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Philanthropia and the Laws of Moses

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Chapter Summary

Philanthropia characterizes God's relationship to human beings. Philo makes the important statement that what the disciples of philosophy gain from its teaching, the Jews gain from their customs and laws. Philo uses the term philanthropia to characterize non-Jews. Philo defends his people against charges of misanthropy. The background was the widespread tensions between Jewish communities and some of the non-Jews. Just in the exclusive role of the Jews, being those who worship the true God, they cared for all men, according to Philo. A theological motif is present when Philo understands God to be the source of philanthropia on the human level. Here Jewish and Greek ideas are fused together to characterize the life based on the Laws of Moses. This chapter concludes that Philo's varied usages of the concept of philanthropia should be seen against the background of the varied usages in Greek sources.

Keywords: Jewish communities; Laws of Moses; non-Jews; Philanthropia



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