Skip to main content

Pseudo Hecataeus, "On the Jews": Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora

"The subject of this study is the treatise On the Jews ascribed to Hecataeus of Abdera, the great ethnographer of the early Hellenistic age. The treatise itself has not survived. All we have are a number of fragments and testimonia in Josephus''s celebrated apologetic book Against Apion (I.183-204, II.43). All the passages but one appear in the context of Josephus''s polemic against anti-Jewish authors of the Roman period, who argued that the Jews were not mentioned by Greek historians and that they were "newcomers" to the society of nations (Ap . I.2-5). The material was selected by Josephus to prove, on the contrary, that early Hellenistic authors had in fact referred to and even admired the Jews and their religion. He was also trying to show that the Jewish people had already flourished at least as early as the time of Alexander and the Successors (I.185)..."

Author(s):  Bar-Kochva, Bezalel
Format:  Book
Publisher:  University of California Press
Publication City:  Berkeley
Date:  1996