Theorizing Religion in Antiquity - Nickolas P. Roubekas

Theorizing Religion in Antiquity - Nickolas P. Roubekas

12. Defining Judaism: The Case of Philo

Theorizing Religion in Antiquity - Nickolas P. Roubekas

Michael L. Satlow [+-]
Brown University
Michael L. Satlow is Professor of Judaic Studies and Religious Studies at Brown University, USA. His research focuses on the social and religious history of Jews and Judaism in antiquity, but he also has broader research interests on Jews and Judaism as well as on issues of method and theory in the study of religion. He is the author of How the Bible Became Holy (Yale University Press, 2014), Creating Judaism: History, Tradition, Practice (Columbia University Press, 2006), Jewish Marriage in Antiquity (Princeton University Press, 2001), Tasting the Dish: Rabbinic Rhetorics of Sexuality (Brown Judaic Studies, 1995), and he has edited and co-edited The Gift in Antiquity (Wiley-Blackwell, 2013) and Religion and the Self in Antiquity (with David Brakke and Steven Weitzman; Indiana University Press, 2005).


Despite the wide scholarly recognition of and dissatisfaction with the first-order essentialism inherent in the academic study of individual 'religions' or 'traditions', scholars have been far slower to develop nonessentialist models that take seriously both the plurality of religious communities that all identify as part of the same religion and the characteristics that allow these communities to see themselves as members of a single 'religion'. This article, building on earlier work by Jacob Neusner and Jonathan Z. Smith, and taking Philo as a case study, attempts to develop a polythetic model for Judaism that has implications not only for the study of 'Judaism' but more broadly also for how scholars might develop individual 'traditions' as useful second-order categories of analysis.

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Satlow, Michael . 12. Defining Judaism: The Case of Philo. Theorizing Religion in Antiquity. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 245-264 May 2019. ISBN 9781781793572. Date accessed: 05 Oct 2022 doi: 10.1558/equinox.29502. May 2019

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