Philo was a Hellenistic Jewish philosopher who left behind one of
the richest bodies of work from antiquity, yet his personality and
intellectual development have remained a riddle. Maren Niehoff
presents the first biography of Philo, arguing that his trip to
Rome in 38 CE was a turning point in his life. There he was exposed
not only to new political circumstances but also to a new cultural
and philosophical environment. Following the pogrom in Alexandria,
Philo became active as the head of the Jewish embassy to Emperor
Gaius and as an intellectual in the capital of the empire,
responding to the challenges of his time and creatively
reconstructing his identity, though always maintaining pride in the
Jewish tradition. Philo's trajectory from Alexandria to Rome and
his enthusiastic adoption of new modes of thought made him a key
figure in the complex negotiation between East and West.
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