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Three jewish ritual practices in Aristeas §§158–160

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Chapter Summary

In the Letter of Aristeas to Philocrates §§128-171, the Jewish high priest, Eleazar, who speaks to the deputation sent from Ptolemy II to Jerusalem in order to fetch the scholars who would translate the Law into Greek, presents an apologia for Judaism, primarily organized around a criticism of Gentile idol worship and an allegorical interpretation of the Jewish food laws. Ps.-Aristeas describes in §§158-160 three Jewish ritual practices: the wearing of fringes on clothes, the placing of mezuzot on doors and gates, and the binding of phylacteries on the hands. Moses Hadas gives the most reasonable interpretation of the clause arguing that the author is referring to the "fringes" or "tassels" that according to Numbers 15:38-39 and Deuteronomy 22:12. Israelites were to wear on their clothes. Aristeas shares some of the vocabulary of the command in the Septuagint (LXX), even if it is not a close citation of it.

Keywords: Aristeas; Deuteronomy; Israel; Jerusalem; Jewish ritual practices; Judaism; Moses Hadas; Numbers; Philocrates; Septuagint (LXX)



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