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Re: [ANE-2] Agrippa, Berossus (was toilets and Dead Sea Scrolls)

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    First, my apologies for writing 12 BCE for Agrippa s visit to Judea instead of 15 BCE as you wrote in your article (which is not in front of me). The mistake
    Message 1 of 1 , Nov 29, 2006
      First, my apologies for writing 12 BCE for Agrippa's visit to Judea instead of 15 BCE as you wrote in your article (which is not in front of me). The mistake is a natural one for one who has studied the complexities of Josephus' chronology of Herod the Great, since Agrippa's visit was occasioned by the completion of the site of Caesarea, and Josephus records this event in both 15/14 and 12 BCE. Josephus contains doublets of a number of events spaced 3 years apart, and it has long been concluded that he drew on two sources, one dating events from 40 BCE and the other from 37 BCE. I don't recall offhand
      whether the founding of Caesarea should be pushed back to 15 BCE or Agrippa's visit to 12 BCE.

      Your article "Posidonius, Strabo, and Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa as Sources on Essenes," JJS (1992) 282-7 contained only one very short paragraph on Agrippa, mentioning little other than his visit to Jericho and his use by Pliny. Hence my characterization "on slight evidence." (And indeed J. Hubaux's article "Les Essenes et Pline" documents an extensive parallel between Pliny's description of the Essenes and the solitary, celibate phoenix which contains Greek puns on phoenix = palm tree, which excludes a Latin source for NH 5.73.)

      With respect to my book Berossus and Genesis, Manetho and Exodus:
      Hellenistic Histories and the Date of the Pentateuch (T & T Clark, 2006), you write, 'The Gmirkin book follows poor method to an exceedingly implausible conclusion. E.g., was the little-noticed Berossus book even then at Alexandria (and why would anyone much care)? Gmirkin declares it was "doubtless" there, with no durect evidence. On the other hand, if Moses was known as a "lawgiver,"
      Gmirkin urges that we not conclude that any writing was involved.'

      (1) I have an extensive discussion of methodologies for dating texts in pp. 1-21, and I know of no book on the dating of the Pentateuch that contains more rigorous arguments with respect to terminus a quo and terminus ad quem evidence.
      (2) I extensively discuss evidence for Berossus at the Great Library of Alexandria at pp. 246-248. The most direct datum is the use of Berossus by Cleitarchus, who wrote in Alexandria after 278 BCE (see pp. 244, 248 and the literature cited there).
      (3) The first extra-biblical mention of Moses in Hecataeus of Abdera's Aegyptiaca (c. 315 BCE) and Manetho's Aegyptiaca (c. 285 BCE) knew of Moses as a lawgiver, but neither account gives any indication of written laws attributed to that figure, and I very extensively discuss the example of Lycurgus, the famous Spartan lawgiver, none of whose laws were written down (see p. 49 n. 97); indeed, one of the three lesser Rhetra's attributed to Lycurgus prohibited written laws. The example of Lycurgus is especially telling since Hecataeus based his fictionalized Greek foundation story of Moses establishing Jerusalem, its temple and its laws, in large part on the Spartan ideal (see especially Jaeger, 'Greeks and Jews,' in Scripta Minora 2 [1960]). Manetho seemingly knew of Moses only through Hecataeus of Abdera. Neither Hecataeus of Abdera nor Manetho thus provide evidence of a written Pentateuch that stands up to critical scrutiny.

      Best regards,
      Russell Gmirkin

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