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Tiresias: The Ancient Mediterranean Religions Source Database

Philo Of Alexandria, That Every Good Person Is Free, 93

nanCalanus was an Indian by birth, one of the gymnosophists; he, being looked upon as the man who was possessed of the greatest fortitude of all his contemporaries, and that too, not only by his own countrymen, but also by foreigners, which is the rarest of all things, was greatly admired by some kings of hostile countries, because he had combined virtuous actions with praiseworthy language;

Intertexts (texts cited often on the same page as the searched text):

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1. Hebrew Bible, Deuteronomy, 7.1-7.4, 12.31 (9th cent. BCE - 3rd cent. BCE)

7.1. וּמְשַׁלֵּם לְשֹׂנְאָיו אֶל־פָּנָיו לְהַאֲבִידוֹ לֹא יְאַחֵר לְשֹׂנְאוֹ אֶל־פָּנָיו יְשַׁלֶּם־לוֹ׃ 7.1. כִּי יְבִיאֲךָ יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ אֶל־הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר־אַתָּה בָא־שָׁמָּה לְרִשְׁתָּהּ וְנָשַׁל גּוֹיִם־רַבִּים מִפָּנֶיךָ הַחִתִּי וְהַגִּרְגָּשִׁי וְהָאֱמֹרִי וְהַכְּנַעֲנִי וְהַפְּרִזִּי וְהַחִוִּי וְהַיְבוּסִי שִׁבְעָה גוֹיִם רַבִּים וַעֲצוּמִים מִמֶּךָּ׃ 7.2. וּנְתָנָם יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ לְפָנֶיךָ וְהִכִּיתָם הַחֲרֵם תַּחֲרִים אֹתָם לֹא־תִכְרֹת לָהֶם בְּרִית וְלֹא תְחָנֵּם׃ 7.2. וְגַם אֶת־הַצִּרְעָה יְשַׁלַּח יְהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ בָּם עַד־אֲבֹד הַנִּשְׁאָרִים וְהַנִּסְתָּרִים מִפָּנֶיךָ׃ 7.3. וְלֹא תִתְחַתֵּן בָּם בִּתְּךָ לֹא־תִתֵּן לִבְנוֹ וּבִתּוֹ לֹא־תִקַּח לִבְנֶךָ׃ 7.4. כִּי־יָסִיר אֶת־בִּנְךָ מֵאַחֲרַי וְעָבְדוּ אֱלֹהִים אֲחֵרִים וְחָרָה אַף־יְהוָה בָּכֶם וְהִשְׁמִידְךָ מַהֵר׃ 12.31. לֹא־תַעֲשֶׂה כֵן לַיהוָה אֱלֹהֶיךָ כִּי כָּל־תּוֹעֲבַת יְהוָה אֲשֶׁר שָׂנֵא עָשׂוּ לֵאלֹהֵיהֶם כִּי גַם אֶת־בְּנֵיהֶם וְאֶת־בְּנֹתֵיהֶם יִשְׂרְפוּ בָאֵשׁ לֵאלֹהֵיהֶם׃ 7.1. When the LORD thy God shall bring thee into the land whither thou goest to possess it, and shall cast out many nations before thee, the Hittite, and the Girgashite, and the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite, seven nations greater and mightier than thou;" 7.2. and when the LORD thy God shall deliver them up before thee, and thou shalt smite them; then thou shalt utterly destroy them; thou shalt make no covet with them, nor show mercy unto them;" 7.3. neither shalt thou make marriages with them: thy daughter thou shalt not give unto his son, nor his daughter shalt thou take unto thy son." 7.4. For he will turn away thy son from following Me, that they may serve other gods; so will the anger of the LORD be kindled against you, and He will destroy thee quickly." 12.31. Thou shalt not do so unto the LORD thy God; for every abomination to the LORD, which He hateth, have they done unto their gods; for even their sons and their daughters do they burn in the fire to their gods."
2. Hebrew Bible, Exodus, 34.11-34.16 (9th cent. BCE - 3rd cent. BCE)

