Philonic Elements in Didymus the Blind's Exegesis of the Story of Cain and Abel

in Vigiliae Christianae
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Abstract

This article focuses on Philo's influence on the interpretation of Cain and Abel given by Didymus the Blind in his Commentary on Genesis. Didymus refers a few times to Philo by name but more places can be detected in which Didymus makes use of Philo. Both Philo and Didymus see in Cain and Abel two different worldviews, which are opposed to each other. Cain is the wicked man, who does not respect God, whereas Abel is the virtuous man, who loves God. Philo bases his interpretation on the translation of Cain as possession and of Abel as referring to God. These translations are absent in Didymus. Philonic elements can be seen, for instance, in Abel as shepherding the senses and in Cain presented as a sophist. It is remarkable that Didymus does not interpret Abel as a type of Christ, as other church fathers do.

Vigiliae Christianae

A Review of Early Christian Life and Language

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