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Artapanus Revisited

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Chapter Summary

The fragments of Artapanus are surely among the most colorful of all the writings from antiquity relating to Judaism. In the words of Howard Jacobson, "his narrative is dramatic, somewhat frenetic, full of conflict and intrigue, and one might say, rarely bizarre". For all that, they have received only intermittent scholarly attention. Two recent contributions, however, by Howard Jacobson and Holger Zellentin, are worthy of comment. Zellentin's treatment is not persuasive in every respect, but he has advanced our understanding of Artapanus considerably by clarifying the date of composition. The recent article of Jacobson, "Artapanus Judaeus," provides a welcome stimulus to reconsider Artapanus, by suggesting that he is "likely not Jewish". Zellentin has offered a much longer and more substantial analysis of Artapanus. A major part of Zellentin's argument concerns Artapanus' use of sources.

Keywords: Artapanus Judaeus; Holger Zellentin; Howard Jacobson



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