Alien Wisdom: The Limits of Hellenization

Alien Wisdom: The Limits of Hellenization

Arnaldo Momigliano

Language: English

Pages: 188

ISBN: 0521387612

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

In this classic study of cultural confrontation Professor Momigliano examines the Greeks' attitude toward the contemporary civilizations of the Romans, Celts, Jews, and Persians. Analyzing cultural and intellectual interaction from the fourth through the first centuries B.C., Momigliano argues that in the Hellenistic period the Greeks, Romans, and Jews enjoyed an exclusive special relationship that guaranteed their lasting dominance of Western civilization.

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those methods which they used, very competently, to describe barbarians. There was no attempt to see Rome, as it were, from a distance - as something strange, mysterious in language and religion, frightful in rituals and formidable in warfare. If Polybius had treated Rome in the same way as according to a fragment of Book 34 he seems to have treated Alexandria, we would have gained in understanding. That surviving half-page on Alexandria with its three classes of people is memorable: the

festivals dear to her husband Ptolemy IV Philopator (241 F 16 Jacoby). Polybius again went a step further by passing over in silence the Roman Bacchanalia which chronologically and typologically can hardly be separated from the new popularity of Dionysus in 39 Polybius and Posidonius Egypt about 210 B.C. He was also silent about the religious crisis in Rome during the second Punic War: we do not hear from him about the human sacrifices of that time. He did his best to turn Scipio Africanus into

and appeared to St Jerome to be a great authority on them (P.L. 26.353). Posidonius was of course behind him. Perhaps encouraged by Varro, Caesar went to conquer Gaul with Posidonius in his satchel. The ethnographical excursuses of the Bellum Gallicum, which few nowadays would consider interpolated, are similar in content and style to the Posidonian sections of Diodorus and Strabo. Notice that Caesar never mentions the Druids except in the long ethnographic digression of Book 6.11-28. He did not

of biblical scholars out of action. Ultimately, however, we must perhaps admit deeper obstacles. Under the guidance of Nehemiah and his successors the Jews were intent on isolating themselves from the surrounding nations. They trusted in God and his Law, For the same purpose, the Greeks trusted their own intelligence and initiative, were unceremoniously aggressive and contributed everywhere to disturbing the peace of the Persian Empire on which the reconstruction of Judaism depended. One hundred

Judahites in Pseudo-Philo', Proceed. Amer. Acad. Jewish Research 20 (1951), 279-355 Bickerman, E. J., 'Notes on the Greek Book of Esther', Proceed. Amer. Acad. Jewish Research 20 (1951), 101-33 Bickerman, E. ]., 'Sur la chronologie de la sixieme Guerre de Syrie', Chronique d'£gypte 27 (1952), 396-403 Bickerman, E. J., 'La chaine de la tradition pharisienne', Revue Biblique 59 0952). 44-54 Bentzen, A., Daniel, 2nd ed., Tubingen 1952 Bammel, E., 'Zum jiidischen Martyrerkult', Theolog. Literaturz.

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