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Philo’s Attractive Ethics on the “Religious Market” of Ancient Alexandria

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Chapter Summary

Economic trade builds on and builds up contacts and interaction between individuals and/or groups. Such interaction, for example, along ancient trade routes, also forms the basis of metaphorical trade as one can see when one looks at various processes of intra- and inter-religious dynamics between East and West: religious "commodities" are exchanged "offered", "negotiated" and "bought" when they are perceived as attractive. This chapter looks at one aspect of religious attraction: the Jewish religious-ethical way of life as it is presented by the Jewish philosopher Philo of Alexandria (ca. 15 B.C.E.-45 C.E.). In a situation of religious destabilization (in the Diaspora), Philo writes for Jews who may feel tempted to leave the Jewish faith and for non-Jews who may feel tempted to embrace the Jewish faith. Philo presents Jewish moral teaching as well as its practice as an attractor for "staying in" as well as "getting in".

Keywords: ancient Alexandria; Jewish moral teaching; Jewish religious-ethical way; Philo; religious destabilization



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