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What's Divine about Divine Law?Early Perspectives$
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Christine Hayes

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780691165196

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691165196.001.0001

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Bridging the Gap: Divine Law in Hellenistic and Second Temple Jewish Sources

Bridging the Gap: Divine Law in Hellenistic and Second Temple Jewish Sources

(p.94) Chapter 3 Bridging the Gap: Divine Law in Hellenistic and Second Temple Jewish Sources
What's Divine about Divine Law?

Christine Hayes

Princeton University Press

This chapter focuses on Hellenistic Jewish writings and Second Temple period texts that to various degrees accept the Greek dichotomy between natural law and conventional law. It examines Hellenistic Jewish writings that try to bridge the gap between biblical and Greco-Roman conceptions of divine law by applying the latter's discourses of natural law to biblical divine law. This apologetic effort culminates in the writings of Philo, who identifies the Mosaic Law with the natural law and confers upon it the attributes of rationality, truth, universality, and fixity. The chapter also considers Second Temple period writings that bridge the gap between biblical and classical conceptions of divine law by moving in the opposite direction: these writings transfer some of the attributes of biblical divine law to the laws that govern the natural world.

Keywords:   divine law, Jews, Hellenistic Jewish writings, Second Temple, natural law, Philo, Mosaic Law

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