564 The confident conclusion wraps up the discussion. The “this” he knew was that Judeans alone practice circumcision (
pace Gutschmid 567); it is crucial for Josephus that Herodotus consciously referred to Judeans, otherwise the reference can hardly be intentional. Why Herodotus should refer to Judeans under the name of “Syrians in
Palestine” is not, however, explained. A few decades later, Celsus used this Herodotean tradition to argue that Judeans were nothing special: their customs were derived from others (
Cels. 5.41; cf. 1.22). Origen’s reply, that Judean circumcision is very different from that employed by others (5.47-48), reflects a Judean sense of cultural distinction. But Josephus is debarred from that objection by his decision to leave his positive witnesses unquestioned.