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Jewish Women Philosophers of First-Century AlexandriaPhilo's 'Therapeutae' Reconsidered$
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Joan E. Taylor

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199291410

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199291410.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 15 October 2021

Philo's De Vita Contemplativa in Historical Context

Philo's De Vita Contemplativa in Historical Context

(p.21) 2 Philo's De Vita Contemplativa in Historical Context
Jewish Women Philosophers of First-Century Alexandria

Joan E. Taylor (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

What we know about Philo 2,000 years after his birth is little more than what Eusebius tells us at the beginning of the fourth century. We gain a greater understanding of Philo and his works when we place him within the context of the city in which he lived. Some understanding of Alexandria and the problems facing the Jewish community of this city helps further to illuminate the man himself and the terrible events in which he found himself embroiled, and also helps to explain the context in which De Vita Contemplativa was written. Eusebius concluded that Philo was describing early Christians in the work and quoted extensively from it, assuming everyone would recognize the similarities between the practices of Philo's ‘Therapeutae’ and Christians. Philo is clearly much concerned with expounding virtue in Contempl., and all historical information is put at the service of this fundamental objective. The historical context of Contempl. would be the bitter hostilities between Jews and ‘Greeks’ in the city of Alexandria.

Keywords:   Philo, Alexandria, De Vita Contemplativa, Eusebius, Jews, Therapeutae, Christians, virtue, Greeks

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