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The J Jews and Hellenism

Native Resistance to Hellenism

As Alexander and the Diadochoi (his successors) spread Greek cities throughout the eastern Mediterranean and Near East, there was both assimilation and resistance Local elites, at least near Hellenistic foundations, tended to assimilate, adopting Greek language, culture, and names as well as syncretizing their religion with Greek religion Depending upon the city, this gave them access to citizenship, through registration in demes (local units) and/or membership in the gymnasium Some groupsespecially priestly castes in Persia, Babylon, Syrian y temple p states, , and Judearesisted Hellenization Enochic Book of Watchers tried to maintain, and extend, traditions of the Bible in the face of the political and cultural ferment around it (Heyler, 8586) Merchant classes accommodated sufficiently to prosper, peasant classes were generally left unaffected
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5. The Jews and Hellenism

Hellenism and Judea

Alexander probably passed Jerusalem by or at least left it autonomous and relatively untouched

Judea (Greek for the Aramaic Yehud), a relatively conservative bastion in the region initially escaped such settlement, but there was creeping Hellenism among the upper classes The dicey issue of what to call the Holy Land . . . No Syria Palestina until A.D. 135 when Hadrian renames the p province to erase the name Judea . . . Holy Land can be seen as parochial . . . Israel is politically loaded Canaan > Israel > Israel and Judah > Samaria and Yehud > Coele-Syria and Judea
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What about the rest of Eretz Israel?

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Hellenism Elsewhere in Eretz Israel

Jerusalems rival Samaria, however, received a Macedonian colony in 332 B.C. after a revolt by the Samaritans The garrison troops mixed over time with the Hellenized descendants of the Assyrian (and later Babylonian) settlers in what they had called ll d Samerina S i Samaria (the city) thus became a major Hellenistic bulwark in the region These Samarians should be carefully distinguished from the YWHW-ist Samaritans of the countryside and smaller towns Siege of Gaza (332 B.C.) Resettled by neighboring bedouins, but like many coastal cities it was increasingly Hellenized Alexanders successors in the regionfirst the Ptolemies and then the Seleucidsestablished Hellenistic foundations through Eretz Israel which dominated (and exploited) the native (Samaritan, Ammonite, Philistine, Canaanite, Israelite) hinterland

Site of Samaria (upper right) and Hellenistic tower (lower left)


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5. The Jews and Hellenism

The Exception Among the Jews of Alexandria

Alexandria founded by Alexander in 331 B.C. with a commercial focus Greek and Macedonian citizens

But technically all non-Egyptians non Egyptians were Hellenes, including Near Easterners such as the Jews Jews found themselves in Ptolemaic service throughout Egypt as soldiers and specialty farmers While early Jews and their descendants may have gained citizenship most succeeding citizenship, immigrants were not citizens Such Jews formed their own political corporation, the politeuma, although some subsequent immigrants were excluded from this too (the plthos)
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Egyptian and Jewish residents

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5. The Jews and Hellenism

Pharos

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Lighthouse of Pharos

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5. The Jews and Hellenism

Isis holding sail with lighthouse of Pharos in background (2nd cent. AD)

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5. The Jews and Hellenism

Alexandria as a Cultural and Intellectual Center


Why Ptolemaic patronage of literature and arts? The precedents of Platos Plato s Academy and especially Aristotles Aristotle s Lyceum

Museionfirst a foremost a religious institution, later a place of producing literature and art Librarycollecting, preserving, editing, and commenting on texts; place of preserving and studying literature

Alexandrian scholarship: preserved existing knowledge and created t d new

big poem, bad book!

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5. The Jews and Hellenism

The Greek Torah: the Development of the Septuagint

The question of translating Jewish scriptures had not arisen beforeliteracy was so limited to a small caste of scribes that they could always work with it in Hebrew A growing literate classbut literate in Greekgrew in Hellenistic cities, especially Alexandria Aristobulus, a Jewish philosopher between 175170, first attests the claim that a translation of the Torah (5 books of Moses) was made under the reign of Ptolemy II Philadephus (285246 BC.) Parallels: the Babylonian Berossus and the Egyptian Manetho Letter of Aristeas

Claims that the impetus came from Ptolemy II Philadephus and the court librarian, Demetrius of Phaleron Pseudepigraphic, the letter was probably written as an apologetic in the second century B.C. in the context of the persecution of Antiochus IV Epiphanes The legend of 72 translators producing prod cing the perfect translation in 72 da days s was as meant to validate (and impose) a particular Greek translation

Philo adds a miraculous element: the translators were kept in separate chambers but they all produced the same translation! (Philo, Mos. 2.2840)

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Characteristics of the Septuagint (LXX): Pentateuch


Examples from Bickerman, 101116

At times at variance with the Hebrew Bible

Translated from a different exemplar than Masoretic version currently extant?