34.11. שְׁמָר־לְךָ אֵת אֲשֶׁר אָנֹכִי מְצַוְּךָ הַיּוֹם הִנְנִי גֹרֵשׁ מִפָּנֶיךָ אֶת־הָאֱמֹרִי וְהַכְּנַעֲנִי וְהַחִתִּי וְהַפְּרִזִּי וְהַחִוִּי וְהַיְבוּסִי׃ 34.12. הִשָּׁמֶר לְךָ פֶּן־תִּכְרֹת בְּרִית לְיוֹשֵׁב הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר אַתָּה בָּא עָלֶיהָ פֶּן־יִהְיֶה לְמוֹקֵשׁ בְּקִרְבֶּךָ׃ 34.13. כִּי אֶת־מִזְבְּחֹתָם תִּתֹּצוּן וְאֶת־מַצֵּבֹתָם תְּשַׁבֵּרוּן וְאֶת־אֲשֵׁרָיו תִּכְרֹתוּן׃ 34.14. כִּי לֹא תִשְׁתַּחֲוֶה לְאֵל אַחֵר כִּי יְהוָה קַנָּא שְׁמוֹ אֵל קַנָּא הוּא׃ 34.15. פֶּן־תִּכְרֹת בְּרִית לְיוֹשֵׁב הָאָרֶץ וְזָנוּ אַחֲרֵי אֱלֹהֵיהֶם וְזָבְחוּ לֵאלֹהֵיהֶם וְקָרָא לְךָ וְאָכַלְתָּ מִזִּבְחוֹ׃ 34.16. וְלָקַחְתָּ מִבְּנֹתָיו לְבָנֶיךָ וְזָנוּ בְנֹתָיו אַחֲרֵי אֱלֹהֵיהֶן וְהִזְנוּ אֶת־בָּנֶיךָ אַחֲרֵי אֱלֹהֵיהֶן׃ 34.11. Observe thou that which I am commanding thee this day; behold, I am driving out before thee the Amorite, and the Canaanite, and the Hittite, and the Perizzite, and the Hivite, and the Jebusite." 34.12. Take heed to thyself, lest thou make a covet with the inhabitants of the land whither thou goest, lest they be for a snare in the midst of thee." 34.13. But ye shall break down their altars, and dash in pieces their pillars, and ye shall cut down their Asherim." 34.14. For thou shalt bow down to no other god; for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God;" 34.15. lest thou make a covet with the inhabitants of the land, and they go astray after their gods, and do sacrifice unto their gods, and they call thee, and thou eat of their sacrifice;" 34.16. and thou take of their daughters unto thy sons, and their daughters go astray after their gods, and make thy sons go astray after their gods."
3. Philo of Alexandria, On The Life of Abraham, 271 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

271. Those men, therefore, who have spent a long life in that existence which is in accordance with the body, apart from all virtue, we must call only long-lived children, having never been instructed in those branches of education which befit grey hairs. But the man who has been a lover of prudence, and wisdom, and faith in God, one may justly denominate an elder, forming his name by a slight change from the first.
4. Philo of Alexandria, On Husbandry, 84 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

84. Very beautifully, therefore, does the lawgiver in his recommendations, teach us not to elect as a chief, a man who is a breeder of horses, thinking that such a one is altogether unsuited to exercise authority, inasmuch as he is in a frenzy about pleasures and appetites, and intolerable loves, and rages about like an unbridled and unmanageable horse. For he speaks thus, "Thou shalt not be able to set over thyself a man that is a stranger, because he is not thy brother; because he will not multiply for himself his horses, and will not turn his people towards Egypt.
5. Philo of Alexandria, On The Cherubim, 9 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

9. And they shall undergo eternal banishment, God himself confirming their expulsion, when he bids the wise man obey the word spoken by Sarah, and she urges him expressly to cast out the serving woman and her son; and it is good to be guided by virtue, and especially so when it teaches such lessons as this, that the most perfect natures are very greatly different from the mediocre habits, and that wisdom is a wholly different thing from sophistry; for the one labours to devise what is persuasive for the establishment of a false opinion, which is pernicious to the soul, but wisdom, with long meditation on the truth by the knowledge of right reason, bring real advantage to the intellect. 9. Then, as different beings were treated with divine honours by different nations, the diversity of opinions respecting the Supreme Being, begot also disputes about all kinds of other subjects; and it was from having a regard to these facts in the first place that Moses decided on giving his laws outside of the city.
6. Philo of Alexandria, On The Change of Names, 197 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

197. men who weary the ears of those who hear them by everlastingly dwelling on such subjects as these; wisdom is a necessary good; folly is pernicious; temperance is desirable; intemperance is hateful; courage is a thing proper to be cultivated; cowardice must be avoided; justice is advantageous; injustice is disadvantageous; holiness is honourable; unholiness is shameful; piety towards the gods is praiseworthy; impiety is blameable; that which is most akin to the nature of man is to design, and to act, and to speak virtuously; that which is most alien from his nature is to do the contrary of all these things.
7. Philo of Alexandria, On The Posterity of Cain, 109 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

109. for who would converse in a similar manner with parents and children, being by nature the slave of the one, and by birth the master of the others? And who, again, would talk in the same manner to brothers or cousins; or, in short, to near and to distant relations? Who, again, could do so to friends and to strangers, to fellow citizens and to foreigners, though there may be no great difference in point of fortune, or nature, or age between them? For one must behave differently while associating with an old man and with a young one; and, again, with a man of high reputation and a humble man, with a servant and a master; and, again, with a woman and a man, and with an illiterate and a clever man.
8. Philo of Alexandria, On Curses, 139 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

139. Most correctly, therefore, after the servant has said, "Give me a little water to drink," does she make answer, not in the manner corresponding to his request: "I will give you to drink," but "Drink." For the one expression would have been suited to one who was displaying the riches of God, which are poured forth for all who are worthy of them and who are able to think of them; but the other expression is appropriate to one who professes that she will teach. But nothing which is connected with mere professions is akin to virtue.
9. Philo of Alexandria, On Sobriety, 3 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

