Greek Jews wrote.114 In this connection we may remark that whereas the rabbis initially had a very positive view of the Septuagint translation, indicating that the translators miraculously, even though placed in separate rooms, emerged with precisely the same translation (b. Meg. 9a), later (Sof. 1:7) they compared the day when the translation was made with the day when the Israelites built the golden calf. We may guess that the change of attitude was influenced by the fact that the Christians adopted the Septuagint as their version of the Pentateuch. One should add, moreover, that the rabbis’ influence became greater and greater, especially after the destruction of the Temple, through the establishment of schools of learning. Furthermore, in no fewer than four passages in the Talmud, we read that during the civil war between Hyrcanus and Aristobulus (67-63 b.c.e.), the rabbis forbade the study of Greek wisdom (b. Men. 64b and 99b, b. Soã. 49b, b. B. Qam. 82b) and even, during the war of Quietus (115 c.e.), the Greek language (m. Soã. 9:14). This refutes Goodman’s statement that there is curiously little evidence that any Jews saw Greek culture—that is, Hellenization—as any sort of threat to Jewish society after the rhetoric surrounding the Maccabean revolt. Goodman makes an excellent point that it is curious that no claims are generally made about the impact of Aramaic on Jewish culture comparable to the claims so often made about Hellenization.115 After all, the vast literature of the Gemara in its commentary on the Mishnah and of the multitude of midrashim is written in Aramaic, since that was clearly the language that people spoke and in which instruction and sermons were given. Goodman concludes with the statement that in the end it was precisely the triumph of Hellenism that deprived it of its sting.116 He says that in the course of time Hellenism became simply the normal mode of discoure in the modern age, and the notion that Jews might wish to fight against it

114 115 116

Goodman 2001, 303. Goodman 2001, 305. Goodman 2001, 305.

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would have been as bizarre as to suggest to an orthodox American Jew today that religious devotion might be prejudiced by the use of the English language. But the fact is that at the present time an increasing number and probably by the time you hear or read these words a majority of orthodox American Jews today (who happen to be Hasidim and whose language of discourse is not English but Yiddish) do believe that their religious devotion is prejudiced by the use of the English language. If, indeed, Hellenism had triumphed and if the language of speech became increasingly Greek, why is it that none of the great Talmudic rabbis, who certainly were sound enough teachers to know that one communicates best in the language best understood by one’s audience, translated a single classical work into Greek or wrote a commentary in Greek or an original homiletical or halachic work in Greek? In summary, if the culture of Hellenism did not penetrate into Jewish Palestine as deeply as Hengel and his many followers in this volume would indicate, it is not due to the immunity of the Jews to foreign influence, because, after all, they had often succumbed to it during the biblical period. However, during the Hellenistic Period, except for the brief episode of the Hellenized high priests Jason and Menelaus, we hear of no instances where Jews (and we do not know their numbers) worshipped Greek gods or combined them with the Jewish G-d. Apparently, it was the Samaritans who were more deeply influenced by Hellenism; and the fact that the Jews had so little contact with the Samaritans meant that a minimum of Greek culture came to the Jews from the Samaritans. The key to the process of Hellenization was surely syncretism with Greek religion and culture. If, as Hengel claims, the process of Hellenization had started long before 175 b.c.e., one would have expected it to continue. And yet, that the masses strongly resisted paganism two centuries later can be seen from the passion with which they resisted the attempt of the procurator Pontius Pilate early in the first century c.e. to introduce busts of the emperor into Jerusalem, so that even Pilate was astonished at the strength of the devotion of the Jews to their laws and straightway removed the images (War 2.169-74, Ant. 18.55-59). Similarly (Ant. 18.263), many tens of thousands of Jews came to the Roman governor Petronius at Ptolemais asking that he slay them rather than set up the image of Caligula in the Temple. Moreover (Ant. 18.270), many additional

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tens of thousands faced Petronius at Tiberias, so that he wrote the emperor asking him to revoke his orders (Ant. 18.278). As late as the third century c.e., Johanan ben Nappaha, who taught in Sepphoris and Tiberias in Galilee, is quoted (y. Pe’ah 1.1.15c) as stating that one may have one’s daughter taught Greek, for it serves her as an ornament, whereas one may not teach one’s son Greek, according to the Mishnah (Soã 9:14). Similarly, in the third century, admittedly in a polemical passage, Origen (Against Celsus 2.34) declares that Jews are not very well [or at all] versed in Greek literature. As to the adoption of the Greek language, it is not aversion to adopting the language of a conqueror that led the Jews to retain their ancestral language so stubbornly. After all, Aramaic itself was the language of a conqueror in the 6th century b.c.e. Moreover, within two centuries after the conquest of Palestine by the Arabs in 640, Arabic displaced Aramaic as the chief language of the Jews. Letters, contracts, documents, Dead Sea Scrolls, rabbinic works— all indicate that the predominant language of the Jews of Palestine throughout the Hellenistic and Roman periods—in fact, from the time of the Babylonian captivity in 586 b.c.e. until approximately two centuries after the Arab conquest of Palestine—was not Greek but Aramaic, though Hebrew continued to be spoken certainly through the Mishnaic period. When Titus sought to convince the Jews to surrender Jerusalem, he sent Josephus to speak with them in their “ancestral language,” presumably Aramaic (War 5.361). Likewise, Paul (Acts 21:40, 22:2) addresses the Jews in Jerusalem in Hebrew (or Aramaic), not Greek. It is the masses, not the rabbis, that Josephus and Paul choose to address in Aramaic (or Hebrew), and it is the masses, not the rabbis, whom Judah the Prince berates for using Aramaic. At the end of the second century, Rabbi Judah the Prince recognized the predominant place of Aramaic as the language of the Jews when he asked rhetorically, “Why use the Syriac [i.e. Aramaic] language in the Land of Israel? [Use] either the Holy Language or Greek (b. B. Qam. 82b-83a, b. Soã 49b). Bear in mind that the Talmud mentions the patriarch Rabban Gamaliel II (b. B. Qam. 83a, b. Soã 49b) as an exception in that he was permitted in the first century to teach Greek culture to his students. Further, the rabbis challenge the patriarch himself for teaching Greek, implying the strength of their discontent.

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In sum, Professor Hengel’s monumental work, truly a magnificent milestone of scholarship, deserves the attention that it has been given, even if it also deserves to be challenged.

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CHAPTER FOUR

THE RESHAPING OF BIBLICAL NARRATIVE IN THE HELLENISTIC PERIOD Review of: Erich S. Gruen, Heritage and Hellenism: The Reinvention of Jewish Tradition (Hellenistic Culture and Society 30; Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998).

This book starts with two premises-that Judaism and Hellenism were not competing systems or incompatible concepts, and that adaptation to Hellenism did not necessarily require compromise of Jewish precepts or practices. Moreover, Gruen contends that the Hellenism with which Jews came into contact was actually a mongrel entity, with a different blend in various parts of the Mediterranean world. He likewise insists that Hellenistic Judaism was a complex entity, which experienced changes over time and in various regions. He argues that Jews engaged actively with Greek traditions; they adapted genres and transformed traditional legends to accord with Hellenistic modes. In particular, they recreated their past and retold biblical and extra-biblical stories not only in the Greek language but also in Greek literary forms. The Jewish authors, often anonymous or pseudonymous, thus enhanced the exploits of ancient heroes. In so doing they exhibited features generally unnoticed by previous scholars, namely a mischievous sense of humor and a pointed irony that poked fun not only at Gentiles but also at the foibles of the Jews themselves. Thus the distinction between history and fiction is blurred. Gruen does not pretend to present a comprehensive survey of Hellenistic Jewish literature. Rather, he selects a representative sample. Inasmuch as the seven substantive chapters are only loosely connected with one another, it will be best for this reviewer to summarize and to comment briefly on each individual essay before commenting at greater length on the book as a whole. In the first chapter (“Hellenism and the Hasmonaeans” [pp. 140]) he deals with the Jewish rebellion against Antiochus Epiphanes of Syria and the establishment of an autonomous state under the Hasmonean dynasty. The Hasmoneans, he argues, did not spurn Hellenism and promote a purity of faith. Moreover, the adoption

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of Greek ways by the later Hasmoneans did not represent a reversal of the ideals that motivated Maltathias and Judah the Maccabee. In fact, the victory of the Hasmoneans depended upon co-operation with the Syrian Seleucids. They adopted Greek names and recruited non-Jewish mercenaries and even went so far as to convert whole conquered nations, the Idumaeans and lturaeans, to Judaism, thus elevating Jewish prestige. The data that Professor Gruen has assembled to support his position is certainly impressive, but it represents the position of a very small group of Jews, namely the political leaders, the Hasmoneans, who for pragmatic reasons, especially in view of their own inherent political and military weakness, came to terms with the Syrian Greeks and, in the process, themselves became increasingly Hellenized. The fact that the Hasmonean coins bear legends in both Greek and Hebrew may mean only that the rulers realized that the coins would be handled not only by Jews but also by non-Jews, who definitely were numerous in the land ruled by the Hasmoneans. The presence of gymnasiums does not mean that Jews attended them; indeed, there is no evidence that they did, except during the brief period of the high priesthood of Jason (2 Macc. 4:912). That the masses strongly resisted paganism can be seen, to be sure at a somewhat later period, from the passion with which they resisted the attempts of the procurator Pontius Pilate early in the first century to introduce busts of the emperor into Jerusalem, so that even Pilate was astonished at the strength of the devotion of the Jews to their laws and straightway removed the images (Jos., War 2.169-74; Ant. 18.55-59). We see similar zeal on the part of large numbers of Jews a few years later when, we are told (Ant. 18.263), many tens of thousands of Jews came to the Roman governor Petronius “asking that he slay them rather than set up an image of the Emperor Gaius Caligula in the Temple in Jerusalem. As for Greek influence on the rabbis, none of the rabbis composed works in Greek; and while they recognized the beauty of the Greek language (b. Meg. 9b), they proscribed the teaching of Greek culture (b. Soã 49b, b. B. Qam. 82b).1 In the second chapter (“The Use and Abuse of the Exodus Story” [pp. 41-72]) Gruen presents the highly original and, indeed, startling thesis that pagan writers, such as Manetho, Lysimachus, Chaeremon, and Apion did not invent the biblical account of the Exodus 1 For further discussion of alleged Hellenization among Jews during this period see Feldman 1993, 18-44.

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in order to advance their anti-Jewish cause, since few would have had any familiarity with the biblical story even after the composition of the LXX. He asks whether Jews would have propagated a narrative that highlighted their flight from Egypt at a time when they sought to establish their credentials as residents. He suggests that Jewish writers sought to bolster their self-esteem by setting up their forefathers as conquerors who overthrew false Egyptian idols, and that it was these accounts upon which the anti-Jewish writers drew. However, according to the Letter of Aristeas (310-11), when the translation of the Pentateuch was completed, supposedly in the third century b.c.e., the Jewish community unanimously agreed that it was perfectly accurate, and a curse was placed upon anyone who should modify the translation. That the translation was well known among non-Jews seems likely in view of the fact, according to Philo (Mos. 2.41), that a general assembly was held every year where not only Jews but multitudes of others came to commemorate the translation.2 And why would Jews have presented Moses as an Egyptian priest, the Jews as afflicted by leprosy, etc.? And how can we explain the divergent views of the Exodus in the anti-Jewish writers, including the name of the Pharaoh, his date, the number of Israelites who left, and the name of the Israelite leader? In the third chapter (“The Hellenistic Images of Joseph” [pp. 73-109]), Gruen illustrates how Hellenistic Jewish writers exploited the biblical material about Joseph at will, taking and rewriting what they liked, omitting and freely adapting what they found unpalatable. Whereas, however, such writers as the authors of Jubilees, Ecclesiasticus, 1 Macc., Pseudo-Philo, and the Testament of Joseph, present a one-sided view as a model of purity and integrity, other writers, such as Demetrius and the author of Wisdom present a much broader view as a figure of eminence in whom Diaspora Jews could take pride. In particular, Artapanus emphasizes his economic genius. The Pseudepigraphic Joseph and Aseneth owes much to post-biblical and Hellenistic fiction and serves to heighten the pride of Hellenistic Jews. The tales of the Tobiads, as related by Josephus (Ant. 12.154236), though they involve historical persons, emphasize cunning and 2 In a seminal article, Tcherikover 1956, 169-93, has denied that widespread Jewish literary propaganda among the pagans was technically possible, and he challenges the view that the distribution of books in the ancient world was similar to that in modern times. I have challenged this thesis in Feldman 1977-78, 230-41.

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cleverness without passing critical judgment. Gruen explains the self-contradictory picture of Joseph in Philo’s works by remarking that for Hellenistic Jews the ambiguities of Joseph’s personality and achievements made him readily malleable to serve a variety of purposes. But Gruen does not explain how these contradictions would serve to heighten the pride of Hellenistic Jews, and I shall deal with this issue at greater length in the course of this essay. The fourth chapter, “Scriptural Stories in New Guise” (pp. 110136), shows how Hellenistic Jewish writers, with judicious additions, subtractions, and modifications, enhanced the significance of the scriptural tradition for Jews conversant with Hellenic culture. Thus Demetrius, through his rationalizations, aimed to silence skeptics. Aristeas, through omitting the ambiguities in the story of Job, made the story more palatable. Theodotus, in his version of the rape of Dinah, made the behavior of the Hebrews less criminal. Philo the Elder, in his epic, heightened Jewish pride in the patriarchs. Ezekiel, in his drama of the Exodus, likewise glorified the Jews in a manner that Hellenistic Jewish readers would appreciate. All this, however, presupposes that these authors were writing for Jewish readers. While it is probably true that Jews did read these works, the authors also, and perhaps primarily, intended them apologetically for non-Jewish readers. In Egypt where many, and more probably most, of these works originated, if we may judge from Philo, who, as the prestigious head of the Jewish community, was certainly in a position to know what the attitude of the non-Jews in Egypt was toward the Jews, the question of relations of Jews with the Egyptians was urgent. In an important essay concerning the attack by the Alexandrian nonJews upon the Jews in the year 38, Philo makes the very significant remark (Legat. 120) that the hatred of the promiscuous and unstable rabble of the Alexandrians had been smoldering from long ages past κ μακρν χρνων. In Josephus we can certainly see the apologetic motif not only in the Contra Apionem but also throughout the Antiquities.3 Moreover, this was a period during which the Jews were successful in converting large numbers to Judaism, and several of these works might well have been used toward that end.4 The fifth chapter, “Embellishments and Inventions” (pp. 137-88),

3 4

See Feldman 1998a, 132-62. See Feldman 1993, 305-24.

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finds humor in various Hellenistic Jewish texts. This did not imply irreverence but rather an open attitude toward sacred texts that encouraged elaboration rather than shut off imagination. Again, it was the self-esteem, according to Gruen, that provided the stimulus for such creations. As examples of such humor Gruen cites Solomon’s gift of a golden column to grace the temple of Zeus in Tyre (Eupolemus, ap. Eus., Pr. Ev. 9.34.18), Abraham’s progeny participating in the conquests by Heracles (Cleodemus-Malchus, ap. Jos., Ant. 1.24041), Moses introducing animal worship to Egypt and circumcision to Ethiopia (Artapanus, ap. Eus., Pr. Ev. 9.27.9-10), the identification of Moses with Hermes and Mousaios (Artapanus, ap. Eus., Pr. Ev. 9.27.3, 6), Zerubbabel twitting Darius for his infatuation with a concubine (1 Esdr. 4:28-33), Daniel mocking the Persian king and irresolute public opinion among Jews (Bel and the Dragon, Susanna and the Elders), and Mordecai and Esther clumsily explaining away their lapses (Additions A-F in the Greek Esther). As we shall remark later, there is good reason for thinking that Eupolemus, CleodemusMalchus, and Artapanus were not Jews in the first place. Moreover, if self-esteem provided the stimulus for this humor, why do we not find much humor in the voluminous works of the two Hellenistic Jewish intellectuals whose works have come down to us in bulk, namely Philo and Josephus? As for the humor in the Greek version of Esther, the rabbis (b. Meg. 18a) permitted the book of Esther to be read in Greek; and it is hard to believe that they would have permitted this if Mordecai were to be viewed there as clumsy. In the sixth chapter, “Kings and Jews” (pp. 189-245), Gruen asserts that adjustment to life under absolute rulers and in the setting of a Greek cultural environment led Jewish writers to build the confidence of their fellow Jews with a series of fictive stories. Thus Alexander the Great is depicted as prostrating himself before the Jewish high priest (Ant. 11.331), and Alexandrian Jewish writers elevated the exploits of Jewish soldiers, scholars, and counselors. Again, there are, according to Gruen, comic touches, such as Mosollamos’ exposure of Greek seers (Pseudo-Hecataeus, ap. Jos. Ap. 1.201-4). The Letter of Aristeas, especially in the table talk of the symposium, he says, certainly demonstrates the superior wisdom of the Jews. In the case of Alexander, Gruen is on firm ground; but as to Jewish writers’ elevation of Jewish soldiers and others, there is no reason to deny that this may reflect actual fact, as we find in the evidence of the

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Jewish papyri from Egypt.5 As to the evidence from Pseudo-Hecataeus, one must admit that Bar-Kochva has made a convincing case for concluding that the story of Mosollamos was written not by a knowledgeable Greek but by a Jew.6 As for the Letter of Aristeas, Gruen makes much of the point that the vocabulary closely parallels that of the LXX; but if Pseudo-Longinus is at all typical, a non-Jew might also have appreciated the sublime style of the LXX. Moreover, one wonders how the author might have been a Jew when the translators of the Pentateuch are presented in their speeches in the banquet in their honor as never mentioning Moses or the Bible or any practices peculiar to Judaism. The seventh chapter, “Pride and Precedence” (pp. 246-91), notes that in their search for ways to heighten their self-esteem, Jewish writers sought to show that the Greeks had derived their ideas from Jewish sources. Thus Aristobulus (ap. Eus., Pr. Ev. 13.12.1, 3-4) in the second century b.c.e. claims that Pythagoras, Socrates, and Plato followed in the path laid out by Moses. As to Aristobulus, however, while there is no doubt that he was a Jew, there is no necessary reason for thinking that he originated such views, since we find, for example, that Hermippus of Smyrna, who lived a generation before Aristobulus, asserts (ap. Jos., Ap. 1.162-65) that Pythagoras pronounced and practiced certain precepts that he had appropriated from Jews and Thracians and that he introduced many points of Jewish law into his philosophy. Gruen also claims that Jews invented the fiction that they were related with the Spartans (1 Macc. 12:20-23); Jos., Ant. 12.225-27). As to the claim that the Jews have a kinship with the Spartans, this rests upon documents quoted in 1 Maccabees and Josephus, and most scholars conclude that they are authentic;7 and it is unlikely that the idea of kinship was invented by Hellenistic Jews. Nevertheless, admittedly, whether invented or not, it did serve to heighten the prestige of the Jews. Furthermore, the Third Sibylline Oracle, which is definitely of Jewish origin and which dates from the second century b.c.e., extends to the Greeks a promise of divine deliverance. The fact, we may add, that the Sibyl claims to be the daughter-in-law of Noah would be interpreted by Jews as an indica-

5 6 7

See the extensive discussion of this evidence by Tcherikover 1957, 1:1-111. Bar-Kochva 1996, 61-71. See the bibliography cited by Katzoff 1985, p. 485, n. 1.

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tion that she is a Noahide, that is,one who is obligated, according to Jewish tradition as later codified in the Talmud (b. Sanh. 56a), to observe the seven laws incumbent upon all peoples. The work is clearly intended, as Gruen himself admits, to convince non-Jews to partake of the values of the Jews. Professor Gruen’s decision to enter into the enormously important, fascinating and complex field—perhaps minefield is a more descriptive word—of Hellenistic Judaism is surely one of the greatest blessings that have come to the field in recent years. Gruen comes with an incredibly broad and deep background in both the Greek and Latin languages, the full gamut of Greek and Latin literature, and especially Greek and Hellenistic and Roman history generally from its beginnings to its fall. And to this is added an enormous respect for the text, a keen, analytical mind, an uncorrupted intellectual honesty, and a freshness and originality in whatever he touches. Quid plura? If I here express a divergent point of view, it is with deep appreciation of the tremendous and utterly admirable challenge that Gruen has given the entire field of Hellenistic Jewish scholarship. Gruen convincingly concludes that Jewish intellectuals in the Hellenistic period had a free hand in reshaping, excerpting, expanding, or even ignoring the biblical narrative. He gives numerous examples from Hellenistic Jewish authors, Pseudepigrapha, and the like. I myself have noted that Josephus promises his readers that he will throughout his work et forth τP μQν οRν κριβO τν ν τα-ς ναγραφα-ς (“the precise details of the Scriptures”), each in its place, ο/δQν προσθεKς ο/δ’ αR παραλιπ3ν (“neither adding nor omitting anything” (Ant. 1.17). But while I have noted a host of instances8 where Josephus parallels rabbinic midrashim in his expansions and deletions, there are far fewer that qualify as Hellenizations. Rappaport cites 299 instances where Josephus parallels midrashic traditions that ae not recorded until a later, often a much later, period.9 To these may be added numerous other instances dealing with Josephus’ portrayal of various biblical personalities. For example, we may note that Josephus was apparently aware of the equation of Esau and Rome (hinted at in Ant. 1.275), which is later found also in rabbinic tradition (Midr. Gen. Rab. 65.26). Josephus is well aware

8 9

See Feldman 1998 and 1998a. Rappaport 1930, 1-71.

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of the tradition, also found in the rabbinic aggadah (Tg. on 2 Kings 4:1); Midr Exod. Rabbah 31.4; Tan. Mishpatim 9, that Obadiah, the steward of Ahab, supported prophets with the money that he had borrowed (Ant. 9.47). He likewise is aware of the tradition identifying the widow for whom Elisha performed the miracle with the jar of oil as the wife of Obadiah (Ant. 9.47; cf. Tan. Ki Tissa 5, Midr. Mishle 31.27. The Church Fathers, if we may judge fom Eusebius (Demonst. Ev. 6.18.34-42), were aware of Josephus’ knowledge of the oral traditin, since Eusebius there calls attention to the fact that though the earthquake that occurred in the time of King Uzziah (Zech. 14:5) is not mentioned in the Book of Kings, Josephus, apparently writing on the basis of an oral tradition, not only mentions it but describes additional details in connection with that incident (Ant. 9.225). Actually, Josephus has added numerous details and even whole episodes, notably the account of Moses’ campaign in Ethiopia and his marriage to the Ethiopian princess (Ant. 2.238-53), while omitting such passages as certain incriminating details in connection with Jacob’s deception of his father in order to obtain his blessing (Gen. 27), the cunning of Jacob in connection with Laban’s flock (Gen. 30:37-38), the Judah-Tamar episode (Gen. 38), Moses’ slaying of the Egyptian (Exod. 2:12), the building of the golden calf (Exod. 32), the grumbling and doubting before the second miraculous feast of quails (Num. 11:11-23), Miriam’s leprosy (Num. 12), the story of Moses’ striking the rock to bring forth water which speaks of Moses’ disgrace (Num. 20:10-12), the story of the brazen serpent (Num. 21:4-9) whereby Moses cured those who had been bitten by the fiery serpents, the account of Gideon’s smashing of the Baal altar (Judg. 6:25-32), the story of Micah and his idolatry (Judg. 17-18), several passages (1 Sam. 20:6, 21:4-7, 26:19) which seem to cast a shadow upon David’s reputation for piety, the identification of Elijah as a zealot (1 Kgs. 19:9, 19:14), which would have aroused the antagonism of the Romans in view of the role of the Zealots in the great uprising of 66-70, Elisha’s cursing of the little boys who had jeered him in referring to his baldness (2 Kgs. 2:23-24), as well as his cursing of his disciple Gehazi for accepting gifts from Naaman (2 Kgs. 5:27), Jehu’s conversion of the Temple of Baal into an outhouse (2 Kgs. 10:27), which would have aroused charges of intolerance, Jonah’s extreme anger with G-d because He had forgiven the Ninevites after they had repented (Jonah 4:1), Hezekiah’s ingratitude to G-d (2 Chron. 32:25) when he became sick, the charge (Neh. 2:19-20,6:6) made by

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the neighbors of the Jews that the Jews were rebelling against the Persian king, the statement (Neh. 8:14,17) that the Jews had failed to observe the commandment to dwell in sukkoth since the days of Joshua, the infighting among the Jews in the days of Nehemiah (Neh. 5:6-7, 5:12, 13:4-11), and the gathering of the virgins in the Esther narrative (Esth. 2:19). But these are matters of mere addition or subtraction. And yet, how can we explain so notable a change as the case of Jehoiachin (Jeconiah), where Josephus seems to change the biblical text completely, so that instead of characterizing Jehoiachin, as does the Bible, as one who did what was evil in the sight of the L-rd (2 Kgs. 24:9, 2 Chron. 36:9), he is described as being χρηστς (“kind”) and δ5καιος; (“just”) (Ant. 10.100)? As to Josephus’ modification of the biblical text with regard to Jehoiachin, we might perhaps explain that in omitting the phrase that Jehoiachin “did what was evil in the sight of the L-rd” Josephus is simply omitting a formula frequently found in the Bible in connection with the various kings of Judah and Israel. Alternatively, we may say that the reference in this stock phrase may be to idolatry and that it does not mean that the king to whom it is applied mistreated his subjects. However, an examination of how Josephus deals with this phrase, which in the Bible occurs in connection with 25 kings,10 indicates that he never reproduces it as such, whereas he specifies in various ways the nature of a given king’s evildoing. In some cases Josephus explains that the evil consisted of impiety (Zimri, Omri, Jehoahaz of Israel, Ahaz); in others he says it consisted of both impiety and wickedness (Nadab, Baasha, Jehoram of Israel, Jehoram

10 Rehoboam (1 Kgs. 14:22, 2 Chron. 12:14; Ant. 8.251), Nadab (1 Kgs. 15:26; Ant. 8.287), Baasha (1 Kgs. 15:34, 16:7; Ant. 8.299), Zimri (1 Kgs. 16:19; Ant. 8.309), Omri (1 Kgs. 16:25; Ant. 8.313), Ahab (1 Kgs. 16:30; Ant. 8.316), Ahaziah of Israel (1 Kgs. 22:52; Ant. 9.18), Jehoram of Israel (2 Kgs. 3:2, Ant. 9.27), Jehoram of Judah (2 Kgs. 8:18, 2 Chron. 21:6, Ant. 9.95), Ahaziah of Judah (2 Kgs. 8:27, 2 Chron. 22:4, Ant. 9.18), Jehoahaz of Israel (2 Kgs. 13:2, Ant. 9.173), Jehoash of Israel (2 Kgs. 13:11, Ant. 9.178), Jeroboam II (2 Kgs. 14:24, Ant. 9.205), Zechariah (2 Kgs. 15:9, Ant. 9.215), Menahem (2 Kgs. 15:18, Ant. 9.232), Pekahiah (2 Kgs. 15:24, Ant. 9.233), Pekah (2 Kgs. 15:28, Ant. 9.234), Ahaz (2 Kgs. 16:2, 2 Chron. 28:1, Ant. 9.243), Hoshea (2 Kgs. 17:2, Ant. 9.258), Manasseh (2 Kgs. 21:2, 2 Chron. 33:2, Ant. 10.37), Amon (2 Kgs. 21:20, 2 Chron. 33:22, Ant. 10.47), Jehoahaz of Judah (2 Kgs. 23:32, Ant. 10.81), Jehoiakim (2 Kgs. 23:37, 2 Chron. 36:5, Ant. 10.83), Jehoiachin (2 Kgs. 24:9, 2 Chron. 36:9, Ant. 10.100), Zedekiah (2 Kgs. 24:19, 2 Chron. 36:12, Ant. 10.103).

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of Judah, Jeroboam II, Hoshea, Manasseh, Amon); in still others it is a matter of impiety and lawlessness or corruptness (Pekah, Jehoahaz of Judah). Again, in some cases it is left unspecified whether the king’s wickedness was against G-d or toward man (Ahaziah of Israel, Ahaziah of Judah); in others it is wickedness toward G-d (Ahab); in still others one hears of wickedness and injustice, presumably toward man (Jehoiakim); and finally, there are instances involving perverseness and cruelty toward man (Menahem, Pekahiah). Similarly, we may note that in the eight cases where the Bible states that a king did what was right in the eyes of the L-rd, Josephus never reproduces this phrase as such but spells out in various ways what the goodness involved. Thus in some cases he indicates that it consisted of piety (Jehoash), in others he identifies it with justice (presumably toward his subjects) (Amaziah), in other cases it is a matter of piety and justice (Asa, Jehoshaphat, Jotham, Hezekiah, Josiah), while finally, Uzziah’s righteousness lay in his goodness and justice. A close parallel is to be found in Josephus’ comments about Jehoash (Joash), the king of Israel. The Bible uses the familiar formula that “he did what was evil in the sight of the L-rd,” and, as if this is not enough, it adds that “he did not depart from all the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, which he made Israel to sin, but he walked in them” (2 Kgs. 13:11). The fact that he seized all the gold and silver and all the vessels of the Temple in Jerusalem would, we might expect, have led Josephus, who was so proud of his status as a priest, to condemn him utterly. Yet, Josephus has the very opposite view of Jehoash, remarking that he was γαθς (“good”) and in no way like his father Jehoahaz in character (Ant. 9.178). It is possible that Josephus has confused the Israelite Jehoash with the king of Judah of the same name, who, indeed, is described as having done what was right in the eyes of the L-rd (2 Kgs. 12:2). But that this is unlikely is seen from the fact that Josephus praises Jehoash the king of Judah for his zealousness in the worship of the L-rd (Ant. 9.157). Another possibility is that Jehoash the king of Israel may have repented, as did his father Jehoahaz, who is labeled as impious (Ant. 9.173) but then is described as repentant (Ant. 9.175); but against this is the fact that there is nothing in the Bible to indicate that Jehoash was repentant. The most likely explanation would seem to be that Josephus had an independent tradition indicating that Jehoash was actually a good king.

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We may perhaps find another parallel in the way in which the Talmudic rabbis treat the incident of David and Bathsheba. Although the prophet Nathan in the Bible seems to say very clearly that David, in smiting Uriah the Hittite and taking Uriah’s wife to be his wife, had “despised the word of the L-rd, to do what is evil in His sight” (2 Sam. 12:9), and although David himself admits, “I have sinned against the L-rd” (2 Sam. 12:13), Rabbi Samuel bar Nahmani, in the name of the third-century Rabbi Jonathan, directly contradicts the Bible by stating that whoever says that David sinned himself errs (Shab. 56a).11 Granted that there are numerous instances where Hellenistic writers, such as Philo, Pseudo-Philo, and Josephus, take liberties with their biblical source, when Gruen comes to Philo he has still another problem, namely how to explain that the same author presents contradictory views of biblical characters and events. Hence, I want to concentrate on one example of this, namely, the contradictions to be found within Philo’s comments about Joseph. Goodenough remarks that the portrayal of Joseph in Philo’s essay De Josepho is so contradictory to everything that Philo says in several of his other essays that he wonders why no one has yet claimed that it comes from a different author.12 Thus, on the one hand, Philo remarks that Joseph’s dreams of the sheaves and the stars reveal the vainglorious nature of Joseph’s character (Somn. 2.5-7, 30-33, 42, 78, 93-99, 105, 110-16, 138; cf. Agr. 56) and makes other disparaging comments about those dreams. It is Joseph’s brothers who are spoken of as virtuous, modest, and pious, whereas Joseph himself is termed ruthless (Somn. 2.79). Again, in the essay De Migratione Abrahami (19) Philo gives Joseph credit for saying that G-d is the author of interpretations of dreams, whereas in De Cherubim (128) the same Philo blames Joseph for saying that the interpretations are through G-d rather than by Him. To Philo, who so admired Plato,13 particularly his portrait of the philosopherking in the Republic. Joseph is the politician in the worst sense (Leg. 3.179), always prepared to compromise (Migr. 158, Somn. 2.14-15)

11 Interestingly, however, Josephus himself does not cover up David’s sin but candidly declares that although David was by nature righteous and G-d-fearing, nevertheless he fell into this grave error. For a suggested explanation of Josephus’ attitude see Feldman 1989, especially pp. 171-74. 12 Goodenough 1938, 43. 13 Note, for example, Philo’s reference (Prob. 13) to Plato as “most sacred.”

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and to subordinate truth to expediency and falsehood (Det. 7, Somn. 1.220), accommodating himself to both body and soul (Migr. 159). He is termed the personification of the body (Her. 256, Somn. 1.78), as opposed to the mind. His association with the sons of Jacob’s concubines (Gen. 37:2) is deemed fitting, inasmuch as his concern is with lower things (Deus 119-21) and with those who honor spurious goods (Sobr. 12-15). He is depicted as a veritable sophist (Somn. 2.11, Conf. 71), with a keen desire for outward, worldly things and with a consequent instability of character. His coat of many colors represents the robe of the very antithesis of the philosopher-king, since its variety stands for falsehood and sophistry (Somn. 1.219-25). He is furthermore depicted as self-opinionated (Leg. 3.179), presumptuous (Somn. 2.99), filled with arrogance (Somn. 2.46), and swollen-headed with vanity (Conf. 72). His very name, meaning “addition,” is explained (Somn. 2.47) as signifying that empty opinion is always adding the spurious to the genuine, falsehood to truth, and arrogance to life. The very fact that Egypt is the scene of his activity leads Philo (Somn. 1.78) to remark that his political stance is connected with the physical preoccupations for which the ancient Egyptians were notorious. He is said to bave inherited from his mother the irrational strain of sense perception (Somn. 2.16). It is most remarkable that Joseph, who so steadfastly withstands the temptation of Potiphar’s wife, is, nevertheless, in Philo depicted as having a love of bodily pleasure (Somn. 2.16). In Philo’s essay De Josepho (37-124), however, we have a very different and indeed positive portrayal, with only the mere hint of a flaw in his character (Jos. 34-36). He is second only to his three great forbears (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob) in directing his life toward the ideal good (Jos. 1). He is the very model of self-control, decency, and chastity, particularly in resisting the advances of Potiphar’s wife (Jos. 40-53). Whereas his dreams, as we have seen, are viewed disparagingly in De Somniis, they are given a positive interpretation in the essay De Josepho (5-11, 95). In other essays as well, Philo occasionally finds positive things to say about Joseph. Thus, in De Somniis (2.1067) he praises him for his rejection of bodily pleasures as represented by Potiphar’s wife and for his continence and zeal for piety while he was in exile in Egypt. In De Migratione Abrahami (17) he speaks of Joseph as a soul untouched by corruption and worthy of perpetual memory. In particular, he praises Joseph for his confidence that G-d would visit the race that has vision and not hand it over to ignorance,

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for his discernment between the mortal and incorruptible portions of the soul, and for his avoidance of bodily pleasures and passions (Migr. 18-22). Goodenough explains the apparently blatant contradiction by postulating two different audiences for Philo’s treatises.14 The De Josepho, according to this view, is addressed to Gentile readers, praising Joseph as the ideal politician who had done so much for Egypt, whereas in the other treatises, such as De Sobrietate 12-15 and De Somniis 2.11, addressed to Jews, he is depicted as the champion of materialism to which they were so prone. He suggests that the depiction of Joseph is a clever piece of double entendre, “a fierce denunciation of the Roman character and oppression, done in a way and in a document that would give it fairly wide currency among Jews, but would seem quite innocuous if, as was unlikely, it fell into Roman hands.”15 But, we may reply, this was a very dangerous gamble for a person to take who was so prominent in the Jewish community and who represented that community to the Romans. Bassler concludes16 that the discrepancies in Philo’s portraits of Joseph result from different perspectives, namely literal interpretation plus political allegory vs. allegory of the soul, and that the two scenes involving Potiphar’s wife are on both the literal and allegorical levels. Tobin17 explains the discrepancies by asserting that at the literal level his portrait is an encomium drawn from Hellenistic Jewish sources, whereas at the non-literal level Philo uses material from Greek philosophical traditions on the superiority of the sage over the unstable world of sense-perception. One explanation of the contradictory views about Joseph may be that Joseph was identified with Egypt, toward which Philo himself, who was born there, had ambivalent feelings, on the one hand being proud of Joseph’s achievements for the Egyptian pharaoh, and on the other hand being negative toward Joseph’s identification toward the country that had produced such anti-Jewish authors as Apion and had been guilty of the terrible pogrom of 38 c.e. But the very fact that in such a treatise as De Migratione Abrahami he can have both positive and negative things to say about Joseph calls such a thesis into question. More likely, as Gruen indicates, Philo truly

14 15 16 17

Goodenough 1938, 42-63. Goodenough 1938, 21. Bassler 1985, 240-55. Tobin 1986, 271-77.

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felt ambivalent about Joseph, and this apparent self-contradiction did not really bother him; or, we may add, the differing views may represent sermons or comments made at different times. To this self-contradiction in the treatment of Joseph we may add a parallel in Philo’s attitude toward Jethro. What is striking about it is that it is almost completely negative.18 Presumably, the basis for this is his Midianite origin. The most severe criticism that Philo, the Platonist, can make of anyone is that he prefers seeming to being, conceit to truth; and that is precisely the charge that he makes against Jethro, deriving these traits from the very name of Jethro, which, he says, means “uneven” (περισσς) (Agr. 43).19 Jethro, consequently, stands for variability and inconsistency. Jethro, he says, “values the human above the divine, custom above laws, profane above sacred, mortal above immortal, and in general seeming above being” (Mut. 104). It is hard to imagine a more devastating attack, coming as it does from a Platonist. Again, he declares that Jethro corresponds to the “commonwealth peopled by a promiscuous horde, who swing to and fro as their idle opinions carry them” (Ebr. 36). Indeed, he declares that the mythical Proteus, constantly changing form as he did, is most clearly typified by Jethro (ibid.). He bows down to the opinions of the multitude and will undergo any manner of transformation in order to conform with the ever-varying aspirations of human life. To a Platonist such as Philo this is well-nigh the ultimate sin. Indeed, Philo completely transforms the biblical account of Jethro’s visit to Moses. It is almost as if Philo’s text of the Bible ended with the statement, “What you are doing is not good” (Exod. 18:17). According to Philo’s version, Jethro suggests to Moses that “he should not teach the only thing worth learning, the ordinances of G-d and the law, but the contracts which men make with each other, which as a rule produce dealings where the partners have no real partnership.” He is accused of trying to convince Moses “to give great justice to the great and little justice to the little” (Mut. 104).20 Rather 18

Baskin 1983, 62, notes only the unfavorable comments about Jethro in Philo; she neglects to cite De Specialibus Legibus 4.173-74, which speaks of the :ρισα (“excellent”) and συμφ%ροντα (“useful”) advice given to Moses by Jethro. 19 This is the most common epithet applied to Jethro. Its meaning is “superfluous,” “overwise.” Colson 1929 translates it as “worldling” in Sacr. 50 and as “worldly-wise” in Gig. 50; Whitaker 1930 translates it as “uneven” in Agr. 43; Colson 1934 renders it as “superfluous” in Mut. 103. 20 Here Philo seems to have completely perverted the biblical account of Jethro’s

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than praise Jethro for giving such excellent advice to Moses, as we find in the Bible (Exod. 18:17-23), namely, to appoint subordinate judges to handle minor matters rather than to handle personally all matters, great and small, Philo here (Mut. 105) and elsewhere (Ebr. 37) describes him as δοκησ5σοφος (“seeming wise”) and as being concerned with little else than things human and corruptible. In enumerating four classes of children—one who obeys both parents, one who obeys neither, one who obeys only the father (that is, right reason), and one who obeys only the mother (that is, mere variable and unstable convention)—Philo says that the last, which, he explains, symbolizes the one who bows down to the opinions of the masses, is most clearly typified by Jethro (Ebr. 35-36). Indeed, Jethro, who in the Bible is depicted as dispensing excellent advice to Moses on how to administer his judicial system (Exod. 18:17-23), is described by Philo as having seven daughters who represent the unreasoning element (Mut. 110). Philo undoubtedly has in mind Plato’s allegory of the ship (Rep. 6.488) when he condemns Jethro as playing the demagogue (Ebr. 37). Instead of welcoming Jethro’s statement, “Now I know that the L-rd is greater than all gods” (Exod. 18:11), Philo vehemently condemns Jethro as a blasphemer, first because the word “now” implies that he had never previously understood the greatness of G-d and secondly because he dares to compare G-d with other gods (Ebr. 41-45). And yet, Philo is not completely negative in his portrayal of Jethro. We do see a favorable side of Jethro in the gratitude that he exhibits toward Moses for having aided his daughters when they were driven away by some shepherds when they were drawing water at a well. Indeed, Philo elaborates considerably on the scene. Jethro shows real exasperation that his daughters did not bring the stranger along so that he might be thanked for his kindness. “Run back,” he tells them, “with all speed, and invite him to receive from me first the entertainment due to him as a stranger, secondly some requital of the favor which we owe to him” (Mos. 1.58-59). This overwhelming concern with showing hospitality to the stranger would surely have endeared Jethro to a Greek audience that worshipped ΖεBς Ξ%νιος (“hospi-

advice. Consequently, as Colson 1934, 194-95, has commented, attempts have been made to emend the text. However, as he remarks,the Greek as it stands accords with Philo’s goal at this point of discrediting Jethro.

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table Zeus”). Again, in the treatise De Specialibus Legibus (4.173-74), Philo compliments Jethro for having given Moses “excellent advice” (:ριστα συνεβο*λευσεν) which was συμφ%ροντα (“useful”), namely, to choose others to adjudicate less important matters while keeping the greater matters for himself and thus giving himself time to rest. But such favorable comments are few. In particular, we may note that Philo nowhere refers to Jethro, as do the rabbis, as a proselyte to Judaism. In any case, the two sides of Jethro may reflect his two names, Jethro having negative associations, and Reuel (Raguel), meaning “the shepherding of G-d,” having positive associations (Mut. 105). In viewing a biblical personality inconsistently we may find a parallel in Josephus. For his portrait of Zedekiah, Josephus (Ant. 10-102-54) appears to have consulted a number of passages in the Bible (2 Kgs. 24:17-25:12, 2 Chron. 36:10-14, Jer. 34:1-22, 37:139:10, 52:1-16).21 Here, however, he was confronted with a stark dilemma. On the one hand, the Bible asserts that Zedekiah did what was evil in the sight of the L-rd, like all that Jehoiakim had done (2 Kgs. 24:19), that he did not humble himself before the prophet Jeremiah (2 Chron. 36:12), and that he hardened his heart against turning to the L-rd (2 Chron. 36:13). On the other hand, Zedekiah shows pity for Jeremiah in instructing Ebed-melech the Ethiopian to rescue him from the cistern into which he had been lowered (Jer. 38:10). Furthermore, he makes a covenant, quite clearly approved of by Jeremiah, with all the people in Jerusalem that everyone should set free his Hebrew slaves (Jer. 34:8-11). The rabbinic tradition likewise contains contradictory traditions about Zedekiah. Thus, on the one hand, he is criticized for the egregious crime of swearing falsely, inasmuch as we are told that despite the fact that he had sworn fealty to Nebuchadnezzar on a Torah scroll, as demanded by him, he nevertheless rebelled against him (Pesiq. Rabbati 26.3). He is likewise condemned for his faithlessness in not abiding by an oath by the name of Heaven which Nebuchadnezzar had made him take not to reveal that he had seen the latter eat-

21 I have approached this study of Zedekiah independently of Begg 1989a, 96-104, who presents a fine, systematic comparison of Josephus’ version with the actual text of the various biblical passages that he is paraphrasing but who is less concerned with the rationale of Josephus’ modifications.

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ing flesh from a living hare (Ned. 65a, Tan. B. 5.8, Exod. 33).22 Thus Nebuchadnezzar could justify his punishment of Zedekiah because, as he put it, Zedekiah had sinned against the laws of both G-d and the state (Pesiq. Rabbati 26.6). There is a tradition of unknown origin reported by the eleventh-century commentator Rashi (on 2 Kgs. 25:4) that because of his unfaithfulness to his oath Zedekiah was punished in a most unusual way: while he was attempting to escape through a cave that extended from his house in Jerusalem to Jericho, G-d sent a deer into the Babylonian camp; and while pursuing that animal the Babylonian soldiers came to the opening of the cave precisely when Zedekiah was leaving it.23 On the other hand, the rabbinic tradition also recalls Zedekiah’s virtues. Thus, Rabbi Eleazar ben Azariah is quoted as saying that because he had arranged to have the prophet Jeremiah lifted from the mire (Jer. 38:10), he was deemed worthy to be rewarded by dying in peace (Jer. 34:5) and to outlive Nebuchadnezzar himself (Mo‘ed Q. 28b). Much more positive is the statement, in connection with the discussion as to whether a given generation follows its leader or vice versa, that Zedekiah is an example of the leader who was virtuous, whereas his generation was not (‘Arak. 17a). The third-century Rabbi JoÈanan declares, on the authority of the second-century Rabbi Simeon ben YoÈai, that so wicked was the generation of Zedekiah that G-d was determined to reduce the world to formlessness and emptiness, but that when he considered Zedekiah his anger subsided (Sanh. 103a). To be sure, the Talmud notes an apparent contradiction by citing the passage that Zedekiah did what was evil in the sight of G-d (2 Kgs. 24:19); but Rabbi JoÈanan explains this by remarking that he could have stemmed the evil of others but did not (Sanh. 103a).24 Indeed, the Talmud refers to him as the righteous

22 According to the version in Ned. 65a, Zedekiah had arranged to have himself absolved of his oath before disclosing that Nebuchadnezzar had eaten flesh from the living hare. The Talmud then presents a scenario in which Nebuchadnezzar, after learning that he was being derided, had the Sanhedrin and Zedekiah brought before him. When the Sanhedrin declared that Zedekiah had been absolved of his oath, Nebuchadnezzar asked whether one may be absolved of an oath when the object of the oath is not present. Thereupon the Sanhedrin, its legal incompetence thus revealed, was deposed. 23 Jeremiah is likewise presented in a negative light in a Jeremiah apocryphon. See Mingana and Harris 1927, 329-42, 352-95, and Kuhn 1970, 93-135, 291-350. 24 Indeed, there is a tradition that the reason why the Jews went into captivity

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Zedekiah and asks what he could have done on behalf of the wicked Nebuchadnezzar (b. Shab. 149b). Likewise, he is listed as one of the eight princes among men, together with Jesse, Saul, Samuel, Amos, Zephaniah, the Messiah, and Elijah (Suk. 52b). To be placed in such company is surely a high compliment. Great was the mourning when he died, and the elegy over him was: “Alas, that King Zedekiah has died, he who quaffed the lees that all the generations before him had accumulated” (S. Olam Rab. 28). This same positive portrayal of Zedekiah appears to be reflected in several fragments discovered at Qumran near the Dead Sea and soon to be published jointly by John Strugnell and Erik Larson (4Q470).25 One of these fragments describes the making of a covenant, through the agency of the angel Michael, between G-d and a certain Zedekiah, whom the editors identify, most persuasively, with the last king of Judah. The fact that the covenant involves both observing the Torah and causing others to observe it is an indication that the fragment looks most favorably upon the figure of Zedekiah. But the problem still remains: how do we explain that the same author contradicts himself? In this connection, it may be significant that in his essay Contra Apionem Josephus uses, it would seem, every mode of argument in order to refute calumniators of the Jews and shows considerable acquaintance with Aristotle’s methods of refuting an opponent, notably pointing out contradictions in the statements made by the opponent himself (Rhetorica 2.23.1400A23-28). Indeed, Josephus (Ap. 1.219) promises to expose “the fictitious nature of the accusations and aspersions cast by certain persons upon our nation, and to convict the authors of them out of their own mouths.” And yet, only once does Josephus (Ap. 1.226) refer to his calumniators as contradicting themselves. “Some of them [the calumniators],” he says, “carried their folly and narrow-mindedness so far that they did not hesitate to contradict their ancient chronicles; nay, in the blindnesss of their passion, they failed to perceive that in what they wrote they actually contradicted themselves.” But when we examine this statement we see that Josephus is not saying that Manetho contradicts Manetho or that Apion contradicts Apion. What he is saying

was that they had no excuse for their sinfulness, inasmuch as their king was so pious (2 Bar. 1:3). 25 For a summary see Larson 1994, 210-28.

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is that Manetho contradicts the chronicles on which he claims to be basing his charges, and that Chaeremon contradicts Manetho, as, indeed, he does say in his refutation (Ap. 1.293-303) over and over again, and that Lysimachus contradicts Manetho, as he says at the beginning of his refutation of that writer (Ap. 1.312). Moreover, there are numerous places where the Antiquities (Books 12-20) contradicts the War (Books 1-2); where the Life (17) contradicts the War (2.562-68), notably in the account of the purpose of Josephus’ mission when he is appointed as general of Galilee; where there are contradictory lists of delegates sent to Josephus (War 2.628 and Life 197); where the builder of towers in War 4.580-82 is contradicted by the builder in War 6.377;26 and where the encomium of the high priest Ananus in War 4.319-21 is contradicted by the very unfavorable picture of him in Ant. 20.199-203. It is surely significant that Josephus, who is elsewhere so defensive about his actions, nowhere indicates that he has been criticized for these contradictions and offers no explanation for them, let alone apologizes for them, nor is there any independent evidence that there was any such criticism. Again, numerous examples may be cited from the Talmud where a rabbi makes a statement and the charge is made that he is contradicting what he had said elsewhere. How often, for example, do we have (b. Ber. 3a) such a statement as that there is a contradiction between Rabbi Meir in one Baraita and the same Rabbi Meir in another Baraita, almost immediately followed by the statement that there is a contradiction between the statement of Rabbi Eliezer in a Baraita and the same Rabbi Eliezer in a Mishnah. An Aristotle and the rabbis, too, may be troubled by this, but it frequently recurs, especially in a society where the learning was predominantly oral and where a person might forget what he had previously said or might be persuaded by someone else to change his mind or might himself upon reflection have changed his mind. And as to self-contradiction, Walt Whitman (“Song of Myself,” 50) says, “Do I contradict myself? Very well, then, I contradict myself: I am large; I contain multitudes.” In his preface (p. xv) Professor Gruen writes: “Jews [he cites Eupolemus, Pseudo-Eupolemus, Artapanus, and Cleodemus-Malchus] 26 See Ilan and Price 1993-94, 189-208, who suggest that these inconsistencies are to be explained by tendentiousness, carelessness, ignorance, or lack of interest on the part of Josephus.

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engaged actively with the traditions of Hellas, adapting genre, and transforming legends to articulate their own legacy in modes congenial to a Hellenistic setting.” This was true of Eupolemus, PseudoEupolemus, Artapanus, and Cleodemus-Malchus; but there is a real question as to whether these writers, of whom we have only fragments, were Jewish at all. It seems to me that the burden of proof rests with those who claim that they were. At the very beginning of his essay, Josephus (Ap. 1.2-3) notes that a considerable number of persons have attempted to prove that the Jews are a modern people through citing the fact that they have not been thought worthy of mention by the best known Greek historians. Josephus then declares that he considers it his duty to disprove their claims. He then declares (Ap. 1.5) that he will explain why the Jews are mentioned by only a few of the Greek historians. A major concern of the essay Against Apion, as we see in Josephus’ programmatic statement (Ap. 1.58), is to answer those critics who try to establish the late origin of the constitution of the Jews from the silence of the Greek historians concerning the Jews. Here, as elsewhere in the essay, whenever he refers, as he does frequently, to the Greek historians, they are contrasted with the Jews. Shortly before his mention of Eupolemus, Josephus (Ap. 1.213) again refers to the omission of some historians to mention the Jews and explains that this is due not to ignorance but to envy. These historians are clearly non-Jews, since it would be unlikely that Jews would be mentioned as envious of Jews in general. Josephus then goes on (Ap. 1.215) to remark that the antiquity of the Jews is mentioned by the Egyptian, Chaldaean, and Phoenician records and by numerous Greek historians. The statement that the Greek historians establish the antiquity of the Jews would lose its point if they included Jews, certainly after mention of Egyptians, Chaldaeans, and Phoenicians. He then enumerates eight historians and states that these are “in addition to those already mentioned.” All of those historians previously mentioned in this essay are non-Jews, and so we expect that these eight additions—Theophilus, Theodotus, Mnaseas, Aristophanes, Hermogenes, Euhemerus, Conon, and Zopyrion—are likewise non-Jews. “The majority of these authors, says Josephus (Ap. 1.217), “have misrepresented the facts of our primitive history because they have not read our sacred books.” Why would Josephus declare that Jews had misrepresented their own history and would not have read their own books? He then adds the names of three more historians—Demetrius of Phalerum,

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the elder Philo, and Eupolemus. The point that he is trying to make is that they also testify to the antiquity of the Jews. They are clearly similar to the eight previously mentioned, since Josephus wishes to state that they are different in one respect alone, namely, that they are exceptional in their approximation to the truth. He then adds that their errors “may be excused on the ground of their inability to follow quite accurately the meaning of our records.” The contrast is between them and our records; hence they are not Jews. This passage is quoted by Eusebius (Pr. Ev. 9.42.3), and significantly with no disclaimer of the pagan origin of Eupolemus. Indeed, the quotations from Eupolemus included by Eusebius in Book 9 are all taken from Alexander Polyhistor, whom Eusebius cites as a Greek, obviously pagan, and bear witness to the antiquity of the Jews. Elsewhere, to be sure, Eusebius (Hist. Eccl. 6.13.7) includes Eupolemus with other Jewish writers, but he may mean people who write about the Jews. In any case, the passage where he actually quotes from Eupolemus and does not identify him as a Jew is surely more significant. Moreover, it is hard to believe that a Jew would have made such elementary errors as to identify David as Saul’s son (ap. Eus., Pr. Ev. 9.30.3) and Eli as the high priest at the time of Solomon’s accession (9.30.8). And would Solomon, having just completed, as Gruen acknowledges (p. 145), the most monumental act of piety, namely the building of the Temple, actually send a pillar of gold to stand in the pagan temple of King Souron of Tyre, as Eupolemus asserts (ap. Eus., Pr. Ev. 9.34.18)? To be sure, the Bible (1 Kgs. 11:4-5) admits that Solomon’s wives swayed his heart after the gods of others, including Ashtoreth, the god of the Sidonians; but the biblical text explicitly declares that he sent a pillar of gold to the pagan temple when he grew old, whereas in Eusebius he did so immediately after erecting the Temple. Eupolemus, according to Alexander Polyhistor as quoted by Clement of Alexandria (Strom. 1.23.153.4) and Eusebius (Pr. Ev. 9.26.1), says that Moses was the first wise man and gave the alphabet to the Jews first, and that he was the first to write down laws. Gentile readers, says Gruen (p.154), “would hardly be persuaded. But Jewish intellectuals would take some satisfaction in imagining that Moses’ delivery of the Tablets constituted a milestone in the history of letters.” But why must we assume that only a Jew would have complimented the Jews thus? Pythagoras, who, according to

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Cicero (Tusculan Disputations 5.3.8-9), was the actual inventor of the word “philosopher,”27 was, according to the historian Hermippus of Smyrna (ca. 200 b.c.e.), an ardent admirer of Jewish institutions (ap. Jos., Ap. 1.162-65).28Numenius of Apamea (ap. Clement, Strom. 1.22.150.4), the Neo-Pythagorean philosopher, in the second century writes expressly “For what is Plato but Moses speaking in Attic?” Aristotle (ap. Clearebus of Soli, ap. Jos., Ap. 1.179) praises the Jews as descended from the Indian philosophers. Aristotle’s disciple, Theophrastus (ap. Porphyry, De Abstinentia 2.26), describes the Jews as being “philosophers by race.” What could be a greater compliment than to have four of the greatest thinkers of antiquity speak so highly of Jews? And what could be a greater compliment than for the most celebrated literary critic after Aristotle, Pseudo-Longinus (On the Sublime 9.9), whom almost all would identify as a non-Jew, to cite a passage from Genesis (1:3, 9-10) as an example of the most sublime style?29 The fact that he does not refer to Moses by name but rather as “the lawgiver of the Jews” implies that he expects his readers to know who this was. It was not necessary for a Jew to embellish the biblical narrative when Hecataeus of Abdera (ap. Diod., Bibliotheca Historica 40.3.3) ca. 300 b.c.e. refers to Moses as greatIy outstanding both in his wisdom and in his courage and praises him for selecting men of the utmost refinement and greatest ability to head the entire nation (40.3.4). Varro, in the first century b.c.e., who for breadth of scholarship is hardly surpassed in Latin literature, is quoted (ap. Augustine, De Civitate Dei 4.31) as citing the testimony of the Jews in support of his view that if the Romans, as they had originally done, had continued to worship gods without an image, as do the Jews, their worship would be more devout.30 The historian Pompeius Trogus (ap. Justin, Epitoma Historiarum Philippicarum 36.2:6-10), praises the biblical Joseph for his extraordinary ability, notably in establishing the science of interpreting dreams, and says that his knowledge was such that his admonitions seemed to proceed not from a mortal but 27

On the (legendary) Pythagorean origin of the term (and concept) “philosopher/philosophy” see the seminal article by Burkert 1960, 159-77. 28 On Pythagoras as an admirer of Jewish institutions according to Josephus, see Burkert 1962, 91 (with n. 28) and 138, n. 262; English translation by Minar 1972, 102 (with n. 28) and 57, n. 204. 29 On Pseudo-Longinus’ citation of Genesis see Ziegler 1915, 572-603; Mutschmann 1917, 161-200; Norden 1966, 286-313; and Gager 1972, 56-63. 30 On Varro about Moses see Norden 1921, 292-301.

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from a god. Hence it was not necessarily Hellenized Jews, but also non-Jews, who revised and embellished the picture of Joseph. This is not to say that there were not pagans who disparaged the Jews; but if the aim was a rewriting and an embellishment of Jewish history and lore it might also have emanated from a non-Jewish source. The fragment of Pseudo-Eupolemus (ap. Eus., Pr. Ev. 9.17.1-9) focuses particularly on Abraham, who is said to have discovered both astrology and Chaldaean science (9.17.3) and to have taught the Phoenicians the movements of the sun and moon and everything else as well. Gruen (pp. 147-50) thinks that Pseudo-Eupolemus is a Jew and that his creative rewriting of the Bible can only reinforce a sense of cultural superiority for Jewish readers. But one wonders how a Jew could identify Enoch, especially the Enoch who walked with G-d and was taken by G-d (Gen. 5:22-24), with the mythical Atlas (9.17.9). And one wonders how a Jew, in view of the longstanding strife between Jews and Samaritans, could have written that Abraham was received as a guest at the temple “Argarizin, which is interpreted ‘mountain of the Most High” (9.17.5), when Argarizin, i.e. Har Gerizim (“Mount Gerizim”), written as a single word, is the way the Samaritans write Mount Gerizim.31 As for Artapanus, Eusebius (Pr. Ev. 9.18.1, 9.23.1-4, 9.27.1-37) and Clement of Alexandria (Strom. 1.23.154.2-3), who cite him at length, nowhere mention that he was a Jew. Philo never mentions him at all. Josephus never mentions him; and while there are some parallels with his account of Moses as general in Ethiopia, there are considerable differences as well. It seems hard to believe that a Jew, however liberal he might have been, could have stated, as Artapanus (Eus., Pr. Ev. 9.27.4) says, that Moses became the teacher of Orpheus, that he established the worship of cats, dogs, and ibises (9.27.4, 9.27.9, 9.27.12), and that he was deemed worthy of divine honor by the priests and was called Hermes because of his ability to

31 Talmon 1989, 283-84, has published a papyrus fragment in Samaritan handwriting which was found in a room near the synagogue at Masada and which refers to Mount Gerizirn in a single word, as the Samaritans write it. This, however, has been disputed by Pummer 1987-88, 18-25. As to whether the split between the Jews and Samaritans had occurred by the time of Pseudo-Eupolemus, the Elephantine papyri (Cowley 1923, 30) include letters requesting help from both the Samaritan and Jewish priests to build a temple, implying an already existing schism; and Ezra (4:4-5 and 17-24) reports opposition by the Samaritans to the building of the Temple, as well as to the building of the walls of Jerusalem.

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interpret the sacred writings (9.27.6). If he was Jewish and presumably acquainted with the Bible it is hard to understand how he could have said (9.27.20) that the Pharaoh Chenephres died because he had ordered the Jews to be clothed with linen and not to wear woolen clothing and that he did this so that once they were so marked they could be harassed by him, whereas the Bible prohibits wearing cloth that combines wool and linen (Lev. 19:19, Deut. 22:11). As to Cleodemus-Malchus, neither Alexander Polyhistor, nor Josephus, who quotes him (Ant. 1.239-41), nor Eusebius (Pr. Ev. 9.20.2-4), who quotes Josephus, indicates that he was a Jew. He refers to Moses (Ant. 1.240) as their own lawgiver, which would seem to indicate that this is written from the point of view of one who was not a Jew. Moreover, Cleodemus is referred to as “the prophet,” whereas Josephus (Ap. 1.41) speaks of the failure of the exact succession of the prophets in the reign of Artaxerxes, presumably an indication that Josephus, like the Rabbis (S. ‘Olam Rab. 21, regarded Esther, who lived during the reign of Artaxerxes, whom Josephus identified as the biblical Ahasuerus, as a prophetess—the last to compose a biblical book under prophetic inspiration. Might a Jewish Cleodemus-Malchus have chosen to adopt, selectively, only the image of Heracles as a positive cultural hero, which also existed among the Greeks? However, in view of the fact that Heracles was the most popular hero in all of Greek mythology and in view of the fact that his exploits were so well known, it is hard to believe that a Jew would record (Ant. 1.241) that a granddaughter of Abraham was married to the pagan Heracles, who, despite his heroic status, was so widely known as a mad murderer.32 But, in conclusion, we must express to Professor Gruen our admiration for this challenging book, so full of original and provocative insights. His thesis that Jewish writers, notably Philo and Josephus,

32

In a recent essay, Gruen 2001, 62-93, notes perceptively that while much scholarly attention has been given to the influence of Hellenism upon the Jews, little scrutiny has been applied to a related but quite distinct issue, namely, the Jewish perception of the Greeks. He cites Cleodemus-Malchus as an example (pp. 79-80); but there is a real question as to whether he was a Jew or a Samaritan or pagan. We may suggest that if the title of his work was Concerning Jews or Concerning Hebrews, as Freudenthal 1875, 215, proposed, a Jew would most probably not have given such a title. Moreover, if the existing fragment comes from his Concerning Libya, as Holladay 1983, suggests, it was most probably not composed by a Palestinian Jew.

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sought to aggrandize their biblical heroes in order to heighten their self-esteem is certainly valid, but he should have added that not only Hellenistic Jewish writers but also the rabbis, especially in their midrashim, have a similar goal; and he should likewise have added that one major purpose in their aggrandizing biblical heroes was to win non-Jews to Judaism. His thesis, moreover, that Judaism and Hellenism were not competing or incompatible systems rests, in large part, upon the attitude of Jewish rulers, who were practical politicians in coming to terms with the political powers of that world—the Seleucids, the Ptolemies, and the Romans—and with a sizable percentage of their subjects, who were pagan and Greekspeaking. It likewise rests upon the evidence of the only two major surviving Jewish writers in Greek, Philo and Josephus; but there is a real question as to how much impact these writers had upon their fellow Jews. In any case, neither of them is as much as mentioned even once in the vast rabbinic literature. It is the rabbis of that era who had large numbers of students and who, as Josephus (Ant. 18.15) notes, were extremely influential among the masses; and they are clearly opposed to “Greek wisdom,” as we have noted. “Our people,” says Josephus (Ant. 18.264), “do not favor those persons who have mastered the speech of many nations,” where the “speech of many nations” most probably refers to Greek, the lingua franca of that era. We hear of only one of the vast number of rabbis, Elisha ben Abuyah, who was attracted to Greek culture (b. \ag. 15b), nor is there a single mention anywhere in the vast corpus of rabbinic literature of Socrates or Plato or Aristotle.33

33 I am grateful to Professor WoIfgang Haase and Mr. Eric Parks for their meticulous attention to detail in the checking of bibliographical data and style and for their many fine suggestions of additional works of classical as well as other scholarship pertinent to this review essay. Thanks also go to Teresa Munisteri of the English Department at Rice University for her editorial assistance in reading this essay.

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CHAPTER FIVE

DID JEWS RESHAPE THE TALE OF THE EXODUS? Erich Gruen’s essay, “The Use and Abuse of the Exodus Story,”1 is truly a fresh and challenging approach, full of innovative insights. If I take issue with some of it, it is only after admiring it for these qualities. First of all, I agree completely with Gruen’s view that it is simplistic and indeed misleading to divide the comments of pagan writers about the Jews into those that are pro- or anti-Jewish or even neutral. Writers such as Hecataeus2 and Strabo, who are usually classified as pro-Jewish, actually contain some negative comments; likewise, there are a number of pro-Jewish intimations in the remarks of Apion and Tacitus, both of whom are generally regarded as being viciously antiJewish.3 As any good rhetorician—and in antiquity rhetoric was a field that was very carefully cultivated—or lawyer or writer of letters of recommendation knows, a statement that has nothing but utter praise is actually less effective, since it is less credible, than one that is more carefully balanced. Gruen asks an excellent question: “Would Jews have propagated a narrative that highlighted their flight from Egypt at a time when they sought to establish their credentials as residents?” The answer, however, might well be “Yes.” In the frrst place, the Israelites escaped from the Egypt of the Pharaohs, not the Egypt of the Ptolemies or the Romans, neither of whom were Egyptians at all and, in fact, were interlopers. Moreover, to sunder themselves from the Egyptians would have enhanced the status of the Jews, since the Egyptians were apparently generally regarded with hatred and

1

Gruen 1998a, 93-122. See now Peter Schäfer, Judeophobia: Attitudes toward the Jews in the Ancient World (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1997) 17, who is not convinced that there is an overall pro-Jewish attitude in Hecataeus’ version of the Exodus tradition and concludes that he has an anti-Jewish bias with regard to the expulsion of the Jews and the fact that their customs are different from those of all other nations. 3 See Feldman 1987-88, 187-251; and 1991, 331-60. 2

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contempt, as we can see from Juvenal’s fifteenth satire, for example.4 Gruen remarks that Egyptians might have had grounds for annoyance if they were aware of the story, but then he asks: “How far is it likely to have spread outside the synagogues?” In reply, we may note that, according to Philo (Mos. 2.41), writing in the frrst century, a feast and general assembly was held every year on the island of Pharos—where the translation known as the LXX was said to have heen produced—where “not only Jews but multitudes of others” came to commemorate the translation. Moreover, the frrst-century Pseudo-Longinus (9.9), the most celebrated literary critic in antiquity after Aristotle, not only paraphrases Gen. 1:3 and 1:9-10 but cites it as an example of the most sublime style. Furthermore, we know of at least seven writers—Alexander Polyhistor, Apollonius Molon, and Teucer of Cyzicus in the first century b.c.e., Apion of Alexandria, Damocritus, and Nicarchus in the first century c.e., and Herennius Philo of Byblus in the second century—who wrote whole monographs on the Jews; and it is hard to believe that they would not have availed themselves of a major source of information about the Jews, namely the LXX. That the LXX was read by Gentiles is implied by Josephus, when he quotes Nicolaus of Damascus as stating in his address to the Roman Marcus Agrippa (Ant. 16.43) that the Jews do not “make a secret of the precepts that we use as guides in religion and in human relations.” A clue that the LXX was used for proselyting purposes and even was successful toward that end, may he seen in Philo’s remark (Mos. 2.26) that in ancient times the laws (that is, the Pentateuch) were written in the Chaldean tongue (here presumably Hebrew is meant) and remained thus for many years, “so long as they had not yet revealed their beauty to the rest of mankind,” the implication being that eventually action was taken in order to reveal the beauty of the Torah to the Gentiles, that is, at least in the ultimate sense, to convert them to Judaism. Additional evidence that the LXX was used for proselyting purposes may he seen in Philo’s statement (Mos. 2.36) that the translation was made so that “the greater part, or even the whole, of the human race might be profited and led to a better life” by the Torah’s wise and admirable ordinances. That Philo had great hopes that the LXX would lead non-Jews to adopt Judaism is clear from his statement of belief (Mos. 2.44), put into immedi4 For other examples of the contempt with which the Egyptians were viewed, see Balsdon 1979, 68-69.

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ate juxtaposition with his account of the translation of the LXX, that “each nation would abandon its peculiar ways and, throwing overboard their ancestral customs, would turn to honoring our laws alone.” Gruen asks another excellent question: “How urgent was it for Greeks and Egyptians to refute a Jewish legend that could safely be ignored or dismissed?” If, as I have indicated, the Jews were particularly successful in converting non-Jews to Judaism, as we may see from the demographic and literary evidence, from resentment against proselytism, and from expulsions of Jews as evidence of proselytism,5 and if Jews, whose resettlement of Egypt dated primarily only from the fourth century b.c.e., had risen to such prominent positions as commanders-in-chief of the armies of the Ptolemies (Onias and Dositheus: Jos., Ap. 2.49; Helkias and Ananias, Jos., Ant. 13.284-87, 349) and governor of Egypt (Tiberius Julius Alexander: Jos., War 2.309), one can readily imagine how the Egyptian natives would have resented these interlopers. It is Gruen’s contention that few of the pagans would have had the occasion, interest, or motivation for reshaping or misshaping the account of the biblical Exodus; but if the attempted massacres of the Jews by Ptolemy Philopator in 217 b.c.e. (3 Macc. 5-6) and by Ptolemy Physcon in 145 b.c.e. (Jos., Ap. 2.53) and the pogrom in Alexandria in 38 c.e. (Philo, Flacc.) actually took place, there is a history of continuing hostility against the Jews. If, as Gruen asserts, Jews played a large part in reshaping or misshaping the biblical Exodus for polemical purposes, why would they have presented Moses as an Egyptian priest, the Jews as afflicted by leprosy, etc.? Josephus, who takes the greatest liberty in his rewriting of the Bible, does not present Moses and the Jews thus. And how can we explain the divergent views of the Exodus, including the name of the Pharaoh, his date, the number of Israelites who left, the name of the Israelite leader, as found in Hecataeus, Manetho, Lysimachus, Chaeremon, Apion, and Tacitus? According to a pagan historian, Manetho (Ap. 1.249), an Egyptian priest named Osarseph, whom he identifies with Moses, enjoined upon his polluted followers to sacrifice and feast upon all the animals sacred to the Egyptians. Gruen asserts that Manetho is not talking here about Jews at all; we may add that Osarseph is merely said (λ%γεται) to be identified with Moses. But why would a Jew invent 5

See Feldman 1993, 288-341.

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a story about the suppression of the Egyptians and their religion by foreigners and the foreigners’ subsequent expulsion? Indeed, such motifs are common in native Egyptian literature. Gruen’s solution is to assert that Manetho’s account is not concerned with the Exodus at all but that, nevertheless, it was Jewish sources, proud of the humiliation visited by the Jews upon the Egyptians, that are responsible for the introduction of the Jews into Manetho’s narrative. To support his view Gruen cites a fragment (ap. Eus., Pr. Ev. 9.27.21) of Artapanus, who is generally regarded as a Jew, stating that a divine voice told Moses to wage war against Egypt. But Artapanus identifies Moses with the Musaeus, the teacher of the pagan Orpheus (ap. Eus., Pr. Ev. 9.27.3-4); and it seems hard to believe that a Jew would have stated—and with pride—that Moses assigned cats, dogs, and ibises as gods (9.27.4). Gruen also notes instances where the Maccabees, for example, smashed pagan shrines; but this was in Palestine, and it seems hard to believe that Jews, living under a foreign power, the Ptolemies, would have invented stories of their committing such massacres in Egypt. To be sure, the Jews did execute more than 300 in Egypt in a single day, but these were Jewish apostates, and the Jews did so only after obtaining special permission from King Ptolemy IV (3 Macc. 7:10-15). As for the Jews who killed thousands in the Persian Empire according to the Book of Esther (8:9-12, 9:116), they did so after seeking permission from the king; and we read that the king allowed them to gather and defend their lives and to annihilate any armed force of any people that might attack them. As to the 75,000 whom they slew (Esth. 9:16), we read specifically that they gathered to defend their lives and got relief from their enemies. That is very different from what the polluted Egyptians and their allies from Jerusalem are said to have done in the passage ascribed to Manetho, namely that they set cities and villages on fire, pillaged temples, and mutilated the images of the gods (Jos., Ap. 1.249). I note that in his article Gruen has only two very brief passing references to Philo; and yet Philo, as the prestigious head of the largest community in Egypt, Alexandria, and as the head of the delegation of the community in negotiations with the Roman Emperor Caligula in 40 c.e. concerning Jewish rights, was certainly in a position to know what the attitude of the non-Jews in Egypt was toward the Jews. As a diplomat and as a polemicist Philo had to be careful about his facts lest he be laughed out of court. Surely, to judge from Philo, the question of relations of Jews with the Egyptians was urgent. In

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an important essay concerning the attack by the Alexandrian nonJews upon the Jews in the year 38, Philo (Legat. 120) makes the very significant remark that the hatred of the promiscuous and unstable rabble of the Alexandrians had been smouldering from long ages past (κ μακρν χρνων). Hence, we might well expect a reshaping of the Exodus story by Alexandrian non-Jews. The most controversial aspect of Gruen’s thesis is his suggestion that the Diaspora Jews themselves might have had a hand in molding the non-traditional parts of the story of the Exodus. On the surface, this is not an improbable hypothesis. We may note how often Philo, Pseudo-Philo, and Josephus, and the rabbis, in their retelling of the biblical narrative, add to, subtract from, and modify it.6 Thus Josephus portrays Moses as a combination of a Jewish Pericles and a Platonic philosopher-king,7 clearly going far beyond the biblical portrayal. Gruen asserts that Jews in the Diaspora and particularly those dwelling in Egypt had strong incentive to reshape the tale of the Exodus. But, to judge from the inscriptions and the papyri, they knew the Bible only in the Greek translation. According to the Letter of Aristeas (310-11), when the translation was completed, the leaders of the community declared that since it was “in every respect accurate, it is right that it should remain in its present form and that no revision of any sort take place.” When this was unanimously agreed to, a curse was pronounced upon anyone who should add to or subtract from or modify the translation. One of the verses in this translation (Exod. 22:27), in rendering Elokim lo tekallel, states that “Thou shalt not revile gods.” Very significantly, both Philo (Spec. 1.53) and Josephus (Ant. 4.207, Ap. 2.237), who adopt the LXX’s translation here, explain that the reason for this injunction is that the very word “G-d” is sacred. If the Jews in the Diaspora held the LXX in such high regard, they would hardly have invented stories about the desecration of other peoples’ religion.

6 See Sandmel 1956; Feldman 1971, lviii-lxiv; Feldman 1974, 306-7; Feldman 1998; Feldman 1988b, 455-518; and Amaru 1994. 7 See Feldman 1991-92, 285-328; 1992-93, 7-50, 301-330.

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CHAPTER SIX

STUDIES IN THE ANCIENT JEWISH MEDITERRANEAN DIASPORA Review of: John M. G. Barclay, Jews in the Mediterranean Diaspora: From Alexander to Trajan (323 B.C.E.-117 C.E.) (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996)

This volume, originally published in hardcover in 1996 by T. and T. Clark in Edinburgh, is the first comprehensive survey of the Jews in the Mediterranean Diaspora from Alexander to Trajan and is distinguished by the fact that it combines a study of the political, social, and cultural history of Jewish communities in five geographical areas—Egypt, Cyrenaica, Syria, Asia Minor, and Rome—where we have sufficient information to warrant more detailed analysis. What is particularly novel is an attempt to examine the various levels of assimilation of the Jews in these areas. Barclay is especially to be commended for examining afresh in the original the whole range of Diaspora Jewish literature. This is a seminal work and deserves an extended critical review. Barclay1 asserts that the five areas that he has chosen will prove to be sufficiently diverse and will indicate how variable were the experiences and responses of Diaspora Jews; yet he himself2 admits that the remains from the non-Egyptian areas are so scanty that he gathers together the material from all four of the non-Egyptian areas on the ground that a rough and hesitant sketch is better than an empty canvas. Indeed, at one point Barclay,3 in his discussion of high assimilation in the Diaspora outside of Egypt, gives five examples. First of all, they are cases of individuals; secondly, the example of Nicetas, who contributed to a Dionysiac festival and who, Barclay infers, apparently enjoyed the feast that he had helped to finance,

1 2 3

Barclay 1996, 11. Barclay 1996, 320-35. Barclay 1996, 321-22.

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may not, despite what Barclay thinks, indicate high assimilation but rather good neighborliness in contributing to such a cause, just as today Jews often contribute to non-Jewish causes, and, in any case, it does not necessarily follow that he participated in the feast that he helped to finance; thirdly, one (Moschos) comes from Greece (not one of the five areas that he had promised to discuss), and he is alleged4 to have received instructions from the gods in a dream. In this last case, we may note, the inscription appears in the temple of the god Amphiaraos, and we may guess that the inscription was inscribed by the pagan caretakers of the temple and/or that the Jew went to the temple (since temples in antiquity sometimes served as hospitals, in effect, and the patient spent the night in the temple and then reported his dream to the caretaker) simply to get a cure for his ailment. In his attempt to classify degrees of assimilation, Barclay refers to two inscriptions5 dating from the Ptolemaic period found in the Temple of Pan at Resediyeh in upper Egypt. One of them reads: “Praise to G-d. Theodotos, a Jew, son of Dorion, saved from the sea.” The other reads: “Praise G-d. Ptolemaios, a Jew, son of Dionysios.” These inscriptions lead Barclay6 to ask a number of apt questions, typical of his extremely careful and critical approach: “Why, we may ask, do Ptolemaios and Theodotos publicly profess themselves to be Jews (or Judaeans), yet dedicate these inscriptions in the temple of Pan? Since the Deity is referred to only as G-d (θες), without specific reference to Pan, do they imagine they are offering thanks to the G-d of the Jews even in this non-Jewish temple? Or do they consider that Pan (πXν=everything) is a proper name for the true G-d? Or again do they think it is legitimate to worship G-d in any available context, at least while far away from a synagogue and in the relief of safety after a perilous journey? Further, if Ptolemaios and Theodotos wrote an inscription, did they also offer prayer in the temple, or even sacrifice? In other words, do these inscriptions indicate social integration into non-Jewish worship or not? How did these individuals behave when they returned to their own communities? How should we interpret the fact that they identified themselves as ‘Jews’/’Judaeans’, a unique feature among Egyptian inscriptions?

4 5 6

CIJ 1.82. CIJ 2.1537-38. Barclay 1996, 100.

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We simply cannot answer such questions, and intriguing as this case may be, it is difficult to make any judgment at all concerning the assimilation of these Egyptian Jews. Here and often elsewhere the evidence leaves us almost entirely at a loss.” In commenting on these inscriptions7 I myself had cited them as illustrating syncretism among Jews and had concluded that they would seem to indicate a real compromise with Jewish monotheism. Barclay has wisely kept the question open. We may comment that the fact that Ptolemaios and Theodotos identify themselves as Jews and do not address Pan or otherwise indicate their gratitude to pagan gods would seem to indicate that they have not assimilated, let alone converted to paganism. There is no indication that they consider Pan to be a proper name for the true G-d, since we know of no case where anyone in an inscription or a papyrus or in a literary work makes such an identification as we find in Arist. 16 equating Zeus with G-d. As to the possibility that they consider Pan to be a proper name for the true G-d since his very name signifies everything (πXν), we may first of all comment that there is an important difference in that the name of Pan (Πάν) is masculine, whereas the word for everything (πXν) is neuter. We may add that Pan is unique among the Greek gods in that we hear of a plural, ΠXνες (masculine plural), which is distinct from the masculine plural of πXς, which is πάντες; but that would have a polytheistic connotation and would certainly not imply that it is a name for the true G-d. Moreover, there is always the possibility that the inscriptions are graffiti written on the temple of Pan or after the temple building was no longer in use. Barclay is to be commended for not only attempting to classify Diaspora Jews according to the degree of their assimilation but also for admitting that in most cases the result is not definitive. In this we may add that there is seldom help from the pagans themselves. Indeed, writers such as Plutarch and Tacitus refer to the Jews as if all Jews were observant of such practices as the Sabbath and dietary laws, nor do they mention degrees of observance and of assimilation Barclay8 is rightly cautious in asserting that the mere fact that a person has a Greek name is no proof of assimilation. Here we would point out that some of the greatest rabbis, such as Antigonus, bear

7 8

Feldman 1993, 67. Barclay 1996, 115.

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Greek names. In any case, as Barclay well points out, the name reflects the attitude of the parents who give that name rather than the person who bears that name. On the identity as Jews of the people in Egypt who bear the name of Sambathion,9 Barclay10 adopts an agnostic position. He admits that the name is originally and specifically Jewish; but, as he wisely points out, nomenclature is not a sufficient indication of ethnic identity. However, I have counted in the papyri containing the name Sambathion over one hundred different people related to Sambathion, but none with distinctively Jewish names. It is striking that no other Hebrew name was ever borrowed by non-Jews. The most likely explanation for the choice of name, consequently, is that the parents were Sabbath-observers, the so-called “sympathizers,” people who observed the Sabbath without actually converting to Judaism.11 Barclay makes excellent and critical use of the papyri, but he would have done well to point out that a large percentage of the papyri that we have found come from a single small town in Egypt, Oxyrhynchus, whereas none at all come from the great Jewish community of Alexandria. Whether Oxyrhynchus is typical of the Egyptian Jewish community is very questionable. Likewise, a large percentage of the inscriptions come from the single community of Rome, and, moreover, as Rutgers12 has pointed out and as Barclay13 recognizes, most and perhaps all of those from Rome come from the period after Trajan. As for sarcophagi bearing non-Jewish motifs, Barclay14 wisely warns that we cannot tell whether such sarcophagi were commissioned by Jews. Yet, he adds that it is important that some Jews found such artistic assimilation unobjectionable. Even if this is so, the sarcophagi in question most likely date from the third or early fourth centuries15 and hence should be beyond the chronological scope of Barclay’s book. On the basis of an inscription that mentions a certain Eleazar the

9

Cf. Tcherikover et al. 3:1964, 43-87. Barclay 1996, 124. 11 See Feldman 1993, 342-82. 12 Rutgers 1995. 13 Barclay 1996, 284-329. 14 Barclay 1996.330. 15 See Rutgers 1995, 79. 10

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νομοφ*λαξ of Cyrene, Barclay16 concludes that this man must have been highly assimilated, since, he says,17 such a position entailed considerable responsibility, requiring education, experience, and the confidence of civic leaders, and typically required some religious participation. But the νομοφ*λαξ was in charge of the observance of the civic laws; and such a position did not necessarily, it would seem, require compromise with Jewish practice, let alone indicate that such a person was highly assimilated. Again, Barclay18 asserts that it is difficult to imagine how Alityrus (Jos., Life 16) gained popularity in Nero’s court as an actor unless he participated in pagan religious rituals, though he admits that he cannot be placed with certainty in the category of high assimilation in which he puts him. But again, we have no evidence that a court jester such as Alityrus was necessarily expected to participate in pagan rituals. Though Barclay is thoroughly commendable for his restraint in refusing to go beyond the evidence, he notes19 that the only texts where the ethnic dimension of Jewish identity largely disappears from sight are the Letter of Aristeas and the poem of Pseudo-Phocylides. He remarks that it may be no accident that both of these are presented as the products of Gentile authors, but he does not doubt that they are by Jews.20 Yet, he nowhere raises the possibility that they may actually be by Gentile authors, in which case they have nothing to tell us about their degree of cultural assimilation as Jews. The chief arguments for identification of the author of the Letter of Aristeas as a Jew are his knowledge of the language and content of the Septuagint, his knowledge of the religious doctrines and usages of Judaism and particularly of the Temple, his reverence for Jewish beliefs, as seen in his avoidance of the name of G-d and even of the name L-rd, and his representation of the high priest Eleazar as speaking disdainfully of idolatry and of the Greek wise men. Moreover, he never explicitly identifies himself as a pagan. These are appealing arguments but they are not necessarily conclusive. In the first place, to say that only a Jew would have the knowledge of the Septuagint that he displays disregards the fact that, according to Philo (Mos.

