External Texts

A bibliographical summary of Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha.

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Letter of Aristeas: A piece of wisdom literature clearly emerging from the Hellenistic-Jewish world, it is placed in the pen of Aristeas, a non-Jewish official in the court of Ptolemy II Philadelphus, who ruled Hellenistic Egypt for most of the first half of the third century, BCE. Seemingly a report on the Hellenistic effort to translate the Torah, it recounts the famous (and undoubtedly not-factual) anecdote of the 72 Jewish scholars sent to Alexandria who each produced the same translation.

4 Maccabees: Another work clearly rooted in the Hellenistic-Jewish approach to the world, this work frames Judaism in the context of Platonic and Stoic philosophy. As it recounts the pain and persecution of the martyrs of the Maccabean revolt, it espouses a Judaism based on Hellenistic reason over (presumed) Jewish passion.

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Jacob Cytryn

Jacob Cytryn is a doctoral candidate in Jewish Studies and Education at Brandeis University. A Wexner Graduate Fellow, Jacob has a B.A. in Classical Studies from the University of Pennsylvania and an M.A. in Talmud and Rabbinics from the Jewish Theological Seminary. He also serves as the year-round Program Director for Camp Ramah in Wisconsin.