10. Philo of Alexandria, On Dreams, 1.161, 2.56 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

1.161. for having forsaken the language of those who indulge in sublime conversations about astronomy, a language imitating that of the Chaldaeans, foreign and barbarous, he was brought over to that which was suited to a rational being, namely, to the service of the great Cause of all things. 2.56. And yet, for sound sleep, the mere ground was sufficient (since, even to the present day, the accounts tell us that the gymnosophists, among the Indians, sleep on the ground in accordance with their ancient customs); and if it were not, at all events a couch made of carefully chosen stones or plain pieces of wood, would be a sufficient bed;
11. Philo of Alexandria, On The Special Laws, 1.56, 1.124, 1.312-1.313, 1.340, 2.123, 2.167, 2.189-2.190, 3.9, 3.29, 4.16, 4.179-4.181 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

1.56. There is, in the history of the law, a record of one man who ventured on this exploit of noble daring, for when he saw some men connecting themselves with foreign women, and by reason of their allurements neglecting all their national customs and laws, and practising fabulous ceremonies, he was seized with a sudden enthusiasm in the presence of the whole multitude; and driving away all those on each side who were collected to see the sight, he slew one man who was so daring as to put himself forward as the leader and chief of this transgression of the law (for the impious deed had been already displayed and made a public exhibition of 1.124. on which account the law altogether forbids any foreigner to partake in any degree of the holy things, even if he be a man of the noblest birth among the natives of the land, and irreproachable as respects both men and women, in order that the sacred honours may not be adulterated, but may remain carefully guarded in the family of the priests; 1.312. And let us cling to the custom of addressing our supplications to him, and let us not, after we have subdued our enemies, imitate their impiety in those matters of conduct in which they fancy that they are acting piously, burning their sons and their daughters to their gods, not, indeed, that it is the custom of all the barbarians to burn their children. 1.313. For they are not become so perfectly savage in their natures as to endure in time of peace to treat their nearest and dearest relatives as they would scarcely treat their irreconcilable enemies in time of war. But that they do in reality inflame and corrupt the souls of the children of whom they are the parents from the very moment that they are out of their swaddling clothes; not imprinting on their minds, while they are still tender, any true opinions respecting the one only and truly living God. Let us not then be overcome by, and fall down before, and yield to their good fortune as if they had prevailed by reason of their piety. 1.340. And even without reckoning the advantage derived from these things; sight also affords us the greatest benefits in respect of the power of distinguishing one's relatives and strangers, and friends, and avoiding what is injurious and choosing what is beneficial. Now each of the other parts of the body has been created with reference to appropriate uses, which are of great importance, as, for instance, the feet were made for walking, and for all the other uses to which the legs can be applied; again, the hands were created for the purpose of doing, or giving, or taking anything; and the eyes, as a sort of universal good, afford both to the hands and feet, and to all the other parts of the body the cause of being able to act or move rightly; 2.123. But the law permits the people to acquire a property in slaves who are not of their own countrymen, but who are of different nations; intending in the first place that there should be a difference between one's own countrymen and strangers, and secondly, not desiring completely to exclude from the constitution that most entirely indispensable property of slaves; for there are an innumerable host of circumstances in life which require the ministrations of Servants.{16}{sections 124û139 were omitted in Yonge's translation because the edition on which Yonge based his translation, Mangey, lacked this material. These lines have been newly translated for this edition.} 2.167. For this reason it amazes me that some dare to charge the nation with an anti-social stance, a nation which has made such an extensive use of fellowship and goodwill toward all people everywhere that they offer up prayers and feasts and first fruits on behalf of the common race of human beings and serve the really self-existent God both on behalf of themselves and of others who have run from the services which they should have rendered. 2.189. for then the voice of a trumpet sounded from heaven, which it is natural to suppose reached to the very extremities of the universe, so that so wondrous a sound attracted all who were present, making them consider, as it is probable, that such mighty events were signs betokening some great things to be accomplished. 2.190. And what more great or more beneficial thing could come to men than laws affecting the whole race? And what was common to all mankind was this: the trumpet is the instrument of war, sounding both when commanding the charge and the retreat. ... There is also another kind of war, ordained of God, when nature is at variance with itself, its different parts attacking one another. 3.9. Therefore, even that pleasure which is in accordance with nature is often open to blame, when any one indulges in it immoderately and insatiably, as men who are unappeasably voracious in respect of eating, even if they take no kind of forbidden or unwholesome food; and as men who are madly devoted to association with women, and who commit themselves to an immoderate degree not with other men's wives, but with their own. 3.29. Again. Moses commands, do not either form a connection of marriage with one of another nation, and do not be seduced into complying with customs inconsistent with your own, and do not stray from the right way and forget the path which leads to piety, turning into a road which is no road. And, perhaps, you will yourself resist, if you have been from your earliest youth trained in the best possible instruction, which your parents have instilled into you, continually filling your mind with the sacred laws. And the anxiety and fear which parents feel for their sons and daughters is not slight; for, perchance, they may be allured by mischievous customs instead of genuine good ones, and so they may be in danger of learning to forget the honour belonging to the one God, which is the beginning and end of extreme unhappiness. 4.16. And before now, some men, increasing their own innate wickedness, and directing the natural treachery of their characters to a violation of all rights, have studied to bring slavery not only upon strangers and foreigners, but even upon those of the same nation as themselves; and sometimes, even upon men of the same borough and of the same tribe, disregarding the community of laws and customs, in which they have been bred up with them from their earliest infancy, which nature stamps upon their souls as the firmest bond of good will in the case of all those who are not very intractable and greatly addicted to cruelty; 4.179. And one may almost say that the whole nation of the Jews may be looked upon in the light of orphans, if they are compared with all other nations in other lands; for other nations, as often as they are afflicted by any calamities which are not of divine infliction, are in no want of assistance by reason of their frequent intercourse with other nations, from their habitual dealings in common. But this nation of the Jews has no such allies by reason of the peculiarity of its laws and customs. And their laws are of necessity strict and rigorous, as they are intended to train them to the greatest height of virtue; and what is strict and rigorous is austere. And such laws and customs the generality of men avoid, because of their inclination for and their adoption of pleasure. 4.180. But, nevertheless, Moses says that the great Ruler of the universe, whose inheritance they are, does always feel compassion and pity for the orphan and desolate of this his people, because they have been dedicated to him, the Creator and Father of all, as a sort of first-fruits of the whole human race. 4.181. And the cause of this dedication to God was the excessive and admirable righteousness and virtue of the founders of the nation, which remain like undying plants, bearing a fruit which shall ever flourish to the salvation of their descendants, and to the benefit of all persons and all things, provided only that the sins which they commit are such as are remediable and not wholly unpardonable.
12. Philo of Alexandria, On The Virtues, 160, 222, 34, 89, 147 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

