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On Humanity, Chapters 1-4

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Chapter Summary

The presentation of Mosaic philanthropia in De humanitate falls into three major sections.The first demonstrates the humanity of the lawgiver (§§ 51-79), the second the humanity of his laws (§§ 80-160), and the third the humanity of the ruling classes of the nation for which these laws were established (§§ 161-174). In describing the humanity of the lawgiver, Philo concentrates on certain events that occurred at the end of his life. The Pentateuch preserves two accounts of Moses' death and succession, Num 27:12-23 and Deut 31:1-34:12. The former explains how leadership of the Israelites in military affairs (note especially the language of v. 17) is transferred to Joshua. The latter is a far longer and more complex composition, interweaving various materials concerning Moses' "threefold succession" (Talstra 1989), that is, materials concerning Joshua, the law, and the Song of Moses.

Keywords:humanity; Joshua; Mosaic philanthrōpia; Moses; Philo



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