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The Law Of Nature And The Authority Of Mosaic Law

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Chapter Summary

Philo interpreted that law in a particular way that may not have been accepted by all Jews, even in Alexandria. Philo sought to resolve the question of authority in the following way: Philo claimed that Mosaic law has a unique relationship to the law of nature, a relationship that distinguishes the Mosaic law and its authoritative inherited interpretations from the laws of all other nations. Philo identified various Greek philosophical ideas in the Torah of Moses. This chapter suggests that Philo's strategies for authorizing Mosaic law are essentially motivated by Greco-Roman intellectual trends. While his commitment to making Mosaic law and its interpretations universally significant betrays his hellenized intellectual orientation, it also demonstrates his deep commitment to make Mosaic law and the inherited interpretative traditions relevant to an educated and intellectually sophisticated member of the Alexandrian Jewish community such as himself.

Keywords: Alexandrian Jewish community; authority; Greco-Roman intellectual trends; law of nature; Mosaic law; Philo; Torah

10.1163/ej.9789004180468.i-270.18
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