Hermippus of Smyrna on Pythagoras, the Jews, and the Thracians

Bezalel Bar-Kochva

in The Image of the Jews in Greek Literature

Published by University of California Press

Published in print February 2010 | ISBN: 9780520253360
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520943636 | DOI:
Hermippus of Smyrna on Pythagoras, the Jews, and the Thracians

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This chapter discusses Hermippus of Smyrna, who was considered as a relevant and respectable source for the history of the philosophers by Greek and Roman authors alike, and looks at his testimonium—as phrased in Origen— that seems to reveal an early version of the myth on the Jewish origin of Greek philosophy. It then examines Hermippus's biography of Pythagoras, and suggests that it may not have been written for the purpose of historical truth. The chapter further explains some points in the testimonium, as well as its connection to the fragment of Hermippus, in order to correctly assess the intent and the background of his reference to the Jews, and also identifies the three prohibitions and the influence of the Jews on Pythagoras.

Keywords: Hermippus of Smyrna; history of philosophers; testimonium; Origen; Jewish origin; Greek philosophy; Pythagoras; historical truth; three prohibitions; Jewish influence

Chapter.  21661 words. 

Subjects: Judaism and Jewish Studies

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