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expressed themselves in a hostile manner against the Jews,
would furnish a list of distinguished names. Almost all the



262 § 33. THE GRAECO-JEWISH LITERATURE.

authors who have to speak of the Jews at all do so in a
hostile manner. Among pre-Christian Greek authors Josephus
chiefly names the distinguished historian and philosopher
Posidonius as an adversary of the Jews (c. Apion. ii. 7). In his
great historical work (see on it Div. i. vol. i. § 3) he probably
somewhere seized the opportunity of giving a polemical
excursus against the Jews, and afterwards many subsequent
writers, as Diodorus (xxxiv. 1) and Trogus Pompeius, who comes
down to us through the extract of Justin (xxxvi. 2, 3),^ drew
either directly or indirectly from his much read work. The
works too of Nikarchus (Miiller, Fragm. iil 335) and Damo-
kritus (Miiller, Fragm. iv. 377), which are scarcely known by
name, were also polemical. Of Roman historians, besides
Trogus Pompeius already mentioned, prominence must be
given to Tacitus, whose description of the Jews {Hist. v. 2 sqq.)
is dictated by the most profound contempt. The Eoman
satirists Horace, Juvenal, and Martial have also notably made
the Jews the butt of their wit.



2. Apologetic.

Jewish Apologetic followed a twofold way of defence,
a direct and an indirect one, against the many attacks which
Judaism had to undergo. A large portion of the historic and
philosophic literature of Hellenistic Judaism is of an indirectly
apologetic character ; it seeks to show that tlie Jewish nation
need in no respect shrink from a comparison with other nations.
V>\\i this was not thought enough ; the attempt was also some-
times made to refute point after point in a systematic manner
the accusations raised against the Jews. Two of such syste-
matically apologetic works are known to us, one (that of Philo)
only liy a short fragment, the other (that of Josephus) in the
complete text. (1) Eusebius gives in the Praep. evang. viii. 11

^' Comp. on Posidonius as the source of subsequent writers the article of
J. G. Miilkr. Sind. v. Kritih: 1843, p. 893 sqq., and his coinnientary ou
Joseph, c. Apioii. (1877J pp. 214 sq.'Kuii vpOKocrnT^Yjuixii/ovg (lo^oct; vtp] hoii, ftr,oi
X.011/UUUV idi'hof^iu roig x.»d' iripuv avvviditoe.v fiiov ^ijv -T^pouipovftivoi;. Lysi-
inachus a.sserted (Jost-ph. c. Apion. i. 34), that Moses had directed the Jews :
fcvjTi u'jdpuTzav rivi tvvo*iaiii>, etc. According to Apion (Joseph, e. Apion.
ii. 8), the Jews were accustomed, at the annual sacrifice of a Greek, to
swear, ut inimicitias contra Graecos haberent, or, as it is said, iL 10 : f^iOivi
tvvor,o£it> ei'K'K'j(fi''hu /axAiarx Of "Ea/jjct/!/ Tacit. ]Iist. V. 5: adversus omues
alios hostile odium: separati epidis, discreti cubilibus . . . alienarum concubita
abstinent. Juvenal, Sal. xiv. lUo-104 (see Div. ii. vol. ii. p. 295).



§ 33. THE GEAECO-JEWISH LITEKATURE. 269

of pointing to tlie luuuano appointments of the law, especially
with regard to strangers (Josepli. c. Apion. ii. 28—29), and on
the other that of showing, how the ancient laws of other
States went much farther in the exclusion of strangers than
the Mosaic law did (c. Apion. ii. 36-37).

