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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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Women and Sex in De Vita Contemplativa

Women and Sex in De Vita Contemplativa

Chapter:
(p.227) 9 Women and Sex in De Vita Contemplativa
Source:
Jewish Women Philosophers of First-Century Alexandria
Author(s):

Joan E. Taylor (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199291410.003.0009

In describing the women specifically in the Mareotic group, Philo's chief rhetorical aim was to present them as ‘the good’, along with all other elements. In De Vita Contemplativa, however, Philo had constructed a theory of woman and the feminine which would dictate how he saw real women. Philo also had to deal with the ‘Sexy Babe’ paradigm. Perhaps Philo's fundamental problem may be expressed as: how could the therapeutrides, the female attendants of God, be presented in a way that would not only surpass the paradigms of good women philosophers but also conform to his own gender theory? This chapter examines women and sex in Contempl., Philo's metaphorical constructions of female and male in the soul, his perceptions of gender relations in the world around about him, and his theory of ‘woman’. It also considers women as students of Moses, women philosophers in Alexandria, their role as ‘mothers’ of the congregation, and the celibacy of women.

Keywords:   Philo, sex, De Vita Contemplativa, women, women philosophers, Mareotic group, theory of woman, Moses, Alexandria, celibacy

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