What Has Alexandria to Do with Jerusalem?: Writing the History of the Jews in the 19th Century

In: Regimes of Comparatism
Author: Simon Goldhill

Abstract: This chapter looks at how Christian and in particular Protestant historians of the 19th century wrote the history of the Jews as a fundamental gesture of comparatism as self-understanding. In the name of objective historiography, Christian historians discovered an image of the Jews to suit their own teleology. In particular, Alexandria, as a place where Jews and Greeks lived in a hybrid cultural environment, was systematically devalued, because of its hybridity, despite the fact that it was the environment in which the Septuagint, the Christian Old Testament, was forged. This chapter shows how religious history turn to comparatism, but how this comparatism is deeply embedded in apologetics.