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In the treatise On the Change of Names (part of his magnum opus, the Allegorical Commentary), Philo of Alexandria brings his figurative exegesis of the Abraham cycle to its fruition. Taking a cue from Platonist interpreters of Homer’s Odyssey, Philo reads Moses’s story of Abraham as an account of the soul’s progress and perfection. Responding to contemporary critics, who mocked Genesis 17 as uninspired, Philo finds instead a hidden philosophical reflection on the ineffability of the transcendent God, the transformation of souls which recognize their mortal nothingness, the possibility of human faith enabled by peerless faithfulness of God, and the fruit of moral perfection: joy divine, prefigured in the birth of Isaac.
A Historiographical Analysis of Autobiographical Discourse in the Judaean War
The Jewish War describes the history of the First Jewish Revolt against Rome (66-70 CE). This study deals with one of this work's most intriguing features: why and how Flavius Josephus, its author, describes his own actions in the context of this conflict in such detail. Glas traces the thematic and rhetorical aspects of autobiographical discourse in War and uses contextual evidence to situate Josephus’ self-characterisation in a Flavian Roman setting. In doing so, he sheds new light on this Jewish writer’s historiographical methods and his deep knowledge and creative use of Graeco-Roman culture.
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This volume explores the ways in which representatives of different monotheistic traditions experienced themselves as “the other” or were perceived and described as such by their contemporaries. This central category – which includes not only those of different religions, but also converts, foreigners, sectarians, and women – is studied from various perspectives in a range of texts composed by Jewish, Christian, and Muslim authors during late antique and mediaeval times. Conceptualizations of such “others” are often intrinsically related to the idea of exile, another important category that is analysed in this work.