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The Composition Of Prayers And Songs In Philo’s De Vita Contemplativa

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Chapter Summary

This chapter discusses a rather well-worn subject in the study of Philo by considering the Therapeutae of Philo in De Vita Contemplativa. Ritual studies has been gaining ground in recent years as a means for analyzing certain experiential dimensions of religious culture in antiquity. The chapter proposes that compositional practices closely linked to highly ritualized settings stand in tension with other forms of scholasticism, namely scribalism, as a means of composing and preserving sacred traditions and texts in the first and second centuries BCE. The composition of the hymns during the 'great feast' of Pentecost cannot be isolated from the rest of the Therapeutae's activities, but is closely related. Having reviewed the daily activities and the activities of the pentecontad celebration of the seventh Sabbath, we may note some essential similarities between ordinary time and festal time in the Therapeutae's community.

Keywords: De Vita Contemplativa; Pentecost; Philo; Sabbath; scholasticism; Therapeutae



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