A Jewish historian.
On site (present page in Greek and English).
Online Critical Pseudepigrapha.
Aristeas in the Jewish Encyclopedia.
EJW (Peter Kirby).
Aristeas the exegete was an ancient Jewish historian. Only a
single fragment of his work is preserved, thanks to Eusebius,
who is quoting from Alexander Polyhistor.
But hear also such things as the same man relates
Aristeas says, in his book concerning the Jews,
that Esau married Bassara in Edom and begat Job. This man dwelt in the
land of Uz, on the borders of Idumaea and Arabia. He was a just man,
and he was rich in cattle, for he had acquired seven thousand sheep
and three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, five hundred female
asses at pasture; and he had also much arable land. Now this Job was
formerly called Jobab; and God continually tried him and invoked him
in great misfortunes. For first his asses and oxen were driven off by
robbers; then the sheep together with their shepherds were burned up
by fire which fell from heaven; and not long after that the camels
also were driven off by robbers; then his children died from the house
falling upon them; and the same day his own body also was covered with
ulcers. And while he was in evil case, there came to visit him Eliphaz
the king of the Temanites, and Bildad the tyrant of the Shuhites, and
Zophar the king of the Minnaei, and there came also Elihu the son of
Barachiel the Zobite. But, when they tried to exhort him, he said
that even without exhortation he should continue steadfast in piety
even in his sufferings. And God, being pleased with his good courage,
relieved him from his disease, and made him master of great
Such are the things that Polyhistor [wrote]
concerning these things.
Peter Kirby (Early Jewish Writings).
Peter Kirby surveys scholars writing on Aristeas (the exegete):
Emil Schürer writes: "A fragment from the work of one otherwise unknown,
Aristeas περι Ιουδαιων,
in which the history of Job is briefly related in accordance with the Bible,
is given in Euseb. Praep. ev. ix. 25. The history itself presents nothing
worthy of remark, but the personal accounts both of Job and his friends are
supplemented on the ground of other scriptural material. Thus it is said of
Job, that he was formerly called Johab, Ιωβ being evidently
identical with Ιωβαβ, Gen. xxxvi. 33. Upon the ground
of this identification Job is then made a descendant of Esau, for Jobab was
a son of Serach (Gen. xxxvi. 33), and the latter a grandson of Esau (Gen. xxxvi.
10, 13). According indeed to the extract of Alexander Polyhistor, Aristeas is
said to have related that Esau himself 'married Bassara and begot Job of her'
(τον Ησαυ γημαντα Βασσαραν εν Εδωμ γεννησαι Ιωβ).
Most probably however this rests upon an inaccurate reference of Alexander Polyhistor;
for Aristeas, who was quoting from the Bible, must certainly have called Johab
not the son, but correctly the great-grandson of Esau. From Gen. xxxvi. 33 is
also derived the name Bassara as the mother of Job (Ιωβαβ υιος Zαρα εκ Βοσορρας,
where indeed Bosra is in reality not the mother, but the native place of Jobab).
Our author already used the LXX. translation of the Book of Job. It is moreover
remarkable, that in the supplement to Job in the Septuagint the personal accounts
of Job are compiled exactly after the manner of Aristeas. Freudenthal thinks
it certain that this supplement was derived from Aristeas." (The Literature
of the Jewish People in the Time of Jesus, pp. 208-209)
James Charlesworth writes: "Aristeas the Exegete is known only through
a quotation of about sixteen lines from Alexander Polyhistor that is preserved
in Eusebius' Praeparatio Evangelica (9.25), which was translated into
English by E. H. Gifford (Eusebius. Praeparation for the Gospel. Oxford:
Clarendon, 1903). The Greek is reprinted in A.-M. Denis' Fragmenta pseudepigraphorum
quae supereunt graeca (no. 23, pp. 195f.). The fragment concerns Job, called
'Johab,' and reveals dependence upon the Septuagint (see N. Walter, no. 607,
p. 293; B. Z. Wacholder, no. 605, col . 438); hence Aristeas the Exegete lived
in the period between the completion of the Septuagint and the time of Alexander
Polyhistor (80-35 B.C.), perhaps around 100 B.C. He may have lived in Palestine
or Egypt, but the data will not permit us to decide which country is more probable."
(The Pseudepigrapha and Modern Research, pp. 80-81)