Mosaic Paideia: The Law of Moses within Philo of Alexandria’s Model of Jewish Education

In: Journal for the Study of Judaism
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  • 1 University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands
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Paideia is one of Philo’s most consistent preoccupations. It was so thoroughly foundational for the Alexandrian that he built it into nearly every aspect of his philosophy and worldview. Paideia was the tool needed to acquire virtue and wisdom, eradicate the passions, become an ideal citizen of the world, and secure the immortal life of the soul. The following explores the role of the Mosaic law within Philo’s overall theory of education, looking at what made the law such a unique pedagogical resource, how it functioned at various levels of education, what its relationship was to the other forms of education Philo deemed necessary—the curriculum of encyclical paideia and the study of philosophy—and, ultimately, what Philo’s idealized vision of Jewish education can tell us about his deeper concerns for his fellow Alexandrian Jews and his understanding of Jewish identity in the Mediterranean diaspora.

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