This article compares 4Q163/Pesher Isaiah C and Greek papyrus commentaries on the Iliad (hypomnemata). These Greek commentaries reflect the methods and assumptions of Alexandrian literary-critical scholarship. This comparison will demonstrate that the scribe or exegete responsible for 4Q163/Pesher Isaiah C was acquainted with Alexandrian textual scholarship. It is further argued that the familiarity of the Pesher commentator with Alexandrian scholarship is the result of ongoing exchanges of knowledge between Jewish intellectuals in Hellenistic- Roman Egypt and Palestine. Thus, this contribution proposes that Alexandrian commentary writing is one of the roots of the Pesher genre.
This article argues that 1QpHab 2:5–10 and 1QpHab 9:3–7 are later additions to Pesher Habakkuk. As these are the only passages in Pesher Habakkuk which explicitly refer to “the latter days,” I propose that these additions constitute an explicitly eschatological literary layer, which was presumably added to Pesher Habakkuk in the Herodian era. This literary development of Pesher Habakkuk demonstrates that the Pesharim are no static entities, but partake in a living and fluid interpretative tradition.
This contribution explores the way in which Philo of Alexandria responded to the confrontational politics of the Roman emperor Gaius Caligula, who failed to protect Jewish political life in Alexandria from Greek and Egyptian attacks in 38 CE and even threatened to disrupt their religious life in Jerusalem by placing his statue in their temple. It is shown how Philo’s cultural resistance against the Roman emperor takes shape in a rather subtle way, by presenting the Jews as the guardians of traditional Roman values. Whereas the previous emperors, Augustus and Tiberius, conducted themselves as rulers of the global oikoumenē and exhibited a translocal mindset, taking care to foster the stability of the global Roman Empire by allowing the subjected nations to maintain their local ethnic customs, Gaius deviates from the succession of these good emperors, with his self-centred character and lack of virtue distorting the stability of the empire. The Jews, however, through the defence of their ethnic customs, contribute to the empire’s stability. Although polemicising against the figure of Gaius, Philo’s use of a strategy of “glocalisation,” in which he reimagines the Jews’ local identity from within the global context of the Roman Empire, allows him to remain as constructive as possible.