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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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A Solar Calendar

A Solar Calendar

Chapter:
(p.154) 7 A Solar Calendar
Source:
Jewish Women Philosophers of First-Century Alexandria
Author(s):

Joan E. Taylor (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199291410.003.0007

Egypt was a land of sun-worshippers, whose calendar was organized on the basis of the sun and the Nile River. In De Vita Contemplativa, Philo notes that the Mareotic group prays every sunrise and sunset and that at the dawn of the fiftieth day they stand with eyes and their whole bodies tuned to the east. In the understanding of the Mareotic group, the physical sun is seen to symbolize the divine light behind the sun, but in praying in the direction of the sun, and seeing a new day beginning with its rising, the group might appear to show some influence from the Egyptian culture surrounding them. Based on evidence from both Alexandria and Heliopolis, the continuation of the old solar calendar appears to have been particularly endorsed by some of the Jews of Egypt. As refugees and emigrants from Judaea, they preserved an old pentecontad calendar. The usual feasts of Judaism were celebrated in accordance with this reckoning of time.

Keywords:   Egypt, solar calendar, Philo, De Vita Contemplativa, sun, Mareotic group, Alexandria, Jews, Judaism

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