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Philo of Alexandria and the Construction of Jewishness in Early Christian Writings$
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Jennifer Otto

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198820727

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198820727.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Philo of Alexandria and the Construction of Jewishness in Early Christian Writings

Jennifer Otto

Oxford University Press

Between the second and the sixteenth centuries CE, references to the Jewish exegete Philo of Alexandria occur exclusively in texts written by Christians. David T. Runia has described this phenomenon as the adoption of Philo by Christians as an “honorary Church Father.” Drawing on the work of Jonathan Z. Smith and recent investigations of the “Parting of the Ways” of early Christianity and Judaism, this study argues that early Christian invocations of Philo reveal ongoing efforts to define the relationship between Jewishness and Christianness, their areas of overlap and points of divergence. The introduction situates invocations of Philo within the wider context of early Christian writing about Jews and Jewishness. It considers how Philo and his early Christian readers participated in the larger world of Greco-Roman philosophical schools, text production, and the ethical and intellectual formation (paideia) of elite young men in the Roman Empire.

Keywords:   Philo of Alexandria, Parting of the Ways, David T. Runia, Jonathan Z. Smith, Christianity and Judaism, paideia, philosophical school

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