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A Written Copy Of The Law Of Nature: An Unthinkable Paradox?

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Chapter Summary

In the writings of Philo of Alexandria, the law of nature becomes intimately linked to the written law revealed by God, the law of Moses. To those who inherit Philo's sense of God as creator, lawgiver and source of revelation, the unity of natural law and revealed law can seem obvious. But, if one tries to think oneself into the position of Philo's Hellenistic predecessors and contemporaries, such a unity not only fails to be obvious, it seems incoherent, paradoxical. If Philo's move is revolutionary, how is it possible, not merely to think in post-revolutionary or in pre-revolutionary terms, but to clarify Philo's move, to render it intelligible? This chapter explains more precisely why Philo's position seems paradoxical. It then seeks, not to remove the paradox - for that cannot be done - but rather to exhibit some of the inner logic of Philo's thinking.

Keywords: law of Moses; law of nature; Philo of Alexandria; revelation; written law



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