147. But, nevertheless, the lawgiver neither neglected the safety of the unclean animals, nor did he permit those which were clean to use their strength in disregard of justice, crying out and declaring loudly in express words, if one may say so, to those persons who have ears in their soul, not to injure any one of a different nation, unless they have some grounds for bringing accusations against them beyond the fact of their being of another nation, which is not ground of blame; for those things which are not wickedness, and which do not proceed from wickedness, are free from all reproach. XXVIII.
13. Philo of Alexandria, On The Contemplative Life, 21 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

21. Now this class of persons may be met with in many places, for it was fitting that both Greece and the country of the barbarians should partake of whatever is perfectly good; and there is the greatest number of such men in Egypt, in every one of the districts, or nomi as they are called, and especially around Alexandria;
14. Philo of Alexandria, On The Life of Moses, 1.149, 1.296-1.298, 2.43-2.44 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

1.149. For, as he had abandoned the chief authority in Egypt, which he might have had as the grandson of the reigning king, on account of the iniquities which were being perpetrated in that country, and by reason of his nobleness of soul and of the greatness of his spirit, and the natural detestation of wickedness, scorning and rejecting all the hopes which he might have conceived from those who had adopted him, it seemed good to the Ruler and Governor of the universe to recompense him with the sovereign authority over a more populous and more powerful nation, which he was about to take to himself out of all other nations and to consecrate to the priesthood, that it might for ever offer up prayers for the whole universal race of mankind, for the sake of averting evil from them and procuring them a participation in blessings. 1.296. for, said he, "O king! the women of the country surpass all other women in beauty, and there are no means by which a man is more easily subdued than by the beauty of a woman; therefore, if you enjoin the most beautiful of them to grant their favours to them and to prostitute themselves to them, they will allure and overcome the youth of your enemies. 1.297. But you must warn them not to surrender their beauty to those who desire them with too great facility and too speedily, for resistance and coyness will stimulate the passions and excite them more, and will kindle a more impetuous desire; and so, being wholly subdued by their appetites, they will endure to do and to suffer anything. 1.298. And let any damsel who is thus prepared for the sport resist, and say, wantonly, to a lover who is thus influenced, "It is not fitting for you to enjoy my society till you have first abandoned your native habits, and have changed, and learnt to honour the same practices that I do. And I must have a conspicuous proof of your real change, which I can only have by your consenting to join me in the same sacrifices and libations which I use, and which we may then offer together at the same images and statues, and other erections in honour of my gods. 2.43. In this way those admirable, and incomparable, and most desirable laws were made known to all people, whether private individuals or kings, and this too at a period when the nation had not been prosperous for a long time. And it is generally the case that a cloud is thrown over the affairs of those who are not flourishing, so that but little is known of them; 2.44. and then, if they make any fresh start and begin to improve, how great is the increase of their renown and glory? I think that in that case every nation, abandoning all their own individual customs, and utterly disregarding their national laws, would change and come over to the honour of such a people only; for their laws shining in connection with, and simultaneously with, the prosperity of the nation, will obscure all others, just as the rising sun obscures the stars.
15. Philo of Alexandria, Hypothetica, 11.1, 11.5 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

