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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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Conclusion

Conclusion

Chapter:
(p.196) Conclusion
Source:
Philo of Alexandria and the Construction of Jewishness in Early Christian Writings
Author(s):

Jennifer Otto

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198820727.003.0006

As an allegorical interpreter who perceived some of the spiritual teachings embedded in the Hebrew scriptures, Philo did not match the image of the stereotypical Jew constructed by Clement of Alexandria, Origen, and Eusebius. Neither, however, did he fulfill their criteria to be considered a legitimate Christian. This chapter argues that Philo functions in early Christian writings as neither a Christian nor a Jew but is situated in between these two increasingly differentiated identities. Acting as a third term in the equation, Philo the “Pythagorean,” the “predecessor,” and the “Hebrew,” mediates between the categories of Christian and Jew while ensuring that the two identities remain rhetorically and conceptually distinct. An epilogue briefly traces the varying depictions of Philo in later Christian literature, including accounts of his baptism by the apostle John and his transformation into Philo Judaeus, Philo the Jew.

Keywords:   Philo of Alexandria, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Eusebius, early Christian, early Judaism

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