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Prior to First Century B.C.

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Online Text for Pseudo-Eupolemus

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Information on Pseudo-Eupolemus

Martin McNamara writes: "The work entitled On the Jews was excerpted by the Greek historian Alexander Polyhistor and attributed to the Jewish writer Eupolemus, who flourished about 150 B.C. (see no. 9 below). Polyhistor's excerpts were reproduced by Eusebius in Praeparatio Evangelica (book 9, 17; see also 9, 18, 2). It is now recognized that the text is not from the well-known Jewish writer Eupolemus but rather from a Samaritan who wrote about 300 B.C." (Intertestamental Literature, p. 214)

James Charlesworth writes: "Of this text, called by B. Z. Wacholder (no. 547e) and N. Walter (no. 547f) Pseudo-Eupolemus and by P. Riessler (no. 62) simply 'Anonymous,' only sixteen verses are preserved in quotations of Alexander Polyhistor (80-35 B.C.) by Eusebius in his Praeparatio Evangelica (9.17-18), which was translated by E. H. Gifford (Eusebius, Preparation for the Gospel. Oxford: Clarendon, 1903). Alexander Polyhistor mentions two fragments of the Anonymous Samaritan, calling the first 'an anonymous writing' (Pr. ev. 9.18, 2), but incorrectly attributing the second to Eupolemus (Pr. ev. 9.17, 2-9). The Greek text of these two excerpts has been republished by A.-M. Denis in his Fragmenta pseudepigraphorum quae supersunt graeca (no. 23, pp. 197f.). This Samaritan text was probably composed between 200 and 150 B.C., and was written by a Samaritan because Mt. Gerazim is called 'the mountain of the Most High.'" (The Pseudepigrapha and Modern Research, pp. 77-78)

Emil Schürer writes: "Among the extracts of Alexander Polyhistor are found, Euseb. Praep. evang. ix. 17 and 18, two, which to judge by their contents are evidently identical, although the one is much shorter than the other. The longer (Euseb. ix. 17) is given as an extract from Eupolemus, who relates that Abraham descended in the [thir]teenth generation from the race of giants, who after the deluge built the tower of Babel, that he himself emigrated from Chaldaea to Phoenicia and taught the Phoenicians τροπας ηλιου και σεληνης και τα αλλα παντα. He also proved of assistance to them in war. He then departed by reason of a famine to Egypt, where he lived with the priests in Heliopolis and taught them much, instructing them in την αστρολογιαν και τα λοιπα. The real discoverer however of astrology was Enoch, who received it from the angels and imparted it to men. We are told the same virtually, but more briefly, in the second extract, Euseb. ix. 18, which Alexander Polyhistor derived from an anonymous work (εν δε αδεσποτοις ευρομεν). If this parallel narrative is itself striking, it must also be added, that the longer extract can scarcely be from Eupolemus. Eupolemus was a Jew, but in the extract Gerizim is explained by ορος υψιστου. Also according to Eupolemus Moses was the first sage (Euseb. ix. 26), while in the extract Abraham is already glorified as the father of all science. Hence the supposition of Freudenthal, that the original of both extracts was one and the same, viz. the anonymous work of a Samaritan, and that the longer extract of Alexander has been ascribed by an oversight to Eupolemus, is one which commends itself. In this work also, as remains to be mentioned, Greek traditions and Scripture history are again blended." (The Literature of the Jewish People in the Time of Jesus, pp. 210-211)

Martin McNamara writes: "The city of Babylon is said to have been first founded by those who escaped the Flood. Enoch, not the Egyptians, is said to have been the first who discovered astrology. Methusaleh, Enoch's son, is said to have learned all things through the angels of God, 'and thus we gained our knowledge.' This is the kind of lore we find in the Enochic writings and is found also in the Genesis Apocryphon found at Qumran (see p. 147 above). Abraham, Pseudo-Eupolemus further tells us, was trained in astrology, which he taught first to the Phoenicians and later to the Egyptians. Abraham is also presented as having lived for some time with the Egyptian priests at Heliopolis." (Intertestamental Literature, pp. 214-215)

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