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Greek Paideia and the Jewish Community of Alexandria in the Letter of Aristeas

Thursday, October 9, 2014
4:00 AM
2022 South Thayer Building; 202 S. Thayer St. Ann Arbor, MI 48104

Benjamin G. Wright

University Distinguished Professor of Religion Studies, Bible, Early Judaism, and Christianity at Lehigh University


In the second century BCE, an unknown Alexandrian Jew composed a work that narrates the translation of the Hebrew Torah into Greek. The so-called Letter of  Aristeas pretends to be the story of a Gentile courtier of Ptolemy II Philadelphus sent to Jerusalem to fetch Jewish translators. The Jewish author of Aristeas reveals himself to have had a good Greek education that enabled him to produce a thoroughly Hellenistic Greek book. In this lecture, Professor Benjamin Wright will discuss in what ways the author displays his training, and what that might tell us about the Jewish community’s Hellenistic context in late second century Alexandria.


Professor Benjamin Wright, Lehigh University