Annette Reed, "Abraham as Chaldean scientist and father of the Jews:
1.154-168, and the greco-roman discourse about astronomy/astrology,"
Journal for the study of Judaism in the Persian, Hellenistic and Roman
period (J. study Jud. Persian, Hell. Roman period)
2004, vol. 35, no2, pp. 119-158
Abstract: This article analyzes Josephus' approach to Abraham and
astronomy/astrology in Ant. 1.154-168. This retelling of Genesis 12
describes Abraham as inferring the one-ness of God from the
irregularity of the stars, thereby implying his rejection of "the
Chaldean science" for Jewish monotheism. Soon after, however, Josephus
posits that the patriarch transmitted astronomy/astrology to Egypt,
appealing to the positive connotations of this art for apologetic aims.
Towards explaining the tension between these two traditions, I first
map the range of early Jewish traditions about Abraham and the stars,
and then consider the Hellenistic discourse about astral wisdom as the
domain of ancient "barbarian" nations, as it shaped Hellenistic Jewish
traditions that celebrate Abraham's astronomical/astrological skill. I
conclude with Josephus' own cultural context, proposing that the
attitudes towards astronomy/astrology among his Roman contemporaries
may help to account for the ambivalence in his characterization of
Abraham as both Chaldean scientist and father of the Jews.