Hellenistic Egypt was the setting for perhaps the first Jewish Golden Age, a time "golden" in Jewish memory as an era of vibrant cultural interaction between the Jews and their gentile hosts. This is the story of the adventures and misadventures of the people of Israel in the land of Egypt the years shrouded in the mists of biblical history under the Pharaohs; the strange intermezzo of the Jewish mercenary detachment on the island of Elephantine on the upper Nile; the apogee of Jewish culture under Ptolemies; and finally, the Jewish community's rapid decline and catastrophic disappearance under Roman rule. Joseph Meleze Modrzejewski uses scientific analysis to illuminate the reality underlying our image of the past. The biblical accounts and Jewish and pagan literary texts are juxtaposed with discoveries of a century of archaeological and papyrological research that has unearthed the edicts of emperors as well as the humble correspondence of common people. In a tantalizing epilogue, Modrzejewski probes a turning point in Western civilization: the brief but crucial episode when budding Christianity and the Alexandrian Jews parted company.
Joseph M l ze Modrzejewski is Professor of Ancient History at the Sorbonne as well as Professor of Papyrology and Ancient Legal History at the Ecole practiques des Hautes Etudes, Sciences historiques et philologiques and director of the program in Judaic Studies at the University of Paris.
Foreword Shaye J. D. Cohen Introduction Note to the Princeton Paperback Edition THE DAWN: Pharaohs and Great Kings 1 Biblical Egypt Joseph and His Brothers Moses and the Pharaoh The Desert Road 2 The Stronghold of Elephantine A Judean Colony in Egypt Mibtahiah and Her Husbands: A Family of Note during the Reign of Artaxerxes "God of Heaven" and God of the Floods THE ZENITH: Ptolemaic Egypt 3 Alexandrian Judaism and Its Problems Alexander and the Jews Can One Be Both Jewish and Greek? A Love Story 4 A New Diaspora Among the "Hellenes" Soldiers of the Ptolemies "God the Most High" and "Splendor of Israel" 5 A Law for the Jews of Egypt The Greek Torah and the Demotic Case Book The Law of Moses and the Justice of the King "The Law of the Land Is Law" 6 A Jewish Temple in Ptolemaic Egypt The Echoes of the Maccabean Crisis "An Altar of the Lord in the Midst of the Land of Egypt" Images of the "Land of Onias" 7 At the Wellsprings of Pagan Anti-Semitism Modern Fantasies and Ancient Myths The Miracle at the Hippodrome "They Loathe the Jews" THE TWILIGHT: Egypt in the Roman Empire 8 The "Jewish Question" in Alexandria The Decline The Vile Deeds of Flaccus the Prefect Jews, Alexandrians, and Claudius the Emperor 9 The Time of Misfortunes The Service Record of a Brilliant Alexandrian A Miracle in Rome "A Spirit of Rebellion" 10 The Remembrance Who Destroyed the Great Synagogue of Alexandria? "Jewish Tax," "Jewish Accounts": The Tale of the Imperial Tax Records A Day of Rejoicings in Oxyrhynchos Epilogue Chronological Table Calendar Monetary Units and Units of Measure Glossary Bibliography Maps Index of Persons and Places Index of Sources