563 Josephus simply asserts this as a fact (cf.
Ant. 8.262, whose final sentence seems to add uncertainty). He can draw on the Roman perception that circumcision is not a “Syrian” custom, but is distinctly and strongly associated with Judeans (e.g., Petronius,
Sat. 102.14; Tacitus,
Hist. 5.5.2; Suetonius,
Dom. 12.2). Whether, in fact, other inhabitants of
Palestine practiced circumcision is not clear. Some evidence for its widespread practice is not reliable (Philo,
Spec. 1.2; Barnabas 9.6; Jerome’s commentary on Jer 9:25-26), and much depends on what is meant by “
Palestine” and whether we are speaking of Herodotus’ or Josephus’ era (they are more than 500 years apart); see Stern 1.3-4; Cohen 1999: 45.