Current State of Samaritan Studies (Hexateuch)

Discussion about the Hebrew Bible, Septuagint, pseudepigrapha, Philo, Josephus, Talmud, Dead Sea Scrolls, archaeology, etc.
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Secret Alias
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Re: Current State of Samaritan Studies (Hexateuch)

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"Kippenberg discerns an additional strand which he calls the “ Shechemitesource ” ( SS 312–317 , 321-325 , 340 , 342 , 344–347 , and 12.10 ) and which he dates in the second century B.C.E .; in his opinion , it was originally a a tendentious Samaritan tradition that tried to show that the temple on Mt. Gerizim had been authorized by Alexander , but was transmitted by a non - Samaritan historian."

https://books.google.com/books?id=fX2Yz ... ce&f=false

I think arguing that Josephus simply made up the story is self-serving. He must have had a Jewish source from the Hasmonean period who wanted to demonstrate that Alexander preferred Jews to Samaritans which is probably likely. Samaritans were preferred by the Persians over the Jews. The difficulty is that neither Josephus nor his source (presumed) argue that the Samaritans were 'invented' after the coming of Alexander. They were 'preservers' or guardians of a legal system that dates to the Persian period.
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neilgodfrey
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Re: Current State of Samaritan Studies (Hexateuch)

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Secret Alias wrote: Wed Nov 23, 2022 1:03 pm
Can you show me where Ps-Hec is the source for Josephus's claim that the Jews were observing a sabbatical year at the time of Alexander's arrival?
Most businesses I deal with are shutting down because of the holiday here. Let me try to address these issues. Let's first acknowledge your initial claim that Josephus 'can't be trusted' with respect to his reporting on the events at the time of Alexandria. Be that as it may, it is clear that Josephus used a second century BCE Jewish source named 'Hecataeus' (I leave aside the claim of those who identify his source as the historical Hecataeus from the fourth century.

The discussion that follows assumes that Josephus was drawing upon On the Jews and the author is deciding whether this source should be identified as the historical Hecataeus from the fourth century or pseudo-Hecataeus from the second or third centuries:
The only relevant section I can see is that ps-H could not have been J's source for this custom at that time.

Ditto for your second quote:
However, as BarKochva has clearly shown, Josephus rather quotes a Jewish author from the late second century BCE (see also below). And the passage appears to be of little historical value. . . .
What you have quoted is consistent with most of everything I have also read --- that Josephus was NOT using ps-Hec as his source for the sabbatical year being observed in Alexander's time.
Secret Alias wrote: Wed Nov 23, 2022 1:03 pmIt has been argued that the sabbatical year story with respect to Alexandria is at odds with what is presented in pseudo-Hecataeus. If that's true then the source for the sabbatical year story isn't pseudo-Hecataeus. If it is Hecataeus or pseudo-Hecataeus that's another issue. But clearly (a) Josephus employed sources when reporting on events from the Hellenistic period. He didn't just "make shit up."
Correct. That's my point. There is no source contemporary with Alexander that testifies to the sabbatical year being observed in the late fourth century bce.

Have you read the other articles you cited earlier or any of the sources they cite? The evidence for Josephus's claim is most economically explained as being inspired by Julius Caesar's actions.

No-one is saying Josephus just invented his history. I have made that clear several times. Please stop insinuating that I have ever suggested that.

(Though if you study ancient historians you would learn that some historians were quite capable of inventing accounts. But I have no reason to think Josephus made up from whole cloth his reference to the sabbatical year in the fourth century.)

Josephus in all likelihood was using sources or a source that informed him that Alexander acted a policy that related to the observance of the sabbatical year in the late fourth century.

In other words, we do not know what that source was. We cannot know when it was composed or why. We do know that lots of stories were invented for propaganda and ideological reasons by various persons and that later readers/hearers took these stories as factual history. We have innumerable such examples of that -- it's a practice that has continued right through to modern times. And we can identiry ideological reasons for why a story affirming the practice of the sabbatical year would be told to make the custom sound older than it was and for it to be associated with an imperial authority.

In the absence of any contemporary evidence -- evidence from Alexander's time itself -- that the sabbatical year was observed then, and given the evident likelihood that it was a later invention, along with a plausible explanatory precedent (i.e. Julius Caesar) -- the simplest explanation is that the sabbatical year was unknown as a custom in Alexander's time.
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neilgodfrey
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Re: Current State of Samaritan Studies (Hexateuch)

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Secret Alias wrote: Wed Nov 23, 2022 3:23 pm I think arguing that Josephus simply made up the story is self-serving.
Stop your straw-man stuff. I never said Josephus simply made up the story. I have said repeatedly that he did not. So accept what I say about my own argument.
Secret Alias wrote: Wed Nov 23, 2022 3:23 pmHe must have had a Jewish source from the Hasmonean period who wanted to demonstrate that Alexander preferred Jews to Samaritans which is probably likely. Samaritans were preferred by the Persians over the Jews.
Correct. The evidence does indeed suggest that Josephus had a source from the Hasmonean period. Agreed. And the propaganda intent of the source that you note is also agreed.
Secret Alias wrote: Wed Nov 23, 2022 3:23 pmThe difficulty is that neither Josephus nor his source (presumed) argue that the Samaritans were 'invented' after the coming of Alexander. They were 'preservers' or guardians of a legal system that dates to the Persian period.
Why do you keep doing that-- insinuating I am arguing things I have never argued or even hinted at. No-one says or has said the Samaritans were invented after the coming of Alexander. I certainly haven't.
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Re: Current State of Samaritan Studies (Hexateuch)

