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Gender and geopolitics in the work of Philo of Alexandria: Jewish piety and imperial family values

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Chapter Summary

This chapter takes different approach to mapping gender in Philo of Alexandria, suggesting that Philo's gender categories are plotted not only using the hierarchies of middle Platonism but also the moral propaganda of the Roman Empire. It offers selective illustrations of three areas. First, Philo’s work illustrates a turn in the meaning of the Greek virtue εύσέβεια toward the meaning of the Roman virtue pietas. Second, Philo’s accounts of the Jewish “constitution” and of Jewish practice emphasize the ways that the family values of the Jews, particularly marital chastity and devotion to the bearing and rearing of children, match or exceed the demands of Roman law and mores. Third, the constructions of gender and of women that permeate Philo’s work and have received so much attention should also be read in terms of Philo’s Roman policy.

Keywords: gender; Greek virtue εύσέβεια; imperial family values; Jewish constitution; Philo of Alexandria; Roman virtue pietas



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