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(8th Century B.C.)

HOMER°, early Greek poet who was highly esteemed in the Hellenistic Jewish world. He is quoted by Philo, Josephus, and the Sibylline oracles. Spurious Homeric verses, extolling monotheism and the sanctity of the Sabbath, formed part of Jewish propaganda literature. Homer was known in certain Jewish circles in Palestine. The Sifrei Hamiros mentioned in the Mishnah (Yad. 4:6) may possibly refer to Homer, and allusions to Homeric myths (e.g., the siren, the monster centaurs) can be discovered in rabbinic literature.

Sources:S. Lieberman, Hellenism in Jewish Palestine (1950), 108ff.; C.H. Gordon, Before the Bible (1962), 218ff.; idem, in HUCA, 26 (1955), 43–108.

[Solomon Rappaport]

Source: Encyclopaedia Judaica. © 2008 The Gale Group. All Rights Reserved.