Aristobulus of Paneas


Aristobulus of Paneas

Aristobulus of Paneas (ca. 160 BC) was a Hellenistic Jewish philosopher of the Peripatetic school, though he also used Platonic and Pythagorean concepts. Like his successor, Philo, he attempted to fuse ideas in the Hebrew Scriptures with those in Greek thought.

He lived in the third or second century B.C. The period of his life is doubtful, Anatolius of Laodicea (270) placing him in the time of Ptolemy Philadelphus (third century BC), Gercke in the time of Philometor II Lathyrus (latter part of second century BC); while more reliable testimony indicates that he was a contemporary of Ptolemy Philometor (middle of second century BC). He is the author of a book the exact title of which is not certain, although there is sufficient evidence to prove that it was an exposition of the Law.

He was among the earliest of the Jewish Alexandrian philosophers whose aim was to reconcile and identify Greek philosophical conceptions with the Jewish religion. Only a few fragments of his work, apparently entitled "Commentaries on the Writings of Moses", are quoted by Clement, Eusebius and other theological writers, but they suffice to show its object. Eusebius ("Præp. Ev." viii. 10, xiii. 12) has preserved two fair-sized fragments of it, in which are found all the quotations from Aristobulus made by Clement. In addition, there is extant a small passage concerning the time of the Passover festival, quoted by Anatolius (Eusebius, "Historia Ecclesiastica," vii. 32, 17).

He endeavoured to prove that early Greek philosophers had from Linus, Orpheus, Musaeus and others, passages which strongly resemble the Mosaic writings. These passages, however, were obvious forgeries. It is suggested that the name Aristoilus was taken from 2 Macc. i. 10. The hypothesis (Schlatter, "Das Neugefundene Hebräische Stück des Sirach", 1897) that it was from Aristobulus that the philosophy of Ecclesiasticus was derived is not generally accepted.

References

* [http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=1773&letter=A Jewish Encyclopedia entry]


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