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The Cultural And Religious Background Of The Riots

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Chapter Summary

To point exclusively to Gaius, Flaccus and the people of the gymnasium as responsible in varying capacities for the fate of the Jews would be a mistake. It is Philo who broadens the scenario and introduces the cultural and ethnic factor, when he states that the Alexandrian mob took advantage of an ancient Egyptian hatred of Jews in order to throw the city into confusion. Both Philo and Josephus are likely referring to derogatory Egyptian versions of the Exodus story, which associated the Jews to the Egyptian god Seth/Typhon. At the peak of the flood, when the Alexandrian riots of 38 C.E. occurred , people from the surrounding flooded countryside moved to the city, crowding it and aggravating its demographic situation, producing fertile terrain for the ethnic and cultural hatred affected at that particular time by Nile cult religious passions.

Keywords: Alexandrian Jews; Alexandrian riot of 38 C.E; Egyptian tradition; Exodus story; Flaccus; Gaius; Josephus; Nile cult; Philo; Seth/Typhon



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