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Jewish Women Philosophers of First-Century AlexandriaPhilo's 'Therapeutae' Reconsidered$
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Joan E. Taylor

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199291410

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199291410.001.0001

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Gender Blenders: Moses, Miriam, and Music

Gender Blenders: Moses, Miriam, and Music

Chapter:
(p.311) 11 Gender Blenders: Moses, Miriam, and Music
Source:
Jewish Women Philosophers of First-Century Alexandria
Author(s):

Joan E. Taylor (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199291410.003.0011

In terms of gender roles, both men and women in the Mareotic group share a meal symbolic of God's everlasting covenant with Israel, which they then interpret as the triumph of enkrateia, self-control. They appear to have understood that their contemplation of scripture and musical compositions, mortification of the body, and quiet solitariness involved some kind of training for a vision of God. In Philo's presentation in De Vita Contemplativa, the people of the Mareotic group work themselves into an altered state of consciousness usually referred to as a trance, so that ‘they keep the memory of God’ constantly and ‘in dreams nothing else is dreamt of apart from the beauty of the divine attributes and powers’. One of the means by which the group ascends towards seeing the divine light of God is music. For the Mareotic group, though not actually for Philo, Moses — as inspired prophet — leads the men who have also in some way become struck by the rapture of divine inspiration. Miriam — as inspired prophet — does likewise with the inspired women.

Keywords:   Philo, Mareotic group, God, self-control, De Vita Contemplativa, trance, music, Moses, Miriam, divine inspiration

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