Cover

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pp. 1-1

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. 2-13

Table of Contents

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pp. vii-viii

Illustrations

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pp. ix-x

Abbreviations

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pp. xi-xii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. xiii-xiv

Work on this book commenced in the late 1990s as a monograph on Posidonius of Apamea and the Jews. It was later expanded to include all the Greek authors who wrote on the Jews in the Hellenistic period. Over the years my research has been sponsored by the Israel Science Foundation of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, ...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-12

Ever since the triumph of Christianity, Jews have drawn much more attention in Western civilization than have most other ethnic groups, as a result of both their central place in the Christian tradition and their dispersal among nations. It is no wonder, then, that opinions about the Jews — whether expressed by Jews or by Gentiles — have rarely been objective or disinterested. ...

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

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pp. 13-14

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

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pp. 15-39

Theophrastus was the first of the four Greek authors of the early Hellenistic period to write on the Jews.1 He was born in Eresus on the island of Lesbos in the late seventies of the fourth century B.C.E., and was to spend some decades of his life in the company of Aristotle, first in Assos on the northwest coast of Asia Minor, ...

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

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pp. 40-89

In Contra Apionem 1. 177 – 82, Josephus offers a fragment and a testimonium from a passage about the Jews in a work by Clearchus of Soli, a Peripatetic author and one of Aristotle’s pupils, who flourished at the beginning of the Hellenistic period. The passage, taken from Clearchus’s lost work On Sleep, described an interesting meeting ...

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3. The Jewish Ethnographic Excursus by Hecataeus of Abdera

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pp. 90-135

The first Greek author to leave us a relatively extensive description of the Jewish people is Hecataeus of Abdera. The description, included in an excursus worked into his monumental ethnographic work on Egypt, constituted a mini-ethnography on the Jewish people and is one of the most detailed surviving accounts on Jews and Judaism in Greek and Roman literature. ...

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

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pp. 136-163

Alexander’s campaign in India and the subsequent unification under one rule of the lands from the Mediterranean to the Indian subcontinent for various periods during the third century B.C.E. greatly facilitated communication and accessibility between Greece, the Near East, and India. This necessarily led to an exchange of cultural influences. ...

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

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pp. 164-205

At the head of the passages from Greek literature that Josephus adduces in Contra Apionem to support his claim that the Jews were of great antiquity and were always admired by Greek authors, there appears an excerpt from a biography of Pythagoras written by Hermippus of Smyrna. ...

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

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pp. 206-250

The libel that a statue of an ass was to be found in the Jerusalem Temple (and Jewish onolatry by and large) is considered by scholars (following Josephus) to be one of the three most humiliating charges leveled against the Jews in ancient times (the two others being the leper libel and the blood libel). ...

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

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pp. 251-252

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

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pp. 253-279

The Hellenistic blood libel against the Jews does not refer to the murder of children, nor, apparently, to the actual drinking of blood or the use of blood for cultic purposes. Such stories, prevalent in the medieval blood libel, were well documented in Greek and Roman ethnographic literature (e.g., Hdt. 3. 11) ...

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8. Agatharchides of Cnidus on the Sabbath as a Superstition

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pp. 280-305

In three of the previous chapters we have encountered the scholarship of Alexandria in the fields of ethnography, biography, and regional folklore. Agatharchides of Cnidus, the historian who flourished in Alexandria in the mid-second century B.C.E., gives us an insight into yet another field of Alexandrian scholarship. ...

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

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pp. 306-337

The most detailed description of the Exodus from Egypt that has come down to us from the Hellenistic-Roman period was written by an author named Lysimachus. The account has been preserved in Josephus’s Contra Apionem (1. 305 – 11). Independently of this passage, Josephus includes in the second book of Contra Apionem, ...

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

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pp. 338-354

Posidonius deserves an introduction considerably more detailed than those devoted to other authors dealt with in this book, both because of the uniqueness of his approach to the Jews and Judaism, along with the number of surviving references, and because of the complexity of questions surrounding his life and writings. ...

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11. Posidonius of Apamea (B): The Jewish Ethnography in Strabo’s Geographica — Mosaic Judaism versus Second Temple Judaism

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pp. 355-398

In the context of the geographical description of the coast of Coile Syria and Phoenicia and of Judaea in Strabo’s Geographica (16. 25 – 45), there is a mini-ethnography on the Jewish people (35 – 37). This excursus is the most enthusiastic account of the origin of the Jewish people to have been written by a non-Jewish ancient author. ...

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

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pp. 399-439

In book 13 of his Jewish Antiquities, Josephus describes in relatively great detail the siege of Jerusalem by Antiochus VII Sidetes (paras. 236 – 47). The account contains unique features not to be found elsewhere in Josephus’s works. A few scholars have already assumed that Josephus’s version is based, directly or indirectly, on Posidonius.1 ...

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

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pp. 440-457

We have seen in chapters 11 – 12 that Posidonius used Moses and Mosaic Judaism to portray his own religious, social, and political ideals. We have also observed that in accordance with his theory of two main periods in the development of civilization he went on to describe the period of decline of Judaism, where first, under the rule of priests, ...

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14. The Geographical Description of Jerusalem by Timorchares, the Siege, and the Libels

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pp. 458-468

Posidonius of Apamea was not an eyewitness to the events of 132/1 B.C.E. and may not even have been born when the siege took place. Yet his version, however imaginary and tendentious it may have been, abounds in detail. When Posidonius wrote his Histories in Rhodes, forty to fifty years after the siege, ...

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15. The Anti-Jewish Ethnographic Treatise by Apollonius Molon

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pp. 469-516

Apollonius Molon, the celebrated rhetor who was active in Rhodes in the first half of the first century B.C.E., was considered by Josephus to be, along with Apion, the most venomous of Jew haters. In the concluding sentence of Contra Apionem, Josephus expresses his hope that his discussion about the Jewish precepts will suffice ...

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Conclusion

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pp. 517-524

The detailed analysis of Greek authors and their accounts of the Jews obliges us to reject the accepted notion of a consistently linear development in the attitude of Greek authors toward Judaism. That reconstruction assumes a logical, coherent line from admiration at the time of first contacts between Greeks and Jews ...

Appendix: The God of Moses in Strabo

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pp. 525-542

Bibliography

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pp. 543-576

Index

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pp. 577-606