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Philo, Magic And Balaam: Neglected Aspects Of Philo's Exposition Of The Balaam Story

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Chapter Summary

Magic was a pervading issue in the Greco-Roman world at the time of Philo. Reading Philo's works, one realizes that he too was familiar with various practices of magic in his social world of Alexandria. Scholarly studies concerning the phenomenon of magic and magical practices as reflected in the works of Philo are, however, very rare. Furthermore, among the many studies published on magic in ancient Roman Egypt, very little is to be found on Philo's views and attitudes. This chapter tries to remedy some of this lack of research by focusing on some aspects of magic, and especially on the exposition of the Balaam episode in the works of Philo. It reviews of some issues discussed in recent studies on ancient magic; then investigates Philo's vocabulary of magic, and his exposition of the Balaam figure.

Keywords: Balaam; Greco-Roman; magic; Philo



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