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Heavenly Holidays: The Reception of the Jewish Festivals in Jubilees, Philo of Alexandria, and Pseudo-Philo

STREETT, DANIEL,RYAN (2020) Heavenly Holidays: The Reception of the Jewish Festivals in Jubilees, Philo of Alexandria, and Pseudo-Philo. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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Author-imposed embargo until 29 May 2023.

Abstract

In this thesis, I examine the reception of the Jewish festivals in the Book of Jubilees, the works of Philo of Alexandria, and the Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum (Pseudo-Philo). I argue that each text attempts to flesh out in its own way the meaning of the Jewish festivals for its audience and historical situation. Specifically, I identify three main strategies these authors employ in presenting the significance of the festivals. First, there is an attempt to naturalize the festivals, i.e. to portray them as intrinsic to the created order. Second, these authors transcendentalize the festivals, i.e. they present the meaning of the festivals as being tied to heavenly events. Third, these works festalize the Scriptures. That is, they present scriptural episodes (often from the patriarchal period) as having taken place on the date of a certain festival and, in some cases, as having included observance of that festival. I also note a few occasions on which these authors employ a fourth strategy, eschatologizing the festivals, i.e. finding in their motifs and history a preview of Israel’s future redemption.

Chapter One introduces these strategies and locates them in the context of debates concerning the nature of law in the Hellenistic Era. Chapters Two and Three address festal material in Jubilees, while Chapter Four engages the festal ideology in the writings of Philo of Alexandria, and Chapter 5 addresses the Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum. Finally, my conclusion (Chapter 6) offers some brief reflections on the similarities and differences among these three authors and suggests a taxonomy of festal ideology to aid further research.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Festivals, Judaism, Philo of Alexandria, Pseudo-Philo, Book of Jubilees
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Theology and Religion, Department of
Thesis Date:2020
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:01 Jun 2020 12:00

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