16 17 18 19 20

Barclay Barclay Barclay Barclay Barclay

1996, 1996, 1996, 1996, 1996,

321. 235. 321. 406. 138-50, 336-46.

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2.41), who, as a leader of the Alexandrian Jewish community was certainly in a position to know, every year, on the anniversary of the completion of the translation, a festival was held on the island of Pharos, off the coast of Alexandria, where the translation had been made, to which not only Jews but also others “with their whole multitude” (παμπληθε-ς) came. As to the possibility of knowledge of the Jews by a non-Jew, Alexander Polyhistor in the first century b.c.e. wrote a whole treatise On the Jews, in which he refers to Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Job, Solomon, and Jeremiah. Others who composed monographs on the Jews (and presumably used the Septuagint) were Apollonius Molon and Teucer of Cyzicus in the first century b.c.e., Apion of Alexandria in the first century c.e., and Herennius Philo of Byblus in the second century c.e.21 Teucer’s work, in particular, seems to have been very extensive, consisting, as it did, of six books.22 Such works could hardly have been composed without access to the major source of early biblical history, the Bible, presumably in the Greek translation. Moreover, the first-century Pseudo-Longinus (On the Sublime 9.9), the most celebrated literary critic after Aristotle, not only paraphrases Genesis 1:3 and 1:9-10 but cites it as an example of the most sublime style. Moreover, it is hard to believe that a Jewish author would equate G-d and Zeus (Arist. 16), as Aristeas is reported to have done in the Letter. Josephus (Ant. 12.22) reproduces this in his paraphrase of the Letter, reporting it in the name of Aristeas. To be sure, Barclay23 remarks that this statement is put into the mouth of a Greek, not a Jew. But even so, the work itself clearly endorses this point, and it is hard to believe that a Jew would have allowed it to stand without challenge, and that Josephus in turn would have quoted it without disavowing it or, as he often does, to have omitted it. Of course, this does not prove that Aristeas was a non-Jew, but Josephus (Ant. 12.23), in his paraphrase of the Letter, reports that Aristeas told King Ptolemy that he (Aristeas) was not related to the Jews by race and that he was not their countryman. If it was so well known that non-Jews knew so little about Judaism, Josephus, who

21 22 23

See Stern, ed. 1974-80, 1. 148-66, 389-416; 2. 138-45. Ap. Suda, s.v. Τεκρος D Κυζικηνς. Barclay 1996, 143.

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is always aware, in the Antiquities and not merely in the essay Against Apion, that he might be challenged by those who were critical of or even despised the Jews, should have been more careful than to add such a statement. At the very least Barclay should have raised the question as to the possibility of Aristeas being a non-Jew and should have been wary about using the Letter to indicate Jewish cultural convergence with Greek attitudes. Indeed, Barclay24 admits that a number of details, notably his extraordinary knowledge of court procedure and diplomatic protocol, indicate that Aristeas may have operated within the Ptolemaic court. Moreover, it seems unlikely that a Jew would make the egregious error of saying (Arist. 116) that the Jordan River circles Judaea and that it floods annually like the Nile. If so, why not postulate that he was a non-Jew? Tcherikover25 had argued that the Letter was not written with the aim of self-defense or propaganda and that it was addressed not to Greek but to Jewish readers in order to encourage them to embrace Greek education and to enter Greek society. Barclay agrees. But Tcherikover’s thesis was based on his doubt that widespread Jewish literary propaganda among the pagans was technically possible, that the distribution of books in the ancient world was similar to that in modern times, that books were produced in large numbers of copies, that they were sold in thousands of shops and sent to distant countries, and that famous authors had their own “publishers” who profited from these sales. But we may well ask why, if he was addressing a Jewish audience, Aristeas adopted a Gentile disguise; surely it would have been at least as effective if he had kept his Jewish identity.26 Barclay27 stresses the contrast in attitude toward non-Jews between the Letter of Aristeas and 3 Maccabees. Aristeas, he remarks, tells of a positive collocation of events in which a Ptolemy arranges that Jews be released from slavery, sponsors a translation of the Jewish scriptures, and holds a banquet in honor of the translators. 3 Maccabees tells of Ptolemy Philopator’s sacrilegious attempt to enter the Holy of Holies in the Temple and his decree to kill all the Jews. However, Barclay has missed the encouragement and assistance that

24

Barclay 1996, 40. Tcherikover 1958, 61. 26 See further my discussion of the problem of the readership of Josephus’ Against Apion in Feldman 1987-88, 230-43. 27 Barclay 1996, 201. 25

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the Alexandrian Greeks offered the Jews (3 Macc. 3:8-10). Surely, a major point of 3 Maccabees is that even though the Egyptian king was malevolent, this was merely a temporary lunacy, and that the status ante quo of co-operation between Greeks and Jews was soon restored. As for the poem of Pseudo-Phocylides, Barclay follows Bernays28 in regarding it as the work of a Jew. In particular, he notes29 that some verses in the poem are directly derived from the Septuagint, either in concept or in vocabulary. He remaks that such a precept as not to take both chicks and mother from a bird’s nest (verses 84-85) can only be drawn from Deut. 22:6-7; but, as we have noted above, there is good reason to think that the Septuagint was known to some non-Jews. For a work which is alleged to be a comprehensive compendium of law and conduct by a Jew it seems strange that there should be not a word about such crucial Jewish concepts as the Sabbath, dietary laws, and circumcision, nor a word of polemic against idolatry. But what are we to make of the poem’s references to “gods” (θεο5, 104), “the heavenly ones” (ο/ραν5δαι, 71), and “the blessed ones” (μάκαρες, 75, 163), which Barclay30 admits normally point to gods in Greek literature? Could a Jew, even a highly assimilated Jew, have written this? Bernays resolves the problem by emending θεο5 to ν%οι (“young men”) and θεο-σι (98) to γοισι (“weeping ones”), but Barclay, to his credit, declines to follow this easy solution. Instead, he remarks that the problem is not really acute, since the suggestion that after death men become gods is not wholly impossible in Jewish circles, where the dead could be considered angels, and angels could be styled “sons of G-d.” But surely in Judaism the dead cannot be considered angels but, at best, merely like angels, and, in any case, cannot be considered “gods.” It is surprising that in a work that analyzes the main Diaspora literature Barclay does not discuss the Septuagint, the earliest major work of the Diaspora. Barclay31 admits that the Septuagint would certainly repay close attention, but he justifies his exclusion of it because of the scale and complexity of such an analysis. Nonetheless, even

28 29 30 31

Bernays 1856. Barclay 1996, 338. Barclay 1996, 341. Barclay 1996, 12.

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a brief analysis would have been welcome, including the important question of the possible influence of Greek philosophy, particularly Platonism, and even of Greek mythology upon it,32 and especially since it was apparently initially highly approved of by the rabbis (b. Meg. 9a-b), who even justified certain changes that the translators made, only to have them later condemn it by comparing the day when it was completed to the day that the Israelites built the golden calf (Sof. 1:7). Barclay33 makes no attempt to explain his omission of Demetrius, who was, according to Holladay, perhaps the first Jewish author to engage systematically in biblical criticism34 and who was a disciple, either directly or indirectly, of the great Eratosthenes.35 In his discussion of levels of assimilation among Egyptian Jews Barclay categorizes as highly assimilated those Jews whose circ*mstances resulted in their isolation from other Jews with the consequent difficulty of maintaining Jewish customs. He concludes36 that Jewish peasants and artisans in the Egyptian countryside may not always have clung faithfully to Jewish customs. As evidence he notes that our papyri indicate that some Jews in the countryside adopted Egyptian names, spoke Egyptian demotic, and worked alongside Egyptian field-hands and artisans. But, we must point out, there is no indication in any of these papyri that any of these factors actually led to deviation from Jewish practices. On the other hand, Barclay37 cites as examples of medium assimilation the fact that Jews are to be found undergoing divorce in accordance with the normal rules of Hellenistic law. In the first place, however, we may remark, we have found only one such divorce (CPJ 144). But in a matter as crucial and delicate as divorce, this one document, which states that the husband and wife have dissolved their marriage by an agreement, is in utter contradiction to the biblical formula (Deut. 24:1) that states clearly that it is the husband who writes the bill of divorce. On the other hand, it is possible that this document represents a civil action corresponding to the religious

32 33 34 35 36 37

See Feldman 1993, 52-54. Barclay 1996, 12. So Holladay 1983, 1:53. See Modrzejewski 1993, 87-89. Barclay 1996, 111. Barclay 1996, 116.

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divorce and hence is couched in terms current in the civil code. Barclay, to his great credit, has clearly read all the primary sources in the original, and he often raises questions about readings of individual passages. But he is at times hypercritical. Thus38 he remarks that the notion that the Dionysiac cult should have been imposed upon all Jews by King Ptolemy IV Philopator of Egypt is fantastic. But, we may ask, how about the attempt of Antiochus Epiphanes to impose paganism upon the Jews? Again, Barclay39 ridicules Philo’s claim (Flacc. 43) that the Jews in Egypt in the early Roman period numbered a million. While it is true that such a number may be a round figure, we may suggest that Philo, as the leader of the Alexandrian Jewish community, was in a good position to know the approximate Jewish population of Egypt on the basis of the number of half-shekels that we have reason to believe were faithfully contributed each year by adult male Jews. Among Egyptian Jews who represent cultural convergence with paganism Barclay40 cites Artapanus, and he concludes that Artapanus indicates that some Jews effected an important measure of synthesis with Egyptian culture, even Egyptian religon. He notes that Artapanus’ narrative is in many cases dependent on the Septuagint, even in vocabulary; but, as we have noted above, the Septuagint might well have been available to non-Jews. He notes that in the fragments that have survived Artapanus focuses on three Jewish heroes—Abraham, Joseph, and Moses. However, even the extremely influential pagan rhetorician Apollonius Molon, who calls the Jews the most witless (φυεστάτους, “most untalented”) of barbarians (ap. Jos., Ap. 2.148), refers to Abraham as wise (σοφν) (ap. Eus., Pr. Ev. 9.19.2). Pompeius Trogus (ap. Justin, Historiae Philippicae 36.2.6-10) speaks of the extraordinary abilities of Joseph, particularly in interpreting dreams, so that his admonitions seemed to proceed not from a mortal but from a god. Moses is presented as a hero by Hecataeus of Abdera (ca. 300 b.c.e.) (ap. Diod. 40.3.3-8), who notes that he was outstanding for both his wisdom and his courage. Indeed, Barclay41 admits that it is ironic that the very text, the Septuagint, that Artapanus embellishes contains warnings against foreign religious cults and 38 39 40 41

Barclay Barclay Barclay Barclay

1996, 1996, 1996, 1996,

32. 41. 127-32. 132.

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lists the ibis among the unclean birds (Lev. 11:17). Barclay42 asserts that Artapanus’ work was preserved by Jews; but, significantly, his work is mentioned by no Jewish author, whether Philo or Josephus or the Pseudepigrapha. Rather, he is mentioned only by Clement of Alexandria and Eusebius. Barclay43 finds it intriguing that Josephus (Ap. 1.215-18) refers to some Hellenized Jewish authors as Greeks rather than as Jews; but, in an apologetic work such as Against Apion, it would have been very damaging to his credibility to make such an error. In discussing Joseph and Aseneth Barclay,44 basing himself on the popularity of the work among Christians and on the similarity of phrases which seem to be like those of mystery initiations and like New Testament statements on the Last Supper, has raised the question of Christian interpolation, though, in his typically critical fashion, he is reluctant to commit himself, despite the fact that he apparently seems inclined in that direction. We may, however, comment that it would seem rather unlikely that a Christian would interpolate the work without trying to prove the Messiahship of Jesus in more direct fashion and, in a work celebrating a convert, without quoting or closely paraphrasing passages from the New Testament or so-called prooftexts from the Jewish Scriptures. It is particularly hard to imagine that a Christian interpolator in a work dealing with conversion would not have made clear that real conversion is conversion to Christianity. Barclay45 says that it is unlikely that Joseph and Aseneth was designed as a missionary tract because it presupposes so much biblical knowledge. But the fact that the story is told from the point of view of the proselyte Aseneth indicates that it is written for a Gentile audience; and the work would be most likely effective in the hands of a missionary, inasmuch as it would show that a wise Gentile would eagerly take the initiative in seeking conversion to Judaism. Surely the description of Aseneth as “dead” before her conversion illustrates a major attraction of Judaism, namely its promise of life and, indeed, of immortality.

42 43 44 45

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132 n. 20. 348 n. 28 204 n. 37, 211 n. 47. 215.

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As to the extent and success of the proselyting movement, Barclay46 is non-committal. He is surprised47 that, according to some inscriptions, proselytes even went so far as to change their names upon conversion. However, we may note that this was apparently an old practice and is still practiced today, since upon becoming a proselyte the candidate takes a new name, inasmuch as he is regarded as a person who has no relatives and is, in effect, like a new-born baby. The book contains numerous interesting and appealing insights. Particularly persuasive is the remark48 that paradoxically the destruction of the Temple in 70 may have helped to maintain, rather than to diminish, the attractiveness of Jewish customs to non-Jews. On only a very few occasions does Barclay drop his ultra-agnostic stance. On one of these occasions49 he suggests that the Jewish tragedian Ezekiel is careful to alter details that might have been used in Egyptian polemic against the Jews. As an example, he remarks that Ezekiel passes over Joseph’s period of rule in Egypt, since he must have been conscious of Egyptian associations between the Jewish rulers and the hated Hyksos regime. In reply, we may remark that the subject of Ezekiel’s play is the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt, and that the figure whom he highlights is, of courses, Moses. In one of the fragments Eusebius (Pr. Ev. 9.28.1) says that Ezekiel rehearsed from the beginning the story of those who came with Jacob to be with Joseph. To be sure, none of the existing fragments relates the story of Joseph’s role as viceroy in Egypt, but we have only about one quarter of the play; and, in any case, there is no reason why we should not take seriously Eusebius’ statement that Ezekiel did relate the story from the beginning of those who came with Jacob to be with Joseph. It would seem unlikely that if he told the story from the beginning he would not mention Joseph’s role at the time that Jacob and his sons came to Egypt. Barclay50 raises an important question whether rabbinic rules were applicable to Jews in the Egyptian Diaspora. Even when appeal is

46 47 48 49 50

Barclay Barclay Barclay Barclay Barclay

1996, 1996, 1996, 1996, 1996,

408-10. 409 n. 12. 310. 136. 85.

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made to a biblical norm, for example, on charging interest, we need to know, he says, how such texts were interpreted in the times and circ*mstances of the Jews involved. Now, it is true that despite the strict prohibition in the Bible (Exod. 22:24, Deut. 23:20) of lending money to a Jew at interest, of the six papyri mentioning loans by Jews to Jews, one is at interest although we do not know the rate, and four are at the usual rate of interest during the Ptolemaic period of 24 per cent per year, and only one is without interest; and even that one is subject to the overtime interest rate of 24 per cent if not repaid within a year.51 But this may be explained by the fact that a device had to be found whereby interest might be charged on loans for the sake of the well-being of the economy, namely through a device of joint venture similar to the later hetter iskah, whereby the lender and the borrower entered into a partnership and whereby the working partner (borrower) guaranteed the investment against loss.52 Moreover, the fact that such great rabbinic scholars as Judah ben Tabbai and Joshua ben PeraÈayah migrated to Alexandria because of the persecution by King John Hyrcanus of Judaea at the end of the second century b.c.e. meant that there must have been some contacts with the rabbinic oral law. Furthermore, the anecdote that, according to the Talmud (Nid. 69b), some Alexandrian Jews asked Rabbi Joshua ben Hananiah, who lived at the end of the first and at the beginning of the second century, a number of legal questions would seem to indicate that they were acquainted with the principles of the oral tradition. Additionally, and significantly, there are several references in rabbinic literature of the first two centuries to an exchange of ideas between Alexandrian and Palestinian Jews.53 In view of tremendous importance attached to the oral law by the Palestinian rabbis and especially in view of the formidable opposition that they faced from the Samaritans and the Sadducees, who refused in principle to accept the validity of the oral law, it would

51 See Tcherikover 1957, 1: nos. 20, 23, 24; 1960, 2: nos. 148, 149; for the loan at an unknown rate of interest, see Cowley 1923, no. 81, line 47; for the loan without interest see Tcherikover 1957, 1: no. 23. The rate of 24 per cent is to be explained by the fact that the permissible maximum on money loans was two per cent a month throughout the Ptolemaic period. 52 See Horowitz 1953, 493-94. 53 See Tosefta Pe’ah 4:6, Ket. 3:1 and 4:9, Shab. 2:3, Suk. 4:6, cited by Belkin 1940, 6 n. 2.

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seem to be significant that the rabbis, despite their many contacts with Egyptian Jews, who were, after all, in close geographical proximity to Palestine, never indicate that there were some Egyptian Jews who denied the validity of the oral law. Significantly, Philo never even mentions the Sadducees. A clue that Philo was acquainted with the oral tradition may be seen in his statement (Mos. 1.4) that he will tell the story of Moses as he has learned it not only from the sacred books but also from some of the elders of the nation (π7 το =θνους πσεσβυτ%ρων).54 He then adds that he always interweaves what he has been told (τά λεγμενα), presumably oral tradition, with what he has read, and that he consequently believes that he has a more accurate knowledge of Moses’ life’s history than others. The fact that he uses the word “always” (ε5) indicates that this combination of written and oral sources is to be found throughout his writings. That the rabbis issued rulings that were applicable in Egypt in particular may be seen from the statement in the Mishnah (Yad. 4:3) ascribed to the second-century Rabbi Tarfon, that they, that is the rabbis, have made Egypt liable for the poor man’s tithe, so that the poor of Israel may depend on it in the Sabbatical year. Moreover, Philo (Spec. 4.149-50) mentions decisions (δγματα) of men of old which he speaks of as customs (=θη) that are unwritten laws (:γραφοι νμοι) which children inherit from their parents and by which they should still abide. An example of oral interpretation of the law, coinciding with the rabbinic interpretation (Sanh. 59b), may be seen in Philo’s comment (QG 2.58) on Gen. 9:3: “Some say that through this statement ‘as the herbs of fodder I have given you all things’ the eating of meat is enjoined.” The “some” may well be a reference to the rabbinic oral tradition. We may find a reference to this oral law in Philo’s statement (Migr. 90) that those who interpret the Bible in an excessively literal fashion “are taught by the sacred word to have thought for good repute, and to let go nothing that is part of the customs fixed by divinely empowered men greater than those of our time.” Who are these divinely empowered men (θεσπ%σιοι)? Belkin55 notes that after making this remark Philo proceeds (Migr. 91) to enumerate specific acts that are prohibited on the Sabbath, such

54

The term “elders” is used as a technical term in Philo to designate the exponents of the oral law in Palestine. See Wolfson 1947, 1:189-90. 55 Belkin 1940, 30.

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as instituting proceedings in court or acting as jurors or demanding the restoration of deposits or recovering of loans, none of which are mentioned in the Pentateuch and all of which are mentioned in the rabbinic oral law. The fact that in his entire book Barclay has only six brief references to rabbinic literature means that he has deprived himself of a number of insights which, if approached critically, in view of the tremendous gaps in our other sources, might have proven useful. For example, there is surely significance in the statement (b. Pes. 53a-b, b. Ber. 19a, b. Beí. 23a), not mentioned by Barclay, made by Rabbi Yose ben \alafta, who lived in the middle of the second century, that a certain Todos of Rome accustomed the Roman Jews to eat roasted goats in the manner in which the Passover sacrifice was roasted, whereas such roasting was prohibited outside the Temple in Jerusalem, and the message sent to him by the Sages of Palestine: “If you were not Todos, we would excommunicate you because you make Israel eat sacred flesh outside the Temple.” The rabbis, again significantly, are said to have asked (b. Pes. 53b) whether Todos was so great or powerful a man that the rabbis refrained from excommunicating him. The rabbis then proceed to quote, in obvious admiration of his scholarship, an a fortiori argument presented by Todos to justify the readiness of Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah to suffer martyrdom. Again, we may note the tradition (b. Sanh. 32b), unmentioned by Barclay, that the great rabbi Matthiah ben \eresh established a yeshivah in Rome in the middle of the second century. Furthermore, since there were numerous delegations of rabbis from Palestine to the imperial court in Rome, we may well suppose that these rabbis during their stay in Rome had contact with the Jewish community. Surely, moreover, the number of references to Alexandria in particular in rabbinic literature is considerable. Though that literature was reduced to writing after the time of Trajan it may well reflect attitudes and traditions of an earlier period. After all, the Jews of Egypt had originally come from Palestine, and it seems reasonable to expect that they might have brought with them and retained at least some of the traditions that they had known in Palestine. Diaspora Jews were, moreover, reminded, as we hear in the name of the above-mentioned Rabbi Yose, that they were in exile by the fact that they were required to observe an extra day for each of the three pilgrimage festivals (b. ‘Erub. 39b). To his great credit, in the end, Barclay refuses to exaggerate the

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degree of acculturation of the Jews; and in fact his last chapter is not on acculturation but on the factors that maintained Jewish identity. The fact, noted by Barclay,56 that Josephus (Ant. 20.265), who, to be sure, may be boasting, says that only two or three people have succeeded in mastering the Greek literary tradition would appear to indicate that he regarded such an achievement as rare. If such an achievement were really much more widespread he would, in all likelihood, not risk, in a work that is to a great degree apologetic, making such a statement. Barclay’s critical comments on the views of modern scholars are fair and balanced and full of common sense. An example of the value of his work may be seen in his fresh and systematic treatment of the vexed and much debated question of Claudius’ alleged expulsion of the Jews from Rome (Suet., Claudius 25.4; Cassius Dio 60.6.6; Acts 18.2; Orosius, Adversus Paganos 7.6.15-16). Barclay,57 in typical fashion, modestly but cogently arrives at a compromise solution, that there were two separate events—a ban on meetings by Jews in 41 and a limited expulsion in 49. This will explain the continuing influence of the Jewish community in Rome. In a rare sweeping statement Barclay58 asserts that the Antiquities was written for Greeks. While Greeks are his primary audience, we would expect that Josephus would also seek a Jewish audience for his work. After all, the primary language of the Jews in the Diaspora, numbering several millions, was Greek; and some of them might well be expected to be interested in reading Josephus’ history. He refers to his Jewish readers when he apologizes (Ant. 4.197) for rearranging the order of the laws of the Torah, explaining, “lest perchance any of my countrymen who chance upon this work should reproach me at all for having gone astray,” that he thought it necessary to make this observation, since Moses left what he wrote in a scattered condition. Moreover, Josephus clearly says that “the main lesson to be learnt from this history by those who care to peruse it” is that G-d rewards those who obey His laws and punishes those who do not (Ant. 1.14). This can refer only to Jews. His highlighting of certain episodes, notably the incident of Israel’s sin with the Midianite women (Num. 25:1-9, Ant. 4.131-55)—Josephus expands it from nine 56 57 58

Barclay 1996, 347. Barclay 1996, 303-6. Barclay 1996, 346.

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verses to twenty-five paragraphs—and Samson’s relations with alien women (Judg. 14:1-16:31, Ant. 5.286-317), is directed, apparently, to those Jews who sought assimilation with Gentiles. Josephus’ version of Balaam’s prophecy of calamities that were to befall kings and cities of the highest celebrity, some of which had not yet been founded (Ant. 4.125), is a cryptic reference, which only Jews would appreciate, to a Messianic kingdom which would make an end of the Roman Empire. The fact, moreover, that Josephus invites his readers to read the Book of Daniel to obtain the interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream (Ant. 10.210) (which, they will learn, refers to a Messianic kingdom that would overthrow the Romans) is likewise an indication that he is directing his work to a Jewish audience. Although most of Barclay’s book is concerned with the ways and degrees in which Jews were influenced by Greek culture, he is careful to insist (p. 401) that such variations do not necessarily represent different “Judaisms.” Indeed, we may assert that at least among extant non-Jewish writers—some of them such as Tacitus, quite sophisticated—, none of them differentiate the various forms of Judaism. To be sure, Barclay59 does cite one case where there was a split in the Jewish community, namely where two delegations of Jews were sent to Claudius (CPJ 153, l. 90), but there is some doubt, as he notes, as to whether these represent a socio-cultural split or a political split in the Jewish community. All in all, he is careful to stress60 that there were no typical conditions among Jews in the Diaspora; and in the end, in his last chapter, he delineates the respects in which Jews maintained their identity. Barclay’s work is of immeasurable value in that he not only treats the whole subject of the Mediterranean diaspora for the first time and in that he does so comprehensively, critically, and fairly, but that he does so only after examining each of these bits of evidence afresh and in the original. Though he valiantly attempts to categorize degrees of assimilation, to his great credit he is not afraid to conclude that it is impossible to draw firm conclusions. In particular, he is to be commended for constantly noting and commenting on difficult or disputed readings that are vital for understanding problem passages.

59 60

Barclay 1996, 57. Barclay 1996, 399.

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This volume beckons comparison with two other recent volumes, Diasporas in Antiquity, edited by Shaye J. D. Cohen and Ernest S. Frerichs (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1993) and Land, Center and Diaspora: Jewish Constructs in Late Antiquity by Isaiah M. Gafni (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1997). Gafni, in particular, has made major use of rabbinic sources, though he recognizes the problem raised, above all, by Jacob Neusner as to the reliability of attributions of statements to particular rabbis in particular eras. Both of these books raise the important point, not considered by Barclay, that valuable insight may be cast on the Jewish diaspora if it is compared with other ancient diasporas, since Jewish dispersion was not a unique phenomenon in the ancient world. What does seem to be unique in the case of the Jewish diaspora—a point recognized, if briefly, by Barclay61—is that the dispersion frequently, though hardly universally, was accompanied by a yearning to return to the Land of Israel and to the reconstitution there of a Jewish state. The very fact that the revolt of 66-74, which ended in such dismal disaster, did not deter two other messianic-led attempts, in 115-17 and 132-35, and at least two further attempts, in 351 against Gallus, and as late as 614-17 against Heraclius, would indicate the continued strength of this hope. The fact that the prayer for the return to Jerusalem was incorporated by the rabbis into the ‘Amidah, which is the key prayer of the services every morning, afternoon, and evening, and was apparently recited by Jews everywhere, must have played a key role in keeping this hope alive. Moreover, Barclay does not take sufficiently into account the impact upon Diaspora Jews of the fact, as emphasized by both Joseph Mélèze-Modrzejewski in the Cohen-Frerichs volume and Gafni in particular, that according to the Bible, which must have been known to many Jews in the Diaspora, presumably in the Septuagint translation, the Diaspora is understood as a punishment for the sins of the Jewish people. And the impact of the contrary view, namely that the Diaspora was a divinely given opportunity for the Jews to spread their message to the rest of the world likewise deserves consideration, as emphasized especially by Gafni.62 Another valuable insight would have been gained by considering the ongoing dialogue of the Palestinian rabbis with the diaspora communities and

61 62

Barclay 1996, 421-23. Gafni 1997, 30-40.

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of the range of responses of these communities to the rabbis. Still another valuable insight, though admittedly not the direct subject of Barclay’s book, would have been gained by comparing the evidence that we have of the Babylonian diaspora with the Mediterranean diaspora, especially with regard to assimilation, cultural convergence and cultural antagonism. One caveat of which Barclay is constantly aware is that we should be careful not to look at the Jewish diaspora of two millennia ago through the eyes of the present diaspora, even though parallels, and even some tantalizingly close parallels, are not hard to find. In this connection we may call attention to a revealing point made by Shaye Cohen63 that not a single ancient author who comments on Jews remarks that they are distinctive because of their looks, clothing, speech, names, or occupations.

63

Cohen 1993, 3-12.

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hatred and attraction

PART TWO

ANTI-SEMITISM, PHILO-SEMITISM, CONVERSION TO JUDAISM

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CHAPTER SEVEN

HATRED FOR AND ATTRACTION TO THE JEWS IN CLASSICAL ANTIQUITY

1. Introduction: General Considerations about the Ancient World Everyone who deals with the subject of anti-Semitism (an inappropriate term, of course, since it refers to families of languages rather than attitudes toward people) must approach it with a combination of humility and chutzpah—humility because we have such a small percentage of what was actually written (almost certainly not more than one per cent; and who knows whether what was written was really representative of what people thought, especially since the rate of literacy apparently did not exceed ten per cent). Nonetheless, we dare to generalize on the basis of such a small sample.1 What I propose to do here is to examine the subject especially in the light of what a very important writer in a very important recent work does with this evidence. I am referring to Peter Schäfer’s Judeophobia: Attitudes toward the Jews in the Ancient World (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1997). People often tend to be wary about books concerning anti-Semitism written by Jews. Well, here is a book by a non-Jew, a German at that, and a highly respected and prolific writer on all aspects of ancient Judaism, particularly, of course, rabbinic literature. The book by Professor Schäfer is extremely important not only because of what it says but also because of the identity of the author. It is the first comprehensive study of ancient anti-Semitism written by a German scholar since the Holocaust; and the fact that it is written by a non-Jew who is clearly the outstanding German scholar in the field of rabbinic and allied literature makes it particularly significant. That it is critical, intellectually honest, and refreshing makes for

1

See Harris 1989.

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extremely stimulating reading. One has learned to expect no less from Peter Schäfer. It seems to me that it is well for us to begin, as Professor Schäfer does not, with some general considerations about the ancient world, which distinguish it from our modern world. In the first place, the ancients could not have conceived of what we would call a separation of church and state. Even if we find individuals such as Caesar and Cicero whose adherence to traditional religious beliefs is questionable, as we may see in Cicero’s De Divinatione for example, officially, when they are part of the government or commenting on political issues, they say the “right things” so far as religious matters are concerned. The close of Cicero’s first oration against Catiline (33), which he delivered in the Senate, will illustrate this: Once Catiline has left, he says, “You, great Jupiter, who were established with the same rites as this city, whom we name rightly the establisher of this city and empire,” will protect us. In any codification of laws, stretching from the Twelve Tables to the Corpus of Justinian, there is no real separation of civil from religious law. On the other hand, polytheism is, by definition, liberal and pluralistic, inasmuch as no pagan religion asserts that other religions and other gods are false. Less powerful yes, but not false. Though one could insist that the gods of one’s own nation had fostered the growth and success of one’s nation, so that, as the revered Ennius put it, “Moribus antiquis res stat Romana viresque,” there was always room in the pantheon for another god. Judaism, however, insisted, at least officially in the Torah, that all other religions and all other gods were false and, in fact, at least in the oral tradition, that the pagans, as children of Noah, were forbidden to worship idols. Hence, in the absence of a separation of church and state, Jews, themselves constituting a state, by definition would seem to have, as their goal, the destruction of all other states; and this might well be inferred from the fact that the Israelites are commanded in the Bible (Deut. 7:1-2), upon entering the land of Canaan, to exterminate totally the seven nations of Canaan. Therefore, Apion would seem to be right in asking, in effect, why, if the Jews wish to become Alexandrian citizens, they don’t worship the Alexandrian gods. One can go even further and ask how one can trust the Jews if their goal is to destroy the religious basis of the state. Intellectuals and philosophers can and do ask such questions. They are logical. Fortunately, politicians then and now are not. And fortunately neither were many theologians.

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However, as to the biblical command to eliminate the seven nations of Canaan, like the command to eliminate the Amalekites, this is subject to interpretation and in practice is not observed. Otherwise, how can we explain the Septuagint’s translation of Elokim lo tekallel (Exod. 22:27) as “You shall not curse gods,” which both Philo (De Specialibus Legibus 1.53) and Josephus (Antiquities 4.207 and Against Apion 2.237) interpret to mean that one is not permitted to speak ill of other people’s religions? Furthermore, how can we explain the Talmudic statement (Sanhedrin 96b) that the descendants of Haman, himself said to be a descendant of Amalek (the utter destruction of the entire nation of the Amalekites is divinely prescribed in Deuteronomy 25:19 and 1 Samuel 15:3), studied Torah in Benei Beraq and thus became the ancestors of the present-day Haredim? As to the Hellenistic and Roman rulers, with rare exceptions, such as Antiochus Epiphanes, Caligula, and Hadrian, they gave special permission to the Jews to observe their religious beliefs and practices. The rulers of the Hellenistic and Roman world, from Alexander through his successors and through the Romans, with few exceptions, realized that the people from whom they came were a minority in their realm and, realizing how numerous and economically important the Jews were, granted them special privileges. And the intellectuals and philosophers and theologians remained with their logical arguments, wrote books, most of which fortunately have been lost (since we would otherwise have to read them), and gained promotions and tenure in the equivalent of their universities. As for the Jews, they managed, or at least some of them managed, to interpret the Torah rather liberally. In the first place, the author (who, to be sure, is represented as a non-Jew) of the Letter of Aristeas, which tells the story of the translation of the Torah into Greek, speaking to King Ptolemy Philadelphus, (15-16) equates the G-d of the Jews with Zeus. “The same G-d who has given them their law,” he says, “guides your kingdom also, as I have learned in my researches; G-d, the overseer and creator of all things, whom they worship, is He whom all men worship, and we too, Your Majesty, though we address Him differently, as Zeus and Dis.” The key passage is Exodus 22:27, which the Septuagint translates as, “Thou shalt not curse gods,” which is then explained by both Philo (De Vita Mosis 2.205 and De Specialibus Legibus 1.53) and Josephus (Against Apion 2.237) to mean that one is forbidden to speak ill of other peoples’ gods. Both Philo and Josephus, significantly, give the same reason for

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this tolerance, namely, out of reverence to the very word “G-d.” 2. The Sources As for Professor Schäfer’s book, let us start with his field of expertise, rabbinic literature. The rabbis, of course, have a good deal to say about the attitude of non-Jews toward Jews, but, mirabile dictu, you will find none of it in this book. In fact, the only reference to rabbinic literature appears in a single footnote (p. 252, n. 84), where, discussing the evidence for Hadrian’s ban on circumcision, he remarks that the only proof for this ban is the short note in the Scrip. Hist. Aug. (Hadrianus 14.2), whereupon he adds in the footnote: “Apart from rabbinic sources which are difficult to date and which for the most part refer to the period after the Bar Kochba war.” Similarly, in his recent monumental survey, Fergus Millar,2 surely not an antiSemite, deliberately and almost totally disregards rabbinic evidence, and this despite the fact that the rabbis have so much to say about the period that he covers. In another recent book, Jonathan Price3 actually states that any rabbinic story unconfirmed by outside sources is to be treated as fiction. Are all of these scholars Sadducean sympathizers in their disregard of the reliability of the Talmudic corpus for historical data? Granted that the earliest of the midrashim dates from no earlier than 400 c.e., that the codification of the Jerusalem Talmud dates from about the same time, that the codification of the Babylonian Talmud dates from about a century later, that the rabbinic documents cover a period of several centuries, that the rabbis are constantly quoting other rabbis who are citing other rabbis, and granted that the rabbinic documents are concerned with history in only the most incidental way and that we do not know how broad were the circles that they reflect, are the other sources that much more reliable? In at least some respects the rabbinic literature is perhaps more reliable: the Talmudic corpus is a book of debate, with rabbis constantly challenging one another; and how often do the rabbis admit that they do not know? Indeed, unlike the other sources, the rabbis are sharply divided in their attitude toward the

2 3

Millar 1993. Price 1992, 264.

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Romans.4 Moreover, precisely because the Talmud is not a history book, the remarks of rabbis concerning historical details should be of particular value, inasmuch as they are usually said incidentally, casually, and in passing. As to the gap in time between the events and the time that they are recorded, is the rabbinic literature necessarily worth less than, say, Arrian’s account of Alexander, written half a millennium after the events? As for the inscriptions, at least those in the Diaspora, somewhat over a thousand deal with Jews. But this is a thousand out of approximatly 200,000. Moreover, they cover a period of hundreds of years and in many countries. Finally, almost half of the Diaspora inscriptions come from a single community, Rome, which contained perhaps one per cent of the Jews of the Diaspora, and apparently date from the third century and later.5 But most important of all, since the great majority of them are inscriptions on tombstones, none of them indicate that the Jews who are memorialized had suffered from any kind of anti-Semitism, let alone that they had been killed in the course of an anti-Semitic outbreak. As to the papyri, Tcherikover and his colleagues6 have collected 520, but they cover almost a millennium, and only thirteen allude to anti-Semitism. As to archaeological findings, none of them refer to anti-Semitic attitudes or outbreaks. 3. Outbreaks against the Jews in Antiquity Let us examine some actual outbreaks against Jews in antiquity. What contributed to the suspicion of the Jews was their secrecy in refusing to allow non-Jews to enter the precincts of their great Temple in Jerusalem. Indeed, this seems to have been a factor in bringing about the very first pogrom of which we hear, namely the one in which Ptolemy IV Philopator (3 Macc. 5-6) in 217 b.c.e. ordered the Jews to be massacred in Alexandria by a horde of elephants because upon visiting Jerusalem, when he wanted to enter the Temple, he was mysteriously felled to the ground.7 Inasmuch as the Ptolemies 4

See Feldman 1992, 39-81. See Rutgers 1995, xvii-xviii; and Noy 1998, 79. 6 Tcherikover et al. 1957-64. 7 See, however, Feldman 1993, 489 n. 9; and Gruen 1998, 222-36, who looks upon the whole incident as an appeal to amusem*nt. 5

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were themselves a minority in their own empire in Egypt and were regarded as interlopers by the native Egyptians, who were so proud of their long history, and inasmuch as Palestine was a constant battleground between the Ptolemies and the Syrian Seleucids during the third century b.c.e., Philopator may well have wondered what the Jews were hiding in the Temple when they excluded him. Added to the secrecy of the Temple was the secret book (arcano...volumine), to which Juvenal refers (Satires 14.102), the Torah. To be sure, Juvenal is a satirist, and satirists use a sledge hammer to crack a nut. Moreover, the author of the Letter of Aristeas would have us believe that the Torah was known as a good and wise book. But the author of the Letter was probably a Jew; and, besides, there is only one passage (Pseudo-Longinus, On the Sublime 9.9, perhaps a Jew,8 on Genesis 1:3, 1:9-10) or perhaps two (Hecataeus, ap. Diodorus 40.3.6)9 from the entire Torah that are ever quoted or closely paraphrased in all extant classical literature. On the other hand, instances of gross ignorance of the Torah, even in such writers as Hecataeus and Pompeius Trogus and Artapanus, who are favorably disposed toward the Jews, are numerous. And when the elephants which Philopator had lined up to trample upon the Jews disobeyed his order and trampled upon those giving them, Philopator reversed himself, released the Jews, and returned to the previous policy of toleration. A similar event (although some say that it is merely a duplicate of the event just described) occurred on the death of Ptolemy Philometor in 145 b.c.e., who had placed his entire army under the command of two Jews, Onias and Dositheos (Josephus, Against Apion 2.49).10 When Philometor’s brother, Ptolemy Physcon (Euergetes) seized the throne, Onias, true to the legitimate sovereign, Cleopatra II, took up arms against him (Against Apion 2.51). Thereupon, in a manner similar to that of Ptolemy Philopator, Physcon arrested all the Jews of Alexandria—men, women, and children—and exposed them, naked and in chains, to be trampled to death by elephants, which he is said to have made drunk. When, however, the elephants were given their orders in Greek, instead of rushing on the Jews they turned and trampled on some of Physcon’s friends. It is this transference

8

See Feldman 1993, 533-34, n. 21. Perhaps, he is citing the Septuagint, Deut. 32:44, 28:69 (29:1 in the Septuagint), Lev. 26:46, 27:34. See Gager 1972, 32. 10 See Feldman 1993, 88-89. 9

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of blame from one individual—in this case, the general Onias—to all the Jews, that is a characteristic element of anti-Jewish bigotry. Such an incident of persecution by a ruler is, however, on the whole, exceptional, if, indeed, it is historical at all; and shortly thereafter Phycon, like his predecessors and like his successors, apparently made his peace with the Jews (Against Apion 2.54-55). The fact that Roman citizens of Jewish origin were exempted from military service (for religious reasons, notably observance of the Sabbath and dietary laws) from the time of Julius Caesar onwards (Josephus, Ant. 14.226) may have seemed to the Romans an indication that the Jews were not fully loyal to Rome, especially since the Jews had a state of their own, Judaea, and, as we see from Agrippa I’s triumphal march in Alexandria, were loyal to that state. Tacitus (Histories 5.13.2), Suetonius (Vespasian 4.5), and Josephus (War 6.312) mention a belief that someone from Judaea would become ruler of the world; and this was interpreted by the Jewish revolutionaries, says Josephus, to refer to someone, presumably a messianic figure, from their own people; and this would ipso facto require a revolution against the Roman Empire. If someone, such as the Jew Tiberius Julius Alexander, did become part of the Roman military and political establishment, he was a renegade to his faith (Ant. 20.100), since, with church and state never being separated, this required worshipping the Roman gods. The most striking case of what we would call a pogrom occurred in Alexandria, the most populous of the Jewish communities, with perhaps as many as 180,000 Jews,11 in the year 38.12 Philo (Legatio ad Gaium 120) reports that the hatred of the masses toward the Jews had been smoldering for some time. When a pretext was offered on the Jews’ refusal to obey the decree of Emperor Gaius Caligula that he be worshipped as a god, the promiscuous mob, carried away with itself, let loose. The order of events was first, long-standing resentment at the privileged position and influence of the Jews, whether political or economic; second, and more immediate, the accusation that the Jews were unpatriotic, inasmuch as they refused to participate in the state cults, which, like a flag, united all the diverse peoples of

11 12

54-64.

See Delia 1988, 286-88. For an account of this incident see Feldman 1993, 111-16; and Gruen 2002,

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the empire; third, the rousing of the passions of the mob by professional agitators (though this appears to be exceptional); and fourth, the intervention of the government to preserve order while blaming the Jews for causing the riot. What determined the course of events in this instance was the behavior of Flaccus, the Roman governor of Egypt. During the first five of the six years of his administration, Flaccus (Philo, In Flaccum 2-3) had shown no signs of anti-Jewish animus and indeed was a model administrator. The change of attitude in Flaccus, and consequently the breakdown of the vertical alliance with the Roman administration, was due to the death of the Emperor Tiberius, who had appointed him and whose close friend he had been, and to the fear that, because Tiberius’ successor Caligula had put to death Flaccus’ friend Macro, his own position would deteriorate. In desperation, therefore, Flaccus, presumably assuming that the Jews would in their usual fashion remain loyal to the emperor, sought allies among his former enemies. The immediate pretext for the riot was the visit of Agrippa I to Alexandria and his ostentatious display of his bodyguard of spearmen decked in armor overlaid with gold and silver. The mob responded to Agrippa’s majestic appearance by dressing up a lunatic named Carabas in mock-royal apparel with a crown and bodyguards and saluting him as Marin, the Aramaic word for “lord.” The implied charge clearly was that the Alexandrian Jews, in giving homage to Agrippa as a king, were guilty of dual loyalty and of constituting themselves, in effect, as a state within a state. The use of the Aramaic word would seem to be intended to emphasize the allegation that the Jews’ first loyalty was to the Aramaic-speaking ruler of Palestine. Flaccus, according to Philo (Legatio ad Gaium 132), could have halted the riot in an hour if he had desired, but did nothing. The scenario is rather strikingly similar to what occurred in our own day in Crown Heights in Brooklyn. That the Jew-baiters decried not merely the alleged lack of patriotism but also, rather simply, the fact of Jewishness can be seen in the treatment of the women, whom they seized and forced to eat pork (Philo, In Flaccum 96) rather than to worship the image of the emperor. In the end, however, what must have seemed to the opponents of the Jews like an instance of “international Jewish power” asserted itself: Flaccus was recalled in disgrace, banished, and eventually executed. The next major eruption of anti-Jewish violence coincided, significantly, with the outbreak of the Jewish rebellion against the Romans

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in 66, not unconnected, we may guess, with the charge of dual loyalty. Not unexpectedly, this most violent of all the outbreaks against the Jews occurred in Alexandria.13 Our only source, Josephus, is hardly an impartial witness, especially because he had such an antipathy for Jewish revolutionaries. Yet, his account should be given serious weight, inasmuch as it is far from a whitewash of the murderous actions of the troops sent by the authorities. In recounting the event, Josephus (War 2.487) reminds us, as we had already seen in Philo, that there had always been strife between the native inhabitants and the Jewish settlers ever since the time when Alexander the Great, as a reward for the support that the Jews had given him against the Egyptians, had granted them 5σονομ5α, that is rights equal to those of the Greeks. Presumably, the Jew-baiters felt assured that the authorities would favor their cause against people who would now be perceived as unpatriotic rebels. The uprising was put down ruthlessly by the Roman governor, Tiberius Julius Alexander (Philo’s nephew); and, according to Josephus (War 2.497) no fewer than 50,000 Jews were slain. Finally, Alexander gave the signal to his soldiers to cease; but so great, says Josephus (War 2.498), was the intensity of the hatred of the Alexandrians that it was only with difficulty that they were torn away from the very corpses. As to the motives of the Jew-baiters in these pogroms, Josephus lists three (War 2.464, 478): hatred, fear, and greed for plunder—apparently a combination of economic jealousy and fear of Jewish power and expansionism. It is, moreover, revealing to note that in Caesarea, the chief point of conflict in Judea, Josephus declares (War 2.268, Ant. 20.175) that the Jews were superior in wealth—another indication of the importance of the economic factor in explaining the hatred of the Jew-baiters toward the Jews,14 though we may remark that, generally speaking, ancient historians downplay the economic factor in their view of causality of events but rather highlight personality and military factors. Baron cites Josephus’ extra-biblical comment (Ant. 2.201-2), in his paraphrase of the Bible, that the oppression of the ancient Israelites by the Egyptians was due to the Egyptians’ envy of the Israelites’ abundant wealth and, most appropriately, suggests that this reflects contemporary realities with respect to the

13 14

For an account of this riot see Feldman 1993, 117-18. See Feldman 1993, 107-13.

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masses of the Egyptian peasants.15 In this connection, we may cite a papyrus dated in 41, in which the author, a wholesale dealer in need of money, warns the recipient that if he fails to obtain a loan from the sources the author recommends, “like everyone else, do you, too, beware of the Jews” (Corpus Papyrorum Judaicarum, no. 152). The fact that the writer of the papyrus adds the gratuitous phrase, “like everyone else,” would seem to emphasize that, in his eyes, the warning to beware of the Jews is a general one, shared by the Gentile population at large, and that seeking loans from Jews was apparently customary. That there was an economic factor, based on Jewish prominence in trade, in popular prejudice against Jews would seem to be indicated by the remark of Claudius Ptolemy (Apotelesmatica 2.3.65-66 (29-31), the noted second century c.e. Alexandrian astronomer, who is convinced that national characteristics are conditioned by the geographical and astronomical situation. His list of those people who are more gifted in trade than others starts with Idumaea, Coele-Syria and Judaea; and he remarks that they are more unscrupulous, despicable cowards, treacherous, servile, and in general fickle. These people, he adds, are, in general, bold, godless, and treacherous. In referring to the inhabitants of these countries, he really has in mind only the Jews, because all three of these geographical areas are frequently identified with each other.16 Another economic factor may be seen in Tacitus’ bitter remark (Histories 5.5.1), alluding to the success of the Jews in winning others to convert to Judaism, that “the worst rascals among other peoples, renouncing their ancestral religions, always kept sending tribute and contributing to Jerusalem, thereby increasing the wealth of the Jews.” Hence, it was not merely that Romans were abandoning their ancestral gods, who, in the view of writers such as Ennius and Livy, had enabled the Romans to build their great empire, but that they were even contributing monetarily to alien gods, who, in principle, found no place in their pantheon for the Roman gods. We thus see the combination of the economic factor and the alleged expansionism of the Jews as factors in Judeophobia.

15 16

Baron 1952, 1:383, n. 35. So Stern 1980, 2:163.

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4. Greek and Roman Writers on the Jews Most of those who deal with this subject, including Schäfer, concentrate on what the Greek and Roman writers say about the Jews. But aside from the fact that the citations in Stern’s collection cover a period of a thousand years, to what degree do we get a representative picture? What percentage of what the Greeks and Romans actually wrote has come down to us? Surely, as we have suggested, no more than one per cent. It is not until Herodotus in the fifth century b.c.e. that any extant Greek writer alludes to the Jews at all; and even he refers to them only obliquely when he discusses circumcision. Ezra is a contemporary of Herodotus, or perhaps of Plato, but neither of them as much as mentions him; and the first and only pagan writer who does mention him is Porphyry (Adversus Christianos (ap. Macarius Magnes 3.3) at the end of the third century c.e. Indeed, one of the most important points to be made is the degree to which the Jews are simply ignored. A writer such as Cicero, who, to be sure, knew about Jews and refers to them in his oration Pro Flacco (28.66-69), ignores them completely in a work such as De Natura Deorum, where he deals at length with various theories concerning theology and where we might have expected some mention of them, inasmuch as the Jewish view of deity is, from a pagan point of view, so unusual. Stern’s monumental three-volume collection of testimonia seems large;17 but I have found a total of only 3372 lines of actual text in Greek or Latin in volume 1 (covering from Herodotus through Plutarch in the first century c.e.); and this includes a good deal of information that is only peripheral to anything Jewish. In volume 2, covering through the sixth century, there are 5006 lines. This comes to approximately 204 1/3 pages, and a good deal of this consists of passages about the properties of the Dead Sea. When we consider that in the first century the Jews comprised perhaps as much as ten per cent of the population of the Roman Empire,18 what surely must strike us, at least on the basis of what literature has come down to us, is that non-Jewish writers have little interest in the Jews; and it cannot be merely that the Jews were not in contact with non-Jews, since in Alexandria, at least, Philo was hardly unique in his knowledge of

17 18

Stern 1974-84. See Baron 1952, 1.371-72, n. 7.

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Greek literature and in his interest in attending sporting events and theaters. If anti-Semitism was more of an issue one would expect a lot more attention. Another indication of this lack of interest in the Jews on the part of non-Jewish writers is the degree to which they cite Jewish writers or writings. So far as we can tell, though there are a very few writers, notably Alexander Polyhistor in the first century b.c.e., who seem to have been acquainted with the Bible, only one writer, Pseudo-Longinus (9.9), in the first half of the first century c.e., quotes, or rather closely paraphrases, a very brief passage from the Bible (Genesis 1:3, 9-10); and some think that he himself was a Jew.19 5. The Influence of Philo and Josephus on Non-Jewish Writers Moreover, though Philo writes voluminously in excellent Greek and lived in the greatest cultural center of his era, Alexandria, he is never quoted as such by any extant pagan writer; and though Alexandria was the center of great scholarship, having the Museum, the equivalent of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, neither do any of the scholars of the Museum mention the Jews, let alone make any anti-Semitic comments, at least in the fragments that have come down to us; nor do Jewish writers such as Philo mention them or try to refute them. Indeed, there is only one passage in a pagan author that we can definitely say shows that the author, the third-century Heliodorus, in his novel Aethiopica (9.9.3), appropriates language taken from Philo (De Vita Mosis 2.195); and there is nothing there that is either for or against the Jews. Otherwise, Philo’s writings apparently had little or no impact upon later pagan Graeco-Roman thought or literature, with the possible exception of Numenius in the second century and Plotinus.20 It is not until early in the third century that we find a Christian writer, Clement of Alexandria, who definitely has read Philo.21 As for Josephus, the only passages in pagan writers which cite Josephus as a writer are to be found in a fragment (no. 17) in the

19 20 21

See the literature cited by Feldman 1993, 533-34, n. 21. See Stern 1980, 2:207-8, n. 5. See Runia 1993, 132-56.

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second-century Appian, referring to the prophecy that someone from Judea would become ruler of the world, and at the beginning of the fourth century in Porphyry (De Abstinentia et esu animalium 4.11-13), who paraphrases at some length Josephus’ description of the Essenes (War 2.119-61). Among Christian writers he is not cited until the end of the second century by Theophilus of Antioch (Ad Autolycum 3.20-23), and not at length until the third-century Hippolytus.22 That only a single papyrus fragment (War 2.576-79, 582-84; in Papyrus Graeca Vindobonensis 29810) from any of Josephus’ works has thus far been found would seem to indicate that he was not much read in antiquity, at least in Egypt, though we must be very careful about generalizing from the papyri that have been found, since almost all of them come from one country, Egypt, and so large a percentage come from one little town, Oxyrhynchus. If anti-Semitism was a burning issue, one would have thought that attempts would have been made by pagans to answer the one work that is devoted to refuting anti-Semites and which contains many debatable points and which had the sponsorship of the great bibliophile Epaphroditus and of the emperor Domitian, namely Josephus’ essay Against Apion; but there is no such mention of the essay, let alone a refutation. If there was a widespread outcry of anti-Semitic comments among ancient intellectuals we would have expected that some indication of this would be found among the thousands of scraps of literary papyri that have been found among the papyri, but not a single such scrap has yet emerged. We would have expected to find at least some of the anti-Semitic statements of Manetho, Chaeremon, Lysimachus, Apion, or Apollonius Molon; and while it is true that we have found fragments of Apion,23 for example, none of the anti-Semitic comments have been found. No fragments of the essay Against Apion have been found; and, in fact, in contrast to the fact that we have 53 manuscripts of the Jewish War, 33 of the first ten books of the Antiquities, and 44 of the second half of the Antiquities, we have only eight of the essay Against Apion, and for part of it we have no Greek manuscripts at all and have to rely

22

For the list of citations see Schreckenberg 1972, 72. Some of Apion’s glosses on Homer have been found (P. Rylands 1.26), and a few first-century scholia on Homer’s Odyssey (Literary Papyri, London 30; British Museum inv. 271) mention his name among other commentators. See Feldman 1987-88, 238-39. 23

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upon the Latin translation that was done under the leadership of Cassiodorus. Moreover, though the argumentum ex silentio must be used with caution, if, indeed, anti-Semitism was rife among pagan intellectuals, we would have expected Philo, who was a leader of what was, in effect, the Anti-defamation League of Alexandria and who headed a delegation to the Roman Emperor Gaius Caligula no less, to have replied to their writings, and he does not. As to other Jewish writers—and there is some doubt as to whether some of them are Jewish—Demetrius, Eupolemus, Pseudo-Eupolemus, Artapanus, Cleodemus-Malchus, Aristeas, Philo the Epic Poet, and Ezekiel the dramatist, none of them reply to anti-Semitic comments, and none of them is quoted by a pagan writer. But, in all fairness, we must note that we know of at least seven writers—Alexander Polyhistor, Apollonius Molon, and Teucer of Cyzicus in the first century b.c.e., Apion of Alexandria, Damocritus, and Nicarchus in the first century c.e., and Herennius Philo of Byblus in the second century—who are said to have written whole monographs on the Jews. Teucer’s work, in particular, seems to have been very extensive, consisting, as it did, of six books. There may well be significance in the fact that none of these works has survived. Is this another indication of lack of interest in the Jews? Or is this a case of deliberate suppression by later Christian writers and bibliophiles who found these works too pro-Jewish for their tastes? If we had these works, how different would our picture be of the attitude of Graeco-Roman intellectuals toward the Jews? 6. The Charges of Non-Jewish Writers against the Jews

Schäfer concludes his book with the view that the only crucial question is what the Greco-Egyptian and Greek authors made out of Jewish separateness. “They turned Jewish separateness into a monstrous conspiracy against humankind and the values shared by all civilized human beings, and it is therefore their attitude which determines anti-Semitism.” (p. 210). But we must make one additional comment with regard to the attitude of pagan intellectuals toward the Jews, and that is that, unlike the influence of modern intellectuals, especially since the Age of the Enlightenment in the eighteenth century, pagan intellectuals seem to

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have had little influence upon public policy or upon mass movements in antiquity. How much influence did Alexander the Great’s tutor, Aristotle, who had such a negative view of barbarians, have upon Alexander? Did Cicero, for example, who speaks, in a very nasty way, of the Jews as a pressure group in his speech Pro Flacco (28.66), despite his extremely important position in the Roman republic, have any influence on the republic’s attitude toward the Jews? Did Seneca, who refers to the Jews as a most accursed race (sceleratissimae gentis) have any influence on the policy toward the Jews of Nero, with whom, according to Tacitus (Annals 13.2), he had paramount influence, and who is defended by Josephus (Antiquities 20.154-55) against his detractors? How much influence did Tacitus, who was the son-in-law of the powerful Agricola, and who authored the most extensive tirade against Jews that has come down to us, have upon public policy? What the Graeco-Egyptian and Greek authors made out of Jewish separateness, in point of fact, is mere rhetoric and quite unimportant. How much of a role did intellectuals play in inciting the rioters and justifying the pogrom in the year 38? Did they produce anything like a Protocols of the Elders of Zion to set forth their theory of a monstrous conspiracy against all humanity, and did such a work play any role in outbreaks against Jews? Among the chief contentions of Professor Schäfer’s book are the following: (1) Whereas others, notably Isaak Heinemann,24 have emphasized the importance of second century b.c.e. Syria-Palestine as the origin of anti-Semitism, Schäfer finds its origin in Hellenistic Egypt ca. 300 b.c.e., but argues that it actually goes back even further to the destruction of the Elephantine Jewish military commmunity in Egypt in the fifth century b.c.e.; (2) Though the ancients are critical of other peoples besides the Jews, the charges of xenophobia and misanthropy are leveled against the Jews alone; (3) The peculiarity of the Roman attitude toward the Jews is best expressed by the term “Judeophobia” in its ambivalent combination of fear and hatred of the Jews, occasioned by Jewish success in winning converts. How valid are these contentions? As for the first of these contentions, tracing back anti-Semitism to the experience of the Jews in Elephantine, Schäfer may well be right in concluding that there was a fundamental conflict between

24

Heinemann 1931, 5-6.

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the Jews of Elephantine and the Egyptian priests nearby. But is this anti-Semitism? Or is this, rather, an attack upon the soldiers in Elephantine who were the agents of the Persian government in keeping the native Egyptians under subjection and who happened to be Jewish? Would the Egyptian priests, in principle, have destroyed all Jewish temples simply because they were Jewish? The situation of the Jews in Alexandria, as Schäfer notes, was actually very similar to that of the Jews in Elephantine in that they were the supporters of a hated foreign rule; but was the opposition to them due to their being Jewish or to their being foreign occupiers of Egyptian soil? Schäfer rightly objects to the view expressed by Heinemann, Bickerman, and especially Habicht25 that ancient anti-Semitism began in the second century b.c.e. when the Hasmoneans created a new Jewish state and violently expanded its borders in all directions at the expense of their neighbors and forced conversion of those who held different beliefs. But if this were so, we would have expected anti-Jewish texts to stress this aggressive expansion, and we do not find such. Most of Schäfer’s discussions are based on what extant passages in Greek and Roman writers have to say. In dealing with this evidence, however, we should heed several caveats: (1) Most of the passages come from fragments, and thus we are generally not in a position to know the occasion and original context of the remarks; (2) Many of the passages occur in Josephus, particularly in his essay Against Apion, or in church fathers, where there is often a question of their authenticity and, in any case, where the polemical nature of the work in which they are embedded is clear; (3) Many passages come from rhetorical historians or satirists, where the references are clearly colored and exaggerated; (4) We may note the patterns of ethnographical treatises which, especially under the influence of the Aristotelian Peripatetic school, had developed an interest in strange, foreign peoples and in their historical origins or in geographical oddities, as we see particularly in the large number of references to the properties of the Dead Sea. In any case the anti-Jewish remarks are to be seen in the context of their appearance. Thus, the anti-Jewish outburst in Cicero’s Pro Flacco, which Schäfer cites at some length, is to be explained, at

25

Heinemann 1931, 5-6; Bickerman 1949, 102; Habicht 1975, 97-110.

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least in part, by the fact that he was defending a client who had been accused of pocketing money which the Jews had collected for transmission to the Temple in Jerusalem. Cicero himself points out the difference between his true opinions and those that he uttered as a lawyer (Pro Cluentio 139). Moreover, the charge made against Jews that they are lazy (Seneca, ap. Augustine, City of G-d 6.11) is also made against the Egyptians by Polybius and against the Germans by Tacitus. The charge that the Jews are superstitious (Agatharchides, ap. Josephus, Against Apion 1.205-11; Plutarch, De Superstitione 8.169C: they allowed the enemy to capture Jerusalem on the Sabbath because they refused to fight on that day) is also made by Tacitus against the Germans and by Lucian against the Egyptians. As for the charge that the Jews hate mankind and that they refuse to mingle with others, this, I should like to suggest, is not unconnected with the fact, noted by Josephus (Antiquities 20.264) that the Jews in his day did not favor those who have learned foreign languages (the chief of which, of course, would be Greek), let alone those who master them; such skill, he notes, is characteristic of ordinary freemen and even slaves. Many Jews, to be sure, did acquire a smattering of Greek; but since language is the key to culture, and especially so in antiquity, the Jews, it is not surprising, were regarded by some nonJewish intellectuals as obscurantists in their opposition to acquiring a good knowledge of Greek. In this connection we may note that Cleomenes, the author of an astronomical work (De Motu Circulari 2.1.91) in the first or second century c.e., in viciously attacking the vulgar language of Epicurus, remarks that the latter’s expressions “derive in part from brothels, ... and in part they issue from the midst of the synagogue and the beggars in its courtyards.” His utter contempt is manifest when he states that these expressions are “Jewish and debased and much lower than reptiles.” In an era when language and rhetoric were the sine qua non of an intellectual, this disregard for the niceties of Greek style would make the Jews guilty of xenophobia. Indeed, as Saul Lieberman26 has stressed, one cannot avoid noting the poverty and vulgarity of the Greek inscriptions of ordinary Jews buried in Palestine. The rabbis (Megillah 9b), to be sure, recognized the beauty of the Greek language; but what is important in showing their strongly negative attitude toward Greek

26

Lieberman 1942, 30.

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culture is that they are said, during the civil war between Hyrcanus II and Aristobulus II in 65 b.c.e., to have placed a curse upon the man who teaches his son Greek wisdom (b. Sotah 49b, b. Baba Qamma 82b, b. Menahoth 64b). As to the alleged xenophobia of the Jews, we may note the statement, quoted in the name of the advisers to the Syrian king Antiochus VII Sidetes, in the first century b.c.e. Diodorus (34 [35].1.1), that the Jews should be wiped out completely “since they alone of all nations avoided dealings with any other people and looked upon all men as their enemies.” Even Hecataeus of Abdera (ap. Diodorus 40.3.4), in a passage that is otherwise very favorable toward the Jews, asserts that Moses introduced a certain misanthropic (πάνθρωπν τινα) and xenophobic (μισξενον) way of life. Polytheism is, by definition, pluralistic in its attitude toward other religious beliefs, and though earlier, as we see in such writers as Plato and Aristotle, the Greeks had looked down upon non-Greeks, whom they called barbarians, certainly, after Alexander, the liberalism and tolerance in religion extended to other peoples and other ways of life. And yet, there were those such as Hecataeus and especially the influential Strabo who praised the Jews as a civilized people, with a lawgiver comparable to the great and much admired Spartan Lycurgus and a laudable code of law. However, is this negative attitude on the part of the Jews toward other peoples’ culture really so very different from what Herodotus (2.35) says about the Egyptians: “As the Egyptians have a climate peculiar to themselves, and their river is different in its nature from all other rivers, so have they made all their customs and laws of a kind contrary for the most part to those of all other men. Among them, the women buy and sell, the men abide at home and weave; and whereas in weaving all others push the woof upwards, the Egyptians push it downwards., etc.” As to Schäfer’s claim that the charge of xenophobia is particularly made against the Jews, Herodotus (2.41) says that “no Egyptian man or woman will kiss a Greek man, or use a knife, or a spit, or a caldron belonging to a Greek, or taste the flesh of an unblemished ox that has been cut up with a Greek knife.” Plato (Laws 12.953E) says that foreigners are expelled from Egypt from participating at meals and sacrifices. Likewise, Juvenal, in his third satire, bitterly complains (60-61) that Rome has become a Greek city, so large has the Greek portion of the population, which he refers to as the Achaean dregs, become.

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The crimes of the Greeks are said to include seductions and even murders (Juvenal 3.109-25). In the same satire he asserts that the Syrian Orontes river has flowed into the Tiber, that is, Syrians have come to Rome in such large numbers. He devotes the entire fifteenth satire to a fierce attack on the atrocities practiced by the Egyptians in their religious worship. 7. The Charges against the Jews, Leading to Their Expulsion from Rome Furthermore, we see that Jews are not the only ones whose rites are proscribed, since we find that in the year 19 (Tacitus, Annals 2.85.4; Suetonius, Tiberius 36) the Egyptians rites are likewise abolished by the Roman authorities. But it is only the Jews who are expelled, as we see in Suetonius (ibid.), and we may conclude that just as the expulsion of the Jews from Rome in 139 b.c.e. (Valerius Maximus 1.3.3) was because they had “attempted to transmit their sacred rites to the Romans, that is, to convert them to Judaism, so in 19 c.e. the reason for the expulsion, as we see in Cassius Dio (57.18.5a), was the alleged missionary activities of the Jews; and the same conclusion can be drawn from Josephus’ account (Ant. 18.169-79) that the cause of the expulsion was the fact that a woman of high rank who had become a proselyte had been cheated by some Jews who took for themselves the gifts that they had urged her to send to the Temple in Jerusalem. A third expulsion of the Jews from Rome, which took place during the reign of the Emperor Claudius (Suetonius, Claudius 25.4, Acts 18:2), occurred because the Jews were alleged to have been constantly making disturbances at the instigation of a certain Chrestus. Significantly, Cassius Dio (60.6.6), immediately after commenting on the vast increase in the number of Jews in Rome, presumably, at least in part, through proselytism, explicitly declares that Claudius did not drive them out—the clear implication being that on other occasions the Jews had been expelled. We may make five comments about these expulsions: (1) In no case are the Jews expelled simply because they are Jews; (2) so far as we know, the Jews are expelled only from Rome, not from Alexandria or any other city or area; (3) the common denominator of these expulsions, as we can see in one case with the coupling with the Egyptians, was attempts to convert Romans to Judaism; (4) the fact that the Jews are expelled over and over again indicates that

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they were permitted to return, presumably not long after they had been expelled; (5) we hear of no pogroms in connection with—either before, during, or after—these expulsions. Where we again hear of pogroms, these are all just prior to the outbreak of the war against the Romans in 66, hence connected with a political factor. In that year 66, we hear that in Caesarea the non-Jewish inhabitants slaughtered the Jews resident in the city (Josephus, War 2.457). The popular resentment against the Jews was deep-seated and long-smoldering, though not because they were Jews but rather because of the longstanding quarrel of the Jews and non-Jews, as in Alexandria, over the civic rights of the Jews (Ant. 20.184). Years later, in 74, Eleazar ben Jair at Masada (War 7.363) recalls that the non-Jews had always been quarreling with the Jewish inhabitants of Caesarea, presumably over this issue. Josephus gives no specific motive, alleged or actual, on the part of the attackers in the assault on Jews in other cities in 66, as if it were obvious or usual; but significantly Josephus (War 2.463) cites the presence of “Judaizers” in each city in Syria who aroused suspicion; and we may guess that one of the causes of the Jew-hatred was precisely the Jewish success not only in winning converts but also in gaining “sympathizers.” On the other hand, if, at a later date, under Domitian, we hear of the expulsion of a group other than the Jews, namely the philosophers (Cassius Dio 65 [66]. 13.1a), it is apparent, as we can see in the generally mild and even-tempered Cassius Dio (ibid.), that these intellectuals had irritated Romans intensely since they “are full of empty boasting...and look down on everyone.” Gavin Langmuir, in his already extremely influential book,27 distinguishes three kinds of hostile assertions: realistic hostility, where there is some basis in fact for the hostility toward the group; xenophobia, where the conduct of a minority of the members of a group is said to be true of all members of the group; and chimeria, where characteristics attributed to the group have never been empirically observed. On this basis he concludes that chimerical (or irrational) anti-Semitism does not arise until about 1150 c.e. In his long and incisive dialogue with Langmuir, Schäfer notes that the most salient example of chimerical anti-Semitism cited by Langmuir is the alleged Jewish custom of human sacrifice. Schäfer objects that a similar charge is made by Apion and Damocritus against the Jews; but, we 27

Langmuir 1990.

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may object, in any case, such a charge is not uniquely anti-Jewish, since we hear of other cannibalistic conspiracies, the most famous being that connected with Catiline. Since such a charge is made against so many peoples, it hardly indicates that the Jews are to be regarded as a menace to society, especially since, as we see in Cicero, for example, it was understood, in those days, that rhetoricians were granted the license to exaggerate and, indeed, to do so even wildly. However, the main point to be made is that the charges made by Apion and Damocritus—and we may add that even Theophrastus (ap. Porphyry, De Abstinentia 2.26), in an otherwise very favorable notice about the Jews, says that the Jews were the first to institute sacrifices both of other living beings and of themselves—did not lead to outbreaks against the Jews, as did those in the Middle Ages. Are we justified in using Langmuir’s terminology in viewing Apion’s and Damocritus’ charges as chimerical? Yes, they are chimerical, but they are not part and parcel of ancient hostility, so far as we can tell. In all the cases of overt hostility, such as pogroms, we never hear the charge that Jews fatten up and kill non-Jews. We hear of expulsions of the Jews from Rome in 139 b.c.e. and in 19 c.e. and perhaps again during the reign of Claudius, but these are provoked not by harangues or comments of intellectuals but rather by the success of the Jews in winning converts; and, indeed, in each case, the Jews apparently return to Rome shortly after their expulsion despite the threat of Jewish proselytizing to the Roman way of life. Professor Schäfer remarks that the picture of anti-Semitism in Rome “is more complex than in Egypt and Greece. Beginning with Cicero and Seneca, and reaching its climax with Juvenal and Tacitus, there is an ambivalence between dislike and fear, criticism and respect, attraction and repulsion, which responds to the peculiar combination of exclusivenss and yet success that characterizes Judaism in the eyes of the Roman authors.” But Cicero, as we know, is a lawyer who argued diametrically opposed points of view; in fact, his anti-Semitic comments, such as his reference to the Jews as a pressure group, are never cited by any other extant author—or, one might add, by the later Church Fathers—despite Cicero’s unchallenged position as Rome’s greatest orator, and, so far as we can tell, had no influence on Roman governmental policy or the Roman masses. Seneca may have written bitter and nasty comments about the Jews; but though he was for a time the right-hand man of the Emperor Nero (Tacitus, Annals 13.2), he apparently had no influence

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on Nero’s policy toward the Jews, if we may judge from Josephus. Juvenal was a professor of rhetoric, and fortunately in those days as in ours, professors were generally regarded as luftmenschen, a source of good jokes, and with little or sharply exaggerated understanding of reality. Though he has some incisive comments, his influence on public policy or the masses was nil. Tacitus may have held office under three emperors, may have been consul under Nerva, and may have been governor of the province of Asia under Trajan; but we know of no evidence that he carried his anti-Semitic views into practice in any of those positions. If fear of the Jews because of their success in winning converts is seen solely in Roman literature, why are there no riots in Rome but rather, most notably, in Alexandria against the Jews? Indeed, according to Suetonius (Claudius 25.4) it is the Jews who are alleged to have made constant disturbances (assidue tumultuantis in Rome, at the instigation of Chrestus; and these are said by Suetonius to have led the Emperor Claudius to expel the Jews from Rome. But we do not hear in Suetonius or in any other Roman source or in Josephus, who was a contemporary, or in any other Jewish source of popular riots by non-Jews against Jews at that time. It is furthermore significant that though we hear of cities in Asia Minor and Libya that did not honor the privilges that had been granted to the Jews by previous rulers and even confiscated money that the Jews had collected for transmittal to the Temple in Jerusalem, the Jews had their rights reaffirmed by Roman authorities; and, in any case, we do not hear of any riots or pogroms. Rather, the anti-Semitism manifested itself in such acts as stealing money (Ant. 16.45) which the Jews had collected in Asia Minor for transmittal to Jerusalem—acts which the civic magistrates apparently ignored. Since the Romans were themselves a minority in their own empire and since the Jews constituted, as we have noted, as much as ten per cent of the population of the Roman Empire and as much as twenty per cent in the eastern portion of it, the Roman policy of tolerance, even from a purely political point of view, made much sense. The attempt of the Emperor Gaius Caligula to impose the imperial cult upon the Jews, since he hoped that this would be the one common denominator that would unite all the people of the Empire, was the exception; the norm was the decree of his successor, the Emperor Claudius, reaffirming the privileges of the Jews everywhere. Even the massacres of Jews in Damascus and other cities in Syria (War 2.559-61, 2.461-65) are isolated events, coinciding with

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the beginning of the Jewish war against the Romans. Another factor here appears to have been the success of the Jews in converting, in a city such as Antioch, a great number of Greeks “perpetually,” to quote the words of Josephus (War 7.45), who generally is careful to softpedal the conversion activities of Jews because he realized how sensitive the Romans were to such acts. In Damascus, we read (War 2.560) that the inhabitants “distrusted their wives, who were almost all addicted to the Jewish religion.” Significantly, when the revolt of 66-74 ended and the people of Antioch (War 7.103-11) petitioned the commander-in-chief of the Roman army, Titus, when he visited the city, to expel the Jews, he refused; and when they asked that the privileges previously enjoyed by the Jews in Antioch should be rescinded, he likewise refused, this after four years of bloody war with the Jews. It is surely remarkable that, on the whole, after three great rebellions against the Romans, against Nero, Trajan, and Hadrian (the last, that of Bar Kochba, tied up a seventh of the entire Roman army in the tiny area of Judaea), the Roman government reaffirmed its policy of protecting the privileges of the Jews; and this eventually became the policy inherited even by Constantine and the Christian emperors who succeeded him. Langmuir views the Graeco-Roman attitude toward the Jews as devoid of any sense of threat; hence, they are the prime example of an ingroup with “realistic” assertions about the Jews. Schäfer correctly challenges this and insists, as we have seen, that it is precisely the feeling of being threatened by the Jews which informs many, if not most, anti-Jewish statements in antiquity. Moreover, to assert, as does Langmuir, that xenophobic assertions on the part of Greeks and Romans originate from the conduct of a minority among the Jews and that this is then attributed to all Jews is not borne out by the data, since the anti-Semitic statements are almost always made about the Jews. According to Langmuir, the essential inferiority and powerlessness of the outgroup, that is the Jews, are a crucial factor in turning antiJudaism into anti-Semitism. Schäfer correctly insists that this does not apply to the Jews of antiquity. A people that produced a Herod, as well as four commanders-in-chief for the Ptolemaic armies, that produced a governor of Egypt (Tiberius Julius Alexander, who, to be sure, was no longer an observant Jew), that produced an Agrippa I, who was such a crucial factor in determining that Claudius should succeed Caligula as Roman Emperor, that at one point was able

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to control the kingship of half a dozen states, petty though they might be, that was able to get Roman emperors time after time to side with them against their enemies, as we can see alike from the pages of Josephus, the Talmud, and the Acts of the Pagan Martyrs, that was able to get rights and privileges affirmed and reaffirmed in every part of the Graeco-Roman world, that, with its success in converting so many, came to embrace as much as ten per cent of the Roman Empire, was hardly powerless. Jews were feared and sometimes hated, but this is not the classic anti-Semitism such as we find in the Middle Ages and modern times. 7. Admiration for the Jews among Non-Jewish Writers On the contrary, Jews were even admired by some of the greatest thinkers of antiquity. Surely, among the pre-Socratic philosophers, no one had a greater reputation than Pythagoras, since, as Josephus (Against Apion 1.162) remarks, for wisdom and piety he was ranked above all other philosophers, presumably including even Socrates and Plato. Indeed, according to Josephus (ibid.), he not only knew of the institutions of the Jews but was an arden admirer and even imitator of them. Furthermore, Josephus (Against Apion 1.163-64) cites a certain Hermippus (who lived ca. 200 b.c.e.), known, he says, as a careful historian, who asserts that Pythagoras adopted from the Jews and Thracians three precepts—not to pass a certain spot on which an ass had collapsed, to abstain from thirst-producing water, and to avoid all slander; and he adds that Pythagoras introduced many points of Jewish law into his philosophy. The third-century Christian Church Father Origen (Against Celsus 1.15) omits the reference to the Thracians and states that, according to Hermippus, Pythagoras actually brought his own philosophy from the Jews to the Greeks. Moreover, the first-century Antonius Diogenes (ap. Porphyry, Vita Pythagorae 11) declares that Pythagoras visited the Egyptians, Arabs, Chaldaeans, and Hebrews, and that he learned from them the exact knowledge of dreams—a skill particularly admired in antiquity. Finally, Pythagoras’ condemnation of the use of images (ap. Diogenes Laertius, Lives of the Philosophers 1.6-9) is ascribed to Jewish influence. The most influential philosopher during the Hellenistic period was undoubtedly Plato. The second-century Neo-Pythagorean Numenius of Apamea sums up Plato by saying (ap. Clement of Alexandria,

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Stromata 1.22.150.4), “What is Plato but Moses speaking in Attic Greek?” The ultimate compliment that an intellectual in antiquity could bestow upon a people was to declare that they were a race of philosophers. It is precisely this compliment that is bestowed upon the Jews by none other than the great Aristotle (ap. Clearchus of Soli ap. Josephus, Against Apion 1.179), who was so impressed with the wisdom of a Jew whom he met in Asia Minor that he declared that the Jewish people are actually descended from the renowned Indian philosophers. The compliment is all the greater in view of Aristotle’s parochialism (Politics 1.2.1252B7-8) in stating that non-Greeks, whom he termed barbarians, and slaves are by nature one. His student and successor as the head of the Lyceum, Theophrastus (ap. Porphyry, De Abstinentia 2.26), reiterates that Jews are philosophers by birth, and he paints a highly complimentary picture of the Jews conversing about the divine while they are conducting their sacrifices. The fact that he adds that the Jews make observations of the stars is a further compliment, since astronomy was the most popular of the four branches of mathematics in Hellenistic times and one of the key subjects in the higher education of the philosopher-kings in Plato’s ideal state (Republic 7.528B-530B). Among the Romans none had a greater reputation for learning than Varro (so Quintilian 10.1.95). The ancient Romans, he says, worshipped the gods without an image. If this custom, he adds (ap. Augustine, City of G-d 4.31.2), had continued, “the gods would not be worshipped with greater purity.” In conclusion, it is time to revise the lachrymose view of Jewish history, at least for certain portions of the ancient period. Despite occasional setbacks, Jews were doing well, even counter-attacking, so to speak, through gaining proselytes in large numbers. And even among intellectuals, Jews were sometimes admired.

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CHAPTER EIGHT

REFLECTIONS ON RUTGERS’ ATTITUDES TO JUDAISM IN THE GRECO-ROMAN PERIOD Dr. Leonard V. Rutgers, in a recent article in the Jewish Quarterly Review, has done the world of scholarship a service in examining anew the relationship between Jews and non-Jews in antiquity in the light of my recent study.1 In it he proposes to review critically the literary, epigraphical, and archaeological evidence bearing on conversions to Judaism in antiquity. He stresses that the strength of the Jewish communities is evident from the ways in which Jews reacted to non-Jewish culture by continuously transforming it to express an identity that was unmistakably Jewish. However, Dr. Rutgers mistates my thesis, when he2 repeatedly has me arguing, as my central thesis, that the masses disliked Judaism, but that intellectuals admired it, albeit grudgingly.3 He then wonders4 where all the alleged converts came from, since the number of intellectuals who were converted was obviously very small. This fundamental misapprehension of my aim and thesis skews almost everything that he says. In my preface5 I state the problem this way: “How can we explain why the Jews in antiquity—so bitterly hated, as so many scholars have insisted—succeeded in winning so many adherents, whether as “sympathizers” who observed one or more Jewish practices or as full-fledged proselytes?” I attempt to resolve this with the thesis that Judaism was by and large strong, a significant and (to many) attractive force in the ancient world. In my chapter

1

Rutgers 1995-96, 1-35; Feldman 1993. Rutgers 1995-96, 3, 10, and especially 21-22. 3 Surely, however, the statements of admiration for the Jews ascribed to such writers as Pythagoras (ap. Josephus, Ap. 1.162), Clearchus of Soli quoting Aristotle (ap. Josephus, Ap. 1.176-83), Theophrastus (ap. Porphyry, De Abstinentia 2.26), Megasthenes (ap. Clement of Alexadria, Stromata 1.15.72.5), Hecataeus of Abdera (ap. Diod. 40.3.5), Pseudo-Longinus (9.9), Varro (ap. Augustine, De Civitate D-i 4.31.2), Numenius (ap. Clement of Alexandria, Stromata 1.22.150.4) are not grudging praise. 4 Rutgers 1995-96, 7. 5 Feldman 1993, xi. 2

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on popular prejudice against Jews I do not say that all the masses hated the Jews. One must distinguish between the masses and the “mob.” In fact, I say plainly6 that one of the causes of the Jew-hatred for example in Syria, was precisely the Jewish success not only in winning converts but also in gaining “sympathizers” clearly among the masses themselves. The masses who converted obviously did not hate the Jews. In offering motives for conversion I explicitly discuss7 the importance of economic factors in inducing poverty-stricken pagans to embrace Judaism. I call attention to the fact that poor Gentiles—obviously not intellectuals—, once converted to Judaism, could benefit from the extraordinarily effective charities, according to the Jewish custom (cf. Jos., Ap. 2.283). Those proselytes, as I remark, who were poverty-stricken, received the benefit of interest-free loans from Jews because usury is forbidden by the Torah. Indeed, the rabbis (Sifra Behar 5.1, Gerim 3:4) insisted that if a convert was in financial difficulties it was mandated that other Jews should help him, even to the point of anticipating his duress. Apparently, this reached the point (Yal. Shimoni, Emor 745; Eleh Devarim Zuta 1) where some of the sages note that there are people who convert simply because they liked to eat or to be supported by the Jewish community. Dr. Rutgers8 asserts that Josephus’ account of the conversion of the royal family of Adiabene shows that the first-century conversions of non-Jews to Judaism, even among the upper classes, must have been the exception rather than the rule; but I never say that it was the rule. On the contrary, as I note above, most of the proselytes were clearly not of the upper classes. Dr. Rutgers9 notes that if one reads John Chrysostom’s eight homilies on the Jews [he means Judaizers] or any other Church Father writing about Christian attraction to Judaism it is impossible to avoid the impression that it was precisely the masses who saw no difficulty in socializing with the Jews. But I clearly indicate10 that it was many among the masses who found Jewish practices attractive. I note Chrysostom’s statement that the Jews were attracting so many Christians to their synagogues; clearly

6

Feldman 1993, 119-20. Feldman 1993, 336-37. 8 Rutgers 1995-96, 10. 9 Rutgers 1995-96, 21-22. 10 Feldman 1993, 405-7. 7

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these were not intellectuals. In particular, I note11 Chrysostom’s statement (Adversus Judaeos 2.3.860) charging Christian husbands with the responsibility of keeping wives from going to the synagogue. I likewise remark12 that Jerome (On Matt. 23.15 [P. L. 26.175]) notes the presence of women in particular among the Judaizers. Surely I do not indicate that these women were intellectuals. Dr. Rutgers13 represents me as indicating that all of the masses were antagonistic to Jews, and he notes that there were differences between Alexandria and Rome. My presentation is hardly that simplistic, and I note that large numbers of ordinary people were so sympathetic to Judaism that they became “G-d-fearers” or even proselytes. At the same time, cordial relations in certain cities or areas in normal times can be contrasted with deep hostility that then erupts; and where it erupts it reveals something about the “cordial” times. Dr. Rutgers14 expresses skepticism as to the number of Jews in the Hellenistic-Roman period15 and specifically as to the number of converts among them. As to the number of Jews, the fact that we have information from such diverse sources is significant. Strabo (ap. Jos., Ant. 14.115) reports that in his day (the Augustan Age) “This people [i.e. the Jews] has already made its way into every city, and it is not easy to find any place in the habitable world which has not received this nation and in which it has not made its power felt.” Philo (Flacc. 43), who, in his role of leadership in the Alexandrian Jewish community was certainly in a position to know and who may well have had information from his brother Alexander the alabarch (Jos., Ant. 18.159), reports that in his era, at the beginning of the first century, there were no less than a million Jews in Egypt. In Alexandria alone

11

Feldman 1993, 405. Feldman 1993, 407. 13 Rutgers 1995-96, 25. 14 Rutgers 1995-96, 3-10. 15 Dr. Rutgers states that Bar Hebraeus probably derived his information as to the number of Jews from Tac., Ann. 21.25.5. The correct citation in Tacitus is 11.25.5. However, that Bar Hebraeus derived his figure not from Tacitus but from Eusebius is clear from the fact that precisely the same figure, 6,944,000, is given by Eusebius (Chronicon [in Schoene 1875, 2:152-53]) as the number of Roman citizens. Bar Hebraeus is wrong is asserting that the census revealed this as the number of Jews in the Roman Empire. Dr. Rutgers is clearly right in negating the value of Bar Hebraeus’ evidence in this matter, and Salo Baron and I are clearly wrong in ascribing value to it. See Rosenthal 1954, 267-68. 12

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we have reason to believe that there were 180,000 Jews,16 of whom, according to Josephus (War 2.497) fifty thousand perished during the riot of 66. Moreover, according to Cassius Dio (68.32.2) during the revolt of 115-117 c.e. the Jews were able to kill 220,000 of their opponents in Libya and 240,000 of their opponents on Cyprus; to effect this the Jews themselves must have been very numerous. As for the number of Jews living in Rome we can get some idea from the fact (War 2. 80, Ant. 17.300) that when an embassy of Jews came from Palestine to Rome asking that Archelaus be deposed, more than eight thousand of the Jews of Rome espoused their cause. As for the number of Jews in the Land of Israel, Tacitus (Hist. 5.13.3) reports that the total of those besieged, of every age and of both sexes, in Jerusalem during the war of 66-70 was 600,000.17 Josephus (War 2.280) states that a crowd of not less than three million Jews implored the Roman governor Cestius Gallus, when he visited Jerusalem at Passover, to have compassion upon them in view of the excesses of the procurator Florus. Even if we discount Josephus’ figure of over 3,060,000 for Galilee alone,18 a district where he should have had good information, inasmuch as he was the general there in the year 66, at the beginning of the revolt against the Romans, we cannot so readily dismiss the count ordered by the Roman governor of Syria Cestius Gallus to be taken by the chief priests and reported to the Emperor Nero. The figure, based on the fact that there were 255,600 lambs slaughtered for Passover in that year and that each

16 See Delia 1988, 288, who notes that the figure of 180,000 mentioned in a fragment from the notorious Acta Alexandrinorum is intimately connected with the subject under appeal and that it most likely refers to the number of Jews resident in Alexandria and vicinity. 17 Dr. Rutgers 1995-96, 5, incorrectly cites this figure as representing the number of those who perished during the siege, whereas Tacitus does not say that they all perished. He cites this as an example of the unreliability of such figures, noting the incongruity between this figure and that of Josephus (War 6.420), who, he says, maintains that approximately twice as many were killed on that occasion. We may suggest, however, that Josephus’ figure of 1,100,000 represents, as he is careful to note, those who perished during the entire siege, whereas Tacitus apparently gives the number who were besieged at the time when the city was captured. 18 Josephus (Life 235) writes to Jonathan and his fellow deputies, who, having been sent by the Jerusalem authorities, had arrived in Galilee, that there are 204 cities and villages in Galilee. He is hardly likely to have misrepresented this information to an official delegation. Elsewhere, in his extensive description of Galilee (War 3.35-43), he states that the villages there are so densely populated that the smallest of them contains more than fifteen thousand inhabitants.

