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Einl. in sammtliche hanon. und apokr. Schriften des A. u. N. T.
vol. iii. pp. 1082-1091. Ewald, Gesch. des Volkes Israel, iv.
611-614. De Wette-Schrader, Einl. in das A.T.'s, p. 572 sq.
Keil, Ei7il. in das A.T. 3rd ed. p. 720 sq. Hausrath, Neutesta-
mentl. Zeitgesch. 2nd ed. ii. 262-265. Eeuss, Gesch. der hcil
Schriften Alten Testaments, § 574.



9. Fhilo's Historical Works.

Philo, the philosopher, must also be named here as a
M'riter of works on Jewish history. Indeed he has left us
narratives not only from the more ancient history, but also
from that of his oion times.

1. With respect to the former a large work, which has
been preserved almost entire, viz. a comprehensive delineation
of the Mosaic legislation, must first be mentioned. It is not
indeed an historical narrative properly so called, but a syste-
matic statement ; still it is one so made, that Philo attempts
therein to give a survey of the legislative labours of Moses
himself, i.e. of the virtual contents of the Pentateuch. That
he does not do this without being essentially influenced by
his own philosophical views is a thing self-evident. But still
his purpose is simply to give, in an objective historical
manner, a survey of the Mosaic legislation. The several



220 § 33. THE GRAECO-JEWISII LITEUATURK

parts of this work have come down to us in the manuscripts
and editions under special titles, as though they were separate
books. It will be shown below, § 34, that the plan of the
whole work is as follows : (a) The first book refers to the
creation of the world. For Moses treated of tliis in the
beginning of his work, to make it plain that his legislation
was according to the will of nature, (h) The following books
treat of the lives of Enos, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac,
Jacob and Joseph, but so that the first three are only briefly
treated in the introduction to the life of Abraliam, while the
last four have each a separate book devoted to them. Tlie
lives of Abraham and Joseph have been preserved. The
histories of all these individuals is related, because by their
lives they exhibit the universal types of morality, " the living
unwritten laws." (c) Next follows the Icgislaiion 'proper, the
ten chief commandments, first in one book and then in four
books, the special laws arranged according to the rubrics of the
ten commandments (particulars, § 34). Thus a survey is
really taken of the actual contents of the Pentateuch. Tiie
tendency of the entire work is everywhere to hold up the
Jewish law as the wisest and most humane. The ritual and
ceremonial laws are not passed by ; but Philo always knows
how to realize their rational side, so that he who perfectly
observes them is not only the best, but also the most cultured
man, the true philosopher. This also makes it clear that the
work, if not solely, was chiefly intended for non-Jewish readers.
The educated of all nations were to be brought by it to the
perception, that the Jewish was the most perfect law, the law
by which men were best trained to be good citizens and true
philosophers.

In a separate M'ork, which does not, as has been usually
supposed, belong to this collective work, Thilo has also written
a life of Moses himself. In this also the manner and object
are the same as in the systematic work. ^Moses is described
as the greatest and wisest of lawgivers, and as raised above all
others by mighty deeds and miraculous experiences.



§ 33. THE GRAECO-JEWISH LITERATUEE. 221

2. Philo also described in a lengthy work the most impor-
tant and the saddest episode of the Jewish history of his
times, the persecutions of the Jews under Caligula. By way of
introduction he spoke also in it of the persecutions brought
about by Sejanus in the reign of Tiberius. The work, accord-
ing to Eusebius, contained five books. The two which have
come down to us (in Flaccum and de Icgatione ad Cajuni)
probably formed the third and fourth (particulars, § 34).
riulo having been an eye-witness of the events he narrates,
nay, as leader of a Jewish embassy to Caligula, a prominent
sharer in them, his work is a first-class authority for the
history of this period.

10. Josephus.

The best known historian of Jewish affixirs in the Greek
language is the Palestinian Josephus, properly Joseph, the son
of Matthias, a priest of Jerusalem. Of his two chief works one
is, the 'IofSat/c?7 ^Ap-^aLoXojta, a comprehensive delineation of
the entire Jewish history from the beginning to his own times.
It is the most extensive work on Jewish history in the Greek
language with which we are acquainted, and has on that
account so retained the lasting favour of Jewish, heathen and
Christian readers, as to have been preserved entire in numerous
manuscripts (particulars, see above, Div. i. vol. i. § 3). Not-
withstanding its great difference from the philosophizing delinea-
tion of Philo, its tendency is similar. For it is the purpose of
Josephus, not only to instruct his heathen readers, for whom it
was in the first instance intended, in the history of his people,
but also to inspire them with respect for the Jewish nation, both
as having a history of hoar antiquity, and a long series of cele-
brities both in peace and war to point to, and as able to bear
comparison in respect of laws and institutions with any nation
(comp. especially Antt. xvi. 6. 8). The other chief work of
Josephus, the History of the Jewish War from a.d. 66—73,
gives the history more for its own sake. The events of these