Sometimes the LXX agrees with the Samaritan Pentateuch, the Dead Sea Scrolls, or Jubilees against the Masoretic

Resulted from faulty knowledge of Hebrew, Greek, or both? Unknown: whether the Greek translation faithfully followed its source or modified the manuscript that the translators had at hand

Did not seem to amplify or condense Generally translated literally, importing Hebrew word order and constructions

Still indulged in Alexandrian taste for variation, exploiting Greeks vocabulary for synonyms Avoided offending their Ptolemaic hosts (dasypous hair-fotted hair fotted rather than lagos hare; archn ruler rather than basileus king) Avoided circumcise the foreskin of the heart in preference for prune the obstinacy of heart (Deut. 10:16)

Purposeful interpretations (or reinterpretations)


Increasingly avoided anthropomorphisms Avoided religious terms used by heathen religions


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5. The Jews and Hellenism

Greek Meanings in the Septuagint (LXX)


Examples from NETS, xivxx (n.b. xviixviii), 15)

NETS model of the LXX as an interlinear translation

The Hebrew was not unknown, problems were passed on to readers who knew both, issue or translation as reception as much as production

LXX Greek terms mean what they did in the period Stereotypes: correct renderings of Hebrew that nevertheless fit poorly into the context Calques: new meanings derived from the Hebrew which become part of the language (here, Jewish-Greek): example diathk = brt Semantic leveling: one Greek term for several Hebrew Semantic differentiation: several Greek words for one Hebrew word (usually ( y for verbs) ) Neologisms Hebraisms: usually literal translation of idioms Protypical translator (e.g., Ecclesiast) to Protoypical author (e.g. Iob)

Literary translation free rendering

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Characteristics of the Balance of the Septuagint

The remaining books of the Hebrew Bible (since Ezra) were translated at different times and places over the next two centuries Whereas the Pentateuch was reasonably well-translated, the balance ranges from literal to interpretative

Ecclesiast: prototypical translator (very literal) Iob: least prototypical (very free)

Additions: hagiographia, additional sacred writings that have become our Apocrypha

Nonetheless, other texts, such as Jubilee and the Enochic literature were left out! Karen H H. Jobes and Moiss Silva, Silva Invitation to the Septuagint (Baker, (Baker 2000) The Septuagint with Apocrypha, translated by Lancelot Brenton (1851, repr. Hendrickson, 2003) A New English Transation of the Septuagint (NETS), edited by Albert Peitersma and Benjamin G. Wright (Oxford, 2007)
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For Further Reading and Study:

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Philosophies

Platonic thought in the Academy and Aristotles school in the Lyceum (also known as the Peripatetic School) continued but did not always meet individual needs New schools arose to treat the individual condition

Cynicism (Dog-like!)autarky through not wanting anything, live like dogs! Diogenes and Alexander Skepticismsenses unreliable, nothing can be known for certain, question everything

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Epicureanism

Epicurus founded a materialistic school, called the Garden, that focused on a quiet life

Largely reliant upon later writers for Epicurus beliefs; only surviving original document is his Letter to Menoeceus Understand that the gods exist but are uninvolved in mens lives Death is nothing but the deprivation of senses, should not be feared Twin goals of happy living: a healthy body and a sound mind When I say that pleasure is the goal of living I do not mean the pleasures of the libertines . . . I mean, on the contrary, the pleasure that consists in freedom from bodily pain and mental agitation. Ataraxia (avoiding disturbance, impassiveness) through moderate enjoyment of simple pleasures Avoid seeking wealth on power; focus on friendship fate moderated by choices (deterministic universe organized by atoms which nonetheless swerve)

Preconditions of happiness

Greatest good is pleasure, defined as absence of pain

Epicurus on Fate

the soul dissolves into its constituent atoms at death

Certain events are determined, others are chance, others are the results of our own actions
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Stoicism

Zeno and his porch God = nature = logos or reason

nature operates in accordance with divine laws

Sought autarkeia (self-sufficiency) through a virtuous life Sought ataraxia (impassiveness, not being disturbed) by subliminating emotions Largely deterministic, God is in charge of everything, accept ones lot

fatalistic tendency moderated by duties or tasks required of each individual

Divine sparkkinship with divinity and hence worldwide brotherhood of man

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Greek Intellectual History Summarized


ARCHAIC

Natural Philosophers Materialists


Thales

Idealists
Pythagoras

CLASSICAL

Fifth Century reconciliation


Empedocles, Democritus

Sophists
Protagoras

Moral Philosophy Socratic Revolution Socrates Isocrates Plato Aristotle Aristobulus

FOURTH CENTURY

HELLENISTIC

Epicureanism

Stoicism PHILO!
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Aristobolus and Greek Philosophy

Eusebius and Clement note that Aristobulus work was dedicated to a Ptolemy, apparently Ptolemy VI Philometer (181145 B.C.) ( ) From the five surviving fragments, it is apparent that Aristobulus was an Alexandrian Jew trying to reconcile Jewish tradition with Hellenistic philosophy

Frg. 1: On the dating of Passover (related Jewish feasts to Greek astronomy) Frg. 2: Nature of God (tried to explain anthropomorphic descriptions of God in the Law) Frg. 3: Plato and Pythagoras knew the Law Frg. 4: Nature of God again (Greek philosophers, too, described God anthropomorphicallyit was only allegorical) Frg. 5: Sabbath explained in terms of cosmic order

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Romans and Hellenism

Romans first came into contact with Greek culture via Greek colonies in Italy during the Early Republic

Roman aristocratic families were divided on the question of Hellenism

Romes expansion into the Eastern Mediterranean introduced a second dose of Hellenism during the Middle Republic Most senators had to deal with the Hellenistic diplomatic world, some were attracted By and large, the aristocracy became bilingual culturally, a parallel to what happened with the Jewish aristocracy 20

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