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EZEKIELUS:

Alexandrine poet; flourished in the second century B.C. He dramatized Biblical episodes in Greek hexameters. Four fragments of one of his dramas, representing the Exodus (Εξαγωγή) have been preserved by Clemens Alexandrinus ("Stromata," i. 23, 155) and by Eusebius ("Præparatio Evangelica," ed. Gaisford, ix. 29, § 14). After referring briefly to the suffering of the Israelites in Egypt, the first fragment gives a monologue of Moses, who relates the history of his life from his birth to his flight to Midian. Then appear the seven daughters of Jethro. Moses questions them as to their origin, and Zipporah gives him the required information.

In the second fragment Moses relates to his father-in-law a dream which he has had, and the latter interprets it as predicting the future greatness of Moses. The following scene represents the burning bush, from which is heard the voice of God (ib. ix. 29, §§ 4-6). The third fragment gives the orders of God concerning the Exodus and the Feast of Passover. Then appears an Egyptian who has escaped the catastrophe at the Red Sea, and who relates how the Israelites had crossed the sea, while the Egyptians perished therein (ib. ix. 29, §§ 12-13). The last fragment presents a messenger who informs Moses of the discovery of an excellent resting-place near Elim.

Apart from some embellishments, the poet follows closely the Biblical text, and displays some ability in the treatment of the subject. To the question whether dramas of this kind were intended for the stage, Schürer answers in the affirmative. According to him the author of this drama had a double end in view: to instruct the people in Biblical history, and to divert them from the pagan plays.

Bibliography:
  • Philippson, Ezekiel des Jüdischen Trauerspieldichters Auszug aus Egypten und Philo des Aelteren Jerusalem, Leipsic, 1830;
  • Delitzsch, Zur Gesch. der Jüdischen Poesie, pp. 211-219;
  • Dähne, Gesch. Darstellung der Jüdisch-Alexandrinischen Religionsphilosophie, ii. 199;
  • Z. Frankel, Ueber den Einfluss der Palästinischen Exegese auf die Alexandrinische, Hermeneutik, pp. 113-119;
  • Herzfeld, Gesch. des Volkes Israel, iii. 517-519;
  • Schürer, Gesch. iii. 373;
  • K. Kuyper, Le Poète Juif Ezéchiel, in R.E.J. xlvi. 48-73.
J. I. Br.
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