16. Philo of Alexandria, Against Flaccus, 29, 17 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

17. But when a magistrate begins to despair of his power of exerting authority, it follows inevitably, that his subjects must quickly become disobedient, especially those who are naturally, at every trivial or common occurrence, inclined to show insubordination, and, among people of such a disposition, the Egyptian nation is pre-eminent, being constantly in the habit of exciting great seditions from very small sparks.
17. Philo of Alexandria, On The Embassy To Gaius, 162, 166, 183, 200, 211, 72, 10 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

10. and the sovereignty of the most numerous, and most valuable, and important portions of the habitable world, which is fact one may fairly call the whole world, being not only all that is bounded by the two rivers, the Euphrates and the Rhine; the one of which confines Germany and all the more uncivilised nations; and the Euphrates, on the other hand, bridles Parthia and the nations of the Sarmatians and Scythians, which are not less barbarous and uncivilised than the Germanic tribes; but, even as I said before, all the world, from the rising to the setting sun, all the land in short on this side of the Ocean and beyond the Ocean, at which all the Roman people and all Italy rejoiced, and even all the Asiatic and European nations.
18. Philo of Alexandria, Who Is The Heir, 42, 44, 97, 105 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

105. For many men have become wicked in respect of such sacred deposits, having, through their immoderate covetousness improperly used the property of others as their own. But do thou, O good man! endeavour with all thy strength, not only to present what you have received without injury and without adulteration, but also to take even more care than that of such things, that he who has deposited them with you may have no grounds to blame the care which has been exercised by you.
19. Philo of Alexandria, That Every Good Person Is Free, 101-104, 108, 73-75, 92, 94-100 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. CE)

100. Again, do not you see this same virtuous man himself, that even when he is sold he does not appear to be a servant, but he strikes all who behold him with awe, as not being merely free, but as even being about to prove the master of him who has purchased him?
20. Strabo, Geography, 15.1.59-15.1.66, 15.1.68, 16.2.39 (1st cent. BCE - 1st cent. BCE)

