Current State of Samaritan Studies (Hexateuch)

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Secret Alias
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Re: Current State of Samaritan Studies (Hexateuch)

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It is also worth noting that Josephus has been suggested to have used Hecataeus as a source for much of his understanding of 'tributes' which Alexander forgave the Jews. Against this view (citing views again that don't suit my hypothesis):
9. The Annexation of Samaria to Judea by Alexander
Separately from the passages discussed so far, which all appear in Book I of Against Apion, Josephus attributes to Hecataeus in Book II the following sentence (Ap. II.43):

Because of the fairness and loyalty shown to him [Alexander the Great] by the Jews, he annexed the land of Samaria [Samareitis ][189] to them free of tribute [aphorologetos ]

Before discussing the historical reliability of the statement, its context and source should be clarified. The sentence is quoted in the context of Josephus's campaign for the rights of the Jews in Alexandria. He states that Alexander settled the Jews in the city and granted them civil rights (II.12). The reference to the assignment of Samaria to the Jews appears as the only evidence to that effect, indicating Alexander's favorable treatment of the Jews.[190] It is thus evident that the quotation was taken from a work in which there was no intimation of Alexander's involvement in settling the Jews in Alexandria.

As for the source of the sentence, the suggestion has been made that it was taken from another lost work, which had been ascribed to Hecataeus.[191] However, no valid reason has been put forward to substantiate this suggestion,[192] and one would have expected that if such a work did indeed exist, Josephus would have indicated its name or contents, to distinguish it from the treatise of Hecataeus from which he quoted earlier in great detail. This was especially required as the title of the latter treatise is implied by Josephus, if not explicitly named (I.183).[193] The content of the sentence under discussion does not contain anything that could not have been included in On the Jews. 194 Quite clearly, the book did not include any information directly relevant to the relationship between Alexander and the Jews of Alexandria.[195]

Now to the question of authenticity. Some scholars have gone so far as to regard this quotation as clinching evidence for the inauthenticity of the book.[196] It has generally been argued that the information does not make sense historically and politically. At the same time various attempts have been made to explain the sentence in one way or another according to the circumstances of the period, although even the advocates of authenticity admit that it cannot be accepted as it stands.

The alleged annexation of Samaria to Judea is not confirmed by any of the relatively abundant sources on Alexander's period. Even the anti-Samaritan stories in Josephus, which elaborate on the triangular relations Alexander-Jews-Samaritans (Ant. XI.302-46), do not mention an annexation of Samaria to Judea. Nor does the sentence agree with available knowledge on the administrative divisions of the region in the Ptolemaic and Seleucid eras. Judea and Samaria/Samareitis were separate eparchies, each having its own governor. This is clearly indicated for the Ptolemaic period (Polyb. V.71.11, XVI.39; Jos. Ant. XII.133, 154) and is explicitly stated for the Seleucid reign (Ant. XIII.264, II Macc. 14.12).[197] The first change known in the territorial arrangements occurred at the time of Jonathan (152/1 B.C. ): the Seleucid rulers approved the annexation to Judea of Aphairema, Lydda, and Ramathaim, three toparchies in southern Samaria, settled by many Jews (I Macc. 10.38; cf. 11.34). A more drastic political change took place late in the reign of John Hyrcanus, when all of Samaria was occupied by the Jews in two military campaigns and integrated in one way or another into the expanding Jewish state.[198] The first campaign (112/111 B.C. ) was directed at the south of the region centering around Shechem and Mount Gerizim (Ant. XIII. 255-56).[199] The second (108/7 B.C. ) was launched against the north and against the city of Samaria (Ant. XIII.275-83).[200]

A number of scholars have called attention to the reference in Curtius Rufus (IV. 8.9-11) to the Samaritan revolt against Alexander and the severe punishment that ensued (corroborated by the findings from the Wadi Dâliyeh caves), and have argued that the Samaritans were also punished by having their territory given to the Jews.[201] However, this does not make much sense from the military and administrative point of view: an effective measure to counter further unrest would be to tighten direct control over the rebellious region, certainly not loosening it by appending the region to a neighboring semiautonomous nation or district. Such a step would have slowed down and complicated any direct intervention by the central authorities. One would envisage measures such as increasing the military forces stationed in the region, splitting it into small administrative units under military governors, appointing a high-ranking military officer as governor-in-chief, and the like. These principles and practices of imperial rule were demonstrated by Alexander himself, as well as by later Hellenistic kings and governors, and are well known in later times from the provincial policy of Roman emperors.