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lamb was for no fewer than ten persons meant that the number of people in Jerusalem that year was 2,556,000 (War 6.424); and this did not include menstruous women or those who were defiled.19 The fact that in the Bar Kochba rebellion, according to Cassius Dio (69.14.1), 580,000 Jews were slain in raids and battles, “and the number of those that perished by famine, disease and fire was past finding out,” would indicate a very large population. Nevertheless, Dr. Rutgers20 (p. 5) insists that figures as to the number of Jews in the first century lose their value in the light of the total absence of reliable data on Jewish demography for the periods immediately before and after the first century c.e. But as to the period before, we may get some idea as to the small number of Jews in the Kingdom of Judah from the number of lambs, kids, and bulls contributed by King Josiah in 622 b.c.e., when Jews gathered in Jerusalem from throughout his kingdom, so that, according to 2 Kings 23:22, no such Passover had been kept since the days of the judges or during all the days of the kings of Israel of of Judah. According to 2 Chron. 35:7-9, Josiah himself contributed to the people as Passover offerings 30,000 lambs and kids and 3,000 bulls; his officials gave 2,600 lambs and kids and 300 bulls; the chiefs of the Levites gave 5,000 lambs and kids and 500 bulls. This makes a total of 37,600 lambs and kids and 3,800 bulls. From Josephus’ statement (War 6.425) that there were an average of ten diners for each lamb we may estimate the number of Jews in Jerusalem on that Passover. Moreover, as Baron21 has noted, the devastation wrought by the Assyrian king Sennacherib and the constant warfare for the period from King Josiah onward caused a great decline in population. We may get some idea as to the small population of the kingdom of Judah from the number of Jews whom King Nebuchadnezzar took into exile (Jer. 52:28-30): 3023 in the seventh year of his reign (597 b.c.e.), 832 in his eighteenth year (587 b.c.e.), and 745 in the twenty-third year (582 b.c.e.)—a total of 4,600. In 2 Kings 24:14 we read that Nebuchadnezzar in the year 587 b.c.e. carried away 10,000 captives; according to 2 Kings 24:16 he carried away 7,000

19 Josephus himself (War 6.425) gives the total as 2,700,000; but this is because, as he says, the number of people in a company often included as many as twenty. 20 Rutgers 1995-96, 5. 21 Baron 1972, 23-73, especially 63-65.

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men of valor plus 1,000 artisans and smiths. We may also get some idea as to the number of Jews from the figure of those who returned from Babylonian exile—42,360 plus 7,337 servants and 200 singers (Ezra 2:64-65 and Neh. 7:66-67).22 We must, of course, bear in mind that in the sixth century b.c.e. there were Jews, such as there were, in a very few places, whereas in the first century they were to be found in many places. Dr. Rutgers23 remarks that what is striking about the historical evidence for actual conversions to Judaism in the first century c.e. is not its abundance but rather its absence.24 But this, too, is a statement not of skepticism but of thesis and, as such, vulnerable to skeptical analysis. Aside from the conversion of Fulvia, as noted by Josephus (Ant. 18.82), and some passing references in satirists such as Horace and Juvenal, he says that there is nothing other other than the conversion of the royal house of Adiabene. In the first place, however, we must not restrict the question of conversion to the first century. In the second place, as to the evidence of the satirists Horace and Juvenal, while it is true that satirists exaggerate, their effectiveness rests upon the fact that they are describing a real situation. Moreover, what is one to make of Philo’s statement (Virt. 103-4) that the Pentateuch commands all Jews to love incomers, that is proselytes (as is clear from Virt. 102), as themselves both in body and soul—a passage that is especially revealing of Philo’s attitude because the biblical text (Lev. 19:33-34) on which it is based clearly refers to strangers in the land rather than to proselytes? That Philo is referring to proselytism as a recurring phenomenon is clear from the fact that he mentions it in a number of other places as well (Mos.1.147, Virt. 179, Spec. 1.52 and 4.178, Praem. 152, and Legat. 211). Philo’s condemnation (Virt. 226), in such strong language, of those who do not convert to Judaism as “enemies of the Jewish nation and of every person in every place” indicates how strongly he believed in the necessity to convert the Gentiles.

22 Nehemiah agrees with Ezra’s figures except that he gives the number of singers as 245. 23 Rutgers 1995-96, 9, 24 Dr. Rutgers 1995-96, 9, says that I systematically attempt to read proselytism into sources that do not explicitly speak of conversion and cites pp. 288f. in my book. On pp. 288-89, however, there is no mention at all of any attempt to read proselytism into those sources.

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Josephus remarks (Ap. 2.210) on the gracious welcome extended by Jews to all who wish to adopt their laws. That proselytism was not restricted to a few but was a mass movement and was characterized by the zeal of the converts is clear from his statement (Ap. 2.282) that it is the masses (πλθεσιν, “great number,” “multitude”) who “have long since shown a keen desire (ζOλος, “zeal,” “passion”) to adopt our religious observances; and there is not one city, Greek or barbarian, nor a single nation, to which our custom of abstaining from work on the seventh day has not spread.” This statement is particularly cogent in view of Josephus’ own opposition (Life 113) to the use of compulsion in getting non-Jews to convert. The fact that the rabbis have traditions portraying Abraham, Isaac, and Joseph as missionaries (e.g., Gen. Rab. 84.4, 90.6, 91.5) would seem to indicate not only that they approved of such proselyting but also, in all likelihood, that the movement was still current. The most striking passage indicating the zeal with which the Jews pursued their proselyting activities is to be found in the New Testament (Matt. 23:15), which declares that the Pharisees “compass sea and land to make one proselyte.” This same zeal is alluded to in the first century b.c.e. Horace (Sat. 1.4.142-143), who mentions it as if it were proverbial: “We are more numerous, and like the Jews we shall force you to join our throng.” In bitter allusion to the victorious spread of Judaism, the first-century c.e. Seneca the philosopher (ap. Aug., De Civitate D-i 6.11) declares, “The vanquished have given laws to the victor” (victi victoribus leges dederunt). Tacitus (Hist. 5.5.1), writing with rancor at the beginning of the second century, remarks that “the worst ones among other peoples, renouncing their ancestral religions, always kept sending (congerebant) tribute and contributing to Jerusalem, thereby increasing the wealth of the Jews.” The use of the imperfect tense, congerebant, would indicate repetitive and continuing action. Dr. Rutgers expresses doubt that the expulsions of the Jews from Rome in 139 b.c.e. and in the first half of the first century c.e. were due to the fact that Roman magistrates thought that the Jews were too successful in winning converts. He states that the first expulsion derives exclusively from two late epitomes of Valerius Maximus25 and

25 Dr. Rutgers gives the title of Valerius Maximus’ work as Dicta et Mirabilia. The correct title is Facta et Dicta Memorabilia.

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that the summaries are so concise and contain such peculiar details that it is virtually impossible to determine whether their respective authors, Julius Paris and Januarius Nepotianus, provide reliable information at all. Though, admittedly, there are some differences in the two epitomes, the important point is that they agree that the Jews are accused of attempting to spread their religion, in the one case (Paris) by infecting the Roman customs with the cult of Jupiter Sabazius, in the other case by transmitting their sacred rites to the Romans. In the second instance (19 c.e.), Cassius Dio (57.18.5a) is explicit in stating that the Emperor Tiberius banished them because they were converting (μεθιστάντων, “place in another way,” “change,” “remove from one place to another,”) many of the natives to their ways.” While it is true that none of the other accounts of this expulsion (Jos., Ant. 18.81-84; Tac., Ann. 2.85.4; and Suet., Tiberius 36.1) explicitly state that the reason for the expulsion was proselytizing by Jews, Josephus significantly connects it with an incident in which a certain Fulvia, a woman of high rank who had become a proselyte, was cheated by some Jews who had appropriated for themselves the gifts that they had urged her to send to the Temple in Jerusalem. Moreover, the fact that Tacitus, like Suetonius, couples the expulsion with the proscription of the Egyptian rites would indicate that religion was the factor behind the expulsion; and the fact that he says that the devotees of the Egyptian and Jewish rites were given a deadline by which time they had to renounce their “impious rites” would imply that the objection was to converts to these rites, inasmuch as native Jews had been tolerated at Rome for a century and a half prior to this event. A likely allusion to this episode appears, moreover, in Seneca (Epistulae Morales 108.22), who notes, though, to be sure, without mentioning the Jews by name, that in the reign of Tiberius some foreign rites were introduced, and that the proof that a person was an adherent of the new cult was his abstention from eating certain animals, a probable allusion to the Jewish dietary laws. Judaism was hardly a new cult in the time of Tiberius; hence, the reference would appear to be to those who join the Jewish cult, that is proselytes. Dr. Rutgers26 believes that the explanation that the expulsion was due to excessive proselytizing by the Jews is not very plausible and instead concludes that in taking such harsh measures

26

Rutgers 1994, 62-65.

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Rome was determined to restore law and order. But in view of the identification of religion and state in Rome, it is precisely success in getting Romans to give up their adherence to the state religion that could have been deemed a threat to the very existence of the Roman state, since, as Ennius had put long before, “Moribus antiquis res stat Romana viresque.” If we ask why the expulsion was restricted to the city of Rome, we may reply that it was particularly embarrassing for the Roman authorities to have the proselytizing go on in their very capital. We should also call attention to an important passage in Dio (60.6.6), which states that the Emperor Claudius was ready to drive the Jews out of Rome once again because they had increased so greatly, but that he had decided not take this measure since, by reason of their multitude, it would have been hard to do so without raising a tumult; consequently, according to Dio, he decided not to drive them out but ordered them, while continuing their traditional mode of life, not to hold meetings. It would appear likely that the apparent sudden large increase in numbers was due to proselyting activities, inasmuch as Claudius was certainly not anti-Jewish, as we can see from the fact that he abolished the restrictions imposed on the Alexandrian Jews during the pogrom of 38 c.e. (Jos., Ant. 19.280-85) and the fact that he allowed the Jews to continue to observe their ancestral ways. This must have included permission to gather together for prayer services. It would seem likely, therefore, that the purpose of preventing them from holding meetings (συναθρο5ζεσθαι, “gather together,” “assemble”) was to prevent the Jews from assembling for the purpose of influencing others to join the Jewish fold.27 Dr. Rutgers28 cites approvingly Goodman’s interpretation29 of the 27

Suetonius (Claudius 25.1) declares that since the Jews constantly made disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus, he expelled them from Rome; but this, it would seem, does not refer to the same instance as that mentioned by Dio, inasmuch as it specifically says that in that case Claudius did expel the Jews from Rome (so also Acts 18:2), and inasmuch as it mentions that the provocateur was Chrestus, whom most scholars have identified with Jesus. Rutgers 1994, 66, says that the passage from Suetonius can be interpreted to mean that only a small group of Jews was expelled, and not the entire community. This is true, inasmuch as Suetonius says that Claudius expelled Iudaeos, which could mean “the Jews” or “Jews.” But Acts 18.2 specifically says that Claudius ordered all the Jews to leave Rome. 28 Rutgers 1995-96, 10. 29 Goodman 1989, 40-44.

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events surrounding the abolition of the fiscus Iudaicus under Nerva as proof that Romans were unaware, until after 96 c.e., that they could actually convert to Judaism. But this is a misrepresentation of Goodman, who speaks of Roman ignorance about the concept of a proselyte. Even if Dr. Rutgers is right, that until 96 the government did not countenance conversion as a legal possibility, this does not mean that “the Romans” were unaware of it. Dr. Rutgers asserts that one should not argue that rabbinic accounts corroborate the picture of upper-class converts (though I nowhere assert that such upper-class converts were the majority of the proselytes). Yet, here the statement in the Midrash (Deut. Rab. 2.24) that a member of the council of the emperor (apparently Domitian) was a “G-d-fearing man” who had secretly converted to Judaism is directly parallel to the statement in Cassius Dio (67.14.1-2) that the charge brought against Flavius Clemens the consul and his wife (both of whom were relatives of the emperor Domitian) was “atheism, a charge on which many others who drifted into Jewish ways were condemned.”30 Dr. Rutgers31 asserts that much of what Josephus reports in his account of the conversion of the royal family of Adiabene militates against my view of widespread conversions to Judaism in the first century. But, as we can see from Josephus’ statement (Life 113) of strong opposition to forced conversion of Gentiles during the period that he was commander in Galilee and from his silence about the reason (namely proselyting activities) for the expulsion of the Jews from Rome in 19 c.e. (Ant. 18.81-84), that he was sensitive to the concern of the Romans that the Jews were seriously threatening, with their success in proselytism, the ancestral traditions of the Romans; hence, the one specific instance of conversions in the first century is in a region, Adiabene, outside of the Roman Empire. Dr. Rutgers32 says that the fact (Ant. 20.39) that Queen Helena of Adiabene suspected that the masses might revolt upon hearing about Izates’ conversion 30 Dr. Rutgers 1995-96, 8, asserts that on p. 31 [he means 331]I accept the inscriptions from Rome as evidence of first-century proselytism. Later (pp. 331-332: he means 411-412) he says that I inconsistently use the same inscriptions as evidence for conversion to Judaism in late antiquity. Actually, I state that the inscriptions cannot be dated precisely, though the catacombs in which they are found were used for burials from the first to the third centuries c.e. I refer to these inscriptions again on pp. 411-412 because we cannot be sure of their date. 31 Rutgers 1995-96, 9. 32 Rutgers 1995-96, 10.

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to Judaism suggests that in Adiabene conversions to Judaism, even in the first century, were rather unusual and in any event can never have taken place on any large scale. But we may reply that what might have been true in Adiabene was not necessarily true in the Roman Empire, at least to judge from the statements cited above. Moreover, we cannot tell from Helena’s response whether the attitude of the masses was unanimous. There was, as we have noted, apparently a love-hate relationship toward the Jews among the masses: many hated the Jews and many, paradoxically, whatever their motives may have been, were actually attracted to Judaism. Furthermore, we should note that in the war against the Romans that broke out in 66 some of the revolutionaries apparently had hopes of obtaining aid from their kinsmen in Adiabene (Jos., War 2.388). Since the hope is there expressed of recruiting them as allies, it would seem that the expectation was that the revolutionaries in Jerusalem expected to obtain Adiabenians, presumably converts and their descendants, to join them as soldiers. Dr. Rutgers’ assertion33 that the fact that Helena suspected that the masses might revolt upon hearing about Izates’ conversion to Judaism suggests that in Adiabene conversions to Judaism, even in the first century c.e., were rather unusual does not follow, since, as we have noted, the great majority of conversions were apparently not initiated by rulers but rather by private individuals. Dr. Rutgers34 asserts that positive remarks on Jews and Judaism can be encountered with special frequency at the beginning of the Hellenistic period and then again during the third century c.e. but not during the intervening period. But during the intervening period, in the first century b.c.e. and first century c.e., for example, we encounter positive remarks in such important writers as Alexander Polyhistor, Poseidonius (as Bezalel Bar-Kochva35 demonstrates), Diodorus Siculus, Timagenes, Nicolaus of Damascus, Strabo, and, in particular the extremely influential Varro (whom the paramount authority on rhetoric, Quintilian [10.1.95], terms the “most learned of the Romans”) and Pseudo-Longinus (the author of the most important

33 34 35

Rutgers 1995-96, 10. Rutgers 1995-96, 22. Bar-Kochva 1996.

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work on literary criticism after Aristotle). Dr. Rutgers36 says that the apparent fascination with Jews and Judaism in pagan writers went only skin-deep; but we know of at least seven writers—Alexander Polyhistor, Apollonius Molon, and Teucer of Cyzicus in the first century b.c.e., Apion of Alexandria, Damocritus, and Nicarchus in the first century CE, and Herennius Philo of Byblus in the second century—who wrote whole monographs on the Jews. Teucer’s work, in particular, seems to have been very extensive, consisting, as it did, of six books. We should note that perhaps less then one per cent of what the Greeks and Romans wrote is extant today. The losses are particularly heavy for the Hellenistic period; one thinks, for example, of Didymus Chalkenteros of Alexandria, who lived in the first century, and who is said to have written between 3500 and 4000 books (equivalent to perhaps 300 modern volumes), all of them lost except for fragments.37 Dr. Rutgers38 asserts that I view interaction between Jews and non-Jews as a one-way phenomenon and as a phenomenon that is essentially religious in nature, with Jews being largely immune to “foreign” influence. Such a definition, he says, provides an incomplete picture of contacts between Jews and non-Jews in the ancient world, inasmuch as it never raises the question of Jews undergoing outside influence. But I devote a whole chapter (2) to the influence of non-Jewish culture upon the Jews in the Diaspora, dealing specifically with the influence of Greek language and thought, secular education, athletics, the theater, and syncretism and conclude, as Dr. Rutgers realizes, that in the Diaspora Jewish communities were deeply Hellenized. He says39 that I perceive interaction in narrowly antagonistic and strictly religious terms: if Jews were really to interact with non-Jews, they would cease to be strictly orthodox and would become assimilationists. But, as I note, the Jews in the Diaspora did interact with Greek culture and did not, on the whole, lose their Jewish identity. As for the Land of Israel, we must distinguish between outward and inward Hellenization. It is anachronistic to assume that assimilation in antiquity meant what it means today. The assumption

36

Rutgers 1995-96, 22. Susemihl 1891-92, enumerates close to a thousand names of writers of the Hellenistic period, almost all of whose works are lost. 38 Rutgers 1995-96, 25. 39 Rutgers 1995-96, 32. 37

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then was that ethnic origin presupposed religious practice, as we see in the standard pagan use of the Greek term Zουδα-ος and the Latin term Iudaeus (see, for example, Hecataeus of Abdera, ap. Diod. 40.3; Agatharchides, ap. Jos., Ap. 1.209; Cic., Pro Flacco 28.66-69). Hence inward assimilation would involve compromise with religious practice. Dr. Rutgers40 ascribes to me the view that the religious impulse was the only impulse in ancient Jewish history. But I do not deny that there were other factors; indeed, in my examination of what led non-Jews to become “sympathizers” with Judaism I list thirty-one factors,41 most of them political or social or economic or cultural, even medical. Dr. Rutgers,42 noting that Jews did not adopt non-Jewish elements uncritically but rather adapted such elements for their own purposes and that they participated in the larger non-Jewish world that surrounded them, insists that such participation did not mean that in doing so they had to compromise their Jewish identity. He says43 that I present Jews during the Roman period as never adopting anything substantial from the surrounding world; but I note, for example,44 that the possession of amulets with syncretistic elements (surely something substantial) did not diminish the loyalty to Judaism of the Jews who possessed them. I note, furthermore, that there is strong evidence that the Jews of Egypt, as a community, continued to be loyal to the Temple in Jerusalem despite the existence of the temple at Leontopolis. While noting that the Jews in Egypt were influenced by pagan athletics and drama I also note that intermarriage and apostasy were relatively uncommon. Dr. Rutgers45 disputes my conclusion that the adoption by Jews of Greek names turned out to be a not very meaningful criterion of their degree of assimilation. He questions this since the rabbis themselves recognized the importance of onomastic practices for determining the degree of interaction between Jews and non-Jews. He asserts that my view of interaction consciously excludes evidence that is not

40 41 42 43 44 45

Rutgers 1995-96, 34. Feldman 1993, 370-81. Rutgers 1995-96, 28. Rutgers 1995-96, 33. Feldman 1993, 65-69. Rutgers 1995-96, 26 n. 78, 33.

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strictly religious. But in examining the question of the significance of adoption of Greek names I have considered evidence that is not strictly religious. The Egyptian Jews in this matter disagreed with that rabbinic view which decried such names, though actually some of the rabbis themselves had Greek names.46 Dr. Rutgers47 concludes that we cannot in any way be sure whether the supposed exponential increase in the number of Jews was due to proselytism, or whether it resulted from a combination of other factors, such as a general increase in population that also affected the Jews, as well as the Jews’ aversion to contraception, abortion, and infanticide. But this is no less a thesis than the thesis that such a factor as conversion was involved. Without necessarily defending my thesis would it be wrong to ask Dr. Rutgers to defend his? Once the Romans ruled, in the wake of the Bar Kochba rebellion, that Jews must abstain from circumcising non-Jews, this contributed, says Dr. Rutgers,48 to make “Jew” and “circumcision” interchangeable categories. Dr. Rutgers then continues as follows: “It is not difficult to reconstruct the train of thought of non-Jews familiar with Roman penal law but unfamiliar with Judaism: (1) Jews circumcise; (2) circumcision of non-Jews is illegal; ergo (3) Jews are a likely group to circumcise non-Jews; and (4) Jews must be prevented from circumcising non-Jews.” Step number 3 does not necessarily follow unless proselytism was actually a familiar phenomenon. Dr. Rutgers asserts rather than argues that Jews and the “danger of circumcision” were automatically connected in the lawyer’s mind. In his comment on Cod. Theod. 16.8.26, Dr. Rutgers49 admits that there are some remarks appended to it that specify penalties for Jews who attempt to circumcise non-Jews, but he explains that for lawgivers the category “Jew” immediately suggested to them that even in cases where Jews were “victims” and manifestly in need of

46 Dr. Rutgers 1995-96, 33, n. 110, says that my argument lacks consistency because elsewhere (Feldman 1993, 359-61) I use names such as Sabatis or Sabbatia to argue that non-Jews observed the Sabbath. But this is quite different, since in those cases the question is the degree to which the adoption by non-Jews of Hebrew names or words is an indication of their adherence to Jewish practices. There the question is not that of degree of assmilation but of identity as “G-d-fearers.” 47 Rutgers 1995-96, 5. 48 Rutgers 1995-96, 13. 49 Rutgers 1995-96, 15.

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legal protection, there was still something about them that had to be neutralized, namely the danger of circumcision. But if so, we may ask, why should the law specify penalties for Jews who attempt to circumcise non-Jews? It would seem to be more reasonable to assume that there was some need for such a clause. Dr. Rutgers50 ascribes to me the view that but for the frequently repeated imperial ban on circumcision many non-Jews would have converted to Judaism; but in the pages that he cites51 I do not state this. Moreover, even if the imperial ban on circumcision were a factor, this would not have halted conversion of women. In his interpretation of Cod. Theod. 16.8.22, dating from 415, wherein the authority and powers of the patriarch Gamaliel VI are restricted, Dr. Rutgers asserts that this is not a law that provides historically useful information about conversions to Judaism in late antiquity. But surely there is historically useful information in the restrictions that new synagogues not be established, that synagogues in deserted places be destroyed, that this can be done without sedition, that the patriarch no longer has the right to judge Christians, and that trials between Jews and non-Jews be held in courts of the governors of provinces. Why should there not be similarly historical useful information in the last two provisions, namely that if the patriarch or any other Jew should convert a non-Jew to Judaism, whether freeman or slave, he is to be punished, and that Christian slaves held by the patriarch are to be transferred to the ownership of the Church? Why should these be mentioned at all if they did not constitute a problem? Noting that this law asserts that Gamaliel will be punished if he or other Jews are found guillty of “defiling” non-Jews with “the Jewish mark of infamy” (that is circumcision), Dr. Rutgers52 remarks that the law is essentially about the legal rights and privileges of the patriarch Gamaliel and that such a stipulation was inevitable, given the interchangeability of Judaism and circumcision in the minds of ancient lawgivers. But if so, we may ask, why does the law specify that if he or other Jews are found guilty of circumcising non-Jews they will be punished? And why specify circumcision by Jews of non-Jews, if the objection is simply to Jews?

50 51 52

Rutgers 1995-96, 33. Feldman 1993, 403-4, 429, 437. Rutgers 1995-96, 16.

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As for the evidence of proselyting to be inferred from the Cod. Theod., Dr. Rutgers53 has excluded 16.8.6, dating from the year 339, because, as he says, it cannot be established whether this law deals with conversion to Judaism or with mixed marriages. But, as Linder54 notes, since the preceding paragraph deals with the proselyting of male-slaves, this paragraph clearly deals with the proselyting of women-slaves. Dr. Rutgers suggests that the subject is not conversion but mixed marriages; but from the fact that the law speaks of Jews leading women to the fellowship (consortium) of their turpitude, it is clear that the intermarriage involved conversion. Moreover, Dr. Rutgers has excluded from consideration Cod. Theod. 16.8.7, dating from the year 353, since, he says, this law deals with Christians who convert to Judaism out of their own account rather than with Jews who convert Christians. In the first place, however, there is no indication in the law as to whether the initiative for conversion came from Jews or from Christians since it merely states “if someone shall become Jew from Christian.” But in the second place, in either case, the only question at issue is whether there were converts to Judaism, and clearly this law does speak of such converts. It is Dr. Rutgers’ contention55 that the laws included in the Cod. Theod. containing penalties for conversion to Judaism do not reflect the current state of affairs or a Christian theological program but rather a strictly legal and strongly traditional statement. But this still does not fully answer the question as to why they were included. The constitutions, after all, reflect answers to requests on practical issues. The Cod. Theod. may have served also as an ideological statement, but its components were responses, in many cases, to the needs of governors and other petitioners. If the emperors repeatedly forbade conversion, especially of slaves (whose foreskins, after all, should not have been protected by law) then it is perfectly reasonable to suppose that it happened. Dr. Rutgers56 insists that the laws included in the Cod. Theod. specifying penalties for Jews who attempt to circumcise non-Jews cannot serve to capture the historical reality of conversions in late antiquity and that such laws served merely to protect the Jews. But 53 54 55 56

Rutgers 1995-96, 11, n. 35. Linder 1987, 150, n. 8. Rutgers 1995-96, 14-15. Rutgers 1995-96, 15.

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such a view is surely very forced. In a law serving merely to protect the Jews from harassment and their synagogues from being set on fire, why should the Emperor mention that Jews will be penalized with confiscation of property and perpetual exile if they have circumcised a Christian? Dr. Rutgers57 insists that Cod. Theod. 16.8.19 on the Caelicolae58 is not a law on conversion to Judaism and that the remarks on Judaism and on what was believed to be its inherent danger, namely conversion to it, are nothing but part and parcel of the legal terminology. But that this is a law concerning conversion to Jewish practices seems clear from the statement that “some people...force some to cease being Christian and adopt the abominable and vile name of Jews.” The charge that force was applied and the statement that as a result people were ceasing their adherence to one religion, Christianity, and adopting another, namely Judaism, seems to refer to proselytism by Jews, if not to full conversion then, at any rate, to observance of certain Jewish practices. The fact that the law states that this crime has been legally condemned under the laws of the ancient emperors but that nevertheless “it does not bother us to admonish repeatedly” (saepius, “more often”) would indicate that this was a recurring problem and not merely legal terminology. Dr. Rutgers, in support of his contention that the law on the Caelicolae is not a law on conversion to Judaism, cites the fact that the editors of Justinian’s Code, when they selected this law from the Cod. Theod. for inclusion in their own code, omitted all references to the Jews. But we may remark that the reason why they omitted all references to the Jews was that the Caelicolae were not Jews but “sympathizers,” that is, non-Jews who retained their non-Jewish status while adopting certain selected Jewish practices. The very fact that the Cod. Just. 1.9.12 speaks of the Caelicolae and warns them that unless they return to “G-d’s cult” and the “Christian veneration” clearly refers to those who have deviated from Christianity; and the only group by this name who had deviated from Christianity were the “G-d-Fearers,” those who had embraced certain Jewish practices

57

Rutgers 1995-96, 15. Dr. Rutgers translates this term as “Heaven-Dwellers.” The term is clearly parallel to the rabbinic term Yirei Shamayim (y.Meg. 3.2.74a) and should be translated “Heaven-fearers.” 58

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without fully converting to Judaism. Even if, with Dr. Rutgers,59 we find significance in the fact that the editors of Justinian’s Code did not include a specific reference to the Jews in their law on the Caelicolae, this might well be explained by the fact that they did not need to mention the Jews, inasmuch as circ*mstances had changed and the threat of proselytizing activities by Jews had diminished. Moreover, according to Dr. Rutgers, the category “Jew” called to the mind of the late ancient lawgiver the age-old problem of conversion, “or, to be more precise, of circumcision.” But it is clear that not all those converted to Judaism were males. In fact, if we may judge from the instance of Damascus (Jos., War 2.560), we are told, the people of Damascus, though fired with a determination to kill the Jews who resided among them, were afraid to do so out of fear of their own wives, “who, with few exceptions, had all become converts to the Jewish religion.” Dr. Rutgers60 says the apparent repetitiveness of laws concerning conversion to Judaism is not repetitive but rather complementary; and he cites Cod. Theod. 16.8.1 (315 c.e.) and 16.8.26 (423 c.e.) as am example. But there is more than a century between them; and it seems hard to view them as merely two explanatory paragraphs of a single piece of legislation. If 16.8.26 adds a punishment to the prohibition it seems legitimate to infer that someone saw that the prohibition had not been sufficiently strong to stamp out the problem. Dr. Rutgers61 asserts that laws concerning conversion of slaves to Judaism cannot be taken as proof for a general popularity of conversion to Judaism in late antiquity, since, he says, slaves were not free to decide for themselves whether they truly preferred Judaism. But whether they were free or not to decide, the point here is that they were converted. If they were not free this should not exclude them from the ranks of the converts that we are counting. Dr. Rutgers says62 that it is remarkable that Church canons do not seem to have been very much concerned with full converts to Judaism. We should, however, note that already in the Synod of Elvira in Spain in 305 (or 306), which was attended by nineteen (or according 59 60 61 62

Rutgers Rutgers Rutgers Rutgers

1995-96, 1995-96, 1995-96, 1995-96,

15. 16. 17. 18.

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to the Codex Pithoanus of its acts, forty-three) bishops, apparently one of the problems with which the bishops had to contend was intermarriage of Jewish men with Christian women, presumably because of the consequent conversion of the wives to Judaism. Hence the Council issued a canon (16) forbidding such marriages and punishing parents of those who violated this canon with interdiction for a period of five years. A similar edict issued in 388 (Cod. Theod. 3.7.2 and 9.7.5) forbade intermarriage between Jews and Christians. The severity of this is indicated by the penalty, which is the same as that for adultery. Dr. Rutgers63 remarks, in opposition to my view,64 that the use of depreciative vocabulary in the Cod. Theod. cannot be directly attributed to the influence of Christian bishops. Rather, he says that this is due to a well-known preference for flowery formulations characteristic of Roman law in general. We may, however, well ask where else such an epithet as nefariam (Cod. Theod. 16.8.1) is found as a flowery formulation. Such a deprecatory comment is an influence of Christianity and indicates its assessment of the Jews. In supporting his thesis that there is no direct and causal relationship between the ideas expressed in patristic literature and the regulations contained in imperial laws on Jews and Judaism, Dr. Rutgers65 notes how, as late as the 380’s, different religious and political authorities could conceive of Jewish legal rights or the absence thereof. He notes that this is perhaps most evident from the conflict that arose between Ambrose (Epistles 40 and 41 [P. L. 16.1148-1169]) and Theodosius over the destruction of a synagogue in Callinicum on the Euphrates in the year 388. The fact is, however, that when Ambrose told Theodosius that he would not perform the mass in his presence unless the emperor would rescind his initial order to rebuild the synagogue, Theodosius agreed to rescind his order. One does not need to demonstrate a one-to-one correspondence between Roman legislation and patristic doctrine to recognize that the rhetoric and eventually the content of late Roman legislation was influenced by Christianity. Clearly the ubiquitous and ever-growing hostility of legal rhetoric and the prohibitions of owning Christian slaves and

63 64 65

Rutgers 1995-96,19. Dr. Rutgers cites my page 9; the correct page number is 387. Rutgers 1995-96, 19.

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building synagogues have far more to do with Christian theology than with Roman legal tradition. Dr. Rutgers66 asserts that we lack the necessary information as to the actual number of conversions during the imperial period (in the fourth and fifth centuries). Actually, however, I nowhere indicate in my book that the number during this period was very great, let alone how great; certainly it was not comparable to the number in the century before and after the Common Era. Dr. Rutgers67 says that I68 maintain that laws aimed at putting an end to full conversion were not obeyed, but elsewhere, he says, I69 suggest that such laws were not enforced. There is, however, no necessary contradiction here. Dr. Rutgers suggests another hypothesis, namely that imperial laws were simply not known among the general population; but, in answer to this, we may remark that it seems hard to believe that Churchmen would not have made such laws known; and, in any case, ignorance is no excuse in the eyes of the law. As to “sympathizers” with Judaism, Dr. Rutgers70 insists that even after the discovery of the Aphrodisias inscription one can still argue that in some cases the term “G-d-fearer” refers to someone who was not technically a “sympathizer,” but one who simply held the Jewish G-d in high esteem. But is this not enough to make one a “G-d-fearer”? Moreover, despite Murphy-Connor,71 it is hard to believe that the same term θεοσεβε-ς in the same inscription would be used in two different senses, once referring to “G-d-fearers” and once referring merely to those who held the Jewish G-d in high esteem. Dr. Rutgers72 is not convinced by my view73 that the term “G-dfearers” in an inscription from Miletus should be regarded as a reference to “sympathizers” rather than to pious Jews. But the inscription refers to the “place of the Jews who are also [called] G-d-fearers

66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73

Rutgers 1995-96, 20. Rutgers 1995-96, 20. n. 59. Feldman 1993, 395. Feldman 386, 392, 394. Rutgers 1995-96, 21. Murphy-O’Connor 1992, 418-24. Rutgers 1995-96, 21, n. 62. Feldman 1993, 361.

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(θεοσεβε-ς).” If the reference were to Jews the inscription would not have spoken of Jews who are also called G-d-fearers, since Jews ipso facto revered G-d. Toward the end of his discussion, Dr. Rutgers74 asserts that though neither Professor Baron nor I have much to say about Graetz, neither of us has said much that has not already been said, albeit in a more rudimentary form, by Graetz. This seems to contrast with Dr. Rutgers’ earlier statement75 that I propose a radical new view of pagan attitudes to Jewish culture. In summary, we all owe a debt of gratitude to Dr. Rutgers for so thoughtfully raising key questions pertaining to the relations of Jews and non-Jews in the Hellenistic and Roman worlds.76

74

Rutgers 1995-96, 30-31, Rutgers 1995-96, 2. 76 I should like to express my thanks to Professors Bezalel Bar-Kochva, David Berger, Aryeh Kasher, Steve Mason, Alfredo M. Rabello, Daniel R. Schwartz, Seth Schwartz, and Joseph Sievers for their helpful suggestions in connection with this essay. 75

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CHAPTER NINE

CONVERSION TO JUDAISM IN CLASSICAL ANTIQUITY

1. Introduction In the latter part of the nineteenth and the early part of the twentieth century, much scholarship, especially in Germany, insisted that Judaism, particularly when Hadrian forbade circumcision in the second century, but not restricted to that period, was not interested in gaining converts.1 In fact, Judaism was said to be hostile to such attempts. Such scholarship was often based on hidden agenda, namely to prove that Christianity, which eagerly sought proselytes, was therefore superior to Judaism. Others, such as Dieter Georgi,2 who goes so far as to assert that Jews were active missionaries, explain the development of Jewish proselytism in the context of an emerging universalism in Judaism itself and as preparation for Christian missionary activity. As for Jewish scholars, they were often influenced by the long-time prevailing attitude of thoroughly discouraging proselytism. Just prior to World War II, the Reform Judaism movement in the United States considered the possibility of seeking out converts. Two works of scholarship that appeared at that time concluded that Judaism in the Talmudic period was favorably disposed toward proselytes and indeed sought after them eagerly.3 But most studies of the subject by Jewish scholars are influenced by or at least try to explain away the current Orthodox Jewish aversion to seeking converts. The author of this paper wishes to stress that, in contrast to his earlier view,4 he does not find evidence of missionary activity, let

1 The literature on the subject of proselytism by Jews in antiquity is enormous. See the bibliography listed in Feldman 1992, 553-54, n. l. To this list the following may be added: Barclay 1996; Georgi 1986); Goodman 1994a; McKnight 1998; Porton 1994; and Reynolds and Tannenbaum 1987. 2 Georgi 1986. 3 Bamberger 1939; Braude 1940. 4 See Feldman 1992d.

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alone organized missionary activity, by Jews in the Hellenistic-Roman period (in fact, we do not know the name of a single Jewish missionary who systematically sought converts to classical Judaism during this period, nor do we know the title of a single tract that has as its goal the conversion of non-Jews to Judaism); but he does seek to show that Jews during this period were open to those who wished to convert, and that many, perhaps even very many, did convert. This paper attempts to establish two points: first, that there was a tremendous increase in the number of Jews between the time of the destruction of the First Temple in 586 b.c.e. and the first century c.e., both in the Land of Israel and in the Diaspora; and secondly, that there is considerable evidence that Judaism, especially in the period from the second century b.c.e. to the first century c.e., was open to converts and that there is considerable evidence that many did indeed convert, both in the Land of Israel and in the Diaspora. A good deal of the thesis depends upon the reliability of Josephus, who is a key source for population figures. Since much of the increase in population apparently occurred in the Land of Israel, an important part of the argument will be a consideration of the question as to how many people the Land could support in those days. 2. The Number of Jews in 586 b.c.e. Salo Baron, whose greatest specialty was estimating Jewish populations through the ages, begins his article, “Population,”5 with a strong statement of caution: “Because of the great difficulties in ascertaining human population data in general, and Jewish data in particular, especially in ancient and medieval times, a word of caution is even more necessary here than in most other areas of historical and sociological research.” Baron cites the report of Carlo Cippola and his associates to the International Congress of Historical Sciences that “in the eyes of demographers bent on scientific precision and certainty all demographic research undertaken for any period before the eighteenth century runs the risk of appearing as a mere fantasy.” Nonetheless, he adds, population statistics are too vital for the understanding of all other socioeconomic, political, and even intel-

5

Baron 1971.

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lectual developments for scholarship to be satisfied with a resigned ignoramus et ignorabimus. He quotes the statement of David Hume6 that the question of population in every nation and every period is “the most curious and important of all questions of erudition.” He also cites the Spanish sociologist Javier Ruiz Almanza’s epigram, that “history without demography is an enigma, just as is demography without history.” And yet, it is only recently, and especially since the appearance of Tim Parkin’s work,7 that demography has finally taken a respected place in classical scholarship.8 Baron draws upon census figures found in the Bible itself, notably in 2 Sam. 24:9 and 1 Chron. 21:5, which indicate, in the days of King David (ca. 1000 b.c.e.), a population well over five million and which he approaches very critically. To be sure, he also draws upon the Assyrian king Sennacherib’s admittedly grandiloquent boast that in 701 b.c.e. he had deported 200,150 men, women, and children from the Judaean kingdom. He also cites biblical data (2 Chron. 35:7-9) concerning the number of paschal lambs, 37,600, slaughtered in the reign of the Judaean king Josiah in 622 b.c.e.(with an average of ten diners per each lamb this gives a total of 376,000). As we see from a similar method in Josephus (War 6.422) and in rabbinic literature (b.Pes. 64b) of counting people through noting the number of animals slaughtered, it is the high priest who is responsible for the counting, and we may surmise that since the counting is for religious purposes, care would have been shown. Apparently, constant warfare for the period after Josiah caused a great decline in population; and we may ascribe a general credibility, though the exact figures may be debated, to the import of the figures for the kingdom of Judah during the Babylonian conquest and its aftermath in the years 597-582 b.c.e., notably the statement (2 Kgs. 24:14-16) that the Babylonians “carried away all Jerusalem, and all the princes, and all the mighty men of valor, even ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and the smiths.” Finally, Baron refers to archaeological discoveries that confirm that after 586 b.c.e. the Judaean countryside was quite deserted.9 On the basis of these and numerous other scattered data, supported by a number of demographic considerations, 6 7 8 9

Hume 1875, 58. Cited by Baron 1972, 23. Parkin 1992. See Bowersock 1997, 373-79. Baron 1972, 23-73, has examined the literary and archaeological evidence.

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we may, largely based on Baron’s figures, venture to propose the following highly tentative table for the approximate population of ancient Israel and Judah between 1000 and 586 b.c.e.:

Judah Israel

1000 b.c.e.

733/701 b.c.e.

586 b.c.e.

450,000 1,350,000

300,000-350,000 800,000-1,000,000

162,000-233,000 —

McGing10 states that “Baron gives absolutely no indication of how he arrives at the figure for the population of Judah in 586 b.c.e.—which is the vital starting place for the notion of a massive increase in the population later on.” McGing was clearly not aware that Baron had discussed this matter in an essay in Hebrew, which had been translated into English, in which he explained how he arrived at an estimate of between 300,000 and 350,000 for the population of Judah in the year 733 b.c.e.11 Baron’s figure for the total population of Judah in 586 b.c.e. is based upon the estimate that the number of exiles, as mentioned in Jer. 52:28-30 (3,023 in Nebuchadnezzar’s seventh year) and in 2 Kgs. 24:14-16 (10,000, in addition to artisans and gatekeepers, in Nebuchadnezzar’s eighth year) and in Jer. 52:29 (832 in Nebuchadnezzar’s eighteenth year) and in Jer. 52:30 (745 in Nebuchadnezzar’s twenty-third year), consisted primarily of adult male soldiers. If we take into account the families of these adults, since in the first exile only adult males were counted, although they went into exile with their families, and if we multiply the number by four, since we may reasonably estimate that the average family consisted of about three additional members besides the soldiers, we arrive at a figure of approximately 52,000 exiles; moreover, only 1,577 were exiled in 586 b.c.e. He estimates that twenty to thirty per cent of the entire population belonged to the soldier families and less than three per cent to the craftsmen. This would give an approximate figure of between 162,000 and 233,000 for the total population. Can such numbers be taken seriously? We may wonder about figures of casualties in war, number of captives, and especially boasts of victorious kings; but some of the figures in the Bible are census 10 11

McGing 2002, 90. Baron 1933, 76-136; English translation: 1972, 23-73.

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figures (probably official numbers, especially when based on collection of taxes and the imposition of public services, where the propensity toward rounding of numbers is reduced or even absent)12 and deserve to be taken more seriously. McKnight13 cannot believe that 1,650,000 Jews were wiped out, as Baron postulates, between 1000 and 586 b.c.e., but he forgets that ten of the twelve tribes were eliminated by the Assyrians in 722-721 b.c.e. 3. The Credibility of Josephus Generally for Population Figures Josephus (Ap. 1.45) is particularly critical of those who venture “to describe events in which they bore no part, without taking the trouble to seek information from those who know the facts.” Indeed, as Marincola14 has noted, one of the most distinctive aspects of ancient historiography generally is the liberal use of polemic against predecessors. Josephus is aware that he may be subjected to a charge of bias, as a Jew and as one who had participated directly in the war against the Romans; and so he explicitly promises that he will not exaggerate the deeds of his compatriots and and that he will faithfully record the actions of both combatants (War 1.9). He attacks, in the sharpest terms, other historians of the war: “We have actually had so-called histories even of our recent war published by persons who never visited the sites nor were anywhere near the actions described, but, having put together a few hearsay reports, have, with the gross impudence of drunken revelers, miscalled their productions by the name of history” (Ap. 1.46). Josephus is clearly here contrasting the accuracy of his narrative of his own campaign as general in Galilee and his presence at the siege of Jerusalem with the account of his chief literary rival, Justus of Tiberias (Life 336-39). The fact that he felt constrained to defend himself against the charges of his rival historian Justus meant that he had to be particularly careful to be accurate. He is especially critical of the inaccuracies of Justus (Life 358), since the latter was not a combatant and had not consulted Vespasian’s and Titus’ Commentaries. He specifically states that Justus

12 13 14

See Parkin 1992, 19. McKnight 1998, 29, n. 40. Marincola 1997, 218-36.

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had written his account twenty years earlier but that he had not dared to publish his work while Vespasian, Titus, and Agrippa were still alive, clearly implying that he himself had no such fears and, in fact, challenging his rivals to match his daring. Josephus, on the other hand, stresses that, having presented his work to Vespasian, Titus, and Agrippa, he expected to receive testimony to his accuracy and that he was not disappointed. In particular, he remarks (Life 364) that Agrippa wrote sixty-two letters testifying to the accuracy of the records. To be sure, the number, sixty-two, does seem like a case of overkill; but if they are authentic this indicates that Josephus’ accuracy was very much in question. True, he may have had a motive in exaggerating the figures; but at the time that he published his work a mere decade after the fall of Jerusalem, there were many survivors of the siege who could have challenged his data. It is surely significant that there is almost no precedent that is extant for what Josephus does, namely to seek verification of his work from a knowledgeable reader. For Josephus this is clearly a means of securing some sort of authority, both because the individuals to whom he showed his account had participated in the events and because they were important people. We may well ask whether Josephus presented his work to the emperors Vespasian and Titus in order to have them confirm their accuracy. Perhaps he simply wanted to confirm, since they were finished works, that they conformed with the official version. Josephus’ motive in presenting the book to them may have been to obtain a reward, as indeed he did receive. Indeed, that Titus affixed his signature to Josephus’ work and ordered the book to be published meant that he had thus made Josephus’ account the official version of the war (Life 363). The fact, as noted by Josephus (Life 359-60) and as we have mentioned above, that Josephus’ great literary rival, Justus of Tiberias, waited until Vespasian and Titus had died before publishing his account, which he had written twenty years earlier, indicates that Justus had written an independent version and did not expect to get the imprimatur of the emperors. But even if Josephus hoped to gain something from his version, the fact is that his account would seem as a history to be superior in comprehensiveness to that of Justus in that Josephus, and not Justus, had actually been a combatant in the war, had been present in Jerusalem during the siege, and had had access to the memoirs of Vespasian and Titus. We do have instances of other historians showing their work to

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emperors. Cassius Dio is the best example. He (73 [72].23.2) had written a pamphlet about the dreams and portents that encouraged Alexander Severus to seek the principate and had sent it to the emperor, who, in turn, sent Dio a long and complimentary acknowledgment. Severus may simply have written a polite note of gratitude. But this is not a case of seeking confirmation of the accuracy of the historian’s work, as is the case of Josephus’ submitting his work to Vespasian and Titus and Agrippa II. We have no indication that Dio sought Severus’ stamp of approval, which, to be sure, he did receive, after which Dio decided to write a history of the Romans from its beginning to the death of Severus (235 c.e.). As a result of this acknowledgement, says Dio, he wrote his history, which, he asserts, won Severus’ approval; but he does not tell us specifically that Severus had vouched for its accuracy. A closer example is Fronto’s planned history on the Parthian War (161-165 c.e.) of the Emperor Lucius Verus. Verus himself was highly involved in that project, and Fronto solicited his input precisely because he knew that Verus could provide him with detailed information (there are some letters, e.g., Ad Verum Imperatorem 2.9, between Fronto and Verus that attest to this). Such apparent interest in “research” would not, of course, have guaranteed the accuracy of the information; and, indeed, it might even call into question its accuracy, since the source had such a vested interest in the narrative. But there is a difference between this case and that of Josephus in that Josephus had already written his history and sought confirmation of its accuracy after he had completed it. Fronto could still modify his account, since he was merely gathering data. Another possible parallel is Cicero’s offer to his friend Lucius Lucceius (Fam. 5.12) to provide him with as much information as he needed concerning the year of Cicero’s consulship. But here neither Cicero nor Lucceius is seeking to confirm the accuracy of the data; in fact, Cicero suggests that Lucceius should feel free to embellish the facts. Indeed, Josephus’ very subject matter suggests that he feels most at home writing of events about which he has some personal knowledge. In this regard his approach to historiography is much more “Polybian” than “Livian.” This should make us more inclined to trust Josephus—not because he is free of bias (what historian is?) but rather because there are fewer layers (chronological and otherwise) between him and his information. Moreover, no historian

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whose works have come down to us from antiquity—not Herodotus, not Thucydides, not Livy, not Tacitus, not Dio Cassius15—is more interested in demonstrating his reliability and is more aware of his rivals. Indeed, he starts his history of the Jewish War with the statement (War 1.1-2) that the subject of his history, the war of the Jews against the Romans, had attracted historians, some whom had taken no part in the action but had merely collected from hearsay casual and contradictory stories that they had edited in a rhetorical style, while others, who had witnessed the events, had been guilty of historical inaccuracy, due either to their flattery of the Romans or their prejudice against the Jews, and had resorted in the one case to exaggerated encomium and in the other case to invective. From this opening statement it is clear that the number of historians of the war was not small and that Josephus sought mightily to present himself as one who was not unduly beholden to the Romans and who was fair-minded toward his fellow-Jews. He goes on (War 1.7) to assert that the others who had written accounts of the war may have given the title of histories to their work but that, in fact, they utterly lacked sound information and that they exaggerated the achievement of the Romans while deprecating that of the Jews. The fact that Josephus (War 1.3) wrote his original account in Aramaic and then arranged, with some help from assistants (Ap. 1.50) to have his work translated into Greek, meant that he was ready to face the criticism of his fellow historians in the Graeco-Roman world. It was, he says (ibid.), because he was so confident of the veracity of his account that he took as his witnesses, before all others, the commanders-in-chief of the war, Vespasian and Titus, and that it was to them that he presented the first copies of the work. He then states that he gave copies to many Romans who had taken part in the war and who presumably could question his veracity. He further adds that he sold copies to a large number of Jews who likewise could have challenged his claim to truth. “All of these,” he says (Ap. 1.52), “bore testimony to my scrupulous safeguarding of the truth, and they were not the men to conceal their sentiments or keep silence

15 To be sure, Polybius is very much concerned with establishing his reliability and countering his rivals. Such remarks occur throughout his work, and at great length in Book 12.

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had I, through ignorance or partiality, distorted or omitted any of the facts.” Not only does Josephus seek to establish his own credibility as an accurate historian, but the fact is that he dares (Ap. 1.15-27) to criticize at length and by name no fewer than eight Greek historians. To be sure, none of the historians whom Josephus names was alive in his day, and the treatise in which he names them is noteworthy for its strong polemical and rhetorical elements.16 Nevertheless, there was a great risk in doing so, inasmuch as Josephus’ contemporary rivals, who often appealed to these predecessors and who were much influenced by them, could easily have reduced him to absurdity if they could show that Josephus himself was unreliable as a historian. His method is to show how the Greek historians, namely, Hellanicus, Acusilaus, Ephorus, Timaeus, Herodotus, Antiochus of Syracuse, Philistius, Callias, the Atthides, the historians of Argos, and the historians of the Persian invasion themselves accused one another of inaccuracies, mendacities, and inconsistencies. Surely, as Josephus admits (Ap. 1.18), no historian had a higher reputation for accuracy than Thucydides; and yet, Josephus does not hesitate to note that on many points even Thucydides is accused of error by some critics. Certainly no historian would have dared to be so critical of his fellow historians unless he felt confident that his own reputation for accuracy was beyond reproach. Josephus then maintains (Ap. 1.19-22) that the most fundamental reason for the errors and inconsistencies of the Greek historians is the neglect of the Greeks, including even the Athenians, to keep official records of current events. Josephus could hardly have ventured to make such a statement if he himself had failed to consult official records, such as censuses and military reports. A second reason (Ap. 1.23-27), says Josephus, for their inconsistencies is that the Greek historians were concerned not so much with discovering the truth as with displaying their literary ability and thus outshining their rivals, though, ironically, that is precisely what Josephus himself seems to be doing in the essay Against Apion. Having made such a statement Josephus had to be careful to place his premium upon accuracy and truth.

16

See Kasher 1996, 143-86.

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4. The Number of Jews in the Hellenistic-Roman Period There are many questions when we deal with figures of ancient populations. In his pathbreaking book on Roman demography, Parkin17 stresses that we cannot believe what ancient authors tell us about population sizes without first considering their source of information (namely, whether they are making observations or whether they are basing themselves on census material) and their purpose in giving us the information. In particular, he attacks the practice of some scholars of accepting a population figure if it “sounds about right,” since this is clearly too subjective. Even if we are dealing with a census figure, does this include only adult males, or does it include women, children, enfranchised aliens, and ex-slaves? When we deal with ancient literary sources, we must be wary of their hidden agenda, their cultural bias, their preference for symbolic and rounded numbers, and the impact of bureaucratic inefficiency and attempts at tax evasion on the part of those seeking to avoid being counted.18 Instead, a number of modern scholars, most notably Hopkins, Parkin, Henige, and Scheidel, have stressed the importance of examining modern parallels to determine which ancient literary evidence has some claim to coherence and validity.19 Scholars are increasingly influenced by parallels with modern studies as to the number of people who can live in a given-sized area, the amount of food and water that they need to consume, and how to explain sizable jumps and declines in numbers. Modern study of ancient demography has to an ever higher degree been interdisciplinary, drawing insights from parallels in other areas, ancient and modern, in such fields as history, biology, medicine, archaeology, anthropology, and sociology.20 But even Parkin21 warns that we should not become bogged down in protracted comparisons with specific modern populations, as if the ancient world as a whole is directly comparable; for even if it were, he asks, how would we know? Even when we do have census figures for the number of Roman citizens, as we have in Livy every

17

Parkin 1992, 65. See Scheidel 2001, 11. 19 Hopkins 1966, 245-64; Parkin 1992; Parkin 2000; Henige 1998, 215-42; and Scheidel 2001, 10-12. 20 See Scheidel 2001, 80-81. 21 Parkin 1992, 69. 18

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five or ten years, do they include women and children or are they of adult male citizens alone or only those who possessed the minimum property qualification that made them liable to conscription?22 How accurate was the count? Did they include those serving overseas? For example, how, if at all, can we explain the sharp rise in the Roman population, according to the census, from 319,000 in 131 b.c.e. to 395,000 in 125 b.c.e. after thirty years of slow decline?23 In particular, since numerals in manuscripts are represented by letters in both Greek and Latin manuscripts, they are often incorrectly transmitted.24 How many Jews were there in the Hellenistic-Roman period? The tendency toward extreme skepticism that we find in the most recent scholarship is epitomized by the remark of Deevey25 in regard to estimates of populations before 1650. Jones,26 however, states categorically that he knows of only one figure that can be regarded as an accurate count of the entire population of a definite area. That figure, he asserts, occurs in what he says is an unexpected place, namely in a speech put into the mouth of King Agrippa II by Josephus (War 2.385), in which he says that the population of Egypt, exclusive of Alexandria, as may be estimated from poll-tax returns, was 7,500,000.27 What is striking is that Josephus gives the basis for this figure, namely the poll-tax returns. This is precisely the kind of information that is most likely to give us a fair approximation of the actual number of inhabitants, as Parkin, who is such a minimalist when it comes to population statistics, is ready to concede.28 We know from the papyri that such figures were based on careful house-to-house canvassing and included all people—men, women, children, slaves,

22

See Jones 1948, 3. Jones 1948, 5. On the questions as to what the census figures represent and the degree to which they are reliable see especially Brunt 1971, 26-43, who explains the tremendous increase in the number of persons counted under Augustus by postulating that unlike Republican censors he included women and children. 24 Reynolds and Wilson 1974, 201. 25 Deevey 1960, 197: “One suspects that writers have been copying each other’s guesses.” 26 Jones 1948, 10. 27 The Codex Vaticanus, dating from approximately the eleventh century, reads 5,500,000, and in the margin reads 7,500,000. Niese adopts the latter figure, which is found in all the other manuscripts. Finley 1973, 31, says that this figure is one of the very few ancient population figures that we have that is likely to be accurate. 28 Parkin 1992, 19-21. 23

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and aliens. Shall we say, as do Bagnall and Frier,29 that Josephus’ figure was not derived from an actual count? Moreover, Josephus may, admittedly, have been motivated to exaggerate the number because Agrippa, by emphasizing that the greatest of nations have submitted to the Romans, is seeking to deter the revolutionaries from rebelling. It is significant that Josephus’ figure differs from that given by Diodorus Siculus (1.31.8) a century earlier, who notes that the population was three million but that in times of old it was seven million. Diodorus, we may remark, was also aware of the value of census returns, since he states that the free residents of Alexandria numbered 300,000, as indicated by census returns. The manuscripts read three million as the population of Egypt, but, as Parkin30 indicates, almost all scholars regard this as a textual error and emend it to seven million. Rathbone31 is skeptical as to the credibility of Josephus’ figure, since, he says, the core of the speech put into Agrippa’s mouth is a mere encomium of the size and strength of the Roman Empire. He is puzzled by the fact that someone who had access to the records of the Roman administration of Egypt should have tried to calculate the total population from the number of adult males recorded in the lists of those liable to the poll-tax rather than from the census figures from which the poll-tax lists were compiled. Moreover, basing himself on the carrying capacity of the land of Egypt, which had at most 25,000 square kilometers of cultivated land, he states that the economy and population of Graeco-Roman Egypt are more likely to find a parallel in Egypt of the nineteenth century and consequently concludes that the maximum population that Egypt could have sustained is between three and five million;32 but, we may remark, even Rathbone does not contest Diodorus’ statement that in times of old it supported a population of seven million. Indeed, Rathbone33 admits that in theory the land would have been sufficient to maintain almost

29 Bagnall and Frier 1994, 53-54. Moreover, Bagnall and Frier are skeptical as to the accuracy of Josephus’ figure for the population of Egypt because this would suppose a population level that Egypt was not to reattain until the end of the nineteenth century after the introduction of perennial irrigation and the beginning of Egypt’s integration into the industrial economies of Europe. 30 Parkin 1992, 65. 31 Rathbone 1990, 105-6. 32 Rathbone 1990, 107-10. 33 Rathbone 1990, 108.

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ten million people at subsistence level, though he realizes that this does not take into account years of poor crops and sizable exports and the fact that those in the urban population who were better off would certainly live above the subsistence level. But he is thinking, we may add, of the subsistence level of the nineteenth century, not of antiquity. Josephus, he admits, moved in official circles and was probably acquainted with at least one governor of Egypt, the renegade Jew Tiberius Julius Alexander. We have several writers who give us indications of the tremendous increase in the number of Jews in the Diaspora. So populous,” says Philo (Flacc. 45-46), “are the Jews that no one country can hold them, and therefore they settle in very many of the most prosperous countries in Europe and Asia.” Indeed, Philo (Legat. 214) says that the Jews are spread over all the continents and islands so that they seem to be not much less in number than the indigenous inhabitants. Philo is here discussing the dilemma in which the Roman governor of Syria, Petronius, found himself when he received the order of the Emperor Gaius Caligula to dedicate a statue of the Emperor in Jerusalem, since he realized that the Jews would die en masse rather than permit this to be done. It was therefore, to be sure, in Petronius’ interest to exaggerate the number of the Jews; and when he sends the letter to the Emperor urging him to cancel his order he repeats (Legat. 330) that the Jews dwell not only in their Holy Land but also everywhere throughout the inhabitable world. When the Jewish king Agrippa I writes to Caligula he likewise emphasizes (Legat. 281-82) the fact that the Jews are spread out in Egypt, Syria, Asia Minor, Greece, the islands of the Aegean, and Mesopotamia. Strabo, who because of his extensive travels was in a good position to see how relatively numerous the Jews were, is quoted by Josephus (Ant. 14.114) as saying that the whole habitable world (οCκουμ%νη) is filled with Jews and singles out Cyrene and Egypt in particular. The Jewish King Agrippa II (War 2.398), attempting to dissuade the Jews from going to war with the Romans, warns them that, since there is not a people in the world who do not contain a portion of the Jews, Jews everywhere will be massacred. As to Philo’s estimate that the Jews in Egypt numbered a million (Flacc. 43), this is not merely Philo’s estimate, inasmuch as he states that the governor of Egypt, Flaccus, knew that there were no fewer than a million Jews in the province. He does not tell us how he knew that Flaccus knew how many Jews were in the province, but we may

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conjecture that as the governor of a province that had a history of tension between Jews and Greeks, he might well have assumed that the governor must have had access to such information. McGing34 objects to my statement that Philo was the head of the Alexandrian Jewish community and consequently must have had considerable knowledge of the number of Jews. In response, we may acknowledge that it is true that we nowhere have a statement that Philo was the head of the community, but surely he would not have been chosen to head the delegation of Alexandrian Jews that met with the Emperor Gaius Caligula (Ant. 18.259) if he were not de facto the head of the community. Moreover, even if he were not actually the head of the community, he certainly describes himself (Spec. 3.1-6) as no longer having leisure for philosophical speculation and having been plunged and indeed submerged in the ocean of civic cares. This is the picture of a person who has devoted himself fully to the concerns of the community. True, the figure is an estimate, but one cannot plan conscientiously, as apparently he did, for a community’s needs if one does not have a good idea as to the number of people in that community. The figure of a million Jews in Egypt does not seem outrageously large when we consider that we have a figure, admittedly based upon an interpretation of a badly damaged text in the Acta Alexandrinorum, that there were 180,000 Jews in Alexandria in the year 37.35 We are told that during the riot in Alexandria in the year 66 (Jos., War 2.497) 50,000 Jews perished, a round number about which we may be suspicious. But the very fact that both Philo and Josephus indicate that the number of Jewish inhabitants was very large convinces even so skeptical a scholar as Tcherikover36 that their number was really large even if we cannot be precise as to their exact number. Another skeptical scholar, Wasserstein,37 commenting on Philo’s estimate (Flacc. 43) of the number of Jews in Egypt, remarks that the fact that he mentions such a number points to his expectation that it or something like it might be believed. According to Cassius Dio (68.32.2), during the revolt led by the Jewish messianic figure Lukuas-Andreas in 115-117, the Jews were able to kill 220,000 in 34 35 36 37

McGing 2002, 97. See Delia 1988, 286-88. Tcherikover 1959, 286-87. Wasserstein 1996, 307-8.

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Libya and 240,000 in Cyprus, similarly large numbers about which we are, to be sure, suspicious; and inasmuch as by the year 117 the revolt had been mercilessly put down, we may conjecture that the number of Jews slain would have been enormous even if we are hardly in a position to give more precise numbers. As to the number of Jews in Syria, Josephus (War 7.43) remarks that Jews were densely interspersed among the native populations of every portion of the world but were particularly numerous in Syria owing to the proximity to Palestine. In view of this statement, Harnack38 postulates that the only province in the Roman Empire where the percentage of Jews was higher than in Egypt was Syria; and consequently he estimates that the number of Jews in Syria was over a million. In this connection, we recall Josephus’ remark (War 2.560) that in the year 66, on the eve of the revolt against the Romans, though the inhabitants of the Syrian city of Damascus were fired with a determination to kill the Jews who resided among them, they hesitated because of their own wives, who, with few exceptions, had all converted to Judaism, though ultimately they slaughtered all the Jews, to the number of 10,500. As a consequence of the data cited here and elsewhere, Baron39 estimates that in the first century over 4,000,000 Jews lived within the boundaries of the Roman Empire outside of Palestine, with over a million each in Syria, Egypt, Babylonia, and Asia Minor; that approximately 3,000,000 lived in Palestine, and at least l,000,000 more in Babylonia and other countries not subjected to Roman rule. Baron40 accepts as “a fair historical reminiscence” the statement of Bar-Hebraeus, a thirteenth-century Christian Syrian writer of Jewish extraction, that the census of all the Jews in the Empire commissioned by the Emperor Claudius revealed that the total was

38 Harnack 1908, 6-7, cites the estimate of Beloch 1886, 258-59, that the Jews in Egypt comprised about thirteen per cent of the total population, which he estimates at five million. This would put the number of Jews at 650,000. 39 Baron 1952, 1:170 and 370-72, n. 7. McKnight 1998, 5-14, notes the selfconfessed tentative and speculative nature of Baron’s estimates and stresses that at no point does Baron make any suggestion that demographic figures from two different periods can be explained only on the basis of proselytization. However, even McKnight is ready to concede a total Jewish population in the first century of six million and offers no other explanation as to how to explain the vast increase in numbers. 40 Baron 1952, 1:170.

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6,944,000, which Baron says is not impossible nor even improbable. I originally accepted Baron’s position on this matter; but in an article in 1995 I called attention to Rosenthal’s refutation of Baron41 and admitted my error,42 since we find that the very same number is given in the Syriac epitome of Eusebius’ Chronography43 as the number not of Jews but of Roman citizens. McGing,44 who apparently was unaware of my disavowal of Baron’s acceptance of Bar-Hebraeus’ figure as relating to the number of Jews, correctly makes the point that the notion that Claudius would order a census specifically of Jews is extremely improbable, especially, we might note, in view of Claudius’ concern to be even-handed in his treatment of the Jews, as we see in his edict with respect to the Jews (Ant. 19.280-85) and notably in his famous letter (CPJ 2, no. 153).45 The father of Graeco-Roman demography, Beloch,46 who was attacked in the strongest terms by such giants of his own day as Mommsen and Wilamowitz, and who has now been rehabilitated in the highest terms by Parkin, Scheidel, and Bowersock,47 estimates the number of Jews in the early Roman Empire as six million, including two million in Palestine. In a recent essay on demography in the new edition in the Cambridge Ancient History, the hypercritical Frier48 states that “by and large Beloch’s prudent estimates [which were made over a century ago] have stood up extremely well to subsequent criticism.” He then adds that the main difficulty is Beloch’s estimate for Anatolia and greater Syria [which includes Palestine], to which Beloch assigned a combined population of nineteen million. Frier offers as the reason for his skepticism his belief that Beloch’s figure would require a population density that has not been achieved until the twentieth century. But, we may reply, this assumes that the ancients required a standard of living comparable to ours and that they were

41 42 43

Rosenthal 1954, 267-68. Feldman 1995-96, 155 n. 3. Epitome Syria ex Eusebi Chronicorum Canonum Libro Deprompta, in Schoene 1866,

211. 44

McGing 2002, 94. See Tcherikover 1957, 1:73-74; and Feldman 1993, 561 n. 59. 46 Beloch 1886. For a thorough and fair appreciation of Beloch’s achievement see Lo Cascio 1994, 23-40. 47 Parkin 1992, 5; Scheidel 2001, 5-9; Bowersock 1997, 373-79. 48 Bruce W. Frier, “Demography,” CAH vol. 11 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000) 811. 45

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not able to raise or import enough food to maintain it. Philo (Mos. 2.232), obviously thinking of the extent to which the Jews in his own day had spread out to various countries, has G-d reply to those who have been unable to partake of the paschal lamb that they do not deserve to be deprived of this privilege, “particularly if the nation has grown so populous that a single country cannot contain it and has sent out colonies in all directions.” Again, Philo calls attention to the magnitude of the population of the Jews (Spec. 1.133, 141) by noting that even the poorest of the priests have a superabundance of first-fruits. These figures diverge considerably from one another, but all of them indicate a vast increase in the number of Jews within the five centuries after the destruction of the first Temple. When one examines the long list of Jewish communities in the Diaspora, which is well documented by archaeological, epigraphic, papyrological, and literary evidence,49 the impression, even if it is not precisely quantifiable, is that the Jews were very numerous, even though we cannot arrive at the actual total number of Jews. 5. The Number of Jews in Palestine How many Jews lived in Palestine during the first century? Surely one cannot proceed, as does Harnack,50 who estimates that the number was about 700,000, on the basis of the fact that in the year that he wrote his book, 1902, there were between 600,000 and 650,000 Jews living there. Juster51 goes to the other extreme in estimating the total as 5,000,000. In his pathfinding work, Beloch52 estimates the total as no more than 2,000,000. The recovery of the Jewish population after 586 b.c.e. was very slow. According to Ezra (2:64-65), the whole congregation of returning exiles was 42,360, besides 7,337 servants and 200 singers. How reliable are these numbers? Clearly, the book of Ezra intends to emphasize the authority of Ezra. He is introduced to us (Ezra 7:1-5) as one whose genealogy is carefully traced, generation by generation through seventeen generations to Aaron, the first priest. He

49 50 51 52

So Wasserstein 1996, 312, who cites Schürer 1986, 3:1-86. Harnack 1908, 1:8. Juster 1914, 1:210, n. 2. Beloch 1886, 248.

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is described as a brilliant scholar and, most importantly, as one to whom King Artaxerxes of Persia granted his every request (Ezra 7:6). Of course, the fact that these are not round numbers does not necessarily mean that they are accurate, but in view of Ezra’s supreme position they should be taken seriously. However, after the establishment of an independent Judaean state by Simon Maccabee in 140 b.c.e. and especially after the annexation of large territories conquered by his successors, John Hyrcanus and Alexander Jannaeus, and the conversion to Judaism of the Idumaeans (Jos., Ant. 13.257) and Ituraeans (Jos., Ant. 13.318),53 the population increased considerably. Estimating crowds has to this day been a very hazardous business. Even Julius Caesar, as Henige54 has pointed out, is guilty of exaggerating the number of his opponents, which ranges as high as 430,000 and often exceeds 100,000, and can hardly be used to estimate the population of ancient Gaul. Moreover, numbers are the most easily corrupted items in manuscripts. In general, copyists are more likely to make a mistake with numbers than with other words, since if a copyist makes a mistake with an ordinary word, the reader may be able to correct it from the context, whereas numbers do not usually alter the meaning of a context and hence are not likely to be corrected. But ancient historians were not unaware of the tendency of poets to exaggerate numbers. Thus Thucydides (1.10.3) says that it is natural to suppose that Homer as a poet adorned and magnified the expedition of the Greeks to Troy; and yet he does not utterly dismiss such evidence but rather adopts a critical approach, adding, “Still, even on his showing, it was evidently comparatively small.” Josephus (War 2.280) states that a crowd of no less than three million Jews implored the Roman governor Cestius Gallus, when he visited Jerusalem at Passover in 65 c.e., to have compassion upon them in view of the excesses of the procurator Florus. Can we take this number at all seriously? Price55 takes the extreme position of doubting Josephus’ numbers unless they are absolutely provable, which, of course, they never are. His number here may well have been a round figure; we find what appears also to be a similar round

53 54 55

On these conversions see Feldman 1993, 324-26. Henige 1998, 215-42. Price 1992, 205.

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figure (Ap. 1.195) in connection with the area of Judaea, which Josephus gives as 3,000,000 arourae (approximately 1,500,000 acres or 234 square miles). Multiples of three are numerous in Josephus:56 thus whereas, according to the Bible (1 Sam. 15:4), the number of infantrymen enumerated by King Saul is 200,000 and the number of men of Judah is 10,000, Josephus (Ant. 6.134) follows the reading of most of the manuscripts of the LXX in doubling the number of infantrymen to 400,000 and tripling that of those from Judah to 30,000. Furthermore, whereas according to the Hebrew text the number of priests slain in Nob (1 Sam. 22:18) is 85, and according to the Lucianic manuscripts of the LXX 350, and according to the other manuscripts of the LXX 305, and according to the Greek epitome 530, Josephus (Ant. 6.268) gives the number as 300, clearly a round number.57 Again, he speaks of 3,000 infantry who accompanied him (Life 213); 300 quick-firers that the Jewish rebels had (War 5.359); and 30,000 followers of the Egyptian false prophet who attacked a Roman garrison in Jerusalem during the procuratorship of Felix (War 2.261).58 If, as seems likely, this last is the Egyptian prophet who is mentioned in the Book of Acts (21:38), we find quite a discrepancy in the number, inasmuch as in Acts the number is merely 4,000. Moreover, we can compare these numbers with the number of Jews present for Passover in 66. According to Josephus, the Roman

56 The number three is likewise a favorite of the rabbis. Thus we hear (b.Meg. 6b) that Rome covers an area of 300 parasangs (approximately 1200 miles] by 300. It has 300 markets corresponding to the number of days of the solar year. Moreover, the Palestinian \ama bar \anina, who lived in the latter part of the third century, alluding to the constant wars between the Romans and the Germans and the constant turnovers of Roman emperors, remarks (b.Meg. 6b and Mid. Gen. Rab. 75.9) that there were 300 crowned heads in Germany and 365 chieftains in Rome; and every day they engage in combat and one of them is killed, so that they have the trouble of appointing a new king. 57 Elsewhere, the manuscripts of Josephus contain four different readings—85 (obviously corrected to conform with the Hebrew text), 305 (the Latin translation, obviously corrected to conform with the LXX), 530 (the reading of the Greek epitome), and 385 (the reading of the three oldest, though not always the best, manuscripts of Josephus). The fact that Pseudo-Philo (63.3) agrees with manuscripts MSP of Josephus in giving 385 as the number supports this reading of Josephus. 58 The number three is likewise popular in exaggeration with the rabbis, as we see in the statement of Rabbi Ulla (b.Meg. 6b), that the city of Rome covers an area of 300 parasangs (approximately 1200 miles) by 300. It is said to have 300 markets, corresponding to the number of days in the solar year. Moreover, it is said to have 3,000 baths.

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governor Cestius Gallus (War 6.422) in the year 66 ordered a count of the Jews to be taken by the chief priests and reported to the Roman emperor Nero. He noted that 255,600 lambs were slaughtered for Passover in that year. The size of crowds, as we have noted, is notoriously difficult to estimate, and hence scholars may object to the figure of three million in the crowd (War 2.280) that implored the Roman governor Cestius Gallus in 65 c.e.; but 255,600 lambs that are slaughtered are more easily and more accurately counted, and the number is not a typically large number. Josephus remarks that since each lamb was consumed by no fewer than ten persons (War 6.424), this gives a total of 2,556,000, and this did not include menstruous women and those who were defiled and who consequently were not permitted to partake of the sacrifice. Josephus himself (War 6.425) gives the total as 2,700,000; but this is because, as he says, the number of people in a company often included as many as twenty. Beloch’s comment59 on this passage is that no intelligent person will believe such a figure, and he quotes the remark of Smith:60 “The assertions that 3,000,000 were collected at the Passover, that a million perished in the siege, that 100,000 escaped, etc., are so childish that it is surprising that anyone could ever have repeated them.” Rather, this is, he says, an indication of the boastfulness of Josephus and of the lack of critical ability of those who transcribed his work. Consequently, says Beloch,61 one will view with justified distrust the other figures cited by Josephus. He then, in a remark that smacks of anti-Semitism, adds that when it comes to satisfying their own vanity Jews have always bragged.62 That this was a standard method of taking a census of the Jewish people may be seen from the fact that King Agrippa (probably Agrippa II), seeking to determine the number of Jews, likewise turned to the high priest, who, we are told (b.Pes. 64b), in an anonymous comment of the rabbis, took a kidney from each of the Passover sacrifices and found that there were 600,000 pairs of kidneys, excluding the kidneys of those who were unclean or were on a distant journey. Likewise, we are told, there was not a single paschal lamb for which

59

Beloch 1886, 246. Smith 1868, 1025. 61 Beloch 1886, 246. 62 On Beloch’s views of Jews see Momigliano 1966, 32-45; (English translation, 1994) 97-120, especially 115-16; and Bowersock 1997, 373-79, especially 375. 60

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more than ten people had not registered. This would indicate a total of six million Jews. This is clearly a round number, reminiscent of the 600,000 adult males who had left Egypt. But Josephus’ number is not, like 600,000, a typically large number. Could Jerusalem have coped with the influx of so many? Why should Cestius Gallus have instructed the chief priests to take the census? Josephus (War 6.422) himself says that Cestius Gallus was eager to impress Nero, who, he says, held the Jews in contempt, with the strength of Jerusalem. Consequently, we may conjecture, Cestius sought to stress the sheer multitude of the Jews and the difficulty that the Romans would have in overcoming them. Since Cestius was responsible for reporting the figure, we may wonder whether he may have exaggerated the number. However, we may note that at Nero’s court his consort, Poppaea Sabina, was a G-d-fearer (θεοσεβς, Ant. 20.195), who had successfully pleaded on behalf of the Jewish embassy that had protested the order of Festus the procurator to pull down the wall that the eminent men of Jerusalem had erected to prevent the Jewish king Agrippa II from viewing doings in the Temple. Hence, it would seem unlikely that Cestius would have risked offending the Jewish masses by misrepresenting their number. One guesses that Cestius was confident that the chief priests could be relied upon to give an accurate count, inasmuch as it would have been most inappropriate for them, as religious leaders, to do otherwise; in any case, it was a most unusual way to count the number of people. We are suspicious of round figures, but the number of paschal lambs is not a round figure; and lambs, especially for religious purposes, are more easily counted than people. McGing63 asserts that to multiply the number of lambs slaughtered by ten to determine the number of people who partook of them seems quite arbitrary, but one is less likely to be wrong if he guesses that the number of people who partook of a lamb was more than ten. Indeed, Josephus must have had the experience each Passover of partaking of the paschal lamb, and he must have noted how many partook of the paschal lamb from which he ate. Even Parkin,64 who is extremely skeptical about taking seriously the population figures provided by ancient writers, on the grounds

63 64

McGing 2002, 97. Parkin 1992, 65.

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that they are regularly demographically impossible, does point out, as we have noted, that we must consider the author’s source of information. By this criterion Josephus’ statement as to the number of Jews counted by the chief priests should be taken more seriously. To be sure, the number refers to the crowd in Jerusalem rather than to the population of all of Palestine; but we may assume that the great majority of those in the crowd came from other parts of Palestine, especially the most populous region of Galilee, which is not far from Jerusalem, rather than from such regions as Asia Minor or Egypt or Babylonia, which were further away. But even if we do not accept Josephus’ number as precise, surely he is telling us, and we should be prepared to accept, that the number was very great, especially since it is supported, as to magnitude, by the number in the crowd that met Cestius Gallus, and the number of those who perished in the war against the Romans. Nevertheless, we may note that even though Thucydides (1.20) criticizes Herodotus, to be sure not by name, for inaccuracies, he does not criticize Herodotus’ figures as to the size of the Persian expedition; nor, for that matter, do other historians, who criticize their predecessors’ inaccuracies, criticize their exaggerations in numbers. Is this because ancient authors understood that fanciful numbers were part of the genre? If so, how can we explain that Thucydides criticizes Homer’s but not Herodotus’ exaggerted numbers? Is it true that Tacitus is not addicted to exaggeration? Is Tacitus’ figure (Hist. 5.13.3) of 600,000 as the number of those besieged in Jerusalem a typical symbolic figure, since multiples of 600 were very popular? Thus we find in Josephus (War 3.583) that the number of his infantry is 60,000, and his bodyguard consists of 600 picked men. Again, the number of men whom Josephus dispatched with his friend Jeremiah to the frontier of Galilee is 600 (Life 241). It is significant that Josephus (War 5.569) similarly reports that the corpses of the lower classes thrown out through the gates of Jerusalem amounted to 600,000 and that of the rest it was impossible to discover their number. The number 600,000, being the approximate number of adult Israelites who made the exodus from Egypt (Exod. 12:37), is found no fewer than five times in Josephus (Ant. 2.214, 317; 3.196, 288; 4.11). Is not this number clearly inconsistent with Josephus’ statement (War 6.420) that the number of those who perished during the siege of Jerusalem was 1,100,000, of whom the majority were Jews but not natives of Jerusalem? Josephus’ and Tacitus’ figures do not agree, but

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note should be made of the fact that Tacitus says accepimus, that is, “we have heard,” “we have been told,” “we have learned,” a clear admission on his part that he had not personally verified or checked the figures. He does not tell us from whom he obtained his figure; it may have been from someone who had fought under Vespasian and Titus, but he does not indicate that he had made any attempt to confirm it. Indeed, he had not been in a position to verify it, though he was not one to accept official propaganda unscrutinized, whereas Josephus was present during the time of the siege and thus had first-hand information. Moreover, whereas 600,000 is a round number, 1,100,000 is not. If he were giving a round number we would have expected Josephus to say that the dead numbered more than a million. Furthermore, Josephus (War 6.420) reports the nunber of those taken prisoner as 97,000. This is not a round number; it is found nowhere else in Josephus65 and deserves serious consideration; indeed, even Beloch66 says that this number appears to be credible. It should be mentioned here, as Lo Cascio67 remarks, that in general Beloch is hypercritical in his attitude in that he tends to accept the data of ancient sources only when they are consistent with his own interpretation. Again, we need not take Josephus’ numbers at face value, but that does not mean that we should disregard the impression that he wishes to convey, namely that the number of Jews was very large, certainly as compared with their number in 586 b.c.e. Moreover, Tacitus specifically states that the total number of those besieged of every age and both sexes was 600,000, whereas Josephus says that the 600,000 were of the lower classes only. Furthermore, Tacitus (Hist. 5.13.3)

65 To be sure, 97,000 is, curiously, found elsewhere in Pseudo-Philo’s Bib.Ant. (31.2), where we read that of the army of Sisera there were slain 90 times 97,000 men. But, as I have noted (1971, cxvii), Josephus is speaking of the number of prisoners, whereas Pseudo-Philo is speaking of the number slain. Jacobson 1996, 2:847 adds the question as to why Pseudo-Philo would want to associate Sisera’s soldiers with the Jewish captives. Moreover, the fact that Pseudo-Philo says that the number was ninety times 97,000 instead of giving the total, 8,730,000, indicates that this is merely a large number. 66 Beloch 1886, 248. 67 Lo Cascio 1994, 27. Lo Cascio here cites Beloch’s comment, 1897, 323-24, on a passage in Galen (De Propriorum Animi Cuiuslibet Affectuum Dignatione et Curatione 5.49 [Kuhn]: “I do not attribute any special importance to this passage; all my conclusions stand, even if we completely dismiss it. It simply happens to be in agreement with my system.”

