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 Main Index : History : Josephus : Against Apion : Book I Index : Chapter 35

Flavius Josephus Against Apion - BOOK I

Chapter 34 | No More

      Now this man did not discover and mention the same king with the others, but feigned a newer name, and passing by the dream and the Egyptian prophet, he brings him to [Jupiter] Hammon, in order to gain oracles about the scabby and leprous people; for he says that the multitude of Jews were gathered together at the temples. Now it is uncertain whether he ascribes this name to these lepers, or to those that were subject to such diseases among the Jews only; for he describes them as a people of the Jews. What people does he mean? foreigners, or those of that country? Why then' dost thou call them Jews, if they were Egyptians? But if they were foreigners, why dost thou not tell us whence they came? And how could it be that, after the king had drowned many of them in the sea, and ejected the rest into desert places, there should be still so great a multitude remaining? Or after what manner did they pass over the desert, and get the land which we now dwell in, and build our city, and that temple which hath been so famous among all mankind? And besides, he ought to have spoken more about our legislator than by giving us his bare name; and to have informed us of what nation he was, and what parents he was derived from; and to have assigned the reasons why he undertook to make such laws concerning the gods, and concerning matters of injustice with regard to men during that journey. For in case the people were by birth Egyptians, they would not on the sudden have so easily changed the customs of their country; and in case they had been foreigners, they had for certain some laws or other which had been kept by them from long custom. It is true, that with regard to those who had ejected them, they might have sworn never to bear good-will to them, and might have had a plausible reason for so doing. But if these men resolved to wage an implacable war against all men, in case they had acted as wickedly as he relates of them, and this while they wanted the assistance of all men, this demonstrates a kind of mad conduct indeed; but not of the men themselves, but very greatly so of him that tells such lies about them. He hath also impudence enough to say that a name, implying "Robbers of the temples," (26) was given to their city, and that this name was afterward changed. The reason of which is plain, that the former name brought reproach and hatred upon them in the times of their posterity, while, it seems, those that built the city thought they did honor to the city by giving it such a name. So we see that this fine fellow had such an unbounded inclination to reproach us, that he did not understand that robbery of temples is not expressed By the same word and name among the Jews as it is among the Greeks. But why should a man say any more to a person who tells such impudent lies? However, since this book is arisen to a competent length, I will make another beginning, and endeavor to add what still remains to perfect my design in the following book.


(26) That is the meaning of Hierosyla in Greek, not in Hebrew.

Chapter 34 | No More

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