Other scholars, describing the sentence as "exaggerated," have claimed that the original information referred to an annexation of the three toparchies in southern Samaria. The phrasing of one paragraph in the royal document of Demetrius I, declaring their annexation in the days of Jonathan (I Macc. 10.38), may indicate that the Seleucid king simply restored former arrangements. It has therefore been suggested that these toparchies were annexed by Alexander to Judea mainly because they were populated by Jews, and were later severed from it either by the Seleucids as a punitive measure for the Maccabean Revolt, or perhaps even earlier, by the Ptolemies. Hence their subsequent annexation to Judea in the time of Jonathan.[202] However, the phrasing of another paragraph in the same document (I Macc. 10.30) suggests that the attachment of the three toparchies to Judea was an established fact already by the time of that document. Accordingly it has been assumed that the document recognizes a situation that was earlier created by actual Jewish domination of the three toparchies.[203] But it is even more likely that the document refers to privileges bestowed by Alexander Balas that preceded the proclamation of the concessions by Demetrius I, his rival for the throne.[204] In the absence of real evidence to the contrary, it seems rather that the three southern toparchies were annexed to Judea for the first time only in the days of Jonathan. The new territorial division came in the wake of demographic change: the constant infiltration of Jewish settlers into the border areas during the pre-Hasmonean period gradually created a Jewish majority in the three toparchies.[205]

Be that as it may, what matters is that an author like Hecataeus, who was well acquainted with court and state affairs, would not have confused the administrative-political status of a relatively large region like Samaria (which also included Galilee)[206] with that of three small toparchies on its southern fringe. He certainly would have been careful not to inflate the territory, thereby providing a precedent that might commit the Ptolemaic administration in the future, especially with the annexation attributed to Alexander.

What is even more instructive is the second part of the sentence under discussion, stating that Samaria was given to the Jews aphorologetos , which means "exempt from tribute [photos ]" and possibly other payments. In the Persian and Hellenistic periods, the annual collective photos symbolized the submission of ethnic groups and nations to the ruling state or empire. To free them from the phoros meant actually granting independence. Would Hecataeus have indicated that Alexander recognized the Jewish right to independent rule of Samaria, with all its implications for Ptolemy I? Even if Josephus was not accurate in transmitting the text, and the original in fact only referred to exemption from taxes and duties, such a total and permanent exemption of a nation or a province, or even of a polis, was quite rare and was granted only under very special circumstances or when imperial rule was only nominal.[207] In the case of the Jews it was granted only by Seleucid kings who already had lost control over the Jews and badly needed their help against internal rivals.[208] More common was a temporary exemption after a devastating war,[209] or to help a military settlement establish itself.[210] With regard to the days of Alexander, Josephus states in the story of the reception of Alexander by the High Priest that the Jews were freed from taxes in the sabbatical year (Ant. XI.338; cf. XIV.202, 206). The enthusiastic tone of this dubious legend merely indicates that an exemption in the fallow year was the most the Jews in Judea could expect from and ascribe to Alexander and other Hellenistic rulers who were in real control of the country. And if Judea proper was not totally exempted from these taxes, such exemption is even less likely for an annexed territory, much larger and more fruitful than Judea itself. Hecataeus would not have confused remission from taxes in the fallow year (which in itself is still doubtful) with an unprecedented permanent exemption, thus committing his notoriously greedy patrons to such a major economic concession. The sentence is thus a later Jewish fabrication.

The two components of the sentence have indeed seemed unacceptable even to some supporters of the authenticity of On the Jews. They have therefore suggested that Josephus or a Jewish adapter greatly distorted an original text by Hecataeus.[211] It is true that the structure of the passage may suggest that the sentence was shortened and rephrased by Josephus himself. However, imputing to Josephus such gross errors, both in the definition of the annexed territory and in the exemption, makes efforts to verify the general authenticity of the sentence extremely labored. And after all, it is just one of a fair number of anachronistic and unreliable statements, most of which could not have been invented by Josephus.[212] Similarly, the theory that the text underwent a slight adaptation by an unknown Jew cannot resolve all the difficulties.[213] To assume that it was a consistent adaptation is to deny the value of the passages as a reliable source for Jewish history in the early Hellenistic period.[214]

In conclusion, at the risk of repeating myself: there are too many statements and pieces of information which sound anachronistic, or contradict the information at our disposal, or cannot be attributed to Hecataeus; there is hardly one piece of real, positive evidence that the passages originated with Hecataeus or from his period, or were at least written by a gentile.
The author then goes on to note that Josephus used a text called On the Jews not written by Hecataeus but someone else:
IV
Date of Composition
The scholars who regard On the Jews as a forgery have put forward various dates for its composition, ranging from the end of the fourth century B.C. to the first century A.D.[1] The following discussion suggests dating the book between the years 107, or rather 103/2, and 93, that is, during the last years of John Hyrcanus and/or the first decade of Alexander Jannaeus's reign.