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does not say that all those who were besieged died. And yet, when it comes to estimating the number of those killed we may expect that the number would hardly be precise. However, the important point to be made here is not that we have a precise number but that we have an indication of its magnitude from two different sources, Josephus and Tacitus, that were clearly independent of each other. 6. The Number of Jews in Galilee One way to estimate the number of Jews, at least in Galilee, where Josephus, as general in that area, should have had special knowledge, is to start with Josephus’ statement (War 2.583) as to the number of soldiers that he had managed to muster, namely 60,000 infantry and 35068 cavalry, plus a bodyguard of 600.69 Avi-Yonah70 suggests that, on this basis, the total population of Galilee would have been approximately 750,000. At the time when, after Herod’s death, his kingdom was divided among his three sons, Peraea and Galilee produced a revenue of 200 talents (War 2.95), whereas Herod bequeathed to Augustus 1,000 talents (War 1.646), that is, five times as much as the revenue of Peraea and Galilee. If, as Avi-Yonah proposes, we now multiply the number of soldiers that Josephus mustered in Galilee by five, to take into account the size of their families, this suggests a total population for the entire land of Israel of 3,750,000. However, as Broshi71 comments, this calculation is based on the credibility of Josephus’ figure of 60,000, whereas this number is a stereotypical number, reminiscent of the 603,550 Israelite males who, according to the Bible, left Egypt (Num. 1:46), and assumes that the population was evenly spread throughout Palestine. Moreover, evidence of the size of armies is problematic, as den Boer72 points out, since we suspect that those who give the figures either exaggerate or minimize those numbers because of the position in which they happen to be,

68

Several of the manuscripts (VRC and the Latin version) read 250. Elsewhere (War 2.576) Josephus says that he had levied in Galilee an army of upwards of 100,000 young men; but Thackeray 1927, 2:547, 547, explains the discrepancy between this figure and that of 60,000 (on War 2.583) by suggesting that not all of the 100,000 were ready for action. 70 Avi-Yonah 1973, 429. 71 Broshi 1979, 6. 72 Den Boer 1973, 30. 69

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and also because, as we have noted, variations in number are particularly frequent in manuscripts. Thus Josephus himself gives the number of soldiers whom he had mustered in Galilee as over 100,000 (War 2.576) and, in apparent contradiction, as 60,000 (War 2.583). Moreover, since Josephus covers some of the same material in the War and in the Antiquities we find discrepancies in numbers between the two works. Thus in the War (2.97) we are told that the revenue of the territory given by Augustus to Archelaus was 400 talents, whereas in the Antiquities (17.320) the amount is 600 talents. In the War (2.100) we are told that Augustus gave to Herod’s children 1000 talents; this becomes 1500 talents in the Antiquities 17.323. Furthermore, Josephus, who as general in Galilee should have had some knowledge as to the number of Jews in the area assigned to him, writes (Life 235) to Jonathan and his fellow deputies, who, having been sent by the Jerusalem authorities, had arrived in Galilee, that there were 204 cities and villages in Galilee. Elsewhere (War 3.41-43), in his extensive description of Galilee, Josephus, apparently aware that people would doubt such figures, explains that though its area is limited, the land is so rich in soil and pasturage that even the most indolent are tempted to devote themselves to agriculture. In fact, he remarks, every inch of the soil has been cultivated by the inhabitants, so that there is not a single parcel of wasteland. He notes (War 3.43) that the towns and even the villages, thanks to the fertility of the soil, are so densely populated that the smallest of them contains more than 15,000 inhabitants. If we multiply 204 by 15,000 this gives a minimum of 3,060,000 inhabitants. There is general suspicion that these figures are grossly exaggerated. The number 15,000 may be a round number; and indeed we find it twice (War 3.305, 4.435) in connection with the number of Jews killed by the Romans in specific battles. But the number 204 is not a round number and is found in Josephus only here. As Baron73 has pointed out, there is a basic difference in population distribution between antiquity and modern times in that we think of only highly industrialized countries as being thoroughly urbanized and of agricultural states as largely rural and possessing relatively few towns, most of them very small. However, as Beloch74 remarks,

73 74

Baron 1972, 45. Beloch 1886, 472.

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people in antiquity regarded themselves as inhabitants of towns even if they did not reside within its walls. Indeed, a city consisted of a rural hinterland and an urban center, where the community had its administration and religious cults.75 Even Rome and other so-called agro-towns76 apparently contained within their walls only a fraction of their populations. Indeed, most of the inhabitants of many towns were actually farmers who lived within the walls of towns for security reasons. Moreover, a substantial proportion of rural population was not involved in farming or was involved in it only part-time. Thus, as Beloch77 has noted, ancient Egyptian sacred writings mention 18,000 towns; other documents mention 30,000 or more towns under Ptolemy I (323-283 b.c.e.). Such figures seem to be highly exaggerated, since, as Baron admits, such a number, when we consider the area of Egypt that is habitable, would require that there be one township per square kilometer. Indeed, according to Hecataeus of Abdera (ca. 300 b.c.e.), as cited by Diodorus, there were 3,000 cities in Egypt. Furthermore, Scipio the Younger, when he visited Egypt in the reign of Ptolemy VII in the second century b.c.e., was, according to Diodorus, amazed at the large number of cities. Moreover, the census material from Egypt78 suggests that similar calculations must have been made for other parts of the Roman Empire, including the province of Syria. These figures surely need not be taken literally, and neither need we take Josephus’ statement literally as to the number of cities in Galilee; but such observations indicate that the number of cities was, indeed, very large. Apparently, there is a long history of numerous towns in Palestine, as we see from the mention of 118 or 119 towns, most of them in Palestine, in a list dating from the reign of the Egyptian king Thutmoses III in the fifteenth century b.c.e. Of course, some of these towns may have been destroyed, but, as Baron79 remarks, we know of only one town, Jericho, that ceased to exist after its conquest; and, in general, there is an increase in the number of towns. Moreover, there is no indication,

75 See Pounds 1969, 135-57; and Finley 1973, in his chapter on town and country, pp. 123-49. 76 See Lo Cascio 2000, 164. 77 Beloch 1886, 255, cited by Baron 1972, 45. 78 Bagnall and Frier 1994, 53-57. 79 Baron 1972, 47.

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except in the statistic given by Josephus, as to the population of each of these towns. But we may expect that the information existed that might have allowed Josephus to give the kind of figures that he cites for the number of towns, even if we are skeptical as to the number of inhabitants in each of them. That the number of towns may not be exaggerated would seem to be indicated by the fact that Cassius Dio (69.14.1) states that two generations later (132-135), during the Bar Kochba rebellion, 985 of the Jews’ most famous villages were razed to the ground. Scheidel80 suggests that whether or not there were 204 settlements in Galilee, it is extremely unlikely that the smallest of them could have contained 15,000 inhabitants. If Galilee covered approximately 1,500 square kilometers, the implied population density for 3,060,000 inhabitants would have been 2,000 people per square kilometer, which is roughly one third of the current population density of Singapore and Hong Kong, largely urbanized city-states that do not grow their own food, as the inhabitants of Galilee did. It would also be about ten times the average population density of Roman Egypt,81 which was apparently more fertile than Galilee. In the Fayum in the Ptolemaic period there was a mean of 312 adults in a sample of 53 villages. It seems unlikely that the smallest Galilean village could have been so much more populous. 15,000 and 30,000 are standard numbers, being multiples of three. 15,000 might be the number for a small city; and 30,000, another multiple of three, might be the number for a large city. It would seem, therefore, unwarranted to take Josephus at face value in his statement concerning the population of Galilee; but that does not mean that we should totally disregard the import of his numbers. Beloch82 takes seriously Josephus’ statement (War 2.576) that when he came as general to Galilee he levied an army of more than 100,000 men. Assuming as he does that such an army would represent approximately one fourth of the total population of Galilee, he estimates a population of 400,000, approximately 125 per square kilometer. This, he admits, would mean that Galilee was very densely populated, but he then adds that Galilee was a very fruitful land, the richest in Palestine; and hence such a population

80 81 82

Letter, 3 December 2002. Scheidel 2001, 57-59. Beloch 1886, 246.

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is possible. For each of the 204 towns that Josephus says existed in Galilee Beloch is willing to assume 2000 inhabitants. This will give Galilee a population of 408,000.83 Noting that, according to Cassius Dio (69.14), 580,000 Jews were slain in the Bar Kochba rebellion, in addition to those who died of sickness and hunger, he posits a population for Palestine of two million.84 Baron notes that in the 1880’s Baghdad had one inhabitant per 33 square meters, Jerusalem one per 35, and Jaffa one per 30. Basing himself on the size and number of its houses in the Canaanite period, he estimates the population per town at 1,000 to 1,500 and at most 2,000, a ratio of approximately one inhabitant per 20-40 square meters. Since a city with such a population was apparently considered important, Baron concludes that the great majority of towns had a population of 1,000 or less. Jerusalem had a larger population. The wall surrounding it, according to Hecataeus, measured 50 stadia; according to the letter of Aristeas, 40 stadia; and according to Josephus, 33 stadia. Baron consequently suggests that the area of the city was about 300 hectares, approximately one third the size of Babylon, which may have had a population of 400,000 at the time of Nebuchadnezzaar; one third the size of Alexandria, which may have had a population of 380,000 under the early Roman emperors; and one fourth the size of Rome in the third century, which may have had a population of one million. Proportionately, Jerusalem would have a population of 200,000, a ratio of one person per 15 square meters.85 Finkelstein,86 drawing upon the Ottoman tax registers of the sixteenth century and the data collected during the Ottoman period at the end of the nineteenth century and during the British Mandate in the 1920’s to 1940’s as to the population and even the number of houses in Palestinian villages, concludes that one can estimate accordingly the size of the population that a given area can support.

83 Heichelheim 1938, 158. suggests a population of 500,000 on the authority of Beloch 1886, 242-43. However, McCown 1947, 426, says that even this estimate is too large, since it gives a density of over 320 to the square mile. We may, however, object that this is hardly excessive in view of the extraordinary fertility of Galilee. 84 Beloch 1886, 248. 85 Baron 1972, 70. 86 Finkelstein 1990, 47-52.

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But we must remark that there is a big question as to whether the figures given in these surveys are of adult males only or whether they include the entire population. We may also ask how many people a land can support with its agricultural production. Broshi,87 on the basis of the level of cultivation of wheat, which is one of the major crops of Palestine, concludes that no more than a million people could have lived in Palestine in antiquity. Safrai,88 however, notes that Broshi’s estimate is based on wheat production in Arab farmsteads, whereas the average Arab farm did not make use of the available land at its disposal; thus the average Arab farm in the period before 1948 made use of only sixty per cent of its available farm land, and this itself was only 33.8 per cent of all available land. Moreover, there were additional terraces that may well have been destroyed over the centuries. In addition, we know that land that is taken care of properly can be far more productive than land that is neglected; and, indeed, to judge from the Talmud, the level of intensive production and its yields were much higher in Jewish farms. Archaeological excavations in the Negev of Palestine have shown that at one time it was far more productive than it has been until the most recent times. We may also remark (Ant. 14.206) that in the first century b.c.e., as noted in an agreement between Julius Caesar and Hyrcanus, the land was sufficiently productive to pay a tax of 20,675 modii (pecks), i.e. 182 tons, annually, except for the sabbatical year. Moreover, Ezek. 27:17 mentions the export of wheat from Minnith (east of the Jordan River) to Tyre; Acts 12:20 states that Tyre and Sidon were dependent on Herod Antipas’ country for food; and the Zenon Papyri (PSI 324-25), dating from the third century b.c.e., mention the export of wheat to Egypt.89 We must also bear in mind that wheat was imported into Palestine from time to time, notably, of course, in times of drought, as we see in the successful efforts of Herod (Ant. 15.299-316) and Queen Helena of Adiabene (Ant. 20.51). In the census of 1951 the average number of inhabitants per house in Palestine was found to be 4.35. However, a survey by

87 88 89

Broshi 1979, 1-10. Safrai 1994, 436-37. Cited by Broshi 1979, 8, n. 24.

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Hirschfeld90of Arab houses in the Judaean hills concluded that the average number of inhabitants in a village house was sixteen. Broshi’s surprising comment on the latter finding is that either unreliable information was given to the surveyors or that living conditions are simply primitive.91 We may wonder how there would be sufficient grain produced for a large population, but we may note that during the period of Roman occupation, when the population of Egypt according to Josephus (War 2.385) amounted to seven and a half million exclusive of Alexandria, the country was constantly exporting a large amount of produce to Rome. Similarly, Palestine exported not only fruits but grain. How many people were able to live in such a limited area as Galilee? But as Baron92 has remarked, there is a difference between the Roman Empire in the East and the areas in the West. In the East a warm climate and other factors permit a very small dwelling. Furthermore, even Hamel,93 who, taking into account the amount of grain that would have to be produced to support a population, concludes that the population of Roman Palestine—and this includes not only Galilee but also Judaea, Samaria, the coastal strip, and Idumaea—would theoretically have peaked at 1,150,000 inhabitants. He admits that against his own results it may be argued that archaeological surveys show an astonishing population level in the hills. Additionally, he admits that it may be maintained that the subsistence level of the time was actually lower than modern calculations indicate and that reliance on wild plants was more important than previously thought.94 What, then, Josephus is saying and what we should be prepared to accept is the impression that the number of Jews living in Galilee was very large, even if it was not three million. Even after the tremendous losses in the war of 66-70 against the Romans, the Jewish

90

Hirschfeld 1987, 73. Broshi 1987, 79-80, 126-27; cited by Finkelstein 1990, 49. 92 Baron 1972, 69. 93 Hamel 1990, 139. 94 Another method for arriving at the population of Palestine in the Roman period is to note, as does Avi-Yonah 1973, 429, that there were in the Roman period four times as many settlements as there were in 1900, when there were 700,000 inhabitants; hence the population in the Roman period was 2,800,000. But as Broshi 1979, 6, remarks, this is based upon the unproven assumptions that the number of settlements in the Roman period was four times as great and that the average size of the settlements in the two periods is approximately the same. 91

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population of Palestine remained large. Cassius Dio (69.14.1), as we have noted, reports that during the Bar Kochba rebellion (132-135) 580,000 Jews were slain in raids and battles, and that the number of those who perished by famine, disease, and fire was past finding out. The number was very large even if we suspect that it was exaggerated. The Talmud (b.Giã 57b), seeking to convey some idea as to the number of fatalities in the war, states that the Romans, when they captured Bethar at the end of the revolt, killed in that city four hundred thousand myriads, that is four billion, “or as some say, four thousand myriads, that is forty million.” Clearly these are utterly impossible exaggerations, but even so they are meant to convey some idea as to the huge number of those who were killed. 7. How to Explain the Increase in the Number of Jews Unfortunately, for the period of 586 b.c.e. to 70 c.e. we have relatively few sources that give an indication as to changes in life expectancy or the size of families or the numbers lost in events such as plagues. Since, so far as we can tell, there was no major change in life expectancy or in the size of families during the period after the destruction of the first Temple, conversions would seem to be the most likely explanation for the vast increase in the number of Jews, at any rate in Egypt, where we have at least some information as to the actual number of Jews.95 In addition to those actually converted there were apparently many “G-d-fearers” (“Sympathizers”),96 perhaps even more numerous than actual converts. Cohen97 contends that the existence of large numbers of converts to Judaism proves only that Jews and Gentiles lived in an open society and that Jews and Judaism were prominent enough to be noticed and respected by outsiders. McKnight98 remarks that the surviving evidence from Philo and Josephus reveals that many Jews, especially those from landed families, were educated in the Greco-Roman manner, that Jewish children in Alexandria were educated in the encyclical, that Herod and his descendants had a Roman education,

95 96 97 98

See Wasserstein 1996, 314-17. See Feldman 1993, 342-82. Cohen 1992, 19. McKnight 2000, 835-47.

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and that this was the kind of education that every aspiring politician would need. Similarly, he remarks that Jews regularly and consistently intermarried with women of other nations and religions. But there is no evidence that this was the path of more than a very small minority. It is certainly open to question whether Jews and Gentiles lived in an open society, as I have discussed elsewhere.99 And even a glance at Menahem Stern’s collection of all the references to Jews and Judaism in Greek and Latin literature will show how little the Jews were noticed, at least by intellectuals.100 Cohen101 suggests that the single most important factor in the increase of Jewish population in antiquity must have been the conquests by the Maccabees, who by one means or another Judaized most of Palestine. But, as mentioned above, we know only of the allegedly forced conversion of the Idumeans102 by John Hyrcanus (Ptolemy the Historian, ap. Ammonius, De Adfinium Vocabulorum Differentia, no. 243; Jos., Ant. 13.257-58, 15.254-55) at the end of the second century b.c.e. and of the Itureans (Ant. 13.318) by Aristobulus I shortly thereafter. That both Hyrcanus and Aristobulus held the dual positions of religious leader as high priest and political leader as king meant that they might have sought both religious and political conquest. The fact, however, that in the vast rabbinic literature and especially in the many and long discussions about the requirements for conversion and about which converts may or may not be accepted (b.Yeb. 16a-b, 22a, 23a, 24b, 25b-26a, 34b-35a, 37a, 42a, 46a-48b, 74b-75a, 98a-b, 99a) there is no reference to the forced conversion of the Idumeans or of the Itureans casts some doubt upon the accounts. Bamberger,103 noting that after Josephus no later Jewish sources speak of these forced conversions, explains this silence as due to the unpopularity of the later Hasmoneans and the disasters caused by Antipater and Herod, who were Idumaeans by birth; but, we may remark, the rabbis are not silent about the later Hasmoneans, including John Hyrcanus (b.Ber. 29a, b.Soã. 33a), and yet do not mention these conversions. But even if the report is accu-

99

See Feldman 1993, 3-83. Stern 1974-84. 101 Cohen 1992, 20. See also Borgen 1996, 46-49. 102 For an extended, judicious discussion of the conversion of the Idumeans see Kasher 1988, 46-77. 103 Bamberger 1939, 20. 100

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rate, the number thus converted can hardly begin to account for the vast increase in Jewish population. It is this kind of mass conversion, though not forced but rather motivated by fear of the Jews, that we find mentioned at an earlier time in the book of Esther (8:17), where we read that after the downfall of Haman many Persians, though there is no indication of how many, converted to Judaism. As to the Idumeans, Ptolemy the Historian (ap. Ammonius, De Adfinium Vocabulorum Differentia, no. 243) says that they were not originally Jews but Phoenicians and Syrians, and that after being subjugated by the Jews “they were forced (ναγκασθ%ντες) to undergo circumcision, so as to be counted among the Jewish nation and keep the same customs.”104 Josephus (Ant. 13.257-58) likewise indicates that they were given a choice of either converting or of leaving their country. He says that John Hyrcanus, after subduing all the Idumeans, “permitted them to remain in their country so long as they had themselves circumcised and were willing to observe the laws of the Jews. And so, out of attachment to the land of their fathers, they submitted to circumcision and to making their manner of life conform in all other respects to that of the Jews. And from that time on they have continued to be Jews.” Elsewhere (Ant. 15.254) Josephus again mentions that Hyrcanus converted (μεταστσαντος) the Idumeans to Jewish customs (=θη) and laws (νμιμα), though he does not actually use the word “forced.” Apparently, not all the Idumeans agreed with the conversion, since Josephus (Ant. 15.255) asserts that Costobar, an Idumaean whom Herod appointed to be governor of Idumaea, did not think that it was proper for the Idumeans to adopt the customs (=θη) of the Jews and to be subject to them. Strabo (16.2.34) says that they joined (προσεχ3ρησαν (“went over to,” “sided with”) the Judaeans, presumably voluntarily, and shared in the same customs with them. The fact that Strabo, who is so antagonistic toward the Hasmoneans, referring to them as tyrants and robbers (16.2.37 and 40), does not refer to the forcible conversion of the Idumeans would appear to suggest that Hyrcanus had not used force. Kasher105 suggests that

104 If, indeed, Ptolemy the Historian is to be identified with the Ptolemy the grammarian who came from Ascalon, he may well have shared the hatred that the Hellenistic cities of Palestine had for the Hasmoneans. See Stern 1974-84, 1:355 and Kasher 1988, 69-70. 105 Kasher 1988, 46-47.

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one should speak of the annexation of Idumea rather than of its conquest, since the Idumaeans shared with the Jews a common hostility to the Hellenistic cities and to the Seleucids. This would seem to be supported by Strabo’s statement that the immediate factor leading to the adoption of Judaism by the Idumeans was their banishment owing to a sedition that is otherwise unknown.106 A key argument in favor of the voluntary conversion of the Idumeans is the fact that not long after the conversion Alexander Jannaeus appointed the Idumean Antipas, Herod’s grandfather, as strategos for all of Idumea (Ant. 14.10)— an unusual degree of trust if Antipas had only recently accepted Judaism unwillingly.107 As to why Josephus, who is otherwise so strongly opposed to forcible conversion, should have mentioned it here, we may suggest that he may have drawn from a source that was hostile to the Hasmoneans, most likely Nicolaus of Damascus,108 who was the right-hand man of Herod, who so hated the Hasmoneans. Moreover, the Idumaeans had apparently been observing the practice of circumcision long before the conquest by John Hyrcanus.109 We may remark that the fact that the Bible itself (Deut. 23: 8-9) specifies that an Edomite (Idumean) may not become a proselyte until the third generation and that the rabbis b.(Yeb. 68a, 69a, 76a) reiterate this prohibition, noting that if an Idumean proselyte cohabits with a Jewish woman this disqualifies her and her children, would make it unlikely that the Hasmoneans, who, in general, were aware of Jewish sensibilities, would have dared to violate the clear sense of Scripture.110 As for the conversion of the Itureans, our source is a third-hand

106 As to the claim that Strabo’s evidence should be invalidated, since he mistakenly identifies the Idumeans as Nabateans (16.2.34), this is the kind of error that is easily made, since the Nabateans were a people that apparently incorporated several tribes. Indeed, the same error is made by Diodorus (19.48 and 68). 107 So Kasher 1988, 66; and Richardson 1996, 55. 108 Indeed, Josephus (Ant. 13.251) quotes Nicolaus very shortly before he mentions the conversion of the Idumaeans (Ant. 13.257. 109 See Kasher 1988, 66-67. 110 As to why Josephus, who was proud of his Hasmonean ancestry (Life 2-4) and who is so strongly opposed to forced conversion to Judaism (Life 113) should have depicted the Hasmonean John Hyrcanus as forcing the Idumeans to convert to Judaism, Mason 2001, 75 n. 544, correctly notes that the Hasmoneans, in their concern to establish a strong and independent state, were adding territory to Judea and always gave the conquered the choice of leaving if they would not convert (Ant. 13.319).

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account, found in a fragment of the first century b.c.e. Timagenes, which is cited in a lost work by Strabo, who in turn is cited by Josephus (Ant. 13.319). The fragment says that Aristobulus I brought over ([κει3σατο, “made kinsmen,” “made friends”) to the Jews a portion (μ%ρος) of the Ituraean nation, whom he joined (συνάψας) to them by the bond of circumcision. In the first place, we must remark that Timagenes says that Aristobulus brought over only a portion of the Itureans and with no indication as to how big or small a portion was involved. Secondly, it is important to note that there is no indication that he used force in doing so; in fact, Strabo refers to Aristobulus as having a kindly (πιεικς, “fitting,” “suitable,” “reasonable,” “fair,””modertate,” “considerate,” “gentle,” “peaceable”) nature and clearly implies that the conversion was done in a friendly fashion. It is Josephus who says that Aristobulus compelled (ναγκάσας) the inhabitants, “if they wished to remain in the country, to be circumcised and to live in accordance with the laws of the Jews.” Thirdly, there is no indication as to whether the Itureans wholeheartedly converted to Judaism or whether they underwent a superficial conversion.111 Fourthly, we should note that the Itureans inhabited the area of Lebanon. Those scholars, such as Schürer,112 who argue that it was Galilee that was Judaized by Aristobulus, let alone that it was all of Galilee (and thus, presumably, would explain the huge concentration of Jews in Galilee according to Josephus [War 3.43, Life 235]), go against the geographical fact that Iturea is considerably north of Galilee. Moreover, the continuous occupation by Jews of Galilee had never been wholly interrupted. In particular, we may note that Alexander Jannaeus, the brother of Aristobulus, was educated in Galilee during their father’s lifetime (Ant. 13.322), as Stern113 has remarked. Moreover, as Stern114 notes, according to Josephus (Ant. 13.337), Ptolemy Lathyrus deliberately attacked the Galilean township of Asochis on Saturday in approximately the year 102 b.c.e., a mere year or two after the death of Aristobulus. This would imply that Lathyrus assumed that the Jews were so staunchly religious that they

111 112 113 114

See Chancey 2002, 44-45. Schürer 1973, 1:218. Stern 1974, 1:225. Stern 1974, 1:225.

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would refuse to fight on the Sabbath, a fact that is hardly compatible with the view that they had so recently been compelled to become Jews.115 If we ask what other sources there were for the increased numbers of Jews, we may suggest that part of the increase resulted from the conversion of slaves in Jewish households. Such a conversion must have been desirable in order to avoid the danger of pollution to food handled by non-Jewish slaves. Philo (Mos. 2.36), gives us another clue. He says that the purpose of the translation of the Pentateuch into Greek was that the laws should not be denied to non-Jews. This would indicate a goal of nothing less than actual conversion to Judaism, though, of course, it does

115 Most recently, Weitzman 1999, 37-59, believes that John Hyrcanus did convert the Idumeans by force and that Aristobulus I did convert the Itureans by force. He presents the challenging thesis that just as Mattathias imposed circumcision on Jews, Hyrcanus and Aristobulus extended this practice to Gentiles under their control and that since their anti-Gentile policies limited the supply of human capital available to the state they disguised the absorption of local non-Jews in order to retake the land for Judaism. However, as we have noted, Strabo’s language certainly does not indicate that force was applied. If, indeed, as Weitzman suggests, the Hasmoneans were motivated by anti-Gentile zeal, surely converting the Gentiles by force was a very dangerous move, since people thus converted are likely to make things difficult for their oppressors. The question, to be sure, still remains why Josephus, who elsewhere (Life 113 and War 2.454) strongly disapproves of forced conversion, should have altered the language of Strabo, who does not speak of forcible conversion. One possible answer is that Josephus felt that where there was a matter of national security the Romans would have understood that such an action might have been justified, whereas in the case of Life 113 and War 2.454 the forcible conversion was not being done by a legitimate government but by some zealots. Josephus must have felt that the Romans had nothing to fear from the use of force against peoples who were not allies of the Romans, especially when the Hasmoneans, who used such force, were allies of the Romans and had been such for some years. Weitzman 1999, 42-43, n. 24, asserts that Josephus is inconsistent in omitting the circumcision of the Shechemites in the affair of Dinah (Ant. 1.337-40); but, we may remark, that is not because he was opposed to forcible conversion. Rather, he was embarrassed by the fact that the Israelites were guilty of breaking a pledge, a very serious matter to the Romans, that they had made to the Shechemites to permit the marriage of Dinah to the Shechemite prince if they would all be circumcised. As to the decline in population, there is no evidence, as Weitzman 1999, 53-54, admits, that there was such a decline; and, as we have suggested, there is reason to think that there was actually a considerable increase in population. And if there was a manpower shortage because of insurrections by the Jews themselves, the Hasmonean kings could and did hire mercenaries. Finally, the Hasmonean kings had no need to worry about a manpower shortage, since they had the greatest buttress of support for their security, namely the backing of the Romans.

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not tell us how many were actually converted. What is particularly important is that there was an annual commemoration of the translation to which not only Jews but also, according to Philo, multitudes of others came from overseas. Philo says that he envisaged a world in which all mankind would abandon their ancestral ways and turn to honoring the laws of Jews.116 Inasmuch as the Noahides do not abandon their ancestral ways but merely observe seven additional commandments, this cannot refer to the Noahides, especially since Philo envisages mankind honoring our laws alone. This does not mean that Jewish missionaries operated on the island of Pharos at these annual meetings. What it does mean is that Jews held open their doors to those who wished to convert and were delighted when such conversions occurred. That the Jews welcomed converts may be seen, moreover, in Philo (Virt. 226 and elsewhere) and Josephus (Ap. 2.282 and elsewhere), as I have noted.117 Josephus (War 7.45), for example, remarks that the Jews of Antioch were constantly (ε5) attracting to their religious ceremonies a great multitude (πολB πλOθος) of Greeks; and they had, in some measure, incorporated them with themselves. I have likewise indicated that the rabbis were, on the whole, favorably disposed toward converts.118 It is particularly important to note that, according to rabbinic tradition (b.Yeb. 47a-b), no undue obstacles

116

See Feldman 1993, 313-14. See Feldman 1993, 293-98, 318-22. 118 See Feldman 1993, 338-41. To be sure, there are a few negative statements about proselytes. Indeed, in the words of Josephus (Ap. 2.123), “Many of them [the Greeks] have agreed to adopt our laws; of whom some have remained faithful, while others, lacking the necessary endurance, have again seceded.” In rabbinic literature we find the statement of Rabbi \elbo (b.Yeb. 47b, b.Qid. 70b, b.Nid. 13b), who lived at the end of the third and at the beginning of the fourth century, that proselytes are as burdensome for Israel as a leprous scab on the skin. Of similar import is the statement of the third-century Rabbi \iyya (Mid. Ruth Zuta on 1:12): “Do not have faith in a proselyte until twenty-four generations have passed, because the inherent evil is still within him.” In particular, we find a criticism (b.Yeb. 24b) of those who convert for the sake of marriage or because of fear or for ulterior economic motives. Such statements were perhaps occasioned by the fact that some proselytes had turned out to be insincere (b.’Abod. Zar. 3b) or had become renegades and that they delay the coming of the Messiah (b.Nid. 13b). The very vehemence and repeated citation of such statements indicates that non-Jews were converting and that this was apparently a subject of debate. But the positive statements about proselytes are clearly in the majority. See the conclusion of Bamberger 1939, 14546; and Feldman 1993, 338-39. 117

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are to be placed in the path of a candidate for conversion, and that, indeed, the process is actually speeded up. Thus we are told: “If, at the present time, someone desires to become a proselyte, he is to be addressed as follows: ‘What reason have you for desiring to become a proselyte? Do you not know that Israel at the present time are persecuted and oppressed, despised, harassed and overcome by afflictions?’ If he replies, ‘I know and yet am unworthy,’ he is accepted forthwith [my italics].” Moreover, that he is not expected before conversion to know and to obligate himself to observe all the commandments is clear from the fact that he is then given instruction in some of the minor and some of the major commandments. We are told that he is not to be persuaded or dissuaded too much. Finally, if he is accepted, he is to be circumcised forthwith. As soon as he is healed, arrangements are made for his immediate ablution. Furthermore, there is a special blessing for righteous proselytes in the Amidah prayer (b.Meg. 17b) that is recited three times daily. The rabbis, moreover, took pride in the claim that the Emperor Nero (b.Giã. 56a) and even, according to some (Jerusalem Talmud, Meg. 3.2.74d), the Emperor “Antoninus,” were proselytes and that some of their greatest teachers were said to be descended from proselytes—Shemaiah and Avtalion (b.Sanh. 96b, b.Giã. 57b), Rabbi Akiva (ibid.), Aquila-Onkelos (b.’Abod. Zar. 11a), and Rabbi Meir (b.Giã. 56a). I have also noted119 that resentment was aroused against these conversions, as seen in the writings of the New Testament (Matt. 23:15), Horace (Sat. 1.4.142-43), Seneca the Younger (ap., Augustine, De Civitate Dei 6.11), Tac. (Hist. 5.5.1-2), and Juvenal (Sat. 14.96106). Moreover, as I have remarked, the success of the Jews in winning converts led to their expulsions from Rome on at least two occasions.120

119 120

See Feldman 1993, 299-300. See Feldman 1993, 300-304.

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8. How to Explain Proselytism When We Have No Missionary Tracts and Know of No Missionaries Tcherikover,121 in a seminal article, has questioned the concept of a concerted Jewish literary propaganda in the interests of conversion. He challenges the view that Jewish literary propaganda among the pagans was technically possible and that the distribution of books in the ancient world was similar to that of modern times; but literacy was apparently much more widespread than we usually think.122 To be sure, we have found no such tracts in papyri; but papyri are what were discarded. Schools are perhaps responsible for most papyri, and the LXX was not read there. Moreover, most of our literary papyri come from the little town of Oxyrhynchus, which may not be representative. Cohen123 argues that if Greek Jewish literature was designed for a pagan audience, it failed miserably and that pagans did not read Jewish literature. There can be no question, however, that Gentiles, as well as Jews, are addressed by some of the works of Philo124 and of Josephus,125 the two chief Jewish writers in Greek from the Hellenistic period; but this does not, of course, mean that the works of Philo and Josephus were missionary treatises. What it does mean is that a non-Jewish reader might have been impressed with the religion that they describe. Indeed, it is also true that these writers, if we may judge from citations in later writers, were little read in antiquity. But this tells us only that pagan intellectuals did not generally read these works; it does not, however, tell us about the reading habits of pagan non-intellectuals. Moreover, most of those converted were probably illiterate and, in any case, were probably converted by oral contacts, though not necessarily by organized efforts. One concrete instance where reading the Bible did have an effect upon a candidate for conversion is to be seen in the account of the conversion of Izates, the king of Adiabene, who decided to be

121

Tcherikover 1956, 169-93. See Harris 1989, 121, 206, 255-59, and especially 282; and Feldman 1993, 305-11. 123 Cohen 1992, 17. 124 Georgi 1986, 182, concludes that both Jews and Gentiles are being addressed throughout Philo’s works. 125 See Feldman 1998, l46-50. 122

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circumcised after being told by the Jew Eleazar that he ought to do more than read the Bible (Jos., Ant. 20.44-46). Josephus (Ant. 1.9), in the introduction to his paraphrase of the Bible and in citing the precedent of the LXX, says that he “took into account, not incidentally, both whether our ancestors were willing to transmit and whether some of the Greeks were eager to know about our affairs.” Indeed, the very fact that he paraphrases at such length (Ant. 12.11-118) the Letter of Aristeas, with its account of the LXX, which, at most, is very tangential to Jewish history, is, in effect, an advertisem*nt for the Bible. Thus Josephus (Ant. 12.110) remarks that King Ptolemy Philadelphus was amazed at the wisdom of the lawgiver Moses and asked Demetrius, his adviser, how it was that none of the historians or poets had made mention of it, whereupon Demetrius replied that it was because of the divine and awful nature of the laws, and that some who had already attempted to do so had been afflicted by G-d. Indeed, one might well argue that to some degree Josephus’ Antiquities was, in effect, a propagandistic tract, with its portrait of Abraham as a scientist and philosopher and an open-minded thinker, and with its portrait of Moses as a great general.126 Likewise, the Sibylline Books, dating from the second century b.c.e., stress (3.195) that Judaism’s aim is to be to all mortals the guide of life. Again, the Pseudepigraphic Joseph and Aseneth, dating apparently from the early part of the second century c.e., presents the paradigm of the proselyte who cannot marry Joseph so long as she is a heathen, whereas she can and does do so as soon as she converts to Judaism.127 However, most importantly, as McKnight128 stresses, it is Aseneth who takes the initiative in seeking conversion to Judaism,

126

See Feldman 1998, 223-89, 374-442. On Joseph and Aseneth as missionary propaganda see Aptowitzer 1924, 3056; Philonenko 1968, 106-7; and Nickelsburg 1981, 262. Kraemer 1998, 6, asserts that there is no evidence that the work was ever transmitted by Jews or circulated among Jews, let alone composed by Jews, and that there is no evidence for dating it any earlier than the fourth century. But a work in which Aseneth turns from dead gods to the living G-d can be only a Jewish or a Christian work; and if it is a Christian work it would be remarkable that there would be no reference to Jesus as Messiah. The reference (8:5) to pagan food, drink, and oil as tokens of death is clearly a contrast with Jewish views. That Aseneth’s conversion is to Judaism is clear, as Barclay 1996, 204-16, points out in his careful analysis. 128 McKnight 1991, 60-62. 127

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and it is not Joseph who seeks her out.129 Philo (Spec. 1.320) seems to allude to propagandizers, since he berates the mystics who restrict their knowledge to three or four alone instead of proceeding to the midst of the marketplace so that every man might share in securing a better and happier life. He urges people (Spec. 1.321) to walk in the daylight through the midst of the marketplace, “ready to converse with crowded gatherings.” But the fact that Philo is speaking of mystics would seem to indicate that it is Judaism as a philosophy and as a mystery that is being spread; and it is not necessarily to non-Jews that it is being spread; rather, it is admittedly more likely that it is being spread to fellow Jews who are as yet uncommitted. We do not know the name of a single missionary, unless we regard Eleazar (Jos., Ant. 20.43), who urged Izates to be circumcised, as one. But there it is King Izates of Adiabene who had taken the initiative to be interested in the Jewish religion and who had been zealous to convert, and it was his mother Helena who had tried to stop him by telling him that it was a dangerous move that would cause much disaffection among his subjects. 9. Why Did People Convert to Judaism? We have very few statements as to why people converted to Judaism. One reason why people converted to Judaism was that they

129 Chesnutt 1988, 21-48, argues against the thesis that Joseph and Aseneth was a missionary tract, stressing that the author presupposes too much in assuming that his readers are familiar with the biblical story of Joseph, as well as with other patriarchal narratives; but the fact that the story is told from the point of view of the proselyte Aseneth indicates that it is written for a Gentile audience. Even Chesnutt agrees, moreover, that the central purpose of the treatise is to enhance the status of Gentile converts in the Jewish community. The fact that there is no mention in the work of Aseneth’s undergoing immersion, a rite that the rabbis insisted upon for conversion (b.Yeb. 46a), is no proof that she did not become a convert, inasmuch as even in that rabbinic passage there is a dispute in which the first-century Rabbi Eliezer ben Hyrcanus held that circumcision alone without immersion is sufficient to qualify a Gentile as a convert. Moreover, though there are many references to conversion in the works of Philo and especially Josephus, there is no mention anywhere of immersion of proselytes. In particular, since Josephus goes to such lengths to describe the strict requirements for conversion that were insisted upon in the case of Izates (Ant. 20.38-48), his silence about immersion would seem to indicate that immersion was not yet a customary, much less a universal, requirement for conversion.

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were impressed by the apparent miracles that had been wrought by G-d on behalf of the Israelites and by the outstanding leadership of Moses. The Bible (Exod. 12:37-38) simply indicates that the number of those Israelite men who left Egypt was six hundred thousand and that a mixed multitude (‫ )ערב רב‬went up with them. Philo (Mos. 1.147) emphasizes the mixed nature of the multitude whom Moses led, the clear implication being that it was extremely difficult to unify such a diverse group. In Philo’s version this has become “over six hundred thousand men of military age, while the rest of the multitude, consisting of old men, womenfolk and children, could not easily be counted.” Philo serves to indicate the greatness of Moses’ leadership by specifying that this multitude consisted of mixed (μιγάδων, “mixed pell-mell”) people and a crowd of promiscuous people (συγκλ*δων, “mob,” “rabble,” “washed together by the waves”) and servants (θεραπε5ας, “attendants”), a bastard host (νθον), as it were (\σανε5), associated with the true-born (γνησ5ου, “legitimate,” “lawfully begotten”). He further explains that the latter were the children of Egyptian women by Hebrew fathers into whose families they had been added (προσνεμηθ%ντες), together with those who, significantly, reverencing the divine favor shown to the people, had come over (πηλ*τας, “incomers,” “strangers,” “foreigners”) to them, and such as were converted (μετεβάλοντο, “thrown into a different position,” “turned around,” “changed sides”) and brought into a wiser mind by the magnitude and the number of the successive punishments that had been inflicted on the enemies of the Israelites. Philo is saying, in effect, that to be the leader of such a motley crew must have been a challenge of immense proportions, and that only a person such as Moses could have met that challenge. Moreover, Philo takes advantage of this opportunity here to stress his point that Judaism welcomes converts, since he uses the same verb, μεταβάλλω, to refer to those of the mixed multitude who had genuinely converted to Judaism (“brought to a wiser mind”) and to those who, he says (Mos. 2.44), come in his own day to the annual festival commemorating the translation of the Pentateuch in to Greek. He expresses his belief that each nation, inspired by the Pentateuch, would renounce (χα5ρειν) their ancestral customs and turn μεταβαλε-ν) to the laws of the Jews alone. Hence, Moses is the leader not only of Jews but also of proselytes,

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with all the challenge and opportunity that this brought with it.130 Another reason for conversion that we find explicitly stated is in the Pseudepigraphic Joseph and Aseneth, dating apparently from the early part of the second century, the main theme of which is that Asenath may not marry the biblical Joseph so long as she is a heathen, whereas she may and does as soon as she gives up her pagan gods. We hear (Ant. 19.355) that Antiochus Epiphanes of Commagene was betrothed to Drusilla, the daughter of Agrippa I, but that the marriage never took place because Epiphanes was unwilling to convert to the Jewish religion (Ant. 20.139). On the other hand, we hear (Ant. 20.145) that Berenice, the sister of Agrippa II, induced Polemo, the king of Cilicia, to be circumcised and to take her in marriage. We may conjecture that among the reasons for conversion were economic factors (as perhaps may have been signaled by the kind of role played by the Jewish merchant Ananias in Adiabene, Ant. 20.34), benefiting both the haves and the have-nots. The former were benefited by the contacts that one might expect with Jews, above all in port cities. If, indeed, it was important, as the recent inscriptions from Aphrodisias show,131 to list the occupations of donors, it may be that a particular synagogue attracted those who had certain occupations, just as we hear that in the great synagogue in Alexandria seating was by trade (b.Suk. 51b). The fact that a Jew might, at least in those areas where rabbinic influence was strong, obtain a loan without interest might in itself have been a attraction, especially in view of the prevailing rate of interest of 24%, though admittedly we do not in extant literature have any references to people being attracted to Judaism for this reason. Indeed, we may note that in Egypt six papyri have been found mentioning loans by Jews to Jews, one of which is at interest although we do not know the rate, and four of which are at the usual rate of interest, 24%, and only one of which is without interest. On the other hand, the rabbis insisted that if a convert was in financial difficulties it was mandated that other Jews should help him, even to the point of anticipating his distress (Sifra Behar 1 [ed. Weiss, p. 109b], Gerim 3:4). Apparently, this reached the point where some of the sages noted that there are

130

On Philo’s favorable attitude toward conversion of non-Jews to Judaism see Feldman 1993, 295-96. 131 Reynolds and Tannenbaum 1987; see Feldman 1989, 265-305.

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people who convert simply because they wanted to eat better or to be otherwise supported by the Jewish community (Yalqut Shimoni Emor 745, Eleh Devarim Zuta 1). Another possible reason for conversion is the outstanding charitable institutions of the Jews. Thus, one of the inscriptions from Aphrodisias,132 which the editors have dated in the third century, mentions a πάτελλα, which they interpret to mean a soup kitchen, to which the list of names that follow contributed. Indeed, in an era where there was widespread poverty, unemployment, and starvation, the assurance that no Jew would be allowed to starve must have proven attractive. Moreover, as we have noted, Philo (Virt. 104) calls attention to the fact that food, drink, clothing, and all the rights concerning daily life and necessary needs were granted to proselytes on an equal basis with those who were born Jews. Furthermore, we have noted Josephus’ remark (War 2.559-61) that on the eve of the war against the Romans the people of Damascus were fired with a determination to kill all the Jews who resided among them and considered that their plan would present no difficulty whatever except for the fear that they had of their own wives, who, except for a few, had all converted to the Jewish religion. Consequenty, the men of Damascus were directed to keeping the secret from their own wives, and finally they succeeded in slaughtering 10,500 Jews. Indeed, John Chrysostom (Adversus Judaeos 2.3.860) in the fourth century charges Christian husbands with the responsibility of keeping wives from going to the synagogue. His contemporary Jerome (On Matthew 23:15) notes the presence of women in particular among the Judaizers. As to why women in particular were attracted to becoming Jews, we may surmise that the fact that women did not undergo circumcision, which was a considerable operation for an adult, was apparently a factor. A particular case in point may be seen in Philo’s discussion (Virt. 220-25) of the conversion of Tamar. In the Bible (Gen. 38:6-30) there is no indication of her ancestry, let alone of her conversion to Judaism. Philo (Virt. 221), however, has the extra-biblical addition that she was from Palestinian Syria and that she had been bred in a house and in a city that worshipped a multitude of gods and that

132

See Feldman 1989, 265-305.

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was full of images. Philo describes her passing from profound darkness to being the servant of G-d. He says that she became educated (παιδευθε-σαι) in the monarchical principle by which the world is governed (Virt. 220), that is, the belief in one G-d, and consequently glimpsed a little ray of truth. Such a step was one of daring (η/τομλησεν), in which, says Philo, she risked her very life. This must mean nothing less than the experience of conversion. That it is conversion may be seen from the fact that Philo presents her story immediately after his account of the conversion of Abraham (Virt. 219-20). The key issue, as Niehoff remarks,133 is the “unlearning” of her pagan ancestral idolatry. Philo (Virt. 223) then explains, presumably as a parallel to the case of Tamar, that there were women born in the extreme parts of Babylonia who were handmaids and who were given as dowry. These women, he says, passed on from mere concubinage to the position of wedded wives and were treated with the same dignity. The fact that Philo spends so much time in telling her story would seem to show his aim of holding her as an example for all non-Jewish women who came into contact with the Jewish religion. The rabbis (b.Yeb. 24b) refused to accept converts who had ulterior motives. But they were realistic enough to understand the complexity of human motives and hence decided, as summarized in the words of the third-century Rav (ibid.), that, once admitted, even those who came for ulterior motives were to be accepted as full-fledged proselytes. Deut. 23:4-9 declares that Ammonites and Moabites will never be allowed to marry Israelites, whereas Edomites and Egyptians are to be excluded for only three generations. Immediately after the deposition of Rabban Gamaliel the Patriarch by the Sanhedrin, there was a public confrontation between Rabban Gamaliel and Rabbi Joshua ben Hananiah about the status of Ammonites and Moabites (b.Ber. 28a). A certain Judah, an Ammonite, came before the house of study and asked whether he might be permitted to marry a Jewess. Rabbi Joshua agreed. Rabban Gamaliel refused. Rabbi Joshua argued that Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, had long ago mixed

133 See Niehoff 2001, 29-31, who cites (30, n. 42), on the parallel between Abraham’s and Tamar’s conversion in Philo’s account, Petit 1987, 80.

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up all the nations and hence that he should be permitted. The rabbis ruled that he should be admitted. In the case of the conversion of the ruling family of the Adiabenians, they may have sought neutrality between the two great powers of the day, Rome and Parthia, just as the conversion of the Khazars in the eighth century may have been motivated by the desire to remain neutral between Byzantine Christendom and Islam.134 10. Summary There is reason to believe, though the matter is certainly subject to scrutiny and though it is not possible to arrive at anything like a precise figure, that there was a great increase in the number of Jews between the time of the Babylonian capitivity in 586 b.c.e. and the first century c.e. In estimating populations in the Hellenistic-Roman world, scholars from Beloch and von Harnack to Parkin, Hopkins, Henige, and Scheidel have properly warned us that we cannot believe what ancient authors tell us without considering their source of information and their purpose in giving us the information. Josephus is a major source for population statistics. Because he is so critical of the inaccuracies of his many rivals he had to be particularly careful in presenting his own data. Moreover, he presented his work to Vespasian, Titus, and Agrippa II, among others, to confirm his accuracy. The fact that he criticizes no fewer than eight Greek historians would lay him open to reduction to absurdity if he himself turned out to be unreliable. As to the population of Palestine at this time, Josephus states that a crowd of 3,000,000 Jews implored the Roman governor Cestius Gallus, when he visited Jerusalem at Passover in 65, to have compassion upon them in view of the excesses of the procurator Florus. This number may well have been a round figure; moreover, multiples of three are numerous in Josephus. However, in the following year, on the occasion of Passover, according to Josephus, Cestius ordered a count of the Jews to be taken by any means possible by the chief priests and reported to Nero. Since all Jews were required to partake of paschal lambs, the priests counted the number of lambs that were

134

See Baron 1952, 3:198-200.

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slaughtered, which was 255,600. Inasmuch as no fewer than ten partook of each lamb, they reported a total of 2,700,000 persons. In one case we can compare Josephus’ numbers with those of Tacitus. Josephus says that the number of those who perished during the siege of Jerusalem was 1,100,000. Tacitus says that the number of those besieged was 600,000, but this may not be the same as those who perished in the siege. Josephus does mention 600,000 as the number of corpses of the lower classes thrown out through the gates of Jerusalem. We should note that Tacitus says accepimus, that is, “we have heard,” a clear admission that he had not verified the figure. The number 600,000 is a round figure, whereas 1,100,000 is unique in Josephus. If there was such an increase in the number of Jews, it may be explained most readily only by assuming a large number of converts to Judaism. Considerable doubt surrounds the alleged forced conversion of the Idumaeans at the end of the second century b.c.e. and of the Ituraeans shortly thereafter. The statements of Philo and Josephus indicate that the Jews were well disposed toward attracting converts and that, indeed, they succeeded in doing so. This aim is likewise reflected in statements in the New Testament, in Strabo, Seneca, Juvenal, and Tacitus, as well as in rabbinic literature. This does not mean that Judaism was a missionary religion. It certainly lacked a central administration and a central bureaucracy capable of carrying on such a mission. What it does mean is that there is evidence, direct and indirect, that there were many converts to Judaism. To say that Judaism must have been a missionary religion because Christianity, which is primarily derived from Judaism, is a missionary religion is an unproven hypothesis. Just as Christianity differed from its mother religion in its abrogation of the Law, so might it have differed from Judaism in its attitude toward missionizing. Indeed, in adopting such an attitude Christianity may have been indebted to the mystery cults such as Isis and Mithras or to the philosophical schools such as Cynicism and Stoicism.135 The fact that we know of no tracts aimed specifically at attracting non-Jews to Judaism may be explained by the hypothesis that the great majority of people in antiquity were illiterate and that most conversions were apparently obtained through oral persuasion. Moreover, expulsions

135

See Nock 1933, especially 1-32, 77-137, 164-92.

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of the Jews from Rome on at least two occasions because of proselyting activities may indicate that some Jews were, indeed, eager to accept converts. The generally very positive attitude of the rabbis toward proselytes would accord with this view. We may conjecture that people were attracted to Judaism for various reasons, especially economic advantages and the charitable institutions of the Jews. Women, in particular, were attracted. In sum, there are no statistics as to the actual number of converts to Judaism, nor do we have the memoir of even a single convert, nor do we have any propaganda specifically directed to converts, nor do we know of a single professional missionary. We know the names of very few converts. The evidence is inferential, based on the apparent (with emphasis on the word “apparent,” since we are far from having actual numbers) growth in the number of Jews, based on a number of literary statements indicating the welcome that Jews extended to proselytes and the bitter opposition on the part of some Gentiles who were opposed to the movement. In other words, the evidence, though substantial, is circ*mstantial.136

136 I want to express my sincere gratitude to Professor Erich S. Gruen for his careful reading of a draft of this article and for many excellent questions and suggestions. I am also grateful to Professors Richard Alston, E. Badian, Scott McKnight, Elio Lo Cascio, Walter Scheidel, and the referees of this article for many helpful comments.

philo and the #aqedah

PART THREE

STUDIES IN PHILO

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CHAPTER TEN

PHILO’S VERSION OF THE ‘AQEDAH

1. Introduction: Issues Abraham, the first of the three forefathers of the Israelites and the first to recognize G-d, underwent ten trials of faith according to rabbinic tradition (m.Abot 5:3); but the chief of these was his readiness to obey the divine command to sacrifice his son Isaac, the product of his old age. The fact that the rabbis (Meg. 31a) selected the passage (Gen. 22:1-19) about Abraham’s readiness to sacrifice his son as the Torah reading on the second day of Rosh Hashanah indicates the importance that they attached to it. Indeed, one of the explanations for the sounding of the shofar (ram’s horn) on Rosh Hashanah is that it serves as a reminder of the ram that was substituted for Isaac (Rosh ha-Sh. 16a). During the special Zikronot prayers in the Musaf service on Rosh Hashanah there is a fervent appeal to G-d to remember the ‘Aqedah. The biblical passage is recited every morning in the daily prayers. On public fast days, according to the Mishnah (Ta#an. 2:4), the precentor says: “He who answered Abraham on Mount Moriah will answer you and hear the sound of your cry this day.” During the First Crusade (1096) we hear that mothers, who slaughtered their children so as to prevent their forcible conversion to Christianity, declared that they were simply repeating what Abraham had been prepared to do.1 Apparently, the remarkable account was known to at least one non-Jew as well, since we find that Alexander Polyhistor (ap. Eus., Pr.Ev. 9.19) in the first century b.c.e. presents a very accurate summary of the event: “G-d commanded Abraham to bring him Isaac as a holocaust. Abraham led the child up the mountain, piled up a funeral pyre and placed Isaac upon it; however, when he was on the point of slaying him, he was prevented from doing so by an angel, who provided him with a ram for the offering. Abraham, then,

1

See Spiegel 1967.

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removed the child from the pyre, and he sacrificed the ram.” It should not, therefore, be surprising that Philo devoted no fewer than six essays to episodes from the life of Abraham (Migr., Her., Congr., Fug., Mut., and Abr.) and that he should refer to the ‘Aqedah in no fewer than nine of his essays (Leg., Cher., Sacr., Post., Deus, Migr., Fug., Somn., and, above all, Abr.). A number of questions arise when we consider Philo’s extended treatment of the ‘Aqedah in his essay Abr., especially when we compare it with the biblical narrative and with Josephus’ paraphrase: (1) For whom is the essay Abr. intended: for Jews or for non-Jews? (2) Why in an essay on Abraham does the name of Abraham appear not even once in its first fifty paragraphs? (3) Why in the essay on Abraham are the episodes in his life not presented in chronological order? (4) Why does Philo devote so much space to the #Aqedah? (5) Why does he focus so greatly on Abraham’s role and so much less on Isaac’s role? (6) Why is the portrait of Isaac so much more elevated in other treatises of Philo as compared with his portrayal in Abr.? (7) Why does he devote so much attention to defending Abraham against his detractors? (8) Why does he omit discussion of the theodicy of the episode? (9) Why does he omit the most famous feature of the episode, the ‘Aqedah itself, from his discussion in Abr.? (10) Why does he omit the mention of the ram that is sacrificed in place of Isaac? 2. The Importance of the ‘AQEDAH for Philo Perhaps the most striking feature of Philo’s version (Abr. 167-207) of the ‘Aqedah (Gen. 22:1-19), to which Philo (Abr. 167) refers as Abraham’s greatest action, is the sheer amount of space that he devotes to it. In the LXX, which was Philo’s source, there are 458 words, whereas in Philo there are 1867 words. This gives a ratio of 4.08:1 of Philo to the LXX version. It is true that of Philo’s account only Abr. 167-77 (486 words) is actually a paraphrase of the narrative itself, while the rest is a discussion of the narrative and, in particular, Philo’s answer to critics of the episode. But even this paraphrase itself has a ratio of 1.06:1 to the LXX (458 words). By comparison, in the

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LXX (Num. 31) of Moses’ campaign against the Midianites there are 1179 words; Philo’s version (Mos. 1.305-18) (305-18) contains 835 words, a ratio of .71:1 to the LXX. This compares with a ratio of .27:1 for Philo (Migr. 223-25, which contains 205 words) against the LXX account of the episode of Dinah (Gen. 34), which contains 753 words; the ratio for Philo’s other account (Mut. 193-200), which contains 460 words, against the LXX is .61:1. For the episode of the spies (Num. 13-14) there are 1701 words in the LXX; Philo’s version (Mos. 1.220-36) contains 877 words, a ratio of .52:1 to the LXX. For the episode of Phinehas and Zimri (Num. 25:6-16) there are 219 words in the LXX; Philo’s version (Mos. 1.301-4) contains 173 words, a ratio of .79:1 to the LXX. If we compare the relative importance of the ‘Aqedah to Philo and to Josephus,2 we find that in Josephus (Ant. 1.222-36) there are 769 words; hence the ratio of Josephus’ version to the Hebrew (313 words) is 2.46:1 and to the LXX (458 words) is 1.68:1 (as compared with Philo’s much higher ratio of 4.08:1).3 Philo significantly begins his narrative of the ‘Aqedah with a statement of its importance. He has just told, he says (Abr. 167), in order to emphasize its importance, with all the care that lay within his powers, the story of the three men who appeared to Abraham (Gen. 18:1-22) and of the hospitality with which Abraham received them. Now, however, he stresses, he must not allow Abraham’s greatest action, which deserves reporting, to be passed over in silence. He then adds, with even greater emphasis, that he might almost say that all the other actions that won the favor of G-d are surpassed by this, the ‘Aqedah, and that on this subject he must say what is needed. Why is Philo so much interested in the ‘Aqedah? The answer would appear to be that he (Abr. 178) is replying to those quarrelsome (φιλαπεχθμοσι, “fond of making enemies”) people, who, he claims, misrepresent (διαβάλλουσιν, “calumniate”) everything. These people, he says, do not think Abraham’s action in being ready to sacrifice his son to be great and wonderful, as Jewish tradition would have it. Rather, they claim that it is not so unique, inasmuch as many Greeks of the highest reputation, full of love for their offspring,

2

On Josephus’ treatment of the episode see Feldman 1984-85, 212-52. For other ratios of various biblical episodes in Josephus as compared with the Hebrew text see Feldman 1998, 75-80. 3

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have sacrificed their children for great causes. He cites motives of patriotism, namely to redeem their country from wars or drought or excessive rainfall or pestilence, as well as motives of piety, as some of these causes for which they have sacrificed their children. He cites, in particular, the claim of these people that among the Greeks not only private individuals but also kings have sacrificed their offspring. Thus these individuals are said to have saved armed forces of great strength and magnitude when enlisted as their allies and have destroyed them at the first shout when they were enemies of theirs. It would seem that Philo here, as later Josephus,4 has in mind Agamemnon’s sacrifice of Iphigenia, as referred to in Aeschylus’ Agamemnon (205-47) and in Euripides’ Iphigenia at Aulis; there we see that Agamemnon sacrificed his daughter in order to appease the goddess Artemis, so that the expedition of the Greeks, seeking to recover Helen, might receive favorable winds and proceed onward to Troy.5 Philo would perhaps be thinking likewise of the case of Macaria, the daughter of Heracles, as described in another play of Euripides, Heracleidae (407-9). She voluntarily offered herself to be sacrificed so as to bring victory to the Athenians. In her case the oracles had ordered the Athenian king, Demophoon, the son of Theseus, to sacrifice a virgin, the daughter of a noble father, to Persephone so as to bring salvation to the city from its enemies. As we see from these two plays in particular, we know of these cases, but we do not know, in any extant literature, of any of the critics to whom Philo may be referring. The objection of these critics, according to Philo, is not to Abraham’s readiness to sacrifice his son but rather to the claim that this deed was unprecedented. The critics, according to Philo (Abr. 183), asked why Abraham should be praised when private individuals, kings, and whole nations took their lives when the occasion called for it. In particular, they

4

See Feldman 1998, 270. Josephus also apparently had Euripides in mind in his paraphrase of the ‘Aqedah, since just before this scene he (Ant. 1.218) describes how the fleeing Hagar placed her child Ishmael, who was at his last gasp, under a tree and then wandered away so that he would not die in her presence (θε-σα τ7 παιδ5ον ψυχορραγον, \ς μ" παρο*σης τ"ν ψυχ"ν φH, προ]ει). Here Josephus imitates Euripides’ Hercules Furens (323-24), a play that seems to have been a favorite of Josephus’. See Thackeray 1929, 117-18. 5

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pointed out that in India the gymnosophists burn themelves on a funeral pyre when old age begins to take hold of them even though they might have lived many more years, and wives burn themselves alive together with their husbands. Philo’s answer to these critics is that we must examine what motivated the sacrifices. Some simply follow custom, as is the case with the Indians. Such people are not doing anything particularly great; rather, they are doing only what comes naturally. Others do so for patriotic reasons or through desire for fame or glory. If a person is motivated by fear, no praise is due, since praise is to be given for voluntary good deeds. If he does it for the sake of glory, he should be blamed, since he is acquiring glory when he should be casting it aside in order to ensure the safety of his dear ones. Philo (Abr. 188) now examines the factors that might have motivated Abraham. Abraham, he declares, was not following a custom that was natural, since in Mesopotamia, where he was brought up and lived the greater part of his life, the custom of slaughtering one’s children was not current. As to fear, he had nothing to fear from anyone, since no one knew of the message that he alone had received. Moreover, he was not under pressure of any public misfortune that could be remedied only by sacrificing a special child, as in the case of Agamemnon and Iphigenia. Nor was he in search of praise from the multitude, inasmuch as no one was present in the wilderness (ρημ5α)6 when he was about to sacrifice his son, since, as he states in an extra-biblical addition, the reason why he told his two servants to stay far away was so that he should not appear to be bringing witness to his piety. Philo, having dealt with the factors that did not motivate Abraham, now proceeds (Abr. 191-99) to discuss the reasons why his deed does deserve praise. In the first place, he had always obeyed, without complaint, G-d’s commands, however painful it was to obey them. Secondly, since human sacrifice was not the norm in his land, he would have been the first to initiate a new and extraordinary procedure, and no one would have brought himself to do so, since it hard to fight against nature. Thirdly, since Isaac was his one true son and since he had a special attachment to him, inasmuch as he had been begotten in Abraham’s old age, for him to have sacrificed

6

This is Philo’s addition to the biblical text.

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him was an indication that he had thrown all his weight on the side of obeying G-d. In this connection, it is significant that in Gen. 22:2 the LXX renders ‫“( יחדך‬your only one”) by γαπητν (“beloved”). Presumably, this is because the translators were troubled by the fact that Isaac was not, in fact, Abraham’s only son, since he had another son, Ishmael. Philo, who, like the later Josephus (Ant. 1.222), generally follows the LXX in this portion of Scripture, nevertheless here refers to Isaac as Abraham’s one true son (Abr. 168). Indeed, as Philo (Abr. 196) remarks, for a father to surrender one of a numerous family as a tithe to G-d is nothing extraordinary, since he is left with other children to give him pleasure, but one who gives his only darling son performs an action for which words are inadequate. Fourthly, other fathers (again, presumably, he is thinking of Agamemnon), when they give their children to be sacrificed for the safety of their country or of their armies, either stay away from home or at any rate turn their eyes away from the spectacle, since they cannot bear the sight. Abraham, however, was performing the sacrificial rite himself. As Maren Niehoff insightfully remarks,7 we can see from Philo’s remarks how lightly he regarded the idea of sacrificing one’s children under normal circ*mstances, namely when siblings are available to replace the one who has been sacrificed. Hence, we may perceive that Philo is clearly more sympathetic, at least theoretically, to the concept of child sacrifice than either Josephus or the rabbis, even though, of course, the practice had become obsolete by his time. In particular, we may note that Josephus begins his account of the ‘Aqedah with the statement (Ant. 1.223) that Abraham put his own happiness solely on the hope that on departing from life he should leave behind his son unscathed. The rabbis (Mid. Gen. Rab. 56.3-4) also note that Abraham had good reason to decline G-d’s command. Indeed, Philo’s position on the matter of child sacrifice was that parents’ obligations to their children were dictated by G-d; and this implied the parents’ complete submission to G-d’s will, including sacrificing their children if commanded by G-d.8

7 8

Niehoff 2001, 174. See Niehoff 2001, 174-86.

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3. The Question of Philo’s Audience Sandmel9 thinks that Philo is addressing his fellow-Jews of an “assimilationist” character. However, the key word to describe the critics, “quarrelsome” (φιλαπεχθμοσι), is a compound of the word πεχθμων, which means “hateful.” This would appear to be a most appropriate term to refer to Jew-haters, since assimilationist Jews would hardly be likely to argue that Abraham was not unique in sacrificing his son; rather, their objection would more likely be to the concept that a just G-d could have ordered him to sacrifice his son or that he could have been ready to sacrifice his son at all. That, indeed, such problems of theodicy were what assimilated Jews found most troublesome may be seen in Philo’s treatise De Providentia (2.1; ap. Eus., Pr. Ev. 8.14.386), where he engages in a dialogue with Alexander, presumably Philo’s nephew, Tiberius Julius Alexander, who, we are told (Jos., Ant. 20.100), did not abide by the practices of Judaism. In this dialogue Alexander, in exasperation, asks Philo: “Are you alone ignorant that to the worst and vilest of men good things in abundance come crowding in—wealth, high repute, honors paid to them by the masses, again authority, health with efficiency of the senses, beauty, strength, unimpeded enjoyment of pleasures through the abundance of their resources and the bodily well-being free from all disturbance which they possess, while the lovers and practicers of wisdom and every virtue are almost universally poor, obscure, of little repute and in a humble position?”10 We find the same word, πεχθμων, “hateful,” “hostile,” with which Philo describes those who disparage Abraham’s deed, used by Judah in addressing Joseph (Philo, Jos. 226), when he asks how Jacob’s sons will be able to look him in the face if they come back without Benjamin. “We shall be called murderers and parricides by all the quarrelsome (πεχθημνων) people who gloat over such misfortunes.” This is clearly a reference to outsiders, that is, nonIsraelites, since Jews would hardly refer to one another as murderers. Again, we read (Mos. 1.248) that the Israelites, who sought to pass through the land of the Edomites, did not know that the Edomites

9

Sandmel 1956, 128. See Wolfson 1947, 2:279-94, for an extended discussion of the various ways in which Philo attempts to solve the problem of theodicy. 10

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were far advanced in depravity and had a spiteful and quarrelsome (φιλαπεχθημνως) disposition and hence would mourn their good fortune and would take pleasure in the opposite. Here there can be no doubt that the term is used of non-Israelites. Another non-Israelite people, the Midianites, are described (Virt. 34) as being quarrelsome (φιλαπεχθημνως) toward the Israelites. Another instance where this adjective is used of non-Jews is Flacc. 52, where we are told that the quarrelsome (φιλαπεχθημνων) enemies of the Jews in Alexandria set up statues of Caligula in synagogues. Another clue pointing to Philo’s intended audience here as non-Jews, in contrast to most of his other treatises, may be seen in the fact that Philo in Abr. assumes no knowledge of the Pentateuch beyond the particular passage that he is discussing. Moreover, as Colson11 has perceptively remarked, this treatise contains none of the rambling from text to text or insertion of minor allegories in the midst of the main allegory, which is the most striking characteristic of Philo’s other treatises in the Allegorical Commentary. Niehoff12 argues that the critics whom Philo speaks of as quarrelsome must have been Jewish, since there is no indication that the story of Abraham was known outside Jewish circles before the Christian era; but in the first century b.c.e. Alexander Polyhistor (ap. Eus., Pr. Ev. 9.19), as we have noted, not only knows the story of the ‘Aqedah but mentions the most important details precisely as found in the Bible. Niehoff (ibid.) presents as a second reason for supposing that the quarrelsome people are Jews the fact that the word διαβάλλουσι (“misconstrue”) does not necessarily imply malicious intent. But this is to suppose that only Jews would be free of malicious intent, whereas even a glance at the collection of passages in pertinent Greek and Latin literature will show that there were a number of non-Jews, such as Alexander Polyhistor and Strabo, who do not show malicious intent. She asserts that some of the critics (Abr. 181) had suggested that the ‘Aqedah violated Deut. 12:31, which forbids burning one’s children for idolatrous purposes. She asserts that only Jews could have made such a charge, in which they would point out that the Jewish tradition contradicted itself. On the other hand, we must admit that the same adjective, “quar-

11 12

Colson 1929-62, 6:xii. Niehoff 2001, 173 n. 42.

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relsome” (φιλαπεχθμονας), is used Virt. 182) of those who are rebels from the holy laws, hence clearly a reference to Jews who have defected, the very opposite of proselytes. The very fact, we may add, that in the same treatise, Virt., Philo uses the word φιλαπεχθμων, as we have seen, with reference to non-Jews and Jews would indicate that he had both audiences in mind, at least in this treatise. The other key word in this passage in Philo is διαβάλλουσιν (“misconstrue,” “slander”). It is important to note the juxtaposition of this word with the word φιλαπεχθμοσι, which, as we have noted, refers to outright hatred. In fact, Philo (Conf. 48) uses the verb διαβάλλω in the sense of “to slander” in referring to the generation of the tower of Babel as one that hated both mankind (μισάνθρωπος) and one another (μισάλληλος) and which was ever inclined to slander (διαβαλε-ν προχειρτατος). Here Philo seems to be referring to enemies of the Jews in his own time who, in hating Jews, do not realize that all humans are related. Philo (Virt. 141) is clearly answering Jew-haters, who, he says, slander (διαβαλλ%τωσαν) the Jews with the charge of misanthropy (μισανθρωπ5α), whereas Jews extend the duty of fair treatment even to irrational animals. It is this quality of inhumanity and hostility to foreigners that even such a writer as Hecataeus (ca. 300 b.c.e.), who is otherwise favorably disposed toward the Jews, speaks of them (ap. Diod. 40.3.4) as πάνθρωπν τινα καK μισξενον (“somewhat unsocial and hostile to foreigners”). It is this charge of misanthropy that we find in Lysimachus (ap. Jos., Ap. 1.309), who lived perhaps in the second or first century b.c.e., who asserts that Moses instructed the Israelites to show goodwill to no man and to offer not the best but the worst advice. Diodorus (34 [35].1.1) similarly reports that when King Antiochus VII Sidetes in the second century b.c.e. was laying siege to Jerusalem the majority of his friends advised him to wipe out the Jews, “since they alone of all nations avoided dealings with any other people and looked on all [other] men as their enemies.” One is reminded of the statement of Tacitus (Hist. 5.5.1) at the beginning of the second century that the Jews regard the rest of humankind with all the hatred of enemies (adversus omnes alios hostile odium). Indeed, Schäfer13 has argued that it was from Egypt that hatred of Jews, based on allega-

13

Schäfer 1997, 170-79.

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tions of xenophobia and misanthropy, was transported to Palestine and then to Rome. In fact, Philo might have countered these critics of Abraham’s deed by noting that Theophrastus (ap. Porphyry, De Abstinentia 2.26) says that the Jews were the first to institute sacrifices both of other living beings and of themselves, and hence that their doing so was unprecedented. Nevertheless, he says, they did it by compulsion and not from eagerness for it.14 But Philo may have hesitated to cite this passage from Theophrastus, if he was acquainted with it,15 because he knew, as he remarks (Abr. 181), that Moses strongly condemned the practice of human sacrifice. He must have felt especially strongly about this because the Jews themselves were accused by two of the leading intellectuals of the first century b.c.e., Poseidonius and Apollonius Molon (cited by Jos., Ap. 2.79), of a blood libel. It is these latter, it would seem, who were Apion’s sources for the scandalous story that when Antiochus Epiphanes entered the Temple he was hailed with relief by a Greek who told him how he had been kidnapped and shut up in the Temple. There the Greek was allegedly held incommunicado and was fattened up on most lavish feasts so that he might be sacrificed in accordance with their usual ritual. After this ritual the Jews were said to partake of the flesh of the sacrificial victim and to swear an oath of hostility to the Greeks.16 Nevertheless, it is surely significant that despite the fact that the essay is called De Abrahamo Philo does not even mention Abraham until section 51 and does not get to the account of Abraham until section 60. Rather, he starts his essay by calling attention to the anomaly that the book of Genesis is so called despite the fact that it embraces numberless other matters. At this point he briefly summarizes the topics included in the book—peace and war, fruitfulness and barrenness, dearth and plenty, the destruction of the earth by fire—presumably an allusion to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah—and water—presumably the Great Flood, how plants and animals came into being, and how humans came into being, both those who lived

14 Because of this passage in Theophrastus, Jaeger 1938, 143 n. 1, suggests that Theophrastus had some vague knowledge of Abraham’s attempted sacrifice of Isaac. 15 Philo does refer to Theophrastus elsewhere (Aet. 117). 16 So also Damocritus (ap. Suda, “Damokritos”) refers to the Jews’ sacrifice of a stranger, though not specifically a Greek.

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lives of virtue and those who lived lives of vice. He concludes this summary with the statement that some of these things are parts of the world, while others are events that befell it; but the whole book is dedicated to the world, since the world is the complete consummation that contains them all. What is striking about this summary is that though more than four fifths of the Book of Genesis deals with Abraham and his successors and hence the origins of the Israelites, this summary centers on the universal aspects covered by the book, as if the book is concerned with the whole human race. As a matter of fact, Philo (Abr. 2) continues by reminding the reader that he has set forth in the preceding treatise, i.e. De Opificio Mundi, an account of the creation of the world. The question would seem to arise as to why if he has already done so he repeats his discussion as found in that treatise. He himself answers (Abr. 3) that before considering particular laws, which are merely copies of general and universal laws, it is necessary to examine the more general laws, which are original and which apply to all humankind and not merely, we may add, to the Israelites. From this it would seem that Philo is particularly concerned with addressing non-Jews. It is surprising that Josephus, who, in his essay Against Apion, made so much effort to collect references to the Jews, including especially the charges made against them, does not mention any of these critics who, according to Philo, belittled Abraham’s action in being ready to sacrifice his son. There are only two references in all of extant Greek and Latin pagan writers to the sacrifice of Isaac, neither of them attempting to diminish the achievement of Abraham. In the first of these, the first century b.c.e. polymath Alexander Polyhistor (ap. Eus., Pr. Ev. 9.19) simply and accurately, as we have remarked, recounts the event without any comment, favorable or otherwise. In the second of these, the Neoplatonist philosopher Alexander of Lycopolis (c. 300), Contra Manichaei Opiniones Disputatio 24, in a passage reminiscent of Philo’s remark, mentions Abraham’s deed as paralleled by “the stories told among the Greeks about some persons who gave themselves up for the safety of their cities.” He does not, however, cast aspersions on Abraham; rather, he ridicules the attempt made by Christians to find a parallel in Jesus’ passion. All the other references to Abraham in extant classical literature are positive or neutral. Thus, the first century b.c.e. Apollonius Molon, who, we are told (ap. Eus., Pr. Ev. 9.19.2-3), actually composed invective against the Jews, characterizes Abraham as wise. He states

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that Abraham’s name signifies “the friend of the father,” and adds that he retired to the desert. In a passage that is clearly designed to be complimentary to Abraham, the first century b.c.e. Alexander Polyhistor cites a reference in a certain Cleodemus Malchus (ap. Jos., Ant. 1.240-41), who states that Abraham had several sons by Keturah and that the famous Greek hero Heracles married the daughter of one of them. The first century b.c.e. Nicolaus of Damascus (ap. Jos., Ant. 1.159-60) and Pompeius Trogus (ap. Justin, Epitoma Historiarum Philippicarum 36.2.3) state that Abraham was a king in Damascus. Indeed, Nicolaus adds that the name of Abram was still in his day celebrated in the region of Damascus. The Emperor Julian (Contra Galilaeos 354-58) praises the manner in which Abraham used to sacrifice, divining from shooting stars and from the flight of birds, and further praises Abraham’s declaration that a pledge that lacked truth is folly and imbecility. According to the fourth-century Scrip. Hist. Aug. (Alexander Severus 29.2) the Emperor Alexander Severus, who ruled from 222 to 235, kept in his private sanctuary statues of “certain holy souls,” among them Abraham, Apollonius of Tyana, Jesus, and Orpheus. Furthermore, in an era when astrology was so highly regarded, Pseudo-Eupolemus, who probably flourished in the second century b.c.e., says that Abraham introduced the Phoenicians (ap. Eus., Pr. Ev. 9.18.2) and the Egyptian priests (ap. Eus., Pr. Ev. 9.17.8) to astrology. Similarly, his presumed contemporary, Artapanus (ap. Eus., Pr. Ev. 9.18.1) asserts that Abraham taught the king of Egypt astrology. The second-century astrological writer Vettius Valens (Anthologiae 2.28) refers to Abramos as a “most wonderful” innovative authority on astrology. Finally, the fourth-century Firmicus Maternus in four passages (Mathesis 4, Prooemium 5.4.17.2, 4.17.5, and 4.18.1) refers to Abraham’s prominence as an astrologer. Let us now, however, return to Philo’s comment about the quarrelsome persons who misconstrue everything. That those persons may also be Jews is perhaps to be deduced from the fact that in the one other place (Mut. 60) where the two terms (φιλαπεχθμοσι and διαβάλλουσιν) referring to slander that are found in De Abrahamo (178) appear together, the reference seems to be to errant Jews. Such Jews do not accept the literal requirements of the Torah, since the passage mentions those who wage war to the death against anything that seems to fall short in propriety if taken literally. Hence, we may conclude that Philo’s audience to whom he is directing De Abrahamo might well consist of both Jews and non-Jews.

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4. The Qualities of Isaac The greatness of Abraham’s deed is amplified by the fact that Isaac’s character is portrayed by Philo in treatises other than De Abrahamo in the most superlative terms. Indeed, in these treatises Isaac represents nothing less than sheer perfection (τελειτητος) and is apparently superior even to Abraham, who represents teaching, and Jacob, who represents practice (Mut. 12).17 Philo explains his extraordinary assessment of Isaac by noting that while Abraham and Jacob had their names changed, Isaac bore the same name throughout his lifetime, an indication to Philo that the other two forefathers were subject to improving influences, while Isaac, being of the sort that had no teacher or pupil but itself, having been made what he was by nature rather than by diligence, was perfect from the very beginning (Mut. 88). Whereas virtue may be acquired either by nature (as represented by Isaac) (Somn. 1.167) or by studies or experiences (as exemplified by Jacob) or by learning (as exemplified by Abraham) (Congr. 63, 122; Somn. 1.171), it is clear that in Philo’s mind, though all these forefathers were bent on reaching the same goal, the method pursued by Isaac was the very best since, as Philo states, he had as his guide a nature which listened to and learned from itself alone (Somn. 1.168). Isaac’s superiority is likewise to be seen, according to Philo, in the fact that whereas Abraham and Jacob became the husbands of several women, both legitimate wives and concubines, an indication of their need for the fruits of several studies, Isaac had only one lawful wife throughout his life (Congr. 34-38). Isaac has another advantage over Abraham in that he was a dweller on his native soil, whereas Abraham was an emigrant and a stranger in the land (Somn. 1.160). Isaac is termed “best” (:ριστος, Congr. 175), the man who possesses in their fullness the gifts of G-d (Congr. 38) and who is perfect in virtues (ν ρετα-ς τ%λειος, Sobr. 8). He is represented as the only example of freedom from passion beneath the sun (Det. 46). He is the embodiment of perfect happiness (Det. 60), which Philo, follow-

17

Colson 1929-62, 5:586, says that Philo’s representation of Isaac as perfection does not seem appropriate and is not, to his knowledge, paralleled elsewhere. He suggests the possibility of textual corruption.

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ing Aristotle (Nic. Eth. 1.7.1098A16-18), defines as the exercise of complete virtue in a complete life. His heart was set on the pursuit not of childish sports but of those that are divine (Cher. 8). Even as a child he was of great bodily beauty and excellence of soul, possessed of a perfection of virtues beyond his years (Abr. 168). Hence, according to Philo (Abr. 168), Abraham not only naturally, as a father, felt affection for him but also cherished for him an especially tender love. Finally, Philo cites as evidence of Isaac’s filial piety the fact that he gave the wells (see Gen. 26:18) which he dug the same names that his father before him had assigned (QG 4.194). Yet, in the narrative of the ‘Aqedah, as we shall see, whereas Josephus (Ant. 1.222) builds up the poignancy of Abraham’s decision to obey G-d by shifting the center of gravity to Isaac through an amplification of his virtues—his practice of every virtue (ρετ), his devoted filial obedience (θεραπε5α), and his zeal (σπουδακ3ς) for the worship (θεραπε5α) of G-d, Philo keeps the focus on Abraham. Whereas Josephus seems to model his Isaac on Iphigenia in that both figures approach their sacrifice with enthusiasm, Philo’s Isaac is completely passive. This may explain why Philo did not write a separate treatise on the ‘Aqedah, since that would have focused on Isaac, whereas his chief concern was to answer those who had disparaged Abraham’s role in the ‘Aqedah and had claimed that his action was not unique, and hence he inserted this episode in his biography of Abraham. To be sure, Philo (Jos. 1) does tell us that he composed a treatise, which is no longer extant, about Isaac; and it is possible that he focused there upon Isaac’s role in the episode, whereas in De Abrahamo Philo quite naturally chose to focus more on Abraham. Similarly, like Josephus, the rabbis assigned to Isaac a more active role in the story than does the biblical narrative. In the oldest Targumic account,18 Isaac gives his consent and indeed asks to be bound so that the sacrifice may be perfect; but, to be sure, this new stress is more stated than developed.19 With Josephus, as in Euripides’ Iphigenia at Aulis, it is the child that becomes the protagonist. 18 Cf. Vermes 1973, 194, who cites the Fragmentary Targum and the Targum Neofiti on Gen. 22:10. Cf. also Moore 1927, 1:539, who cites Sifre Deut. 32, which goes so far as to state that Isaac bound himself. 19 Blidstein 1975, 194, n. 9. Cf. Martin-Achard 1982, 5-10, who notes the shift in Jewish literature from the biblical era to the Greco-Roman period in the status of Isaac from an evoker of smiles to martyr and from obscure son to the great witness of Israel’s suffering.

