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Topic: The Oniad Temple Mercenaries : Third Macabees

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The Oniad Temple Mercenaries : Third Macabees

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I'm looking at this solely from a chronological point of view...

 

Re-evaluating 3 Maccabees : An Oniad Composition?

Meron M. Piotrkowski

The evidence presented here suggests that the author of 3 Maccabees was a member of the Jewish mercenary community of Onias. As will be discussed in this paper, evidence shows that this community assembled around a temple devoted to the Jewish God in the vicinity of Heliopolis, in the Egyptian countryside.

θhilo‘s philosophical approach to biblical interpretation appears to preclude any reference to this temple. Several records, likewise, seek to marginalize this prominent religious institution, among them Josephus, who, in contrast to Philo, does report on the temple of Onias, though he may not be counted amongst its ardent admirers. It is already apparent from this bit of textual evidence that not all Jews favoured the Oniad Temple. This disruption in Jewish opinion of the Oniad Temple is also evidenced by relevant discussions found in rabbinic literature, which, albeit exhibiting a somewhat ambivalent attitude, also recount negative attitudes towards the Oniad Temple, which were conceivably based on real perceptions held in the time of the Rabbis.

Thus it may be presumed that not only did the Jews in the Land of Israel and in the Diaspora not universally recognize the legitimacy of the Oniad Temple, the Jews of Alexandria were likewise not fond of ηnias‘ project.

 

https://www.academia.edu/28602958/Re-evaluating_3_Maccabees_An_Oniad_Composition



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The Land of Onias (Greek: Ὀνίας) is the name given in Hellenistic Egyptian, Jewish, and Roman sources to an area in Ancient Egypt's Nile delta where a large number of Jews settled. The Land of Onias, which included the city of Leontopolis (Λεόντων πόλις), was located in the nome of Heliopolis. While accounts differ on the details, it is known that the Jews of Leontopolis had a functioning Temple, presided over by kohanim of the family of Onias IV (for whom the "Land of Onias" is named). Like its predecessor the Jewish Temple at Elephantine (destroyed in the 4th century BCE), the Temple at Leontopolis was the only Jewish sanctuary outside of Jerusalem where sacrifices were offered. Aside from a somewhat uncertain allusion of the Hellenist Artapanus,[2] only Josephus gives information about this temple. The Talmudic accounts are internally contradictory.

The account of Josephus in The Jewish War, refers to the Onias who built the Temple at Leontopolis as "the son of Simon", implying that it was Onias III, and not his son, who fled to Egypt and built the Temple. This account, however, is contradicted by the story that Onias III was murdered at Antioch in 171 BC.

According to Josephus, the temple of Leontopolis existed for 343 years, though the general opinion is that this number must be changed to 243. He relates that the Roman emperor Vespasian feared that through this temple Egypt might become a new center for Jewish rebellion and therefore ordered the governor of Egypt, Lupus, to demolish it. Lupus died in the process of carrying out the order; and the task of stripping the temple of its treasures, barring access to it, and removing all traces of divine worship at the site was completed by his successor, Paulinus, which dates the event to c. March - August 73 AD. In his dig at Tell al-Yahudi in 1905/6, Flinders Petrie identified the remains of this temple.

The temple of Leontopolis was built on the site of a ruined temple of Bubastis, in imitation of the temple at Jerusalem, though smaller and less elaborate.[17] The statement in Wars of the Jews vii. 10, § 2 of Onias' argument that by the building of this temple the whole Jewish nation would be brought to turn from the Syrians to the Ptolemies seems very plausible, and may have given rise to the assertion made in the letters that there were dissensions among the Jews. The "fortress" (ὀχύρωμα) of the temple of Bubastis may be explained by the statement, which seems credible, that Onias built a fortress (θρωύριον) around the temple in order to protect the surrounding territory, which now received the designation "Oneion."

Many of the Jewish settlers in the Land of Onias were military colonists who served in the army of the Ptolemeid kings. Ananias and Chelkias, the sons of Onias IV, both served as generals in the army of Cleopatra III (r.117-81 BCE).

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Land_of_Onias



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