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230 hexameters moral instruction of the most diversified kind.
Having frequently been used as a school-book in the Byzantine
period, it has been preserved in manj^ manuscripts and often
printed since the sixteenth century. The contents of these
verses are almost exclusively ethical. It is but occasionally
that we find the one true God and the future retribution also
referred to. The moral doctrines, which the author inculcates,
extend to the most various departments of practical life, some-
what in the manner of Jesus the son of Sirach. In their
details however they coincide most closely with the Old
Testament, es'pccially with the Pentateuch, echoes of which
are heard throughout in the precepts on civil relations
(property, marriage, pauperism, etc.). Even such special
precepts are found here as that which eujoms, that when a
bird's nest is taken, only the young ones must be kept, but
the mother let fly (Deut. xxii. 6, 7 = Phocylides, vers. 84-85),
or that the flesh of animals killed by beasts of prey may not
be eaten (Deut. xiv. 21; Ex. xxii. 30 = Phocylides, vers.
139, 147-148). There can thus be no doubt, that the
author was either a Jew err a Christian. . The former is the
prevailing opinion since the fundamental investigation of
Bernays ; Harnack has recently advocated the latter.^'' Both

8" In the notice of Bernays' " Gesammelten Abhandlungeu " in the
Theol. Lite7-aturzeitnng, 1885, p. 160, Harnack chiefly relies upon ver. 104,
Avhere it is said of the risen, that they "afterwards become gods" (oV/a6»
li Siol rsTiiSourai). This is certainly a specifically Christian vievY, which
Bernays gets rid of by changing ^io/ into t/iot.


views have their difficulties. For there is nothing in the
work either specifically Jewish or specifically Christian. The
author designedly ignores the Jewish ceremonial law, and
even the Sabbatic command, which is more strikinrr here than
in the Sibyllines, because the author in other respects enters
into the details of the Mosaic law. On the other side there is
no kind of reference to Christ, nor above all to any religious
interposition for salvation. It is just bare m.orality which is here
preached. Hence a certain decision as to the Jewish or Christian
origin of the poem is scarcely possible. The scale against the
Christian origin of the poem seems to me especially turned
by the fact, that the author's moral teaching coincides only
with the Old Testament and not with the moral legislation of
Christ, as we have it in the synoptists. Of the latter there
is in this poem, as far as I can see, no certain traces. And
this is scarcely conceivable in a Christian author, who means
to preach morality. If at the same time there are still single
expressions or propositions in the poem, which betray a
Christian hand (like Oeol, ver. 104), they must be set to the
account of the Christian tradition, and how freely this dealt
with the text is shown us by the portion, which by some
chance or other got into the collection of the Sibyllines
{Sibyll ii. 56-148 = Phocylides, 5-79). The text as there
presented diverges pretty much from that elsewhere handed
down and plainly shows the hand of a Christian reviser.

If then this poem is of Jewish 'origin, it is of especial
interest just through its lack of anything specifically Jewish.
The design of the author is first of all to labour only for Jewish
morality. He has not even the courage to speak strongly against
idolatry. The two fundamental religious notions of Judaism,
the unity of God and the future retribution, are indeed to be
found in him also, and he indirectly advocates them. But he
does it in so reticent a manner as to make it evident that
morality occupies the first place in his regards. His Judaism
is even paler than that of Philo.

For the date of composition no other limits can be laid


down than those which are given for Judaeo- Hellenistic
literature in general. It could not have appeared later than
the first century after Christ, and in all probahility consider-
ably earlier. It might seem strange that it is not cited by
Christian apologists, by a Clement or a Eusebius, who use so
much else of this kind.*^ But the strangeness disappears as
soon as we consider the object for which such quotations are
made, viz. in the first place to produce heathen testimony to
the religious ideas of Christianity, to the notions of the unity
of God and the future retribution, and these were not expressed
in Phocylides as forcibly as could be desired.

The most careful monograph on this 'poem is Bernays, Ueber
das Fhohjlidcische Gedicht, ein Beitrag zur hellenistischen
Litteratur, Breslau 1856 (reprinted in Bernays, GesammcUe
Ahhandlungen, published by Usener, 1885, vol. i. pp. 191-261).
The text of the poem with critical apparatus is best given in
Bergk, Foetae hjrici Graeci, vol. ii. (3rd ed. 1866) pp. 450-475
(the same, pp. 445-449, also the fragment of the genuine
Phocylides). Bernays as above gives the text according to his
own recension. On the older editions, especially in the collec-
tions of gnomic writers, see Schier in his separate edition, Lips.
1751. Fabricius-Harles, BiUioth. Graec. i. 704-749. Ecker-
mann, art. " Phokylides," in Ersch and Gruber's AlUjem. Ency-
Uoixidie, § 3, vol. xxiv. (1848) p. 485. Fiirst, BlUioth. Judaica,
iii. 96 sqq. The separate edition: Phocylidis, etc., carmina cum
selectis adnotationihus aliquot doct. virorum Graece d Latine, nunc
denuo ad editioncs praesiantissimas rec. ScJiier, Lips. 1751, must
be brought forward. A German translation is given by Nickel,
FJiohjlidcs Mahngcdicht in metriscJier Uebersdzung, Mainz 1833.
Conip. in general: Wachler, Dc Fseudo-Fhocylide, Einteln
1788. Eohde, De vderum ;podarum sapientia gnomica,
Hehraeorum imprimis d Graecorum, Havn. 1800. Bleek,
Theol. Zeitschr., edited by Schleiermacher, de Wette and Llicke,
i. 1819, p. 185 (in the article on the Sibyllines). Dahue,
Geschichtl. DarsUllung der jud.-alex. Fieligionsphilosophic, ii.
222 sq. Eckermann, art. " Phokylides," in Ersch and Gruber's
Allg. Encyklop. § 3, vol. xxiv. (1848) pp. 482-485. Teuffel in
Pauly's Real-Enc. v. 1551. Alexandre's 1st ed. of the Oracula
Sihyllina, ii. 401-409. Bernhardy, Grundriss der griechischen

