The Letter of Aristeas

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Abstract

Even though the Letter of Aristeas was unmasked as a pseudepigraphon over 400 years ago, the question of its value as a historical source continues to dominate the field of Septuagint Studies. First, this chapter discusses how the genre of the Letter of Aristeas is actually a mix of historiography, rhetorical display, Hellenistic philosophy, and biblical wisdom literature. Next, it discusses several recent approaches to the problem of historicity: the search for a kernel of historical truth in the Letter, the application of insights from the study of ancient historiography, and the Letter as a source for the reception history of the Septuagint. Finally, it addresses the identification of the Aristeas story as a social myth of Alexandrian Jewish society.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Oxford Handbook of the Septuagint
EditorsAlison Salvesen, T. Michael Law
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Pages121-134
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9780199665716
ISBN (Print)9780199665716
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Ancient historiography
  • Genre
  • Historicity
  • Reception history
  • Rhetoric
  • Social myth

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