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Chaeremon°

CHAEREMON°

CHAEREMON ° (first century c.e.), Egyptian stoic, historian, and priest. Chaeremon became celebrated for his learning and was invited to tutor Nero in Rome; he also succeeded *Apion as librarian in Alexandria. Fragments of his writings are extant in the works of other authors. His "History of Egypt," which has not survived but is mentioned by Josephus (Apion, 1:288) and Porphyry, attempts to prove the superiority of Egyptian culture, presenting it as a model of the true philosophy. The emperor Claudius, in his letter to the Alexandrians concerning the Jews, mentions a Chaeremon, who may be possibly the historian at the Alexandrian embassy. That Chaeremon held anti-Jewish views is evident from the passages from his book concerning the exodus from Egypt, cited by Josephus. In these, Chaeremon expresses a similar view to that of the Egyptian writer *Manetho, who connects the exodus with the expulsion of the *Hyksos dynasty by the Egyptians and describes the outcasts as lepers. Josephus tries to show that the two accounts contradict each other and are unreliable. Later writers, such as Porphyry, however, contend that he is trustworthy and accurate. The fact that Chaeremon sided actively with the Alexandrians in their struggle with the Jews, however, casts great doubt upon his objectivity in his writing about Jews.

bibliography:

Pauly-Wissowa, 6 (1899), 2025–27 s.v.Chairemon; Schuerer, Gesch., 3 (19094), 536ff.; H.R. Schwyzer, Chairemon (Ger., 1932); M. Stern, in: Zion, 28 (1963), 223–7.

[Lea Roth]

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