Meron M. Piotrkowski

Onias and the Oniad Temple

Jahrgang 25 () / Heft 1, S. 1-16 (16)

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This paper deals with Josephus' pejorative perception of the high priest Onias and the temple he founded in Egypt. In stripping Josephus' personal bias from his accounts of Onias' Temple in the Judaean War and Jewish Antiquities, I attempt to produce a more nuanced picture of these narratives. I suggest that Josephus' main source was an Oniad founding-legend that stood behind both of his long narratives, in War Book 7 and Antiquities Book 13, which he skewed polemically and in accordance with the respective main themes of the two books. I believe these main themes are the result of a personal change he experienced, turning from a proud aristocratic Jerusalemite priest into a Diaspora Jew based in Rome. This change, I argue, accounts for several different emphases and contradictions found in these narratives.

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