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What follows in Josephus is, in effect, a drama, in form somewhat like the Book of Job or Euripides’ Hippolytus, commencing with a prologue, in which G-d appears to Abraham; then comes the play proper, so to speak, containing a dialogue between Abraham and Isaac, and an epilogue, in which G-d commends Abraham and predicts the glorious future of his descendants. Philo’s presentation is not a drama; it is an apologetic narrative defending Abraham. If we ask why the qualities of Isaac are so elevated in other treatises of Philo, whereas his role in De Abrahamo is so much reduced, we may respond by noting what Philo himself says in the introduction to his De Abrahamo. At the very opening of De Abrahamo Philo (Abr. 3) says that in the preceding treatise, that is, De Opificio Mundi, he has set forth in detail the order in which the world was created but that it is now necessary for him to examine the laws in regular sequence. However, he continues, he proposes to postpone consideration of particular laws, since they are only copies of the originals. The originals, he says, are the men themselves who lived good lives and whose virtues are recorded in the Bible so that they may serve to instruct and inspire the reader. Their lives were in total conformity with nature, and they were the living law. In sum, the other treatises are philosophical and allegorical, whereas De Abrahamo is historical. Hence, De Abrahamo is to be understood as a kind of official biography of a person whose whole life was one of happy obedience to this law of nature. Amazingly enough, however, as we have noted, in a treatise entitled De Abrahamo Philo does not even mention the name of Abraham for the first fifty sections of the essay. Instead (Abr. 7-47), we have a discussion of the first of two triads of biblical figures—Enos (who represents hope), Enoch (who represents repentance), and Noah (who represents virtue)—who were only imperfectly wise. Abraham, the first of the second triad, is then presented as the climax of the history of the world. The fact, moreover, that Philo does not present the episodes of Abraham’s life in chronological order20 but rather

20 In Philo’s De Abrahamo the order is: G-d’s command to Abraham to leave his father’s house (Gen. 12:1-6; Abr. 62-80), the change of Abram’s name to Abraham (Gen. 17:5; Abr. 81), the departure to Egypt and the episode with the Pharaoh (Gen. 12:10-20; Abr. 90-98), Abraham’s hospitality to the three travellers (Gen. 18:1-22, Abr. 107-32); the destruction of Sodom (Gen. 19:1, Abr. 133-66), the ‘Aqedah (Gen. 22:1-19, Abr. 167-207); Abram’s separation from Lot (Gen. 13:5-11, Abr. 212-24);

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in illustration of Abraham’s virtues of piety, hospitality, kindness, courage and self-control, is another indication that this is intended as a hagiographical biography. His life is more than the life of one human being: it is a veritable anthology of the greatest virtues that a human being can have. 5. The Setting of the ‘Aqedah There is no specific indication in the Bible of Isaac’s age at the time of the ‘Aqedah other than the reference to him (Gen. 22:5, 22:12) as a “lad” (‫)נער‬. Indeed, Philo (Abr. 176) refers to him as a lad (πα-ς), using a word related to the diminutive form παιδάριον (“little boy”), which is found in the LXX (Gen. 22:5, 22:12). To be sure, the word πα-ς often refers to a child in relation to descent without indication of age. But it is significant that Josephus was apparently troubled by the thought that Isaac was a mere child; and so he specifically, in an extra-biblical addition, states that Isaac was twenty-five at the time of the ‘Aqedah.21 The significant point is that Josephus has chosen to mention his age, presumably because he considered it important to make clear that Isaac was not a mere lad but a grown young man, and hence was able to make a deliberate choice as to whether he would consent to being sacrificed. This item is particularly important to Josephus in view of the fact that Iphigenia, with whom Isaac would certainly be compared by his Greek readers, does heroically consent to be sacrificed in Euripides’ play, Iphigenia at Aulis. Josephus’ reference to Isaac as a mature young man heightens the contrast between between Isaac and Iphigenia, who is depicted as a young girl scarcely of marriageable age, considerably younger, apparently, than

the war of the four versus the five kings (Gen. 14:1-24, Abr. 225-44); the death of Sarah (Gen. 23:1, Abr. 245-46); Sarai’s advice to Abram to have a child with Hagar (Gen. 16:1-4, Abr. 247-54); the burial of Sarah (Gen. 23:1-20, Abr. 255-61). 21 For a discussion of the significance of the age twenty-five see Feldman 1998, 275-76. n. 122. Isaac’s age is variously given in rabbinic literature (37, 36, 27, 26). Cf. Seder Olam 1, Mid. Gen. Rab. 55.5. Tg. Ps.-J. on Gen. 22:1 declares that Isaac was 37 at the time of the ‘Aqedah. Jub. dates the binding of Isaac in the year of the world 2003 (that is, in the first year of the seventh week of the forty-first jubilee), whereas Isaac was born in the year of the world 1988 (see Jub. 16:15, where the promise of his birth occurred in 1987, and 17:1, where his weaning occurred in 1989). Hence, Isaac’s age at the time of the ‘Aqedah was fifteen.

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twenty-five, perhaps no more than between twelve and fourteen.22 The fact that Josephus’ Isaac is a grown man who deliberately acts as he does diminishes the horror that such a story would have aroused in Josephus’ readers, to judge from Lucretius’ comments (1.84-101) in his retelling of the parallel story of Iphigenia. Hence, in Josephus’ narrative the central focus of interest is split between Abraham and Isaac. Because Philo does not give any indication as to Isaac’s age the focus remains on Abraham, since there is no indication that Isaac is of an age to make a mature decision. The rabbinic accounts of the ‘Aqedah are concerned primarily, as have been modern accounts, the most famous of which is Kierkegaard’s Fear and Trembling, with the problem of theodicy, that is, why G-d should have tested Abraham and Isaac (Tg. Ps.-J. on Gen. 22:1) when He is omniscient and when He certainly knew their merits.23 Philo, on the other hand, like the later Josephus (Ant. 1.222-36), not once raises the question as to why G-d had given him such a command, let alone how G-d could have ordered Abraham to slay his son and at the same time assure him that a nation would be born through his descendants. Nor does Abraham even for a moment in Philo’s version weigh whether he should disobey and save his son or whether he should slay his own son. The closest that Philo comes to raising any questions at all appears in the statement (Abr. 169) that G-d’s message to him to sacrifice his son came suddenly and to Abraham’s surprise. Abraham had previously shown, in his attempt to influence G-d not to destroy the Sodomites (Gen. 18:23-33), his expertise in arguing with G-d. It is precisely at this point that one would have expected Abraham to seek to persuade G-d to withdraw his command. Not only does he not make any such attempt but Philo (Abr. 174-75) paints a picture of Abraham as a veritable Stoic in accepting it unquestioningly. In the Bible (Gen. 22:1) the episode of the ‘Aqedah is introduced with the words “After these things G-d tested Abraham.” There is no indication of the circ*mstances or background of such a statement. Why should G-d have tested Abraham at all, and why at this

22

Agamemnon (Eur., Iphigenia at Aulis 122-23) is represented as sending a letter to his wife Clytemnestra in which he tells her not to send their daughter Iphigenia, since they should wait for another season before celebrating their daughter’s marriage. 23 See Ginzberg 1909-38), 1:272-74; 5:248-49, nn. 226-29.

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particular point? Philo (Abr. 169) is apparently aware of this problem and notes, as we have remarked, that the divine message to sacrifice Isaac came suddenly and to Abraham’s surprise. Clearly, an omniscient G-d did not have to test Abraham. The Bible has G-d merely give a command to Abraham (Gen. 22:2) to sacrifice his son. Josephus, however, well aware that his readers would wonder at the seeming arbitrariness of such a command, has G-d elaborate on the command by first enumerating three major benefits that He had bestowed upon Abraham, namely, victory over his enemies in war, happiness (presumably in material things), and the birth of a son. These benefits will certainly serve to heighten the irony of what follows (Ant. 1.224). Thus the sacrifice may be viewed, as in Pseudo-Philo’s Biblical Antiquities (32:2), as a logical repayment to G-d for His threefold benevolence.24 Whereas the rabbis25 present a story of Satan challenging G-d to prove Abraham’s faithfulness, which involves grave problems of theodicy, Josephus, seeking to avoid theological entanglements, proceeds immediately to Abraham’s obedience to G-d’s command. In the Bible (Gen. 22:2) G-d tells Abraham to take his son to the land of Moriah, with no indication as to how far away this was. Philo, following the LXX, does not mention Moriah, but rather “a certain very lofty hill,” in line with the LXX. In the Bible (Gen. 22:2) G-d tells Abraham to take his son, “whom you love.” Philo, however (Abr. 170), adds that Abraham loved his son with an indescribable (λ%κτI) fondness; and yet, he adds, so great was his faith and his love of G-d that he showed no change of color or weakening of soul but remained steadfast without wavering. This seems like a test, though Philo omits the explicit word “test” (indeed, Philo does not,

24 Franxman 1979, 158, remarks that in Josephus’ version G-d’s enumeration of the benefits that He had bestowed upon Abraham “does not exactly compliment Abraham’s faith”; but Josephus’ purpose here is most likely apologetic, namely, to avoid casting G-d in a bad light for having made such a demand upon Abraham to sacrifice his son. We must stress that this does not contradict the thesis that Josephus in this pericope has toned down the theologizing, since he had to weigh that intention against the need to defend his people against those detractors of Judaism who had charged that the G-d of the Jews was cruel and capricious. It is to answer these critics, rather than to engage in theological speculation, that Josephus has G-d defend Himself here. In Josephus’ version it is G-d who must be defended by Josephus; in Philo’s version it is Abraham who must be defended against his detractors by Philo. 25 Ginzberg 1909-38, 1:272-73 and 5:248-49, notes 227-28.

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like the rabbis [m.Abot 5:3], speak of ten such tests of Abraham). It was this faith, Philo remarks in an extra-biblical addition, that so far surpassed his affection for his own family that he told none of his kin about G-d’s call to him.26 As father and son are proceeding to the sacrifice, Isaac innocently asks where the animal is that they are about to sacrifice. In the Bible (Gen. 22:8) Abraham says, “G-d will provide Himself the lamb for a burnt-offering, my son.” In Philo the conversation occurs neither on the way to the altar nor while Isacc is on the altar but, again with emphasis on Abraham’s activities, while Abraham is collecting stones to build the altar. Philo’s Abraham adds considerably to the biblical text, showing understanding of Isaac’s fear, since they are in a wide desert. Calmly and confidently he explains to Isaac why he should have nothing to fear, since all things are possible, including the impossible, for G-d (Abr. 175): “Child, G-d will provide Himself a victim, even in this wide desert, which perhaps makes you give up hope of finding it; but know that to G-d all things are possible, including those that are impossible or insuperable to men.”27 Philo lends drama to the scene by adding the extra-biblical detail that Abraham gave Isaac the fire to carry28 and not merely the wood. 26 So also, according to Josephus (Ant. 1.225), Abraham revealed his intention to no one, not even to anyone of his household, lest they should attempt to hinder him from attending to G-d’s service. The rabbis declare either that Abraham told Sarah nothing (Midr. Eccl. Rab. 9.7) or that he was taking Isaac with him to study with Shem and Eber (Tan. Vayera 22, Sefer Hayashar 9 [ed. Dan,p. 117], Tg. Ps.-J. on Gen. 22:3) or that the angel Samael, while Abraham and Isaac were gone on their mission, told Sarah that Isaac had actually been sacrificed (Pirqe R. El. 32). Philo and Josephus had a difficult enough time in trying to justify the deceit practiced by Abraham on the Pharaoh and on Abimelech in hiding from both of them the fact that Sarah was his wife; hence, they sought to avoid having Abraham deceive Sarah as well. Although we are dealing here with an argumentum ex silentio, whose tenuous nature should be recognized, Philo and Josephus may well have sought to avoid the inevitable equation in this respect of Abraham with Agamemnon, who, according to Euripides (Iphigenia at Aulis 98), attempted to deceive his wife Clytemnestra by writing a letter to her asking her to send their daughter Iphigenia to be married to Achilles, whereas his real intention was to sacrifice her. In contrast to Abraham, who at worst is guilty merely of withholding information from his wife as to what he intends to do to Isaac, Agamemnon resorts to outright lying. 27 The latter part of this passage is a standard aphorism. It appears often in Philo: Opif. 46, Somn. 1.87, Mos. 1.174, Spec. 4.127, Virt. 26. 28 Sandmel 1956, 126 n. 118, suggests that this is one of several lapses of memory that justify the conclusion that Philo did not have Genesis open before him in writing this treatise. On the other hand, this is the kind of touch that would add drama to the situation.

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Philo explains (Abr. 171) that he (Abraham) thought it good that the victim himself should carry the load of the instruments of the sacrifice. Again, whereas the biblical text (Gen. 22:6) states that father and son walked together, Philo (Abr. 172) adds to the utter devotion to G-d that they both showed by asserting that they walked with equal speed of mind rather than of body. Again, in the biblical text we are told (Gen. 22:9) merely that Abraham built the altar for the sacrifice. Philo, however, places the focus on Abraham in his addition that Abraham collected stones with which to build the altar. What adds even more drama to the situation in Philo (Abr. 173), as in Josephus (Ant. 1.227), is the fact that Isaac’s question about what sacrifice Abraham was about to offer is posed at the site of the ‘Aqedah itself rather than on the way up to it, as in Gen. 22:27. The Bible does not so much as give us a word as to Isaac’s inner feelings upon hearing his father’s response. Philo, on the other hand, provides a psychological portrait of the feeling that not Isaac but Abraham has at this particular point. “To anyone else,” he says, “who knew what he was about to do and was hiding it in his heart, these words would have brought confusion and tearfulness and he would have remained silent through extreme emotion and thus given an indication of what was going to happen.” Abraham, in an extra-biblical addition, appears as a Stoic-like Aeneas (Abr. 175 and admitted no swerving of body or mind but remained unmoved in glance and in thought.29 Instead, says Philo, Abraham was so steadfast that he gave no hint through his bodily movements; rather he remained fixed (Philo twice in successive phrases uses the word σταθερJ, “standing fast,” “firm,” “fixed”) in his eyes and thought and calmly answered Isaac’s question. Josephus (Ant. 1.228-32) has the dialogue occur after the altar has been prepared, and the dialogue itself is greatly extended. There Abraham focuses upon the many prayers that he had uttered asking for the birth of the child and the thought that the child would bring him the greatest happiness. He was now returning Isaac to G-d, he says, as a payment for the help tht G-d had given to him. The focus in Josephus in this dramatic dialogue is on Isaac, whose birth and now whose death are out of the course of nature. Isaac, he

29 Cf. Aeneas’ firm reaction to Dido’s appeal to him not to leave her (Virgil, Aen. 4.331-32: Ille ... immota tenebat lumina [“He held his eyes unmoved”]).

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concludes, will be a guardian and supporter for him in his old age. In the Bible we are not told Isaac’s response. Josephus (Ant. 1.232) adds that Isaac received his father’s words with joy and stated that it was not even right for him to have been born in the first place if he were about to spurn the decision of G-d and his father; and, in a final addition, we are told that Isaac actually rushed (^ρμησεν, “rushed headlong,” “darted,” “hastened”) to the altar. Philo, however, because his chief aim is to protect the reputation of Abraham from his detractors, has minimized the role of Isaac. Instead, the focus is on Abraham; and it is Abraham who hastily (τάχιστα, “most speedily”) seized his son, laid him on the altar, and drew his knife, prepared to inflict a death blow (Abr. 176). And it is Abraham (Abr. 176) who most swiftly (τάχιστα) snatches away (ξαρπάσας) his son. The most important word in the entire biblical account, if we may judge, at least, from the way that the rabbis later refer to the incident, is ‫“( ויעקד‬bound,” LXX συμποδ5σας, Gen. 22:9), a hapax legomenon in the Bible. Philo omits any mention, in his systematic account of the ‘Aqedah in his essay De Abrahamo, of the actual binding, although he at least does describe Abraham as placing Isaac on the altar, whereas this detail also is omitted by Josephus.30 Philo elsewhere (Deus 4), to be sure, does say that Abraham bound the feet (συμποδ5σας,“tie the feet together”) of the new strange victim (Gen. 22:9), “either because having once received G-d’s inspiration he judged it right to tread no more on aught that was mortal, or it may be that he was taught to see how changeable and inconstant was creation, through his knowledge of the unwavering steadfastness that belongs to the Existent.” But there he puts the matter on a philosophical rather than on a literal plane, whereas in De Abrahamo he is presenting a factual biography. The physical binding of Isaac would probably have seemed too much for a Greek audience and would have been incriminating for Abraham. Furthermore, Philo and Josephus may have avoided the implication that Isaac had to be tied, perhaps because, as the rabbis say, he might have shuddered at the sight of the knife and recoiled from the sacrifice, thus dishonoring his father and disobeying G-d (Pirqe R. El. 31), or because he might

30

Sandmel 1956, 73, n. 337.

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have struggled and thus rendered the sacrifice ritually unsuitable (Mid. Gen. Rab. 56.8). Moreover, whereas in the Bible (Gen. 22:11) an angel calls to Abraham and tells him not to slay his son, in Philo (Abr. 176), as in Josephus (Ant. 1.233), it is G-d Himself who calls upon him to halt. At this point in the Bible (Gen. 22:11-12) it is an angel that calls to Abraham from heaven and tells him not to do anything to his son, explaining apologetically that he now knows that Abraham is a Gd-fearing man, since he did not withhold his only son from Him. In Philo’s version, as later in Josephus’ account (Ant. 1.233), it is not an angel but G-d Himself who addresses Abraham, presumably because the subject was too important to be left to even the best of G-d’s deputies.31 Moreover, in the Bible the angel clearly indicates that it was all a test of Abraham’s loyalty to G-d. Similarly, Josephus (Ant. 1.233) states clearly that G-d tested Abraham to see whether, if commanded, Abraham would obey even such an injunction as to slay his own son. Philo, on the other hand, who is troubled, it seems, by the thought that G-d, who is omniscient, has to test someone, omits this completely. This may be an additional reason why Philo, who is tremendously concerned with theological matters and with preserving the crucial doctrine of G-d’s omniscience, did not devote a whole treatise to the ‘Aqedah, since this would have forced him to confront the question as to why G-d, if he is omniscient, had to test Abraham. Furthermore, whereas in the biblical text the angel calls “Abraham, Abraham,” Philo calls attention to the fact that he called him twice. This is in line with Philo’s view (Leg. 3.177) that G-d thinks that it is proper that He Himself should in His own Person bestow the principal benefits, such as health, upon humans, while His angels and the Logoi bestow the secondary gifts. G-d Himself, says Philo (Conf. 180, Fug. 66) is the bestower of good things alone, whereas it is His ministers, the angels, who bestow punishments. According to the Bible (Gen. 22:13), after being told by the angel not to sacrifice Isaac, Abraham raised his eyes and saw a ram caught in a thicket by its horns, whereupon Abraham went over and took the

31 So also Pseudo-Philo (Bib. Ant. 32.4) states that G-d sent forth His voice from on high telling Abraham not to slay his son. Similarly, Pirqe R.El. 31 and Sefer Hayashar 9 (ed. Dan, p. 122), cited by Jacobson 1996, 2:869.

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ram and offered it as a sacrifice in place of his son. This scene may have seemed grotesque and too much of a miracle for a rationalizing Greek mind, and so we find that Josephus (Ant.1.236) omits it and states merely that G-d brought the ram from obscurity into view. The clear implication is that it had always been there but merely hidden from sight. Josephus does not explicitly tell us, as does the Bible (Gen. 22:13) that Abraham offered the ram in place of his son. Philo apparently sought to avoid the theological implication that the ram was a sacrifice for sins of man, and so he omits the ram completely from his narrative here.32 The Bible (Gen. 22:17-18) and Josephus (Ant. 1.235) close the pericope with the prediction that Isaac’s descendants would increase greatly in numbers and wealth and that after capturing Canaan they would be envied by all. There is no such prediction in Philo’s version; rather, Philo focuses not on Isaac but on Abraham, whose action, he says in summary, though not followed by the intended meaning, was complete and perfect. Indeed, after he has ended his paraphrase of the biblical account of the ‘Aqedah, Philo turns his attention for no fewer than thirty paragraphs (Abr. 178-207) to defending the uniqueness of Abraham’s action and to refuting those critics who tried to belittle it. Philo does not, like Josephus (Ant. 1.224), identify the place of the intended sacrifice as Mount Moriah, as does the Hebrew text. Nor does he, as do Josephus (Ant. 1.226) and the rabbis,33 indicate that this is the place where the Temple was later to be built. Sandmel34 conjectures that the omission stems from the fact that Alexandrian Jews did not offer animal sacrifices in Alexandria but only when they came to Jerusalem. However, the fact that Philo sets forth in such elaborate detail the biblical regulations concerning animal sacrifices (Spec. 1.162-256) shows how meaningful they were to him; and the fact that he made at least one trip to Jerusalem (Prov. 2.64), where he says that he offered up prayers and sacrifices in the Temple, indicates that the sacrificial system was a practical reality for him,

32 Philo (Fug. 132-36) does mention the ram held by his horns in a thicket and indicates that this is a substitute (ντιδοθ%ν) for the sacrifice, but there he gives an allegorical interpretation for this part of the episode (ibid. 135-36), where the ram is identified with reason keeping quiet in suspense of judgment in matters lacking proof. 33 Mid. Gen. Rab.55.7 and parallels, cited by Ginzberg 1909-38, 5:253 n. 253. 34 Sandmel 1956, 127 n. 128.

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as it was for all Jews who made the pilgrimages to Jerusalem for the festivals of Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles.35 Josephus might have been concerned elsewhere to downgrade the importance of theology. Here, however, he felt that he had to answer those who might have difficulty in understanding such a divine command in the first place, especially since the practice of human sacrifice was rare in classical, let alone Hellenistic, times.36 Still, Philo seems to be protesting too much and, indeed, appears himself to have found the manner of G-d’s test of Abraham to be a bit embarrassing.37 In any case, inasmuch as G-d expressly forbids Abraham to slay his son, Philo may be implicitly countering the possible claim that Isaac actually was slain or at least wounded.38 The fact that Philo focuses upon Abraham’s obedience rather than upon Isaac’s eagerness to be sacrificed would seem to support the view of Davies and Chilton39 that Philo does not hold the view, so prominent in later rabbinic and Christian theology, that the ‘Aqedah was an expiatory sacrifice. Here, as elsewhere, Philo (Abr. 200) indicates that his account is not limited to the literal and obvious explanation but that it is open to another interpretation, which is, to be sure, obscure to the masses but which appeals to the few (Abr. 147). In this instance, he explains that Isaac means laughter in the sense of the good emotion of the understanding, that is, joy. The fact that Abraham is prepared to sacrifice this joy as his duty to G-d shows that rejoicing is most closely associated with G-d, for humans are subject to grief and fear. G-d,

35 Nikiprowetzky 1967, 97-116, contends that Philo at times depreciates the very principle of sacrifices (Ebr. 87), but he notes that such statements as “G-d does not rejoice in sacrifices even if one offer hecatombs, for all things are His possessions, yet though He possesses He needs none of them, but He rejoices in the will to love Him and in men that practice holiness” (Spec. 1:271), merely echo the prophets, as Wolfson 1947, 2:241-47 had previously remarked. In every case Philo, like the prophets, emphasizes that it is not sacrifices that he is rejecting; rather, he insists that they be accompanied by righteous conduct. In the matter of sacrifices, says Nikiprowetzky, Philo represents an Alexandrian Judaism that is intermediate between the extreme allegorists and the extreme literalists. 36 Pearson 1913, 6:847-49. 37 Franxman 1979, 161. 38 Pirqe R. El. 31, Midr. ha-G. on Gen. 22:19, and other citations in Ginzberg 1909-38, 5:251, n. 243. See also Spiegel 1967, 2-8 and passim; and Vermes 1973, 204-8. 39 Davies and Chilton 1978, 519-21.

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in turn, returns joy to the mind that offers it as a sacrifice to Him (Abr. 203). 6. Summary The ‘Aqedah is of particular importance to Philo, as we see from the sheer amount of space that he devotes to it, because he seeks to answer malicious critics who had minimized Abraham’s deed. These critics, in contrast to other pagan writers who had praised Abraham, are most likely non-Jews who had condemned the Jews for misanthropy. In contrast to his other treatises, in which he praises Isaac so greatly, Philo in De Abrahamo keeps the focus on Abraham. The role of Isaac is completely passive and he is presented as a young lad who is not old enough to make decisions. De Abrahamo is a hagiographical biography in which the events of Abraham’s life are not presented in chronological order. In his version of the ‘Aqedah Philo does not even raise the problem of theodicy. There is no indication that G-d sought to test Abraham. Abraham is a veritable Stoic in accepting G-d’s command. While he is leading Isaac to the sacrifice Abraham is so steadfast that he gives no hint of his intention. There is added drama in that Isaac’s question as to where the animal is that is to be offered is asked not on the way to the sacrifice but at the very site of the ‘Aqedah and at the very time that Abraham is gathering the stones for the altar. In contrast to Josephus, in whose version a heroic Isaac joyfully rushes to the altar, in Philo Abraham snatches him away. Philo omits the physical binding of Isaac to the altar because this would have been incriminating for Abraham. In contrast to the Bible, where it is an angel who stops Abraham from consummating the sacrifice, in Philo it is G-d Himself who does so, in accordance with his view that it is G-d who bestows benefits whereas it is the angels who inflict punishments. Philo completely omits the ram from the narrative because it may have seemed grotesque, because it may have seemed too much of a miracle for a rationalizing Greek mind, and because he sought to avoid the theological implication that the ram was sacrificed to atone for sins.40 40 I wish to express my thanks to Professor Gregory E. Sterling for many helpful suggestions.

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CHAPTER ELEVEN

PHILO, PSEUDO-PHILO, JOSEPHUS, AND THEODOTUS ON THE RAPE OF DINAH

1. Introduction James Kugel1 has noted the danger in assuming that when one finds in the retelling of a biblical story in ancient literature details that are not present in the Bible one is justified in concluding that these details have been added by the author for merely ideological reasons or as a reflection of then-current events, since the author may simply be trying to solve a problem in the biblical text. However, we may suggest that there is often a pattern to such changes in the work of a given writer, particularly if we can surmise for what purpose and for what audience he is writing; and, if so, it is, indeed, more likely that the author has made these modifications in order to present a given point of view and to preach a lesson or to defend his people against attacks. It is proposed here to examine several ancient accounts of the rape of Dinah and its consequences and to consider why those changes were made and whether the changes made by the authors follow a pattern found in their treatment of other biblical passages or whether they merely answer questions arising from the problems in a particular text. 2. The Biblical Account One instance that seems to portray seeming Jewish brutality toward non-Jews is the revenge meted out by Simeon and Levi for the rape of their sister Dinah (Gen. 34). According to the biblical narrative, Shechem, the son of Hamor the Hivvite, the prince of the region, saw Dinah, the daughter of Jacob, and had relations with her (Gen.

1

Kugel 1992, 2.

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34:2). He then became deeply attached to her and asked his father to arrange to have him marry her. Hamor spoke to Jacob and to Jacob’s sons asking them to give Dinah to Shechem and, in general, to have the Israelites intermarry with his people, offering to have them dwell among his people, to acquire property there, and to carry on business there (Gen. 34:8-10). Shechem then expressed a willingness to give whatever gifts they desired if only they would permit Dinah to marry him. Jacob’s sons answered him deceitfully because he (they [i.e., the Hivvites], according to the LXX) had defiled their sister. They (Simeon and Levi, specifically identified as the brothers of Dinah, according to the LXX) said that they could acquiesce only if all their males would be circumcised (Gen. 34:13-17), in which case the Israelites would intermarry with them. Hamor and Shechem, who was the most respected in his father’s household, agreed without delay and convinced their people to be circumcised, noting that thus all the possessions of the Israelites would be theirs. On the third day after the circumcision, however, when they were in pain, Simeon and Levi killed all the males of the Hivvites, including Hamor and Shechem and took Dinah home with them (Gen. 34:25-26). These sons of Jacob then proceeded to plunder the Hivvite city, seized all their wealth, and took captive their wives and children (the LXX omits the children, perhaps because of embarrassment at such behavior by Israelites) (Gen. 34:27-29). The fact that the biblical text speaks (Gen. 34:27) of the sons of Jacob as plundering the city “who had defiled their sister” indicates that the crime had been committed not merely by one person, Shechem, but by others as well, and this would presumably justify the mass execution of the inhabitants. Jacob then told Simeon and Levi that they had brought trouble upon him by making him odious to (the LXX adds the word “all,” perhaps to indicate that Jacob was so deeply upset by the fact that all the Hivvites had to pay for the act of what he apparently understood to have been by a single individual) the inhabitants of the land and expressed the fear that they would attack him. But they replied, “Should he2 treat our sister as a harlot?” At this point in the Bible we hear nothing further as to what action, if any, the neighboring tribes took.

2 “They” in the LXX, perhaps to indicate that the Hivvites generally countenanced the act of Shechem and thus shared in the responsibility for it.

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On his deathbed, when Jacob blesses his sons, he sharply criticizes Simeon and Levi and expresses his anger with them (Gen. 49:57): “Simeon and Levi are brothers; weapons of violence are their swords. O my soul, come not into their council; O my spirit, be not joined to their company; for in their anger they slay men, and in their wantonness they hamstring oxen. Cursed be their anger, for it is fierce; and their wrath, for it is cruel! I will divide them in Jacob and scatter them in Israel.” The biblical text presents a number of questions and difficulties. In the first place, the Bible is selective, rather than comprehensive, and we may well ask why it includes the episode of the rape of Dinah at all. Surely the Bible focuses upon the sons of Jacob; why deal with the daughter of Jacob at all? Secondly, that the daughter of Jacob, the direct ancestor of the Israelites, was raped is not an episode that redounds to the credit of the Jewish people, since Dinah is not completely guiltless, inasmuch as, according to the biblical text (Gen. 34:1), Dinah went out “to visit the women of the land.” Thirdly, Shechem is presented in a light that is far from completely negative, since we are told (Gen. 34:3) that he did not merely have relations with Dinah but that he became deeply attached to her and loved her and appealed to her emotions and expressed his readiness to give whatever would be asked of him in order to marry Dinah (Gen. 34: ll-12). Fourthly, why, after hearing of the rape of his daughter, did Jacob remain silent until the arrival of his sons from the field (Gen. 34:5)? Fifthly, since it appears (Gen. 34:6, 8) that Hamor, the father of Shechem, negotiated in good faith with Jacob, offering to have the Israelites live among his people, the Hivvites, the fact that Simeon and Levi dealt deceitfully with the Hivvites surely does not redound to the credit of the Israelites. Sixthly, what justification was there for Simeon and Levi to kill all the Hivvites, rather than the one guilty person, Shechem, and for taking captive their wives and children? Seventhly, what justification was there for Simeon and Levi to seize the wealth of the Hivvites? Eighthly, why when Jacob hears what Simeon and Levi have done, does he not say a word about his feelings that his daughter has been raped but rather condemns Simeon and Levi because he fears that other nations will now attack him? Ninthly, why on his deathbed does Jacob attack Simeon and Levi so strongly and say nothing about the purity of their intentions?

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Philo (Migr. 223-25) has condensed the story considerably. There are 205 words in Philo’s account here as against 753 words in the LXX (Gen. 34). This gives a ratio of .27 of Philo to the LXX version. In his version in Mut. 193-200 there are 460 words. This gives a ratio of .61 of Philo to the LXX version.3 However, most of both of these accounts does not paraphrase the narrative but rather goes far afield in allegorizing it. Most remarkably, Philo contrasts two sharply different aspects of the etymology of the geographical place called Shechem. On the one hand, he gives an etymology of Shechem as “shouldering” (Migr. 221) and refers to it as signifying toil, connecting it with the toil of the lover of learning (φιλομαθς), who is identified with Jacob (see Fug. 10) and Moses (Fug. 161), and representing, in a figure, clearly complimentary, “the toil of education as a hard and unbreakable substance that never yields or bends.” It is this kind of toil that, according to Philo (Migr. 221), Issachar pursues in the blessing conferred by Jacob (Gen. 49:15). One should, Philo continues, pursue it so that the soul’s court of justice, that is Dinah, which means “judgment,” may not be ravished by him who sinks under the opposite kind of toil, represented by Shechem, “the insidious foe (π5βυλος, “perfidious conspirator”) of common sense (φρνησις) (Migr. 223). Most importantly, Philo has omitted the fact that Shechem was the highly respected son of the leader of his people, that after having relations with Dinah, he became deeply attached to her, that he and his father carried on negotiations in good faith with Jacob and Jacob’s sons and offered to be joined with the Israelites on a completely equal basis, that they had agreed to have all their males circumcised, that Dinah’s brothers, Simeon and Levi, acted deceitfully in killing all the Hivvite men after they had carried out the agreement, and that Jacob was highly critical of his sons for their action. 3 If we compare this with Philo’s treatment of the war against the Midianites, we note that in the LXX version (Num. 31) of that episode there are 1179 words, whereas Philo’s version (Mos. 1.305-18) contains 835 words, a ratio of .71 to the LXX. For the episode of the spies (Num. 13-14) there are 1701 words in the LXX. Philo’s version (Mos. 1.220-36) contains 877 words, a ratio of .52 to the LXX. For the episode of Phinehas and Zimri (Num. 25:6-16) there are 208 words in the LXX. Philo’s version (Mos. 1.301-4) contains 173 words, a ratio of .83 to the LXX.

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Instead, the whole incident is interpreted allegorically, where Dinah, as we have noted, equals “judgment”4 (Migr. 223), where Shechem is greatly denigrated, “being the son of Hamor, that is, of an irrational being—for ‘Hamor’ means ‘ass’(Migr. 224; repeated in Mut. 193)—practicing folly and nursed in shamelessness and effrontery, [who] essayed—foul wretch that he was—to corrupt and defile the judgment faculties of the understanding” (διανο5ας, “intelligence,” “sagacity,” Migr. 224). Though, according to the Bible, the act of Shechem was that of a single individual, Philo (ibid.) generalizes and speaks, most disparagingly, of “these men” as hoping to carry off unobserved the virgin soul. He carries his allegorical interpretation further by insisting that Dinah, as the personification of incorruptible judgment, the justice that is the assessor of G-d, the ever virgin (Mut. 194), the befriender of those who are wronged, may have seemed to be defiled but cannot truly be defiled, and that the soul, identified with justice, becomes again a virgin (Migr. 225). As to the biblical statement that Simeon and Levi (Gen. 34:25), on the third day after the circumcision, entered the city of the Hivvites confidently (‫בטח‬, “securely,” LXX σφαλς, “safely,” “steadfastly”), presumably because they had nothing to fear inasmuch as the Hivvites were still weak from the circumcision, Philo (Migr. 224), far from criticizing them for deceiving the Hivvites, says that they secured (φραξάμενοι, “fencing in,” “fortifying”) their own quarters and went forth in safety (σφαλς), the implication being, as Colson5 notes, that virtue, as personified in Simeon and Levi, must first fortify itself against vice before it can take the offensive. Whereas the Bible (Gen. 34:25) states that when the brothers entered the city, they found the Hivvites in pain (‫כאבים‬, LXX ν τJ πνI), Philo (ibid.) states that the Hivvites were still occupied in pleasure-loving (φιληδνI) and passion-loving (φιλοπαθε-) toil (πονI). This is truly ironical, since it speaks of the Hivvites as being in the midst of the distress involving love. Ironically, he adds “of the uncircumcised,” even though, according to the Bible, they had just undergone the operation of circumcision. Philo castigates the Hivvites because they were in love with pleasure in defiance of the divine decree forbidding daughters

4 5

So also in rabbinic tradition (b.Ber. 60). Colson 1929-62, 4:264 n. b.

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of Israel to be treated as harlots (Deut. 23:17); and these hoped to carry off the virgin soul, as if they could get away with it without being observed. As for Dinah, she is identified with justice (Migr. 225), as she was earlier (223) identified with judgement (κρ5σις). She is the very opposite of Hamor, since she is “the abhorrer of wickedness, the relentless one (με5λικτος, “unsoothed”), the inexorable (παρα5τητος, “not to be entreated”), the befriender (ρωγς, “advocate) of those who are wronged.” She is identified with virtue, as Shechem is identified with those who shame virtue. Since she did not will her suffering, she did not really suffer. Likewise, commenting on the statement (Gen. 34:3) that Shechem spoke to Dinah “according to the mind of the virgin,” that is, sincerely, Philo (Mut. 193), again referring to Shechem in the most disparaging terms, remarks that the wicked man (Shechem) sometimes gives admirable expression to noble thoughts but that his actions and their method are most vile, the very opposite of his words (Mut. 19495). Shechem, Philo repeats (Mut. 193), as he had previously noted (Migr. 221), means “shoulder” and is the symbol of toil, which, being fathered by unintelligence, is miserable and full of affliction. Shechem, says Philo (Mut. 193), is the son of unintelligence (:νοια, “folly”), since his father is Hamor, whose name means “ass,” while his own name means “shoulder,” the symbol of toil, such as one identfies with an ass. That Shechem was insincere, he continues (194), is clear from the fact that he spoke thus after first humiliating Dinah. Again, he contrasts Shechem with Dinah, whose name, he says, means either judgement (κρ5σις) or justice (δ5κη) and who represents “incorruptible (δ%καστος, ‘unbribed’) judgement, the justice which is the assessor (πάρεδρος, ‘coadjutor’) of G-d, the ever virgin (ειπάρθενος)” (Mut. 194). Shechem, on the other hand, is said (Mut. 195) to exemplify the fools (:φρονες, “senseless,” “witless”) who attempt to seduce Dinah by their plottings and their practices, which, he says in an extra-biblical addition, are repeated day by day; and they seek, he says in a further addition, to escape from conviction by means of speciousness (ε/πρ%πεια, “comeliness,” “plausibility”) of speech. Philo then editorializes: such people, he says, “should either make their actions conform to their words or if they persist in inquity keep still.” In still another addition (Mut. 196) Philo, referring to Shechem, says that to rant (κτραγIδε-ν, “deck out in tragic phrase,” “exag-

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gerate”) and boast (πικομπάζειν, “add boastingly”) of evil doings is a double sin. Shechem, he remarks, is typical of those who forever are addressing words of friendship (τP φ5λα) and fairness (δ5καια) to the maiden Virtue, by which Dinah is personified; and yet lose no opportunity to slip by without using it to outrage (.βριοσι) and maltreat (κακ3σουσι) her if they can. Shechem, he adds in a preaching-like tone, is the typical hypocrite who constantly proclaims that “prudence (φρνησις) is necessary, imprudence (φροσ*νη) is harmful, temperance (σωφροσ*νη) deserves our choice, intemperance (άκολασ5α) our hatred, courage (νδρε5α) is worthy of perseverance (.πομονOς, ‘endurance’) therein, cowardice (δειλ5α) of avoidance, justice (δικαιοσ*νη) is profitable, injustice (δικ5α) unprofitable, holiness (τ7 ?σιον) is honorable, unholiness (τ7 νσιον) disgraceful, piety (θεοσεβ%ς) is praiseworthy, impiety (σεβ%ς) blameworthy, right proposing (τ7 εR βουλε*εσθαι), speaking (λ%γειν) and acting (πράττειν) is most conformable to man’s nature, wrong proposing, speaking and acting most alien to the same.” Shechem (Mut. 198) typifies those who, through perpetual talk of this sort, “deceive the law-courts, the theaters, the council-chambers and every gathering and group of men, like people who set handsome masks on the ugliest of faces to prevent the ugliness being detected by the eyes of others. Philo then compares (Mut. 199) Simeon and Levi to the vindicators who “will come strong and doughty (ρρωμ%νοι, ‘vigorous,’ ‘stout’), inspired with zeal (ζλI) for virtue (ρετν). They will strip off all this complication of wraps and bandages which the perverted art of the talkers has put together, and beholding the soul naked in her very self they will know the secrets hidden from sight in the recesses of her nature; and then exposing to every eye in clear sunlight her shame and all her disgraces they will point the contrast between her real character, so hideous, so despicable, and the spurious (νθη, ‘illegitimate,’ ‘born out of wedlock’) comeliness which disguised in her wrappings she counterfeited (πιμρφαζεν, ‘pretended,’ ‘simulated’).” Philo (Mut. 200) clearly vindicates Simeon and Levi, speaking of them, as he does, as champions who stand ready (ε/τρεπε-ς, “prepared”) to repel (:μυναν, “keep off,” “ward off”) such profane and impure ways of thinking, such as those espoused by Shechem. The two brothers, with whom Philo clearly identifies, are one in will (γν3μη, “purpose”); and this will explain, according to Philo, why in

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Jacob’s blessings they are grouped together (Gen. 49:5) and why in Moses’ blessings the whole of Simeon is compressed into Levi (Deut. 33:8). In short, Philo has very definitely downgraded Shechem, has totally omitted those details that would indict Simeon and Levi, and is clearly not at all critical of their actions. By omitting the demand by Simeon and Levi that the Hivvites be circumcised and the readiness of the Hivvites to do so and their being killed when they are weak from that operation, and by allegorizing the whole incident he has, in effect, bypassed the issue of deceit and guilt on the part of Simeon and Levi. Instead, Simeon and Levi are praised in terms that a philosopher would especially appreciate, namely as hearers (κουστα5) and pupils (γν3ριμοι, “intimate friends,” “disciples”) of sound sense (φρνησις, “intelligence,” “sagacity,” “understanding,” Migr. 224), the very word that is the opposite of the quality of unintelligence (:νοια) epitomized by Shechem. Philo, as we know from his role as the leader of a delegation of Alexandrian Jews to the Roman emperor Caligula and from the essays, Legatio at Gaium and In Flaccum, that he wrote in defense of the Jews against anti-Semitic charges, as well as from many other essays presenting his interpretation of the beliefs and practices of Judaism and of biblical heroes, was particularly concerned with the importance of telling the truth. Thus he remarks (Mos. 1.44-48), for example, in an extra-biblical addition, that after Moses killed the Egyptian who was beating a Jew, and while talk was circulating in Egypt that Moses was ambitious to attain the kingship, he “desired truth rather than seeming, because the one mark he set before him was nature’s right reason, the source and fountain of virtues.” The same tendency to overlook deceit on the part of Israelites that we find in his version of the Dinah incident may be seen in Philo’s treatment of Abraham’s deceit in telling Sarah (Gen. 12:12-13) that she should tell the Egyptians that she is Abraham’s sister rather than his wife. In his extensive account Philo (Abr. 91-98) says nothing at all about such instructions to Sarah and, indeed, blackens the picture of the Pharaoh, whom he portrays as a licentious and cruel-hearted despot. Similarly, Philo presents a whitewash of Jacob and blackening of Esau in his comment on the sale of the birthright by Esau to Jacob (Sacr. 18). There Philo offers a comparison, remarking that just “as the flute and lyre and the other instruments of music belong only to

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the musician, so all that is supreme in value, and all to which virtue gives its place of honor, belong not to any of the wicked [i.e., Esau], but to the lover of wisdom only [i.e., Jacob].” Likewise, in his version of Jacob’s dissimulation in getting the blessing from his father Isaac by claiming that he was Esau, the first-born son, Philo mentions nothing of Jacob’s statement (Gen. 27:19) that he was Esau;6 instead, we are told (Her. 252) that Esau is deservedly supplanted because he has acquired his skill not to do good but to do harm. His goal, says Philo (Sacr. 135), is to efface the image of virtue and to impress in its stead, if he can, the stamp of vice. Instead of showing sympathy for Esau because he had been defrauded Philo (Virt. 208) blackens him further, adding that all of Esau’s concern was to act in such a way as would cause grief to his parents. Hence it is not surprising that he omits the deceit practiced by Simeon and Levi. Philo (Mos. 2.27) is very much in favor of the conversion of Gentiles to Judaism, as we see from his extensive digression about the origin of the LXX (Mos. 2.25-44), which really has very little relevance to the subject of that essay, the life of Moses, but in which he notes, with obvious pride (Mos. 2.41), that every year a feast and a general assembly are held on the island of Pharos, where the translation took place, and where not only Jews but multitudes of non-Jews come to do honor to the place where the translation was made. The translation itself, he says (Mos. 2.27), was undertaken because some people, admiring the life style of the Jews, thought that it was a shame that the laws of the Jews should be practiced by only one half of the human race and denied altogether to the Greeks. Philo (Mos. 2.44) himself closes his account of the translation by expressing his hope that a fresh start be made by non-Jews and his confidence that, if so, each nation would abandon its peculiar ways and throw overboard their ancestral customs and honor the Jewish laws alone. But it is clear from the tone of this passage that Philo would be outraged by the use of deceit, let alone force, in getting non-Jews to convert to Judaism; and hence we can understand why, despite his extensive paraphrase of the Pentateuch, his version of the Dinah episode is very much reduced in size and why he totally omits the demand that 6 To be sure, Philo, QG 4.212, does ask why Isaac first blessed Jacob and only thereafter asked, “Are you my son Esau?” Philo answers that it was G-d who did the blessing through the prophet, Isaac. Still, Philo does not have Jacob actually lie by saying that he was Esau.

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the Hivvites be circumcised and the deceit practiced by Simeon and Levi after they had acceded to this demand. For Philo, as we have noted, the non-Jews will freely come to Judaism because they admire the Jewish legal system and way of life. As the leader of the Jewish community in Alexandria and in view of the long history of friction between the Jews and non-Jews in that city (according to Philo, Legat. 120, the hatred of the masses toward the Jews had been smoldering for some time), Philo would surely have found it unpolitic to recall the details of an incident in which Jews demanded conversion and then used deceit once it had been agreed to. 4. Pseudo-Philo’s Version Pseudo-Philo’s Bib. Ant. (8.7) devotes a mere two sentences to the whole incident and consists of only 41 words. This gives a ratio of .10 of Pseudo-Philo to the Hebrew text (430 words). In the first sentence he says that Shechem seized (rapuit) and raped (humiliavit, “humiliated”) Dinah. In the second he asserts that Simeon and Levi killed all the Hivvites (interfecerunt omnem civitatem eorum;7 Gen. 34:25 says that they killed all the males) by the sword (in ore gladii) and took Dinah (adding “their sister”) home with them. Like Philo, Pseudo-Philo has omitted the fact that Dinah went out to look over the daughters of the land; that Shechem was the son of Hamor, the leader of his people, and was the most respected of all his father’s household; that after having relations with Dinah, he became deeply attached to her, loved her and appealed to her emotions; that Jacob, having heard that his daughter had been defiled, kept silent until the arrival of his sons; that Shechem and his father carried on negotiations in good faith with Jacob and Jacob’s sons, asking that Dinah be given to Shechem as a wife, and offered to have the Israelites intermarry with the Hivvites and to have the Israelites settle and trade in their land and to acquire property in it; that Shechem offered to give as a dowry whatever would be asked of him; that Dinah’s brothers, Simeon and Levi, deceitfully offered to give Dinah to Shechem and to allow Israelite daughters to marry Hivvites and to become a single nation only if all the males of the 7 Jacobson 1996, 1:391, notes that the same phrase, ‫הרגו כל העיר‬, is also found in Jub. 30.25 and Yashar 118.

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Hivvites would be circumcised; that Hamor and Shechem accepted these conditions; that they told their fellow Hivvites that the Israelites were peaceful and that there was ample room in the land for them; that all the males should be circumcised, and that once they would do so all the Israelite possessions would become theirs; that the Hivvites accepted these conditions; that Simeon and Levi then proceeded on the third day after their circumcision to kill the Hivvite males; that they plundered the city, taking their flocks and all their other wealth, taking captive wives and children; that Jacob was highly critical of his sons for their action and expressed the fear that the other Canaanites would attack him and annihilate him and his household; and that, in response, Simeon and Levi asked whether Shechem should have been allowed to treat their sister as a harlot. Pseudo-Philo, by his very brevity, is matter-of-fact about the whole incident. He omits all the details that would create sympathy for Shechem and the Hivvites and that would indict Simeon and Levi for deceit and cruelty. His more particular concern is the extrabiblical statement (8.8) that follows, namely that Job took Dinah as a wife8 and begat from her fourteen sons and six daughters before he was struck down with suffering, and subsequently seven sons and three daughters (whom he proceeds to name) after he was healed. His major goal is to demonstrate that good people are ultimately rewarded by G-d. As Murphy9 has shown, G-d is the most important character in his work; and the Biblical Antiquities is, in effect, a narrative theodicy, a defense of G-d’s ways. The omission of details that would create a sympathy for Shechem and that would indict Simeon and Levi is in line with his fervent and continuing attack on idolatry. Thus, he even holds up for admiration the decision of Tamar (9.5) to have relations with her own father-in-law, Judah, and to die rather than to have intercourse with gentiles. Her intention, says Pseudo-Philo, was not to commit fornication; rather, she was unwilling to be separated from the Israelites.

8 This tradition is also found in b.B. Bat. 15b, Mid. Gen. Rab. 19, Tg. on Job, 2.9, and Test. of Job 1.6. This tradition was able to place Job in the time of Jacob by identifying him with Iobab of Gen. 36:33. 9 Murphy 1993, 223-29.

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As for Josephus, he might have omitted, as embarrassing to the Jewish people, the whole episode as he does that of the incident of Reuben’s intercourse with his father’s concubine (Gen. 35:22) and the incident of Judah and Tamar (Gen. 38), as well as the first account of the Golden Calf (Exod. 32:1-20); but he apparently thought that the narrative contained important lessons to be conveyed and that the embarrassing aspects might be glossed over or omitted. Nevertheless, he has greatly reduced the amount of space that he gives to the incident. In the Hebrew (Gen. 34:1-31) there are 430 words, whereas in Josephus (Ant. 1.337-41) there are only 244 words. This gives a ratio of .56 of Josephus to the Hebrew text. This compares with a ratio of 1.20 for Abraham, 1.63 for Joseph (3.26 for Joseph’s dreams and subsequent enslavement, 5.45 for the episode of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife), .62 for Aaron, 29.1 for the affair of Zimri with Cozbi, .59 for the account of Phinehas’ zealotry, 3.41 for Korah, 2.09 for Balaam, 2.56 for Solomon, and 7.45 for Zedekiah. There are several significant changes between the biblical text and Josephus’ version (Ant. 1.337-41). In the first place, Josephus, at the beginning of the narrative (Ant. 1.337) reminds us that Dinah was Jacob’s only daughter and thus arouses more sympathy for her plight. Secondly, we are told (ibid.) that it was during a festival10 that was being celebrated by the Hivvites (whom Josephus calls Sikimites, that is from the country of Shechem) that Dinah came into the city

10

According to Gen. 34:1, Dinah went out to look about among the daughters of the land. Josephus’ addition, that the Sikimites were holding a festival, may have come from Theodotus (ap. Eus., Pr. Ev. 9.22.4), according to whom Dinah came to Shechem when there was a great festival because she wanted to see the city. Elsewhere Josephus (Αp. 1.216) mentions a Theodotus who refers to the Jews. It is largely on the basis of the mention of a festival by both Theodotus and Josephus that Kippenberg 1971, 56 n. 123, 90, concludes that Theodotus is Josephus’ source here. In fact, he theorizes that Theodotus is Josephus’ source for the foundation of the community of Shechem. His assertion that Josephus agrees with Theodotus partly verbatim is exaggerated, however. In particular, Josephus uses a different word (ορτ) for the key term, “festival,” from that used by Theodotus, πανγυρις. A late rabbinic tradition (Sefer Hayashar 13 [ed. Dan, p. 154] and Sekel Tov on Gen. 34:1 [ed. Buber, p. 189]) likewise speaks of a festival of women. Note that Josephus (Ant. 2.45) likewise adds that it was at the approach of a festival that Potiphar’s wife made illness her excuse to her husband and used the opportunity to solicit Joseph.

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in order to see the adornment of the Sikimite women. This would also arouse more sympathy for Dinah, since it was presumably a religious festival; and to be raped, especially at such a time, would appear to be sacrilege. Moreover, Shechem would be seen in a worse light because whereas the Bible (Gen. 34:2) says that he took (‫)ויקח‬ her and lay with her, Josephus (Ant. 1.337) reports that he seduced her (φθε5ρει, “destroyed,” “ruined,” “abused”)11 through abduction (`ρπαγ, “seizure,” “capture”). On the other hand, Josephus, in his generally increased respect for non-Jewish leaders,12 has greater regard for Shechem and introduces a romantic element as well, as he so often does,13 by having Shechem amorously (ρωτικς) disposed toward Dinah, rather than merely appealing to her emotions, and by having him actually implore (8κετε*ει, “approach as a suppliant,” “beseech”) rather than merely speaking to his father to arrange to have Dinah as his wife. Josephus omits the statement, which might reflect badly on Jacob as indecisive, that Jacob, after having heard that Shechem had defiled Dinah, kept silent until the arrival of his sons. Furthermore, in dealing with the request of Hamor for the hand of Dinah (Gen. 34:6), Josephus, walking a delicate tightrope with regard to intermarriage, in view of the charges that the Jews were illiberal in their attitude toward non-Jews,14 carefully balances the fact that it was unlawful for Jacob to marry off his daughter to a foreigner against the fact that the petitioner was of high rank; and so, in an extra-biblical addition (Ant. 1.338), he has Jacob sagely ask permission from Hamor, the king of the Shechemites, to hold a council to deliberate his request that Jacob give Dinah in marriage to Hamor. Moreover, Josephus omits the biblical statement, which would seem to be illiberal, that when Jacob’s sons arrived from the field and heard about the rape of Dinah, they were actually fired deeply with indignation. In particular, non-Jews might well have objected to the statement in the Bible that followed, explaining the reason for

11 Cf. the same root in referring to Jacob’s revelation to his children of the rape (φθοράν) of their sister (Ant. 1.339). The same word is used in the account of Demetrius (ap. Eus., Pr. Ev. 9.21.9: φθαρOναι...διP τ"ν ∆ε5νας φθοράν). 12 See Feldman 1998, 557-58. 13 See Feldman 1998, 185-88. 14 See Feldman 1998, 136-39; and 1998a, 558.

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this indignation, namely that Shechem had committed an outrage in Israel by lying with a daughter of Jacob, “for such a thing ought not to be done” (Gen. 34:7). Josephus omits totally the negotiations of Hamor with Jacob and his sons. He makes no mention of Hamor’s statement that Shechem longed deeply (‫ )חשׁקה‬for Dinah and asked “please” (‫ )נא‬to give her to Shechem as a wife, since such apparently genuine feeling and politeness would have reflected badly on the Israelites if they had refused. Furthermorer, he omits the apparently genuine offer of the Hivvites (Gen. 34:9-10) to open the land to the Israelites for settlement and trade and for the acquisition of property and to arrange marriages with them, since this would presumably have aroused the readers’ sympathies for the Hivvites. He likewise omits Shechem’s extremely romantic offer to Jacob and his sons to give whatever dowry, however great, they would ask (Gen. 34:11-12), since, of course, this would have aroused even more sympathy for Shechem. Most important, since its inclusion would have compromised the honor of Jacob’s sons—and consequently the Israelites generally, since all of Israel were descended from these sons—, he omits that they answered Shechem and Hamor deceitfully (‫במרמה‬, Gen. 34:13). Most significantly, Josephus omits the condition, recounted at some length in the biblical text (Gen. 34:14-24), namely that the males of the Hivvites be circumcised, since to give their sister to a man who is uncircumcised would be a disgrace for them, but that if the Hivvites would agree to this, they would consent to a general intermarriage between the Israelites and Hivvites. In that case, they would become one people—a proposal that would have struck a responsive chord with a Roman audience that remembered the similar proposal of the Romans to the Sabines after the rape of the Sabine women (Livy 1.9.14-16). He further omits the statement that Hamor and Shechem approved of this proposal and did not delay in implementing it and that, in fact, Shechem was the most respected of all his father’s household (Gen. 34:19). Josephus was quite sensitive about circumcision for two major reasons: first, it is the sign of an everlasting covenant between G-d and Abraham and Abraham’s descendants (Gen. 17:4-14), in which G-d guarantees not only that He will make Abraham exceedingly fruitful so that he will be the father of a multitude of nations but also in which He promises him and his offspring the whole of the land of Canaan as an everlasting possession; second, the sign of this

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covenant is the circumcision of every male at the age of eight days and is the sine qua non requirement for a male to join the Israelite people, so that in the words of the biblical text (Gen. 17:14) “any uncircumcised male who is not circumcised in the flesh of his foreskin shall be cut off from his people; he has broken My covenant.” As a Jew who spent the latter half of his life in the Diaspora and who sought an accommodation with the Romans, Josephus seeks to reduce the centrality of the land of Israel.15 Consequently, when he mentions the requirement of circumcision (Ant. 1.192), he omits, as G-d’s part of the agreement, His promise of the land of Canaan to Abraham and his posterity. It is true that Josephus here states that the purpose of circumcision is to prevent the Israelites from mixing (συμφυρμενον, “confuse,” “confound”) with others, but that is not the same as a promise of an independent state, which, in terms of the era in which Josephus lived, would require a revolt against the Romans.16 Josephus was, however, evidently well aware that his statement here might lead to a charge of misanthropy, and so he immediately adds that he will explain elsewhere17 the reason, that is, presumably, the rational or symbolic meaning of this practice.18 This announced work has not come down to us, but in it Josephus might well have pointed to the separatism of the reputedly wise Egyptians, who, he says, themselves practice circumcision (Ap. 1.16470 and 2.141-42). In any case, it is significant that whereas Josephus elsewhere draws upon the Book of Jubilees,19 he does not have the strong statement in Jub. (15:26), presumably directed against the 15

See Feldman 1998, 324-26. So also Tacitus (Hist. 5.5.2), to be sure disparagingly, remarks that the Jews adopted circumcision to distinguish themselves from other peoples by this difference. Cf. Heinemann 1939-40, 397. Likewise, Mid. Num. Rab. 10.1: “All the deeds of Israel separate them from the nations of the world”; and Schalit 1944, on Ant. 1.192. 17 Presumably in a projected work on “Customs and Causes” that Josephus refers to on several occasions (Ant. 1.25, 29, 214; 3.94, 143, 205, 230, 257, 259, 264; 4.198; 20.268). 18 The motive of circumcision as a way of avoiding assimilation, as Sandmel 1956, 66, n. 279, correctly remarks, is lacking in the rabbinic writings. To be sure, the rabbis (Mid. Gen. Rab. 46) do portray Abraham as fearing that circumcision will deter candidates for conversion to Judaism; but this, of course, is totally different from the reason given by Josephus, who is concerned not with winning converts—a movement that had aroused great bitterness in Roman circles, as we see from the banishment of Jews from Rome on two and possibly three occasions. See Feldman 1993, 300-4. 19 See Feldman 1998, 51 n. 60. 16

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Hellenizers of the period, that those who are not circumcised are destined “to be destroyed and slain from the earth, and to be rooted out of the earth.”20 Surely a major reason for the omission of the circumcision of the Hivvites is that one of the most serious charges made against the Jews was aggressiveness in proselytism.21 Thus Horace, in the first century b.c.e., speaks of the missionary zeal of the Jews as something proverbial: “We, like the Jews, will compel you to join our throng” (Sat. 1.4.139-43).22 Though satirists exaggerate, the point would have been lost if there had not been some basis to the charge of missionary activity. Josephus’ contemporary, Tacitus, bitterly alludes to the missionary zeal of the Jews, noting that the most degraded of other races, scorning the peoples of their origin, brought to the Jews their contributions and gifts, thus augmenting the Jews’ wealth (Hist. 5.5.1). The Romans were particularly sensitive to the requirement that a proselyte give up his belief in the Roman gods, since for them religion and state were one and indivisible, and since they believed that the growth and triumph of Rome were due to the favor of the gods, as we see throughout the early books of Livy’s history. Converts to Judaism, on the other hand, according to Tacitus, were taught to despise all the gods, to disown their country, and to disregard their families. As the Romans saw a decline in religiosity (see, for example, the preface to Livy’s history), they became more and more bitter about those who were trying to draw them away from their ancestral religion and values. The expulsion of 139 b.c.e. (as reported by Valerius Maximus 1.3.3) and, apparently, that of 19 c.e. (Josephus, Ant. 18.81-84; Tacitus, Ann. 2.85; Suet., Tiberius 36; Cassius Dio 57.18.5a)23 were connected with the alleged attempt of the Jews to 20

See Sandmel 1956, 42. See Feldman 1993, 288-341. 22 Even if this passage does not refer to proselytism by Jews, it would, at any rate, point to the Jews as a pressure group, such as we find in Cicero’s comment (Flacc. 28.66) referring to how big their number is (scis quanta sit manus), how they stick together (quanta concordia), and how influential they are in informal assemblies (quantum valeat in contionibus). 23 See Abel 1968, 383-86. Williams 1989, 765-84, argues that the expulsion of 19 c.e. was the conventional response of a beleaguered administration to a group that was deemed to be posing a threat to law and order; but her case is hardly convincing. Moreover, according to Suetonius (Claudius 25.4), the Emperor Claudius in the middle of the first century expelled the Jews, who had been constantly making 21

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convert non-Jews to Judaism; and we might note that such drastic action had taken place despite the generally favorable attitude of the Roman government toward the Jews.24 It is surely significant that in the Antiquities, aside from the passage about the conversion of the royal family of Adiabene (Ant. 20.17-96) (which was, after all, under Parthian domination and hence of no immediate concern to the Romans), Josephus nowhere propagandizes for proselytism as such. If, in the essay Against Apion, he declares (2.261) that the Jews gladly welcome any who wish to share their customs, he is careful to note that Jews do not take the initiative in seeking out proselytes and that, in fact, they take precautions (2.257) to prevent foreigners from mixing with them at random. Josephus himself makes a point of stressing that when the Galilean Jews tried to compel some non-Jews to be circumcised as a condition for dwelling among them, he refused to allow any compulsion to be used, declaring that everyone should worship G-d in accordance with the dictates of his own conscience (Life 113). One would have thought that the destruction of the Temple in 70 c.e. and the tremendous loss of prestige for the Jews that must have accompanied it would have dealt the proselyting movement a blow from which it would not recover. And yet, it was after this period that the movement was apparently most successful in official circles in Rome, especially under Domitian, precisely the time25 when Josephus was writing the Antiquities.26 Indeed, in the reign of Domitian (95 c.e.),

disturbances at the instigation of Chrestus (presumably Christus), from Rome. The New Testament (Acts 18:2) explicitly states, in agreement with Suetonius, that Claudius commanded all the Jews to leave Rome. 24 See Feldman 1993, 92-102. 25 Josephus (Ant. 20.267) says that he completed his Antiquities in the thirteenth year of the reign of Domitian, that is, 93-94. 26 See Graetz 1884. Undoubtedly the main reasons for the success of proselytism were political, social, and religious developments in Rome itself and, above all, the inherent appeal of Judaism. See Feldman 1993, 288-341. Perhaps this success was also, in part, due to admiration for the heroism which the Jews had shown in the great war against the Romans. Thus, even Tacitus, though showing utter contempt for the Jews, grudgingly admits that during the siege “both men and women showed the same determination; and if they were forced to change their home, they feared life more than death” (Hist. 5.13.3). Cassius Dio (66.5), in a detail omitted, one would guess, intentionally by the pro-Roman Josephus, notes that a number of Roman soldiers defected to the Jews during the course of the siege, persuaded that the city was actually impregnable. We may further suggest that Josephus’ extensive account of the defenders of Masada (War 7.252-406), which was relatively unim-

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we hear that Flavius Clemens, the cousin of Domitian, and his wife, Flavia Domitilla, the Emperor’s niece, were charged, together with many others, with atheism and with having drifted (ξοκ%λλοντες) into the practices of the Jews (τP τν Zουδα5ων gθη) (Cassius Dio 67.14; cf. Suet., Dom. 15.1). In view of Dio’s language, and especially the word “drifted,” we cannot be sure that it was a question of actual proselytes; they may rather have been “sympathizers,” who adopted certain Jewish practices without actually converting.27 In any case, in a bitter attack, Juvenal (14.96-106) charges that sympathy with Jewish practices in one generation leads in the next generation to full conversion to Judaism. Josephus, therefore, had to be extremely careful not to offend his Roman hosts by referring to the inroads that the Jews had made through proselytism into the Roman populace. Indeed, his aim (Ant. 1.10-12) in the Antiquities is to follow in the footsteps of Ptolemy Philadelphus in seeking to make the Bible better known and consequently to gain respect for the Jews, rather than to convert the pagans. One sees this sensitivity to the charge of proselytism in Josephus particularly in his handling of the Jethro episode. In the Bible the fact that Jethro blesses G-d for having delivered the Israelites from the Egyptians and even offers a sacrifice to G-d (Exod. 18:8-12) would lead the reader to assume that Jethro had converted to Judaism.28 Josephus quite carefully omits Jethro’s statement about G-d’s greatness and has Moses offer the sacrifice (Ant. 3.63). Moreover, it is significant that Josephus says nothing about Ruth’s conversion to Judaism, presumably because he wanted to avoid lending credence to the charge that the Jews were aggressive missionaries.29 According to the biblical version, when King Asa of Judah was

portant from a military point of view, and of their grisly act of committing mutual suicide rather than submitting to the Romans, might have aroused the admiration of the Romans, as, indeed, it did of the Roman soldiers who entered Masada and who were “incredulous of such amazing fortitude” (War 7.405). 27 Christian tradition makes Clemens and Domitilla martyrs during Domitian’s persecution of the Christians; but by the time of Dio (150-235) the distinction between Jews and Christians was probably clear to the Roman world, as Leon 1960, 33-34, remarks, though Dio himself never mentions the Christians by name. 28 In the rabbinic tradition Jethro is represented as a proselyte (Mid. Exod. Rab. 1.32, Tan. B, Exodus 71). 29 See Feldman 1991a, 50-52.

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gathering his army, a number of Jews from the Kingdom of Israel who happened to be sojourning in the Kingdom of Judah deserted to him when they saw that G-d was with him (2 Chr. 15:9). The LXX, in its version of this passage, declares that Asa assembled the tribes of Judah and Benjamin, together with strangers (προσλυτοι) that dwelt with them. The word here translated as “strangers” is the same as the word for proselytes and implies that they were actually converts. Josephus, in his sensitivity to the issue, omits this passage.30 Again, in the Jonah pericope, it is clear that the Bible looks upon the people of Nineveh as not only repenting but also as actually acknowledging the G-d of Israel and hence of converting to Judaism (Jonah 3:5).31 Josephus, however, totally omits the statement that the Ninevites believed in G-d. He avoids the issue by simply not indicating to which gods the sailors are praying (Ant. 9.209).32 Moreover, the biblical statement that the Ninevites feared the L-rd exceedingly (Jonah 1:16) might well ring a bell among readers as a reference to the so-called “G-d-fearers,” who accepted certain practices of Judaism without actually converting33 and who are well known from the eleven passages in Acts (10:2, 22, 35; 13:16, 26, 43, 50; 16:14, 17:4, 17; 18.7) referring to φοβο*μενοι τ7ν θεν (“fearers of G-d”) and σεβμενοι τ7ν θεν (“reverencers of G-d”) and from the passage in Juvenal referring to one who fears (metuentem) the Sabbath and who has a son who eventually becomes a full-fledged Jew (14.96-106). It is true that these terms, in and of themselves, do not necessarily refer to “sympathizers” and may, indeed, denote pious Jews, as I have noted.34 But the new inscriptions from Aphrodisias make it more likely that these are, indeed, terms referring to “sympathizers,” at least in the third century, the apparent date of the inscriptions.35 30

See Feldman 1994c, 56. This is the rabbinic tradition as well (Tan. Vayikra 8 end, Pirqe R. El. 10.7273, Mid. Jonah 97). 32 See Feldman 1992e, 21-26. 33 See Feldman 1993, 342-82. 34 See Feldman 1950, 200-8. 35 See Feldman 1986c, 58-69; and Feldman 1989b, 265-305. By the third century there can be no doubt that there was a class of “sympathizers,” as is clear from a passage in the Jerusalem Talmud (Meg. 3.2.74a; see the discussion of this passage by Lieberman 1942, 78-80, which quotes Rabbi Eleazar, a third-century Palestinian rabbi, as saying that only the Gentiles who had nothing to do with the Jews during their bitter past will not be permitted to convert to Judaism in the time 31

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In addition to the omission of reference to the circumcision of the Hivvites, Josephus (Gen. 34:20-23) omits the statement made by Hamor and Shechem, apparently completely convinced of the sincerity of the Israelite response, to the people of their city that the Israelites were peaceful people and urging the Hivvites to agree to allow them to settle in the land, to trade there, and to intermarry with them, and to fulfill the condition demanded by them, namely to circumcise all their males. To have included all this would certainly have created greater sympathy for the Hivvites and would also have illustrated the aggressiveness of the Israelites in seeking proselytes, insisted upon by Jacob’s sons. By omitting this Josephus makes the action of Simeon and Levi appear not as treachery in violating an agreement that the Hivvites had entered into but rather as revenge for the rape of their sister. As to Josephus’ omission of the deceit of Simeon and Levi in killing the Hivvites after they had fulfilled the condition of circumcision of all the males, Josephus was apparently sensitive to the charge that the Israelites could not be trusted to be honest in keeping their word. Elsewhere (Ant. 1.271), Josephus similarly avoids the embarrassment of having Jacob lie to his father by identifying himself as Esau (Gen. 27:19). Josephus solves that problem by the simple expedient of omitting the question, “Are you really my son Esau?” and by likewise omitting Jacob’s false and embarrassing statement that “I am Esau, your first-born.” Similarly, Josephus omits the question as to how the meal could have been prepared so quickly, as well as Jacob’s deceptive answer (Gen. 27:20). Indeed, in Josephus (Ant. 2.173) G-d Himself justifies Jacob’s theft of the blessing, saying that it was He who had given the princedom to him rather than to Esau.36

of the Messiah, but that those “Heaven-fearers” (yirei shamayim) who had shared the tribulations of Israel would be accepted as full proselytes, with the Emperor Antoninus at their head. Attempts to identify “Antoninus” with any of the Antonine or Severan emperors at the end of the second or at the beginning of the third century have proven unsuccessful. See Gutmann 1971, 3:165-66. 36 Similarly, Jub. 26:13 avoids having Jacob lie to his father; instead, he says, “I am your son.” To be sure, whereas in the Hebrew text Jacob merely asks Esau to sell him the birthright (Gen. 25:31), Josephus arouses more sympathy for Esau, inasmuch as he explicitly states that Jacob took advantage (χρησάμενος) of Esau’s famished state and forced (jνάγκαζε) him to sell it. Josephus mentions Esau’s hunger three times in this brief section, whereas the Hebrew text does not refer to it at all. Hence, the sale appears more justifiable as a matter of sheer survival for Esau. Most striking of all, however, is that Josephus says nothing about Esau’s

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Moreover, whereas in the Bible (Gen. 34:13) all the sons of Jacob are described as speaking deceitfully to the Hivvites, in Josephus the blame, if there is any, is restricted to Simeon and Levi, since in Josephus (Ant. 1.339) Jacob, in an extra-biblical addition, revealing to his children the rape of their sister and the request of Hamor, asked them to hold a consultation as to what it was necessary to do; and when most of them were quiet, being at a loss as to what to do, it was Simeon and Levi who agreed on their plan. Furthermore, Josephus’ audience would have sympathized with these two brothers of Dinah, since, as he adds, they were born of the same mother as Dinah (Ant. 1.339). In addition, whereas in Gen. 34:25-26 Simeon and Levi kill the Hivvites on the third day after their circumcision, when they were in pain, and thus may be accused of a cowardly action, in Josephus they attack them, in a surprise military action, when they had overly indulged in feasting, first killing the guards when they were asleep and then killing all the males but sparing the women. The fact that it was, in an extra-biblical comment, at a festival would remind Josephus’ readers that it was, in a similar extra-biblical comment, at a festival that Dinah had been seduced by Shechem. The punishment would thus appear to be particularly appropriate for the crime. To Roman readers the whole incident might have been reminiscent of the celebrated action, according to the story popularized by Livy (1.58-60), taken by the Romans to avenge the rape of Lucretia by Sextus Tarquinius, the son of King Tarquinius Superbus, through driving Tarquinius Superbus and his sons into exile and establishing a republic in 509 b.c.e. For apologetic reasons, since Jacob was identified as the ancestor of the Jewish people, Josephus takes care to add the unbiblical detail (Ant. 1.340) that Simeon and Levi, in massacring the Shechemites, acted without their father Jacob’s permission and that Jacob was stricken with consternation (κπλαγ%ντι, “panic-stricken,” “driven out of his senses by a sudden shock”) at the enormity (μ%γεθος, “greatness,” “magnitude”) of the deeds of Simeon and Levi and was angry with them (Ant. 1.341). In Gen. 34:30 Jacob rebukes his sons because their action has brought him personal trouble, but there is

despising his birthright (Gen. 25:34). This more positive treatment of Esau, as Feldman 1998, 316-22, remarks, was motivated by the fact that Esau had already in Josephus’ time become identified with Rome.

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no indication that he is really angry with them, let alone aghast at the enormity of their deeds. Perhaps Jacob’s stronger language in Josephus is influenced by Jacob’s words (Gen. 49:7) in his blessing of Simeon and Levi (which Jos., Ant. 1.194, there omits), in which he curses their anger and denominates their wrath as cruel. If we ask why Josephus is so critical of the zealous acts of Simeon and Levi whereas he approves of the zealousness of Phinehas (Ant. 4.152-55), we may suggest that he is sensitive about relations with non-Jews, whereas he approves of strict enforcement of moral standards with regard to Jews. Josephus may also have been influenced by the fact that Phinehas, like himself, was a priest; and the biblical text (Num. 25:13) states specifically that G-d rewarded Phinehas for his zealotry by granting him and his descendants the covenant of a perpetual priesthood. If we ask how Simeon and Levi were able to overcome the entire adult male population of the Hivvites, we may suggest that, according to Josephus (Ant. 1.340), there was a festival, and the Hivvites had turned to relaxation and feasting, and Simeon and Levi were able to overcome the Hivvites while they were asleep.37 6. Theodotus’ Version An enigmatic writer named Theodotus, variously identified as a Jew or as a Samaritan38 (though Eusebius himself apparently thinks that he is a pagan author),39 who lived in either Palestine or Alexandria, is the author of an epic, the title of which is disputed, and which is variously dated in either the late third or late second century b.c.e.40 He is quoted by Eusebius (Pr. Ev. 9.22.1-11) from the first century b.c.e. Alexander Polyhistor,41 the extant fragments of which deal with

37

Joseph and Aseneth 23:14 and Test. of Levi 5:1-3 explain this by noting that their weapons were of divine origin. 38 See Holladay 1989, 2:58-68, 84-85. 39 Josephus, Ap. 1.216, mentions a Theodotus in a list of Greek historians, whom he clearly identified as pagans, who, he says, have made more than a passing allusion to the Jews, though he adds (1.217) that the majority of these writers have misrepresented the facts of the early history of the Jews because they had not read the sacred writings of the Jews. But the fact that this Theodotus is identified as a historian, rather than as a poet, would argue against identifying him as the author of our poem, as Holladay 1989, 2:78, indicates. 40 See Holladay 1989, 2:68-70. 41 On these questions see Holladay 1989, 2:51-99.

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the patriarch Jacob. Of the 47 lines that have survived, the majority deal with Shechem’s rape of Dinah and its aftermath, although it is doubtful whether this is the central focus of the entire poem. Theodotus (ap. Eus., Pr. Ev. 9.22.4) begins his account in a tone that would seem to view the Hivvites (Shechemites) in a favorable light, since, whereas the Bible (Gen. 33:19) states that Jacob bought a piece of land from the sons of Hamor for a hundred pieces of money, Theodotus states that Hamor received him hospitably and actually gave him a certain portion of land. Like Josephus (Ant. 1.337), he adds that the occasion for Dinah’s visit to Shechem was that there was a great festival taking place there and that she wanted to see the city.42 If, as noted above, this was, in all likelihood, a religious festival, the fact that this was the occasion for the rape of Dinah would surely, as we have remarked, cast Shechem in a poor light. Likewise, the details of the rape, that he seized her (`ρπάσαντα, “captivate,” “ravish”) as his own, carried her away (διακομ5σαι), and ruined her (φθε-ραι, “destroyed” her), paints a blacker picture of Shechem than does the Bible (Gen. 34:2), which says that he took her (‫)ויקח‬, lay with her (‫)וישׁכב‬, and humbled (‫ )ויענה‬her, in a more negative tone resembling that of Josephus (Ant. 1.337), who likewise says, using words with the same roots, that he seized her (διk `ρπαγOς) and ruined her (φθε5ρει). Whereas in the Bible (Gen. 34:13-17) it is Jacob’s sons who tell Hamor, the father of Shechem, that they will agree with Hamor’s proposal that the Hivvites and the Israelites intermarry with one another only if the Hivvites undergo circumcision and whereas Josephus omits this condition altogether, according to Theodotus it is Jacob himself who enunciates this condition, thus removing Simeon and Levi from the charge of duplicity in making this condition but not in good faith. The key to Theodotus’ account is the importance of circumcision in order to become a Jew ( Zουδα5σαι), “for this very thing is not allowed (θεμιτν) for Hebrews to bring home sons-in-law and daughters-in-law from another place but only one who boasts (ξε*χεται) of being of the same race” (ap. Eus., Pr. Ev. 9.22.6),

42

It is primarily this mention of a festival as the occasion of Dinah’s visit to Shechem that leads Kippenberg 1971, 56, n. 123, to conclude that Josephus (who, to be sure, does not mention Theodotus anywhere by name) is dependent on Theodotus for his version of the Dinah episode, especially since it is not found in any of our extant midrashim or Philo or any other source.

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whereas the Bible (Gen. 34:14) states merely that to be uncircumcised is a disgrace (‫)חרפה‬, without any mention of the significance of circumcision as the key to conversion. Moreover, it is clear that actual conversion is referred to and not merely circumcision per se, inasmuch as the text of Theodotus speaks of the necessity of having both sons-in-law and daughters-in-law of the same race, that is, being Jewish. Whereas the Bible depicts Simeon as deceiving the Hivvites, Theodotus, like Josephus, justifies his act as one of vengeance, since he was unwilling to endure civilly (πολιτικς) the outrage (>βριν) to his sister. But, in an important addition to the biblical account (ap. Eus., Pr. Ev. 9.22.8), Theodotus states that Simeon spurred (παρορμOσαι) his brother Levi to action by citing an oracle (λγιον) that said that G-d had ordained (νελε-ν, “give a judgment”) “to give to Abraham’s descendants ten nations (=θνεα).” While this last phrase is enigmatic,43 the import is to indicate divine approval for the act against the Hivvites.44 Moreover, Theodotus (9.29.9) goes out of his way uniquely to blacken the Hivvites when he presents the extrabiblical explanation that G-d45 implanted (μβαλε-ν, “threw in”) this notion in the minds of Simeon and Levi because the Shechemites were godless (σεβε-ς, “unholy,” ap. Eus., Pr. Ev. 9.22.9b), depicting them in a manner reminding one of the Sodomites, that is, with the statement that they did not show hospitality to strangers,46 did not dispense justice to whoever came to them, whether low or noble,

43 One possibility is that the reference is to the ten lost tribes of Israel; but the reference to them as nations makes this hypothesis unlikely. See Holladay 1989, 2:187-88. 44 This divine approval is similar to the statement in the Test. of Levi 5.1-3, according to which an angel opened the gates of heaven for Levi and gave him a shield and sword, with instructions to take revenge on Shechem for the rape of Dinah. 45 So also Jud. 9:2: “O L-rd G-d of my ancestor Simeon, to whom you gave a sword to take revenge on the strangers.” Likewise, Jub. 30:5: “Judgment is ordained in heaven against them [the Hivvites] that they [Simeon and Levi] should destroy with the sword all the men of the Shechemites because they had wrought shame in Israel.” Similarly, according to the Test. of Levi 5:3-5, Levi was instructed through an angel to avenge the rape of Dinah. A similar tradition, that the swords that carry out the vengeance came from heaven, is found in Joseph and Aseneth (23:14), which recalls that G-d punished the insult of the Shechemites through the swords of Simeon and Levi. 46 So also Test. of Levi 7.1: “In this way they treated all strangers, taking their wives by force and banishing them.”

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nor did they enforce their laws throughout their city, since it was their deadly deeds that were their chief concern. Hence, according to Theodotus, the destruction of the Hivvites was in fulfillment of G-d’s decree and thus frees Simeon and Levi and the Jews of blame, whereas Josephus places the responsibility for the act of vengeance on the shoulders of Simeon and Levi and justifies it solely as such. Unlike the Bible, Philo, Pseudo-Philo, and Josephus, none of whom have any comment about the Hivvites as a people, Theodotus maligns them. Most significantly, in contrast to the biblical account, Theodotus never says that the Hivvites actually underwent circumcision. And yet, whereas Philo indicates that Simeon and Levi killed those whom they encountered when they entered, and the Bible (Gen. 34:25) and Josephus say that they killed all the males of the Hivvites, and Pseudo-Philo goes further in stating that they killed all the Hivvites, Theodotus (9.22.10) asserts that upon entering the city of Hivvites they first killed those whom they met; and then Simeon slew Hamor, and Levi slew Shechem, describing the actual slaying in fulsome detail. Theodotus then says that the other brothers, when they learned of their deed, assisted them, presumably in killing the rest of the Hivvites, and in pillaging the city. In sharp contrast to the biblical account, which states that Jacob censured his sons for their deed, Theodotus does not either blame or praise it, but he does say (ap. Eus., Pr. Ev. 9.22.9) that G-d Himself punished the Shechemites because they dishonored visitors and did not uphold justice. Our analysis may help to settle the question of the place where the work was written. Theodotus is generally thought to have written in either a Palestinian or an Alexandrian setting.47 Since most scholars believe that the work is by a Samaritan, inasmuch as the central focus of the poem is Shechem, which he refers to as a sacred city (ap. Eus., Pr. Ev. 9.22.1), which was, indeed, revered by the Samaritans, and which was the chief city of the Samaritans (Jos., Ant. 11.340), though there is no evidence that the entire poem dealt exclusively with Shechem, this view is held by most. The fact that the author states that Shechem was founded by Sikimius, the son of Hermes (ap. Eus., Pr. Ev. 9.22.1),48 would seem to indicate a syncretistic ten47 48

5.

See Holladay 1989, 2:70-72. Admittedly, however, this text is disputed. See Holladay 1989, 2:131-35 n.

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dency, which was especially, though not exclusively, characteristic of Samaritan Hellenism.49 Nevertheless, it seems hard to believe that a Samaritan would have spoken of the Shechemites as godless (ap. Eus., Pr. Ev. 9.22.9b), inhospitable, lawless, and deadly. On the other hand, we know of few writers, none of them poets, who wrote in Greek in Palestine,50 whereas Alexandria was certainly the center of Jewish Hellenistic writing. Moreover, the fact that Theodotus is so familiar with Homer would make it more likely that he was from Alexandria, since this was the center of Homeric scholarship, though, we may note that the establishment of a Greek gymnasium in Palestine ca. 175 b.c.e. might have educated Jews in Greek literature and though “the books of Homer” are mentioned in the Mishnah (Yad. 4:6). However, the fact that the author has not explained away or omitted the deceit practiced by Simeon and Levi and that he presents the act of Simeon and Levi as having divine sanction for their deed would indicate an insensitivity to the criticism of anti-Semites with which an inhabitant of Alexandria would have been expected to be concerned, especially since that was the center of anti-Semitic writing and riots. If, indeed, as most scholars believe, the author was a Samaritan, as is indicated especially by his detailed description of Samaria (ap. Eus., Pr. Ev. 9.22.1), the possible reference to the ten tribes of the northern kingdom of Israel (ap. Eus., Pr. Ev. 9.22.9a), and the use of “Hebrews” in reference to themselves,51 it is more likely that he came from Palestine,52 since most Samaritans lived there, though 49

See Holladay 1989, 2:63-64. Josephus wrote his works in Greek in Rome. The only authors who we know wrote in Greek in Palestine are the translator of the book of Esther into Greek in the latter part of the second century b.c.e., as indicated by the colophon; Herod the Great, whose memoirs in Greek (Jos., Ant. 15.174) are lost; Justus of Tiberias, who wrote a history of the Jewish war in the first century (Jos., Life 336-39), which is no longer extant; and the nameless others, who likewise wrote histories of the war (Jos., Life 336; War 1.1-2). Jason of Cyrene, who wrote a history of the Maccabees which is summarized in II Maccabees, perhaps spent some time in Palestine (so Hengel 1974, 1:95-99). The historian Eupolemus, who lived in the middle of the second century b.c.e., perhaps wrote in Palestine, but I (1993, 28-29) have disputed this. Pseudo-Eupolemus, an anonymous Samaritan who wrote in the middle of the second century b.c.e., probably, but not necessarily, wrote in Palestine. See Holladay 1983, 1:157, 161 n. 2. 51 But see Holladay 1989, 2:64-65. 52 This would be especially true if he was connected with Hasmonean politics, since the emphasis of the poem on circumcision would fit in with John Hyrcanus’ forcible imposition of Judaism on the Idumaeans. See Collins 1980, 102. 50

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we do know of Samaritans who lived in Egypt53 and other places as well.54 As for the negative portrayal of the Shechemites as “impious” and as for the fact that the author enthusiastically approves of the actions taken by Jacob’s sons against Shechem, the Samaritans occupy the geographical area known as Shechem but they are not connected with the ancient inhabitants of that city. In summary, Theodotus has made the fewest changes in his version of the narrative. Unlike Philo, Pseudo-Philo, and Josephus, he has not omitted the demand that the Hivvite males be circumcised, and in fact has ascribed this demand to Jacob and not to Simeon and Levi; nor has he omitted the deceit practiced by Simeon and Levi in slaying Hamor and Shechem, even while Hamor was encouraging his subjects to be circumcised. He presents the blackest picture of the Hivvites, describing them in tones reminiscent of Homer’s Cyclopes (Od. 9.215) and of the biblical Sodomites (Gen. 18:20). Most important, as in Jud. 9:2, the Test. of Levi 5-7, and Jub. 30, the act of Simeon and Levi, far from being criticized or requiring apology, has no less than divine sanction, since G-d implanted this notion in their mind. Basically, the act is one of revenge; the author is not primarily interested in making a case for conversion of the Gentiles. 7. Conclusion Philo, Pseudo-Philo in his Biblical Antiquities, and Josephus were all confronted with several problems in connection with their treatment of the rape of Dinah by Shechem, the son of the king of the Hivvites. In the first place, how were they to understand the rape of a Jewish girl, the daughter of none other than the forefather Jacob? How were they to understand the act of a non-Jew in committing such a deed? How were they to understand the apparent genuine love that Shechem felt for Dinah after the attack? How were they to understand the initial silence of Jacob after the attack? How were they to understand the demand of Jacob’s sons that the Hivvite males be circumcised? How were they to understand that two men,

53

Josephus (Ant. 13.74-79) informs us of a controversy between Jews and Samaritans in Egypt before Ptolemy VI Philometor. 54 See Holladay 1983, 1:161 n. 2.

