“Superstitious and Abominable”: Jews in the Epicurean Account of Diogenes of Oinoanda

Krystyna Stebnicka


A fragment of the Epicurean account of Diogenes of Oinoanda (2nd century AD), which was found in 1997, revealed a mention of the most superstitious and abominable Jews and Egyptians. The fragment is part of A Treatise on Physics and repeats the Epicurean view that gods do not interfere in people’s lives. The aforementioned peoples serve the exemplification that the world of humans is separated from the world of the gods. Both expressions refer to the stereotypical perception of the Jews and Egyptians that is well-known from Greek-Roman literature. However, it seems that the way both ethne imagined their gods – in the form of animals (the Egyptians’ view) and without any cultic statues (the Jews’ view) – was meaningful for Diogenes, who like other Epicureans attached great importance to the worship of images of gods.

Słowa kluczowe: Diogenes of Oinoanda, Epicureism, Jews

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