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DEMETRIUS:

Chronicler; supposed to have lived at Alexandria in the third century B.C. In a work entitled Πεί'Ιουδαίων ("About Jews"), containing extracts from foreign authors, Alexander Polyhistor (80-40 B.C.) quotes fragments of Demetrius' chronicles; and these were inserted by Eusebius in his "Præparatio Evangelica" (ix. 17-39).

The first excerpt deals with the history of Jacob from the time of his emigration to Mesopotamia till his death. Demetrius endeavors to establish the Biblical chronology and gives the date of every incident in Jacob's life, even fixing the year and month in which each of Jacob's children was born. The excerptconcludes with the genealogy of Levi back to the birth of Aaron and Moses.

The second fragment is an extract from the history of Moses, laying stress on the genealogy of Jethro in order to demonstrate that Zipporah, the wife of Moses, was a descendant of Abraham and Keturah.

The third excerpt gives an account of the sweetening of the water of Marah (Ex. xv. 23).

Another fragment was preserved by Clemens Alexandrinus ("Stromata," i. 21, 141), who gives the title of Demetrius' chronicles as Περὶ τῶν ἐν τῇ Ἰουδαίᾳ Βασιλέων . This fragment endeavors to determine exactly the period of the exile of the Ten Tribes, and that of the tribes of Judah and Benjamin till Ptolemy IV. (222-205 B.C.), in whose reign the chronicler evidently lived.

From the orthography of proper names, and from various expressions used, it is evident that Demetrius used the Septuagint, not the Hebrew Bible. For the determination of certain dates he relied on the Biblical exegesis in use among the Palestinian Jews. Josephus used Demetrius' chronicles for his "Antiquities," and adopted his chronological system.

Bibliography:
  • Freudenthal, Hellenistische Studien, i. 35 et seq.;
  • Bloch, Die Quellen des Flavius Josephus, pp. 56 et seq., Leipsic, 1879;
  • Vaillant, De Historicis Qui Ante Josephum Judaicas Res Scripsere, pp. 45-52, Paris, 1851;
  • Herzfeld, Gesch. des Volkes Israel, iii. 486 et seq.;
  • Grätz, Gesch, iii. 604-606;
  • Schürer, Gesch. iii. 349-351, 3d ed.
J. I. Br.
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