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Authority and Interpretation of Scripture in the Writings of Philo

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Chapter Summary

This chapter leaves open the question whether Philo is to be regarded primarily as a philosopher, who uses the Bible as a vehicle for a religious philosophy, nourished by Stoicism and Plato, which may be characterized as late Stoic or middle Platonic, or whether, on the contrary, he is to be seen as a Bible exegete who places both his general education and the entire mass of contemporary thought in the service of the absolutely true doctrine of Divine revelation, set down above all by Moses in the Pentateuch. The main effort of Philo's allegorical commentary is devoted to revealing the essential, 'spiritual' meaning behind the 'sensible'. Still and all, his allegorical method never became a system of rules to be routinely applied. Occasionally he presents an interpretation in a tone which tells the reader that it came to him as a religious experience.

Keywords: Bible exegete; Divine revelation; Mikra; Philo; Philo's allegorical commentary

10.1163/9789004275102_013
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