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Herod or Alexander Janneus? A New Approach to the Testament of Moses

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In recent years a consensus has emerged that the Testament of Moses is to be dated in the early first century c.e., at least in its final form, and the primary basis for that consensus is the apparently perfect match between the reference to a ruler ruling for 34 years and the years of the reign of Herod the Great. While acknowledging that much can be explained on that presupposition, I have sought to show that a fit equally as strong as with Herod may be found when chapter 6 is read as alluding to the reign of Alexander Janneus and Alexandra Salome. The figure 34 matches with as much accuracy as one could expect. But much else also matches, including the fact that his sons did reign for shorter periods than their father, unlike Herod’s sons, and that many of the details, including depictions of depravity and assumptions of religious conflict, better match what we know of the reign of Alexander, Alexandra, and their sons.

Affiliations: 1: Murdoch UniversityPerthAustraliaUniversity of the North WestSouth


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