Structure of Against Apion (supplement to Antiquity of the Judeans)

1.1-1.218: Antiquity of Judean customs and way of life (despite claims to the contrary and the neglect or ignorance of Greek historians)

  • Greek historians are largely silent because of the remoteness of Judea from Greece
  • Neighbouring peoples who are better record keepers than even the Greeks do know about the antiquity of Judean culture: (1) Egyptians, (2) Phoenicians, and (3) Chaldeans
  • (4) The Greeks: Even some Greek historians do allude to Judean history / some Greek authors speak of encounters with individual Judeans: Hecataeus (1.183-204) – generally neutral or even positive in descriptions; Agatharchides (1.205-212) – negative; Silence of other Greek historians out of envy

1.219-2.296: Exposure of the fictitious accusations against Judeans and their customs which originated among Egyptians motivated by hatred and envy and rooted in the debased character of animal-worshipping Egyptians (i.e. countering the ethnographic materials about Judeans)

  • 1.228-287 : Manetho: The Egyptian leper origin of Judeans (Osarsiph = Moses)
  • 1.288-303: Chaeremon: Slight adjustment
  • 1.304-320: Lysimachos: King Bocchoris and the consultation of the oracle (cf. Tacitus)
  • 2.1-2.144: Apion – base Egyptian with faulty character: Three types of material used by Apion to critique Judeans: 1) Exodus story (8-32); 2) Indictments against Judeans at Alexandria (33-78); 3) Temple and Judean customs (with Posidonius and Apollonios Molon as sources for Apion) (78-144)


  • 2.145-296 – Positive description of Judean laws and customs aimed at debunking the false pictures offered by Apollonios Molon, Lysimachos and others – particularly refuting the “atheist” and “misanthrope” accusations
  • Moses as ideal legislator and the Judean theocrasy: true piety (counter atheism) and good treatment of fellows (counter misanthropy): 1) Greek lawgivers and philosophers depend on Moses; 2) Outline of key aspects of Judean customs; 3) Treatment of foreigners** (209-210)
  • Judean customs superior to other nations, even Greeks (2.237-270): 1) Greek gods and myths inferior; 2) Greek treatment of foreigners implies that they, more than Judeans, could be accused of misanthropy (Spartans, Athenians, etc) (see 258 ff); 3) Greeks imitate or emulate Moses and the Judean laws and customs (2.279-286)
  • 2.287-296: Conclusion – Judeans teach true piety (not impiety / atheism) and proper relations among people (not misanthropy) – anything else is a lie

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