Monday, January 11, 2016

Apion in the news

ELI KAVON: Apion: Intellectual and Anti-Semite (Past Imperfect Blog, Jerusalem Post).
The model for today’s Jew-hating intellectuals is Apion. A scholar of epic Greek poet Homer and the head of the greatest library of the ancient world in Alexandria, Apion’s attacks on Jews presage charges of ritual murder leveled against Jews in medieval Christendom and can fairly be compared to the Nazi propaganda of Der Sturmer and Julius Streicher. While none of his writings are extant, we know of Apion’s anti-Semitism from the great ancient Jewish historian Josephus. In Against Apion, written by Josephus decades after Apion died in 48 CE, the Jewish historian—unfairly labeled as the epitome of a traitor—defends Judaism against the attacks of Apion and his collaborator in his writings Chaeremon. ...
Whether and the degree to which Josephus was a "traitor" is a complicated problem that does not have an easy answer. But be that as it may, his works are one of our main sources for Judaism of the first century and he is our only source for the lost work of Apion.

Some related past posts are here, here, here, here, here, and here.