222 § 33. THE GRAECO-JEWISn LITERATURK

years are iii tljemselves so important, that they seemed worthy
of a detailed description. Perhaps it was written by command
of Vespasian, from whom Josephus received an annual salary
(Vita, 7G), and to whom the work was delivered as soon as it
was completed {contra Ajpion. i. 9 ; Vita, 65). If a tendency
to boasting is detected in it, tliis refers rather to the indi-
vidual Josephus and the liomans than to the Jewish nation.

11. Justus of Tiberias.

Justus of Tiberias, a contemporary and fellow-countryman
of Josephus, was also his fellow-labourer. He too devoteel
himself to authorship after the destruction of his nation, but
having been less successful therein than Josephus, his works
were less read, and have therefore been lost. He has this in
common with Josephus, that he too treated both of Jewish
history as a whole and of the events of his own times, each in
one work. His History of the Jewish Kings, from Moses to
Agrippa XL, was, according to the statement of Photius, who
was still acquainted with it {Bihlioth. Cod. 33), " very brief in
expression, and passed over much that was necessary." As it
was made use of by Julius Africanus in his Chronicle, it may
well be supposed that its form was that of a chronicle, in
which stress was chiefly laid upon the settling of the
chronology.

In another work Justus seems to have presented, whether
wholly or partly, the History of the Jewish War in a manner
by which Josephus felt himself compromised, since in his
Vita he enters into a very warm controversy against Justus.



IV. Eric rOETKY AND THE DRAMA.

1. Philo the Epic Poet.

The appropriation of Greek forms of literature on the part
of tlie Hellenistic Jews did not stop at prose. Even the epic



§ 33. THE GRAECO- JEWISH LITERATURE. 223

and dramatic jpoetry of the Greeks were transplanted to the soil
of Hellenistic Judaism, the sacred history being sung under the
form of the Greek Epos, nay, represented in the form of the
Greek drama. For what is still preserved of this remarkable
literature, we are indebted to the extracts of Alexander
Polyhistor, which have been inserted by Eusebius in his
Fraeparatio evangelica (see above, p. 197 sqq.).

Three small fragments from a Greek poem " On Jerusalem "
(Ilepl ra 'lepoaoXv/na) by a certain Philo are given by
Eusebius (Euseb. Fraep. evang. ix. 20, 24, 37). The subject
of the first is Abraham, of the second Joseph, of the third
the springs and water-pipes of Jerusalem, the abundance
of which is extolled. The first and third are taken from the
first book of the work quoted (ix. 20 : ^IXcov iv tw Trpcora
Tcov JJepl ra 'Iepoa6Xv/j,a; ix. 37: ^iXwv iv rot? Ilepl
' lepoaoXvjjicov . . . eV rfj TrpcoTrf) ; the second professedly
from the fourteenth (ix. 24 : ^i\wv iv rfj iS' twv Ilepl
' lepoaoXvfia). But that Philo should have used fourteen
books to get as far as the history of Joseph is too improbable.
Hence we may suppose with Ereudenthal, that possibly we
must read iv rfj ih' instead of iv tj} B'. The language of Philo
is that of the Greek epic, but his hexameters are written
with a true contempt of Greek prosody, and the diction is
pompous, and so involved as to be unintelligible

The Philo mentioned by Clemens Alex. Strom, i. 21. 141,
and by Josephus, contra Apion. i. 23 ( = Euseb. Fraep. evang.
ix. 42), and whom Josephus distinguishes from the more
recent philosopher by calling him Philo the elder {^ikfov 6
irpeo-^vTepo^i), is certainly identical with our epic writer.
According to the notice of him in Clemens Alexandrinus, we
might indeed suppose, that some prose writer, who treated
Jewish history in like manner as Demetrius and Eupolemus
do, was spoken of {Strom, i. 21, 141 : ^IXwv Be kuI avT6



Online LibraryEmil SchürerA history of the Jewish people in the time of Jesus Christ .. (Volume 2 pt.3) → online text (page 23 of 51)