BEROSUS


BEROSUS
BEROSUS (Berossus = Bel-Usur?; c. 330–250 B.C.E.), priest of Bel (Marduk) at Babylon, author of a history in Greek of Babylon (Chaldaika or Babyloniaka) in three books. This work, dedicated to Antiochus I, is extant only in fragments, particularly in alexander polyhistor , josephus , the Church Father eusebius , and the Byzantine compiler George Syncellus. The first book described Babylonia and the creation and explained Chaldean astrology, the second covered the kings before the   Flood, the Flood itself, and the dynasties down to Nabonassar (747 B.C.E.), and the third brought the account down to Alexander. Recent discoveries of cuneiform texts on the Flood show that Berosus was faithful to his sources, and that in fact his account is in large part taken from the Gilgamesh epic. Berosus was particularly important to Samaritan, Jewish, and Christian writers for apologetic purposes, since his chronology contradicted that of the Greek historians and since he appeared to confirm the antiquity of, and thus lent credibility to, certain portions of the Bible. But inasmuch as Berosus, under the influence of astrological theory, spoke of 600 periods of 3,600 years each, whereas the Bible mentions a much shorter period since creation, writers such as the Samaritan Eupolemus tried to reconcile these discrepant chronologies. Unfortunately, however, only part of Berosus' chronology has been transmitted, and his lists of dynasties have often been mutilated by those who cite him or by later copyists of the manuscripts. Berosus was similarly found useful in confirming the biblical narrative of the Tower of Babel, since he too mentions a tower near Babylon built by men who gloried in their own strength and size and despised the gods, whereupon, as in the Bible, the gods brought about a confusion of their languages, though they had hitherto all spoken one tongue. Alexander Polyhistor later apparently attempted to synchronize this account with those of the Bible and the Greek poet Hesiod's story of Prometheus. Berosus is of great importance as a source for Josephus, although questions are still raised as to whether he used him directly or through some compilation such as that of Alexander Polyhistor or perhaps that of King Juba of Mauretania. Josephus cited Berosus in support of his statements that a portion of the ark of Noah (Xisouthros in Berosus) still survives in Armenia (Ant. 1:93; cf. Apion 1:130), that the patriarchs lived unusually long lives (Ant. 1:107), and that Abraham lived ten generations after the Flood and was well versed in astronomy (Ant. 1:158). In his polemic against Greek historians he cites with approval (Apion 1:142) Berosus' criticism of their reports of Semiramis' achievements. The fact that on two occasions (Ant. 10:219–28; Apion 1:134–44) he cites the same passage on Nebuchadnezzar from Berosus, together with precisely the same confirmatory references from philostratus and megasthenes , would indicate that at least here he was using a handbook. The accuracy of this passage from Berosus, particularly the description of the battle of Carchemish, has now been confirmed by Wiseman's publication of a chronicle of Chaldean kings on cuneiform tablets; but it must be noted that Josephus' account (Ant. 10:96–102) of the events leading to the fall of Jerusalem and the capture of Jehoiachin differs in several details from the Chronicle. The attribution (Suidas, 10th century) of the Babylonian (or Egyptian) Sibylline books to him has been disputed. The founder of the astrological school on the Greek island of Cos to whom the Athenians erected a statue (Pliny, Natural History, 7:123) is pseudo-Berosus. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: F. Jacoby, Die Fragmente der griechischen Historiker, 3C (1958), no. 680, 364–95 (fragments in Greek); I.P. Cory, The Ancient Fragments … of … Berossus … (1828), 19–38 (English translation of some important fragments); E. Schwartz, in: Pauly-Wissowa, 3.1 (1897), 309–16; P. Schnabel, Berossos und die Babylonisch-hellenistische Literatur (1923), esp. 67–93 (on Berosus and Hellenistic-Jewish literature); D.J. Wiseman, Chronicles of Chaldean Kings (626–556 B.C.) in the British Museum (1956), 24ff.; W. Spoerri, in: Der Kleine Pauly, 1 (1964), (Louis Harry Feldman)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Berosus — • The name of a native historian of Babylonia and a priest of the great god Bel (Bel Marduk) Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Berosus     Berosus      …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Berosus — ist der Name von Berosus dem Chaldäer, einem im späten 4./frühen 3. Jahrhundert v. Chr. lebenden babylonischen Priester und Verfasser eines historischen Werks in griechischer Sprache, siehe Berossos eines Kraters auf dem Erdmond, siehe Berosus… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Berosus — may refer to: *Berossus (3rd century BC), Hellenistic era Babylonian writer and astronomer *Berosus (beetle), a genus of beetles of the family Hydrophilidae *Berosus (crater), a lunar crater …   Wikipedia

  • Berosus — Berōsus, Priester zu Babylon, Zeitgenosse Alexanders d. Gr., schrieb drei Bücher chaldäischer (babylon.) Geschichte in griech. Sprache; die Fragmente in Müllers »Fragmenta historicorum Graecorum« (Bd. 2, 1848) …   Kleines Konversations-Lexikon

  • Berosus — Berosus, babylon. Priester um 300 v. Chr., griech. gebildet. schrieb nach den Tempelarchiven eine babylon. Geschichte, von der wir leider nur Bruchstücke haben, die jedoch von großem Werthe sind; zuletzt von Richter (1825 zu Leipzig)… …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • Berosus — ▪ Chaldean priest and author also spelled  Berossus,  Berossos , or  Berosos , Akkadian  Belreʿušu  flourished c. 290 BC       Chaldean priest of Bel in Babylon who wrote a work in three books (in Greek) on the history and culture of Babylonia… …   Universalium

  • BEROSUS — I. BEROSUS Graece Βηρωςςὸς, Chaldaeus, Beli Sacerdos, Historicus. De aetate eius non convenit inter omnes. Mosi aequalem statui a nonullis ait Caspar Barthius Adv. l. 51. c. 7. quam sententiam iure, ut ineptissimam, damnat. Claudius Verderius suâ …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • Berosus — Bérose Bérose ou Bérossos (en grec ancien Βεροσσος / Berossos), dit Bérose le Chaldéen, était un prêtre chaldéen, astronome mais aussi historien du IIIe siècle av. J. C., né à Babylone. Sommaire 1 Biographie …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Berosus (Cratère) — Berosus Localisation Astre Lune Coordonnées 33°  30’  00’’ Nord 69°  54’  00’’ Est [1] …   Wikipédia en Français


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