Philo of Alexandria and the Conquest of Canaan

Philo of Alexandria and the Conquest of Canaan Journal for the Study of Judaism 38 (2007) 39-56 Philo of Alexandria and the Conquest of Canaan Katell Berthelot Maison Méditerranéenne des Sciences de l’Homme, UMR 6125 – Centre Paul-Albert Février, 5 rue du château de l’Horloge, B.P. 647, 13094 Aix en Provence Cedex 2, France katell.b@fr ee.fr Abstract According to the Torah, the Hebrews were commanded either to expel or to exter- minate the Canaanites who were living in Canaan at the time of the conquest. Philo seems to feel rather ill-at-ease about the literal meaning of these biblical passages. Besides allegory, he uses four hermeneutical strategies: 1) to pass over the problem- atic texts in silence; 2) to play with the meaning of certain Greek words; 3) to justify the destruction of the Canaanites from a moral point of view ; 4) to rewrite the bibli- cal account. Keywords Philo, conquest, Canaanites, herem, anathema, Hypothetica, apologetics, herme- neutics As everybody knows, Philo’s treatises are devoted almost exclusively to the interpretation of the Pentateuch. It is thus no surprise that the story of the conquest of Canaan, which is told mainly in the books of Joshua and Judges, is only rarely referred to in Philo’s works. Still, http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal for the Study of Judaism Brill

Philo of Alexandria and the Conquest of Canaan

Journal for the Study of Judaism, Volume 38 (1): 39 – Jan 1, 2007

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
© 2007 Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
0047-2212
eISSN
1570-0631
D.O.I.
10.1163/157006307X170616
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Journal for the Study of Judaism 38 (2007) 39-56 Philo of Alexandria and the Conquest of Canaan Katell Berthelot Maison Méditerranéenne des Sciences de l’Homme, UMR 6125 – Centre Paul-Albert Février, 5 rue du château de l’Horloge, B.P. 647, 13094 Aix en Provence Cedex 2, France katell.b@fr ee.fr Abstract According to the Torah, the Hebrews were commanded either to expel or to exter- minate the Canaanites who were living in Canaan at the time of the conquest. Philo seems to feel rather ill-at-ease about the literal meaning of these biblical passages. Besides allegory, he uses four hermeneutical strategies: 1) to pass over the problem- atic texts in silence; 2) to play with the meaning of certain Greek words; 3) to justify the destruction of the Canaanites from a moral point of view ; 4) to rewrite the bibli- cal account. Keywords Philo, conquest, Canaanites, herem, anathema, Hypothetica, apologetics, herme- neutics As everybody knows, Philo’s treatises are devoted almost exclusively to the interpretation of the Pentateuch. It is thus no surprise that the story of the conquest of Canaan, which is told mainly in the books of Joshua and Judges, is only rarely referred to in Philo’s works. Still,

Journal

Journal for the Study of JudaismBrill

Published: Jan 1, 2007

Keywords: HEREM; PHILO; HYPOTHETICA; ANATHEMA; HERMENEUTICS; CANAANITES; CONQUEST; APOLOGETICS

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