7. The peculiarities of the Jews already mentioned, viz. their
adeoTTj'i and their d/j,i^La, are those which came forward the
most prominently in piuhlic life. It was on this account that
the Jews appeared to be the enemies of such public regula-
tions and institutions as had then been formed, nay as the
opponents of all other human intercourse. Hence it is on
these points that attacks are most seriously directed. Other
peculiarities gave occasion rather to derision and contempt
than to actual accusations. Among these were (a) circum-
cision, (Ii) abstinence from swine's flesh, and (c) the obseo'vance.
of the Sabhaih.^^ Even the most malicious of their other
opponents did not venture upon the reproach of that special
immorality to which Tacitus alludes." Apologetic writers
oppose to the derision shown towards these several peculiari-
ties an ideal picture of the entire Mosaic code. As Philo by
his idealistic representation of the Mosaic legislation (see above,
p. 219 sq.) already gave an indirect apology for it, so also
does Josephus endeavour, by a connected and positive state-
ment, to show, that the precepts of the Mosaic law are in
every respect the purest and most ideal (c. Apion. ii. 22-30).
In doing this he does not enter into these objectionable
points, but contents himself with referring his opponent, the
Egyptian Apion, to the fact, that the Egyptian priests also
were circumcised and abstained from swine's flesh {Ap. li. 13).
To show the value and excellency of the law, he points out in
general its high antiquity (ii. 15), the blameless character of

^1 Circumcision : Apion in Joseph, c. Apion. ii. 13, init. Horace, Sat.
i. 9. 69 sq. Swine's feghr Apion in Joseph, c. Apion. ii. 13, itiit. Juvenal,
Sat. vi. 160, xiv. 98. Observance of the Sabbath : Juvenal, Sat. xiv. 105-106.
Tacit. Hist. v. 4.

^2 Tacit. Hist. v. 5 • projectissima ad libidinem gens . . . inter se nihil
illicituin.



270 5 33. THE GRAECO-JEWISH LITERATURE.

]\Ioses the lawgiver, aud also the fact that this law really
fulfilled its object, being known and obeyed by all, which
astonishing result arose from its being not only taught but
practised (ii. 16—19). Finally, Josephus brings forward the
circumstance, that no Jew is ever unfaithful to his law, which is
again a proof of its excellence (ii. 31-32, 38). The deficien-
cies found in this treatise, inasmuch as it does not further
enter into those points which were objected to by the heathen,
are abundantly compensated for by Philo, who in his special
delineation of the Mosaic law treats all these points very
thoroughly, and everywhere proves their reasonableness."

VII. JEWISH PROPAGANDA UNDER A HEATHEN MASK.

At the close of our survey, we have still to discuss a class
of literary productions highly characteristic of Hellenistic
Judaism, viz. Jewish works under a heathen mask. The works
which belong to this category, differ greatly so far as their
literary form is concerned, but have all the common feature
of appearing under the name of some heathen authority,
whether of a mythological authority, as the sibyl, or of
persons eminent in history, as Hecataeus and Aristeas. The
very choice of this pseudonymic form shows, that all these
works were calculated for heathen readers, and designed for the
fropagation of Judaism among the heathen. For only with
heathen readers were such names a standard authority, and only
on their account could this form have been chosen by Jewish
authors. Hence the tendency, which is peculiar to a large por-
tion of the Graeco- Jewish literature in general, viz. the tendency
to influence non-Jewish readers, here obtains significant expres-
sion. In one respect or another its intention was to carry on

*' On Circumcision : de circumcisione = 0pp. ed. Mang. ii. 210-212.
Sabbath observance : de septenario, § 6-7 = Mang. ii. 281-284. Prohibition
of unclean animals: de concnpiscentia, § 4-9 = Mang. ii. 352-356. On the
observance of the Sabbath, compare also Aristobulus in Euseb. Praep. evanf).
xiii. 12. 9-16 , on unclean animals, pseudo-Aristeas in Havercamps
Josephus, ii. 2. 117.