1. The Anachronistic References
A terminus post quem for the dating of the book can be provided by five anachronistic references: the religious persecutions and Jewish martyrdom, the destruction of the pagan cult, the Jewish expansion to Phoenicia, the existence of many Jewish fortresses, and the annexation of Samaria to Judea (Chap. III.4-7, 9, above). The first reference proves that the book could not have been composed before the religious persecutions of Antiochus IV Epiphanes (168 B.C. ). The other four point to the time of the Hasmonean state (142/1-63 B.C. ). In order to be more precise in determining a post quem date, a short survey of these major developments in the Hasmonean state is necessary.

The statement that there are "many fortresses of the Jews" in the country (I.197) may reflect the situation found from the later days of Simeon, the last of the Hasmonean brothers.[2] In the time of Judas Maccabaeus, after the purification of the Temple (164-160), Beth Zur was the only fortress controlled by the rebels, and even this only intermittently.[3] His brother Jonathan (160-143) is said to have fortified Beth Basi, near Bethlehem, in 159 (I Macc. 9.62ff.). Seven of the fortresses established in the Judean Hills by Bacchides in 160/59 (I Macc. 9.50-52) were deserted by their garrisons in 152/1 (I Macc. 10.12, 11.41). They may well have been regarrisoned by Jonathan's standing army.[4]

A comprehensive fortification project was launched by Simeon (143-135). He is reported to have fortified the Temple Mount (I Macc. 13.53), Beth Zur (14.33), Adida on the fringe of the Shephela (11.38), Gezer (13.48, 14.34), Jaffa, on the sea (13.11, 14.34), and Dok, near Jericho (14.16). He also positioned Jewish soldiers in the former Seleucid Akra in Jerusalem (14.36-37) shortly before totally demolishing it.[5] The covenant between Simeon and the people (Sept. 140) praises him for fortifying the "cities of Judea" (14.33; cf. 13.33, 38; 15.7). Apparently this also refers to other fortresses, perhaps to those deserted by Bacchides' garrisons. The later territorial expansion in the time of Simeon's successors added to Jewish control more Hellenistic fortresses.[6] Their number considerably grew under his successors. https://publishing.cdlib.org/ucpressebo ... nd=ucpress
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Secret Alias
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Re: Current State of Samaritan Studies (Hexateuch)

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I have to get ready for my flight. But it would seem that Josephus had pseudo-Hecataeus's On the Jews as a source for his information about the reign of Alexander the Great and that the book was written "that is, during the last years of John Hyrcanus and/or the first decade of Alexander Jannaeus's reign." It would imply that Jews from the end of the second century/beginning of the first century BCE assumed that Alexander had encounters with Jewish and Samaritan high priests about issues relating to the Sabbatical years. While the story itself is most likely a fabrication given that Samaritans also associate Alexander with sabbatical years there might be a grain of truth to some of it. https://books.google.com/books?id=1bowD ... al&f=false

I am inferring that pseudo-Hecataeus is the source behind Josephus's account of Alexander's meeting with leading religious figures in Judea and Samaria not necessarily all my sources.
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Re: Current State of Samaritan Studies (Hexateuch)

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Secret Alias wrote: Mon Nov 14, 2022 6:07 pm Well as long as you admit he's talking about Sabbatical years I take back my statement. Sorry. If he's referring to Sabbatical years then the question is whether or not Josephus is reporting the acknowledged story about Sabbatical years. I hate evidence from rabbinical literature. I admit it's the worst evidence. But Alexander must have had limited encounters with the Jewish priesthood. A bad source yes. But the story is worth citing for novelty's sake especially as it comes from a document generally acknowledged to be from the first century CE:

You are still refusing to engage with my central point. It is one of basic method -- it is how human beings establish the facts of anything.

We are taught, or should be taught, not to swallow everything we hear and read. We learn in different ways the importance of establishing facts by cross checking with independent evidence.