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Simeon and Levi, succeeded in overcoming the city of Shechem and in killing all of its men (Gen. 34:25)? How were they to understand the deceit practiced by Simeon and Levi in killing the Hivvite men after they had fulfilled their promise of circumcising themselves?55 How were they to understand Jacob’s sharp attack upon Simeon and Levi on his death bed? All three writers had the option of omitting reference to the incident altogether, as they do in some other instances, but they chose not to exercise this option. Rather, particularly Pseudo-Philo, they abbreviate their accounts in varying degrees. Philo and Pseudo-Philo have omitted practically all the details of the narrative. Philo resorts to allegory, particularly through analyzing the meaning of their names, in equating Dinah with judgement and virtue and in denigrating Shechem as senseless and as hypocritically resorting to speciousness of speech. He says nothing about the demand that the Hivvites undergo circumcision. Instead, they are occupied in pleasure-loving when Simeon and Levi, who are inspired with zeal for virtue and who represent sound sense, avenge the rape of their sister. Pseudo-Philo omits all the details that would create sympathy for Shechem and the Hivvites and that would indict Simeon and Levi for deceit and cruelty. His major goal is to demonstrate that good people, notably Dinah, are ultimately rewarded by G-d. Most significantly, Josephus omits the condition that the males of the Hivvites be circumcised, since this would have shown aggressiveness on the part of the Israelites in seeking proselytes. Simeon and Levi are presented not as deceitful in violating an agreement but rather as avenging the rape of their sister. Their vengeance is achieved in a surprise military action. In massacring the Hivvites Simeon and Levi acted without their father’s permission. Josephus,

55 The deceit is omitted not only in Philo, Pseudo-Philo, and Josephus, but also in Jud. (9:2-4) and Jub. (30:1-25). Theodotus retains it. Most manuscripts of the Test. of Levi 6:3 read that Levi advised his father and brother Reuben that he should tell the sons of Hamor to be circumcised; but Robert H. Charles 1913, basing himself on the Vatican manuscript (Cod. Graec. 731), which he considered the most important of all the manuscripts, reads that Levi advised that the sons of Hamor not be circumcised. For a discussion of the text see Kugel 1992, 8-12, who favors the reading of the Vatican manuscript. According to this reading, Jacob and his othersons were quite willing to intermarry with the people of Shechem. It was only Levi’s zeal that thwarted this plan.

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sensitive to relations with non-Jews, is critical of the zealousness of Simeon and Levi. Theodotus is not confronted with the problems that beset Philo and Josephus in dealing with the narrative of the rape of Dinah. Like Pseudo-Philo, his central focus is on G-d, who is the one who orchestrates the action. But unlike Philo, Pseudo-Philo, and Josephus, who omit the various details concerning the demand that the Hivvite males be circumcised and the deceit of Simeon and Levi in slaughtering the Hivvites, Theodotus presents the narrative in its fullest scope and blackens the Hivvites even more than do Philo, Pseudo-Philo, and Josephus. He is clearly not afraid of the charge that the Israelites use force in seeking converts, since he is not interested in gaining converts; rather, the action of Shechem justifies a divinely-ordained policy of revenge.

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PART FOUR

JOSEPHUS

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CHAPTER TWELVE

JOSEPHUS

1. Life Few scholars have been neutral in their judgement of the life of Josephus. In the nineteenth century there was an almost unanimous condemnation of him by Jews and Christians alike, a major exception being the Jewish scholar Hamburger,1 who regarded Josephus’ own steadfast adherence to Judaism and his able literary defence of its tenets as providing sufficient ground for pardoning his supposed wrongs to the Jewish people. Aside from Josephus’ own autobiography and the references to his career in his Jewish War, the sources for his life are slight. Among pagan writers Suetonius (Vespasian 5.6), Appian (fragment 17) and Cassius Dio (66.1) mention Josephus’ prediction that Vespasian would become emperor; and Porphyry (De abstinentia et esu animalium 4.11) cites Josephus’ discussion of the three philosophical schools. Perhaps the silence of the Talmud about him is due to the fact that he was an “outsider,” though Brüll2 has attempted to find a hidden reference to him in a minor Talmudic tractate (Der. Er. Rab 5, Pirge Ben Azzai 3) which mentions a visit of several sages to a nameless (to be sure, pagan) philosopher in Rome seeking his intercession with the Emperor Domitian. Born in the year 37 c.e., Josephus was given the Hebrew name Joseph ben Mattityahu. He (Life 2) is proud of the fact that he was descended from the first of the twenty-four courses of priests and that he was descended through his mother from the Hasmonean royalty (ibid.). We know nothing of Josephus’ life until the age of fourteen, when, according to Josephus (Life 8), the chief priests and leaders of the city of Jerusalem constantly resorted to him for information concerning the laws. This is, however, a traditional motif

1 2

Hamburger 1883, 502-10. Brüll 1879, 40-42.

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in biographies, as we see, for example, in Luke 2:46-47, as well as in ancient biographies of Moses, Homer, Aeschines, Alexander the Great, Apollonius of Rhodes, Augustus, Ovid, Nicolaus of Damascus, and Apollonius of Tyana. At about the age of sixteen (Life 10-12) Josephus decided to gain experience in the three sects (Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes) in order to select the best; but this procedure is, again, a common motif in this period, as we see in the cases of Nicolaus of Damascus, Apollonius of Tyana, Justin,and Galen; and it may, therefore, not correspond to reality. There is some confusion in the text, because Josephus (Life 11) proceeds to say that he became a devoted disciple of a certain hermit (not necessarily an Essene) named Bannus for three years. He was now, he says, in his nineteenth year; but since he spent three years with Bannus this would leave no time for the three sects. He now made his choice, involving himself in public life as a Pharisee (Life 12), though one would have expected him to favor the Sadducees, who were, it would seem, more closely affiliated with the priests and were more conservative than the Pharisees. But apparently Josephus realized that his ambitions would be better served by affiliating with the Pharisees, since they were more popular with the masses (Ant. 18.15). In 64 Josephus (Life 13) says that he went to Rome (there is no statement who sent him) to help deliver some priestly friends from bondage. After surviving a shipwreck, he succeeded in his mission, thanks to the aid of a Jewish actor at court named Aliturus and of Nero’s mistress Poppaea Sabina, who was a “sympathizer” (θεοσεβς) with Judaism (Ant. 20.195). In addition to the release of the captives Josephus also received some gifts; and one wonders whether there was not some connection between the extraordinary achievement of the young man and a promise, explicit or implicit, to defuse the incipient revolution once he would return to Jerusalem. Two years later, according to the War (2.562-68), the revolutionaries, after their rout of the Roman governor of Syria, Cestius Gallus, brought over to their side, whether by persuasion or force, such pro-Romans as still remained and appointed additional generals, including Josephus. In the Life (29), however, which tells the story at greater length, Josephus asserts that he, together with the chief priests and leading Pharisees, pretended to agree with the views of the revolutionaries, while actually hoping that Cestius would in the meantime quell the revolution and that the leaders in Jerusalem, who favored pacification, dispatched him with two other priests to Galilee to induce the

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terrorists to fight only in self-defence. Inasmuch as Josephus was so young, being not yet thirty, and had had no previous military experience, it seems remarkable that he was chosen as commander in the area where the Romans were most likely to attack first; and it seems likely that he was selected more because of his prominent genealogy than because of his capacity for military leadership. The later account (in the Life) would appear to correct the earlier one (in the War); and Josephus could afford to tell the truth, since now he was famous and honored. In defecting to the Romans he was merely following the wishes of the council that had appointed him. One possible way of reconciling the two versions is to say that initially Josephus sincerely attempted to fight against the Romans, but that when he saw that it was hopeless, he went over to the Roman side. The two versions may thus represent two stages in Josephus’ activities. We have every right to be suspicious of one who received such rewards from Titus as a tract of land outside Jerusalem, some sacred books (presumably Torah scrolls), the liberation of some friends, Roman citizenship, lodging in the former palace of Vespasian, and a pension. One wonders why Josephus, once appointed, did not undertake guerrilla warfare, as his ancestors, the Maccabees, had done so successfully more than two centuries earlier, or why he did not retreat with his army to Jerusalem, which he knew was by far the best fortified of all the Jewish strongholds, rather than shut himself up in the tactically hopeless trap of Jotapata. The suspicion is strong that Josephus was playing a double role; and indeed he says, in an extraordinarily candid passage (Life 72), that when the revolutionary John of Gischala had asked for the imperial grain in Galilee, so that he might use the income with which to construct defences for Gischala, Josephus refused, saying that he intended to reserve the grain “either for the Romans or for my own use.” Again, the fact that in the suicide pact with his men at Jotapata Josephus somehow managed to be among the last two has led to suspicions that he arranged the lots. Indeed, the Slavonic version (War 3.391), which hardly seeks to discredit Josephus, states quite explicitly that “he counted the numbers with cunning and thereby misled them all.” Perhaps Josephus, guided by an inner voice, was so deeply imbued with a sense of mission to record these events for posterity that he felt that he had to survive in order to fulfil this task. Moreover, in view of the tremendous success of the Jews during this period in

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winning converts, he may have looked upon the revolt as ruining the prospect of winning the Roman Empire to Judaism. In addition, we may note that while some of the people in Jerusalem condemned him as a traitor, he was apparently never censured by the Jewish leaders. His action is hardly excused by the fact that Josephus was not alone in siding with the Romans (the Jewish king Agrippa II also did so) or that he felt that he had to survive in order to write the history of the period and in order to defend the Jews against anti-Semitic attacks. On the other hand, Josephus may have been sincerely convinced first, that the war was a terrible mistake, since an independent state was hardly a sine qua non for Judaism; second, that the Jews had been given considerable privileges by the Romans; and, third, that they were well on their way to converting the Empire to Judaism. If the revolutionary council had indeed been sincere in prosecuting the war, it should have made a greater effort to enlist the support of Jewish communities outside Palestine, especially in Asia Minor, Syria, Egypt, and Babylonia (each of which had an estimated million Jews).3 It should also have attempted to entice the Parthians, the traditional and often successful opponent of the Romans, to coordinate the attack and to induce various other discontented rebel tribes to coordinate their revolts. However, the fact that we do not have the accounts of Josephus’ opponents, such as Justus of Tiberias, means that we have a one-sided view; yet the fact that Josephus himself did not destroy his own self-incriminating record leads us to believe in its essential truthfulness. And even if we did have Justus’ work, there is no guarantee that it would be more reliable than that of Josephus; after all, Justus could hardly have served for so many years as court secretary to Agrippa II, a puppet of the Romans, unless he, too, had been a lackey of the Romans. Indeed, Josephus and Justus seem to have been rivals precisely because they were so similar in their outlook. It has often been pointed out that the great Pharisaic leader JoÈanan ben Zakkai similarly sought peace with the Romans and likewise prophesied (Giã. 56a-b) that the general Vespasian would become emperor. But the two predictions should be differentiated, since JoÈanan asked and received nothing for himself. That two people independently might have made the same prediction does

3

See Baron 1952, 1:370-72 n. 7.

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not seem implausible, in view of the fact that Vespasian was clearly the most experienced general of the time; indeed, Josephus (War 6.312), Suetonius (Vesp. 4) and Tacitus (Hist. 5.13) all indicate that there was a prediction in the air that someone from Judea would become ruler of the world at that time. Undoubtedly, as we may gather from the appearance of the revolutionary leader MenaÈem in royal robes in the Temple (War 2.444), there was a Messianic basis to the revolt against Rome, as there was to be in the revolt of Lucuas Andreas against Trajan in 115-17 and in that of Bar Kokhba against Hadrian in 132-35; but instead of applying the Messianic prophecy to the Jews, Josephus and JoÈanan apparently applied it to Vespasian, just as Cyrus in Isa. 41:1 is called Messiah. 2. Works a. The Jewish War (Bellum Judaicum) Josephus’ first work, his Jewish War, was originally composed in his “ancestral language,”—presumably Aramaic though some have suggested that it was in Hebrew (War 1.3), to be sent to the barbarians of the upper country Babylonia and Parthia), apparently as a warning to them not to repeat the mistake of clashing with the Roman Empire. Not a single fragment of this Aramaic or Hebrew version has come down to us, perhaps because of the bitterness felt by the Jews toward Josephus, whom they regarded as a despicable traitor. With the help of assistants (Ap. 1.50) he rewrote (rather than translated) the work in Greek.4 This help must have been considerable, since few Aramaisms or Hebraisms remain in our Greek text. The view that the Slavonic version was made directly from the lost Aramaic version has now been disproved by Meà´erskij,5 who, through a careful linguistic analysis, has concluded that the translation was made directly from Greek. The usual date for the War, 75-79, has now been challenged by Cohen,6 who notes that the black picture of Caecina (War 4.63440) shows that the work was published after 79, when Caecina was

4 5 6

See Hata 1975-76, 89-108. Meà´erskij 1958. Cohen 1979, 85-86.

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executed. Book 7 of the War, describing events after the climactic burning of the Temple, as Schwartz7 has convincingly indicated, appears to have been added as a kind of appendix and was apparently composed in the mid-nineties, since it (War 7.451-53) describes the death of Catullus, whom he identifies as Valerius Catullus Messalinus. Caecina was executed for an alleged plot against the Emperor Vespasian. In Josephus’ clearly biased account Caecina is depicted as having been always treacherous and unfaithful. Hence it was most likely written after Caecina was executed. Cohen also notes that Book 7 gives much more prominence and favor to Domitian, and he concludes that it is a Domitianic addition; Morton and Michaelson,8 in their statistical study, confirm that Book 7 differs markedly from the other books of the War in style. For the first part of the war, when Josephus himself was a participant, it seems likely that he relied chief1y upon his own observations; for the latter part he apparently relied primarily upon the memoirs of Vespasian and Titus (Life 342, 358; Ap. 1.50). Despite his statement, traditional in prooemia, that previous accounts had been inaccurate or prejudiced or rhetorical, the very title, Concerning the Jewish War, shows that Josephus is writing from the standpoint of the Romans. Tacitus (Hist. 5.10-13), we may note, although manifestly anti-Jewish, gives a different picture of the war, portraying it as a national rebellion rather than as the work of a few thugs. Though Josephus agrees with the Talmudic rabbis (Giã. 55b-57a) in condemning the revolutionaries, in stressing the internal division among the Jews, and in describing the terrible famine that afflicted the inhabitants of Jerusalem, he ignores mention of the facts that many Jews, not only of the Roman Empire but also beyond the Euphrates, aided the revolutionaries (Cassius Dio 66.4.3) and that some Roman soldiers even deserted to the Jews (Cassius Dio 66.5.4). Moreover, the messianic goal of the rebellion indicated by Tacitus (Hist. 5.13) and Suetonius (Vesp. 4) and by Simon bar Giora’s coins is almost completely suppressed by Josephus, except for War 6.312-15, presumably because he wished to represent the war as an action of a fanatical element in order to conceal the general Jewish hostility to the Romans and to exculpate the Jews as a whole in the eyes of the Roman

7 8

Schwartz 1986, 373-86. Morton and Michaelson 1973, 33-56.

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administration. Moreover, inasmuch as the other two great revolts against Rome (115-17 and 132-35) were messianic and inasmuch as even Josephus himself describes the appearance of Menahem, the rebel leader, as resembling a king (War 2.434)—hence like a political messiah—we may suppose that there was a messianic aspect in the revolt. In addition, as Thackeray9 has noted, Josephus’ blackened portraits of the revolutionaries Simon bar Giora and John of Gischala are suspiciously modelled, to some extent, on that of Catiline by Cicero. On the other hand, Farmer’s theory10 that Josephus has deliberately ignored a connection between the revolutionaries and the Maccabees has not won general acceptance, since the Maccabees rebelled because of the suppression of the Jewish religion, whereas the Jews in the time of the revolt against Rome had religious liberty but sought to obtain political liberty. Josephus has, however, neglected two other causes of the revolt: the increasing power in Rome of anti-Jewish freedmen of Greek origin who resented the special treatment accorded the Jews and the resentment of Jewish success in winning non-Jews to Judaism. However, Josephus pays little attention to the social and economic causes of the war, such as overpopulation, uneven distribution of land, and heavy taxation. As to the destruction of the Temple, there is good reason to prefer the statement of the fourth-century Christian historian Sulpicius Severus (Chronica 2.30.6-7), who was clearly aware of Josephus’ account. Sulpicius is supported by the implicit statement in the proem of Valerius Flaccus (Argonautica 1.13-14), who speaks of Titus’ conquest of Jerusalem “as he hurls the brands and spreads havoc in every tower.” He is likewise supported by Cassius Dio (6.65), and by the Talmud (b. Giã. 56b), that Titus demanded the destruction of the Temple, rather than Josephus’ statement (War 6.241) that Titus urged that the Temple be spared. Moreover, Josephus seems to contradict himself when he states (War 7.1) that Titus ordered the city and the Temple to be burned and when he declares (Ant. 20.250) that Titus captured and set fire to the Temple. The most spectacular case where archaeology has enabled us to check Josephus’ accuracy is the episode at Masada. Before the

9 10

Thackeray 1929, 119-20. Farmer 1956.

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discoveries of Yadin in 1963-65, scholars had tended to be sceptical about Josephus’ account, since he himself was not present and presumably derived it from the Romans, who in turn had learned of the mass suicide from a woman who had survived in an underground conduit. The speeches by Eleazar ben Jair, the leader of the Sicarii at Masada, with passages taken almost verbatim from Plato about the relation of the body and the soul, and other passages closely corresponding to those in Posidonius and Euripides, seem to be the work of Josephus’ scriptorium in the style of ancient historians. Moreover, there seems to be no basis for the statement of Eleazar ben Jair, the leader of the Sicarii at Masada, that Jewish law commands suicide if it is impossible to live as free people. We do find a later rabbinic statement (Sanhedrin 74a) that one should allow one’s life to be taken only if one is required to commit incest (or adultery) or murder or to worship idols. There is no indication that the Romans would have required any of these from the defenders of Masada. Generally, the Romans preferred to capture their opponents, since this was a source of income through their sale. It does not seem likely that brave fighters would commit suicide rather than fight to the last man, especially since they were well armed and had plenty of water and food. Moreover, suicide, especially the kind of mutual suicide that was practiced at Masada, is severely frowned upon by Jewish law. And yet, there was a precedent for the mass suicide, namely that at Gamala (War 4.79-81), where more than 5000 took their own lives. The discoveries have also, however, raised a number of other questions. Thus Josephus says that Herod’s palace was on the western slope, whereas it is actually on the northern slope, that the pillars of Herod’s palace were cut from a single block, whereas those found by Yadin had been made up of several sections fitted together and then covered with stucco so that the joints would not be seen, and that the food of the defenders was preserved to prove to the Romans that the defenders had not been driven to suicide by hunger, whereas Yadin found that some of it had been preserved but that part of it had been burnt. Moreover, Josephus (War 7.400) says that the number of victims was 960, whereas only 25 skeletons were found. In particular, the discovery of a sectarian scroll of liturgies based on the peculiar calendar used by the Dead Sea sect at Qumran would

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suggest some connection, unmentioned by Josephus, between the sect and the Sicarii. Yadin,11 however, concluded that the discoveries confirmed Josephus’ reliability as a historian, though Josephus was not present and though the account is based on the evidence of a single woman. However, Josephus was so fiercely hated that he had to be careful of what he wrote. We may suppose that the Roman commander at Masada, Flavius Silva, wrote memoirs and that these were available to Josephus. In addition, there must have been many Romans (and Jewish captives who had assisted them) who had participated in the siege and who could challenge any misrepresentation made by Josephus. In particular, the discovery of eleven ostraca (one of which contained the name of Ben Jair, the commander of the Sicarii at Masada), with names that may well be the lots used to determine who would kill the others, of sherds that may have been used by the defenders in rationing food, as well as of sherds connected with the tithes, appeared to confirm Josephus’ credibility. Likewise, the discovery of two ritual baths and a synagogue leads one to think that Josephus’ description is authentic. It is perhaps this sectarianism that will at once explain the Talmud’s silence about the defenders, the fact that they engaged in a raid (War 4.402) on Ein Gedi on Passover (which was apparently not Passover according to their sectarian calendar),12 and their differing view on suicide. We may conclude that, in view of Josephus’ bitter denunciation of the Sicarii elsewhere, the incredulousness, according to Josephus (War 7.405), at their amazing boldness expressed by the Romans puts a stamp of credibility upon the narrative as a whole.

11

Yadin 1966. An article in the English version of Ha’aretz Magazine (April 13, 2001) tells of the discovery at Ein Gedi of the remains of 260 individuals, including a well-arranged pile of human skulls. The finds date from somewhere between the first century b.c.e. and the first century c.e. Professor Israel Hershkovitz of the Anatomy and Anthropology Department of Tel Aviv University Medical School, who examined the bones, is convinced that these people were clearly butchered, one decapitated, eight others pounded with immense force. This corresponds to Josephus’ account in War 4.402 of the raid on Eid Gedi by some Sicarii from Masada and the butchering of 700. This conclusion has, however, been disputed by Hanan Eshel of Bar Ilan University in Israel. 12

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chapter twelve b. The Jewish Antiquities (Antiquitates Judaicae)

In the first half of the Antiquities, where Josephus parallels the Bible, it is clear that his solemn declaration (Ant. 1.17) that he will set forth the “precise details” of what is written in the Scriptures, neither adding nor omitting anything, is either a commonplace or an indication that Josephus included in “Scriptures” not only the written Bible but Jewish traditions generally. He seems to have had in his possession texts in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, and he varied in his use of them from biblical book to book. For the Hexateuch the evidence that Josephus used the LXX, in any of the forms known to us, is slight. Either Josephus is dependent upon a Greek tradition or upon a Hebrew text somewhat different from ours, or upon an Aramaic Targumic paraphrase, or, most likely, was eclectic in using all of them. For his paraphrase of Samuel through 1 Macc., however, Josephus employed a proto-Lucianic (or, according to Barthélemy,13 an old LXX) Palestinian text akin to that found in Qumran and in his presumed Palestinian contemporary Pseudo-Philo’s Biblical Antiquities. Hölscher’s14 theory that Josephus used neither the Hebrew nor the Greek Bible but rather a Hellenistic Greek midrash has not been widely accepted, since it seems hard to believe that Josephus, who was certainly well educated and probably, in accordance with the usage of the time, knew much of the Bible by heart, did not also resort to direct use of the Bible; and, moreover, several of Josephus’ major modifications are paralleled in rabbinic midrashim. Thus his omission of the story of the golden calf (Exod. 32) is in accord with the minority view of the Talmud (b. Meg. 25a) that this passage should not be read in the synagogue out of respect for the Jewish people. In addition, Josephus sometimes shares with Philo an allegorical interpretation of the Bible, particularly in the symbolic explanation of the Tabernacle and the vestments of the high priest in cosmic terms (Ant. 3.123, 181-86),15 though it is hard to assert categorically that Philo was Josephus’ source since similar traditions may sometimes be found in rabbinic midrashim. In at least thirty instances, moreover, there are parallels in extra-biblical details between Pseudo-Philo’s Biblical Antiquities and Josephus, which are to be found in no other

13 14 15

Barthélemy 1963. Hölscher 1916, 1955-60. See Feldman 2000, 263 n.286.

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extant source,16 though in general Pseudo-Philo is closer to the rabbinic midrashim than is Josephus. But the Antiquities is also the work of Josephus himself, who, under the influence of the antiquarian approach of Dionysius of Halicamassus (whose Roman Antiquities, also in twenty books, clearly influenced Josephus),17 adopted the conventions of a very different style of historiography in the Antiquities from that which he used in the War. Many of these are historiographical commonplaces derived from Isocratean rhetoric and paralleled in other Hellenistic writers.18 In rearranging the biblical material Josephus follows the “thematic” school, in accordance with the Hellenistic historical tradition, i.e., he brings into juxtaposition the items which belong together on subject matter, regardless of chronology or source. In his modifications Josephus is often concerned with answering anti-Jewish charges, such as that the Jews had invented nothing useful in the sciences, that the Jews were illiberal toward non-Jews, that the Jews were cowards, etc. Sometimes, as in the paraphrase of the stories of Joseph and of Esther, Josephus highlights erotic elements, perhaps under the influence of the Greek novelistic tradition. In particular, Josephus paints portraits of Abraham and Moses as typical national God-like heroes, such as were popular in Hellenistic times, with emphasis on them as statesmen, philosophers, logicians, rhetoricians, scientists and romantic heroes. Thus Abraham’s teleological proof for the existence of God (Ant. 1.156) from the irregularities of the heavenly bodies, though it is in the form of the proof promulgated by the Greek philosophical schools, is found only in Josephus; and it is clear from the context that Josephus is here combating the Stoics.19 In general, moreover, Josephus tends to downgrade miracles, as we see especially when we compare, for example, his view of Abraham and Moses as talented generals with the rabbinic portraits of these leaders as prevailing because of God’s miraculous assistance. On several occasions, moreover, when mentioning miracles, Josephus uses the formula familiar from Dionysius of Halicarnassus, that “everyone is welcome to his own opinion” as an expression of courtesy and tolerance intended for his pagan readers. Similarly directed to his Hellenistic readers 16 17 18 19

See See See See

Feldman 1971, lviii-lxvi and Feldman 1974, 306-7. Sterling 1992, 284-90; and Feldman 1998, 7-8. Avenarius 1956. Feldman 1968, 143-56.

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is Josephus’ emphasis on fate as the distinguishing feature of the three Jewish sects, as well as his comparisons of the Pharisees with the Stoics (Life 12) and of the Essenes with the Pythagoreans (Ant. 15.371). For his account of the capture of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar Josephus also employs the Babylonian historian Berossus (third century b.c.e.). An important recently published chronicle20 strikingly confirms Berossus’ account, as reported in Josephus (Ap.1.135 and Ant. 10.219-21), of the Battle of Carchemish, though it does show a number of differences with the account (Ant. 10.96-102) of the events leading up to the fall of Jerusalem and the capture of King Jehoiachin. Josephus’ account of Ezra and Nehemiah is full of inaccuracies, particularly in the chronology of the Persian kings, and deviates widely from both the Hebrew and Greek texts. It is clear that Josephus had an additional source for this period. In his account of Samaritan affairs during this time, Josephus has apparently projected the hostilities against the Samaritans of his own day.21 Papyri now confirm that Josephus has confused the first and third Sanballats, who were governors of Samaria.22 The fact that, in a treatise on Jewish law which entailed and indeed attempts a kind of codification of halakhah, Josephus omits certain laws (e.g., Exod. 2l:7-11, 20-22, 26-27; Lev. 1:4, 3:2) is an indication that his work is often motivated by apologetic concerns. Josephus’ statement (Ant. 4.207 and Ap. 2.237) citing as a law the prohibition against blaspheming the gods of other peoples is clearly not based on the Hebrew Bible, which in fact (e.g., Lev. 18:3) reviles the laws of pagans and commands the destruction of pagan altars (Deut. 12:23); it cleady derives from the LXX version of Exod. 22:27, ‘Thou shalt not revile G-d’, where the plural form of the word for G-d is rendered θεο ς, “gods,” from which Philo (Mos. 2.205, Spec. 1.53) had drawn the same conclusion and indeed had given (Mos. 2.205) the same reason for the prohibition, namely the holiness attached to the very name of G-d. In some instances Josephus may have been influenced by his use of Philo’s Hypothetica, namely the prohibition

20 21 22

Wiseman 1956. See Smith 1971; 2nd ed. 1987. Cross 1963, 110-21.

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of revealing secrets (Ap. 2.207; cf. Hypoth. 7.8), the prohibition to take what one has not placed on deposit (Ap. 2.208; cf. Hypoth. 7.6), the requirement to give fire and water to those who need them (Ap. 2.211; cf. Hypoth. 7.6), and the necessity of kindness toward suppliant animals (Ap. 2.213; cf. Hypoth. 7.7). In view, however, of the fact that Josephus was under constant attack from his fellow Jews, it seems unlikely that he would have dared to “deviate” thus from Jewish law unless such interpretations were to be found amoug pious Jews in his homeland; and indeed most of these prescriptions have their parallels in rabbinic sources, if not to quite the same degree as in Philo, whose language Josephus parallels, sometimes strikingly. Again, Josephus (Ap. 2.199) says that sexual intercourse is permitted ouly if designed for procreation of children; but in the Mishnah (Yeb. 6:6-7) we find that companionship is also a purpose of marriage. Riskin23 conjectures that Josephus was influenced by the Essenes; but we may suggest that perhaps he was influenced by Philo’s statement (Mos. 1.28) that Moses participated in sexual relations solely to beget children. Moreover, in a number of cases, Josephus appears to adopt a legal position for apologetic reasons. Thus he declares (Ap. 2.207) that a judge who accepts a bribe suffers capital punishment, whereas there is no such penalty in the Bible or in the Talmud. Inasmuch as, according to the rabbinic understanding of the seven Noachian commandments which are incumbent upon Gentiles, if a Gentile judge accepts a bribe he is indeed put to death, perhaps Josephus did not want to have it appear that the law is more stringent for Gentile than for Jewish judges, and thus he applied the same penalty to both. We may also note that Josephus (Ap. 2.202) equates abortion with infanticide, whereas the Mishnah (Nid. 5:3) does not regard the unborn foetus as a human being and justifies killing it to save the mother if the majority of it has not emerged. Here, too, apparently, Josephus did not want to let it appear that Jewish law was more lenient than the law as applied to non-Jews, since the Talmud (Sanh. 57b) quotes Rabbi Ishmael as stating that Noachian law forbids killing a foetus in its mother’s womb on the basis of an interpretation of Gen. 9:6; or perhaps Josephus was motivated by a desire not to be more lenient

23

Riskin 1970.

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than Plato, who says (according to Plutarch, De placitis philosophorum 5.15) that a foetus is a living being. Apologetic purposes may similarly be behind Josephus’ declarations (Ap. 2.214), which have no basis in the Bible or in the Talmud, that the law bids the Jew even in an enemy’s country to spare and not to kill beasts employed in labor, and that castration of an animal is a capital crime (cf. Philo, Hypoth. 7.7). Again, perhaps to remain consistent with the literal interpretation of the Bible, Josephus, in his attitude toward images, seems more strict than the rabbinic tradition. Indeed (Ant. 8.195), he goes out of his way to condemn King Solomon for breaking the Second Commandment in putting the images of bulls and lions in the Temple, where the Bible itself (I Kgs. 7:25, 10:20) and the Talmud (b. Zeb. 62b) do not censure him. For the post-biblical period Josephus has been justly criticized for giving such scant attention to those developments in Judaism on the eve of Antiochus Ill’s conquest of Palestine which must have been of some importance to produce the religious and cultural outburst that followed. Starting with the Maccabaean period Josephus has parallel accounts in the War and in the Antiquities. The former is more carefully composed and more polished stylistically; the latter has considerably greater length, is generally more critical of Herod, and stresses the power and influence of the Pharisees. For the Maccabees, Josephus apparently used both the Hebrew original and a Greek translation of 1 Macc., which was more correct and fuller than ours. For the Hasmonaean kings and Herod Josephus’ chief source was most likely Nicolaus of Damascus, Herod’s non-Jewish adviser, who was probably anti-Hasmonaean. Indeed his heavy dependence on Nicolaus seems clear from the fact that once he reaches the period no longer covered by Nicolaus’ work Josephus’ own account becomes meagre indeed, except for occasional long digressions, where Josephus presumably had special sources. Still, Josephus consciously tried to free himself from the panegyrical approach of Nicolaus toward Herod, and we must therefore conclude that he used Nicolaus more critically in the Antiquities than in the War. His other major sources for the Hellenistic period were Polybius, Posidonius, Strabo, and Diodorus. The documents bearing on Roman-Jewish relations cited by Josephus in Antiquities, Books 14 and 16, have occasioned much dispute about authenticity. Most scholars have regarded the majority of

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them as genuine; but Moehring24 imputes significance to Josephus’ silence about the fire of 69 in which three thousand documents in the Roman archives were destroyed, cites instances where decrees of the senate were forged, asserts that in antiquity historians probably did not bother to check the original texts of decrees and were content with second-hand opinions about them, notes a number of instances where the texts of the document are unusually corrupt and where Josephus’ versions of decrees do not correspond to the standard known to us from epigraphical evidence, and concludes that Josephus’ invitation to check the accuracy of his statements by consulting the original documents is merely a literary device. These doubts as to authenticity, however, have been challenged by Pucci Ben Zeev in thorough and careful study, in which she argues for the authenticity of the documents and concludes that the rights granted to Jews in them should not be regarded as proof of special consideration for Jewish needs but rather as consistent with the principles governing Roman policy in general.25 On the basis of a close study of Josephus’ vocabulary and sryle, Thackeray26 has theorized that in Books 15 and 16 Josephus utilized an assistant who had a particular love of Greek poetry, especially Sophocles, and in Books 17-19 an assistant who was notably fond of Thucydides. Actually, we may comment, Josephus (Ap. 1.50) says that he used fellow-workers for the Greek of the War, where ironically Thackeray is forced to admit that he cannot pinpoint the nature and extent of their help. Moreover, the presence of many Sophoclean and Thucydidean phrases in the other Greek works of the period, notably in Dionysius of Halicarnassus, shows that they are characteristics of first-century Greek rather than that they are the work of a special assistant. Furthermore, there are Sophoclean and Thucydidean traces throughout the War and the Antiquities. Where Josephus parallels Tacitus in their accounts of Parthian affairs, Josephus is generally to be preferred, as the numismatic avidence appears to indicate, presumably because Josephus, with his knowledge of Aramaic, the language of the populous Jewish communities in Babylonia, had a more direct knowledge of the events

24 25 26

Moehring 1975, 124-58. Pucci Ben Zeev 1998. Thackeray 1929, 100-24.

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there. Schalit27 has ingeniously discerned an Aramaic word in Ant. 18.343 in Josephus’ account of the Jewish robber-barons Anilaeus and Asinaeus who defied the Parthians, and has suggested that Josephus’ source was a Greek translation which goes back to an Aramaic original. He similarly, though less convincingly, finds an Aramaic source for Josephus’ account of Izates, the king of Adiabene who was converted to Judaism. Occasionally inscriptions will shed light on Josephus’ terminology. Thus an inscription discovered in 1961 in Caesarea28 has established Pilate’s official title as prefect rather than as procurator, the title given him by Tacitus (Ann. 15.44.3) and Josephus (War 2.169). But Josephus elsewhere, like the New Testament, calls him by the more ambiguous term γεμ ν, “governor”’; and Josephus’ fluidity in terminology generally indicates either that Pilate’s title changed in the course of his administration of Judaea or that the titles were not as rigid as most modem scholars believe. We may remark here on the passage in Josephus which has occasioned by far more comment than any other, the so-called Testimonium Flavianum (Ant. 18.63-64) concerning Jesus.29 The chief arguments usually given for its authenticity are (1) that it is found in all of our Greek manuscripts and in all the manuscripts of the Latin translation; (2) that the language seems generally consistent with Josephus in this portion of his work; and (3) that Josephus refers elsewhere (Ant. 20.200), in a passage whose authenticity is geneally accepted, to the “so-called” or “aforementioned” Christ. However, a considerable number of Christian writers—Pseudo-Justin and Theophilus in the second ceutury, Minucius Felix, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Julius Africanus, Tertullian, Hippolytus and Origen in the third century, and Methodius and Pseudo-Eustathius in the early fourth century—who knew the writings of Josephus and cited from his works do not refer to this passage, though one would imagine that it would be the first passage that a Christian apologist would cite. In particular, Origen (Against Celsus 1.47 and Commentary on Matthew 10.17), who certainIy knew Book 18 of the Antiquities and cites five passages from it, explicitly states that Josephus did not believe in

27 28 29

Schalit 1965, 163-88. Frova 1961, 419-34. See now the comprehensive and balanced discussion by Whealey 2003.

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Jesus as Christ. The first to cite the Testimonium is Eusebius (c. 324); and even after him, we may note, there are eleven Christian writers who cite Josephus but not the Testimonium. In fact, it is not until Jerome in the early fifth century that we have another reference to it. Moreover, the passages about John, Jesus, and James do not appear in the parallel passages in the War, and we may therefore be suspicious that the lines about them in the Antiquities were interpolated. The principal internal argument against the genuineness of the Testimonium is that it says that Jesus was the Christ, whereas Josephus, as a loyal Pharisaic Jew, could hardly have written this. To be sure, there were several claimants to the status of Messiah in this era, and those who followed them were not read out of the Jewish fold; but in view of the fact that Josephus nowhere else uses the word Christos (except in referring to James, the brother of Jesus, Ant. 20.200) and that he repeatedly suppresses the Messianic aspects of the revolt against Rome because of the association of the Messiah with political revolt and independence, it would seem hard to believe that he would openly call Jesus a Messiah and speak of him with such awe. The fact that Jerome (De Viris Illustribus 13) reads that “he was believed to be the Christ” (credebatur esse Christus) would suggest that his text differed from ours. Another objection to the authenticity of the passage is that it breaks the continuity of the narrative, which tells of a series of riots. Those, such as Eisler,30 who regard the passage as interpolated, suggest that the original spoke of the Christian movement as a riot. Laqueur,31 in his most famous and most controversial theory, postulates that Josephus revised his Antiquities in order to win a following among the Christians by inserting a highly complimentary passage about Jesus. However, we may comment that there is no evidence that Josephus was in need of such a market, which at that time would have been small, since he had a very comfortable pension and probably would have further antagonized his much larger potential Jewish audience. Pines32 has created a considerable stir by bringing to the scholarly world’s attention two hitherto almost completely neglected works containing the Testimonium, one a tenth-century history of the world 30

Eisler 1929. Laqueur 1920 32 Pines 1971. On the whole question of the Testimonium Flavianum see Feldman 1982, 179-99, 288-93. 31

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in Arabic by a Christian named Agapius and the other a twelfth-century chronicle in Syriac by Michael the Syrian. There are a number of differences between Agapius and out Testimonium, notably in the omission of the statement “if one ought to call him a man” and of Jesus’ miracles and of the role of the Jewish leaders in accusing Jesus, and, above all, in the assertion thar Jesus was perhaps the Messiah (“was thought to be” in Michael). Since Agapius declares that “This is what is said by Josephus and his companions” and, indeed, includes a number of other details not found in Josephus, we may conjecture that he used other sources as well. Inasmuch as there are changes in the order of the statements of the Testimonium in Agapius and Michael, we are apparently dealing not with a translation but with a paraphrase. As to Josephus’ notice about John the Baptist (Ant. 18.116-19), there is general agreement that it is authentic, since, if the passage has been interpolated by a Christian we would have expected some reference to John’s connection with Jesus. Moreover, an interpolator would probably have removed the discrepancy between the Gospel account of the reason for John’s condemnation, namely his denunciation of Herod Antipas’ immorality, and Josephus’ version, which stresses his success in attracting crowds and hence the fear that he was fomenting a revolution. Furthermore, belief in the genuineness of this passage is corroborated by Origen, who explicitly states that Josephus did not believe in Jesus as the Christ (Against Celsus 1.47 and Commentary on Matthew 10.17) and hence did not have the Testimonium Flavianum, and who cites (Against Celsus 1.47) the passage about John. In addition, the fact that Josephus has two different words (βαπτισμ, βάπτισιν) for baptism in consecutive sentences would argue against interpolation. Moreover, it is hard to believe that a Christian interpolator would have assigned almost twice as much space (163 words) to John as to Jesus (89 words). For the lengthy account in Book 19 of the Antiquities of the assassination of Caligula and the accession of Claudius, Mommsen’s33 view that Josephus’ source was the lost Roman historian Cluvius Rufus has won general acceptance, but several alternative written and oral sources have been suggested.34 In particular, we may note

33 34

Mommsen 1870, 295-325. See Feldman 1962, 320-33.

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the fact that Agrippa I’s role in the accession of Claudius is built up to a high degree. This can hardly be due to Cluvius, but most likely was derived from Josephus’ friend Agrippa II, son of Agrippa I, who elsewhere (Life 366) declares himself ready to inform him of details that are not generally known. Near the end of the Antiquities (20.266), Josephus dates the work in the thirteenth year of the reign of Domitian (93-94). He indicates that he will append his Life to his Antiquities. Inasmuch as the Life (359) definitely indicates that Agrippa is already dead, and Photius (Bibliotheca, p. 33) says that Agrippa died in the third year of the reign of Trajan (i.e. 100), Laqueur35 has argued that the Antiquities appeared in two editions, the first in 93-94, and the second some years later. Our manuscript tradition, however, provides no proof for a second edition, and the alleged two endings to the Antiquities (20.259, 20.267) may simply be due to the fact that after twenty long books it took Josephus some time to bid the reader farewell. Still, we may remark that ancient book production afforded ample opportunity for change and correction. c. Life (Vita) Josephus’ Life is the oldest autobiography that we possess from antiquity in its original form, though most of it is devoted to a single episode in the author’s life, his command in Galilee. That it is an appendix to the Antiquities is clear from both the end of the Antiquities (20.266) and the end of the Life (430). Some scholars believe that the bulk of its contents was actually written shortly after the war itself—prior to the publication of Josephus’ War (ca. 75-79 c.e.)—but that it was revised, supplemented, and updated prior to its publication, ca. 95 c.e. Laqueur36 has hypothesized that the nucleus of the Life was an administrative report, the use of which makes it more original, more truthful, and less tendentious than the War. But all attempts at “higher criticism” of the Life have failed to disclose strata within it or differences between it and Book 20 of the Antiquities in style. On the contrary, there are numerous links of style between them, including the alleged early portions of the Life.

35 36

Laqueur 1920, 5. Ibid.

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In fact, the Life shows the internal unity of a single work written for a particular purpose, namely that of refuting the charges of Justus of Tiberias, whose work, written twenty years after the war, is completely lost. Laqueur postulates that Justus had attacked Josephus’ style and that the competition from Justus meant financial ruin for Josephus; but inasmuch as the Emperor Titus favored the War, the competition with Justus would have had no direct financial impact upon Josephus; and, in any case, the style of the Life is inferior to that of the War. The invective exchanged by Josephus and Justus is typological. Actually, both of them were realists, who clashed because each was playing his own double game. In the end, Justus fled for protection to the collaborationist Agrippa II, whereas Josephus joined Vespasian. Cohen37 has conjectured that the reason for Justus’ delay in publishing his work was that after the war Tiberias had had to suffer the ignominy of seeing many cities become the autonomous rulers of extensive territories, while it was still subservient to Agrippa II and was not even the capital of his kingdom. Hence Justus, as a native son, came to the defence of his city, whereas the Life is an anti-Tiberian polemic. Moreover, Justus had apparently attacked Josephus’ religiosity, and hence the Life seeks to portray Josephus as a religious person. The discrepancies berween the Life and the War can, in large part, be explained by the license traditionally granted to biographies to engage in panegyric. Thus Polybius (10.21), whose work Josephus knew, states that when he wrote a biographical memoir of Philopoemen he exaggerated as panegyric required, whereas in his history he was more objective. Autobiography was still less reliable as a source of fact, as we may infer from Josephus’ contemporary, Tacitus (Agricola 1). The same distinction between history and biography is to be found in the license permitted in a monograph in contrast to the truthfulness demanded in a more general history, as seen in Cicero’s request (Ad Familiares 5.12) to the historian Lucceius to treat the events of the annus mirabilis of his consulship in a monograph. A comparison with the Agricola shows substantially the same division of subject matter and the same addiction to digression. Indeed, Cohen has with good reason concluded that the Life is Josephus’ least careful work—confused, tendentious, inconsistent, with incorrect cross-refer-

37

Cohen 1979.

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ences, with doublets, and with important segments of information presented in a casual and even a startling manner. d. Against Apion (Contra Apionem) The treatise Against Apion was written after the Antiquities, to which it refers (1.1., 1.54, 2.287). It is a defense of the Jews against charges of their opponents, though Apion himself is not mentioned until the second book. In particular, Josephus answers the contention that the Jews are of recent origin. He counter-charges that the Greeks themselves are of much more recent origin and that their historians are untrustworthy. He shows considerable acquaintance with antiquarian problems; and his remark (Ag. 1.12) that Homer himself did not commit his poems to writing was the basis of Wolf’s Prolegomena on the origin of the Homeric corpus. He replies to the distortions in the accounts of the Exodus by Manetho, Chaeremon and Lysimachus, and rebuts such calumnies in Apion as that the Jews worshipped the head of an ass in the Temple, that they practiced ritual murder, and that they were more concerned with their own affairs than with those of the community in which they lived. The work closes with a summary and defense of the Mosaic constitution as compared with those of the Greeks. In this he follows the standard rhetorical pattern for such encomia, particularly as seen in Dionysius of Halicarnassus’ encomium of Rome in Roman Antiquities (1.9-2.29). e. Proposed and Spurious Works Josephus also mentions a number of works that he intended to write, notably on G-d and His Substance and the laws. Petersen38 has, however, concluded that we have all of Josephus’ proposed works, and that most of the references to contemplated works are to Against Apion, which, however, when finally written, contained certain changes from the original plan. Several works are ascribed to Josephus but are clearly not by him. In particular, the Christian tradition, ever since Eusebius, has ascribed 4 Macc. to Josephus. Modern scholars have rejected this authorship on the ground that this work uses 2 Macc., which Josephus

38

Petersen 1958, 259-74.

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did not know. In addition, Skimina39 has shown that 4 Macc. differs considerably from the other works of Josephus in its prose rhythms at the ends of sentences. It smacks of having been composed by an Alexandrian Jew deeply imbued with Greek philosophy, notably Stoicism. Moreover, Williams40 has shown conclusively, on the basis of stylometric analysis and, in particular, on the basis of ten Josephan test words, that 4 Macc. is not by Josephus. Another work ascribed to Josephus, De universo, is a philosophical refutation of Plato by a Christian, presumably Hippolytus. 3. The Text of Josephus The standard editions of Josephus remain those that were issued almost simultaneously by Niese41 and Naber.42 The former bas a much fuller apparatus criticus in his editio maior; and indeed both Naber and the Loeb edition of Thackeray and others43 depend upon it. It is close to the manuscript tradition and is generally, and with good reason, more widely accepted than Naber. It should be noted, nevertheless, that Niese’s editio minor changes the text of the editio maior in several hundred passages, though often it is unnecessarily bold; it rates, however, as Niese’s final edition. But Niese, in line with the prevailing principle in text-criticism of his time, overestimated the value of one group of manuscripts and frequently failed to consider the quality of individual readings case by case. Consequently, all too often, as Schreckenberg44 remarks, the best textual tradition appears in Niese’s apparatus. Naber’s text may be smoother generally than that of Niese, especially when compared with the latter’s editio maior; but the task of the editor is to reconstruct what Josephus wrote rather than to improve his Greek. Naber’s edition, and especially his apparatus criticus, are, moreover, full of errors. Schreckenberg45 has provided an annotated listing of all 133 manuscripts, in whole or in part, of the Greek text of Josephus.

39 40 41 42 43 44 45

Skimina 1937, 171-72. Williams 1992, 105-49. Niese 1888-95 (editio maior); 1888-91 (editio minor). Naber 1888-96. Thackeray, Marcus, Wikgren, Feldman 1926-65. Schreckenberg 1972. Schreckenberg 1972.

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He46 notes that no fewer than 50 were unknown to Niese, but, since only two of them are of major significance, he admits that an extensive collation of these manuscripts would increase the massive apparatus of Niese’s editio maior insignificantly, with only a slight chance here and there of localizing the genuine tradition. Hence, the future improvement of the text of Josephus will most likely come through emendation, based, we may suggest, on the now complete concordance to Josephus, as well as on a careful study of Josephus’ grammar (yet to be done), and on the careful consultation of the Latin translation ascribed to Cassiodorus, a critical edition of which remains to be completed. We must add, however, that there is a danger in the use of the concordance, in that Josephus wrote over a long period of time and presumably changed his style as he became better acquainted with the Greek language, became less dependent on his assistants (who are mentioned in Ag. 1.50), and changed his subject matter. Schreckenberg47 himself, in suggesting 56 emendations, often through making good use of the concordance and of the translation into Latin, has almost always improved the sense, grammar, and style; but this presupposes that Josephus wrote better Greek than he apparently did. Moreover, few of these emendations are both necessary and palaeographically probable. We may note that there exists only a single papyrus fragment (War 2.576-79, 582-84) of Josephus, dating from the late third century.48 Though it is poorly preserved and contains only 112 words in whole or in part, there are no fewer than nine places where the fragment differs from all the manuscripts collated by Niese. Consequently, though, of course, the papyrus is too brief to be definitive and its readings are not necessarily superior to those of the manuscripts, it would seem that our text of even the War, which apparently is in much better shape than that of the Antiquities, is in need of further emendation. This is especially true when we consider that the papyrus agrees now with one group of manuscripts and now with another, thus indicating that we should not rely excessively on one group alone. A possible clue to the unreliability of the text that we possess

46 47 48

Schreckenberg 1970-72, 81-106. See also Schreckenberg 1977. Schreckenberg 1967-69, 64-75; 1970-72, 81-106. Published by Oellacher 1939, 61-63.

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may be found in the fact that Origen (Against Celsus 1.47, 1.15 end; Commentary on Matthew 10.17), Eusebius (Hist. Eccl. 11.23.60), and Jerome (De Viris Illustribus 13) declare that Josephus said that Jerusalem was destroyed because of the murder of James the Just, a statement nowhere to be found in our text of Josephus. Similarly, as Pines49 bas noted, there are statements in the tenth-century Arabic historian Agapius allegedly drawn from Josephus which are not in our texts. These may, of course, be due to interpolations or to loose paraphrasing, or they may refer to a different text. The verdict of Schreckenberg and others is that the text of Josephus’ War is said to be relatively sound; but Schalit,50 the foremost Josephus scholar of the past generation, has remarked that the text of the Antiquities is more corrupt than any other Greek text. Inasmuch as Josephus is writing in a language which is still foreign to him, and inasmuch as he appears not to have had assistants for most of the Antiquities (if he had them at all), as he did for the War, we are often reduced to finding what a writer not thoroughly familiar with the language would have written. The corruption in the text of the first half of the Antiquities, where he paraphrases the Bible, has been aggravated by the tendency of copyists to assimilate Josephus’ text to that of the LXX, particularly in the spelling of proper names. Schreckenberg51 has presented us a complete, annotated list of the manuscripts of Josephus (including many missed by Niese), as well as of those who cite or quote excerpts from him. The textual tradition was apparently polarized into two families as early as the third century. The oldest manuscripts of complete treatises of Josephus date from the tenth or eleventh century. The tradition for the second half of the Antiquities differs from that of the first half. For the treatise Against Apion we are dependent upon a single manuscript dating from the eleventh century, for which 2.52-113, which is missing, must be supplied from the Latin version of Cassiodorus’ schoo1. The one papyrus fragment (War 2.576-79) that has been found dates from the third century, apparently before this polarization took place.

49 50 51

Pines 1971. Schalit, vol. 3, 1963, viii. Schreckenberg 1972.

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4. The Versions of Josephus Especially in view of the corrupt state of the text, the versions, often much older than our oldest Greek manuscripts, are of considerable importance. In Latin there is a free reworking of the War of the fourth century attributed to a certain Hegesippus (sometimes, probably wrongly, identified with Ambrose or pseudo-Ambrose), who claims to be writing an original work in accordance with the spirit of Christianity. There is also in Latin a closer translation of the War usually attributed to Rufinus (d. 410) and a translation of the Antiquities and Against Apion made under the direction of Cassiodorus in the sixth century The fact that there are 171 manuscripts of Cassiodorus’ version is an indication of its popularity. Blatt’s52 edition of Books 1-5 of the Antiquities is unfortunately based on only a few of these; a truly critical text remains a desideratum. We have a Syriac version of Book 6 of the War. Its editor, Kottek,53 has conjectured that the translator had before him a portion of the Aramaic original; but inasmuch as that original is completely losst, it is difficult to substantiate this claim. The linguistic and ethnographic evidence that the Hebrew paraphrase of the War by Josippon (Josephon), identified in the manuscripts as Joseph ben Gorion (cf. War 2.563), dates from the middle of the tenth century seems overwhelming. The textual tradition of this version is extraordinarily complicated by the fact that there are three substantially different recensions. A critical edition has finally been produced by David Flusser.54 Josippon’s major source was Hegesippus, but he also used a Latin Bible and a Latin version of sixteen of the twenty books of the Antiquities. Until the nineteenth century, with the major exception of Azariah dei Rossi in the sixteenth century, Jewish commentators generally identified Josippon with Josephus, and the work was extremely popular. In the tenth century Josippon was translated into Arabic, and this in turn was translated into Ethiopic some time between the twelfth and fourteenth centuries.

52 53 54

Blatt 1958. Kottek 1886. Flusser 1978-80.

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The Slavonic version of the War, apparently made in the eleventh century, contains a number of additions not found in the Greek, notably passages on John the Baptist and Jesus, which Josephus could hardly have written, since they speak with such antipathy of the role of the Jews. It seems hardly likely that a Jew (i.e., Josephus) could have written “according to the law of their fathers” or “they [i.e. the Jews] crucified him,” as we find in the Slavonic text. Recent scholarship55 indicates that the work was used by Christians in the ideological struggle against the Khazars, who had been converted to Judaism in the eighth century 5. Translations of Josephus The standard translation into English is by William Whiston, Newton’s successor as professor of mathematics at Cambridge University but not a professional classicist, was published in 1737 and has been reprinted at least 217 times; but, though virile, it is based on Haverkamp’s inferior text and is full of outright errors. In its notes it expresses such strange notions as that Josephus was an Ebionite Christian and a bishop of Jerusalem. The Loeb Classical Library edition,56 based on an eclectic text dependent on Niese and Naber, has relatively few original emendations. The translation itself, though accurate, is often rather free; and the commentary is sparse, though increasingly full. The Brill edition, of which three volumes have thus far appeared,57 is more literal and has a much fuller commentary. The translation into French by Andilly,58 like that of Whiston, is based on an inferior Greek text. It was superseded by that by Reinach.59 The translation and commentary, in progress, by Nodet60 is a tremendous improvement, particultarly in the commentary. The translation into German by Clementz61 is inferior to that in the

55

Meà´erskij 1958. Thackeray, Marcus, Wikgren, and Feldman, 1926-65. 57 Feldman et al. 2000 ff. 58 Andilly 1667. 59 Reinach 1900-32.based on Niese’s text, is closer to the original than is the Loeb translation and is more fully annotated. 60 Nodet 1990, 1995. 61 Clementz 1899-1900. 56

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Loeb Library and by Reinach. It is based on the texts of Haverkamp (1726) and Dindorf (1845) and is more of a paraphrase then a translation. 6. Bibliographical and Lexical Aids to the Study of Josephus Schreckenberg62 has attempted to present a year-by-year listing of all editions, translations and scholarship dealing with Josephus from 1470, the year of the editio princeps, to 1968, with systematic coverage to 1965. A supplementaty volume carries the work to 1975 and includes many items omitted from the fitst volume. For most items he gives brief summaries and, in addition, places before most items a classification number according to a scheme of twenty-five categories. There are, however, numerous errors and many hundreds of omissions. My own bibliography,63 is limited to the years 1937-62. It is arranged by subject matter and contains critical appraisals of many items. It has now been revised, greatly expanded to include 5,543 enties, and brought up to 1980.64 My further supplement contains approximately 3600 enties, including 1900 items omitted by Schreckenberg in his two volumes, as well as a number of corrections, as well as comments on the entries, and covers the period up to 1984.65 The dictionary of Thackeray and Marcus66 reached μφιλοχωρεν, but nothing has appeared since 1955. It is exhaustive in most cases but is content to list merely a selection of occurrences for certain words. Rengstorf’s concordance67 lists every occurrence of every word except for certain extremely common words, which, to be sure, are sometimes very important in helping to determine authorship and interpolations. Moreover, Thackeray and Marcus give the meaning of a word for every particular occurrence, whereas Rengstorf lists all the meanings at the beginning of the article. Additionally, Thackeray and Marcus has the advantage of being an analytical dictionary, organizing the entries by constructions. 62 63 64 65 66 67

Schreckenberg 1968, 1979. Feldman 1963, 26-55. Feldman 1984. Feldman 1986d. Thackeray and Marcus, 1930-55. Rengstorf 1973-83.

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The only extant pagan writer who definitely knew the works of Josephus is the third-century Porphyry, who in his De abstinentia ab esu animalium 4.11, states that the Essenes are referred to in the second book of Josephus’ Jewish History (that is, the War), in the eighteenth book of his Archaeology, and in the second book of his To the Greeks (that is, Against Apion). Josephus influenced the Church Fathers, particularly the Greek Fathers: Origen, Eusebius, pseudo-Eustathius, John Chrysostom, Theodoret, Theodore of Mopsuestia, and Isidore of Pelusium. Among the Latin Fathers he particu1arly influenced Tertullian, Lactantius, Ambrose, Jerome, Augustine and Cassiodorus.68 Jerome (Epistula ad Eustochium 22.35, P.L.22, col. 421) praises Josephus as a second Livy. Indeed, so marked was Jerome’s favor for Josephus that during his lifetime it was thought, without basis, that he had translated Josephus’ War into Latin. However, as Schreckenberg69 has remarked, even important theologians disseminated and thereby sanctioned cleverly invented falsifications. We may also note that the Syriac version of the sixth book of the War was actually included in the sacred canon of the Syrian Church. During the Middle Ages and into modern times Josephus was associated with either pagan or Christian authorities, as the occasion demanded. Indeed, he was regarded as a veritable polymath—an authority in such diverse fields as biblical exegesis, allegory, chronology, arithmetic (the Josephus-spiel was one of the popular arithmetical problems of the Middle Ages), astronomy, natural history, geography of the Holy Land, grammar, etymology, and Jewish theology. There was a legend that Josephus had cured the Emperor Titus of a swollen leg, gout or palsy. When the Christians were largely cut off from the direct Jewish tradition, it was Josephus who supplied the pilgrims with knowledge of the Holy Land, their teachers with knowledge of Jewish history and the Jewish religion and lore, and their military leaders with military tactics and formulae. The Jewish War

68 For a comprehensive listing of passages through the sixteenth century that show the influence of Josephus see Schreckenberg 1972, 68-171. For brief discussions of these passages see Schreckenberg 1992, 51-85. 69 Schreckenberg 1992, 85.

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was particularly popular since it contained such a graphic account of the destruction of the Temple, a debacle which was explained by many Christians as divine punishment meted out to the Jews for their rejection of Jesus. Because of the Testimonium Flavianum Josephus was regarded as having borne witness to the miracles, Messiahship and resurrection of Jesus; and it is not surprising that in the catalogues of medieval libraries his works commonly appear with those of the Church Father. In the late Middle Ages Josephus was widely known through the Historia Scholastica of the twelfth-century Peter Comestor, a summary of biblical history which soon became the most popular book in Western Europe.70 In the Byzantine Empire he was particularly used by George Syncellus, Photius, George Hamartolos, the anonymous De obsidione toleranda, Constantine Porphyrogenitus, Joannes Zonaras, Nicetas Choniates and Nikephoros Kallistos Xanthopoulos. His influence is also to be seen in painting, particu1arly in Christian miniatures of the twelfth to fourteenth centuries.71 In modern times, until the twentieth century, both in England and on the continent, it is no exaggeration to say that Josephus was the most widely read of all Greek historians.72 Until our own days a very common sight in houses was a copy of Josephus (in England and in the United States most often in Whiston’s much reprinted translation) next to the Hebrew Scriptures and the New Testament, since the Jewish historian was regarded as the bridge between them. In fact, among strict English Protestants, only Josephus and the Bible were permitted to be read on Sunday. In the seventeenth century the growing sanctity of the Hebrew Scriptures in England led playwrights to turn to the Apocrypha and the works of Josephus, which provided scriptural settings and associations without the awkwardness of divine authority. The first book of Jewish authorship printed in the American colonies was L’Estrange’s translation of Josephus in 1719; the second was Morvvyne’s translation of Josippon in 1722. The leading intellectual in the American colonies, Cotton Mather,

70

See Feldman 1993j, 98-101. See Deutsch 1987, 398-410. 72 During the period from 1450 to 1700 there were more editions and translations of Josephus (73 of the Antiquities and 68 of the War) than of Herodotus or Thucydides or Plutarch, or, for that matter, of any other Greek historian. See Burke 1966, 135-52. 71

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in the early eighteenth century, was deeply indebted to Josephus, especially in his unpublished Biblia Americana.73 Among famous Italian writers Petrarch, among the French Voltaire, and among the Spanish Lope de Vega were particu1arly influenced by Josephus. The Hebrew paraphrase of the War, Josippon, was well known to the mediaeval commentators on the Bible and the Talmud. The Arabic version of Josippon was widely used by Muslim historians, notably by the great fourteenth-century Ibn Khaldun. The Ethiopic version became a semi-canonical work of the Monophysite Church. The Slavonic version of the War influenced mediaeval Russian literature and especially Russian chronicles and the Tale of Igor’s Expedition. In modern times Josephus has had notable influence on Hebbel’s tragedy Herodes und Mariamne and on Feuchtwanger’s trilogy of novels, Der jüdische Krieg (1932), Die Söhne (1935), and Der Tag wird kommen (1945).

73

See Feldman 1993k, 122-55.

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CHAPTER THIRTEEN

JOSEPHUS’ LIBERTIES IN INTERPRETING THE BIBLE IN THE JEWISH WAR AND IN THE ANTIQUITIES The Pentateuch (Deut. 4:2) states that “You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it; that you may keep the commandments of the L-rd your G-d, which I command you.” Similarly, the Pentateuch (Deut. 13:1) asserts that “Every word that I command you you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to it or take from it.” It will be recalled that Josephus,in the introduction to his Antiquities (1.5), seemingly in accordance with these biblical statements, proclaims that his work will embrace the entire ancient history (ρχαιολογαν) and political constitution of the Jews, translated from the Hebrew records (κ τν βραικν μεθηρμηνευμ#νην γραμμάτων). Again, he promises his readers that he will throughout his work set forth the precise details of the Scriptures (τ$ μ%ν ο&ν κριβ' τν ν τας ναγραφας), each in its place, neither adding nor omitting anything (ο(δ%ν προσθε*ς ουδ’ α& παραλιπ ν [Ant. 1.17]). It would appear that Josephus is promising not to add to or subtract from not merely the commandments of the Scriptures but also the narrative details as well. As is well known, Josephus does not adhere to this promise, and many suggestions have been presented to explain his divergences.1 There is surely significance in the fact that Josephus starts the Antiquities with the recollection of the precedent for his work, namely the LXX, which he cites as justifying his presentation of biblical history to Gentiles (Ant. 1.10).2 The LXX, despite the fact that the translation was allegedly divinely inspired (Letter of Aristeas 306), and though the work of translation had allegedly been carried on with the greatest of accuracy, inasmuch as a curse was pronounced upon anyone who ventured to add or transpose or remove anything 1

See Feldman 1998, 37-46. Harrington 1986, 247, justifiably, however, expresses doubt whether the “rewritten Bible” represents a literary genre at all or whether one can speak about the single genre of these writings. 2

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(προστιθε*ς + μεταφ#ρων τι...+ ποιο μενος φαρεσιν, Letter of Aristeas 311), yet contains numerous modifications of the original. Yet, Philo also remarks on the utter precision of the translation, comparing it in its scientific accuracy to geometry and logic (Mos. 2.38-39). Indeed, he goes so far as to speak of the original and the Greek translation as being one and the same, both in matter and in words, and looks at the translators as being veritable prophets and priests of the mysteries.3 The fact that Josephus devotes so much space (Ant. 12.11-118) to his paraphrase of the Letter of Aristeas, which tells the story of the translation of the Pentateuch into Greek and which, strictly speaking, has only the most tangential relationship to the political and military history of the Jews, which is, by far, the most central subject of the work, would indicate how important this precedent was in his eyes. In effect, like Aquila, Symmachus, and Theodotion, Josephus was presenting another translation or paraphrase of the Bible because he felt that the existing translation was not serving the best interests of the Jewish people. The fact that the rabbis (Meg. 9a-b) saw fit to tell the story of the translation of the Pentateuch by the seventy or seventy-two elders indicates how important they thought the translation was. That they say that even though the translators were placed in separate rooms G-d prompted each of them to produce the same translation and even the same changes from the original meaning of the text would indicate that the rabbis originally gave their blessing to the LXX and, most importantly, approved of the liberties that the translators took in their rendering of the text. Most important, apparently, the rabbis did not feel guilty of having violated the commandment forbidding adding or omitting anything. Neither for that matter did Philo when he reported that Moses in his childhood in Egypt had Greek and Egyptian tutors in the liberal arts (Mos. 1.21) or when he took the liberty to rearrange the order of the ten plagues (Mos. 1.98-142).4

3 The rabbis, with obvious approval, refer to the miraculous manner in which the seventy-two translators had been placed in seventy-two separate rooms and yet had emerged with identical translations because of Divine inspiration (Meg. 9a). Nevertheless: they mention certain deliberate changes that they had all made in the process of translating the sacred text. 4 It does seem that later the rabbis had second thoughts about the translation,

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Finally, we may note that the LXX, Philo, and Josephus understood the word “translation” in a sense different from what is meant today; and it was not until Aquila was encourged to do a more literal translation of the Bible into Greek in the early second century that the requirement that a translation be literal was taken more seriously. Prior to that time the view that prevailed was that a translation had to be true to the content of the text but not to its external form.5 The fact that, despite the ban on any modification of the LXX, three major recensions had emerged by the time of Jerome (Preface to the Book of Chronicles, in Migne, PL 28.1324-25) shows that the curse mentioned in the Letter of Aristeas was not taken too seriously. There would seem to be a precedent for presenting an alternative version of the sacred text in the very Bible itself, namely the Book of Chronicles as compared with the Book of Kings. More directly, there is surely great significance in the fact that Josephus begins his Antiquities with the statement (Ant. 1.6) that when he was writing his account of the war between the Jews and the Romans he had decided to start his narrative not with the war but with the history of the very beginning of the Jewish people and to describe, as he says, “what fortunes they experienced, under what sort of lawgiver they were trained as to piety and the exercise of the other virtues, and the number of wars that they had fought in long ages past before they entered into this last war against their will.” In other words, he was planning to preface the history of the war of the Jews against the Romans with a history of the Jews, the sort of thing that Tacitus does much more briefly in his Histories (5.2-13) in prefacing the history of the Jews to the history of the Jewish war against the Romans. If he had written that account, how would it have compared with the history that we find in the Antiquities, and what authors might he have read during the period of his life that he spent in Rome that might have led him to modify his account? If we examine the liberties that

and the great Rabbi Akiva, according to Jerome (on Isa. 7:14), inspired his student Aquila in the second century to do a more literal translation into Greek. Still later the rabbis (Sof. 1:7) revised their opinion of the worth of the translation and compared the day when the translation was completed to the date when the Golden Calf was built by the Israelites. 5 The rabbis were aware of the danger of literal translation, as we may discern from the remark of Rabbi Judah bar Ilai (mid-second century) that whoever translates a biblical verse literally is an impostor, though admittedly he is quick to add that whoever adds thereto is a blasphemer and a libeller (Qid. 49a).

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Josephus took in interpreting the Bible in his Jewish War as against his Antiquities, both of which he wrote during his stay in Rome under the Flavians, we see that the divergences from the biblical narrative are much greater in the Jewish War. Why? Cicero (De Legibus 1.5) says that in history the standard by which everything is judged is the truth. But that is true of a universal history. The standard is different in a monograph dealing with a specific topic or period of history. In a letter to an old friend, Lucius Lucceius, Caesar’s unsuccessful running-mate for the consulship of 59 b.c.e. (Ad Familiares 5.12), Cicero tries to persuade him to write a monograph about the annus mirabilis, the year 63 b.c.e., in which Cicero was consul, in which Cicero would be glorified a bit more than strict regard for the truth might permit. He had already approached a number of friends asking them to write memoirs on the year of his consulship. Fired by this extraordinary and, as he thought, not repehensible eagerness to have his name rendered illustrious, Cicero turned to Lucceius as one of the eminent historians of the day. Cicero would have had to wait years before Lucceius would have reached the year 63 in his general history; and so he suggested that Lucceius write a detached account of the consulship. The most controversial sentence in this letter is Cicero’s frank request that Lucceius eulogize his actions “with even more warmth than perhaps you feel, and in that respect to disregard the canons of history.” It was Cicero’s hope that Lucceius, despite professions of impartiality, would not disdain to exaggerate Cicero’s merits “a little more than may be allowed by truth” (Ad Familiares 5.12.3). Cicero makes a clear distinction between a continuous history, such as Lucceius was then writing, and a detached monograph. It is the latter that Cicero requested, ostensibly because he was unwilling to wait until Lucceius would reach the year 63 in his history, but also because he realized that in a monograph Lucceius would find a good precedent for coloring the facts. As Cicero (Ad Familiares 5.12.3) himself put it: “If all your mind is concentrated upon one subject and upon one personality, I see even now, in my mind’s eye, how much richer and artistic will be the result.” Cicero, in this letter (Ad Familiares 5.12.2), is careful to allay the fears of Lucceius by citing as precedents for such a monograph works by three famous Greek writers, each of whom had written about specific wars—the fourthcentury b.c.e. Callisthenes’ Phocian War, the third-century b.c.e.

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Timaeus’ Wars of Pyrrhus, and the second-century b.c.e. Polybius’ Numantine War. One would suppose that the narrower the scope the more accurate the history would be, especially since this was apparently so in the case of Thucydides’ account. Instead, Callisthenes, the nephew of Aristotle, consummated a remarkable wedding of Peripatetic particularism of subject-matter and Isocratean rhetorico-tragic style. The one quotation that is extant from Callisthenes’ Phocian War provides an illustration of the tragic approach that characterized the monograph as a type. According to the quotation, which is from Athenaeus, Callisthenes noted that both the Crisaean War, which occurred against Delphi in the sixth century b.c.e., and the Phocian War, which occurred in the fourth century b.c.e. against Philip of Macedon, lasted ten years and that both were caused by a woman. In all likelihood, we may guess, Callisthenes drew parallels between the Trojan, Crisaean, and Phocian Wars, and treated his subject in the epic and tragic fashion that the Trojan War suggested.6 Almost nothing is known about Timaeus’ monograph on the Wars of Pyrrhus,7 which occurred in the third century b.c.e. It seems likely, however, that such a dashing and glamorous character as Pyrrhus gave Timaeus an opportunity to exhibit his highly rhetorical style. In particular, Pyrrhus’ death, tragic in the Aristotelian sense that the flaw in his character led to his downfall, might well have given him an opportunity to display his stylistic skill. In view of Polybius’ criticisms of the writers of such monographs, it is certainly surprising that he himself wrote one on the Numantine War, which occurred in the second century b.c.e. He claims that he treated universal history, τ- καθ/λον, in contrast to those who wrote particular histories, π* μ#ρους. The writers of monographs, according to Polybius (7.7.6; cf. 3.32.1-9 and 12.23.7), dealing as they did with limited and narrow plots, were compelled, because of poverty of matter, to exaggerate a few insignificant incidents, and to speak at inordinate length on subjects tbat scarcely deserved mention. Moreover, he says (16.14.1, 16.17.9, 16.18.2),8 these writers were occupied not with real facts but with the elaboration of style. 6 7 8

So Ullman 1942, 49-50. For some theories see Ullman 1942, 47-48, especially n. 118. Cf. Ullman 1942, 42-43.

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And yet, as Cicero notes, Polybius did write a monograph on the Numantine War. Unfortunately, we have no direct information about this work; but the fact is, as Polybius recognized, that to write particular histories without resorting to the devices of tragedy was almost impossible. Moreover, Polybius wrote a biography of Philopoemen of Megalopolis which, like that of Evagoras by Isocrates, was in the form of an encomium. He there employed, he admitted (10.21.6-8), a style deliberately intended to enhance the hero’s merits. Unlike Callisthenes and Timaeus, who carried over the methods of the monograph into their general histories, he realized that this procedure was inappropriate for his history, which sought to be impartial and which demanded precise and true facts. He therefore could and did deviate from the truth. The important thing is that he did not apologize for it as a juvenile act but that he noted that it was permissible in an encomiastic biography. In giving his account of the Numantine War, Polybius might well have made his friend the Younger Scipio, who brought it to its conclusion, the central figure. The war itself was an epic struggle, unique in the sense that it was decided not by a single battle or two but by long, continuous fighting. Polybius could have found numerous events that lent themselves to tragic treatment and embellishment. From Appian’s account of the war, which was perhaps based partly on Polybius’ monograph,9 can be ascertained the sort of treatment that Polybius himself gave to these events. The tale of the desperate measures taken by the Numantines during the last days of the war certainly would have lent itself to tragic treatment. Josephus’ Jewish War, with its elaboration of tragic and desperate measures, would fit this description of a monograph. To be sure, at the very beginning of this work (War 1.1-2), Josephus criticizes those who, lacking firsthand information, had written casual and contradictory accounts of the war based upon hearsay that they edited in a rhetorical style, as well as those who, though witnesses of the events, were guilty of misrepresenting the facts, while alternately engaging in invective and encomium. But such statements, in the tradition of Thucydides (1.22.2-4), are standard criticisms of their predecessors by historians and need not be taken very seriously. 9 So Ullman 1942, 46-47, who accepts the conclusion of Schulten 1911, 568, that Appian used Poseidonius, who had used both the Numantine monograph and the universal history of Polybius.

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Apparently, however, Josephus had second thoughts about prefacing his history of the war with a brief history of the Jews, a good portion of which would be based upon the Bible. We may here be pardoned for conjecturing how he would have treated the Bible if he had summarized it as the introduction to the Jewish War. As a matter of fact, Josephus in the War refers to ten passages from the Pentateuch10 and eleven passages from the rest of the Bible;11 and it will surely be of interest to see what he does with these twentyone passages, though, to be sure, some of them are very brief.12 Of course we must bear in mind that in the War Josephus does not have a statement that he has not added to or subtracted from the biblical narrative. Of those passages about the biblical narrative that are more substantial, we may call attention to the reference to the story of Sarai and the Pharaoh (War 5.379-81) in Josephus’ speech to his countrymen urging them to surrender. In the Bible (Gen. 12:10-20) and in the Antiquities (1.161) there is a famine in the land of Canaan, and so Abram descends to Egypt with Sarai. In the Bible this is presumably to get food. In the Antiquities (1.161) there is an additional motive, namely to engage in dialogue with the Egyptian priests, since he was prepared to become the disciple of the Egyptians if they could convince him that their theology was superior, or to convert them if his views should be found superior. This is in line with Josephus’ attempt elsewhere (Ant. 1.154) to demonstrate that Jews are not obscurantist but rather prepared to debate other intellectuals in pursuit of the truth (Ant. 1. 166).13 There is none of this in the version in the War. In the first place, there is no mention of a plague. There, moreover, it is not Abram who descends into Egypt but, most remarkably, it is the Pharaoh, whose name we are told, was Necho, which is the

10 Gen.12:10-20 (=War 5.379-81), 13:18 (=War 4.531-33), 14:18-20 (=War 6.438), 19:1-29 (=War 4.483-85), 35:27-29 (=War 4.532); Exod. 12 (=War 6.423-26), Exod. 12:40, 7:14-11:10, 12:12-13, 12:29-36, 13:18 (=War 5.382-83), Exod. 39:1-31, Lev. 10:8-11, Num. 5:2 (=War 5.225-35); Num. 13:22 (=War 4.530); Deut.21:2223 (=War 4.317). 11 Josh. 6 (=War 4.459), 1 Sam. 4:1-11 (=War 5.384-86), 1 Kgs. 14:25 (=War 6.436), 2 Kgs. 2:19-22 (=War 4.460-64), 2 Kgs. 19:35-36 (=War 5.387-88), 2 Kgs. 24:12 (=War 6.103-4), 2 Kgs. 25:1-10, Jer. 37:21 (=War 5.391-92), Jer. 7:34 (=War 6.301), Isa. 19:19 (=War 7.432), Hag. 1:1-8 (=War 6.270), Ezra 1:1-8 (=War 5.389). 12 These are briefly discussed by Schwartz 1990, 24-35. 13 See Feldman 1998, 228-34.

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name of a Pharaoh of a far later date,14 who invades Palestine. In the Bible and in the Antiquities (Ant. 1. 167) Abram instructs Sarai to tell the Egyptians that she is Abram’s sister, since otherwise they would kill him. In the Bible the Egyptians, impressed by Sarai’s beauty, take her to the Pharaoh’s house, and he treats Abram well for her sake. In the Antiquities the Pharaoh, not content with what was being said about her, actually seizes her with zeal and is on the point of laying hands on her, but G-d thwarts his desire with a disease and civil strife. Very different is the account in the War. There nothing is said about Sarai pretendmg to be Abram’s sister. Abram is portrayed as having 318 officers, each in command of a boundless army. But though they might have gone to war with Necho, Abram decides that an army is worthless without G-d’s aid, and so he prays with hands uplifted toward the place where the Temple was later to stand. Whereas in the Bible G-d affiicted the Pharaoh along with his household with plagues because of what he had attempted to do with Sarai, when the Pharaoh returned Sarai to Abram he gave orders to escort them homeward. In the Antiquities (1.164) Josephus adds that the Pharaoh’s priests reveal to him, when he sacrifices to find deliverance, that the calamity had beset him because he had sought to outrage Abram’s wife. When he heard this the Pharaoh, adds Josephus, apologized to Abram, stating that he had never intended to outrage her by lust but rather to marry her, and he showered Abram with many treasures, and Abram associated with the most erudite of the Egyptians. In the version in the War Sarai, after one night’s absence, was sent back immaculate to her husband, in awe of the place where the Temple was to stand, and trembling at his visions of the night; and the Pharaoh fled and bestowed gifts of silver and gold upon the Hebrews. In the telling of this brief incident there are nine major differences between the biblical version and that in the War: (1) In the War there is no mention of a famine; (2) instead of going down to Egypt, the Egyptian Pharaoh invades Canaan; (3) the Pharaoh himself carries off Sarai, rather than her being brought to Pharaoh; (4) Abram, rather than coming alone with Sarai, comes with 318 officers and

14 Necho (2 Chron. 35:20) is the pharaoh who defeated King Josiah of Judah at the end of the seventh century b.c.e.

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a boundless army, yet chooses not to fight; (5) there is no mention of Sarai’s deceit in claiming to be Abram’s sister; (6) instead of a plague the Pharaoh is afflicted with visions; (7) Abram in the War prays to the place of the Temple; (8) the Pharaoh stands in awe of the place of the Temple; (9) the Pharaoh bestows silver and gold upon the Hebrews. Clearly, an important factor in these changes is that the incident is mentioned by Josephus in his speech to his countrymen urging them to surrender, in effect, to follow in the footsteps of Abram, who, though he had an army, chose the pacifists’ path of prayer, seeking only G-d’s help. With this aim in mind, Josephus radically revises the biblical story. Josephus, the priest, is particularly outraged that the Temple had been desecrated by the revolutionaries: for him the Temple is the place to which one directs one’s prayers. It is even revered by non-Jews. Josephus’ innovations in the War are likewise striking when they are compared with the version found in Pseudo-Eupolemus (ap. Eus., Pr. Ev. 9.17.6-7). Pseudo-Eupolemus agrees with the Bible and the Antiquities in stating that it was a famine that led Abram to descend to Egypt. He disagrees with the Bible and the Antiquities in asserting that he descended with all his household, whereas the Bible and the Antiquities speak only of Abram and Sarai descending. Again, whereas the Bible and the Antiquities do not speak of the Pharaoh as marrying Sarai, Pseudo-Eupolemus says explicitly that the Pharaoh married her. Furthermore, whereas the Bible says that Abram instructed Sarai to say that she was his sister and whereas Josephus states that he pretended that he was her brother and that he instructed her to pretend this, Pseudo-Eupolemus says explicitly that the Pharaoh married her because he had said that she was his sister. PseudoEupolemus, moreover, uniquely adds that the Pharaoh was unable to have intercourse with her. He likewise uniquely adds that after the Pharaoh attempted to have relations with her, the Pharaoh’s people and his household were perishing, whereas the Bible states that they were afflicted with severe plagues. Likewise, whereas the Bible says nothing about priests or diviners being summoned by the Pharaoh and whereas the Antiquities says that the priest revealed to him that the calamity had come to him because G-d was angry inasmuch as he had sought to outrage the stranger, Pseudo-Eupolemus asserts that diviners (μάντεις) had revealed to him that the woman was not a widow, whereas in the Antiquities we learn that it was Sarai who revealed her identity to the Pharaoh. Hence, we see that even in as

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brief an episode as this is, there is a considerable number of variant versions, but that it is in the War that Josephus has incorporated the largest number of variants. Another bibical passage is that pertaining to Melchizedek in War 6.438. When this is compared with the brief statement about Melchizedek in Gen. 14:18-20 and in the Antiquities (1.180-81), we find no fewer than six details that are not found in the Pentateuch and that do not appear in the Antiquities—that Melchizedek was the original founder (πρτος κτσας) of Jerusalem, that he was a Canaanite chief, that his name means “Righteous King” (βασιλε0ς δκαιος), that in virtue of his righteousness he was the first to officiate as priest of G-d, that he was the first to build the Temple (τ1ερ/ν), and that he gave the city, previously called Solyma, the name of Jerusalem.15 The most striking of these details is that Melchizedek was the first to officiate as priest of G-d and, most amazing of all, that he—and presumably not Solomon—was the first to build the Temple in Jerusalem. The net result of this interpretation is to enhance the antiquity of the Temple and its cult, since they go back hundreds of years before David to the time of Abraham, and to stress the liberal attitude of Jews toward non-Jews, since the most sacred institution of the Jews, the Temple, was founded by a non-Jew. As Schwartz16 has noted, Josephus in the War frequently (e.g., War 2.412) refers to the fact that the Temple had always accepted the gifts of foreigners and was reverenced by them (e.g., War 5.17, 5.363, 6.120). The same centrality of the Temple is to be seen in the version of the Exodus from Egypt that we find in the War 5.382-83). The Bible (Exod. 13: 18) states that the Israelites were armed when they went forth from Egypt. Josephus (War 5.382) asserts that though they might have defended themselves by resorting to arms and violence, they chose rather to commit themselves to G-d. Consequently, G-d led them as the future guardians of His Temple. Here again, the added remarks in Josephus’ version of this incident are to be seen in the context of Josephus’ speech to his fellow-countrymen, as he urges them not to resort to arms against the Romans but to follow the example of the Israelites when they left Egypt. And once again we

15 Some manuscripts in Antiquities 1.180 read κάλεσεν, that is, that, like War 6.438, it was Melchizedek who called the city Hierosolyma (Jerusalem). 16 Schwartz 1990, 27 n. 16.

