Fragmentary Jewish Historians and Biblical History
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In his contribution to the fragmentary Jewish historians of Hellenistic times and their treatment of the biblical tradition Erich Gruen shows not only that the fragments disclose a remarkable range and diversity of texts, but also that their authors’ engagement with biblical texts was more light-hearted in tone, deliberately idiosyncratic, and, far from parochial in temperament, tended to connect with Hellenic and Near Eastern cultures in order to set Jewish traditions into a broader context. These historians did not see their mission primarily as setting the record straight. They provided arresting twists on biblical tales, alternative versions, provocative variations, and, almost always, some entertainment value. The sacrality of the Scriptures remained untouched.