Late reports won't do -- at least not without corroboration that is independent of those reports.

That's true of human experience in general and it is the basic of how historians today go about their research.

Historians of ancient times have learned that most of what ancient historians have left us is fiction. Historians need to check claims made by ancient historians (and anyone else, for that matter).

Take the first citation you posted here claiming it supported your assertion that Josephus provided evidence that the sabbatical year was observed in the time of Alexander. https://www.jstor.org/stable/23507728

That article makes no mention at all of Josephus's report about Alexander. You assumed. Didn't check.

But that article does lead to another article about Josephus as a source for historians in relation to the sabbatical year, one by North. North says that the Josephan account of Alexander's tax edict in relation to a sabbatical year is not secure history. He cites Buechler and Jeremias. Going to the Jeremias article and we read that Jeremias says that Josephus's report about Alexander is not historical. Turn to Buechler: he says the same.

They all say that Josephus's story of Alexander's tax concession in relation to the sabbatical year is fiction.

So how did the story arise? Buechler suggests, as do a number of others, that it the story was inspired by Caesar's concession. The rumour mill went into overdrive and the story was fabricated that both great conquerors, Alexander and Caesar, respected Jewish ways.

Forget the rabbinic literature. We cannot accept it at face value. We need independent confirmation or reasons for concluding that its claims about events centuries earlier really happened. All the rabbinic literature can do is tell us what the later rabbis believed, and we have no idea where their beliefs arose -- and no evidence to support the view that they are reliable accounts of Alexander the Great's time.
Secret Alias wrote: Mon Nov 14, 2022 6:40 pm It would imply that Jews from the end of the second century/beginning of the first century BCE assumed that Alexander had encounters with Jewish and Samaritan high priests about issues relating to the Sabbatical years. While the story itself is most likely a fabrication given that Samaritans also associate Alexander with sabbatical years there might be a grain of truth to some of it. . . .
That's not how historical reconstruction works. Not today. We cannot assume that "there might be a grain of truth" somewhere. Okay - there are biblical scholars, especially of the gospels, who argue like that -- but they are not following normative historical methods. They live in a world of their own.

Nor can we say that an event is historical on the basis of what we interpret a source as "implying" and asserting that the original authors "must have assumed" something. No. Historians need evidence. There is no room for assuming what ancient people themselves assumed. I mentioned above that historians have some evidence that suggests that Josephus's story of Alexander was inspired by an action of Julius Caesar. You can't argue against that by ignoring the evidence and assuming something else that is not supported by evidence.
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Re: Current State of Samaritan Studies (Hexateuch)

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They all say that Josephus's story of Alexander's tax concession in relation to the sabbatical year is fiction.
Fiction is a broad brush. Did Josephus use pseudo-Hecataeus as his source for most of the information regarding Alexander's encounter with leading religious figures in Judea and Samaria c. 332 BCE? I don't believe much of what Josephus says happened. But if I am right there seems to be an early (late second/early first century BCE understanding of an encounter during a Sabbatical year. Could Josephus's source have lied about the implications of a historical encounter during a Sabbatical year? Should a source from late second/early first century BCE have known that the Torah was created in Alexandria in the 150 years earlier?

Josephus seems to have drawn on an earlier source to support his contention that the Samaritans weren't 'real' Jews for lack of a better terminology.
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Re: Current State of Samaritan Studies (Hexateuch)

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Here is what I wrote in response to your earlier comment:
Secret Alias wrote: Mon Nov 14, 2022 6:40 pm It would imply that Jews from the end of the second century/beginning of the first century BCE assumed that Alexander had encounters with Jewish and Samaritan high priests about issues relating to the Sabbatical years. While the story itself is most likely a fabrication given that Samaritans also associate Alexander with sabbatical years there might be a grain of truth to some of it. . . .
That's not how historical reconstruction works. Not today. We cannot assume that "there might be a grain of truth" somewhere. Okay - there are biblical scholars, especially of the gospels, who argue like that -- but they are not following normative historical methods. They live in a world of their own.

Nor can we say that an event is historical on the basis of what we interpret a source as "implying" and asserting that the original authors "must have assumed" something. No. Historians need evidence. There is no room for assuming what ancient people themselves assumed. I mentioned above that historians have some evidence that suggests that Josephus's story of Alexander was inspired by an action of Julius Caesar. You can't argue against that by ignoring the evidence and assuming something else that is not supported by evidence.