15.1.59. Megasthenes divides the philosophers again into two kinds, the Brachmanes and the Garmanes. The Brachmanes are held in greater repute, for they agree more exactly in their opinions. Even from the time of their conception in the womb they are under the care and guardianship of learned men, who go to the mother, and seem to perform some incantation for the happiness and welfare of the mother and the unborn child, but in reality they suggest prudent advice, and the mothers who listen to them most willingly are thought to be the most fortunate in their offspring. After the birth of the children, there is a succession of persons who have the care of them, and as they advance in years, masters more able and accomplished succeed.The philosophers live in a grove in front of the city within a moderate-sized enclosure. Their diet is frugal, and they lie upon straw pallets and on skins. They abstain from animal food, and from sexual intercourse with women; their time is occupied in grave discourse, and they communicate with those who are inclined to listen to them; but the hearer is not permitted to speak or cough, or even to spit on the ground; otherwise, he is expelled that very day from their society, on the ground of having no control over himself. After living thirty-seven years in this manner, each individual retires to his own possessions, and lives with less restraint, wearing robes of fine linen, and rings of gold, but without profuseness, upon the hands and in the ears. They eat the flesh of animals, of those particularly which do not assist man in his labour, and abstain from hot and seasoned food. They have as many wives as they please with a view to numerous offspring, for from many wives greater advantages are derived.As they have no slaves, they require more the services, which are at hand, of their children.The Brachmanes do not communicate their philosophy to their wives, for fear they should divulge to the profane, if they became depraved, anything which ought to be concealed or lest they should abandon their husbands in case they became good (philosophers) themselves. For no one who despises alike pleasure and pain, life and death, is willing to be subject to the authority of another; and such is the character of a virtuous man and a virtuous woman.They discourse much on death, for it is their opinion that the present life is the state of one conceived in the womb, and that death to philosophers is birth to a real and a happy life. They therefore discipline themselves much to prepare for death, and maintain that nothing which happens to man is bad or good, for otherwise the same things would not be the occasion of sorrow to some and of joy to others, opinions being merely dreams, nor that the same persons could be affected with sorrow and joy by the same things, on different occasions.With regard to opinions on physical phenomena, they display, says Megasthenes, great simplicity, their actions being better than their reasoning, for their belief is chiefly founded on fables. On many subjects their sentiments are the same as those of the Greeks. According to the Brachmanes, the world was created, and is liable to corruption; it is of a spheroidal figure; the god who made and governs it pervades the whole of it; the principles of all things are different, but the principle of the world's formation was water; in addition to the four elements there is a fifth nature, of which the heavens and the stars are composed; the earth is situated in the centre of the universe. Many other peculiar things they say of the principle of generation and of the soul. They invent fables also, after the manner of Plato, on the immortality of the soul, and on the punishments in Hades, and other things of this kind. This is the account which Megasthenes gives of the Brachmanes. 15.1.60. of the Garmanes, the most honourable, he says, are the Hylobii, who live in the forests, and subsist on leaves and wild fruits: they are clothed with garments made of the bark of trees, and abstain from commerce with women and from wine. The kings hold communication with them by messengers, concerning the causes of things, and through them worship and supplicate the Divinity.Second in honour to the Hylobii, are the physicians, for they apply philosophy to the study of the nature of man. They are of frugal habits, but do not live in the fields, and subsist upon rice and meal, which every one gives when asked, and receive them hospitably. They are able to cause persons to have a numerous offspring, and to have either male or female children, by means of charms. They cure diseases by diet, rather than by medicinal remedies. Among the latter, the most in repute are unguents and cataplasms. All others they suppose partake greatly of a noxious nature.Both this and the other class of persons practise fortitude, as well in supporting active toil as in enduring suffering, so that they will continue a whole day in the same posture, without motion.There are enchanters and diviners, versed in the rites and customs relative to the dead, who go about villages and towns begging. There are others who are more civilized and better informed than these, who inculcate the vulgar opinions concerning Hades, which, according to their ideas, tend to piety and sanctity. Women study philosophy with some of them, but abstain from sexual intercourse. 15.1.61. Aristobulus says, that he saw at Taxila two sophists (wise men), both Brachmanes, the elder had his head shaved, but the younger wore his hair; both were attended by disciples. When not otherwise engaged, they spent their time in the market-place. They are honoured as public counsellors, and have the liberty of taking away, without payment, whatever article they like which is exposed for sale; when any one accosts them, he pours over them oil of jessamine, in such profusion that it runs down from their eyes. of honey and sesamum, which is exposed for sale in large quantity, they take enough to make cakes, and are fed without expense.They came up to Alexander's table and took their meal standing, and they gave an example of their fortitude by retiring to a neighbouring spot, where the elder, falling on the ground supine, endured the sun and the rain, which had now set in, it being the commencement of spring. The other stood on one leg, with a piece of wood three cubits in length raised in both hands; when one leg was fatigued he changed the support to the other, and thus continued the whole day. The younger appeared to possess much more self-command; for, after following the king a short distance, he soon returned to his home. The king sent after him, but he bade the king to come to him, if he wanted anything of him. The other accompanied the king to the last: during his stay he changed his dress, and altered his mode of life, and when reproached for his conduct, answered, that he had completed the forty years of discipline which he had promised to observe: Alexander made presents to his children. 15.1.62. Aristobulus relates also some strange and unusual customs of the people of Taxila. Those, who through poverty are unable to marry their daughters, expose them for sale in the market-place, in the flower of their age, to the sound of shell trumpets and drums, with which the war-note is given. A crowd is thus assembled. First her back, as far as the shoulders, is uncovered, then the parts in front, for the examination of any man who comes for this purpose. If she pleases him, he marries her on such conditions as may be determined upon.The dead are thrown out to be devoured by vultures. To have many wives is a custom common to these and to other nations. He says, that he had heard, from some persons, of wives burning themselves voluntarily with their deceased husbands; and that those women who refused to submit to this custom were disgraced. The same things have been told by other writers. 