87 The first traces of its being used are found in Stobaeus and in certain
classic scholia. See Bernbardy, Grundriss der (jrieduschen Litteratur, ii. 1
(;3rd ed. 18C7), p. 6-0.


Litterahir, ii. 1 (3rd ed. 1867), pp. 517-523. Ewald, Gesch. dcs
Volkes Israel, vi. 405, 412. Freudenthal, Die Flavins Joseplius
leigclcgte Schrift uher die Herrschaft der Vernunft (1809),
p. 161 sqq. Leop. Schmidt's notice of Bernays' work in
the Jahrhb. filr class. Philol. vol. Ixxv. (1857) pp. 510-519.
Goram, "De r.seudo-Phocylide " {Philologus, vol. xiv. 1859,
pp. 91-112). Hart, "Die Pseudophokylideia und Theognis im
codex Venetus Marcianus 522 " {Jahrhb. far class. Philol.
vol. xcvii. 1868, pp. 331-336). Bergk, "Kritische Beitrage zu
dem sog. Phokylides" {Philologus, vol. xli. 1882, pp. 577-601).
Sitzler, " Zu dun griechischen Elegikern " {Jahrhb. far class.
Philol. vol. cxxix. 1884, p. 48 sqq.). Phocylides, Poem of Admoni-
tion, with iutrod. and commentaries by Feuling, trans, by
Goodwin, Andover, Mass. 1879. Still more literature in Fiirst,
Biblioth. Judaiea, iii. 96 sqq. ; and in Engehnann's Pihlioihcca
scriptorum classicorum, ed. Preuss.

7. Smaller Pieces jJerhaps of Jewish Origin tinder
Heathen Names.

1. Letters of Heraclitus ? — Epistolography was a favourite
kind of literature in the later times of antiquity. The letters
of eminent rhetoricians and philosophers were collected as a
means of general culture. Letters were composed and also
feigned under the names of famous persons, and generally
for the purpose of furnishing entertaining and instructive
reading. To the numerous species of the latter kind belong
also nine supposed letters of Heraclitus, to which Bernays
has devoted very thorough research.' In two of them, the
fourth and seventh, he thinks he can recognise the hand of
" a believer in Scripture," and indeed in such wise, that the
fourth is merely iuterpola.ted, but the seventh entirely com-
posed by such an one. In fact the austere polemic against the
worship of images in the fourth letter sounds quite Jewish or
Christian, as does also the stern morality preached in the
seventh, in which especially the partaking of " live " flesh, i.e.
llcsh with the blood, is denounced {to, ^oivra KareaOieTe ; comp.
on the Jewish and Christian prohibition, Acts xv. 29, and
Div. ii. vol. ii. p. 318). It must however, as Bernays himself


acknowledges, remain a question, whether this "believer in
the Scriptures " was a Jew or a Christian.

Bernays, Die heraklitischen Briefe, ein Beitrag zur philoso-
pJiischcn iLiicl religionsgescMchtlichcn Litteratur (Berlin 1869),
pp. 26 sqq., 72 sqq., 110 sq. Bernays gives also the text of the
letters with a German translation. The latest edition of the
Epistolographi in general is Hercher, Epistolographi Graeci
recensuit, etc., Paris, Didot, 1873. A separate edition of the
letters of Heraclitus: "Westermann, Hcraditi episf. quaeferuntur.
Lips. 1857 {Univcrsitdts-progr.). Comp. on the entire epistolo-
graphic literature, Fabricius-Harles, Biblioth. grace, i. 166-703.
IsTicolai, Griechische Ziteraturgcschichte, 2ud ed. ii. 2 (1877),
p. 502 sqq.

2. A letter of Diogenes? — Among. the fifty-one supposed
letters of Diogenes, Bernays thinks that one, the twenty-
eighth, may be referred to the same source as the seventh
of Heraclitus. In fact it contains a similar moral sermon to
the latter.

Bernays, Lucian und die KyniJcer (Berlin 1879), pp. 96-98.
See the text in all the editions of the Einstolograijhi, e.g. in
Hercher, Bpistolographi Graeci, pp. 241-243.

3. Hermippiis ? — Hermippus Callimachius, who lived under
Ptolemy III. and IV., and therefore in the second half of the
third century before Christ, composed a large number of
biographies of eminent persons. Among the pieces of infor-
mation thence obtained, two arrest our attention. According
to Origen, contra Cels. i. 1 5, it was said in the first book " on
the lawgivers," that Pythagoras derived his philosophy from
the Jews (Aeyerai, Be koI ''EpfxiTTirov iv tu) 7rpoir(p irepl
pofjLoOerwv laropTjKevai,, IIij6a

Online LibraryEmil SchürerA history of the Jewish people in the time of Jesus Christ .. (Volume 2 pt.3) → online text (page 32 of 51)