§ 33. THE GRAECO-JEWISH LITERATUEE. 271

among the heathen a propaganda for Judaism. The special
design however certainly differed in different cases. The Sibyl-
lines desire to effect a propaganda properly so called. They
set forth directly before the heathen world the folly of idolatry
and the depravity of its moral conduct ; they threaten punish-
ment and ruin in case of impenitence, and promise reward
and eternal happiness in case of conversion, and they thus
seek to win adherents to the Jewish faith in the midst of the
heathen world. An effect however of quite a different kind
is aimed at in other works of this category ; their purpose is
not so much to propagate the faith as the honour and credit
of the Jews. Thus, pseudo-Aristeas e.g. seeks, in his whole
narrative of the translation of the Jewish law into Greek, to
show what a high opinion was entertained by the learned
Ptolemy II. of this law and of Jewish wisdom in general,
and with what great honour he treated Jewish scholars. A
directly missionary purpose does not come forward in this
author ; he cares more to create a favourable disposition towards
Judaism and the Jewish law. And thus throughout this
category, now one, now the other pui-pose comes more into
the foreground — at one time that of winning believers, at
another, that of creating a favourable impression. Still in one
way or the other and in the wider meaning all subserve the
propagation of Judaism. And since they all make choice of a
heathen mask for this purpose, they all belong, however much
they may differ otherwise in form and contents, to one
category.

AYe begin our discussion with the Sibylline oracles, not
because these are the oldest works of this class, but because
they are the most important, both with respect to extent and
actual effect.

1. The Sihyllines.

The sibyl was in heathen antiquity " the semi-divine
prophetess of the orders and counsels of the gods concerning



272 § 33. THE GRAECO-JEWISH LITERATURE.

the fate of cities and kingdoms " (Llicke).^ She was distin-
guished from the ofFicial priestly order of prophets by repre-
senting a free and non-official prophetic power, being indeed
first of all a personification of the Deity as revealing itself
in nature. She is represented as a nymph dwelling by
streams and grottoes. The most ancient authors speak only
of a sibyl ; so Heraclitus, who is the first to mention one at
all (in Plutarch, de PytJdae oraculis, c. 6) ; so also Euripides,
Aristophanes, Plato.'*^ The fact, that her voice was said to
have been perceived in different places, then led to the sup-
position, that she wandered from place to place.^*' At last
this was not found sufficient, and different sibyls said to dwell
in different places were distinguished. Their number is very
differently stated. There are learned combinations, which
have been made now in one manner, now in another,*' The
statement of Pausanias {Dcscr. Grace, x. 12), who distinguishes
four sibyls, is worthy of notice. These are : (1) The Hero-
phile who came from Marpessus in the region of Troy, pro-
phesied in various parts of Asia ]\Iinor and Greece and was
falsely stated by the Erytliraeans to have been an Erythraean ;
(2) a more ancient one, probably the Libyan (Maass, p. 7),
but whose abode, in consequence of a gap in the text of
Pausanias, cannot be determined ; (3) the Cumanian ; and (4)
the Hebrew, who is also called the Babylonian or Egyptian.

^* The most important material concerning the sibyls was already col-
lected by Opsopbus in his edition of the Oi-ac. Sibyll. pp. 56-143. For
more recent authorities, corap. especially : Klansen, Ae7icas mid die Penaten
(1839), pp. 203-312. I.iicke, Einleitunfj in die Offenharung dvs Johannes
(2nd ed.), p. 81 sqq. Alexandre in his 1st ed. vol. ii. (lt>56) pp. 1-101.
Scheiffcle, art. " Sibyllae," in Pauly's Real-Enc. vi. 1147-1153. Pape-
Benseler, ^yurterh. der griech. Eli ewmnun, s.v. lifiv'KT^oi. Marquardt,
Jlijmische StaatKccricaltiing, vol. iii. (1878) p. 336 sqq. Houche-Leclercq,
Ilistoire de la diiunation, vol. ii. ; Af.t siicerdoceK divinatoircs ; dcvins,



Online LibraryEmil SchürerA history of the Jewish people in the time of Jesus Christ .. (Volume 2 pt.3) → online text (page 27 of 51)