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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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Christians Reading Philo

Christians Reading Philo

(p.27) 1 Christians Reading Philo
Philo of Alexandria and the Construction of Jewishness in Early Christian Writings

Jennifer Otto

Oxford University Press

It is widely assumed amongst scholars that Clement of Alexandria’s citations of Philo demonstrate continuity between Philo’s Jewish community and early Christians in ancient Alexandria. This chapter argues that the assumed continuity between Jewish synagogue and Christian church in Alexandria is problematical. This is due to two factors. The first is the Jewish uprisings against Rome under Trajan and Hadrian at the beginning of the second century and the second the mobility of people and texts in the Roman Empire. The frequent copying and easy circulation of texts among students of philosophy in the Roman world suggests that Clement may have encountered Philo’s writings in a philosophical school rather than via transmission in an institution such as a Jewish-Christian synagogue or catechetical school.

Keywords:   Clement of Alexandria, ancient Alexandria, early Christianity, early Judaism, Philo of Alexandria, ancient books, ancient readers, Trajanic Revolt, philosophical school, catechetical school

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