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The Rise of the Sage in Greek and Jewish Antiquity

In: Journal for the Study of Judaism
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  • 1 University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
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Abstract

This article explores the emergence of the sage as an exemplar in Greek and Jewish antiquity. Greek philosophical writings and Jewish literary accounts are analysed, the latter including texts written in both Hebrew and Greek. The Greek and Jewish sources are compared in order to highlight (dis)similarities between them. It will be argued that the conception of the sage as an idealized figure and object of emulation originates from the classical Greek world, but it becomes integrated into the Jewish discourse on wisdom and good life in the later Hellenistic period. In spite of this shared element, the portrayals of the sage vary regarding the amount of concreteness and the discursive strategies in which his exemplarity is constructed.

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