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7 Philo

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Chapter Summary

Philo of Alexandria has left his legacy in a collection of works that give us access to his tireless desire to bridge the gap between his Jewish heritage and Hellenistic setting. In his work De praemiis et poenis, much of which is based on Deuteronomy 28-30, Philo advances his view that good lives are rewarded and bad lives are punished. A more thorough picture of the relationship between human transformation and moral competence requires a broader consideration of Philo's use of the heart-circumcision metaphor. There are two notable ways this study on Philo contributes to our overall investigation. First, Philo expands our models for thinking about agency and causation in the ancient world. Secondly, this investigation has given us insight into Philo's conception of humanity's capacity for obedience, obedience's relationship to personal transformation, and how these subjects fit within the economy of salvation.

Keywords: Deuteronomy; heart-circumcision metaphor; Hellenistic setting; human transformation; Jewish heritage; Philo of Alexandria

10.1163/9789004277328_008
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