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On Humanity, Chapter 14

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Chapter Summary

Sections of Deut 20-24 present themselves as elements of a code for sacral war: 20:1-9, 10-18, 19-20; 21:10-14; 23:9-14; 24:5; cf. Gottwald 1964; Rofé 1985. The rules in Deut 20:10-18, for besieging an enemy city, make a basic geographical distinction. The relatively extended discussion that Philo accords the problem of captive women reflects a common source of moral apprehension in antiquity. The absolute power of a conquering army over a defeated city was often expressed in the sexual violation of its women, and the prospect of such a scenario evoked terror. The unease that Philo apparently felt in approaching Deuteronomy's war code noted above is reflected in his re-working of the material in Spec. 4.219-225 as well.

Keywords:captive women; Philo; sacral war



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