Read e-book online The Place of Judaism in Philo's Thought: Israel, Jews, and PDF

By Ellen Birnbaum

ISBN-10: 0788501828

ISBN-13: 9780788501821

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Extra info for The Place of Judaism in Philo's Thought: Israel, Jews, and Proselytes

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373. Victor Tcherikover, 'Jewish Apologetic Literature," Eos 4 8 / 3 (1956): 1 6 9 - 9 3 . 4 4 22 INTRODUCTION Epicurean, Pythagorean, Peripatetic, and Sceptical t h o u g h t . , a l l e g o r i c a l i n t e r p r e t a t i o n was a w e l l k n o w n a p p r o a c h u s e d by G r e e k c o m m e n t a t o r s o n H o m e r . 4 6 In Philo's time, of course, m a n y of the various positions n a m e d above h a d already i n t e r m i n g l e d . Scholars have described a s c h o o l of Middle P l a t o n i s m c h a r a c t e r i z e d , a m o n g o t h e r t h i n g s , by t h e b e l i e f i n a t r a n s c e n ­ d e n t G o d , aspiration to assimilate to G o d , and interest in numerology.

Last, a n d p e r h a p s m o s t important, Philo never addresses why h e believes an individual s h o u l d b e a J e w rather than, say, a Gentile p h i l o s o p h e r . P e r h a p s P h i l o ' s c o n t e m p o r a r y readers d i d k n o w exactly what h e m e a n t by "Israel," d i d u n d e r s t a n d t h e r e l a t i o n s h i p b e t w e e n b e i n g a J e w a n d s e e i n g G o d , w e r e familiar with his p o s i t i o n o n t h e c o v e n a n t d e s c r i b e d in t h e B i b l e , a n d d i d u n d e r s t a n d why h e c o n s i d e r e d it i m p o r t a n t to b e a Jew.

If s o , t h e n h o w d o e s P h i l o regard t h e Biblical a c c o u n t o f G o d ' s e l e c t i o n o f Israel? A n d w h a t relation­ s h i p d o e s P h i l o ' s u n d e r s t a n d i n g o f Israel as "the o n e that s e e s G o d " have w i t h Biblical Israel o r w i t h any c o n t e m p o r a r y social g r o u p , particularly h i s f e l l o w Jews? B e c a u s e o f t h e a m b i g u i t i e s that result f r o m t h e way P h i l o u n d e r s t a n d s "Israel," a key q u e s t i o n in this study is h o w h e uses t h e terms "Israel" a n d "Jew" i n r e l a t i o n t o e a c h o t h e r .

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The Place of Judaism in Philo's Thought: Israel, Jews, and Proselytes by Ellen Birnbaum


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