15.1.63. Onesicritus says, that he himself was sent to converse with these wise men. For Alexander heard that they went about naked, practised constancy and fortitude, and were held in the highest honour; that, when invited, they did not go to other persons, but commanded others to come to them, if they wished to participate in their exercises or their conversation. Such being their character, Alexander did not consider it to be consistent with propriety to go to them, nor to compel them to do anything contrary to their inclination or against the custom of their country; he therefore despatched Onesicritus to them.Onesicritus found, at the distance of 20 stadia from the city, fifteen men standing in different postures, sitting or lying down naked, who continued in these positions until the evening, and then returned to the city. The most difficult thing to endure was the heat of the sun, which was so powerful, that no one else could endure without pain to walk on the ground at mid-day with bare feet. 15.1.64. He conversed with Calanus, one of these sophists, who accompanied the king to Persia, and died after the custom of his country, being placed on a pile of [burning] wood. When Onesicritus came, he was lying upon stones. Onesicritus approached, accosted him, and told him that he had been sent by the king, who had heard the fame of his wisdom, and that he was to give an account of his interview, if there were no objection, he was ready to listen to his discourse. When Calanus saw his mantle, head-covering, and shoes, he laughed, and said, 'Formerly, there was abundance everywhere of corn and barley, as there is now of dust; fountains then flowed with water, milk, honey, wine, and oil, but mankind by repletion and luxury became proud and insolent. Jupiter, indigt at this state of things, destroyed all, and appointed for man a life of toil. On the reappearance of temperance and other virtues, there was again an abundance of good things. But at present the condition of mankind approaches satiety and insolence, and there is danger lest the things which now exist should disappear.'When he had finished, he proposed to Onesicritus, if he wished to hear his discourse, to strip off his clothes, to lie down naked by him on the same stones, and in that manner to listen to him; while he was hesitating what to do, Mandanis, who was the oldest and wisest of the sophists, reproached Calanus for his insolence, although he censured such insolence himself. Mandanis called Onesicritus to him, and said, I commend the king, because, although he governs so large an empire, he is yet desirous of acquiring wisdom, for he is the only philosopher in arms that I ever saw; it would be of the greatest advantage, if those were philosophers who have the power of persuading the willing and of compelling the unwilling to learn temperance; but I am entitled to indulgence, if, when conversing by means of three interpreters, who, except the language, know no more than the vulgar, I am not able to demonstrate the utility of philosophy. To attempt it is to expect water to flow pure through mud. 15.1.65. 'The tendency of his discourse,' he said, 'was this, that the best philosophy was that which liberated the mind from pleasure and grief; that grief differed from labour, in that the former was inimical, the latter friendly to men; for that men exercised their bodies with labour in order to strengthen the mental powers, by which means they would be able to put an end to dissensions, and give good counsel to all, to the public and to individuals; that he certainly should at present advise Taxiles to receive Alexander as a friend; for if he entertained a person better than himself, he might be improved; but if a worse person, he might dispose him to good.'After this Mandanis inquired, whether such doctrines were taught among the Greeks. Onesicritus answered, that Pythagoras taught a similar doctrine, and enjoined his disciples to abstain from whatever has life; that Socrates and Diogenes, whose discourses he had heard, held the same opinions. Mandanis replied, 'that in other respects he thought them wise, but that in one thing they were mistaken, namely, in preferring custom to nature, for otherwise they would not be ashamed of going naked, like himself, and of subsisting on frugal fare; for the best house was that which required least repairs.' He says also that they employ themselves much on natural subjects, as prognostics, rain, drought, and diseases. When they repair to the city, they disperse themselves in the market-places; if they meet any one carrying figs or bunches of grapes, they take what is offered gratuitously; if it is oil, it is poured over them, and they are anointed with it. Every wealthy house, even to the women's apartment, is open to them; when they enter it, they engage in conversation, and partake of the repast. Disease of the body they regard as most disgraceful, and he who apprehends it, after preparing a pyre, destroys himself by fire; he (previously) anoints himself, and sitting down upon it orders it to be lighted, remaining motionless while he is burning. 15.1.66. Nearchus gives the following account of the Sophists. The Brachmanes engage in public affairs, and attend the kings as counsellors; the rest are occupied in the study of nature. Calanus belonged to the latter class. Women study philosophy with them, and all lead an austere life.of the customs of the other Indians, he says, that their laws, whether relating to the community or to individuals, are not committed to writing, and differ altogether from those of other people. For example, it is the practice among some tribes, to propose virgins as prizes to the conquerors in a trial of skill in boxing; wherefore they marry without portions; among other tribes the ground is cultivated by families and in common; when the produce is collected, each takes a load sufficient for his subsistence during the year; the remainder is burnt, in order to have a reason for renewing their labour, and not remaining inactive. Their weapons consist of a bow and arrows, which are three cubits in length, or a javelin, and a shield, and a sword three cubits long. Instead of bridles, they use muzzles, which differ little from a halter, and the lips are perforated with spikes. 15.1.68. As an instance of the disagreement among historians, we may adduce their (different) accounts of Calanus. They all agree that he accompanied Alexander, and underwent a voluntary death by fire in his presence, but they differ as to the manner and cause of his death. Some give the following account. Calanus accompanied the king, as the rehearser of his praises, beyond the boundaries of India, contrary to the common Indian custom; for the philosophers attend upon their kings, and act as instructors in the worship of the gods, in the same manner as the Magi attend the Persian kings. When he fell sick at Pasargadae, being then attacked with disease for the first time in his life, he put himself to death at the age of seventy-three years, regardless of the entreaties of the king. A pyre was raised, and a golden couch placed upon it. He laid down upon it, and covering himself up, was burnt to death.Others say, that a chamber was constructed of wood, which was filled with the leaves of trees, and a pyre being raised upon the roof, he was shut up in it, according to his directions, after the procession, with which he had been accompanied, had arrived at the spot. He threw himself upon the pyre, and was consumed like a log of wood, together with the chamber.Megasthenes says, that self-destruction is not a dogma of the philosophers, and that those who commit this act are accounted fool-hardy; that some, who are by nature harsh, inflict wounds upon their bodies, or cast themselves down precipices; those who are impatient of pain drown themselves; those who can endure pain strangle themselves; and those of ardent tempers throw themselves into the fire. of this last description was Calanus, who had no control over himself, and was a slave to the table of Alexander. Calanus is censured, while Mandanis is applauded. When Alexander's messengers invited the latter to come to the son of Jove, promising a reward if he would comply, and threatening punishment if he refused, he answered, 'Alexander was not the son of Jove, for he did not govern even the smallest portion of the earth; nor did he himself desire a gift of one who was satisfied with nothing. Neither did he fear his threats, for as long as he lived India would supply him with food enough; and when he died, he should be delivered from the flesh wasted by old age, and be translated to a better and purer state of existence.' Alexander commended and pardoned him. 16.2.39. What truth there may be in these things I cannot say; they have at least been regarded and believed as true by mankind. Hence prophets received so much honour as to be thought worthy even of thrones, because they were supposed to communicate ordices and precepts from the gods, both during their lifetime and after their death; as for example Teiresias, to whom alone Proserpine gave wisdom and understanding after death: the others flit about as shadows.Such were Amphiaraus, Trophonius, Orpheus, and Musaeus: in former times there was Zamolxis, a Pythagorean, who was accounted a god among the Getae; and in our time, Decaeneus, the diviner of Byrebistas. Among the Bosporani, there was Achaicarus; among the Indians, were the Gymnosophists; among the Persians, the Magi and Necyomanteis, and besides these the Lecanomanteis and Hydromanteis; among the Assyrians, were the Chaldaeans; and among the Romans, the Tyrrhenian diviners of dreams.Such was Moses and his successors; their beginning was good, but they degenerated.
21. Josephus Flavius, Jewish Antiquities, 18.18, 18.20, 18.259-18.260 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

