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Philo of Alexandria on Religion and Politics in the Roman Empire

Thursday, February 11, 2016, 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm

Philo, the Jewish philosopher and diplomat, lived at a crucial period in the Roman Empire, when politics and religion became intricately, and often dangerously, interwoven. Religious identity was often constructed with a view to the Emperor, especially if he was as problematic as Gaius Caligula, and Roman discourses on power. Philo throws important new light on these processes, which eventually led to the celebration of martyrdom in early Christian sources.


Maren Niehoff is Max Cooper Professor in Jewish Thought at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She has studied at the Freie Universität Berlin, The Hebrew University, Oxford University and Harvard University. Her field of research is the encounter between Judaism and Greco-Roman Culture in Antiquity. She is currently working on an intellectual biography of Philo of Alexandria (commissioned by Yale University Press).