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Chapter Summary

The historical genre includes a large number of works written in the traditions of Greek historiography, such as 2 Maccabees or the War and Antiquities of Josephus. Some of the works treated in this chapter might be equally well considered as scriptural paraphrases (1 Esdras), exegetical treatises (Demetrius), or even popular romances (Artapanus). 1 Esdras may be the earliest fully preserved Jewish work from the Hellenistic period which might be considered historiographical in some loose sense. Demetrius was clearly concerned to reconcile apparent contradictions and difficulties within the biblical text. Artapanus displays many of the characteristic motifs of the often apologetic cultural and ethnographic historiography of the Hellenistic period. 2 Maccabees is the last substantial surviving historical work written by a Jew during the Hellenistic period. Philo, the Jewish philosopher and exegete, was little concerned with contemporary history. The major historian of the first century, Josephus, deserves special treatment.

Keywords: 1 Esdras; 2 Maccabees; Artapanus; Demetrius; Greek historiography; Josephus



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