[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
Re: orion-list Philo
Stephen Goranson writes:
> In Every Good Man is Free, Philo located Essenes in Palestine Syria, not
That Philo asserts that certain anonymous potentates in Egypt (i.e.
Flaccus and his cronies) had made unfounded charges against the Essenes it
seems to me demonstrates Essene presence at Alexandria, despite Philo's
assertion that the Essenes hailed from Syria.
During the initial disturbances in 37/38 CE, the non-Jews at Alexandria
had been very insulting towards Agrippa, who as newly appointed ruler of
Syrian had passed through Alexandria on his way to Egypt. It is possible
that frictions were particularly high between Alexandrian Greeks and Syrian
Jews. The Syrian Jews whose presence in Alexandria was so troublesome may
have been Essenes.
The London Papyrus 1912, contains the edict of Claudius in response to
the troubles in Alexandria under Gaius Caligula and at Claudius' accession.
This edict (line 96) contains a clause forbidding Jews from entering
Alexandria from Syria or Egypt (i.e. the countryside). The Greeks apparently
considered Syrian and Egyptian Jews to have played a significant role in the
problems at Alexandria. Scholars consider it possible that these Jews were
helping to arm the Alexandrians for revolt. (As Josephus, Ant. 19.278
reports, "Upon the death of Gaius, the Jews, who had been humiliated under
his rule and grievously abused by the Alexandrians, took heart again and at
once armed themselves.")
For the text of Gaius' edict, see H. Idris Bell, _Jews and Christians in
Egypt: The Jewish Troubles in Alexandria and the Athanasian Controversy_
(Oxford University Press, 1924).
> And he wrote of potentates (plural) at various times over the country.
One shouldn't read much into the plural, as Philo was obviously talking
in generalities and not naming names. Philo labels governor Flaccus a
"potentate" (Flaccus 147). When Philo wrote that "some of them" outdid wild
beasts in savagery, torturing and killing their own subjects, he had some
specific ruler in mind, i.e. Flaccus. When he asserts that justice visited
"them" with the same calamity, i.e. to be carved up alive, we are not to
conclude that Philo knew several governors that met such a fate (!); in
Flaccus he makes it clear that Flaccus' fate was the worst of any governor
For private reply, e-mail to RGmyrken@aol.com
To unsubscribe from Orion, e-mail to email@example.com with
the message: "unsubscribe Orion." For more information on the Orion Center
or for Orion archives, visit our web site http://orion.mscc.huji.ac.il.