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find that for Josephus the priest who is so proud of the fact (Life 1-2) that he belonged to the first of the twenty-four courses of priests, the Temple is his central focus; and the fact that the revolutionaries had desecrated the Temple is his greatest criticism of them. Another narrative that Josephus in the War (5.384-85) has interpreted very differently from the account in the Bible (1 Sam. 4:1-11) is the pericope relating how the Israelites’ ark was captured by the Philistines when the Israelites were defeated in battle. In the biblical account (I Sam. 4:1-11), after the Israelites were defeated by the Philistines and suffered heavy losses, the elders of the Israelites took the ark with them from Shiloh, seeking to have G-d save them from their enemies. At first, the Philistines were dismayed by the sound of the shofar signalizing the arrival of the ark, but they strengthened themselves and eventually inflicted a heavy blow upon the Israelites and captured the ark. The account in the Antiquities (5.353-56) follows the biblical narrative closely. The setting in the War is, again, Josephus’ address to his fellow-Israelites urging them to surrender to the Romans. According to the biblical account (1 Sam. 5:1-8), when the Philistines captured the ark, it wrought havoc to the Philistine god Dagon and struck the people of Ashdod with hemorrhoids. Josephus (War 5.385) elaborates on this and remarks that they were ulcerated in their secret parts and excreted their entrails along with their food. As Schwartz has noted,17 Josephus in the War 5.385 has confounded the account of the return of the ark in 1 Sam. 7-8 with the account of the return of the ark by David and his people (2 Sam. 6:1-5) to the accompaniment of cymbals and timbrels. Again, the point of introducing this passage in Josephus’ address to his fellowJews is to try to convince them to abandon the idea of using force and to commit the issue to G-d (War 5.386). Josephus’ point here is that the Israelites were able to recover the ark because they took the road not of military action but of prayer. It is this that overcame the enemy; and, stresses Josephus, it is this path that will enable the Jews to prevail again. This account, like the two previous accounts in the War of Necho and the Exodus, emphasizes the centrality of the Temple cult. Again, according to the Bible (2 Kgs. 18:13-37), Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, captured tbe fortified city of Judah; and Hezekiah,

17

Schwartz 1990, 31.

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the king of Judah, agreed to pay whatever tribute Sennacherib would impose upon him. In the Antiquities (10.5-10) the Assyrians send to Hezekiah and ask him to parley with them. Josephus there adds that out of cowardice Hezekiah does not himself come out but rather sends three of his friends. In the Bible (2 Kgs. 18:19-25) and in the Antiquities (10.67) Rabshakeh, the Assyrian representative, seeks to terrorize the Jews and presents Hezekiah with an ultimatum. In the War there is no mention of the terror or of the ultimatum. In the Bible and in the Antiquities (10.13) the prophet Isaiah plays the key role in praying and predicting that the enemy would be defeated. Rather, the one point tbat is emphasized more than any other is that prayer by the Jews was the key to the miracle that in one night the Assyrians were annihilated. In the Bible (2 Kgs. 19:35) this is brought about through an angel, but in the Antiquities (10.21), Josephus rationalizes and declares that the cause was a pestilence. In tbe War, however, as in the Bible, the miracle is brought about, as in the Bible, through an angel, but it is all the greater because, in an extra-biblical addition, we are told that the Jews were not even armed, nor were they even pursuing the enemy (War 5.388). Surprisingly, but very significantly, Josephus does not make any mention at all in the Antiquities of the incident (2 Kgs. 2:19-22) in Jericho, where the prophet Elisha threw salt into the water, which had been making the land deadly. However, whereas the whole incident is covered in only four verses in the Bible, in the War it takes up nine paragraphs (4.459-67), in the course of which he adds a number of extra-biblical details. Thus, whereas in the Bible (2 Kgs. 2:19) we hear that the water there had been bad and had made the land deadly, Josephus (War 4.460) adds that the spring not only blighted the fruits and trees tbere but also caused women to miscarry. Again, whereas the Bible (2 Kgs. 2:18) simply states that Elisha stayed in Jericho, Josephus (War 4.461) asserts that he had been the guest of the people of Jericho and had been treated by them with extreme hospitality. Thus, whereas in the Bible there is no particular for Elisha’s curing of the water, Josephus has him do so in requital for their kind hospitality. Furthermore, the Bible very briefly describes the method employed by Elisha to cure the water, namely that he took a new jar, put some salt into it, threw the salt at the source of the water, and declared (2 Kgs. 2:21), “Thus says the L-rd: I have made this water wholesome; henceforth neither death nor miscarriage shall come from it.” Josephus (War 4.462-64) has considerably

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elaborated Elisha’s procedure: he went out to the spring, cast into the stream an earthenware vessel full of salt, raised his right hand to heaven, poured propitiatory libations upon the ground, besought heaven to temper its waters with more genial airs and to grant the inhabitants an abundance of fruits, numerous children, and an unfailing supply of water, so long as they lived righteously. It would seem that Josephus declined to insert this account in the Antiquities because he normally shies away from including miracles or rationalizes them,18 especially since one of the stock charges against the Jews was credulity, as can see from Horace, who has a proverb, “Credat Judaeus Apella,” referring to the fact that only the credulous Jew Apella would believe that frankincense can melt without fire (Sat. 1.5.97-103). Consequently, at the very beginning of the Antiquities (1.24) Josephus emphasizes that there is nothing unreasonable in the Bible and that everything is in harmony with the nature of the universe. Indeed, Josephus frequently in the Antiquities19 employs the time-honored formula, found not merely in Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Lucian, and Pliny the Elder, but also earlier in Herodotus and Thucydides,20 allowing the reader to make up his own mind. He thus tends to downgrade or rationalize miracles in the Antiquities, where his primary audience consisted of non-Jews;21 but in the War, where his primary audience consisted of Jews,22 whom he was trying to convince not to revolt against the Romans and where he was trying to prove that he was a loyal and observant Jew, he sees no need to avoid mentioning the miracles described in the Bible and, indeed, can elaborate on them. Josephus (War 6.103-4), in a speech urging John of Gischala to surrender to the Romans, cites the precedent of King Jeconiah (Jehoiachin) of Judah, who of his own free will left Jerusalem before it was captured and endured voluntary captivity rather than see the Temple go up in flames (2 Kgs. 24:8-16). What he does not say is that the

18

See Feldman 1998, 209-14. Ant. 1.108, 2.348, 3.81, 3.322, 4.158, 8.262, 10.281, 17.354, 19.108. 20 Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Ant. Rom. 1.48.1, 1.48.4, 2.40.3, 2.70.5, 3.35.5; Lucian, Quomodo 10; Pliny, Nat. Hist. 9.18; Herodotus 2.123, 5.45; Thucydides 6.2.1. 21 See Feldman 1998, 46-49. 22 See War 1.3, where Josephus states that he originally composed the work in the vernacular, presumably Aramaic, and sent it to his countryment in Babylonia (1.6). 19

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Babylonians did burn the Temple shortly after the surrender. Indeed, in the Antiquities (10.100-10 Josephus says that Jeconiah surrendered only after receiving an oath from the Babylonians that neither they nor the city would receive any harm—a pledge, as Josephus there asserts, that the Babylonian king did not keep for even as long as a year, since he commanded his men to take captive all the young men and craftsmen in the city and bring them in chains to him. In the War Josephus, the pacifist who, above all, is concerned with the Temple, says nothing about this pledge and about the failure of the Babylonians to abide by it. According to the Bible (2 Kgs. 25:7), King Zedekiah of Judah was blinded by the Babylonians, bound in leg-irons, and brought to Babylonia. According to the Antiquities (10.132), the Jews bravely resisted despite famine and disease, but Josephus in the War says nothing about their bravery. Josephus (War 5.392-93) notes that he, like Jeremiah, had been assailed with abuse by his opponents, because they were exasperated at being reminded of their sins. According to the Bible (2 Kgs. 25:7), Zedekiah did not see the destruction of Jerusalem, since he had been blinded and taken as a prisoner to Babylon ten years earlier. Josephus (War 5.391-92) emphasizes that Nebuchadnezzar was much more moderate than the revolutionary leaders of his own day in that though the prophet Jeremiah loudly proclaimed that the Jews were hateful to G-d because of their transgressions and would be taken captive unless they surrended the city of Jerusalem, neither King Zedekiah nor the people put him to death, whereas the revolutionaries assailed Josephus with words and with missiles. However, Josephus has here taken considerable liberty with the facts, inasmuch as the priests, the prophets, and, indeed, all the people seized Jeremiah (Jer. 26:8-11) and threatened him with death. Shortly thereafter, as Jeremiah was about to leave Jerusalem, he was seized and falsely accused of deserting to the Babylonians (Jer. 37:11-21), and he was struck and imprisoned; and even the king was afraid to release him openly. Schwartz,23 in his examination of the passages from the Bible that are referred to in the War, asks whether at the time that Josephus wrote the War he had been educated in all the biblical books or whether he had been trained in the Pentateuch alone; and he

23

Schwartz 1990, 24-35.

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concludes that by that time he knew the outline and some details of the main narrative of the Pentateuch and the historical books and that he had some acquaintance with Jeremiah, Haggai, and Ezra. However, since, with few exceptions, the citations in the War so diverge from or even contradict our biblical texts, he concludes that Josephus was working for the most part from memory and that what he remembered may often have been popular or priestly storytelling; and, in fact, he says, there is little evidence that he knew the biblical texts at all. But, we may suggest, Josephus’ memory must have been sharp, since in War 5. 388 he gives, for example, as the number of Assyrians who were slain, 185,000, the very number that we find in the Bible (2 Kgs. 19:35). However, if we are to put any trust in Josephus’ statement in his autobiography (Life 8), Josephus in his youth forged ahead into a vast wealth of education and was reputed to excel in both memory (μνμ2) and insight (συν#σει, “sagacity,” “mother-wit,” “intelligence”). He states that while still a boy, about fourteen years old, he used to be praised by everyone because he was book-loving (φιλογράμματον). The key word here is “memory,” which was a fundamental component of Greek, Roman, and rabbinic education,24 especially since their culture was to such a high degree oral. Indeed, the word tanna, referring to a rabbinic teacher of the first two centuries c.e., means “repeater” or “reciter” and comes from the Aramaic word teni, meaning “to hand down orally.” That a high premium was placed on memory may be seen from the fact that the Talmud (Hor. l3b), referring to folklore and particularly to diet, lists five things that make one forget one’s studies, five things that restore learning to the memory, and ten things that adversely affect one’s memory. The presence of numerous mnemonic devices in rabbinic literature indicates how important it was to memorize vast quantities of material.25 If so, we have a right to expect that Josephus had memorized a great deal of the Bible. But if so, how can we explain the vast divergences from the biblical text in the War? Had Josephus forgotten what he had learned in his youth? More likely, as we have suggested, Josephus seems to have taken greater liberties in his citations from the Bible in his account of the war of the Jews against the Romans than in his

24 25

See Mason 2001, 13 n. 58. See Rabinowitz 1971, 187-90.

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general history of the Jews in the Antiquities, both because the War was a monograph on a particular subject, and hence, following the precedent of Callisthenes, Timaeus, and Polybius, he felt that he could take great liberties, and because he felt he had to emphasize the uselessness of war, and the need to castigate the revolutionaries for their disrespect to the Temple, which meant so much to him as a priest. We may here suggest that during his years in Rome Josephus was influenced by the view of Polybius, whom he quotes once in the Antiquities (12.135-37), even noting the book of the history from which he is quoting, and to whom he refers once more in the (12.358-59), praising him as a good (γαθ/ς) man, and once in the essay Against Apion 2.84). But in addition to these three places there is at least one other, namely Antiquities 12.402, where Josephus, who has been following 1 Macc., inserts a detail, missing from 1 Macc. but found in Polybius (31.14 [22].4), about how Nicanor had helped Demetrius to escape. In addition, Eckstein, though he does not mention Polybius’ distinction between the freedom with the truth allowed in a monograph as against an extended history, has shown that Josephus had read deeply in Polybius, particularly the latter’s analysis of the Roman constitution.26 We may suggest that Josephus was attracted to Polybius because of the similarity in their personal lives. Just as Polybius had held important military and diplomatic positions in his native Greece, had been brought to Rome from a foreign country as a prisoner under the protective aegis of the most prominent Roman family, the Scipios, had witnessed from the Roman side the destruction of a great city, Corinth, in his native land, and had written in Rome a history defending his own behavior and extolling the power of Rome, so had Josephus held important diplomatic and military postions in his native Judaea, had been brought to Rome from Judaea under the aegis of the ruling family, the Flavians, after he had been released from capitivity, had witnessed from the Roman side the destruction of the greatest city of his native land, Jerusalem, and had written in Rome a history defending his own behavior and extolling the power of Rome.27

26 27

See Cohen 1982, 368. See Cohen 1982, 367; and Eckstein 1990, 175.

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But this is not all. Before Polybius (12.24.6, 12.28a.6)28 we do not find historians emphasizing the importance of having practical experience in military affairs and having participated in the events that they are describing; but this is precisely what we find in Josephus as well (War 1.1, 3-4; Ap. 1. 55), even to the point that both use basically the same word (α(τουργα: Polybius 12.28a.6; α(τουργ/ς: Jos. Ap. 1.55) to indicate their qualifications as an historian, namely as a participant and eyewitness in many of the events that they discuss. Moreover, just as Polybius (12.17-22,12.25.3) is critical of Callisthenes and Ephorus for lacking military experience in their descriptions of battles, so Josephus (Life 357-58) is critical of his rival Justus of Tiberias for lacking military knowledge and for not being a participant in the war. Furthermore, when Josephus pardons Nicolaus of Damascus for being partial to Herod (Ant. 16.184-87), his sole historiographical predecessor is Polybius (8.8.4-9), who similarly pardons, on the ground that they found themselves in a difficult personal situation, historians who covered up the crimes of Philip V of Macedon.29 Here, as in their views concerning the liberties that one may take in a monograph, both Polybius and Josephus seem to find an exception to the demand that the historian’s absolute duty is to tell the truth. Furthermore, whereas literary critics such as Dionysius of Halicarnassus (Ad Pompeium 3.2-15, De Thucydide 41) and Plutarch (De Herodoti Malignitate 857A, 867C)30 are critical of historians who are not sufficiently patriotic, Josephus (Ant. 20.157) has only one predecessor in insisting on telling the truth, even if it damages the reputation of his countrymen, and that is Polybius (38.4.2-8). In addition, Avenarius has demonstrated Josephus’ dependence upon Polybius for historiographical theory generally, for organization of material, including detailed tables of contents, and particular themes, notably the characterization of personalities and causes, including verbal expression, and the conflict between rational and irrational decision-making, as well as the role of chance in history.31 We may well ask whether Josephus’ command of Greek was suf-

28

See Eckstein 1990, 180. See Eckstein 1990, 181-82. The parallel between Polybius and Josephus is not merely in ideas but even in sequence of ideas and, to a considerable extent, in language. 30 Avenarius 1956, 53-54, 82-83; Eckstein 1990, 182-83. 31 Avenarius 1956, 81; Eckstein 1990, 185-87, 200-3, 207. 29

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ficient so that he was able to read large portions of Polybius’ work,32 in view of the fact that Josephus himself (Ant. 20.263) admits that, though he labored strenuously to partake of the realm of Greek prose and poetry, his habitual use of his native tongue had prevented his attaining precision in pronunciation of Greek and that he had to have assistants (Ap. 1.50) in preparing the Greek version of the War. But, as Rajak33 has noted, Josephus must have had a considerable knowledge of Greek to be entrusted with the delicate mission in 64 of going to Rome to obtain the freedom of some priests (Life 13-16). As Rajak further states,34 when Josephus (Ant. 20.263) asserts that he had gained a knowledge of γραμματικ, he means, as Dionyius Thrax puts it, “a general familiarity with the diction of poets and prose writers.” In conclusion, there is evidence that Josephus in the War took greater liberties with the biblical narrative than he did in the Antiquities, relying upon the precedent of Callisthenes, Timaeus, and Polybius, that one may take liberties with the truth in a monograph as against a general history. In particular, he relied upon the precedent of Polybius, whose work he knew and cited and with whom he shared much in his career.

32 Eckstein 1990, 188, after a thorough examination of Polybius and Josephus’ War, says that even a conservative estimate would conclude that Josephus had read Book 3 possibly, Book 4 possibly, Book 6 certainly, Book 8 probably, Book 9 probably, Book 12 certainly, Book 16 certainly, Book 31 certainly, and Book 38 probably. 33 Rajak 1983, 46. 34 Rajak 1983, 48.

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CHAPTER FOURTEEN

REARRANGEMENT OF PENTATEUCHAL MATERIAL IN JOSEPHUS’ ANTIQUITIES, BOOKS 1-4

1. Introduction On the one hand, in a famous statement (Ant. 1.17) Josephus promises that he will “set forth the precise details of what is in the Scriptures according to its proper order,.. neither adding nor omitting anything.” On the other hand, he admits (Ant. 4.197) that he has innovated1 in rearranging the order of topics, since, as he says, Moses left what he wrote in a scattered condition, just as he had received it from G-d.2 Josephus quite clearly feels guilty about taking this liberty, since he is quick to add that he considered it necessary to mention it beforehand, “lest some blame be assigned to us by my fellow countrymen who read this work for having erred.” However, if we examine the statement in Ant. 1.17, we see that what Josephus has promised is not that he will present the details precisely as they appear in Scripture but rather that he will set them forth each in its proper place (κατ$ τ3ν ο4κεαν τάξιν). It is almost as if Josephus the general in Galilee is speaking, since the word that he uses for “place” or “arrangement,” τάξις, is regularly used in the sense of “battle array” especially in Thucydides (4.72), Josephus’ favorite historian.3

1 Nodet 1995, 2:48, n. 4, remarks that the word νεωτερζω (“innovate”), especially in the passive voice, as here, as well as its derivatives, normally has negative connotations, especially in the War, with implications of violence, referring to insurrections. In classical literature, e.g. Thucydides (1.58, 2.3, 4.51) and Xenophon (Hellenica 2.1.5), it likewise frequently has such associations. Here, however, it has the neutral meaning of “innovate.” Nodet, consequently, thinks that this is a trace of a literary collaborator, such as Josephus admits he had for the War (Ap. 1.50). 2 Elon 1994, 3:1055, n. 72, notes that although Josephus here claims to have innovated this type of organization in his discussion of the laws of the Torah, actually he had been anticipated by Philo’s Spec. Cf. the Talmudic maxim (b.Pes. 6b and parallels) that there is no “earlier” or “later,” that is, that there is no chronological order in the Pentateuch. 3 There has been no systematic study of Josephus’ rearrangement of biblical data, let alone of the reasons for the rearrangement. Yadin 1977, briefly 1:62, 93-

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We may note, for example (Ant. 8.224), that Josephus justifies such rearrangement when departing from the biblical order in the narrative of Rehoboam and Jeroboam, indicating that he intended in this way to preserve an orderly arrangement (ε7τακτον) throughout his history. Thus, the Bible (1 Kgs. 12:1), having started its account of how the Kingdom of Israel came to be established under the leadership of Jeroboam, continues (1 Kgs. 12:25-33) with the deeds of Jeroboam, namely his establishment of idol worship, the denunciation of him by a prophet (1 Kgs. 13:1-10), the death of the true prophet (1 Kgs. 13:11-26), the prediction by the prophet Ahijah of the horrible end of the House of Jeroboam (1 Kgs. 14:1-16), and the death of Jeroboam (1 Kgs. 14:19-20). Rehoboam ruled during the same period (928-911 b.c.), but died four years before the death of Jeroboam; yet we hear nothing about what Rehoboam was doing during the same period until after the Bible had completed its account of Jeroboam’s reign and death. Josephus (Ant. 8.246-65a), however, aware of the value of seeing a picture of what was going on contemporaneously, since the events of the two kingdoms had great influence upon each other, interrupts his account of Jeroboam’s reign to tell us what Rehoboam was doing during these years of Jeroboam’s reign and only thereafter resumes the account of the last years of Jeroboam (Ant. 8.265-89). In his concern with arrangement, Josephus is following in the path of what his predecessor4 Dionysius of Halicarnassus calls ο4κονομικ/ν, the term being used initially in the sense of orderly household management and in a literary sense, more generally, of a well-ordered manner. Indeed, one of the five stylistic criteria by which Dionysius

94, 305, compares the legal sections in Josephus’ Antiquities, Books 3 and 4, with the laws as delineated in the Temple Scroll and notes that both present the laws of the Torah classified by subjects. He suggests that the fact that Josephus spent some time with the Essenes (Life 10-11) influenced him in his classification of the laws. Altshuler 1982-83, 1-14, presents a chart, pp. 3-4, sumarizing the basic structure of Books 3 and 4 of the Antiquities but comments, in only the most cursory fashion (pp. 4-6), on the reasons for the connection of the various sections with one another, namely that the rearrangement serves the larger apologetic goals of the Antiquities. Altshuler, 11-13, briefly compares the legal sections of the Antiquities with those of the Temple Scroll and concludes that there is little evidence to support Yadin’s suggestion that Josephus borrowed from the Temple Scroll in arranging the legal sections of the Antiquities. 4 On the likelihood of Josephus’ indebtedness to Dionysius, as one suspects from the titles of their respective books, Jewish Antiquities and Roman Antiquities, each of which is in twenty books, see Sterling 1992, 284-90.

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judges historians (Pompe. 773-74, 778, 780) is τάξις, i.e. organization of material.5 In particular, Dionysius here and elsewhere (Thuc. 9) criticizes Thucydides, whom he otherwise admires greatly, for arranging his narrative by summers and winters, thus breaking it up into small sections describing the many actions that took place in many different places during a given season and thus presenting a very choppy narrative and destroying its continuity. “History,” he concludes, “should be presented as an uninterrupted sequence of events, particularly when it is concerned with a large number of them that are difficult to comprehend.” While Dionysius favors viewing contemporaneous events in immediate juxtaposition, he feels that Thucydides has gone too far in breaking up contemporary events into units that are so small that one has difficulty in seeing their connection. On the other hand, Dionysius praises Xenophon for his arrangement of material (Pompe. 4): “Everywhere he has begun at the most appropriate place, and he has concluded each episode at the most suitable point.” He likewise praises Theopompus (Pompe. 6) for his arrangement, which is both lucid and easy to follow. Another prominent historian, Diodorus Siculus, who lived in the century before Josephus and whose universal history, starting with mythical times, reminds one, in its scope, of Josephus’ Antiquities, though Josephus does not mention him by name, writes in the opening of his Book 5 (5.1.1) about the importance for the historian of the arrangement of his material: “It should be the special care of historians, when they compose their works, to give attention to everything which may be of utility, and especially to the arrangement (ο4κονομα) of the varied material they present.” He notes, in

5 See the discussion by Sacks 1983, 65-87. Sacks (69) says that the term ο4κονομα “is not clear: it might simply be synonymous with τάξις (organization), or it might, as it does in Thuc., stand roughly for all three middle categories of termini, variety, and organization.” Sacks (75-76), however, concludes that Dionysius’ theory of organization is quite complicated and frequently contradictory, though generally, in the Pompe. 773-74, Dionysius favors Herodotus’ topical approach and criticizes Thucydides for adopting the annalistic method of organizing his material by winter and spring, though he himself, in his Ant. Rom., is closer to Thucydides in scope and organization in approaching the history of Rome annalistically down to the outbreak of the First Punic War. Sacks (81) notes that in his essay Thuc. 9, 10, 13, οκονομα subsumes three different considerations: division (διαρεσις), effective beginning and end points (τάξις), and proper balance (ξεργεσα). In the Pompe. the terminology varies.

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particular, that some historians, although otherwise praiseworthy for their style, are, nevertheless, deficient in the way that they handle arrangement (ο4κονομα), so that they are justly censured. He then proceeds to praise Ephorus for the arrangement of his work of universal history, noting that each of the books of this work has unity, being restricted to a single topic. Dionysius’ word for “arrangement,” ο4κονομα, significantly, is also the word employed by the extremely influential literary critic, Pseudo-Longinus (Sub. 1.4), who also uses Josephus’ word τάξις in referring to the military-like marshalling of facts, which, he says, shows itself not in one or two touches but emerges gradually from the whole tissue of a composition. Even Quintilian (3.3.9) avails himself of this term, remarking that the Latin language lacks an equivalent word. He cites the view of the rhetorician Hermagoras, who places judgment, division, order, and everything related to expression under the heading of economy (oeconomiae), a Greek word which, Quintilian says, refers literally to the management of domestic affairs but which is applied metaphorically to oratory. 2. Rearrangement in Josephus, ANTIQUITIES, Book 1 Josephus has clearly learned this lesson, as we see even at the very beginning of the Antiquities. Thus, the Bible, after relating G-d’s creation of the first human being (Gen. 1:27 and 2:7), proceeds to interrupt the narrative about him and instead to state that G-d planted a garden in Eden and mentions the four rivers that flowed out of it (Gen. 2: 8-14). Then the text returns to the account of the first man and G-d’s instructions to him not to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, G-d’s bringing of every living creature to him so that he might name them, and the creation of the first woman from his rib (Gen. 2:8-22). Josephus realizes that the account of the Garden of Eden and the rivers interrupts the narrative about the first man; hence, immediately after mentioning the creation of Adam, he continues the narrative about him, noting that G-d brought to him the living creatures (Ant. 1.35). Whereas the Bible (Gen. 2:20-21) cites no explicit connection between that act and the creation of Eve, Josephus supplies this connection,6 noting that after Adam named all 6

So also Mid. Gen. Rab. 17.4 and ‘Abot R. Nat. B 8 (ed. Schechter, p. 23).

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the living creatures G-d looked with astonishment at the other creatures who had their mates but noted that Adam was without one and consequently proceeded to create a mate for him (Ant. 1.35). Josephus thus changes the order of biblical events by placing the creation of the first woman (Gen. 2:22) almost immediately after the creation of the first man. It is only after completing this account of the creation of Adam and Eve that he proceeds to mention the Garden of Eden and the four rivers that flowed out of it (Gen. 2:8-14; Ant. 1.37-39). Whereas the Bible jumps around from the creation of Eden to the creation of Eve, Josephus, by his rearrangment, is able to have the expulsion from Eden follow more logically after the account of the creation of Eden (Ant. 1.40-51). According to the biblical order, G-d first punished the serpent (Gen. 3:14-15), then Eve (Gen. 3:16), and then Adam (Gen. 3:17-19). In Josephus (Ant. 1.49-50) the order is reversed: first Adam, for yielding to a woman’s counsel, then Eve, for deluding Adam, and finally the serpent, for beguiling Eve. Josephus thus seeks to establish that the chief responsibility is that of Adam, since he has less regard for women’s sense of responsibility and still less for that of animals. Again, according to the Bible (Gen. 3:20), it is only after Adam and his wife are punished for eating of the fruit of the tree that we are told that Adam called his wife’s name Eve. One might have thought that Adam would have given her a name when she was first brought to him; and this is precisely what we find in Josephus (Ant. 1.36). Sometimes Josephus omits biblical data either because there are long lists of names that might be regarded as difficult or boring to his readers—and if he does insert them, as he does in naming the seventy descendants of Jacob (Ant. 2.176-83), he is apologetic about it—or, as in the case of Seth’s descendants (Gen. 5:6-31), he avoids the problem that Lamech is enumerated both as the son of Methushael and among the descendants of Cain (Gen. 4:18) and as the son of Methuselah and among the descendants of Seth (Gen. 5:25). Josephus solves the difficulty by simply omitting here the names of Seth’s descendants and mentioning them only later (Ant. 1.79), when he states that Noah was the tenth descendant of Adam. The Bible (Gen. 5:28) mentions Noah as the son of Lamech and asserts that he was the father of Shem, Ham, and Japheth, then describes the wickedness of that generation (Gen. 6:1-6), then continues with G-d’s decision to eradicate the human race (Gen. 6:7),

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then notes that Noah found favor in the eyes of G-d, then enumerates Noah’s sons again (Gen. 6:10), then describes again the wickedness of mankind (Gen. 6:11-13), and then gives G-d’s instructions to Noah to build an ark (Gen. 6:14-22). The Noah narrative in Josephus is much less focussed than it is in the Bible. The centrality of Noah is thus very much diminished, inasmuch as after he is first mentioned and we are told of the wickedness of mankind (Ant. 1.75) and of G-d’s instructions to Noah to build an ark (Ant. 1.76-78), there is a long digression concerning the date of the Flood (Ant. 1.80-88), followed by an account of the Flood itself and of the abating of the waters (Ant. 1.89-92). This, in turn, is followed by another digression, noting non-Jewish witnesses to the authenticity of the Flood (Ant. 1.93-95), after which comes an account of Noah’s sacrifice to G-d and of G-d’s covenant (Ant. 1.91-103), followed by still another digression, explaining the longevity of the patriarchs (Ant. 1.104-8), followed by the account of the refusal of Noah’s grandsons and later descendants to colonize the plains (Ant. 1.109-12). Moreover, Josephus (Ant. 1.109) saw no point in mentioning the names of Noah’s sons until after the Flood had subsided and after the problem before the survivors became the repopulation of the human race. Then we hear of the building of the Tower of Babel (Ant. 1.113-21), the table of nations descended from Noah’s sons Japheth and Ham (Ant. 1.122-39), and, finally, the story of Noah’s drunkenness and nakedness (Ant. 1.140-42). Hence, whereas Noah’s drunkenness is in the Bible mentioned only four chapters (and only 90 verses) after the first reference to Noah, in Josephus this incident is mentioned some 65 paragraphs later, even though the account of the Flood itself is considerably condensed. Each digression in Josephus, it will be noted, is apologetically motivated.7 One may wonder why, whereas the Bible proceeds, shortly after mentioning the building of Noah’s ark (Gen. 6:14-16) and the introduction into it of the animals (Gen. 7:2-3), to describe the Flood 7 In Pseudo-Philo’s Ant. Bib. also, while there are not as many digressions as in Josephus, from the first mention of Noah until the statement of his death there are three chapters (3.4-5.8, that is, 33 subsections), much of which is taken up with an extra-biblical list of the names of the descendants of Noah and an extra-biblical census of their numbers (4.2-5.8); his motive also, presumably, is apologetic, namely, to diminish, on the one hand, the relative importance of Noah himself, while, on the other hand, to show that the nations of the world are actually derived from Noah.

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itself (7:17-24), Josephus, after mentioning Noah’s construction of the ark (Ant. 1.77), does not get to the description of the Flood until a number of paragraphs later (Ant. 1.89). This would seem to violate his general method of dealing with a given incident in all its details before proceeding to another topic. The explanation here, however, would seem to be that Josephus is first and foremost a historian—and a critical historian at that. Once he mentioned the Flood (Ant. 1.75) he realized that it was crucial for him to prove the historicity of the Flood, especially since the Greeks knew of more than one Flood. Hence, immediately after noting the construction of the ark (Ant. 1.77) he had to establish that Noah was the tenth generation after Adam (Ant. 1.80). He thus gives the precise date of the Flood (Ant. 1.82) as occurring 2262 years after the birth of Adam. He then proceeds (Ant. 1.83-88) to cite the genealogy of the patriarchs from Adam to Noah to confirm this chronology. Only then does Josephus return to the account of the Flood itself (Ant. 1.89). On the other hand, whereas the Bible (Gen. 8:8-12) states that Noah, in order to see whether the waters had subsided, sent forth a dove three times before it did not return to him, Josephus (Ant. 1.91) mentions only one sending forth of the dove, since the biblical narrative is simply repetitious. The Bible mentions by name the sons of Noah in five different places: first and second, that Noah had begotten three sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth (Gen. 5:32 and 6:10); third, that the sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, entered the ark (Gen. 7:13); fourth, that the sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth, emerged from the ark (Gen. 9:18); and fifth, that (Gen. 10:1) the descendants of Noah, whom it lists (Gen. 10:1-31), started with his sons, Shem, Ham, and Japheth. Josephus does not mention them by name until after the Flood has subsided and they descend to the plains to make their abode there (Ant. 1.109) and thereafter does not mention them again until he proceeds to enumerate their descendants (Ant. 1.122-47). In Ant. 1.109 and 1.141 Ham is referred to as Noah’s youngest son; in Gen. 9:24 he is referred to as his young son, which the LXX renders as “younger.”8 There is an apparent contradiction in the Bible itself in that Japheth (Gen. 10:21) is referred to as the oldest, whereas,

8 So also rabbinic tradition (Mid. ha-Gadol Gen. [ed. Margulies, p. 153]). He is also referred to as the youngest son in Jub. 7:10.

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as noted above, Shem is listed first in Gen. 5:32, 6:10, 7:13, 9:18, and 10:1. In Ant. 1.109 Josephus lists the sons in the order of Shem, Japheth, and Ham. In enumerating the descendants of Noah’s sons, Josephus (Ant. 1.122) begins with Japheth, continues with Ham (Ant. 1.130), and concludes with Shem (Ant. 1.143), whom he terms the third of Noah’s sons. Guttmann9 suggests that Josephus may have had an apologetic motive in advancing the importance of Japheth, who, according to the rabbinic interpretation of Gen. 9:27 (see Meg. 9b), was the ancestor of the Greeks. We may note a striking rearrangement in that the account of Noah’s drunkenness and of the cursing of Canaan, which in the Bible (Gen. 9:20-26) is seemingly more logically placed directly after the emergence of Noah and his sons from the ark, but in Josephus (Ant. 1.140-42) is delayed until after the account of the building of the tower of Babel and the dispersion of the inhabitants thereafter. In fact, in Josephus we are informed of Noah’s death some 36 sections before (Ant. 1.104)! The reason for this delay is that Josephus sought to mention the cursing of Canaan immediately after his extensive enumeration of the sons of Ham and of the countries founded by them. Since he ends this enumeration with the mention of Ham’s son Canaan (Ant. 1.138), the narrative continues logically with the account of how he came to be cursed. Logically, the fact that after the Flood all people spoke one language (Gen. 11:1) and the account of how they came to be dispersed should have followed immediately after the subsiding of the Flood; and the list of all the descendants of Noah’s sons should have followed this. Indeed, Josephus (Ant. 1.109-47) follows this order, whereas in the Bible the subsiding of the Flood (Gen. 8:1-9:18) is followed by the list of the descendants of Japheth and Ham and of Shem through Peleg and Joktan (Gen. 10:1-32) and by the statement that the whole earth spoke one language (Gen. 11:1), the account of the dispersal of the human race (Gen. 11:8), and the repetition of the descendants of Arpachshad, the son of Shem (Gen. 11:10-16), and the continuation of the descendants of Peleg, ending with Terah and Abram (Gen. 11:17-32). In line with Josephus’ principle of maintaining continuity on a given subject once he has raised it, Josephus does not have the interruption of the building of the tower of Babel after the list of the

9

Guttmann 1928, 8.

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descendants of Japheth and Ham and partial list of Shem, but presents the account of the dispersion of the generation of Babel immediately after the subsiding of the Flood (Ant. 1.113-19), since those who were dispersed were the descendants of all the sons of Noah. Instead of giving the account of the descendants of Shem through Peleg and Joktan (Gen. 10:21-29) and then starting all over again and presenting the descendants of Shem beyond Peleg to Abram (Gen. 11:10-27) and inserting the account of the Tower of Babel between the two accounts (Gen. 11:1-9), Josephus first presents the complete account of the descendants of Shem (Ant. 1.143-51) through the family of Abram. He thereafter continues with the descendants of Heber, the great-grandson of Shem (Ant. 1.148-50), ending with the birth of Abram. Then, whereas the Bible mentions Nahor, the son of Terah (Gen. 11:27), only to continue at length with the story of Abram (Gen. 12:1-22:19) before mentioning the children of Nahor by his wife Milcah and by his concubine Reumah (Gen. 22:20-24), Josephus mentions these children shortly after his listing of the sons of Terah (Ant. 1.153). The Bible (Gen. 13:12) mentions that Lot pitched his tents as far as Sodom and then adds (Gen. 13:13) that the people of Sodom were exceedingly wicked and sinful. We would expect that thereafter would follow an episode wherein the Sodomites would be punished. Instead we have the episode in which the Sodomites, together with their four allies, are defeated, Lot is captured, and Abram comes to the rescue of the Sodomites (Gen. 14:1-24). It is only much later (Gen. 18:20-19:29) that Sodom and Gomorrah are destroyed by G-d because of their wickedness. In Josephus’ version there is no mention initially of Sodom’s wickedness, only of its wealth and its large population (Ant. 1.171), presumably the reason why the four kings went to war with them. The impiety of the Sodomites is not mentioned until just before the decision of G-d to obliterate them (Ant. 1.194-95). However, as Niehoff has noted, Josephus, by stating already at an earlier point (Ant. 1.171) that Sodom, which was then prosperous, “has now by G-d’s will been obliterated,” and by adding proleptically that he will indicate “in its place” the cause of its fate, has enhanced the dramatic tension in a rhetorically sophisticated manner and has provided an interpretive framework in the light of which his later solutions will appear most natural.10 10 Niehoff 1996, 40-41. Niehoff, 41 n. 37, remarks that Dionysius of Halicarnassus (Ant. Rom. 2.11.3 and 2.26.6) uses a similar technique and similar language.

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In the Bible, we read (Gen. 15:2-3) of Abram’s lament to G-d that he has no offspring; and this is followed by the Covenant between the Parts (Gen. 15:9-21), in which G-d assures Abram that He has given to his descendants the land from the Nile to the Euphrates, including that of the Canaanites. This, in turn, is followed by the narrative (Gen. 16:1-2) telling how Sarai gives her maidservant Hagar to Abram for childbearing purposes. The Covenant between the Parts seems to interrupt the connection between Abram’s complaint and Sarai’s action to assure him a descendant by giving him Hagar. Moreover, we may well ask what is the connection between G-d’s assurance as to the land that Abram’s descendants will inherit, since those descendants are derived from Isaac, and the story of Hagar and Ishmael. Josephus (Ant. 1.186-87) has made the connection clearer. In the first place, instead of mentioning that Abram’s descendants will acquire the land from the Nile to the Euphrates (Gen. 15:18), which his descendants never did, in fact, acquire, and enumerating the ten tribes, ranging from the Kennites to the Jebusites, which they will conquer, and thereby giving the Israelites a reputation for expansionism and imperialism, Josephus mentions not that the Israelites will obtain this land as a gift from G-d but that his descendants will vanquish the Canaanites in battle (Ant. 1.185) and thus obtain it by right of conquest. Josephus (Ant. 1.186) then connects the mention of the Canaanites with the fact that Abram was then living in Canaan near the city of Hebron in the vicinity of the oak called Ogyges. Whereas Gen., Chap. 16, begins with the statement that Sarai bore no children and brought Hagar to Abram, Josephus (Ant. 1.186) first states specifically that Abram besought G-d to grant him the birth of a male child; and this, in turn, is followed by Gd’s assurance that He had led Abram out of Mesopotamia for his welfare so that children would be borne to him. Again, whereas the Bible (Gen. 16:2) states that Sarai at her own initiative brought Hagar to Abram for childbearing purposes, Josephus connects this incident with the preceding incident of the Covenant between the Parts and G-d’s assurance to Abram by stating (Ant. 1.187, under the influence of Gen. 21:12), that it is at G-d’s command that Sarai brought Hagar to Abram so that he might have children through her. In the Bible (Gen. 17:1-14) the birth of Ishmael is followed by a restatement of the convenant between G-d and Abram, and only afterwards (Gen. 17:16) by G-d’s promise that Sarai will bear a son to

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Abram. Josephus (Ant. 1.191) has a smoother transition in that after the account of the birth of Ishmael we are told that G-d announced to Abraham that Sarai would bear him a son. The reader of the Bible will note that whereas in Gen. 18:1-16 we hear of the visit to Abraham of three angels and then of the wickedness of Sodom and Gomorrah and of G-d’s intention to destroy them (Gen. 18:16-33), Josephus has a more logical order: first the description of the Sodomites’ overweening pride and insolence (Ant. 1.194-95) and G-d’s decision to destroy them, and then G-d’s sending the angels to carry out His decision (Ant. 1.196-204). In the Bible (Gen. 20:1-13) the incident of Abimelech and Sarah is followed by the account of the birth of Isaac (Gen. 21:1-8) and that of the expulsion of Hagar and Ishmael (Gen. 21:9-21), and then a return to the account of the alliance between Abraham and Abimelech (Gen. 21:22-32). Josephus avoids the interruption of the birth of Isaac and of the expulsion of Hagar and Ishmael and mentions the alliance between Abraham and Abimelech in its more logical place, namely immediately after the account of the incident of Abimelech and Sarah (Ant. 1.212). Moreover, Josephus introduces a romantic aspect into the covenant between Abimelech and Abraham by having it entered into after the episode of Abimelech and Sarah rather than, as in the Bible, after a dispute concerning a well (Gen. 21:22-34), which he omits altogether. Moreover, the Bible (Gen. 25:12-16) does not mention the names of Ishmael’s descendants until after the enumeration of Abraham’s descendants by Keturah (Gen. 25:1-6). Josephus (Ant. 1.220), more logically, mentions Ishmael’s descendants immediately after his account of the expulsion of Hagar and Ishmael and their rescue by an angel of G-d. There is significance in the fact that whereas in the Bible (Gen. 22:16-18) G-d’s promises to Abraham are made after the sacrifice of the ram, in Josephus (Ant. 1.234-35) they are made before the ram is sacrificed (Ant. 1.236). Josephus thus emphasizes G-d’s utter confidence in Abraham’s faith and the fact that he does not have to be influenced by a sacrifice. In the Bible the account of the binding of Isaac (Gen. 22:1-19) is followed by the list of the children of Abraham’s brother Nahor and by the mention of the birth of Rebecca to Nahor’s son Bethuel (Gen. 22:20-23). Only then do we hear of the death of Sarah (Gen. 23:1-2). The connection is much smoother in Josephus, who tells us

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(Ant. 1.236-37) that after the #Aqedah Abraham and Isaac returned to Sarah, and that shortly thereafter Sarah died. Since Sarah was succeeded by Keturah as Abraham’s wife, the list of his descendants by Keturah follows, whereas, as we have noted, in the Bible (Gen. 25:1-6) Abraham’s children by Keturah are mentioned after the narrative of the marriage of Isaac and Rebecca. In the Bible (Gen. 24:22) Abraham’s servant, Eliezer, who is on a mission to find a wife for Isaac, produces a precious ring and two heavy bracelets after an unnamed maiden has given drink to him and his camels, and only then (Gen. 24:23) asks her identity, thus seemingly simply rewarding her for giving him drink. In Josephus’ version it is only after Rebecca identifies herself that the servant produces a necklace and some other ornaments (Ant. 1.248-49), thus clearly indicating that he had reached the goal of his mission. In the Bible (Gen. 24:33) Abraham’s servant declares that he will not eat until he has discharged his errand; but the good guest must eat first, as we see, for example, when Telemachus visits Nestor (Homer, Od. 3.67-68); and so Josephus (Ant. 1.252) reverses the biblical order. Furthermore, whereas in the Bible the servant begins his narrative to Laban and to Rebekah’s mother by stating that he is Abraham’s servant (Gen. 24:34) and then mentions Abraham’s tremendous wealth, Josephus, for whom clearly genealogy is more important than wealth, has Eliezer begin (Ant. 1.252) by giving Abraham’s genealogy and by pointing out his master’s kinship to his hosts. Then, in the Bible (Gen. 24:62-67) we read of the marriage of Isaac and Rebecca, followed by the account of Abraham’s second marriage, to Keturah and his children by her (Gen. 25:1-4), and the statement that Abraham gave everything to Isaac, merely bestowing gifts upon the children whom he had from Keturah (Gen. 25:5-6). In Josephus’ version the account of Abraham’s marriage to Keturah (Ant. 1.238) naturally follows the account of the death of his first wife, Sarah (Ant. 1.237) and precedes the account of the marriage of Isaac and Rebecca (Ant. 1.242-55). This is followed by the statement that Abraham gave Isaac his entire estate; and immediately after this comes the remark that his sons by Keturah departed to found their colonies (Ant. 1.255), thus omitting the embarrassing biblical remark that Abraham did not treat all his childen equally in the matter of the inheritance. After the statement of Abraham’s death and burial (Gen. 25:7-10) the Bible lists the descendants of Ishmael and notes Ishmael’s death

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(Gen. 25:12-18), after which we read of Rebecca’s barrenness and pregnancy (Gen. 25:19-21). In Josephus’ version, inasmuch as the key figure after Abraham is Isaac rather than Ishmael, the mention of Abraham’s death is followed immediately by the narrative of the birth of the twins Esau and Jacob to Isaac’s wife Rebecca (Ant. 1.257). In the biblical narrative the birth of the twins is followed by two simple statements, describing their growth and the favoritism that Rebecca showed for Jacob (Gen. 25:27-28), followed by the story of Esau’s sale of the birthright to Jacob (Gen. 25:29-34). Josephus, however, omits the account of the sale of the birthright until the very beginning of Book 2.1-3. Since the birthright is concerned with inheritance and Book 1 ends with the mention of the death of Isaac (Ant. 1.345-46), the sale of the birthright follows this quite naturally. In the Bible Rebecca, hearing that Esau intended to kill Jacob, tells him to flee to her brother Laban (Gen. 27:41-45). Josephus (Ant. 1.278) says nothing at this point about Esau’s intention to kill Jacob, perhaps because he knows the tradition identifying the Romans as descended from Esau.11 Instead, we pass directly to Jacob’s departure, upon the instructions of his mother and with the consent of his father, to Mesopotamia to seek a wife. After the account of the death of Rachel in childbirth (Gen. 35:1620), the Bible (Gen. 35:22) mentions that Reuben had relations with Bilhah, his father’s concubine. Josephus omits this altogether, presumably because of the embarrassment, but also because it is an interruption in his narrative, which here, at the end of Book 1 of the Antiquities, deals with the death of Rachel, followed by the account of the death and burial of Rebecca and Isaac (Ant. 1.345-46). 3. Rearrangement in Josephus, ANTIQUITIES, Book 2 What is particularly interesting is that even though Book 2 begins with the division of their territories by Jacob and Esau following the death of their father Isaac (Gen. 36:6-7), Josephus includes in Book 2 (Ant. 2.2-3) the incident of Esau’s sale of his birthright, which in the Bible

11

See Feldman 1998, 322-24.

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occurs much earlier (Gen. 25:29-34). Ostensibly the reason for this shift is that the Bible, in describing at this point the descendants of Esau (Gen. 36:9), states that Esau is the ancestor of Edom on Mount Seir. Josephus (Ant. 2.1), in his paraphrase, says that Esau took up his abode in Seir; and then, connecting Edom with Idumaea, he asserts that Esau ruled over Idumaea, calling the country after himself. The mention of Edom and Idumaea is then the occasion for the account of how Esau came to have the surname of Edom, the reason being, as Josephus says, following the biblical version (Gen. 25:30), that the pottage which Esau bought in his exhausted state was red, the Hebrew word for which is ‫אדום‬. In view of the apparent equation of Edom with Rome,12 it is not surprising that Josephus here says nothing about Esau’s despising his birthright (Gen. 25:34). The logical place for this story, one might assume, was, as in the Bible, before the narrative of Isaac’s decision to bless his older son Esau (Gen. 27:1), whereupon Jacob, with the aid of his mother Rebecca, managed to deceive his blind father into believing that he was Esau (Gen. 27:19). Josephus was apparently troubled by this apparent deceit on the part of Jacob, the ancestor of the Israelites; and in his account (Ant. 1.267) there is no indication that when Isaac decides to bless Esau he does so because Esau is his first-born. To be sure, Josephus does mention that Jacob was fearful lest his guile (κακουργν) be discovered (Ant. 1.270; so Gen. 27:12). On the other hand, Josephus (Ant. 1.271) omits the embarrassing question “How is it that you have found it [i.e. venison] so quickly, my son?” ) (Gen. 27:20). He likewise omits Isaac’s embarrassing subsequent requests that Jacob come near so that he may feel him to see whether he really is Esau, as he claims, and kiss him (Gen. 27:21). In particular, whereas in the Bible (Gen. 27:18) Isaac asks, “Who are you, my son?,” Josephus carefully omits Jacob’s own incriminating answer (Gen. 27:19), “I am Esau your first-born.” In Josephus, G-d Himself justifies Jacob’s theft of the blessing, saying that it was He who had given the princedom to him rather than to Esau (Ant. 2.173), although he postpones the statement to a later point, namely to the moment of Jacob’s vision at Beersheba while he is on his way to Egypt, presumably because he felt self-conscious about having G-d justify the theft on the spot and preferred to defend it ex post facto.

12

See Feldman 1998, 322-24.

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In enumerating Esau’s descendants (Gen. 36:1-43), Josephus (Ant. 2.4-5) gives the names of his five children, as well as the names of the sons of one of them, Eliphaz, but omits the names of the sons of the others, as well as the names of the sons of Seir the Horite, even though giving such lists of names would add to the historicity of his account. Elsewhere (Ant. 2.176) Josephus is apologetic about mentioning the names of the seventy who departed for Egypt together with Jacob. “I was inclined,” he says, “not to recount their names, mainly on account of their difficulty; however, to confute those persons who imagine us to be not of Mesopotamian origin but Egyptians, I have thought it necessary to mention them.”13 In particular, we may suggest, he omits the names of the kings who reigned in the land of Edom (Gen. 36:31-43) because the biblical text states that they reigned “before any king reigned over the Israelites” (Gen. 36:31). Such a passage would seem to imply that it was written after the kingship was established among the Israelites, i.e., long after the time when the entire Pentateuch had been supposedly given through Moses to the Israelites. Indeed, there are a number of passages in the Bible that raise serious questions about the authorship and date of composition of various biblical books. Ibn Ezra, in his commentary on Deut. (1:1), notes six of these in the Pentateuch14—of which this is one—, all of which are, significantly, omitted by Josephus. Following the enumeration of Esau’s descendants Josephus (Ant. 2.7) turns, as does the Bible (Gen. 37:1) to resume the account of Jacob, and in particular the saga of Joseph. However, whereas the Bible begins with the neutral statements (Gen. 37:1-2) that “Jacob dwelt in the land of his father’s sojournings, in the land of Canaan. This is the history of the family of Jacob,” Josephus (Ant. 2.7) begins

13 Thackeray 1930, 4:240 n. b, comments that Josephus, like Strabo and other Hellenistic writers, commonly omits lists of uncouth names found in his sources. Thus, for example (Ant. 7.369), whereas 1 Chron. 27:1-34 gives a long list of the names of David’s army officers and administrators, Josephus says that he has not thought it necessary to mention their names. Again, whereas Ezra 10:18-44 gives the names of the priests, Levites, and Israelites who had put away their non-Jewish wives and the children whom they had borne, Josephus (Ant. 11.152) asserts that he has not thought it necessary to give their names. Likewise, presumably for the same reason, Josephus omits the names, mentioned in the Letter of Aristeas which he closely paraphrases, of the seventy translators of the Pentateuch into Greek, “their names,” he notes, “being set down at the end of the letter” (Ant. 12.57). 14 Gen. 12:6, Gen. 22:14, Exod. 24:4 (also Num. 33:2, Deut. 31:9), Deut. 1:1, Deut. 3:11, Deut. 34:1-12.

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with the statement that Jacob reached a degree of prosperity hardly attained by any man. The statement in which such a description of Jacob’s prosperity is biblically found is the account of Jacob’s meeting with his brother Esau, where Jacob offers a gift to Esau, whereupon Esau says that he has enough and that Jacob should keep the gift for himself. Thereupon (Gen. 33:11) Jacob refers to his prosperity thus: “Accept, I pray you, my gift that is brought to you, because G-d has dealt graciously with me, and because I have everything.”15 Josephus’ account of that meeting (Ant. 1.336) says nothing about the offer of the gift, Esau’s refusal to accept it, and Jacob’s assertion of his prosperity. In the context of the meeting with Esau, who is apparently the progenitor of the Romans,16 such an offer of a gift would appear to be degrading, and if the offer had been made it would seem ungracious for Esau to reject it. Hence, the account of the meeting of Jacob and Esau is very much abbreviated, and this offer is totally omitted. Rather, Josephus has chosen to transfer the mention of Jacob’s wealth to the introduction of the Joseph episode, where the statement of Jacob’s wealth is extremely effective dramatically, standing as it does, in contrast to the pain and suffering that he is about to experience with the loss of Joseph, and where G-d’s providence is particularly striking in that what appeared at first sight to be the depths of despair turned out to be the source of utmost felicity (Ant. 2.8). The Bible (Gen. 37:3), at the very beginning of the Joseph narrative, mentions the long robe with sleeves which Jacob made for Joseph as a sign of his love for him. Josephus, apparently uneasy about Jacob’s apparently unjustified favoritism for Joseph, while recognizing this favoritism (Ant. 2.9-10), indicates a more credible ground for it, namely the beauty of person that Joseph owed to his birth from the beautiful Rachel and his virtuous qualities of soul and understanding. Moreover, Josephus omits mention of the fact that Joseph was wearing his beautiful coat of many colors at the time when the brothers were plotting against him (Gen. 37:23), since, presumably, if Joseph were depicted as wearing that coat, he would appear to be taunting them. He first mentions the coat at a most effective point, namely when the brothers consider what to do to 15

In his account of Amram’s dream Josephus has G-d remind Amram of his glorious ancestors and, in particular, recall Jacob’s prosperity (Ant. 2.214). 16 See Feldman 1998, 322-24.

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elude their father’s suspicion (Ant. 2.35) and decide to tear this coat to pieces and befoul it with goat’s blood so that their father would think that Joseph had been devoured by wild beasts. When Joseph interprets Pharaoh’s dreams, in Gen. 41:16 he says that this interpretation comes from G-d; but Josephus, who is interested in building up the character of Joseph and in highlighting his wisdom, totally omits the role of G-d at this point and presents the explanation as Joseph’s own. Likewise, whereas Gen. 41:25, 28 stresses that G-d had used the vehicle of a dream in order to tell Pharaoh what He was about to do, Josephus likewise omits this reference to G-d’s role at this point. Finally, when Joseph does subsequently mention G-d it is not to state that G-d uses the vehicle of the dream to predict what He will do but rather to forewarn men so that they may use their human sagacity (συν#σει) to alleviate the trials that will befall them (Ant. 2.86). In the biblical version of the initial dramatic encounter between Joseph and his brothers in Egypt, Joseph, who recognizes them, while they did not recognize him (Gen. 42:8), accuses them of being spies (Gen. 42:14) and then proceeds to test them by declaring that he will not permit them to leave unless they send one of their number to bring back their youngest brother, Benjamin, to Egypt. He then imprisons them for three days (Gen. 42:17). It is then (Gen. 42:22) that Reuben berates his brothers, convinced that all this had occurred to them because they had not listened to him when he urged them not to carry out their scheme of hate against Joseph. Josephus has changed the order of these events: first Josephus accuses his brothers of being spies (Ant. 2.98), then Reuben speaks not to his brothers but appeals directly to Joseph (Ant. 2.101-4), then Joseph imprisons his brothers for three days (Ant. 2.105). Perhaps Josephus changed the sequence of events because he considered it undeservedly cruel on the part of Joseph to imprison his brothers without first hearing their case presented. There is much greater drama, moreover, in having Reuben’s direct appeal to Joseph and having this followed by the imprisonment. In the Bible (Gen. 42:16), immediately after Joseph’s brothers mention that they have a younger brother at home, Joseph demands that he be brought to him as a test of whether they have been telling him the truth. Josephus, apparently regarding this as impetuous, has Joseph (Ant. 2.106) make this demand only after Reuben’s speech to

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him setting forth their family history at greater length and explaining their reason for coming. In Gen. 42:27 one of Joseph’s brothers discovers the money in his sack, it would seem, shortly after they leave Joseph. In Gen. 43:21 we read that this occurred when they arrived at the inn, again presumably shortly after they left Joseph. In Gen. 42:35, however, they discover the money as they are emptying their sacks upon their arrival at the home of Jacob. In Josephus (Ant. 2.113) they discover the money in all of their sacks only after they arrive at their home in Canaan. Again, we read (Ant. 2.120) that when they reach Egypt a second time they assure Joseph’s steward that it was only on reaching their home that they had found the money in their sacks. Presumably, Josephus was troubled by the thought that if the brothers were as honest as they claimed in their statement to Joseph’s steward they should have brought back the money as soon as they discovered it. Josephus also apparently wishes to avoid the discrepancy between Gen. 42:27 and 43:35 as to the place where they discovered the money, as well as the duplication of the two discoveries of the money, and so he mentions it in the most dramatic of contexts, namely when they arrive in Canaan and tell their father all that had befallen them in Egypt. In the Bible (Exod. 1:9-10) it is the belief that the Israelites have become more numerous and stronger than the Egyptians and that they may join the enemies of the Egyptians in war that leads the king of the Egyptians first to afflict them with hard labor (Exod. 1:14), then to order the Hebrew midwives to kill male babies that are born (Exod. 1:16), and finally, when the midwives disobey him, to command his entire people to cast the sons into the Nile River (Exod. 1:22). In Josephus it is envy of the Israelites’ wealth that leads the Egyptians to impose upon them every type of hardship (Ant. 2:201-4). The reason for the Egyptians’ decision to exterminate the Israelites is the prediction by one of the Egyptian sacred scribes (Ant. 2:205) that there would be born to the Israelites someone who would abase the sovereignty of the Egyptians. Thereupon the Pharaoh orders that every Israelite male child be cast into the river, and that Egyptian (rather than Israelite) midwives should observe the pregnant Israelite women and watch for their delivery.17 17 Josephus does not specifically state that the midwives were to put the male babies to death; rather he says that they were to observe the deliveries of the Israelite women.

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Josephus mentions the name of Amram at the very beginning of the Moses narrative (Ant. 2.210) in connection with G-d’s prediction to him that the child whose birth has filled the Egyptians with such dread that they have condemned to destruction all the male babies of the Israelites is to be his, whereas in the Bible his name is not mentioned until much later (Exod. 6:20) in the enumeration of the heads of all the families of the Israelites. Josephus thus makes Amram into a major figure, while his wife, Jochebed, becomes a marginal character.18 On the other hand, Miriam’s role is heightened, her name being mentioned in Josephus at the beginning of the Moses narrative (Ant. 2.221), whereas in the Hebrew her name is not mentioned until Exod. 15:20, when she leads the singing following the successful crossing of the Sea of Reeds. In the Bible it is near the very beginning of the dialogue between Moses and G-d at the burning bush that Moses asks Him what His name is (Exod. 3:13-15). Since this would appear to show lack of faith, Moses waits until the end of the conversation in Josephus (Ant. 2.275) before asking this question; and there the reason for his asking is not to be able to answer the Israelites when they ask who had sent him (since this would, presumably, reflect lack of confidence on the part of both Moses and the Israelites) but rather to be able to address Him by name when offering a sacrifice. As to G-d’s instruction that the Israelite women should request gold and silver vessels (Exod. 3:21-22; so also in Exod. 11:2-3, 12:35-36) and garments from the Egyptians, this would appear to be embarrassing, since the Israelites obviously had no intention of returning these to the Egyptians; and this would appear to contradict the Israelites’ reputation for honesty and Moses’ own reputation for integrity in directing the Israelites to “borrow” jewelry and clothing from the Egyptians.19 Hence, Josephus omits this statement here; and when he does mention it much later (Ant. 2.314) it comes more fittingly at the moment when the Israelites actually depart from Egypt and

18

So Cohen 1993, 49. A pagan writer, Pompeius Trogus (ap. Justin, 36. Epitoma Historiarum Philippicarum 36.2.12-13), who is generally friendly to the Jews, states that the Jews carried off by stealth the sacred vessels of the Egyptians. One might well assume that the Israelites must have practiced deceit in order to obtain these objects, though such theft might perhaps be justified in view of the way in which the Israelites had been treated by the Egyptians for so long. 19

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when, according to the Bible (Exod. 11:2-3), G-d instructs Moses to tell the Israelites to request gold and silver vessels from the Egyptians and when G-d “gave the people favor in the sight of the Egyptians.” Furthermore, when Josephus does cite this matter, he carefully notes that it was the Egyptians who, trooping to Pharaoh at the time of the plague of the first-born in order to urge him to let the Israelites leave, took the initiative in honoring the Israelites with gifts, “some in order that they might depart more swiftly, others from neighborly relations with them.” In the Bible when Moses and Aaron first go to the Pharaoh to ask him to allow the Israelites to leave (Exod. 5:1), he orders taskmasters to require that the Israelites gather straw for themselves (Exod. 5:7); and it is only later, when they come a second time (Exod. 7:9), that G-d tells Aaron to cast down his staff before the Pharaoh and that it will become a snake. Thereupon the Pharaoh summons his wise men and they do likewise, after which the staff of Aaron swallows their staffs. In Josephus (Ant. 2.284) it is when Moses appears before the Pharaoh for the first time that the Pharaoh accuses him of trying to impose on him by magic. Thereupon he orders his priests to duplicate Moses’ miracles. Then it is Moses, and not Aaron as in the Bible, who drops his staff, which turns into a snake, which proceeds to swallow the staffs of the Egyptians. Presumably, Josephus felt that it made more sense for Moses to exhibit his magic when he first appeared before the Pharaoh, since this would establish his credentials, so to speak. Again, it is after Moses’ first meeting with him that the Pharaoh in his anger orders his taskmasters to require that the Israelites provide their own straw (Exod. 5:7-8), whereas Josephus, in his concern to emphasize the importance of obeying authority, tries to show that the Pharaoh is not so impetuous; and so it is only after the second meeting with Moses that he orders that the Israelites are to provide their own straw for their brick-making. In the Bible (Exod. 7:6) it is at the time when Moses and Aaron go to the Pharaoh to ask him to allow the Israelites to leave that we are told that Moses was eighty years old and Aaron was eighty-three years old. Josephus (Ant. 2.319) waits until the moment of the Exodus itself before giving us this information. The pair’s crucial event and outstanding achievement is not their asking for the permission but their actually leading the Israelites out of Egypt; hence it is more appropriate to give us the information about the age of the leaders at that point.

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According to Exod. 13:18 the Israelites were armed (‫ )חמשׁים‬when they left Egypt. This presents a problem, since it is hard to imagine whence they could have obtained weapons at this point. Josephus postpones the mention of these weapons until the miracle of the crossing of the Sea of Reeds. The fact that the well-armed Egyptians were all drowned in the Sea makes it possible for him to state (Ant. 2.349) that the arms of the Egyptians were carried up to the Israelites’ camp by the tide and by the force of the wind in that direction. The Israelites were thus easily able to collect the arms. 4. Rearrangement in Josephus, ANTIQUITIES, Book 3 In the Bible (Exod. 15:24) the Israelites begin to complain against Moses when they come to Marah, but this complaint is not sustained and is not particularly bitter. The complaint does become bitter after they have left Elim and arrive at the Wilderness of Sin. In Josephus (Ant. 3.6) they already begin to complain most vehemently almost at the very beginning of their journey, namely at Marah. This adds to the greatness of Moses as a leader, who must put up with the ungrateful, pestering rabble from the start and who is nonetheless able to alleviate their distress. When the Israelites leave Elim (Exod. 16:2) the Israelites complain that they have no more food. According to Josephus (Ant. 3.12), they are eager to stone Moses, so bitter are they against him and so despondent, whereas in the Bible this extreme threat is not made until the Israelites have reached Rephidim (Exod. 17:4). When the Israelites in the Wilderness complain that they have no food (Exod. 16:3), G-d promises Moses that he will send them manna. Then we read (Exod. 16:13) that in the evening quails covered the camp. In Josephus the quails are mentioned first (Ant. 3.25) and then the manna (Ant. 3.26). This may be because G-d first merely promises that He will send the manna and then says (Exod. 16:12) that the Israelites will eat meat, presumably the quails, in the evening and bread, presumably the manna, in the morning. But since in the Bible G-d mentions the manna before He mentions the meat, whereas Josephus reverses them, we may suggest that Josephus prefers to mention first the quails, since this is less of a miracle, just as he prefers to rationalize wherever possible, whereas in the Bible (Exod. 16:20) those who sought to collect more of the manna than the prescribed measure miraculously find no more than the prescribed amount and anything beyond this turns out to be spoiled.

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In the Bible we have the encounter with Amalek (Exod. 17:8-16), the meeting with Jethro (Exod. 18:1-27), and the arrival at Sinai (Exod. 19:1, (although Exod. 18:5 already indicates that Moses had encamped at “the mountain of G-d”), in that order, whereas in Josephus the order is the encounter with Amalek (Ant. 3.39-58), the arrival at Sinai (Ant. 3.59-62), and the meeting with Jethro (Ant. 3.63-74). The biblical order presents the problem that Jethro visits Moses at Sinai, to which the Israelites actually arrived only later. Significantly, Josephus, in his effort to build up the stature of Jethro, and thus to emphasize that Jews show respect and admiration for non-Jews, goes out of his way and out of the biblical order in prefacing the visit of Jethro with the remark that the Israelites had reached Mount Sinai. This gives a more important setting for the visit, since it puts Jethro in immediate juxtaposition with the central event in Israelite history and makes of his visit more than a mere congratulation for the Israelites’ military victory over Amalek. In its discussion of the Tabernacle, the Bible (Exod. 25:10-27:19) begins by describing the ark, the cover of the ark, the table, the menorah, the covers and walls and partition of the Tabernacle, the altar, and the courtyard. It then mentions G-d’s instruction to Moses to appoint Aaron as high priest (Exod.28:1). It then discusses the vestments of the high priest, including the ephod, the breastplate of judgment containing the Urim and Thummim, the headplate, the tunic, and the vestments of the ordinary priests (Exod. 28:2-43), including the tunic, the sash, and the headdress. It then notes the inauguration ritual (Exod. 29:1-46) and describes the incense altar (Exod. 30:1-10). It then interrupts the account with a digression on the method by which a census is to be taken (Exod. 30:11-15). It then resumes the account of the Tabernacle by describing the laver, the anointment oil, and the incense (Exod. 30:17-38). Then we are told that Bezalel and Oholiab are to be in charge of constructing the Tabernacle (Exod. 31:11). Then we hear of the importance of observing the Sabbath (Exod. 31:12-17). Then we have the episode of the Golden Calf and its consequences (Exod. 31:18-34:35). Then once again we are told the laws of the Sabbath (Exod. 35:2-3). Then we are told of the ingredients that the Israelites contribute toward the construction of the Tabernacle (Exod. 35:4-29). In particular, we are told about the contributions of the women (Exod. 35:25-26). Then once again we are told of the selection of Bezalel and Oholiab to construct the Tabernacle. Finally, we are told about the work that

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they do in constructing the curtains, the cover, the planks, the partitions, the screen, the ark and its cover, the table, the menorah, the incense altar, the burnt-offering altar, the laver, the courtyard, and the screen (Exod. 36:1-38:20), even though we have already been given many of the same details a few chapters earlier. Then we have descriptions of the various priestly vestments (Exod. 39:1-31), even though again we have had descriptions of these items a few chapters earlier. Josephus avoids the biblical duplication and presents a more logical sequence of events. He first describes the materials that the Israelites contributed for the building of the Tabernacle (Ant. 3.1024; cf. Exod. 35:5-9). Next he gives us the names of the builders, Bezalel and Oholiab (Ant. 3.105; cf. Exod. 31:2, 6), and notes the general and enthusiastic participation of the Israelites as a whole in contributing toward its construction (Ant. 3.106-7; cf. Exod. 36:3-7). He then describes the Tabernacle itself, as if to lead the reader on a tour of it, starting with the outer court enclosing it (Ant. 3.108-14; cf. Exod. 27:9-19, 30:17-21),20 then the exterior of the Tabernacle (Ant. 3.115-21; cf. Exod. 26:15-30, 36:20-34), then the interior of the Tabernacle (Ant. 3.122-24), including the curtains (Ant. 3.124-33; cf. Exod. 26:31-37), the ark (Ant. 3.134-36; Exod. 25:10-16, 37:1-5),21 the cherubim on the cover of the ark (Ant. 3.137-38; cf. Exod. 37:69), the table of the shewbread (Ant. 3.139-43; cf. Exod. 25:23-30, 37:10-16), the candelabrum (Ant. 3.144-46; cf. Exod. 25:31-40), the altar of incense (Ant. 3.147-48; cf. Exod. 30:1-10), and the altar of burnt-offering (Ant. 3.149-50; cf. Exod. 27:1-8).22 Whereas the Bible

20 Similarly, in describing Herod’s Temple (War 5.184-226), Ant. 15.391-420), Josephus works from the outermost to the inmost part. This is also, on the whole, the order in the Mishnah (Midd. 1-5). 21 A theological problem arises when one considers that the Torah, said to have been given by G-d, seems to contradict itself. Thus the account in Exod. 37:1-9 states that Bezalel made the ark of the covenant, whereas the version in Deut. 10:1-5 indicates that Moses made it. Even if we attempt to reconcile the two versions by asserting that Moses could be credited with making that which an assistant completed, we are still confronted with another contradiction, in that in the version in Exodus Bezalel made the ark after Moses’ second descent from Sinai (Exod. 34:29), whereas the account in Deut. 10:3 indicates that Moses made it before his ascent. Josephus (Ant. 3.134-38), apparently aware of the problem, skillfully sidesteps it by not mentioning who built the ark. 22 Even though the altar of burnt-offering was within the court (Exod. 27:1-8), Josephus postpones describing it until he comes to speak of the altar of incense

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separates the description of the cover of the ark (Exod. 25:17-22) from that of the Tabernacle (Exod. 26:1-14), Josephus more logically brings the two items into juxtaposition (Ant. 3.124-33). Exod. 26:31-36 first describes the veil and the hangings at the entrance to the interior of Tabernacle and only afterwards (Exod. 26:37) mentions the pillars supporting the hangings, whereas Josephus (Ant. 3.122) first mentions the pillars and only afterwards (Ant. 3.124) the curtains.23 In contrast to the Bible, which describes the screen for the entrance to the Tabernacle (Exod. 26:36-37) and then continues with a description of the altar of burnt-offering (Exod. 27:1-8), which has no immediate connection with it, Josephus, more logically, describes the altar of burnt-offering (Ant. 3.149) immediately after the description of the sanctuary’s other altar, that of incense (Ant. 3.147-48). Again, whereas the Bible (Exod. 27:9-18) describes the courtyard of the Tabernacle after the description of the altar (Exod. 27:8), Josephus more logically presents this at the beginning of his systematic description of the court enclosing the table (Ant. 3.108-13). Josephus, in contrast to the Bible, which first describes the high priest’s vestments (Exod. 28:1-39) and then those of the ordinary priests (Exod. 28:40-43), initially describes the vestments of ordinary priests (Ant. 3.151-58), including the breeches, the tunic, the sash, and the turban, and concludes with the vestments of the high priest (Ant. 3.159-78),24 including the tunic, the ephod, the breastplate, the turban, and the golden crown. In describing the vestments of the high priest, the Bible (Exod. 28:6-38) starts with the outer garments, namely the ephod, the breastplate, the robe of the ephod, and the headplate. It then mentions the undergarments (Exod. 28:39-42), namely the tunic, the sash, the headdress, and the breeches, which are worn by common priests also. Josephus (Ant. 3,151-58), probably in the tabernacle (Exod. 30:1). Robertson 1991, 74, suggests that perhaps, when he came to the altar of incense, Josephus was reminded that he had omitted it in its proper place because the word for altar of incense (θυμιατριον) so closely resembles the term (θυσιαστριον) for the “altar” that stood within the walls of the tabernacle. 23 Robertson 1991, 108, explains this inversion by suggesting that Josephus sought to give the impression that the tabernacle was more like a temple than like a mere tent. 24 Similarly, in the War’s account of the Temple, Josephus first discusses the ordinary priests (War 5.228-29), though not their vestments, and then describes the high priest’s vestments (War 5.230-37), though there he did not have the biblical order before him.

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drawing upon his own personal experience as a priest, cites the items of clothing in the order in which the priest puts them on. Hence, he starts with the undergarments—first the breeches, then the tunic, the sash, and lastly the headdress. In particular, we may note that whereas the Bible (Exod. 28:3638 and 39:30) repeats the description of the headplate of the high priest, Josephus describes it in detail only once (Ant. 3.178), though he does refer to it briefly in two other places (Ant. 3.172, 187). Logically, after the completion of the description of the Tabernacle and of the vestments of the priests and their significance should come the mention of the appointment of the high priest to administer the sacrificial system, as well as the names of his four sons; and that is exactly the order in Josephus (Ant. 3.188-92), rather than before the description of the priestly garments, as in Exod. 28:1. Moreover, the account of the ritual prescribed for the inauguration of the Tabernacle comes in the Bible (Exod. 29:1-28) between the two accounts of the building of the Tabernacle (Exod. 25-27, 36-38; in Josephus (Ant. 3.204-7) it comes after the completion of the single such account. After the incident in which the majority of the spies discourage the Israelites and are punished by G-d (Num. 13-14), G-d is quoted (Num. 15:4) as telling Moses that whenever someone brings a sacrifice he is to bring a meal offering mixed with oil, together with wine for a libation. Whereas there is no particular connection between the report of the spies and G-d’s instructions about the meal offering, Josephus’ report about the latter is situated in the midst of his exhaustive summary describing the sacrifices. Here, then, the statement about meal offerings (Ant. 3.235) is very much in place. One apparent exception to the better ordering of details in Josephus may be seen in the fact that the Bible (Exod. 28:30), immediately after describing the breastplate of judgment of the high priest, mentions that in it are to be placed the Urim and Thummim. Josephus mentions the breastplate (Ant. 3.163-71) as part of his description of the vestments of the high priest but does not mention the Urim and Thummim until considerably later (Ant. 3.215-18). That he realized that he was departing from his usual more logical ordering of details in so doing may be seen in his apologetic comment (Ant. 3.214) that he is here recording a detail that he had omitted from his earlier description of the vestments of the high priest. However, there is, in fact, a rationale behind his placement of the discussion of the Urim and Thummim at precisely this point, namely that he

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has just previously noted (Ant. 3.213) that he is about to dilate on the constitution and the laws and wishes to emphasize (ibid.) that Moses drew up these laws under Divine inspiration. He accordingly takes this occasion to remark (Ant. 3.214) that Moses left no possible opening for the malpractices of prophets, in that the decision of G-d was to be obtained through the Urim and Thummim. Furthermore, whereas the Bible, immediately after its description of the ritual of the inauguration of the Tabernacle (Exod. 29:1-37), describes the daily sacrifice of the tamid (Exod. 29:38-42), Josephus more logically places the description of the tamid sacrifice (Ant. 3.237) in the context of his systematic description of various kinds of sacrifices (Ant. 3.224-54). Again, whereas the Bible (Exod. 30:11-15), in the midst of its description of the various items in the Tabernacle, and again after the mention of the materials used for the work of building the Tabernacle, notes how the maintenance of all this was to be paid for, namely through the annual contribution of a half shekel by every adult Israelite male, Josephus more logically mentions this point (Ant. 3.194-96) after he has completed his description of the Tabernacle and the vestments of the priests and the appointment of Aaron as high priest. Moreover, the description of the laver is inserted in the Bible (Exod. 30:17-21) long after the description of the outer court of the Tabernacle—where that laver was to be positioned—has been completed (Exod. 27:19). In Josephus the description of the laver has been placed more logically within the description of the outer court (Ant. 3.114). In addition, it is not until Exod. 31:18 and again in 32:15-16 that we are told that the two tablets of testimony were inscribed by G-d. More logically this statement is found in Josephus (Ant. 3.101) before we are told the actual contents of the commandments. Likewise, the fact that Moses did not eat or drink for forty days during the period that he was with G-d is not found until Exod. 34:28, after the content of the commandments has been cited, whereas, more logically, Josephus mentions this detail (Ant. 3.99) before we are given the contents that G-d communicated to Moses. An example of a case where Josephus connects seemingly disparate events may be seen in connection with the account of the death of Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu (Lev. 10:1). The Bible states that they had brought before G-d an alien fire that G-d had not com-

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manded, and that a fire came forth from before G-d and consumed them. Josephus (Ant. 3.208) mentions this incident immediately after his account of the ceremonies that took place at the inauguration of the Tabernacle. At those ceremonies, we read, a fire went forth from before G-d and consumed the burnt-offering (Lev. 9:24); and Josephus, apparently noticing that the same language is used in connection with the death of Nadab and Abihu, which follows, connects the two incidents with the remark that the same fire that consumed the burnt-offering also consumed the sons of Aaron. Since Josephus was himself a priest, we can expect that he would emphasize the sacrificial system but also that he would arrange the descriptions of the sacrifice in a more orderly fashion than is found in the Pentateuch. That he, in fact, does this may be seen from the fact that his description of the sacrifices, which starts with the whole burnt offerings that are described at the very beginning of the book of Leviticus (Lev. 1:3-17, Ant. 3.224-27), continues not with the fine flour offering, as we find in the Bible (Lev. 2:1-16), which has little in common with the whole burnt offerings, but rather with the analogous thank-offerings (“peace-offerings,” Lev. 3:1-17, Ant. 3.228-29). Josephus further highlights the connection between these two sacrifices by remarking that in the latter the same animals are offered, the differences being that in the thank-offerings the animals must be without blemish, may be upwards of a year old, and may be males or females (Ant. 3.228). Moreover, in presenting his holocaust-thanksgiving offering juxtaposition Josephus was inspired by the parallel content and form of Lev. 1:3 (“If his offering is a burnt offering”) and 3:1 (“If a man’s offering is a sacrifice of peace offering”).25 The Bible (Lev. 2:13) mentions that every meal-offering is salted. Josephus, aware that the tradition26 required salt for all sacrifices, cites this requirement in connection with his first description of the sacrifices, namely that of the whole burnt-offering (Ant. 3.227). The Bible (Num. 15:1-16) discusses separately the meal, oil, and wine offerings to be presented as part of a burnt offering or a feast offering. Since these items are given in connection with other sacrifices, Josephus (Ant. 3.233-35), more logically, appends mention of

25 26

So Gallant 1988, 44. So indicated in Ezek. 43:24 and Mishnah Tam. 4:3.

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them to his discussion of the other sacrifices. Josephus (Ant. 3.233) follows the order of Num. 15:1-13 in specifying the amount of flour to be offered but uses the order of Num. 28-29 in indicating the quantities of oil (Ant. 3.234).27 This allows the amounts of flour to appear in ascending order and the amount of oil to appear in descending order. The Bible (Lev. 22:27) mentions much later the special requirement prohibiting the sacrifice on the same day of the parent animal and its offspring until that offspring has reached its eighth day. Josephus (Ant. 3.236) appends this rule, very logically, to his overall discussion of the rules governing sacrifices. Lev. 22:28 puts the parent first: “You shall not kill both her and her young in one day.” Josephus (Ant. 3.236) follows rather the order found in the preceding verse: “When a bull or sheep or goat is born, it shall remain seven days with its mother.” By reversing the order of parent and offspring here, Josephus gains assonance: γεννηκ/τος (“the one who has given birth to,” “parent”) and γεννηθ#ντι (“the one who has been given birth to,” “its birth”).28 This assonance is furthered by the use of γνονται (“there are”) in the place of the more usual ε4σ at the beginning of the next sentence. Lev. 7:13 uses the verb ‫“( יקריב‬he shall offer”) in connection with the thanksgiving offering. Josephus (Ant. 3.236) uses the verb ναλσκεται (“is consumed”) in order to connect this law with the one that follows (Ant. 3.237) in his description of the daily sacrifices, where we read that a lamb is to be slain daily at public expense (ναλ ματος, “expense”). At a much later point Num. 28:3-29:39 lists the daily offerings, together with the offerings on Sabbath, the New Moon, Passover, Shabuot, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot, and Shemini Atzeret. Josephus (Ant. 3.237-54) discusses these as part of his comprehensive survey of all the sacrifices. In the biblical list of the festivals, that of the first month, Passover (Num. 28:16-25), is followed by Shabuot (Num. 28:26-31) and by the festivals of the seventh month (Num. 29:1-39). By placing the festivals of the seventh month first Josephus (Ant. 3.238-39) puts in juxtaposition the new moon and seventh new moon (Rosh Hashanah). Moreover, whereas the Bible discusses the

27 28

So Gallant 1988, 68. So Gallant 1988, 73.

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festivals in the order in which they appear in the calendar, Josephus, having discussed the festivals of the seventh month earlier, ends with Passover and Shabuot. Whereas in the Bible, in the prescriptions for the ceremony on the Day of Atonement, the scapegoat (Lev. 16:21-22) and the communal goat (Lev. 16:27) are not brought into immediate juxtaposition, Josephus (Ant. 3.240) does so by transforming the biblical places to which they are brought, i.e., into the desert (Lev. 16:22) and “outside the camp” (Lev. 16:27) to two specific areas that are parallel to each other, namely beyond the boundaries and the suburbs.29 Inasmuch as the communal goat had previously been slain (Lev. 16:15), the Bible uses the verb ‫( יוציא‬Lev. 16:27; LXX ξοσουσιν) to indicate that it is removed to its place of burning. This is a verb used for conveying inanimate or dead objects, whereas Josephus uses the verb 8γοντες (“leading”), which is used for living objects, as we see, for example, in the case of the red heifer (Num. 19:3, Ant. 7.79) that is removed from the camp prior to being slain. By using this verb Josephus has created an analogy between the two goats, since the scapegoat had also been removed while still alive. In the Day of Atonement ceremony, according to the Bible (Lev. 16:14) the blood of the bullock is taken, then the communal goat is slaughtered (Lev. 16:15), then its blood is dealt with as with the blood of the bullock (Lev. 16:15), then the blood of both is offered together (Lev. 16:18). Josephus (Ant. 3.242-43) is more orderly: he first disposes of the animals, then he takes care of the blood offerings.30 In the Bible (Num. 18:15, 22, 30; 29.5, 11, 16) a goat is brought as a sin-offering on all festival days. Remarkably, it is only here (Ant. 3.249) that Josephus mentions that the priests are to feast on it. Gallant suggests that he does so in order to provide a point of connection with subsequent laws, namely the barley offering on Passover (Ant. 3.251) and the two loaves on Shabuot (Ant. 3.252), concerning which Josephus likewise mentions that the priests consume these.31 As Thackeray32 notes, Hebrew uses the same word, ‫עמר‬, for the assaron measure and for the bundle of barley (Ant. 3.251). Josephus may have mentioned this quantity in order to connect it with the 29 30 31 32

So Gallant 1988, 87-88. So Gallant 1988, 90. Gallant 1988, 108. Thackeray 1930, 4:439, n. b.

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next topic, namely the two assarons (Ant. 3.252) of flour presented on Shabuot.33 Lev. 23:12 specifies that a male lamb a year old without blemish is to be offered on the day of waving the Omer. Yet, despite the fact that the Bible indicates that all lambs for the festival sacrifices are to be one year old, Josephus does not use the word ρνον (“little lamb”) anywhere else besides here (Ant.3.251). Josephus may be using it here in view of his immediately preceding reference to the “first fruits” (παρχάς, Ant. 3.250), thus providing a link between the newly ripened crop and the newborn animal.34 Whereas the festivals are the subject of many different biblical laws, Josephus (Ant. 3.254) brings order into the biblical chaos, so to speak, by focusing upon two features that they all have in common, namely that they feature whole burnt-offerings and that they give relief from work. Again, in the Bible the food laws are scattered. Thus Lev. 7:26-27 and 17:10-12 prohibit the eating of blood. Likewise, it is prohibited (Lev. 11:40) to eat of the carcass of an animal that has died a natural death. Elsewhere it is specifically prohibited (Lev. 7:23-25) to eat the fat of animals. Josephus has brought all these prescriptions together in a single paragraph (Ant. 3.260). While the Bible (Lev. 7:23) prohibits the consumption of fat without specifying the forbidden organs, it does specify that the fat that covers the entrails (Lev. 3:3) is to be burnt upon the altar. Taking his point of departure from Lev. 3:17, Josephus (Ant. 3.260) combines the injunctions against the consumption of blood and certain fats and thus provides a connection between the dietary and sacrificial laws.35 Josephus, in beginning his paraphrase of the laws pertaining to impurity (Ant. 3.261), continues the separation theme in which he had explained the purpose of the dietary laws (Ant. 3.259). In his consideration of the dietary laws Josephus had used verbs with the πο- prefix; hence he connects his discussion of the impurity laws with these dietary laws by using the verb πλασε (“expelled,” Ant. 3.261) rather than the LXX’s ξαποστειλάτωσαν (Num. 5:2).36

33 34 35 36

So So So So

Gallant Gallant Gallant Gallant

1988, 1988, 1988, 1988,

109. 111. 117-18. 118-19.

