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Title: Diet and Desire
Subtitle: The Logic of Dietary Laws According to Philo
Author(s): RHODES, James N.
Journal: Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses
Volume: 79    Issue: 1   Date: April 2003   
Pages: 122-133
DOI: 10.2143/ETL.79.1.613

Abstract :
One of Philo’s recurring ethical themes is the argument that luxury and softness are morally corrupting. This makes an abundance even of good things morally dangerous, or at least potentially so. For example, gluttony, according to Philo, often leads to debauchery because the passions that reign over the belly inflame the passions that reign over “the parts below the belly”. In this way, satiety ultimately leads to impiety and insolence. Philo’s treatment of the Jewish dietary laws is one part of his work that must be seen against the background of this larger ethical topos. This essay will address Philo’s exposition of the dietary laws pertaining to clean and unclean creatures, explore the techniques and possible sources of his allegorism, and assess the ultimate consistency of his interpretive framework.

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