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Review of Biblical Literature Blog

Torah from Alexandria: Philo as a Biblical Commentator,: Volume 3: Leviticus
Samuel, Michael, editor

New York: Kodesh, 2015 pp. 284. $24.95


Description: The third volume of Torah from Alexandria sets on display how Philo interpreted the role of the Temple, offerings, festivals, dietary practices, marital laws, and laws of purity. While Philo always remains firmly committed to the importance of the actual religious act, he consistently derives ethical lessons from these ritual practices, thus putting him alongside the great Jewish philosophers of history. Reading Philo alongside Rabbinic wisdom, Greek philosophy, Patristic writers, as well as Medieval and modern authors, breathes new life into the complexities of Leviticus and reinstates Philo’s importance as a biblical exegete. Reclaiming Philo as a Jewish exegete puts him in company with the great luminaries of Jewish history—a position that Philo richly deserves. Philo remains as one of Jewish history’s most articulate spokespersons for ethical monotheism. Rabbi Michael Leo Samuel has meticulously culled from all of Philo’s exegetical comments, and arranged them according to the biblical verses. He provides extensive parallels from rabbinic literature, Greek philosophy, and Christian theology, to present Philo’s writing in the context of his time, while also demonstrating Philo’s unique method of interpretation.

Subjects: Bible, Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Pentateuch, Leviticus, Literature, Methods, Historical Approaches, History, History of Interpretation

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Review by Torrey Seland
Published 8/25/2016
Citation: Torrey Seland, review of Michael Leo Samuel, ed., Torah from Alexandria: Philo as a Biblical Commentator, Volume 3: Leviticus, Review of Biblical Literature [http://www.bookreviews.org] (2016).


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