Sunday, July 14, 2013

Strange Books in the Jerusalem Library c. 200 CE

Africanus, Cesti, 5 (from book 18); Les Cestes de Julius Africanus (ed. J.-R. Vieillefond Florence: sansoni, 1970), 290. 53 - 54. Of some interest here is Africanus's claim to have found copies ofa variant text of the Odyssey in the libraries of Nysa and Rome and “in the archives (ἐν...τοῖς ἀρχείοις)” of “Colonia Aelia Capitolina.” Africanus may be referring to the library of Jerusalem established around that time by Alexander, the bishop of Jerusalem from 212–250; see Eusebius, Hist. eccl., 6.20.1. If this is correct, it shows that the library contained Christian as well as non-Christian documents. Why Africanus chose to refer to a collection of documents containing a copy of the Odyssey as “archives” (instead of a library) is not clear. Conceivably, it is a word play on his description of Aelia Capitolina as “his former (ἀρχαίας) patria. [William Adler, Christians and the Public Archive in A Teacher for All Generations: Essays in Honor of James C. VanderKam, Volume 1 p. 951]

Liddell entry for ἀρχεῖον,

Ion. ἀρχήϊον , τό, neut. of an Adj. ἀρχεῖος, α, ον : ῾ἀρχή II):—, residence, or office of chief magistrates, Hdt.4.62 (dub.), Lys.9.9, X.Cyr.1.2.3, Isoc.5.48, Arist.Mu.400b16; “τὰ ἀ. καὶ βουλευτήρια” D.10.53, cf. IG2.475.21, al., OGI268.18 (Nacrasa, iii B. C.), PGrenf.2.30, al. (ii B. C.). 2. τὰ ἀ. public records, archives, prob. in SIG684.7 (Dyme, ii B. C.), cf. D.H.2.26, PTeb.397.19 (ii A. D.). II. college or board of magistrates, magistracy, Arist.Pol.1298b28, 1304a19: but in pl., special boards, ib. 1299a36, 1331a25, Plu.Ages.33; “ὀμόσαι τὰ ἀ.” IG2.332.45, cf. OGI218.149 (Ilium), etc.; “ὅσοι ἀρχείων μετέχουσιν καὶ δικαστηρίων” SIG286.20 (Milet., iv B. C.). III. in the Roman camp, = principia, head-quarters, Plu.Galb.12.

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