There have been many studies on the people described by Philo of Alexandria (c.20 BCE-c.50 BCE) in his treatise, De Vita Contemplativa. These contemplative, mystically minded Jews, devoted to music, meditation, and the study of scripture, who met together for special communal meals and lived an austere, ascetic lifestyle, are suggestive of many other more famous religious communities. Usually referred to as the ‘Therapeutae’, they are frequently called as evidence in discussions of contemporaneous Jewish sects, especially the Essenes and those who produced the Dead Sea Scrolls, or of the earliest Christian churches. This book examines various topics bearing upon the people of the group in the hope of bringing them into sharper definition, with a particular focus on women and gender. It considers the way Judaism was conceptualized as philosophia in the Graeco-Roman world and the group's use of allegory to interpret scripture, their asceticism, and their particular type of solar calendar.
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