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Philo of Alexandria, Legatio Ad Gaium 1–7

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Chapter Summary

One of the more remarkable passages in the Philonic corpus is the opening section of the treatise Legatio ad Gaium, in which Philo gives his account of the vicissitudes experienced by the Jews during the reign of the Emperor Gaius Caligula. This chapter focuses on the role of divine providence. No one can reflect on the events that Philo is about to recount without concluding that God is concerned with human affairs, and especially those of the Jewish people. The introduction of the theological section has a triple purpose: (1) to explain the special relationship between God and Israel, here identified with the Jewish people; (2) to further locate the role of providence within the divine nature; (3) to anticipate the theme of the purported rivalry between God and megalomaniac emperor Gaius which will play such a prominent role in the remainder of the work.

Keywords: divine providence; Gaius Caligula; God; Jewish people; Legatio ad Gaium; Philo; Philonic corpus



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