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ARISTOBULUS, of Paneas (c. 160 B.C.), a Jewish philosopher of the Peripatetic school. Gercke places him in the time of Ptolemy X. Philometor (end of 2nd century), Anatolius in that of Ptolemy II. Philadelphus, but the middle of the 2nd century is more probable. He was among the earliest of the Jewish-Alexandrian philosophers whose aim was to reconcile and identify Greek philosophical conceptions with the Jewish religion. Only a few fragments of his work, apparently entitled Commentaries on the Writings of Moses, are quoted by Clement, Eusebius and other theological writers, but they suffice to show its object. He endeavoured to prove that early Greek philosophers had borrowed largely from certain parts of Scripture, and quoted from Linus, Orpheus, Musaeus and others, passages which strongly resemble the Mosaic writings. These passages, however, were obvious forgeries. It is suggested that the name Aristobulus was taken from 2 Macc. i. 10. The hypothesis (Schlatter, Das neugefundene hebräische Stück des Sirach) that it was from Aristobulus that the philosophy of Ecclesiasticus was derived is not generally accepted.

See E. Schürer, History of the Jewish People (Eng. trans., 1890-1891), ii. 237 seq.; article Alexandrian School: Philosophy; and s.v. “Aristobulus” in Jewish Encyclopedia (Paul Wendland).

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