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Gallant37 notes that in his paraphrase of Num. 5:2 Josephus (Ant. 3.261) omits the category of corpse impurity. Gallant explains this omission as due to his organizational scheme and his desire to avoid putting together cases of different categories, since leprosy and gonorrhea belong to one category (their impurity requires two sacrificial victims), whereas corpse defilement belongs to a different category, namely one in which the impurity lasts seven days. In the Bible the sacrifices for one who has gonorrhea and for a woman who has a discharge of blood for many days are two turtledoves or two young pigeons (Lev. 15:14-15, 29-30), one for a holocaust and one for a sin-offering. The sacrifice for a leper (Lev. 14:10) is two lambs and one ewe-lamb a year old or one lamb and two birds (Lev. 14:21-22) for a guilt-offering, sin-offering, and holocaust respectively. For childbirth the requirements are a lamb as a holocaust and a bird as a sin-offering (Lev. 12:6) or two birds (Lev. 12:8). What Josephus (Ant. 3.262) has done here is to note features that are common to all these cases, namely that each includes a holocaust-sin-offering pair, and, where an animal victim is mentioned, it is a lamb.38 In the Bible (Lev. 12:2-8) the law pertaining to the contaminated state of a woman after giving birth is placed after the discussion of the animals that are permitted or forbidden to be eaten (Lev. 11). There is no apparent connection between the two topics. There is, however, a connection with the topic that follows, namely the laws of leprosy (Lev. 13-14), since in both cases there is a prohibition of contact with anything sacred on the part of the affected person. Josephus (Ant. 3.258-68), however, starts his discussion of the purity laws with a statement concerning leprosy. He then moves on (Ant. 3.269) to the discussion of the impurity of women in childbirth, and, since he is discussing the subject of impurity of women, he then proceeds to cite the ordeal of the suspected adulteress (Ant. 3.27073), which in the Bible is dealt with at a much later point (Num. 5:11-31). Having thus dealt with loyalty in a marriage here, Josephus (Ant. 3.274-75) now lists those marriages that are forbidden, as well as forbidden cohabitation with a menstruous woman, with a beast, and sodomy—subjects that are dealt with in still another part of the Pentateuch (Lev. 20:10-21). 37 38

Gallant 1988, 119. So Gallant 1988, 120-21.

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Gonorrhea is the only case of an impurity of long duration that Josephus singles out (Ant. 3.263). Josephus’ reason for doing so is to form a connection, through repetition of the word γονν (“seed”), with the next case (ibid.), that of one who has a nocturnal emission.39 Gallant40 calls attention to the effectiveness of Josephus’ putting in juxtaposition the case having the least stringent purification requirement (seminal impurity, Ant. 3.263) with the one involving the most stringent requirement (leprosy, Ant. 3.264), namely to emphasize the severity of the latter condition in preparation for his immediately following refutation of the charge that Moses and his followers were themselves lepers (Ant. 3.265-68). Since childbirth (Ant. 3.269) is the only biblical category of impurity where contact with that which is holy and entrance into the Temple are forbidden and since Josephus replaces “holy” with “sacrifices,” Josephus is able to classify the purity laws in Ant. 3.258-73 as provisions with regard to the sacrifices and the purifications relating to them. According to the Bible, in its treatment of the ordeal of the suspected adulteress, the placement of the earth into the potion (Num. 5:17) is followed by the uncovering of the woman’s head (Num. 5:18), then by the administration of the oath to the accused woman (Num. 5:19-22), then by the writing of the curses and the expunging of them (Num. 5:23). Josephus (Ant. 3.272) is more orderly, placing the expunging of the Name of G-d and the placement of the earth together before the administration of the bitter waters. Lev. 18:6-18 begins with the prohibited incestuous relationships and ends with adultery (Lev. 18:20), whereas Lev. 20 begins with adultery (Lev. 20:10) and continues with incestuous relationships (Lev. 20:11-14). Josephus (Ant. 3.274) follows the latter order so as to provide a connection with the preceding passage concerning the wife suspected of adultery. In the Bible, though most of the laws pertaining to priests are stated in a single section (Lev. 21), the law that wine is forbidden to them while on duty (Lev. 10:8-9) and the statement that the animals that they sacrifice must be unblemished (Lev. 22:19-25) are found in different contexts, the first immediately after the account of the

39 40

So Gallant 1988, 121. Gallant 1988, 122.

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deaths of Nadab and Abihu (Lev. 10:1-7) and the second after the laws specifying who may or may not eat terumah (Lev. 22:10-15). Josephus, on the other hand, has collected all the laws pertaining to priests and puts them together (Ant. 3.276-79). By referring to “the wife of a man who had died” (Ant. 3.277) rather than the Scripture’s ‫“( אלמנה‬widow,” Lev. 21:14), in his section of laws concerning the priests, Josephus provides a connection with the topic that follows, corpse defilement by the high priest.41 Whereas the Bible first presents the laws concerning the ordinary priest’s contact with a corpse (Lev. 21:6) and his marital restrictions (Lev. 21:7-9), and follows this with the parallel laws pertaining to the high priest (Lev. 21:10-12, 13-14), Josephus (Ant. 3.277) deals first with the marital restrictions for both categories and then with the laws for both pertaining to contact with a corpse. In so doing Josephus brings into juxtaposition the priestly marital restrictions with those stated in the preceding paragraphs (Ant. 3.274-75). In the Bible the law of the sabbatical year (Lev. 25:1-7) is found immediately after the incident of the man who had blasphemed the name of G-d and who was stoned to death in punishment (Lev. 24:10-23). Clearly these laws have no relationship to one another. In Josephus the sabbatical year is discussed (Ant. 3.281) after the laws pertaining to priests (Ant. 3.276-79). Josephus makes the connection (Ant. 3.280) between the two sets of laws by noting that the laws that he has previously discussed were operative during Moses’ lifetime, but that he is now about to discuss laws that are to become operative only after the conquest of Canaan, the first of which is the law of the sabbatical year, together with the Jubilee year (Ant. 3.281-85). At this point Josephus seems rather abruptly to proceed to the numbering of the Israelite army (Ant. 3.287; cf. Num. 1:1-49). But, in fact, he does connect this topic with what precedes, since he declares, in summarizing the code of laws that he has just presented, that this is the code of laws that Moses learned from G-d while keeping his army encamped beneath Mount Sinai (Ant. 3.286). The Bible (Num. 10:1-10) rather abruptly introduces G-d’s command to Moses to make two silver trumpets. Josephus (Ant. 3.291) has a much smoother transition. He has just discussed the arrangement

41

So Gallant 1988, 140.

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of the Israelite camp (Ant. 3.289) and then notes that so long as the divine cloud was stationary above the tabernacle in the camp, the Israelites thought it good to remain, but that when it was removed they deemed it wise to break up their camp. Then comes the statement about Moses’ invention of the silver trumpets (Ant. 3.291; cf. Num. 10:1-2), which, we are told, were sounded when the Tabernacle was to be moved (Ant. 3.293; cf. Num. 10:5-8). The Bible (Num. 9:1-3) abruptly states that G-d told Moses to observe the Passover offering in the second year since the exodus from Egypt. Josephus (Ant. 3.294) has a much smoother transition. He notes that the trumpets (Ant. 3.291-93) were used for sacrificial ceremonies, both on the Sabbath and on the days of festivals. He then adds that it was now for the first time since their departure from Egypt that the Israelites kept the Passover sacrifice, this presumably being announced by the trumpets. 5. Rearrangement in Josephus, ANTIQUITIES, Book 4 The Bible (Num. 35:6-7) states that 48 cities are to be assigned to the Levites. Included among these are six cities of refuge for the benefit of the unintentional homicide (Num. 35:6-15). Normally, we would expect that Josephus would mention the details concerning this prescription in a single passage, as does the Bible. However, Josephus (Ant. 4.67) speaks separately of the assignment of the 48 cities and of the six cities of refuge (Ant.4.172-73). The reason for his separation of the passages is, it would seem, that the first passage deals with how the Levites are to earn their livelihood since they are not assigned land in the division of Canaan. This passage deals with the contributions that the people are to make to the Levites along with the priests. Indeed, the word ναγκαον (“necessary,” Ant. 4.68) seems superfluous, but it does enable Josephus to construct a punning assonantal connection between the Levitical tithes, which are intended to furnish the necessaries (ναγκαων) of life, and the necessity of his speaking of the priestly gifts here.42 Just before the first passage Josephus has been dealing with the rebellion of Korah

42

So Gallant 1988, 156.

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and the reassertion of Aaron’s title to the high priesthood (Ant. 4.66). In the passage that follows (Ant. 4.69) we are told that of their 48 cities the Levites are to cede thirteen to the priests and that they are to deduct a tithe for the priests from the tithe that they receive from the people. The subject of the second passage (Ant. 4.172-73) is quite different, namely the refuge to be given in the Levitical cities to the involuntary murderer and the occasion when this involuntary homicide is free to end his exile, namely upon the death of the high priest. In the Bible the law (Num. 15:17-21) requiring the setting aside of a portion of the dough which one kneeds for bread follows the law concerning the sacrifice to be offered when one becomes a proselyte and the equal treatment that the proselyte is to receive (Num. 15:1416). It, in turn, is followed by the law (Num. 15:22-29) concerning the atonement for public, unintentional idol worship. These topics are clearly not related to one another. In Josephus (Ant. 4.71) the law concerning the dough is preceded by the law requiring that the first-fruits of the shearing of sheep are to be given to the priests, the point of connection being that these are both dues to be presented to priests. In the Bible the law concerning those who vow to become Nazirites (Num. 6:1-20) follows the law concerning the wife who is accused of being unfaithful (Num. 5:11-31) and precedes the instructions as to how the priests are to bless the congregation (Num. 6:22-27). Clearly, these laws have little relationship to one another. In Josephus (Ant. 4.72) the law concerning Nazirites follows the law concerning the dues that are to be paid to the priests (Ant. 4.69-71), the connection being, as Josephus notes, that the Nazirites assign their shorn locks to the priests. Following the law concerning the Nazirites Josephus (Ant. 4.73) has the law concerning those who vow their value to G-d (Lev. 27:1-8), the connection with the Naziriteship being that both prescriptions involve vows; and just as it is to the priests that the Nazirite assigns his shorn locks so it is to the priests that the one who has vowed his value must pay a fixed sum if he desires to be freed of his obligation. Num. 19, containing the law of the red heifer, whereby those who have been defiled may be cleansed, precedes the statement (Num. 20:1) on the death of Miriam, but the Bible does not connect the two. Josephus (Ant. 4.78-79) inverts the two passages and connects

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them, the point being that contact with the dead requires cleansing through the ashes of the red heifer.43 The Bible (Num. 20:27-28) states that Aaron ascended Mount Hor, that Moses stripped his garments from him, that he dressed Aaron’s son Eleazar in them, and that Aaron died there. It is only later, in the Bible’s recapitulation of the journey of the Israelites, that we are told that he died on the first day of the fifth month (i.e. Ab) and that he was 123 years old. Josephus (Ant. 4.83-84) combines all this information. Josephus, like Pseudo-Philo (Bib. Ant. 18.10), gives added importance to Balaam by having him offer the sacrifice (Ant. 4.113) before he prophesies. The Bible (Num. 25:1) does not itself explicitly link the apparent end of the Balaam episode (Num. 24:25) with the incident involving the Israelite youths and the Midianite women (Num. 25:1-5), and only at a later point (Num. 31:16) associates Balaam with the incident. Josephus (Ant. 4.129) makes Balaam the originator of the Midianite scheme (Ant. 4.126-30).44 The fact that Josephus (Ant. 4.157) once again after the conclusion of the episode with the Midianite women says that on these matters readers are free to think what they please shows that he regarded the whole complex of episodes as a single narrative. The order of events in Num. 25:1-8 is that first the Israelite men acted immorally with the Moabite women, then a plague afflicted the Israelites, then Phinehas killed the Israelite who openly had relations with the Midianite woman, then the plague was stayed. According to Num. 25:5, Moses instructed the judges to put to death those who had apostasized. Yet, three verses later (Num. 25:8) we hear that the plague (which had not previously been mentioned), presumably sent by G-d, was stayed from the people of Israel. In Josephus, as in Pseudo-Philo’s Biblical Antiquities 47.1, the plague (Ant. 4.155) takes place after Phinehas’ deed (Ant. 4.152-53). Apparently, Josephus felt

43 The third-century Rabbi Ammi bar Nathan asks (b.Mo’ed Q. 28a) why the account of Miriam’s death is placed in juxtaposition with the laws of the red heifer and answers that it is to show that, just as the red heifer afforded atonement by the ritual use of its ashes, so the death of the righteous affords atonement for the living whom they have left behind. 44 So also b.Sanh. 106a and parallels cited by Rappaport 1930, 126 n. 180.

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that it was more likely that Phinehas’ daring deed inspired G-d, so to speak, to initiate His own punishing of the Israelites. Josephus (Ant. 4.165) has modified the biblical order in placing Moses’ appointment of Joshua as his successor (Num. 27:18-23) immediately before Moses’ apportionment of land to the Transjordanian tribes (Num. 32:1-27). His apparent reason for this transposition is that he wishes to bring Moses’ appointment of Joshua as his successor into immediate juxtaposition with the statement (Num. 32:18) that Moses summoned Eleazar the high priest and Joshua to lead the Israelite army across the Jordan, at the same time making the proviso that the land of the Amorites should be given to these tribes on condition of their fighting along with their brethren (Ant. 4.171). In the Bible (Num. 27:1-4) the daughters of Zelophehad come to Moses noting that their father had died leaving no sons and complaining about the inheritance not being left to them. Moses is at a loss to answer them and brings the case to G-d, who judges that in such a case the inheritance should be given to the daughters. This incident, as it appears in the Bible, presents five problems: in the first place, it is embarrassing that Moses, than whom, according to the Bible itself (Deut. 34:10), no greater prophet has arisen in Israel, should have been unable to answer the complaint of the daughters. In the second place, this pericope appears suddenly and with no connection with the passage (Num. 26:1-65) which precedes, namely giving the full details of the census of the Israelites. Nor does it have any connection with what follows (Num. 27:12-14), where G-d tells Moses to climb the mountain of Abarim so that he may see the land that He has given to the Israelites. Thirdly, it is awkward that after G-d has decided that the daughters of Zelophehad are right and that they should not lose the inheritance of their father, the case should be raised once again (Num. 36:1-9), several chapters later, as if Gd had given an incomplete decision, since the daughters now raise the scenario as to what will happen if they marry outside their tribe and the land will apparently be added to the tribe into which they marry. Fourthly, this second account has no apparent connection with what precedes, namely the case of an intentional murderer who flees to a city of refuge (Num. 35:31-34). Fifthly, it is Moses now, rather than G-d, who gives the answer that the daughters are right, only to contradict himself apparently, since he says, in the name of G-d, that they are free to marry whomever they wish, but in the

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very same sentence (Num. 36:6) asserts that they should marry only those who are members of their tribe. Josephus (Ant. 4.174-75) resolves all these problems. In the first place, Moses is not stymied by the question of Zelophehad’s daughters and answers them directly without having to consult with God. Secondly, there is a point of connection with what precedes, namely the distribution of the Amorite land (Ant. 4.166-71)45 and the land (cities) given to the Levites (Ant. 4.172-73), since in the case of Zelophehad’s daughters the question is also one concerning the inheritance of the land of their father. Thirdly, Josephus avoids the awkwardness of having Josephus take up the issue of Zelophehad’s daughters twice by having a single account. Fourthly, there is no problem of a point of connection with what what precedes in the second account, since there is no second account. Fifthly, there is no contradiction, since he omits Moses’ statement (Num. 36:6) that the daughters should marry within the tribe of their father. Josephus (Ant. 4.175) makes it clear that if they married into another tribe the inheritance would, nevertheless, remain within the tribe of their father. It would seem to be remarkable that Josephus does not begin his survey of the laws with the Decalogue, as does Philo (Dec. 1)46 two generations before him. However, for Josephus the most central issue of his Antiquities is the constitution and philosophy of the ideal state, that is of the Jews; and being so proud of his priestly status Josephus naturally began by emphasizing the importance of Jerusalem and the Temple (Ant. 4.200). Josephus begins his summary of the Jewish laws with the case of the blasphemer (Ant. 4.202) because he is dealing with a sacerdotal theocracy and hence starts with the one who radically denies this system after having taken part in it and whose punishment, consequently, is the most severe. Gallant,47 for his part, remarks that Josephus’ discussion of blasphemy here seems to interrupt the flow of ideas concerning monotheism and the Temple (Ant. 4.201) and the annual pilgrimages (Ant. 4.203-4) to the Temple in Jerusalem, suggesting that the regulation concerning blasphemy might have been more appropriately placed among the laws concerning sacrilege

45 46 47

So Nodet 1995, 4:43, n.4. So Nodet 1995, 48 n. 1. Gallant 1988, 170-72.

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(Ant. 4.206-7). But he concludes that the presentation concerning blasphemy, which is, after all, attacking the unity of G-d, emphasizes the authority of monotheism. As he notes, the charge that the Jews were atheists was common in the ancient world: see Poseidonius (ap. Jos., Ap. 2.79) and Apollonius Molon (ap. Jos., Ap. 2.148). That the Temple is of supreme importance for Josephus in his summary of the laws may be seen in the fact that he stresses the role played by the law (Ant. 4.203-4; cf. Deut. 16:16) requiring Israelites to assemble in Jerusalem three times each year so as to promote feelings of mutual affection. He then continues to stress the importance of Jerusalem in mentioning next the second tithe (Ant. 4.205; cf. Deut. 14:22-27), the proceeds from which are to be eaten in Jerusalem. Deut. 23:19 speaks of the wages of a dog, i.e. of the temple prostitute; but Josephus (Ant. 4.206) understands the reference to the dog literally and transforms it into a sale of the mating services of the dog. He thus attains a parallel between the prostitute, who sells her body for mating purposes, and the dog. The connection of this law with what precedes is that no sacrifices in the holy Temple, which is so central in these first laws, may be paid from the hire of a prostitute. The next law, forbidding the blaspheming of gods of other peoples or robbing of foreign temples (Ant. 4.207), a commandment without biblical counterpart, is closely connected with what precedes in that holy as the Temple is for the Jew he must also have respect for the temples of others. In reading “gods” Josephus is apparently following the LXX version of Exod. 22:27, which renders ‫ אלקים לא תקלל‬as “thou shalt not revile gods” (θεο0ς ο( κακολογσεις).48 One may wonder what the connection of the next law, forbidding wearing garments of mixed wool and linen (Ant. 4.208; cf. Deut. 22:11), might be with what precedes and follows. The link is again the Temple, since Josephus calls attention here to the fact that such clothing is permitted for priests. The next law, pertaining to the reading of the laws every seven years (Ant. 4.209-11; cf. Deut. 31:10-13), is linked with what precedes in that this reading is to be done by the high priest in Jerusalem in 48

The same interpretation is found in Philo (Mos. 2.205 and Spec. 1.53). Both Josephus (Ap. 2.237) and Philo (Mos. 2.205) argue that the very name “god” deserves respect.

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the presence of all the Jews who have gathered for the festival of Tabernacles (Ant. 4.209). This reading of the laws, in turn, serves as an introduction to the purpose of the laws, to learn the rewards for their observance and the penalties for their non-observance. Josephus now refers to the requirement to recite the Shema (Ant. 4.212; cf. Deut. 6:7, 11:19) twice daily and to remember with thanksgiving the deliverance from Egypt. A similar purpose is served by the directive that follows to inscribe this prescription in the mezuzot on one’s doorposts and in the phylacteries (Ant. 4.213; cf. Deut. 6:9, Exod. 13:16 and Deut. 6:8). All the above is intended to teach the Israelites reverence for G-d. This naturally leads to the next topic, the administration of justice (Ant. 4.214-18; cf. Deut. 16:18-20), since, as Josephus stresses (Ant. 4.215), respect for those in high position makes people more reverent toward G-d. On the other hand, to be influenced unduly by gain or rank in rendering judgments would be to make these judges more powerful than G-d Himself. Next, in continuation of the theme of the centrality of justice, Josephus mentions the role of witnesses and their qualifications (Ant. 4.219; cf. Deut. 17:6, 19:15-21). The matter that follows, the case of the undetected murderer (Ant. 4.220-22; cf. Deut. 21:1-4), calls attention, in any system of justice, to the importance of magistrates who are to seek out and to punish criminals. Note that Josephus (Ant.4.223-24; cf. Deut. 17:14-20) places the discussion of the qualities and functions of the king after the passages about the administration of justice (Ant. 4.214-18; cf. Deut. 16:18-20), witnesses (Ant. 4.219; cf. Deut. 17:6-7, 19:15-21), and the case of the unsolved murder (Ant. 4.220-22; cf. Deut. 21:1-9). The point of connection is, as Josephus puts it in the discussion of the king (Ant. 4.223), that he, like judges, should have a perpetual care for justice. Following the law concerning the setting up of a king (Ant. 4.22324) Josephus has the law forbidding the removal of boundary-markers (Ant. 4.225; cf. Deut. 19:14). The point of connection is that in both cases one should not overstep one’s bounds. Just as a king, as Josephus says, must be restrained from becoming more powerful than is expedient for the welfare of his subjects, so one must not be covetous of going beyond one’s boundaries. Josephus (Ant. 4.225) then adds a parallel between uprooting boundary-stones and vio-

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lating G-d’s laws. In this connection Gallant49 has noted that just as Josephus uses a simple verb, κινεν, to denote displacement of boundary-stones and a compound verb, μετακινο9ντας, to denote transgression of the laws, so also he uses a simple adjective, βεβααν, to denote G-d’s firm decree but a compound word, :περβανειν, to denote transgression of the laws. The next law (Ant. 4.226-27; cf. Lev. 19:23-25), prohibiting the enjoyment of one’s fruit before the fruit tree’s fourth year, likewise stresses the importance of not overstepping one’s boundaries, for, as Josephus says, this fruit has not been borne in season and hence befits neither G-d nor the owner himself. In the Bible (Lev. 19:19) the law forbidding mixtures, whether mating an animal with an animal of another species or of planting a field with mixed seeds or of mingling fibers in a garment follows the law (Lev. 19:16-18) that one should love one’s fellow human being and precedes the law concerning lying carnally with a slavewoman (Lev. 29:20-22). There is clearly no connection of these laws with one another. In Josephus (Ant. 4.228-30) the law forbidding unnatural mixing of plants fits naturally after the law (Ant. 4.227) that closes with the statement that in the fifth year one is at liberty to enjoy the fruits of one’s planting. Moreover, as the Bible does not, Josephus (Ant. 4.229-30) explains the rationale of this law, namely that if unnatural mixing were permitted it might lead, through imitation, to some perversion of the constitution. Hence, this case, too, fits in with the emphasis which Josephus places, in general, on the proper arrangement of the laws. It is not until he gives his systematic summary of the laws that Josephus presents the laws concerning construction of the altar (Ant. 4.200-1). He reserves the other laws of Exodus 21-23 for this later point as well. He further presents these there in a more organized, orderly, and logical fashion: bondsmen (Ant. 4.273), when he discusses the laws of theft, since a thief becomes a slave when he is unable to repay what he has stolen (Ant. 4.272); murder and manslaughter and bodily injuries (Ant. 4.277-80), when he discusses quarrels and concern for the sightless and the dumb (Ant. 4.276); kidnapping, when he discusses theft (Ant. 4.271); the goring ox and damage caused by a pit (Ant. 4.281-84), when he discusses the lex talionis (Ant. 4.280);

49

Gallant 1988, 204.

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stealing livestock (Ant. 4.272), when he discusses theft in general (Ant. 4.271); discovery of a thief (Ant. 4.271-72, when he discusses the laws of loans and pledges (Ant. 4.267-70); laws of deposits (Ant. 4.285-87), when he discusses the laws concerning prompt payment of wages (Ant . 4.288); sorcery, when he discusses the prohibition of poison (Ant. 4.279), since the LXX on Exod. 22:17 renders the word “sorceress” (‫ )מכשׁפה‬by the word “poisoners” (φαρμάκους); security for loans (Ant. 4.269), when he discusses the laws concerning loans and pledges generally (Ant. 4.267-70); blaspheming G-d (Ant. 4.202), when he discusses the uniqueness of Jerusalem and the uniqueness of G-d (Ant. 4.301); blaspheming gods (Ant. 4.207), when he discusses the law forbidding wearing garments woven of wool and linen (Ant. 4.208) perhaps because he is aware of a tradition recorded later by Maimonides (Guide for the Perplexed 3.37) explaining that such garments are prohibited because heathen priests adorned themselves with garments containing vegetable and animal material; disrespect for parents (Ant. 4.260), in connection with the law concerning rebellious children (Ant. 4.260-64); violation of a virgin (Ant. 4.252), in connection with the discussion of the laws of marriage (Ant. 4.244-59); concern for the poor and the oppressed (Ant. 4.231), in connection with his general discussion of the rights of the poor (Ant. 4.231-37); concern for widows and orphans (Ant. 4.240), in connection with the triennial tithe for them (Ant. 4.240-43); and the integrity of the judicial process, in connection with the general discussion of the administration of justice (Ant. 4.214-19). The Bible (Lev. 19:9-10) mentions the laws requiring one to leave for the poor the corners of the field and the gleanings of one’s harvest amd the undeveloped twigs of one’s vineyard immediately after the law that one must eat a peace-offering on the day that one has slaughtered it or on the very next day (Lev. 19:5-8), although the two provisions seem to be utterly unconnected. Josephus (Ant. 4.231), on the other hand, introduces the former rule in his discussion of the rights of the disadvantaged (Ant. 4.231-43). After his discussion (Ant. 4.231-32; cf. Lev. 19:9-10, Deut. 24:19) concerning the rights of the poor to avail themselves of the sheaves left by owners when they gather in their crops, Josephus (Ant. 4.233; cf. Deut. 25:4) cites the law, which shows a similar concern for the weak, prohibiting the muzzling of oxen and forbidding owners to prohibit wayfarers (Ant. 4.234; cf. Deut. 23:25), whether natives or strangers, from touching fruits of the season, since one must not

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account as expenditure that which one lets people take out of generosity (Ant. 4.237). This leads naturally to the next topic, namely the punishment for those who are not generous but greedy. So far as Josephus is concerned, scourging (Ant. 4.238; cf. Deut. 25:1-3) is an appropriate punishment for one who is enslaved to greed, since scourging is a punishment suitable only for slaves. It is, therefore, most apposite that Josephus (Ant. 4.239), in the very next paragraph, recalls the slavery that the Israelites experienced in Egypt. The next topic, the triennial tithe for widows and orphans (Ant. 4.240; Deut. 14:28-29, 26:12-15), continues the theme of social responsibility for the poor and the weak. There follows the description of the ceremony after offering the tithes, the main point of which is to ask G-d to continue such favor toward all Jews in common (Ant. 4.243). Having dealt with social concerns for the weak, Josephus (Ant. 4.244-59) now takes up the laws of marriage and the family, which are basic to the sound structure of society generally. What is crucial here is the point that he has stressed so strongly hitherto, namely that one must learn to restrain oneself within boundaries of what is permitted and what is forbidden (Ant. 4.244-45). He emphasizes that one must operate within the bounds of law and justice, so that (Ant. 4.246; cf. Deut. 22:13-21) if he has betrothed a bride in the belief that she is a virgin, he should, if she appears not to be so afterwards, bring a suit to that effect and if guilty, the woman is to be stoned; but if the woman is innocent he is to be whipped and pay a monetary penalty. Josephus (Ant. 4.249-50; cf. Deut. 21:15-17) mentions the case concerning the son of the wife held in more affection but who is younger than the son of the wife who is held in less affection and who, nevertheless, seeks to obtain a double portion of his father’s inheritance. He inserts this account between the case of the bride who is accused of lacking the signs of virginity (Ant. 4.246-48; cf. Deut. 22:13-21) and the case of the violation of the betrothed woman (Ant. 4.251-52; cf. Deut. 22:23-27). The connection of these cases is the fact that in each a man has been guilty of unjust or unfair treatment of a woman. The cases dealt with above are those involving illegal or unjust relations. Next Josephus (Ant. 4.253; cf. Deut. 24:14) deals with the proper separation of husband and wife, namely through divorce.

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One may wonder why Josephus (Ant. 4.257-59; cf. Deut. 21:10-14) presents the case of the man who wishes to have relations with a woman whom he has taken prisoner after the case of levirate marriage (Ant. 4.254-56; cf. Deut. 25:5-10). Josephus supplies a connection in that he notes that the purpose of levirate marriage is that a child may be born with the name of the deceased who will be heir to the estate (Ant. 4.254); as to the man who wishes to marry the prisoner, “it is fair and just that in taking her to bear children, he should have regard for her wishes” (Ant. 4.258). One notes that following the mention of levirate marriage and the marriage with a prisoner Josephus (Ant. 4.260-64; cf. Deut. 21:18-21) cites the case of the rebellious children. The connection is that in the first two cases the purpose is to produce children; in the case of the rebellious children, Josephus (Ant. 4.261) says that the parents are to tell them that their purpose in getting married was so that they might have children who would tend them in their old age and who would provide them whatever they needed. The rebellious son, therefore, is, in effect, subverting the procreative aspect of marriage.50 Moreover, as Josephus (Ant. 4.260) stresses, such youths, by scorning their parents, have not paid them the honor that is due to them. He thus combines this law with the commandment “Honor your father and your mother” (Exod. 20:12, Deut. 5:16).51 Josephus’ combination of the law of the rebellious son with that of honoring one’s parents may also be seen in Apion 2.206, where the penalty for dishonoring parents is stoning, which is actually the penalty inflicted on the rebellious son (Deut. 21:21).52 The fact that rebellious children are to be stoned to death (Ant. 4.264; cf. Deut. 21:21) and, after remaining for the whole day exposed to general view, are to be buried at night leads to Josephus’ next topic, namely the general rule that those who have been condemned to death are to be given proper burial. The discussion of the prohibition of usury which follows (Ant. 4.266; cf. Deut. 23:20-21) is in line with the emphasis which Josephus places upon the importance of showing generosity and of not taking advantage of someone in distress, a concern that the rebellious child has not shown. 50

So Gallant 1988, 238-39. So Goldenberg 1978, 43-44. 52 So Goldenberg 1978, 47, who remarks that Philo (Spec. 2.232) also combines the two laws. 51

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In the statement of the law concerning loans and pledges (Ant. 4.267-70; cf. Deut. 24:10-13, Exod. 22:24-26) Josephus specifies, in an addition to the biblical text, silver and produce as the objects that have been borrowed. Josephus discusses this topic immediately after his discussion of usury (Ant. 4.266; cf. Lev. 25:37, Deut. 23:20), where he specifically mentions lending money and food upon usury. His addition of silver and produce in connection with loans thus seems to have been influenced by their mention in the Bible’s own passage about usury.53 The discussion of the law of theft of a person (Ant. 4.271; cf. Exod. 21:16) naturally leads to a statement concerning theft of objects (Ant. 4.271; cf. Exod. 22:6-7) and, in turn to the case of theft of cattle (Ant. 4.272; cf. Exod. 22:3) and this, in turn, to the case where the thief is unable to pay the imposed amount and consequently becomes a slave of those who had him condemned (Ant. 4.272; cf. Exod. 22:2). This then leads naturally to the discussion of the general law concerning a Jew who is a slave to another Jew (Ant. 4.273; cf. Exod. 21:2-6 and Deut. 15:12-18). The connection between the law of the emancipation of slaves (Ant. 4.273; cf. Exod. 21:2-5 and Deut. 15:12-18) and the restitution of lost property (Ant. 4.274; cf. Deut. 22:1-3) seems difficult to ascertain. Perhaps the link is that in the former the slave is restored to his former state of freedom, just as the lost property is restored to its former owner in the latter. Similar concern for those who have suffered distress is to be seen in the next laws, that requiring one to help to rescue another person’s beast that is in difficulty (Ant. 4.275; cf. Deut. 22:4), and that requiring one to give directions to those who are lost on the way (Ant. 4.276; cf. Deut. 27:18)54 and forbidding reviling the sightless and the dumb (Ant. 4.276; cf. Lev. 19:14). In Deut. 18:10-11 we are told that an enchanter, conjurer, charmer, consulter with familiar spirits, and a wizard are not to be tolerated among the Israelites, but there is no specific mention of a poisoner. The Hebrew of Exod. 22:17 reads “You shall not permit a sorceress (‫ )מכשׁפה‬to live.” The LXX renders the verse as φαρμάκους ο( 53

So Goldenberg 1978, 87-88. This would seem to be a direct refutation of the charge repeated by Juvenal (Sat. 14.103), who declares that Jews do not point out the road except to those who practice the same rites as they do, that is, that Jews help only their coreligionists. 54

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περιποισετε (“You shall not preserve poisoners”). The mention of the lex talionis in connection with the poisoner in Josephus (Ant. 4.279) is not found in Scripture. Its citation here provides a point of connection with the other juxtaposed cases (Ant. 4.278, 280) where it is also prescribed, namely in the case of the pregnant woman who dies of a kick (Ant. 4.278; cf. Exod. 21:22-23) and of someone who maims another (Ant. 4.280; cf. Exod. 21:24-25, Lev. 24:19-20). To be sure, the death penalty for the poisoner is, strictly speaking, not a case of lex talionis, since the crime is the simple possession of poison, and the would-be poisoner is not poisoned in punishment. The penalty here is, rather, for the intended injury, as in the case of false testimony (Deut. 19:19)55 or in that of the stubborn and rebellious son (Deut. 21:18-21). In the case of the person who injures another (Ant. 4.280; cf. Exod. 21:23-25, Lev. 24:17-20), Josephus prescribes the punishment of limb for limb unless the maimed person is willing to accept a monetary settlement. Gallant56 suggests that the concept of a monetary payment may have occurred to Josephus because of the case of the ox that gores a slave (Ant. 4.282; cf. Exod. 21:32), which follows after this lex talionis passage. With regard to the pit that a person digs (Ant. 4.283; cf. Exod. 21:33-34) Josephus adds to the biblical prescription that the one who dug the pit must take care to lay planks above it.57 This provides a link to the law that follows (Ant. 4.284; cf. Deut. 22:8), namely that a roof must have a protective fence.58 Gallant59 notes a stem-assonantal link between the verb “pay” (καταβαλλ#τω) at the end of the sentence concerning the pit (Ant. 4.284) and the verb περιβαλλ#σθω (“place around”), which starts the sentence about the parapet, thus connecting the two laws.

55

So Gallant 1988, 258. Philo (Spec. 3.95) justifies such preemptive punishment in the case of poisoners. 56 Gallant 1988, 259. 57 Here, too, Josephus, by saying (Ant. 4.283) that the purpose of this law is not in order that people should be prevented from fetching water but so that there should be no danger that they would fall in, seems to be replying to the claim, later repeated by Juvenal (Sat. 14.104), that the Jews “conduct none but the circumcised to the desired fountain.” 58 So Gallant 1988, 264. Philo (Spec. 3.148-49), like Josephus, combines the two laws concerning wells and battlements which appear separately in the Bible. 59 Gallant 1988, 265.

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That one should have a sense of responsibility toward others is stressed in the law that follows, that the receiver of a deposit must regard it as if it were a sacred and divine object (Ant. 4.285-87; cf. Exod. 22:6-12). Similarly, according to the next law, wages are to be promptly paid (Ant . 4.288; cf. Deut. 24:14-15), since to withhold wages is, in effect, like taking unfair advantage of an object which has been entrusted to someone. Josephus (Ant. 4.289; cf. Deut. 24:16) declares that children are not responsible for the wrongdoing of parents and vice versa. He then cites the law (Ant. 4.290; cf. Deut. 23:2) that one should shun eunuchs and those who have deprived themselves of their manhood. The connection between these laws is that eunuchs have no justification for not having children, since parents are not responsible for the sins of their children.60 Now that Josephus has surveyed the laws applicable to times of peace, he turns, as a kind of appendix, to provisions for war (Ant. 4.292-301, cf. Deut. 20:1-20), first that one should meet to parley with the enemy to indicate the desire for peace; secondly, that the army must be immaculate and those who have recently married are exempt from service; and thirdly, that the army must abstain from outrageous actions, in particular from cutting down cultivated trees. Finally, although the Bible (Deut. 22:5) prohibits transvesticism generally, Josephus (Ant. 4.301) applies this specifically to dress in battle. 6. Conclusion Although Josephus insists that he has not added to or subtracted from the Scriptures in his alleged paraphrase, perhaps because he had a precedent in the LXX and in the Targumim,61 he does admit that he has innovated in rearranging the order of topics, since, he claims, Moses left the Pentateuch in the disordered condition in which G-d gave it to him. If, then, we ask why Josephus felt a need to present his version of the rewritten Bible when the LXX itself 60 So Gallant 1988, 270. Gallant also points out an assonantal connection, namely that children permit (πιτρεπ/ντων) themselves things that are contrary to their parents’ instruction, but that eunuchs do not have this justification, so that consequently one must turn away (κτρ#πεσθαι) from them. 61 See the discussion in Feldman 1998, 39-46.

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actually does do more than merely translate it, the answer would seem to be that he, using the language of a general, a role that he had indeed played in the war against the Romans, has tried to set forth the biblical details in a more orderly arrangement. In doing this Josephus was following the lead of another historian, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, who wrote a work, Roman Antiquities, with a similar title and in the same number of books, twenty, and who is the one historian in antiquity who himself wrote, somewhat less than a century earlier, treatises on how to write history. It is in those treatises that Dionysius sets forth criteria for organizing historical material, even going so far as to criticize that idol of all historians, including Josephus’ favorite, Thucydides, for presenting a choppy narrative, disruptive of its continuity. A similar stress on proper arrangement of material is found in Diodorus Siculus, a contemporary of Dionysius, who wrote a universal history comparable in scope to Josephus’ Antiquities. A comparable stress on careful marshalling of facts is found in two of the great literary critics of antiquity, Pseudo-Longinus, who wrote in Greek perhaps a generation before Josephus, and Quintilian, Josephus’ contemporary, who wrote in Latin. In rearranging material in the narrative portion of the Pentateuch Josephus’ general principles are to avoid non sequiturs and digressions within a given episode; to maintain a logical and temporal sequence and a causal relationship in the various episodes of his narrative (that is, preserving continuity on a given subject once he has broached this, thus, for example, connecting the Balaam episode with the incident involving the Israelite youths and the Midianite women); to provide a smoother transition between episodes; to avoid contradictions and needless repetitions (as in the digging of another well by Isaac’s servants); to change the order of events, as in the encounter between Joseph and his brothers in Egypt, so as to make the account more dramatic; to fill in gaps in the biblical narrative (such as identifying by name personalities who are referred to and further identifying geographical areas that are mentioned) and yet to hurry the narrative along; to maintain the emphasis on key figures such as Abraham and Moses; to highlight biblical personalities and to de-emphasize the role of G-d; to build up the stature of non-Jews such as Jethro and thus to show that Jews show respect for non-Jews; to omit embarrassing defects such as Moses’ speech impediment and Moses’ seeming lack of faith; to explain the Israelites’ apparent lack of integrity in “bor-

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rowing” jewelry and clothing from the Egyptians; to explain how the Israelites could have been armed when they left Egypt; to explain obscurities such as the identity of the one with whom Jacob wrestled or whether Esau was actually sincere when he embraced Jacob; to answer questions that the Bible should have raised but did not raise; to omit embarrassing answers by biblical personages, such as Jacob’s incriminating answer to his father that he is Esau, his first-born; to omit passages that raise serious questions as to the authorship and date of composition of various biblical books; to omit long lists of names as being boring; to give the reason for apparently arbitrary statements; to explain away improbabilities, such as how Jacob could have been unaware until the following morning that it was Leah who had been given to him by Laban and how Joseph, who had no experience as an agricultural administrator, could have managed to oversee the agricultural production of so large a country as Egypt; to explain the favoritism by Jacob for Joseph; to support the biblical narrative by citing non-Jewish sources that can buttress the historicity of its account; to add proleptical comments that will provide an interpretive framework in the light of which his later solutions will appear most natural; to follow the norms of good etiquette, such as by having the guest, Abraham’s servant, eat before discharging his errand; to introduce a romantic aspect where possible, as, for example, by placing the covenant between Abimelech and Abraham after the episode of Abimelech and Sarah; and apologetically to avoid antagonizing his Roman patrons and audience by omitting, for example, Esau’s intention to kill Jacob, perhaps because he knew the tradition identifying the Romans as descended from Esau, and to omit, for a similar reason, Jacob’s offer of a bribe-like gift to Esau. Thus, Josephus supplies the connection, missing in the Bible, between Adam’s naming of all living creatures and the creation of Eve by having G-d notice that Adam alone, of all creatures, was without a mate. The Noah narrative, which is replete with digressions in Josephus, would seem to be an exception to Josephus’ tight co-ordinating of details; but each digression is apologetically motivated, with Josephus using the opportunity to resolve discrepancies in chronology, to explain the longevity of the patriarchs, and to provide proof that the Flood really occurred and that the Greeks and other peoples of antiquity are actually descended from Noah. Moreover, where there are seeming duplications of incidents, as in that of the Pharaoh and Sarai and the one with Abimelech, Josephus antici-

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pates the objection of the reader by stating quite openly through a cross-reference, that Abraham practiced the same dissimulation as previously and from the same motive, fear. He connects seemingly disparate events, as for example the death of Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu with the fire that went forth during the ceremonies at the inauguration of the Tabernacle. It is especially in his systematic summary of the laws that Josephus organizes them in a more orderly and logical fashion, in particular showing the connection of each law with that which precedes and that which follows. In organizing the laws Josephus thus follows Philo’s De Specialibus Legibus and antedates the Mishnah by over a century. Significantly, he, the proud priest, starts his discussion of the laws with a detailed description of the Tabernacle, the forerunner of the Temple. Here Josephus avoids the Bible’s duplications and employs a more logical format, beginning with a discussion of the materials, the names of the builders, and continuing with a description of the Tabernacle itself, as if leading the reader on a tour of it, starting with the outer court and continuing with the exterior and then the interior of the Tabernacle. He then describes the vestments of the ordinary priests and those of the high priest, citing the items of clothing in the order in which one puts them on. When he departs from his usual ordering of details, as in his description of the Urim and Thummim, Josephus is careful to be apologetic about his doing so. He presents the descriptions of the sacrifices in a more orderly fashion than is found in the Pentateuch, in particular noting the features that they have in common. He is careful to note the connection between the narrative portions and the legal provisions, as, for example, between the report of the spies and the meal offering and the account of the death of Miriam and the law of the red heifer. Most significantly, he places the law forbidding the blaspheming of gods of other peoples (though there is no such biblical commandment) immediately after his discussion of the holiness of the Temple, the implication being clearly that Jews are to respect the temples of others. He emphasizes the importance of justice in placing the discussion of the qualities and functions of the king immediately after the passages about the administration of justice. In particular, his point in connecting the establishment of a monarchy after the law forbidding the removal of boundary markers is that one should not overstep one’s bounds. Again, whereas in the Bible the food laws are scattered, Josephus has brought them all together in a single chapter. To attain smoothness

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Josephus frequently resorts to punning assonantal connections. He stresses that unnatural mixture of species may lead, through imitation, to some perversion of the constitution. He connects a number of laws with the theme of social responsibility for the poor and the weak. This brings him, quite naturally, to the laws of marriage and the family, which are basic to the sound structure of society generally.

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CHAPTER FIFTEEN

THE INFLUENCE OF THE GREEK TRAGEDIANS ON JOSEPHUS

1. The Influence of Drama on Historiography It is no mere coincidence that the beginnings of the writing of history by the Greeks coincide almost precisely with the beginnings of the writing of tragedies. As a matter of fact, as Walbank1 comments, there had long existed a connection between history and tragedy, since both were based upon a common subject matter, the Greek myths, which, of course, were regarded as historically true. Both appealed to the emotions when read aloud (for history was also so read), both emphasized the moral lessons to be conveyed, and both had a common rhetorical background.2 The classical Greek historians, so much studied and admired by Josephus, were from the very beginning deeply influenced by the tragedians. Herodotus, who greatly influenced Josephus, particularly in his Antiquities,3 has the materials for more than one tragedy embodied in his work. Indeed, Bury suggests that the solemn immanence of a divine direction of human affairs, which is strongly accentuated in the last three books of Herodotus’ history, was due to the Athenian dramas that had dealt with the subject of the Persian invasion, namely the tragedies of Phrynicus and Aeschylus.4 As for Thucydides, who most influenced Josephus,5 Cornford6 has 1

Walbank 1972, 38. Cf. Doran 1979, 107-14, who remarks that the term “tragic history” is employed merely to give a backhanded compliment rather than to classify it according to a particular genre. 3 See Ek 1945-46, 27-62, 213. 4 Bury 1909, 68. 5 On Josephus’ knowledge of and indebtedness to Thucydides, see Drüner 1896, 1-34; Thackeray 1929, 110-14; Shutt 1961, 68-75; and Feldman 1984, 827-830. While it is true that Thackeray’s theory that an assistant, steeped in Thucydides, is responsible for the style of Books 17-19 of the Antiquities has rightly been questioned, there are many reminiscences of Thucydides in vocabulary, grammar, and style throughout the Antiquities. 2

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developed the view that he saw the whole Peloponnesian War as a great tragedy, in which the Sicilian expedition marks the περιπ#τεια for Athens.7 Indeed, Dionysius of Halicarnassus (Thuc. 15) notes that Thucydides described terrible and poignant sufferings so vividly as to leave future historians and poets no room for exaggeration. Furthermore, the speeches that are a characteristic device not only of Herodotus and Thucydides but of ancient historians generally are, of course, essentially dramatic in origin.8 The fact that Aristotle (Poetics 9.3.1451B5-7, 22.1459A) differentiates between history and poetry, noting that history relates particular events whereas poetry is concerned with universals, and adds that the work of Herodotus would not be poetry even if it were written in verse, would indicate that in actuality they were similar and deserving of such a comparison and differentiation. Moreover, the fact that he does not cite the arousal of pity and terror (Poetics 6.1449B27-29) as a point differentiating tragedy from history would seem to that this is not a characteristic unique to tragedy. And if, indeed, as Aristotle (Poetics 9.3.1451B5-7) says, poetry (which, of course, includes tragedy) is more philosophical and of graver import than history, inasmuch as the former is more universal, it is natural, as Von Fritz implies, that to enhance history it had to be made more universal and hence more similar to poetry.9 “The universality of tragedy,” as Gomme, remarks, “consists of the fact that it represents what stands as an extreme possibility behind every life and perhaps also in a less extreme form becomes reality, in every life.”10 It is this quality of painting history in universal colors that we shall find throughout Josephus’ account of the history of the Jews. The school of lsocrates shows the great influence of rhetoric and tragedy on history. Indeed, the historian Theodectes actuaIly wrote fifty tragedies. Another student, Asclepiades of Tragilus, quite significantly wrote a work entitled the Τραγωδο μενα, which, in all probability, later became an important source for the Mythogra-

6 7 8 9

Cornford 1907, 129-52. Cf. Finley 1942, 321-25; and Ullman 1942, 27. See Bury 1909, 116; and Cornford 1907, 137 Von Fritz 1936, 85-145, cited and commented upon by Villalba 1986, 236-

37. 10

Gomme 1954, 120.

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phers. Wilamowitz calls it a historia fabulosa;11 Ullman notes that it was a mythology based on tragedy rather than on epic or on earlier mythological treatises.12 Likewise, lsocrates’ pupil Theopompus clearly shows the influence of tragedy upon history, for he greatly favored the sensational and the marvelous in his works. Indeed, Strabo (1.2.35) points to Theopompus as an outstanding example of an historian who introduced sensational myths to give pleasure to his readers. But it was not only the school of lsocrates that showed how deeply tragedy had influenced history. The other great school of rhetoric in the fourth century b.c.e., that of Aristotle, produced in Callisthenes, Aristotle’s nephew and disciple, one who went all out to arouse admiration and pity in his history of Alexander.13 Furthermore, the influence of tragedy was extremely strong on the historical works of Duris of Samos, a pupil of Aristotle’s successor Theophrastus.14 Duris was dissatisfied with the historiographical styles of Ephorus and of Theopompus, who, he said, failed to excite the pleasure that history ought to arouse. Although their art actually did not lack embellishment, he found them too prosaic.15 His exaggeration in tragic fashion was notorious.16 He moved the feelings of his readers with the most ornate pathetic scenes, precisely materials similar to Saul’s seance with the witch of Endor, which Josephus (Ant. 6.32942) builds up to a high degree, and entertained them with the most fantastic anecdotes and gossip that his fertile imagination could dream up. He described the costumes appropriate to the time and circ*mstances in which the figures in his histories were dressed. We know that he wrote treatises on tragedy and on Sophocles and Euripides.

11

Wilamowitz 1875, 181 n. 3. Ullman 1942, 30. 13 Ullman 1942, 34-37, nevertheless, asserts that in his approach to tragic history Callisthenes was a follower of Isocrates; but it seems hard to believe that Aristotle’s own nephew would have joined Aristotle’s great rival, Isocrates, in such a crucial point; in any case, none of the biographers or encyclopedists states that Callisthenes diverged from Aristotle’s point of view. 14 The fact that Aristotle (Poetics 9.1451A-B) so sharply distinguishes tragedy and history leads Ullman 1942, 25-53, to conclude that Duris might have deserted from the Peripatetic to the Isocratean school; but more recent scholarship has questioned this hard and fast distinction between the two schools. Indeed, as Walbank 1972, 216-34, has noted, we cannot accept Ullman’s thesis that the origins of tragic history are to the found in Isocrates. 15 Jacoby 1926, F1 (Μακεδονικά). 16 See Plutarch, Pericles 28.2. 12

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His general fondness for quotations and for comparisons taken from tragedy is, therefore, hardly surprising. For him history was full of sensational and tragic plots. Phylarchus, who wrote a history of the years 272-220 b.c.e. continued in the same tradition as Duris.17 It is significant that Polybius (2.56.7-8) censured him as “feminine” for aiming to move his readers to tears. Polybius (2.58.12) also charged him with telling falsehoods for the sake of sensationalism. These historians, in both of the two major schools of Hellenistic historiography, Isocratean and Peripatetic, thus tried to arouse those emotions of pity and terror that Aristotle (Poetics 6.1449B24-28) felt to be peculiar to tragedy. In fact, even Polybius, who was the great critic of this trend toward rhetorical and tragic history and whom Josephus cites on several occasions (Ant. 12.135-37, 358-59; Ap. 2.84), was not immune to the influence of tragedy. Indeed, the language of tragedy may be noted in the statement in Polybius’ preface (1.1.2) in which he agrees with his predecessors that history teaches one to bear with dignity the vicissitudes of fortune by recalling the catastrophes of others. Moreover, such a statement as the following (1.1.4) might well have come from an Isocratean historian: “For the surprising nature of the events that I have undertaken to relate is in itself sufficient to challenge and stimulate the attention of everyone, old or young, to the study of my work.” An instance of the tragic approach is to be seen in the treatment of the story of Regulus, following which Polybius (1.35.4) points a moral by quoting Euripides: “One man’s skill is worth a world in arms.”18 It may, indeed, be that the popularity of tragic history in the Hellenistic period is due, in part at least, to the fact that few tragedies were put on the stage during this era and hence readers sought their tragedy in another source, namely real life, i.e., biography or biographical history. Moreover,

17

Plutarch’s lives of Agis and Cleomenes, which were taken almost entirely fom Phylarchus, are the chief sources of our knowledge of Phylarchus’ actual methods in historiography. For the fragments see Jacoby 1926, II A 161-89. Cf. Plutarch’s criticism, in Themistocles 32.3, of Phylarchus’ tale of Themistocles’ remains, “which even an ordinary person must know is fabricated.” Phylarchus, as if in a tragedy, all but erected a stage machine for this story, according to Plutarch. By giving such a fantastic account, Phylarchus wished merely to arouse tumultuous emotion. 18 Moreover, in his treatment of Philip V of Macedonia, Polybius definitely created a tragic version with a moral. So Walbank 1938, 67. Cf. Scheller 1911, 60-61.

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Connor suggests that the increased interest in this type of history is to be explained by the rise of emphasis on Tyche or Fortune.19 2. The Influence of Tragedy in General on Josephus That Josephus was attracted to the great Greek tragedians may be seen in his adoption of both their language and their motifs. That Josephus is, indeed, thinking in terms of tragedy may be seen in his use of the word “stage-masks” (προσωπεα), where, in commenting on Saul’s cruelty in slaughtering the priests of Nob, he reflects (Ant. 2.264) that it is characteristic of human nature when men attain to power to lay aside their moderate and just ways, “as if they were stage-masks,” and instead assume an attitude of audacity, recklessness, and contempt for things human and divine. The language of the stage may also be discerned in Josephus’ description (War 1.471) of how Antipater, Herod’s son, “with a careful eye to every detail in the staging of a play (δραματουργον),” assumed the role (προσωπεον) of a devoted brother in his plot against his brother Alexander. Josephus (Ant. 4.156) uses similar language in describing the way in which the Zealots chose by lot an obscure individual named Phanni and dressed him up for his assumed part (προσωπε=), as on a stage (σκην'ς). That Josephus was acquainted with the works of Aeschylus is indicated by his use of such a phrase as “8πορα μ%ν γνεται τ$ π/ριμα” (“the practicable things become impracticable”) (Ant. 1.14), which is clearly reminiscent of the very reverse in the choral passage in Aeschylus (Prometheus Bound 904): “8πορα π/ριμος” (“making possible the impossible”), the only other extant author who has these two words thus in paradoxical juxtaposition. Again, such a verb as κπράσσειν, “to achieve,” which is found several times in Josephus (Ant. 17.101, 17.106, 18.342), appears primarily and almost exclusively in the tragic poets, including five of the plays of Sophocles (Oed. Tyr. 377, 941, 1307; Oedipus at Colonus 1659; Antigone 303; Ajax 45; and Trachiniae 667), as well as Aeschylus (e.g., Suppliants 472; Persians 713; and Agamemnon 582, 1275), and Euripides (Helen 20; Bacchae 1161).20 19 20

Connor 1985, 468. See Liddell and Scott 1940, 518.

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As to Josephus’ adoption of tragic motifs, the harsh behavior (Gen. 16:6) of Sarai toward her handmaid Hagar, who, according to the Bible (Gen. 16:4), despised Sarai after she (Hagar) had become pregnant through Abraham, is more clearly justified in Josephus’ additional language, which has the ring of Greek tragedy, noting that Hagar’s plight was due (Ant. 1.189) to her arrogant (γν μονα, “unreasonable”, “obstinate”, “rebellious”, “unruly”) and synonymously presumptuous (α(θάδη, “arrogant”, “insolent”, “stubborn”, “rebellious”) behavior toward her mistress. One is reminded of the stubbornness (α(θαδαν) of Prometheus in Aeschylus’ Prometheus Bound (1034) and of Creon’s statement to Oedipus (Soph., Oed. Tyr., 549-50) that “if you think obstinacy (α(θαδαν) without thought to be something, you are misguided,” as well as the Chorus’ statement (Eur., Bacchae 883-84) that the gods bring to correction those men who honor arrogance (γνωμοσ ναν) and who do not, in their sound judgment, foster things divine. Again, in an extra-biblical addition to Judg. 4:3, Josephus (Ant. 5.200) declares that during the twenty-year period of suffering before the advent of Deborah’s judgeship G-d had sought to tame the insolence (>βριν) which the Israelites, through their arrogance (γνωμοσ νη, “obstinacy”, the noun corresponding to the adjective, (γν μονα, noted above in connection with Hagar), had shown toward Him, so that they might be more moderate (σωφρονσιν) in the future. That is the lesson in much of Greek tragedy; one may cite as an example the passage in Aeschylus’ Agamemnon (176-78) that Zeus, who has guided men to think, has laid down the rule that wisdom comes only through suffering (πάθει μάθος). Likewise, the Philistines, in details added by Josephus (Ant. 5.31415), show insolence (νυβρσωσιν) toward Samson in their cups; and he, his pride insulted (:βριζ/μενος) by such mockery, determines to gain revenge. Again, Eli’s sons (Ant. 5.339) are condemned as being insolent (:βριστα) to men and impious to G-d. Furthermore, we read (Ant. 9.196), in an extra-biblical addition, that King Amaziah, after his military victories, was unable to contain himself at his good fortune (ε(πραγαις), and outraged (ξ βριζεν) G-d, from Whom he had received it; and, consequently, Josephus (Ant. 9.199) comments that he thinks that it was G-d Who urged Amaziah on to make war against the kingdom of Israel so that he might suffer punishment for his transgressions against Him. Likewise, Uzziah’s leprosy (Ant. 9.226) is said to be the penalty which he paid for his insolence in thinking

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that he could reach a station higher than man’s. It is true that the rabbis and Pseudo-Philo also expatiate on the sins of the Israelites, but they do not use the language and the conceptual framework of Greek tragedy. Furthermore, we may note that Queen Vashti (Ant. 11.192-94) is accused by the Persian King Ahasuerus’ seven advisers of having insulted him. Finally, Josephus (Ant. 11.277) castigates Haman, in terms of Greek tragedy, for not showing moderation in time of prosperity: he did not bear his good fortune (ε(τυχαν) wisely, nor did he make the best use of his prosperity with prudent reason (σ φρονι λογισμ). One of the ways in which Josephus heightens interest in his narrative is by increasing suspense. In particular, there are several instances of added suspense in Josephus’ version of the Joseph narrative. Thus, whereas in the Bible (Gen. 37:11) we learn merely that the brothers envied Joseph, Josephus (Ant. 2.12) says that the brothers understood that Joseph’s dreams predicted that he would exercise power, majesty and supremacy over them; however, the brothers revealed nothing of this to Joseph, pretending that the dreams were unintelligible to them. There is likewise considerable build-up of suspense in Josephus’ version of the search for Joseph’s cup in his brothers’ sacks. In the Bible (Gen. 44:11-12) each of the brothers, we are told, opened his sack, and the search proceeded from the oldest to the youngest; Josephus (Ant. 2.133) elaborates by describing the feeling of relief that each felt when the cup was not found in his sack. He even notes the ironic confidence they felt that the goblet would not be found in Benjamin’s sack, and concludes with a description of the abuse that they poured upon their pursuers for impeding their journey. Again, in his version of the story of Esther, there is a heightening of dramatic suspense in Josephus’ introduction of Harbonah at an earlier point than he appears in the biblical narrative. In the Bible it is not until Haman has been pointed out by Esther as the one who sought to destroy her people that Harbonah remarks (Esth. 7:9) that Haman had also built gallows for Mordecai, upon which the king thereupon orders Haman to be hanged. In Josephus (Ant. 11.261) Harbonah, one of Esther’s eunuchs sent to hasten Haman’s coming to the banquet, notices the gallows, learns that they have ironically been prepared for the queen’s uncle Mordecai, and for the time being holds his peace. As a storytelling device such a detail builds

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up suspense, and renders Harbonah’s later revelation all the more effective.21 Josephus likewise adds to the dramatic excitement in a series of additions (Ant. 1.177) to the biblical narrative. Thus, we are given a vivid picture of Abraham as a general who determines to help the Sodomites without delay, and who sets out in haste and falls upon the Assyrians on the fifth night in an attack in which he catches the enemy by surprise before they have time to arm themselves. Then we are given the graphic details of his slaughter of the enemy, how he slays some while they are still asleep, while he puts to flight others who are not yet asleep but who are incapacitated by drunkenness. The Bible (Gen. 14: 14), on the other hand, does not speak of the time and circ*mstances of the attack and says merely (Gen. 14:15) that Abraham continued his pursuit of the enemy, after night had fallen, with divided forces. As an example in which Josephus increases dramatic interest we may cite the fact that whereas in the Bible (Gen. 22:9) it is Abraham who builds the altar for the sacrifice of Isaac, in Josephus’ version (Ant. 1.227) it is Isaac himself who constructs the altar for his own sacrifice. It is likewise more dramatic to have Abraham (Ant. 1.228) recall the prayers for a son while he is about to place Isaac on the altar to be sacrificed and to recall that at that time he had no thought of higher happiness than to see Isaac grow to man’s estate and to leave him upon his own death to be heir to his dominion. Likewise, in the case of Joshua, Josephus supplies a number of dramatic details to enhance his military reputation; thus, in his description of the battle with Amalek, Josephus (Ant. 3.53) adds that the adversaries met in a hand-to-hand contest and fought with great spirit and mutual shouts of encouragement. There is also increased drama in Moses’ reply (Ant. 4.40) to the charges of Korah, with Moses making quite a scene, raising his hands to heaven and speaking in stentorian tones. Even in his presentation of the Mosaic Code Josephus (Ant. 4.229) dramatically quotes what the threatened trees would say if they were endowed with voices. Furthermore, the description of the wailing for Moses’ approaching death (Ant. 4.320-22) is much more graphic. Another example of Josephus’ desire to enhance the sense of drama

21

See Feldman 1970, 153.

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in his rewriting of the Bible may be seen in the increased drama of Saul’s selection by G-d, since it takes place at night (Ant. 6.37-40) rather than during the day (1 Sam. 9:15); and it is while Samuel is tossing with sleeplessness that G-d instructs him to choose the king whom He will point out. This dramatic element is further augmented by the fact that on the day before Saul’s arrival G-d had declared that at precisely that hour on the following day Saul would arrive, whereas the Hebrew does not indicate the precise hour but merely declares that it will be “tomorrow about this time,” and the LXX does not mention the hour at all. Likewise, Josephus builds up the drama surrounding David’s challenge to Goliath and adds (Ant. 6.177) to the biblical account (1 Sam. 17:26) that when David heard the Philistine giant reviling and abusing the Israelite army he became indignant. Another instance of increased drama is to be found in Josephus’ account of Absalom’s rebellion against and later reconciliation with his father King David. Whereas in the Bible (2 Sam. 14:33) David finally agrees to meet Absalom and kisses him, no statement by David is cited at the moment of reconciliation. In Josephus’ version (Ant. 7.193) there is a much more dramatic scene as Absalom throws himself upon the ground and begs pardon for his sins, whereupon David, in turn, raises him up and specifically promises to forget what had happened. Another example of increased dramatic effect is Josephus’ treatment of the climactic incident in which Daniel is cast into the lions’ den. According to the biblical narrative (Dan. 6:14), when King Darius heard from the satraps that Daniel bad violated his edict, he was very distressed and set his heart to deliver Daniel, trying until sundown to work out a plan to save him. Josephus (Ant. 10.257) adds to the apprehensiveness of the scene by depicting the plotters as anticipating that Darius might treat Daniel with greater favor than they had expected and that he might be ready to pardon him despite his contempt for the royal decree. Josephus even adds at this point that they were envious of Daniel because of the regard in which he was held by Darius and hence refused to adopt a milder course. Again, the dramatic element is increased by the additional detail, which appears in the Lucianic version but not in the Hebrew text or in the LXX, that when Haman tells Mordecai to dress himself in royal garments so that he may lead him through the city, Mordecai at first is suspicious of his intentions and, thinking that he is being

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mocked, remarks (Ant. 11.257), “Is this the way you make sport of my misfortunes?” One key element which renders Josephus’ paraphrase more effective is increased irony, which, as we know, is so characteristic of tragedy. As Muecke22 has noted, irony has three essential elements: it is a double-layered or two-story phenomenon to the victim of irony and to the observer; there is always some kind of opposition between the two levels, which may take the form of contradiction, incongruity or incompatibility, so that what is said is contradicted by what the observer knows; and there is an element of innocence, so that the victim is completely unaware of the very possibility of there being another point of view in addition to his own, or at any rate the author pretends not to be aware of it. The very fact that, in an addition to the Bible (Gen. 17:19, 21:3), Josephus (Ant. 1.213) translates the name of Isaac as “laughter,” referring to the fact that Sarah had laughed when God had said that she would give birth, heightens the irony that the aged couple, Abraham and Sarah, gave birth to a son at such an advanced age. The irony of the birth is heightened by the fact that Abraham is “on the threshold of old age” π* γρως ο(δ, a phrase borrowed from Homer, who uses it (Iliad 22.60) to describe Priam when he addresses his son Hector before the latter goes off to do battle with Achilles that will bring about his death,23 thus highlighting the pathetic parallel between the aged father and the promising son who is about to die. Homer also, we may remark, uses the phrase in noting that Achilles’ father, Peleus, was as old as Priam “on the deadly threshold of old age” (?λο π* γραος ο(δ). Hence the literate reader might well have seen the parallels among the aged Abraham, Priam, and Peleus on the one hand, and the youthful Isaac, Hector, and Achilles, all apparently doomed to die at an early age. In particular, the fact that Josephus, in the brief pericope in which he paraphrases Abraham’s intended sacrifice of Isaac (Ant. 1.222-36), on five occasions uses a word for happiness, stressing, on the one hand, how much happiness meant

22 Muecke 1969, 19-20. Cf. Quintilian, Institutio Oratoria 8.6.54, who notes that irony is made evident to the understanding either by the delivery, the character of the speaker, or the nature of the subject. 23 See Feldman 1984-85, 215, where I note that Homer (Iliad 24.487) uses the same phrase when Priam addresses Achilles, begging him to return the body of his son Hector.

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to Abraham, and, on the other hand, how ready he was to forego that happiness because of his faith in God. The irony is increased by Josephus’ statement (Ant. 1.223) that Abraham sought to leave his son παθ', a word that has two very different meanings, both of which are applicable here: “unscathed”, in the sense that in the end Isaac will be unharmed, and “emotionless,” in the sense that Isaac will actually welcome his own sacrifice.24 There is likewise added irony in Josephus’ version of Daniel, when he emerges unscathed from the lions’ den. The bibical narrative (Dan.6:24) states that Darius ordered that Daniel’s accusers be cast into the lions’ den, together with their wives and children, whereupon the lions broke all their bones into pieces. There is much greater drama in Josephus’ version. In the first place, Josephus adds (Ant. 10.260) that Daniel’s enemies tell the king their theory that the reason why Daniel was not harmed was that the lions were sated, whereupon the king takes them at their word and feeds the lions a large quantity of meat before throwing them into the lions’ den, where, fittingly enough, they are, consumed. Likewise, Josephus increases the irony in his version of the Esther narrative by introducing G-d’s ironic laughter at Haman’s hopes just before the περιπ#τεια.25 Again, whereas in the Bible (Esth. 6:6) Ahasuerus asks Haman what should be done for the man whom the king wishes to honor, Josephus’ Ahasuerus (Ant. 11.252) adds to the irony by declaring that he knows that Haman is the only friend loyal to him. The irony is then increased, for whereas the Bible (Esth. 6:11) declares that Haman took the apparel and the horse and arrayed Mordecai, Josephus (Ant. 11.256) stresses the contrast between Mordecai clothed in sackcloth and the new purple robe which he is now told by Haman to put on. Finally, Josephus (Ant. 11.267-68) underscores the supreme irony in the fact that Haman was hanged on the very same gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai; he thus marvels at G-d’s wisdom and justice in bringing about the result, and adds to the drama of the scene by having Queen Esther show the king the letter that Haman had written in which he had ordered the destruction of all the Jews. It is not merely in his paraphrase of the Bible that Josephus shows

24 25

See Feldman 1984-85, 212-52. On the theme of περιπ#τεια in Josephus see Attridge 1976, 98.

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the strong influence of the tragedians. It is no coincidence that Josephus devotes far more space to Herod than to any other historical figure. Surely one reason is that he saw tremendous dramatic possibilities, which he enhances with speeches, in his recounting of Herod’s deeds and tragedies, particularly the suspicions, intrigues, conspiracies, forgeries, confessions, repentance, trials, tortures, sicknesses, murders and suicides. Indeed, as Villalba has remarked,26 Josephus is especially effective in recording aspects of depression in moments of violence, thus endowing them with a dramatic character. In particular, he describes deaths in great detail, notably in the case of Herod and his family. The portrayal of crowds wishing for a kind of deus ex machina to save the situation is unusually dramatic, such as, for example (War 1.347), the crowd congregating around the Temple, indulging in transports of frenzy and fabricating numerous oracles to fit the crisis when the city of Jerusalem is besieged by Herod. Of course, the scene that Josephus paints of his own situation at Jotapata and his final surrender (War 3.316-408) is no less dramatic; and this sense of drama is enhanced particularly by Josephus’ speech (War 3.362-68, in which he tries to deter his men from committing suicide. As Villalba appositely remarks,27 the entire scene revolves around one word, μεταβολ (War 3.394), “change of situation”, “change of fortune”, in effect like the περιπ#τεια of Greek tragedy, inasmuch as the situation of Josephus has changed completely from what it was previously, i.e., from a general to a prisoner. And, of course, there is intense drama in Josephus’ description of the final debacle of the Jews and of the destruction of the Temple in Book 6 of the War, notably the account (War 6.201-13) of Maria, the Jewess who was led by the famine to devour her own child. Likewise, Josephus enhances the drama in describing natural disasters such as earthquakes (e.g., War 1.370-72), and the panic which ensued.

26 27

Villalba 1986, 238. Villalba 1986, 240.

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3. Josephus’ Indebtedness to Euripides Euripides became the most popular of all ancient Greek dramatists almost immediately after his death, as Beers bas noted.28 This may be inferred from the fact that Plato and Aristotle quote from him more often than from any other tragedian (and in a manner which implies that the lines would be readily recognized by his audience). During the third century b.c.e. only Homer was more frequently quoted by writers of diatribe, protreptic or consolation. Thereafter Euripides was the most popular of poets (except for Homer) throughout the Hellenistic and Roman eras, as Sifakis29 and Jacobson30 have remarked, and was much imitated by the new poets of Hellenistic Alexandria in the third century b.c.e. and thereafter. We may note, in particular, that there is substantial evidence31 that Josephus was familiar with the play Exagoge of the Hellenistic Jewish tragedian Ezekiel, which was much influenced by Euripides, both in vocabulary and style, as well as in dramatic technique and structure, as Wieneke32 and Fraser33 have shown. Moreover, Dio Chrysostom (18.6.7), a rhetorician wbo is contemporary with Josephus, advises the student of oratory to study Euripides, who, he says, is especially helpful to the politician, since be was skilled in portraying character and feelings, and since, as we see from his gnomic utterances, he was not unskilled in philosophy. Hence it is not surprising that in Dio’s work only Homer is more frequently quoted than Euripides (who is cited sixteen times).34 An indication of Euripides’ popularity may also be seen in Lucian’s burlesque essay Quomodo Historia Conscribenda Sit 1, where he describes how the people of Abdera in Thrace, a city famous for its obtuseness, caught tragedy fever so badly when visited by a dramatic troupe that played Euripides’ Andromeda that they went through the streets

28

See Beers 1914, 13. Sifakis 1967, 133. 30 Jacobson 1983, 23. 31 Jacobson 1983, 37-38. 32 Wieneke 1931. 33 Fraser 1972, 707-8. 34 In view of the importance assigned to the study of Euripides in the training of an orator, we may here suggest that Paul’s portrait of the self-sacrifice of Jesus may have been influenced not only by the parallel of Isaac but also by his knowledge of Euripides’ Iphigenia at Aulis. 29

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declaiming a line from the play until they were cooled back to sanity by the autumn frosts. We hear also that it was the performance of Euripides’ play Telephus that influenced Crates, a philosopher of the fourth century b.c.e., to become a Cynic ascetic, that Zeus always had the lines of Euripides’ play Suppliants on his lips, and that Chrysippus incorporated so much of Euripides’ Medea into his own work that he absentmindedly declared that he was studying the Medea of Chrysippus. Inasmuch as history is, according to Cicero (De Legibus 1.5), an “opus ... oratorium maxime” (“above all, an orator’s work”), the study of Euripides, which was regarded by Quintilian (10.68) as so useful for an orator, would also have been most useful for a historian such as Josephus as well. Euripides’ influence on Josephus may be seen, in particular, in the latter’s description of Ishmael’s dying state (Ant. 1.218), in which Josephus employs the same rare word for expiring, ψυχορραγο9ν, literally “letting the soul break loose,” which Euripides uses (Alcestis 20 and Hercules Furens 324, the latter in precisely this form). Indeed, the passage in Josephus is clearly reminiscent of the scene in Euripides’ Hercules Furens (323-24), where Amphitryon, the father of Heracles, asks King Lycus to kill him first and thus spare him from seeing the ghastly sight of the boys gasping out their lives, crying “Mother!” and “Grandfather!” In fact, there are several striking parallels between Isaac and Iphigenia, notably in the enthusiasm with which they both approach the sacrifice and, in particular, in such a statement as Isaac’s (Ant. 1.232), that he could not even consider rejecting the decision of G-d, and Iphigenia’s (Eur., Iphigenia at Aulis 396), that she, a mortal woman, could not stand in the way of the goddess. We may also note the pathetic irony of the fact that Abraham seeks happiness only through his son, who, paradoxically, is about to be sacrificed, just as there is irony in the chorus’ ode (Iphigenia at Aulis 590-91) that begins, “Oh! oh! great happiness of the great!” One may also note the remarkable addition (Ant. 1.233) to the biblical narrative in which G-d declares that He gave His order to Abraham “from no craving for human blood,” which is clearly in contrast to the statement of Artemis (Iphigenia at Aulis 1524-25), who is said to rejoice in human sacrifices. Moreover, as Blenkinsopp demonstrates,35 Josephus’ version of 35

Blenkinsopp 1974, 239-62.

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the death of Ahab (Ant. 8.409, 418-20) shows his tendency to restate Jewish concepts of divine power and prophetic determination in terms of the classical Greek concepts of fate and tragic destiny, as found especially in Greek tragedy and in Herodotus. The ancient reader, of course, would also think of Laius and Oedipus who, as much as they tried to avoid the fate about which they had been warned by the oracle, failed to do so. One also recalls the statement of the Chorus in Euripides’ Hippolytus when they behold the blameless Hippolytus in his stricken state. Though they feel anger at the gods (1146), as they know, there is no escape from what must be (1256, το9 χρε ν). Similarly, in Euripides’ Helen (1301), the Dioscuri declare that they did not save their sister Clytemnestra, “for Moira’s compulsion (νάγκη) led wbere it must (τ- χρε ν).” Likewise, Hecabe, before giving birth to Paris, dreamed that she had given birth to a firebrand that consumed all of Troy. She consequently exposed the infant, only to have him suckled by a bear, found by a shepherd, and eventually raised to fulfill the prophecy. Or again, an oracle foretold that the son of Danae, the daughter of King Acrisius of Argos, was destined to kill Acrisius, whereupon he shut her up in an underground chamber, only to have Zeus visit her and beget a child, Perseus, who, indeed fulfilled the prophecy. One also recalls how, in Herodotus (7.14-18), after a delusive dream warns Xerxes that unless he undertakes the war against Greece he will be brought low as swiftly as he had become great, a similar dream occurs to Artabanus, Xerxes’ uncle, warning him against opposing “what must be” (7.17, τ- χρε/ν), whereupon Xerxes is convinced that this is a divine warning. Thus we see, as Chrysippus the Stoic put it, that there was no way in all of these cases to avoid the dire predictions because of the necessity that is part of Fate.36 4. The Influence of Sophocles on Josephus There is very good reason for believing that Josephus was familiar with the works of Sophocles, perhaps being attracted by the same emphasis on heroic humanism in the latter’s rewriting of the Greek myths that he, Josephus, highlighted in his rewritten Bible. That

36

So Von Arnim 1903, 270-71.

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Josephus was influenced in particular by his reading of Sophocles may be seen both in his choice of language and in motifs. In fact, distinct echoes of Sophoclean style are to be found in a number of places in the early books of the Antiquities, notably in the proem (Ant. 1.1-26), the wooing of Rebecca (Ant. 1.242-55), the wooing of Rachel (Ant. 1.285-302), the temptation of Joseph by Potiphar’s wife (Ant. 2.41-59), the exodus and the passage of the Red Sea (Ant. 2.315-49), the rebellion of Korah (Ant. 4.11-66), and the story of Balaam (Ant. 4.102-30). In particular, as Thackeray has noted,37 and as he and Marcus have demonstrated in their lexicon of Josephus,38 Books 15 and 16 of the Antiquities show the influence of Sophocles. Though many scholars have disputed Thackeray’s theory that for these books he was dependent upon an assistant who was steeped in Sophocles,39 it must be admitted that the choice of words and phrases that are found notably in Sophocles is most striking and demands further explanation, as Shutt bas admitted.40 A study of Josephus’ vocabulary will indicate that he was acquainted with and influenced by all seven of Sophocles’ extant tragedies. We should not be surprised to find that he was influenced in particular by Sophocles’ Ajax and by his plays on the Oedipus cycle. In the former case, Josephus was clearly intrigued by the theme of suicide, in particular because of the inherently dramatic nature

37

Thackeray 1929, 116-17. Thackeray and Marcus 1930-55. 39 In particular, we may note that Josephus’ statement (Ap. 1.50) that he had fellow-workers who helped him with his Greek specifically declares that this was in connection with his composition of the War, where Thackeray 1929, 106, ironically is forced to admit that he cannot pinpoint the nature and extent of their help. Furthermore, as Stein 1937 has shown, there are Sophoclean traces throughout the War and the Antiquities. Again, as Ladouceur 1976 has demonstrated, the presence of many of these Sophoclean phrases in the other Greek works of the period, notably Dionysius of Halicarnassus, shows that they are characteristic of first-century Greek rather than the work of special assistants. The fact that Josephus used Strabo in Books 13-15 shows that there is not a sharp dividing line, as Thackeray contends, between Josephus’ work ending in Book 14 and the assistant’s work commencing in Book 15. Finally, the Sophoclean element in Books 15 and 16 may be due to Herod’s secretary, Nicolaus of Damascus, who was steeped in Sophocles and who was Josephus’ chief source for his lengthy account of Herod in Books 14 through 17. And yet, one cannot but be struck by the extraordinary number of uniquely Sophoclean words and phrases, whether they come directly from Sophocles or through an intermediary, found in these books. 40 Shutt 1941, 64. 38

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of such events. Indeed, as Hankoff bas noted, of the nine suicides involving mass fatalities four (the incidents of the bandits in the caves who were attacked by Herod [War 1.311-13], Simon and his family at Scythopolis [War 2.469-76], Jotapata [War 3.382-91] and Masada [War 7.320-40]) show a similarity in their dramatic construction.41 In each case the leadership decides on suicide and resists the pleas of followers or of offers of mercy from the enemy. The drama is increased because of the possibility of escaping alive. Moreover, suicide interested Josephus because he himself, as a general at Jotapata, was involved in an incident in which his men committed mass suicide. Indeed, in his works Josephus mentions no fewer than 24 different fatal suicide incidents and four attempts.42 In particular, in books 15 and 16 of the Antiquities, in which Thackeray found a notable influence of Sophocles, we may cite the dramatic incident (Ant. 15.50) in which Alexandra, the daughter of Hyrcanus II, contemplates suicide, as well as the incident (Ant. 15.358) in which the Gadarenes, realizing that the Emperor Augustus would rule against them in their charge that Herod had been cruel and tyrannical toward them, cut their own throats during the night or threw themselves down from high places or jumped into a river. As to parallels in language, we may note that the verb ρκ#ω, which, in the sense of “to be strong enough”, “to suffice,” appears in tragedy, notably in Oed. Tyr. 209, Oedipus at Colonus 498, Antigone 547, Ajax 16 and 1123, and Electra 186, is often employed by Josephus, and no fewer than twelve times in Antiquities 15 and 16. The relatively rare word 8ρνησις, “denial of fact,” which Sophocles uses in Oed. Tyr. 578 and Electra 527, appears ten times in Josephus’ works, three times in the “Sophoclean” books 15 and 16 of the Antiquities (15.193, 16.216, 16.255). The verb τιμάζω, “to exclude from honor,” which is frequent in Greek tragedy and appears in Oed. Tyr. 340 and 1081, Oedipus at Colonus 49, 286, 1273, and 1409, Antigone 22, 71, 544 and 572, Ajax 98 and 1342, and Electra 1427, is found in three places in Josephus, all of them in the “Sophoclean” books, 15.31, 16.84, and 16.195. It is striking that twenty of the twenty-seven occurrences in Josephus of the word δυσχερς, “hard to manage,” “annoying,” “difficult,” which is found in Antigone 254,

41 42

See Hankoff 1979, 939-40. Hankoff 1979, 937.

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chapter fifteen

Ajax 1395, and Electra 929, appear in the “Sophoclean” Books 15 and 16 of the Antiquities. The uncommon word γγενς, “native,” found in Oed. Tyr. 452, 1168, 1430, 1506, Oedipus at Colonus 1167, Antigone 199, 659, and Electra 428, appears twice in Josephus, both times in the “Sophoclean” Books 15.260 and 16.59. In addition, we may note that the rare verb προσψα ω, “to touch,” which appears in Oedipus at Colonus 330, Trachiniae 1214, and Philoctetes 1054, and in only three other places in extant Greek literature (Pindar, Fragments 121.3, Aelian, De Natura Animalium 1.57, and Dioscorides, Euporistoi 1.167) is used by Josephus (War 7.348). Furthermore, it would appear that Josephus’ use of the verb ντκω (Ant. 16.93) in the sense of lying deep in something is influenced by Sophocles’ use of this uncommon verb in this sense in Electra 1311 and Trachiniae 413, as well as in Fragment 941.7. Again, Josephus (Ant. 4.31) employs the word πάλιν, which usually means “back” or “again”, in the sense of “in turn”, precisely as does Sophocles in Electra 371 and in Oed. Tyr. 619. Likewise, Josephus’ use (War 4.319) of the word Aγκος, “height”, “peak”, “dignity”, is parallel to the use of this word in Trachiniae 817, as well as in Ajax 129, and Oedipus at Colonus 1162 and 1341. Furthermore, φονάω, “to be murderous”, is a Sophoclean word, appearing in Philoctetes 1209 and Antigone 117 and in very few other places in extant Greek literature; in Josephus it appears in a number of places: War 1.359, 1.493, 3.293, 3.362, 4.563, 5.5, 6.345, and Ant. 16.403. We may see in Josephus the influence of each of Sophocles’ extant plays. Thus, we may note the meaning of the verb Bρπάζω in Ajax 2 (περάν τιν’ χθρν Bρπάσαι “to seize some opportunity of attacking the enemy”) and Titus’ statement in War 3.481 (Bρπάσαι δ% τ3ν νικ3ν δυνάμεθα, “we can snatch a victory”); the juxtaposition of the verb διοπτε ειν, “to look upon,” and the noun στ#γος, “roof,” in Ajax 307 (Cς διοπτε ειν στ#γος) and Ant. 15.412 (π- το9 στ#γους διοπτε ειν); the use of the verb θηλ νω, “to unman”, truly rare, at least in Attic, in Ajax 651-52 (θηλ θην...πρ-ς τ'σδε τ'ς γυναικ-ς ο4κτρω δ# νιν, “I have been unmanned by this woman’s words, and I pity her”) and three passages in Josephus (War 1.59 [θηλ ετο κα* το9 πάθους Dλος Eν, “he was unmanned and quite overcome by emotion” in the scene in which John Hyrcanus is overcome by seeing his mother tortured by his brother-in-law Ptolemy]), War 3.263 [where Josephus himself fears that the wailing of the women might unman (θηλ νοιεν) the combatants] and Ant. 4.291 [wh