Andronicus Son of Meshullam

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ANDRONICUS SON OF MESHULLAM (Messalamus ), Alexandrian sage. He lived during the reign of Ptolemy vi Philometor (180–145 b.c.e.). Andronicus acted as the spokesman of the Jews in a dispute that arose between the Jews and Samaritans in Alexandria. The Samaritans claimed that the sanctuary on Mt. Gerizim and not that of Jerusalem had been built according to the Law of Moses and demanded a public disputation between them and the Jews in the presence of Ptolemy Philometor. In the discussion, he demonstrated that the genuine high-priestly succession had been retained by the priests in charge of the Temple in Jerusalem, and that the sanctity of the Temple was unquestionable (since it was famous throughout the world and many kings had offered sacrifices). The king acknowledged the justice of Andronicus' arguments and sentenced his Samaritan opponents to death. According to Samaritan tradition, however, the Samaritan spokesmen, Sabbaeus and Theodosius, gained the day. They proved that before his death Moses had established Mt. Gerizim as the sole holy place from which the priests could bless the people (Deut. 27), but that this was not recognized by the Jews whose text of the Bible was later. According to the Samaritans, their argument was approved by Ptolemy Philometor, and he prohibited the Jews from going up Mt. Gerizim, on penalty of death.


Jos., Ant., 13:74 ff.; J.A. Montgomery, Samaritans (1907), 76 ff.; Graetz, Gesch, 3 (1905–065), 44 ff., 651 ff.

[Abraham Schalit]