Judaism defined itself as not Egyptian?

Discussion about the Hebrew Bible, Septuagint, pseudepigrapha, Philo, Josephus, Talmud, Dead Sea Scrolls, archaeology, etc.
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ficino
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Judaism defined itself as not Egyptian?

Post by ficino »

An interesting thesis transmitted in Tim Whitmarsh's Beyond the Second Sophistic: Adventures in Greek Classicism. Discussing the Exagoge, a Hellenizing-Judaic work in Greek about the Exodus, written during the Ptolemaic period (some 269 iambic trimeter lines survive), Whitmarsh says this (p. 217): "As Jan Assmann in particular has argued, Judaism’s distinctive sense of identity rested on its status as a “counterreligion” defined in opposition to Egypt, which “came to represent the rejected, the religiously false, the ‘pagan.’”(n. 18) The representation of Pharaonic Egypt within Alexandrian Judaism was of course heavily filtered through this biblical tradition of antinomy but so too must have been the perception of the Ptolemaic present."

n. 18 gives citations from publications of Assmann and then adds that F.V. Greifenhagen (Egypt on the Pentateuch’s Ideological Map: Constructing Biblical Israel’s Identity. Sheffield, 2002) "argues that the Pentateuch displays a tension between the normative, overlain Mesopotamian ethnogenesis and an older tradition locating the origins of the Jewish people in Egypt."

I had not thought about this before. We are so used to growing up assuming that the Canaanites (itself an artifact of the biblical text?) constituted Judaism's principal "other" ...

Anyone have a reaction, or know the work of Assmann and/or Greifenhagen? Is all this stuff "white people's scholarship"?
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billd89
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Re: Question on Exagogue's Dating

Post by billd89 »

https://www.roger-pearse.com/weblog/201 ... fragments

Perhaps someone may clarify: how do we know Eusebius Praeparatio Evangelica 9.29 is quoting Alexander Polyhistor's version of rather than a copy of Ezekiel's Exodus directly?
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Ben C. Smith
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Re: Question on Exagogue's Dating

Post by Ben C. Smith »

billd89 wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 8:13 am https://www.roger-pearse.com/weblog/201 ... fragments

Perhaps someone may clarify: how do we know Eusebius Praeparatio Evangelica 9.29 is quoting Alexander Polyhistor's version of rather than a copy of Ezekiel's Exodus directly?
He starts quoting Polyhistor in chapter 23, interjecting his own summary comments from time to time. That he is still quoting from Polyhistor for his excerpts from Ezekiel is evident in comments such as, "To this, after some words that he has interposed, he adds the following, 'Now this is what Ezekiel says in The Exodus,'" and, "Again, after some other passages he further says, 'Ezekiel also, in the drama which is entitled The Exodus....'"
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billd89
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Re: Multiple Sources?

Post by billd89 »

I see there's Commentary by Polyhistor. So the assumption is that any reference to Ezekiel or Exagoge passages must be via Polyhistor, e.g. Eusebius could not have had more than one Ezekiel source (Polyhistor).

Eusebius is copying 'Polyhistor' (or a text purportedly by Polyhistor) who copied Ezekiel intact. Got it, thx!

Exagoge dated 100-75 BC seem right?
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Ben C. Smith
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Re: Multiple Sources?

Post by Ben C. Smith »

billd89 wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 9:03 am I see there's Commentary by Polyhistor. So the assumption is that any reference to Ezekiel or Exagoge passages must be via Polyhistor, e.g. Eusebius could not have had more than one Ezekiel source (Polyhistor).
Well, if the Polyhistor quotations just happened to contain a small extract here and there of Ezekiel, then things might be different; but when so many of the long quotations of Ezekiel are manifestly and expressly stated to come from Polyhistor, then one would have to have a good reason for supposing that Eusebius had any other source for the quotations not so clearly marked, I would think, since in this case Eusebius seems to be quoting Polyhistor at least as much for the extract as for his interpretation of them.
Exagoge dated 100-75 BC seem right?
Not sure. Any time after the translation of the Septuagint and before Alexander Polyhistor seems possible to me, at least right now.
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billd89
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Re: Melchizedek, again?

Post by billd89 »

Eusebius of Caesarea’s Praeparatio Evangelica, citing Polyhistor {c. 50 BC?} citing Ezekiel (c.75 BC?) Exagoge Lines 67–90:

Moses: I had a vision of a great throne on the top of Mount Sinai and it reached till the folds of heaven. A noble man was sitting on it, with a crown and a large scepter in his left hand. He beckoned to me with his right hand, so I approached and stood before the throne. He gave me the scepter and instructed me to sit on the great throne. Then he gave me a royal crown and got up from the throne. I beheld the whole earth all around and saw beneath the earth and above the heavens. A multitude of stars fell before my knees and I counted them all. They paraded past me like a battalion of men. Then I awoke from my sleep in fear.

Enoch or Melchizedek? I sense a trend. The Chaldaean Enochic Tradition is oldest (>300 BC?), then the Melchizedek Tradition substitutes an intermediary 'Samarian-Egyptian' variant (c.200 BC?) and lastly a Midian-Palestinian Moses (c.100 BC) replaces Ezekiel's noble man/unnamed king. This Melch/Enoch character more closely matches several descriptions of Melchizedek in period literature. It would appear Ezekiel preserves a socio-political transition (c.75 BC?) in myth: the anonymous M. surrenders his throne to Moses. Is Exagoge recording the sterilization of an older Egyptian cult by a younger competing Alexandrian sect? There is blending or syncretism going on here, I strongly suspect.

Two generations later, the elderly Therapeutae (c.15 AD) start their day with a dawn service to the 'face-of-god' (vestiges of the Egypto-Samarian Solar Melchizedek Cult) but end their celebratory night singing Mosaic songs (probably from their Palestinian grandparents' era, c.75-50 BC) to the Saviour. It's unclear whether Melchizedek-as-Logos/God merely survived in relic form, or Philo downplayed other trappings of the Melchizedek cult suggested by Epistle to the Hebrews c.55 AD.

See DVC 87:
after supper they hold the sacred vigil... form themselves into two choirs... so filled with ecstasy both men and women that forming a single choir they sang hymns of thanksgiving to God their savior, the men led by the prophet Moses and the women by the prophetess Miriam.”

Elsewhere, Philo (familiar w/ the Therapeutae; probably their student c.10 BC?) claims to have been 'initiated into a Mosaic mystery' (cult), De Cherubim 49:

I myself was initiated under Moses the God-beloved into his great mysteries, yet when I saw the prophet Jeremiah and knew him to be not only himself enlightened, but a worthy minister of the holy secrets, I was not slow to become his disciple.

Are there any papers of note, on this mysterious "noble man" in Ezekiel's Exagoge?
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