Since then, you posted the following:
Secret Alias wrote: Mon Nov 14, 2022 6:53 pm
They all say that Josephus's story of Alexander's tax concession in relation to the sabbatical year is fiction.
Fiction is a broad brush. Did Josephus use pseudo-Hecataeus as his source for most of the information regarding Alexander's encounter with leading religious figures in Judea and Samaria c. 332 BCE? I don't believe much of what Josephus says happened. But if I am right there seems to be an early (late second/early first century BCE understanding of an encounter during a Sabbatical year. Could Josephus's source have lied about the implications of a historical encounter during a Sabbatical year?
That's what I was saying at the beginning. Yes, the story of Alexander's action re tax and the sabbatical year was an invention of Hasmonean times.

I don't have any reason to think Josephus was "lying". He presumably believed the reports he read about Alexander.
Secret Alias wrote: Mon Nov 14, 2022 6:53 pmShould a source from late second/early first century BCE have known that the Torah was created in Alexandria in the 150 years earlier?
You are almost -- almost -- beginning to address my key point:
  • a court hearing trying to establish what happened in the past looks for eyewitness evidence, not hearsay from a later time.
That's a basic principle for any fact-checker of any time. It is the fundamental rule for historians. I can cite dozens of titles by historians making that point but you don't like me citing stuff. That's something only you are allowed to do.

Historians discard the claims that Martin Luther committed suicide because they emerged 20 years after his death. 20 years after the event means the reports are suspicious. They are not credible. You are asking about 150 years.

You ask, "should a source .... have known....". That's muddling things up a bit. A source doesn't "know" anything. A source is raw data. It has to be interpreted. Readers need to look for clues that tell them why someone wrote that source and where they got their information from.

We cannot be naive and simply assume that the author of a work was diligently cross-checking everything with authoritative records and making every effort to relay known facts to readers.

Questions historians ask when reading a source:
  • Who wrote this? And what position did that person hold and what interests/motivations did that person have?
  • When did they write it?
  • Why did they write it?
  • What were their sources?
  • For whom did they write it?
There is no evidence independent of Josephus that Alexander's action was related to the sabbatical year. There is evidence Caesar performed a similar action and that since the story about Alexander only emerges after Caesar, it is reasonable to infer that the Alexander story was inspired by Caesar's actions. That's an economical explanation that discards all the various "maybe" and "assumptions" and "expectations" that we read into the sources. It also means we don't have to turn to what a lost source might have said and what Josephus might have read in it. Historians prefer to stick to the most economical explanation of the existing evidence.

If one day we find another source that disproves everything I have said here about Alexander, then great. Then we can take another look at everything. But till then, we work with what we've got.
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Re: Current State of Samaritan Studies (Hexateuch)

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That's not how historical reconstruction works.
The Samaritans associate Alexander with one of their Sabbatical years.
Pseudo-Hecataeus (or Josephus's Hasmonean source) associates Alexander with one of their Sabbatical years.
A first century CE rabbinic source which deals with early Jewish history of the Common Era associates Alexander with one of their Sabbatical years.

Since almost no historians doubt that the Pentateuch and its prescribed calculation of seven year cycles existed at the time of Alexander it can be taken as very likely if not certain that Alexander did something noteworthy in his engagement with the Jewish and/or Samaritan high priesthood on a Sabbatical year.

A poll of historians and scholars of Jewish history in the pre-Maccabean period choosing between the likelihood of (a) Alexander having a notable encounter Jewish and Samaritan religious leaders on a Sabbatical year or (b) Gmirkin's claims about the Pentateuch not yet being created when Alexander encountered those high priests would run 99 to 1 in favor of (a). Perhaps 999 to 1, Gmirkin being the 1.

This entire approach you have with source material amounts to "bullshit baffles brains." Yes the exact details of what happened on that Sabbatical year might be in dispute. But that Sabbatical year counting as prescribed in Leviticus? 99 to 1 or 999 to 1 or worse for the third century creation proposition
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Re: Current State of Samaritan Studies (Hexateuch)

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And Josephus's Hasmonean source was likely Alexandrian. An Alexandrian Jew not knowing c 106 BCE that the Torah was really created in his hometown 150 years earlier when "inventing" the story of Sabbatical counting in both Samaria and Judea? Again probability favors anyone or anything but Gmirkin. Unless we ride the "inherent dishonesty of the Jews" trope ...

