Imagined Data? (Event in Alexandria, 19 AD?)

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Imagined Data? (Event in Alexandria, 19 AD?)

Post by billd89 »

I'm reading a great deal, multiple PhDs and books simultaneously, and not taking notes, but since I haven't known exactly what I'm looking for, a random factoid (mis)remembered is driving me up the wall.

I thought I had read (in E. Mary Smallwood's The Jews Under Roman Rule) of a small obscure event in Alexandria Egypt prior to the 38 AD pogrom/genocide, some trouble circa 17 AD? I am unable to find anything online or in that book, however.

Do anyone have any knowledge or useful suggestion?

Edit: I wonder if I read something addressing this, phrased differently? I think this is it.

a) c.14 AD: Emperor Augustus ordered Magius Maximus to replace the deceased Jewish Ethnarch with a Council. One source has this as "the occasion of Tiberius Alexander's embassy"? (Based on age, that would be Philo's father or uncle, not the nephew. It is impossible the same individual could be Ambassador in 12 AD and Praetorian Prefect c. 75 AD, +60yrs later.) At any rate, the Alexandrine Greeks got upset the Alexandrine Jews had secured something resembling a boule.

b) See John J. Collins Between Athens and Jerusalem: Jewish Identity in the Hellenistic Diaspora,p.117.
The so-called βουλή-papyrus from 19-21 C.E. (CPJ 150) preserves an appeal to Rome for the restoration of the Alexandrian city council or boule.The Alexandrians promised to "take care that the citizen-body of Alexandria is not corrupted by men who are uncultured and uneducated." The reference is very probably to the Jews.

A footnote sends me to V. Tcherikover, Corpus Papyrorum Judaicarum - Vol. 2 [1957], p.27.
According to V. Tcherikover, the Greeks were upset about Jewish social-cultural intrusions c. 15 AD:
The Jews are not mentioned in the document, but there is little doubt that the Alexandrian spokesman had them in mind in writing 11. 1-6 . Who are these people who are trying to escape the laographia by getting themselves inscribed with the epheboi on the public records, if not Jews and Egyptians? And who are these 'uneducated and uncultured people', who defile the immaculate community of the Alexandrians, if not, again, Jews and Egyptians? The Egyptians seem to have been less dangerous than the Jews, since their entry into the Greek community was never the cause of a political struggle; it is therefore likely that, in the opinion of the Alexandrian spokesman, the Jews were the principal enemy. Yet let us take the sentence as it stands; even so, its contents are very important for the Jewish question, since they outline the political background against which the Jewish question took shape. At least four important conclusions may be drawn from this sentence: (1) the payers of the laographia and the epheboi are two mutually exclusive groups; (2) the struggle against the members of the first group, who are trying to enter the privileged class, has a common interest for both the Roman authorities and the Greek city; the former are interested in an undisturbed income from the poll-tax, whereas the latter intend to free themselves from an increase in the number of unwelcome aliens among their citizens; it is as if the Alexandrian spokesman is saying to Augustus 'Give us a Council and we will look after your money'; (3) the very fact that the Alexandrians are pleading for a Council whose duty will be to keep watch against undesirable elements penetrating Greek society is a sufficient proof that such a penetration was often made, and that the Greek city, lacking its most powerful institution, was unable to change the course of affairs without the help of the Romans; (4) the characterizations ' uneducated and uncultured ' are typical of the standpoint taken by the Greeks in Alexandria with reference to inhabitants of Jewish and Egyptian origin. 'Uneducated and uncultured' is identical with 'lacking the Greek paideia'; these are men of another race and another culture. For Greeks, as well as for Jews, the Jewish problem' was more than a question of political status: a cultural problem was involved.

Given the above, Alexandrian 'Jews' (I think rather, children of mixed marriages) sought 'Greek paideia' in the gymnazium. And others still, presumably, in the great cultural center of the Mouseion (for music, poetry, philosophy and the famed Library). What information is available regarding Alexandrian Jews participation in the 'Greek' cultural institutions in Alexandria? If Mouseion membership was awarded to prominent scholars and citizens who were Imperial supporters, we would assume Philo Judaeus and his family were Members. How many other Jews? And was the Serapeum (a civic cult, with its own large library) open to all, regardless of religion? I would imagine the Therapeutae - those elite educated Jewish writer-philosophers - would definitely have participated in this civic culture.


On the topic, Tyler A. Stewart's "Jewish Paideia: Greek Education in the Letter of Aristeas and 2 Maccabees," in Journal for the Study of Judaism in the Persian, Hellenistic, and Roman Period Vol. 48, No. 2 (2017), pp.182-202.
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