Paper on IV Maccabees: Philo on Antinomian Jews

Martin Hengel, Judaism and Hellenism: Studies in their Encounter in Palestine during the Early Hellenistic Period (London: SCM, 1974) 301.

“Philo, too, reports much criticism of the Torah in Greek-educated and predominantly Jewish circles in Alexandria, ‘who disregard kinsmen and friends, who transgress laws in which they were born and brought up, who undermine ancestral customs which cannot rightly be censured, and fall away from it’ (Vit. Mos. 1, 31, M2, 85). In another passage, he attacks those ‘who proclaim their displeasure with the constitution made by the fathers and express incessant censure and complain against the law’, talking about the ludicrous fables…in the Pentateuch.”

Hengel’s reference here is Conf. ling. 2f. (M I, 404).

Challenging the politeia seems to be the same as opposing the law. For the authors of II Maccabees and IV Maccabees, Jason opposed the law when he set up a gymnasium.

Yet, Philo had no problem with the gymnasium (see Spec. II. 229f., 246; Opif. 78). Maybe Palestinian Jews and Alexandrian Jews had different ideas on what challenged the politeia.

About jamesbradfordpate

My name is James Pate. This blog is about my journey. I read books. I watch movies and TV shows. I go to church. I try to find meaning. And, when I can’t do that, I just talk about stuff that I find interesting. I have degrees in fields of religious studies. I have an M.Phil. in the History of Biblical Interpretation from Hebrew Union College in Cincinnati, Ohio. I also have an M.A. in Hebrew Bible from Jewish Theological Seminary, an M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School, and a B.A. from DePauw University.
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