Text and Wisdom in the <i>Letter of Aristeas</i>

Myrto Hatzimichali

in Hellenism and the Local Communities of the Eastern Mediterranean

Published in print September 2017 | ISBN: 9780198805663
Published online August 2017 | e-ISBN: 9780191843617 | DOI:
Text and Wisdom in the Letter of Aristeas

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This chapter examines the Letter of Aristeas, a text that presents Jewish-Greek interaction in a number of arenas, including political power, pilgrimage and travel, material wealth, and everyday life, as well as literary heritage and religious/philosophical wisdom. It focuses on the last two aspects, tracing first how ideas from the Jewish religious tradition are combined with aspects of Greek philosophy and political thought in the ‘sympotic’ scenes where the Greek king receives advice from his wise visitors. It then argues that the measures taken for the preservation of the error-free accuracy of the translated Torah, which in turn secure its position in the library, reveal the same preoccupations as those of the Alexandrian textual critics. Rather than condemning textual criticism, Aristeas warns against the same corruptions that textual criticism was invented to confront.

Keywords: Aristeas; library of Alexandria; Septuagint; kingship; gnomic wisdom; textual criticism; Aristarchus; Homer

Chapter.  8742 words. 

Subjects: Classical History

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