Oenomaus of Gadara°
OENOMAUS OF GADARA°
OENOMAUS OF GADARA °, pagan philosopher of the school of younger Cynics, who lived during the reign of Hadrian (117–38). He composed a number of works, only little of which has survived. His most famous Γοήτων θώρα (Kata Chresterion), fragments of which are preserved in Eusebius (Praeparatio Evangelica 1:7ff.), was a lively attack on the belief in oracles. The argument was based on the belief in free will, and it seems to have had some measure of success, because Julian, in the middle of the fourth century, upbraids him for destroying reverence for the gods (Orationes 7:209, also 6:199). Oenomaus aimed at a cynicism which did not slavishly follow either Antisthenes or Diogenes, defining it as "a sort of despair, a life not human but brutish, a disposition of the soul that reckons with nothing noble or virtuous or good." Oenomaus is generally identified with Avnimos ha-Gardi, who appears in rabbinic literature as a philosopher friendly toward the rabbis. He once asked them how the world was first created. Declaring themselves not versed in such matters, they referred him to Joseph the builder, who satisfied him with his reply (Ex. R. 13:1).
He was particularly friendly with R. Meir and once asked him; "Does all wool rise that is placed in the dyeing-pot?" Meir replied, "What was clean upon the body of the mother rises, what was unclean upon the body of the mother does not rise" (Ḥag. 15b). This enigmatic dialogue probably refers to the fact of Meir's teacher, *Elisha b. Avuyah, having become an apostate, and the dangers involved in Meir's learning from him (see tj, Ḥag. 2:1, 77b). Avnimos' question is indicative of an intimate understanding of Jewish problems. This positive attitude is reflected in an episode according to which the pagans asked him whether they could overcome the Jews, and he replied that if they heard the chirping (i.e., studying) of children in the synagogues and academies, they would be unable to overcome the Jews (Gen. R. 65:20). He had some knowledge of the Bible (Ruth R. 2:13), but it is most significant that the rabbis regarded him as the greatest heathen philosopher of all ages (with Balaam, Gen. R. 65:20). This is due to his gibes at the gods and oracles, coupled with his sympathy and closeness to rabbinic circles, but also indicates the measure of their unfamiliarity with Greek philosophy (see S. Lieberman, in Biblical and other Studies, ed. by A. Altmann (1963), 129–30).
Hyman, Toledot, 946; 261; Pauly-Wissowa, 17 (1937), 2249–51.
"Oenomaus of Gadara°." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . Encyclopedia.com. (September 21, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/oenomaus-gadaradeg
"Oenomaus of Gadara°." Encyclopaedia Judaica. . Retrieved September 21, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/oenomaus-gadaradeg
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.