Greek Migrant Literature

Casper C. de Jonge, ‘Greek Migrant Literature in the Early
Roman Empire,’ Mnemosyne 75 (2022) 10-36.

Abstract: “This article argues that the concept of migrant literature, developed in postcolonial studies, is a useful tool for analysing Greek literature of the Early Roman Empire (27 bc-ad 68). The city of Rome attracted huge numbers of migrants from across the Mediterranean. Among them were many writers from Hellenized provinces like Egypt, Syria and Asia, who wrote in Greek. Leaving their native regions and travelling to Rome, they moved between cultures, responding in Greek to the new world order. Early imperial Greek writers include Strabo of Amasia, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Nicolaus of Damascus, Timagenes of Alexandria, Crinagoras of Mytilene, Philo of Alexandria and Paul of Tarsus. What connects these authors of very different origins, styles, beliefs, and literary genres is migrancy. They are migrant writers whose works are characterized by in-betweenness, ambivalence and polyphony.”

The Question of Coherence in Philo’s Cultic Imagery

An article that has gone under my radar for years is, alas, this:

Gupta, N. (2011). The Question of Coherence in Philo’s Cultic Imagery: A Socio-literary Approach. Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha20(4), 277–297.

Abstract: “This article examines Philo’s cultic metaphors with a view towards finding coherence. Many scholars have turned to the works of Philo for insight into the world of the New Testament or early Judaism, but a standard assumption is that the search for coherence in his works is a fruitless endeavor. However, using Philo’s temple, priesthood, and sacrificial metaphors as a specific subject of interest, a socio-literary approach is taken in an attempt to reassess this assumption. In particular, this article draws from insights gained from cognitive linguistics, where metaphors are viewed as resources that have the capacity to influence cognitive frameworks. From this perspective, Philo’s cultic metaphors are consistently used to engage rhetorically in a set of common problems, including his apologetic and tropological concerns.”

The Superiority and Universality of the Torah

Berthelot, K. (2022). “The Superiority and Universality of the Torah in Philo’s Life of Moses 2.12–24: The Significance of the Roman Context”. Jewish Studies Quarterly, 2022, 29 (3), pp. 217-241.

Abstract: “In the section of On the Life of Moses that deals with Moses as lawgiver, Philo praises the Torah as the most excellent legislation ever written and emphasizes its universal popularity among Greeks and barbarians alike. This article contends that these two claims are to a great extent novel compared to previous Jewish discourses about the Law. Earlier Jewish authors writing in Greek celebrated the Torah’s superior wisdom but did not compare it to other legal systems. Moreover, previous Jewish reflections on the Law’s universality emphasized its accordance with the law of nature, while Mos. 2.12–24 introduces a new notion: the universal adoption of some of the Mosaic precepts by non-Jews. This paper argues that Philo’s innovative statements in On the Life of Moses, which have parallels in Josephus’ Against Apion, are to be understood in the framework of contemporary perceptions of and discourses on Roman law and jurisdiction.” Doi.

Melos as Melody

Frederick, J. (2022). “Chapter 11 Melos as Melody: Moral Formation through Musical Metaphor in Colossians, Philo, and Ignatius of Antioch”. Ryan A. Brandt and John Frederick (eds.), Theological Interpretation of Scripture as Spiritual Formation. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, pp. 195–221.

Abstract: “In Colossians 3:5 the author exhorts his readers to “Put to death τὰ µέλη τὰ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς.” Throughout the history of interpretation, the noun µέλος has most often been taken to refer to “earthly members” (KJV, NASB) or more generally to “what is earthly in you” (NRSV). This chapter argues that µέλος is best translated “melody” in Colossians where it operates within a musical metaphor to express ethical realities. Two comparable musical and ethical usages of µέλος are offered and interpreted from Philo of Alexandria and Ignatius of Antioch. Finally, an assessment is provided which argues that the grammatical-historical exegetical method exhibited in the chapter should be considered as a key methodological model and instrument for spiritually formative theological interpretation of Scripture.”