Flavius Josephus

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Important Writings


Josephus, Antiquities Book 13:

“257 Hyrcanus took also Dora and Marissa, cities of Idumea, and subdued all the Idumeans; and permitted them to stay in that country, if they would submit to circumcision, and make use of the laws of the Jews; 258 and they were so desirous of living in the country of their forefathers, that they submitted to the right of circumcision, {a} and of the rest of the Jewish ways of living; at which time, therefore, this befell them, that they were hereafter considered to be Jews.”


There is a significant contention that the Dorians actually came from Dor in Palestine, a city on the coast of the land of Manasseh, and where many ancient “Greek” artifacts have been found by archaeologists, for which see Biblical Archaeology Review, July-August 2001, p. 17, and November-December, 2002, “Gorgon Excavated At Dor”, p. 50. These artifacts show a “Greek” presence at Dor as early as the seventh century B.C., and are certainly much earlier than the Hellenistic period. The seventh century B.C. is the time of the last recorded Assyrian activity in Israel (see Ezra 4:2, Esar-Haddon reigned from 681 B.C.), and the last deportations of Israelites which happened about 676 B.C. (see The Assyrian Invasions And Deportations of Israel by J. Llewellyn Thomas). For evidence that Israelite priests were indeed present at Dor see Biblical Archaeology Review, May-June 2001, p. 21 and the article there. If the Dorians migrated from Palestine, rather than from the north, Crete is a logical place to begin settling, enroute to the west. Further evidence that the Dorians were Israelites is found in Josephus, in his record of a letter written by a Spartan (or Lacedemonian, and they were also Dorian Greeks) king to Jerusalem about 160 B.C., which is found in Antiquities 12.4.10 (12:226-227).

That this account of the letter, and its contents, is factual is verified by the reply to it recorded by Josephus at Antiq. 13.5.8 (13:163-170), by Jonathan the high priest. The reply to this letter was long delayed, due to the Maccabean wars and problems amongst the Judaeans which are described by Josephus. It is also documented in 1st Maccabees chapter 12 in the Apocrypha.