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The book of Tobit is among those Hellenistic period writings that convey a strong ideal of Jewish family life and family-centered religious practice. Tobit highly values family loyalty as a guideline for religious behavior, but establishes the Mosaic Law as the ultimate authority overruling requirements of family allegiance. In a world surrounded and threatened by Gentiles, the paterfamilias is responsible for redirecting the family's religious priorities to accord with the Law. Tobit displays close parallels with Jubilees in its use of the patriarchal stories to launch its pious message, which may help to situate the former within ancient Judaism.

In: Journal for the Study of Judaism