The situation had changed by the time of Antipas, son of Herod, prince of Galilee (4 BC – 39 AD). Antipas had studied in Rome and

learned of the significance of written holy texts. He had also heard poetry readings by Roman poets and seen how important poetry was for the Romans’ self-image and self-confidence.

el Faiyum, pack donkey
el Faiyum, pack donkey

Antipas ruled in Galilee, where there was no great temple comparable with the temple in Jerusalem. During his rule, the Jews took over from the Romans for the first time the idea of writing down their great past in literary form, to give them a cultural identity based on a national literature.

On this topic, Roland Baumgarten writes (Heiliges Wort und Heilige Schrift bei den Griechen, 1998, p. 223f:

As the dominance of pseudo-epigraphic texts shows, the written form was mainly used to fake tradition. … (Writing exists) where new religious concepts were to be established. Actual breaks with tradition could be legitimised and made acceptable more easily if they were presented as old traditions that had been handed down, if the innovation could be presented as tradition…

The new writings in the Old Testament familiar to us, dating from Antipas’ time, found a new tradition that they claim is time-honoured.

Since the writers transferred contemporary conflicts of their own time into the past, these texts can also be read as romans à clef about the Herodian period.

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