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Philo of AlexandriaAn Intellectual Biography$
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Maren R Niehoff

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780300175233

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2018

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300175233.001.0001

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A Platonic Self

A Platonic Self

(p.192) 10 A Platonic Self
Philo of Alexandria

Maren R. Niehoff

Yale University Press

This chapter examines the contours of the self in Philo's Allegorical Commentary. Throughout the Allegorical Commentary, Philo is concerned with the human self, introducing to Judaism a new language of introspection and spirituality. Interpreting the book of Genesis allegorically, he leads the reader from the concrete figures of the Bible to the intricacies of the human soul. The aim is to know oneself and the ethereal realities that cannot be grasped by the senses. Philo himself is turned inward, observing the struggle of his soul between material and rational elements. He neither reflects yet upon himself as an author in the text nor shares experiences from life in the world. The center of his ethics is God, whom humanity is called to imitate. This upward view to real values transcends the world and disconnects the individual from society.

Keywords:   Philo, Allegorical Commentary, human self, Judaism, introspection, spirituality, Genesis, Bible, human soul, ethereal realities

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