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Jewish Fictional Letters from Hellenistic Egypt: The Epistle of Aristeas and Related Literature
by L. Michael White and G. Anthony Keddie
SBL Press, 2017
Paper: 978-1-62837-185-7 | eISBN: 978-0-88414-239-3 | Cloth: 978-0-88414-240-9
Library of Congress Classification BS744.A7W55 2017
Dewey Decimal Classification 221.486


The first Greek text of the Epistle of Aristeas published in more than a century

The Greek text Epistle of Aristeas is a Jewish work of the late Hellenistic period that recounts the origins of the Septuagint. Long recognized as a literary fiction, the Epistle of Aristeas has been variously dated from the third century BCE to the first century CE. As a result, its epistolary features, and especially those in which the putative author, Aristeas, addresses his brother and correspondent, Philocrates, have largely been ignored. In light of more recent scholarship on epistolary literature in the Greco-Roman world, however, this volume presents for the first time a complete Greek text and English Translation with introduction, notes, and commentary of the Epistle of Aristeas with key testimonia from Philo, Josephus, and Eusebius, as well as other related examples of Jewish fictional letters from the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha.


  • Relevant excerpts from Eupolemus, 2 Maccabees, 3 Maccabees, and the Greek Additions to Esther with translations and introductions

  • A critical introduction to ancient Greek letter-writing

  • An outline of epistolary features in the text

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