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My research (in an unpublished article "Agatharchides, Pseudo-Hecataeus and the Sabbath") indicates that the entirety of Josephus, Ant. 11.297-12.10 comes from a single source, Pseudo-Hecataeus. German scholars have hypothesized several sources combined in this section (including a Samaritan source), but Josephus very consistently uses a single source across a significant block of text (biblical books, Letter of Aristeas, Maccabees, etc.). Pseudo-Hecataeus wrote in (ca. 105-95 BCE), according to the compelling arguments in Bezalel Bar-Kochva, Pseudo-Hecataeus On the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996). All scholars are 100% agreed that the episode of Alexander visiting the Jewish temple is fictional, as is a lot of other stuff in Pseudo-Hecataeus, who is a highly unreliable source.
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neilgodfrey
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Re: Current State of Samaritan Studies (Hexateuch)

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Russell Gmirkin wrote: Wed Nov 23, 2022 5:20 pm My research (in an unpublished article "Agatharchides, Pseudo-Hecataeus and the Sabbath") indicates that the entirety of Josephus, Ant. 11.297-12.10 comes from a single source, Pseudo-Hecataeus. German scholars have hypothesized several sources combined in this section (including a Samaritan source), but Josephus very consistently uses a single source across a significant block of text (biblical books, Letter of Aristeas, Maccabees, etc.). Pseudo-Hecataeus wrote in (ca. 105-95 BCE), according to the compelling arguments in Bezalel Bar-Kochva, Pseudo-Hecataeus On the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996). All scholars are 100% agreed that the episode of Alexander visiting the Jewish temple is fictional, as is a lot of other stuff in Pseudo-Hecataeus, who is a highly unreliable source.
I have not looked into the dating of Ps.-H but had understood that he was a contemporary of Alexander. So what are the factors that help us determine the date for Ps-H.?
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Re: Current State of Samaritan Studies (Hexateuch)

Post by andrewcriddle »

neilgodfrey wrote: Wed Nov 23, 2022 7:13 pm
Russell Gmirkin wrote: Wed Nov 23, 2022 5:20 pm My research (in an unpublished article "Agatharchides, Pseudo-Hecataeus and the Sabbath") indicates that the entirety of Josephus, Ant. 11.297-12.10 comes from a single source, Pseudo-Hecataeus. German scholars have hypothesized several sources combined in this section (including a Samaritan source), but Josephus very consistently uses a single source across a significant block of text (biblical books, Letter of Aristeas, Maccabees, etc.). Pseudo-Hecataeus wrote in (ca. 105-95 BCE), according to the compelling arguments in Bezalel Bar-Kochva, Pseudo-Hecataeus On the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996). All scholars are 100% agreed that the episode of Alexander visiting the Jewish temple is fictional, as is a lot of other stuff in Pseudo-Hecataeus, who is a highly unreliable source.
I have not looked into the dating of Ps.-H but had understood that he was a contemporary of Alexander. So what are the factors that help us determine the date for Ps-H.?
Hecataeus of Abdera, source of an important early testimony about the Jews, was a contemporary of Alexander.
Pseudo-Hecataeus quoted by Josephus and Clement was, (if with most modern scholars one distinguishes this material from the genuine work of Hecataeus), a considerably later writer.

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Russell Gmirkin
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Re: Current State of Samaritan Studies (Hexateuch)

Post by Russell Gmirkin »

neilgodfrey wrote: Wed Nov 23, 2022 7:13 pm
Russell Gmirkin wrote: Wed Nov 23, 2022 5:20 pm My research (in an unpublished article "Agatharchides, Pseudo-Hecataeus and the Sabbath") indicates that the entirety of Josephus, Ant. 11.297-12.10 comes from a single source, Pseudo-Hecataeus. German scholars have hypothesized several sources combined in this section (including a Samaritan source), but Josephus very consistently uses a single source across a significant block of text (biblical books, Letter of Aristeas, Maccabees, etc.). Pseudo-Hecataeus wrote in (ca. 105-95 BCE), according to the compelling arguments in Bezalel Bar-Kochva, Pseudo-Hecataeus On the Jews: Legitimizing the Jewish Diaspora (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996). All scholars are 100% agreed that the episode of Alexander visiting the Jewish temple is fictional, as is a lot of other stuff in Pseudo-Hecataeus, who is a highly unreliable source.
I have not looked into the dating of Ps.-H but had understood that he was a contemporary of Alexander. So what are the factors that help us determine the date for Ps-H.?
Criddle is right, Hecataeus was a contemporary of Alexander, but Pseudo-Hecataeus (as quoted in Josephus, Apion) is much later. In the Bryn Mawn review Andrew Criddle cites, there is a fairly good summary of Bar-Kochva's argument:

"The book starts with an analysis of the genuine Hecataeus preserved in Diodorus/Photius and arrives at the conclusion that, far from being an idealized account, ‘the excursus is, by and large, an interpretatio Graca of Jewish history and life’ (43). Next, after the passages in contra Apionem, accompanied by a literal translation, comes the first focus of the study, ‘The Question of Authenticity’ (ch. iii, pp.54-121). An analysis of the Mosollamus story, presented as an eye-witness account by Hecataeus, firmly concludes that its author was not acquainted with Greek augural lore and that its entire stance cannot be harmonized with what we know about the genuine Hecataeus, or, in fact, any educated Greek writer. Next, an analysis of the story of Hezekiah the High Priest, who is said to have migrated to Egypt (which should be read together with the Appendix on the Hezekiah coins, coauthored with the numismatist A. Kindler), identifies Hezekiah with the last governor of Persian Palestine still active in the generation of Alexander and the Successors, who may well have been banished to Egypt by Ptolemy I in 302/1. Other arguments against authenticity include Jewish attitudes to persecution and martyrdom, implausible before the age of Antiochus Epiphanes, and the positive attitude to the destruction of pagan temples and altars, utterly unimaginable in a Greek author like Hecataeus. Finally B., best known for his studies of Hellenistic armies and of the battles of Judas Maccabaeus, takes exception to geographical and political data in the text, including the passage in Book ii of contra Apionem, which attributes to Alexander the Great the annexation of Samaria to Judaea: the anachronisms are, in B.’s view, too blatant and too numerous to be accepted even as an adaptation by Josephus or an earlier Jewish writer.

Having thus disposed of the ascription to Hecataeus, it remains to reveal the true date, authorship and purpose of the work. B.’s solutions are firm and unequivocal. An analysis of the anachronisms suggests 107, or rather 103/2 as the terminus post quem and 96-93 as the terminus ante quem, just a few years after the Letter of Aristeas, dated in a separate Appendix between the years 116 or 118 and 113."

Reading the chapter on "Date of Composition" in https://www.google.com/books/edition/Ps ... =en&gbpv=1 (I could locate my photocopies of his book, but I'm being lazy here), one can drill down into his dating arguments as follows:

Bar-Kochva finds 5 anachronistic references in
(1) claims of religious persecutions of the Jews and Jewish martyrdom (pointing to a date after 168 BCE and Antiochus Epiphanes).
Pointing to a period during Hasmonean rule (142-63 BCE):
(2) the destruction of the pagan cult (Apion 1.193), under Simon, Aristobulus I (BK is wrong here, as Josephus attributed to Aristobulus I events under Aristibulus II), John Hyrkanus, Alexander Jannaeus
(3) the Jewish expansion to Phoenicia (Apion 1.194), reflecting the conquests of John Hyrkanus
(4) the existence of many Jewish fortresses (Apion 1.197), which BK finds fulfilled starting under Simon
(5) the annexation of Samaria to Judea (Apion 2.43), which BK thinks reflects the conquests of John Hyrkanus in 112/111 and 107 BCE. [I personally believe that Samaria was temporarily denied autonomy in the wake of their rebellion against Alexander the Great, but the historical evidence is too scanty to claim certainty on this point.]

Bar-Kochva finds the absence o any references to Alexander Jannaeus' conquests in Transjordan as pointing to a latest possible date of ca. 96 BCE.
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Secret Alias
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Re: Current State of Samaritan Studies (Hexateuch)

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All scholars are 100% agreed that the episode of Alexander visiting the Jewish temple is fictional, as is a lot of other stuff in Pseudo-Hecataeus, who is a highly unreliable source.
Fictional. Narcos is fictional but if the question was American drug use in the 1990s+ it would be useful in determining whether or not Americans used cocaine and marijuana. Scholars are not 100% agreed that all details from Josephus here are fake. I've cited a few. But Neil's original question or point was that Josephus wasn't using a source. He might not have been. But I think logic dictates he was.

The question is, if Josephus's source was 1st or 2nd century BCE why does he think Jews and Samaritans were following levitical laws when first encountering Alexander.
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Re: Current State of Samaritan Studies (Hexateuch)

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Thanks Andew, Russell -- silly me, very embarrassing -- I went back to see what I was relying upon and see now that I was very carelessly reading my text and confusing the Hec with the ps.Hec in the opening paragraph. My apologies.
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neilgodfrey
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Re: Current State of Samaritan Studies (Hexateuch)

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Secret Alias wrote: Thu Nov 24, 2022 3:45 pm But Neil's original question or point was that Josephus wasn't using a source. He might not have been. But I think logic dictates he was.
SA, I never said Josephus didn't use a source. You seem to have misinterpreted part of what I wrote way back here as saying he did not use a source -- what I was saying was that he was relying on what others had said, that is, relying on sources! -- and I have been trying to correct your misunderstanding ever since this post on the same day: viewtopic.php?p=145816#p145816 and most recently just here. What the hell does it take to tell you I have never said that Josephus "made it up"?!
Last edited by neilgodfrey on Thu Nov 24, 2022 5:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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