ALEXANDER POLYHISTOR° (first century B.C.E.), Greek scholar. Alexander was born in Miletus in Asia Minor. He was taken prisoner by the Romans, but was later freed, and continued to live in Italy as a Roman citizen until his death (c. 35 B.C.E.). He was called Polyhistor (very learned) because of the wide variety of subjects on which he wrote. His works included three volumes on Egypt, one on Rome, and a work entitled "Concerning the Jews." This last work reflects the growing Roman interest in the Jewish people at the time of Pompey's conquest of Judea. Lengthy fragments from this work have been preserved by eusebius (Praeparatio evangelica, 9), and by Clement of Alexandria. From these it seems apparent that he combined relevant excerpts from Jewish, Samaritan, and gentile writers and reproduced them in indirect speech. Thus, valuable fragments of the writings of Hellenistic-Jewish authors have been preserved of which nothing would otherwise be known. Alexander cites the historians aristeas , demetrius , eupolemus , and artapanus , the tragic poet ezekiel , the epic poets theodotus and philo the Elder, as well as non-Jewish writers such as the historian Timochares, author of "The History of Antiochus," and apollonius molon . It seems that Alexander made little original contribution to the subject. In his works he made indiscriminate use of traditions both favorable and hostile to the Jews. He also dealt with the Jews in other works. In his book on Rome he states that a Jewish woman named Moso wrote the Law of the Hebrews, i.e., the Torah (see Suidas, s.v. ʾΑλέξανδρος ὸΜιλήσιος). Although Alexander was fully aware of the Jewish tradition concerning Moses, he appears to have seen nothing wrong in quoting a conflicting tradition from a non-Jewish source. His explanation that Judea was named after one of Semirasis' sons must have been taken from a similar source (quoted in Stephanus Byzantinus' exposition on Judea). -BIBLIOGRAPHY: J. Freudenthal, Hellenistische Studien: Alexander Polyhistor (1874); A.V. Gutschmid, Kleine Schriften, 2 (1890), 180 ff.; Schuerer, Gesch, 3 (19094), 469 ff.; F. Jacoby, Die Fragmente der griechischen Historiker, 3A (Texts; 1940), 96–126; 3a (Commentary; 1943), 248–313; Reinach, Textes, 65–66. (Menahem Stern)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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  • ALEXANDER Polyhistor — multa philologica et historica reliquit. Floruit Olymp. 173. quâ in Aegypto iterum regnavit Ptolemaeus Lathyrus, bellumque in Graecia gerebat L. Sylla. De hoc Alexandro ita scribit Suidas. Alexander Milesius, qui et Polyhistor, et Cornelius… …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • Alexander Polyhistor — Lucius Cornelius Alexander Polyhistor (Ancient Greek: Ἀλέξανδρος ὁ Πολυΐστωρ) was a Greek scholar who was enslaved by the Romans during the Mithridatic War and taken to Rome as a tutor. After his release, he continued to live in Italy as a Roman… …   Wikipedia

  • Alexander Polyhistor — Lucius Cornelius Alexander Polyhistor (* um 100 v. Chr.; † um 40 v. Chr.) war ein antiker griechischer Gelehrter. Aufgrund seiner vielfältigen Studien erhielt er den Beinamen Polyhistor. Die Mehrzahl seiner Werke ist verloren gegangen, aber… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Alexander Polyhistor — ▪ Roman philosopher, geographer, and historian in full  Lucius Cornelius Alexander Polyhistor  born c. 105 BC, Miletus, Asia Minor [now in Turkey] died c. 35 BC, Laurentum, near Rome [Italy]       philosopher, geographer, and historian whose… …   Universalium

  • Alexander of Miletus — was a Greek historian and author who flourished between 105 and 40 BCE. He was the author of a book entitled Περὶ Ιονδαίων ( Upon the Jews ). Only a few fragments have been preserved, quoted in the works of Eusebius and Clement of Alexandria. The …   Wikipedia

  • Alexander — stammt vom altgriechischen Namen Αλέξανδρος, Aléxandros, und bedeutet so viel wie Der die (fremden) Männer abwehrt und Der Beschützer. Die Bedeutung des Namens wird auch in Zusammenhang mit einem Golem in der jüdischen Mythologie gebracht,… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Alexander Lychnus — Alexander (Gr. polytonic|Ἀλέξανδρος) surnamed Lychnus (polytonic|Λύχνος), was an ancient Greek rhetorician and poet.cite encyclopedia | last = Schmitz | first = Leonhard | authorlink = | title = Alexander Lychnus | editor = William Smith |… …   Wikipedia

  • Polyhistor — Als Polyhistor, von altgriech. πολύς (polys = viel, weit, ausgedehnt), ἱστορία (historia = das Erforschen, Kunde, Wissenschaft), (engl. polymath), „Vielwisser“ resp. „Genius universalis“, wird seit der Frühen Neuzeit ein Gelehrter mit… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • POLYHISTOR — I. POLYHISTOR Apion sic dictus, Gell. l. 5. c. 14. Item Folyhistor historicus a Plinio reponitur inter eos, e quibus contexuit librum octavum. Poterat idem videri ac Alexander Polyhistor; sed aperte ab eo Plinius ipse l. 9. c. 35. distinguit.… …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • Polyhistor — A polyhistor is someone of great erudition: having a knowledge spanning many fields. The definition includes both having an expertise level knowledge in various fields and a merely general knowledge. Arguably a polyhistor is but one possible type …   Wikipedia

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