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.