150 years ago today Sherlock Holmes was solving cases in London. As if educated people today would mistake him for a fictitious person. There's a statue of him in front of 222B Baker Street. I've been there myself.
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Re: Current State of Samaritan Studies (Hexateuch)

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Also from a review of Bezalel Bar-Kochva, Pseudo-Hecataeus, On the Jews : legitimizing the Jewish diaspora. Hellenistic culture and society ; 21. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1996 by Joseph Geiger, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem a work which the reviewer confesses is a "detailed and persuasively argued monograph of impeccable scholarship." Something caught my eye today. The claims of Bar-Kochva that the author of On the Jews is one and the same with the Letter of Aristeas:
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. The author is an Egyptian Jew, according to B. of a moderately conservative persuasion, ‘not a “Hellenistic Jew” in the strict sense’ (181), whose purpose it was ‘to legitimize and justify Jewish residence in Egypt’ (246); thus his intended readers were Jews rather than Greeks—contrary to many earlier advocates of a pseudonymous work B. does not classify it as apologetic. In this, as in the dating, B. sees a close connexion with Pseudo-Aristeas, works intended for internal rather than external consumption. ‘The treatise attended to the basic facts and concerns of Egyptian Jewry and the Hasmonean state from the viewpoint of a conservative Diaspora Jew’ (252); this amounts to the ‘oldest extant evaluation of the secular [sic!] national role of the Jewish Diaspora’ (ibid.).
So let's give this author dates resembling 150 - 90 BCE. In the Letter of Aristeas he gives the story of Demetrius of Phalerum creating the Library of Alexandria. This author clearly had before him 'sources' about the translation of a pre-existent Pentateuch which was translated into Greek. His story is bullshit. Okay fine. But was this a cover up? Is it really plausible that the author KNEW the Pentateuch had only been COMPOSED in Alexandria a century or so earlier and then 'made up' another story in On the Jews where Alexander encounters Jews and Samaritans already using the Torah. I can see that the author is a Jewish apologist. No doubt. But also making up that the Samaritans were already using the Pentateuch a hundred years earlier. Why does that suit his purposes?
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Re: Current State of Samaritan Studies (Hexateuch)

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So a 'biased source' for Josephus. Check. But who isn't a biased source in early Jewish history? Can we really discount an Alexandrian Jewish author who lived a little over a century before the supposed 'creation' of the Pentateuch in Alexandria when he testifies AGAINST the proposition?
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Re: Current State of Samaritan Studies (Hexateuch)

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Secret Alias wrote: Tue Nov 15, 2022 7:09 am
That's not how historical reconstruction works.
The Samaritans associate Alexander with one of their Sabbatical years.
What anyone centuries after an event believed is not evidence for an actual event being historical. How can it be?

You are simply ignoring the evidence -- the evidence -- that the story was invented as a response to Julius Caesar's action.
Secret Alias wrote: Tue Nov 15, 2022 7:09 amPseudo-Hecataeus (or Josephus's Hasmonean source) associates Alexander with one of their Sabbatical years.
That is simply not true. You just made that up.

(There is nothing in the wall of text you posted from Pseudo-Hecataeus on the Jews to support your assertion.)
Secret Alias wrote: Tue Nov 15, 2022 7:09 amA first century CE rabbinic source which deals with early Jewish history of the Common Era associates Alexander with one of their Sabbatical years.
Claims that appear long after an event are not evidence for the historicity of the event. That is basic Historical Method 101. It is basic human experience 101. It is basic Fact-checking 101.
Secret Alias wrote: Tue Nov 15, 2022 7:09 amSince almost no historians doubt that the Pentateuch and its prescribed calculation of seven year cycles existed at the time of Alexander
You just made that up, too.

I have in fact shown you just from reading the articles you cited that not one historian -- not one historian -- says that what Josephus wrote about Alexander and his tax relief in the sabbatical year is a historical fact.
Secret Alias wrote: Tue Nov 15, 2022 7:09 am This entire approach you have with source material amounts to "bullshit baffles brains." Yes the exact details of what happened on that Sabbatical year might be in dispute.
I am the one reading and pointing out that historians say the entire story (not just details) is not historical.

I am the one pointing out that the articles you cited and wall of text you posted either don't refer to Alexander's episode at all or say the story was a late invention.

You are the one who relies entirely on evidence that only surfaces long after the event to claim the event is historical. No court of law, no fact-checker, would agree with your methods or conclusion.

All the historians you have cited or quoted say the same: the story of Alexander granting tax relief in the sabbatical year is a fiction.
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