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Philo and Greek Poets

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image of Journal for the Study of Judaism

Philo's manner of quoting and referring to Greek poets has never been systematically investigated. This article shows how Philo often quotes Homer, but also Hesiod, Solon, Pindaros and Theognis. He knows the poets as well any Greek writer. In most cases, Philo quotes the verses exactly as we have them from other sources, preserving all the dialectic peculiarities. However, he may correct the quotation theologically, make a mistake or drop a line, and sometimes he might have learned a text that differed from ours. He often cleverly gives the words a new sense and makes them speak for his own view, following the manner of the Stoics. Philo's works allow us a glimpse the learned circles of the Alexandrian Jews. Philo had memorized poets in gymnasium. He hardly lost the contact to them after his early years, but allowed them to entertain him and his friends during his lifetime.

Affiliations: 1: Theologicum, Biskopsgatan 16, 20500 Åbo, Finland


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