In the Hellenistic period, popular and highly eclectic versions of the tenets of the central philosophical schools penetrated the eastern end of the Mediterranean, and Jews living in this area were exposed to the divine law discourses of the classical tradition. Hellenistic philosophical schools of all stripes commonly attributed certain traits to divine natural law. It was held to be universal, rational, unwritten, eternal, and unchanging, and to govern the sage without effort. By contrast, human positive law was held to be particular, grounded in a sovereign will, written, temporary, and flexible. Positive law is superfluous for the sage, who automatically pursues the virtue that he rationally perceives, and deficient for the fool, who rebels against its strictures....
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