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Justus of Tiberias and the synchronistic chronology of Israel

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Chapter Summary

Of the many Jewish authors who lived between Alexander the Great and the beginnings of rabbinic literature and whose works have been lost, Justus of Tiberias is the one whose works are the most sorely missed. Justus should be seen as the representative of a not-insignificant number of Jews in first-century Israel who combined a passion for both Jewish and Greek learning. This attempt to synthesize two venerable cultural heritages seems to have petered out in the ensuing centuries, at least we have no evidence which indicates that it continued. As Tessa Rajak has noted, the very fact that a historian of the Jewish kings relates a story about the trial of Socrates is of the utmost importance; presumably Justus has created a chronological context for relating together crucial events in Jewish history and in Greek history.

Keywords: chronology of Israel; Greek learning; Jewish authors; Jewish kings; Justus of Tiberias; rabbinic literature



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