18.18. 5. The doctrine of the Essenes is this: That all things are best ascribed to God. They teach the immortality of souls, and esteem that the rewards of righteousness are to be earnestly striven for; 18.18. Now Antonia was greatly esteemed by Tiberius on all accounts, from the dignity of her relation to him, who had been his brother Drusus’s wife, and from her eminent chastity; for though she was still a young woman, she continued in her widowhood, and refused all other matches, although Augustus had enjoined her to be married to somebody else; yet did she all along preserve her reputation free from reproach. 18.259. Many of these severe things were said by Apion, by which he hoped to provoke Caius to anger at the Jews, as he was likely to be. But Philo, the principal of the Jewish embassage, a man eminent on all accounts, brother to Alexander the alabarch, and one not unskillful in philosophy, was ready to betake himself to make his defense against those accusations;
22. Josephus Flavius, Jewish War, 2 (1st cent. CE - 1st cent. CE)

23. Plutarch, Alexander The Great, 69, 65 (1st cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

24. Clement of Alexandria, Miscellanies, 1.15.71 (2nd cent. CE - 3rd cent. CE)

25. Lucian, The Runaways, 7 (2nd cent. CE - 2nd cent. CE)

7. Zeus. Ah, to be sure: the Gymnosophists. I have heard a great deal of them. Among other things, they ascend gigantic pyres, and sit quietly burning to death without moving a muscle. However, that is no such great matter: I saw it done at Olympia only the other day. You would be there, no doubt,–when that old man burnt himself?Phi. No, father: I was afraid to go near Olympia, on account of those hateful men I was telling you of; I saw that numbers of them were going there, to make their barking clamour heard in the temple, and to abuse all comers.
26. Eusebius of Caesarea, Ecclesiastical History, 2.5.2-2.5.5, 6.1 (3rd cent. CE - 4th cent. CE)

2.5.2. Josephus also makes mention of these things in the eighteenth book of his Antiquities, in the following words: A sedition having arisen in Alexandria between the Jews that dwell there and the Greeks, three deputies were chosen from each faction and went to Caius. 2.5.3. One of the Alexandrian deputies was Apion, who uttered many slanders against the Jews; among other things saying that they neglected the honors due to Caesar. For while all other subjects of Rome erected altars and temples to Caius, and in all other respects treated him just as they did the gods, they alone considered it disgraceful to honor him with statues and to swear by his name. 2.5.4. And when Apion had uttered many severe charges by which he hoped that Caius would be aroused, as indeed was likely, Philo, the chief of the Jewish embassy, a man celebrated in every respect, a brother of Alexander the Alabarch, and not unskilled in philosophy, was prepared to enter upon a defense in reply to his accusations. 2.5.5. But Caius prevented him and ordered him to leave, and being very angry, it was plain that he meditated some severe measure against them. And Philo departed covered with insult and told the Jews that were with him to be of good courage; for while Caius was raging against them he was in fact already contending with God.
27. Porphyry, On Abstinence, 4.17 (3rd cent. CE - 4th cent. CE)

4.17. 17.For the polity of the Indians being distributed into many parts, there is one tribe among them of men divinely wise, whom the Greeks are accustomed to call Gymnosophists 18. But of these there are two sects, over one of which the Bramins preside, but over the other the Samanaeans. The race of the Bramins, however, receive divine wisdom of this kind by succession, in the same manner as the priesthood. But the Samanaeans are elected, and consist of those who wish to possess divine knowledge. And the particulars respecting them are the following, as the Babylonian Bardesanes 19 narrates, who lived in the times of our fathers, and was familiar with those Indians who, together with Damadamis, were sent to Caesar. All the Bramins originate from one stock; for all of them are derived from one father and one mother. But the Samanaeans are not the offspring of one family, being, as we have said, collected from every nation of Indians. A Bramin, however, is not a subject of any government, nor does he contribute any thing together with others to government. And with respect to those that are philosophers, among these some dwell on mountains, and others about the river Ganges. And those that live on mountains feed on autumnal fruits, and on cows' milk coagulated with herbs. But those that reside near the Ganges, live also on autumnal fruits, which are produced in abundance about that river. The land likewise nearly always bears new fruit, together with much rice, which grows spontaneously, and which they use when there is a deficiency of autumnal fruits. But to taste of any other nutriment, or, in short, to touch animal food, is considered by them as equivalent to extreme impurity and impiety. And this is one of their dogmas. They also worship divinity with piety and purity. They spend the day, and the greater part of the night, in hymns and prayers to the Gods; each of them having a cottage to himself, and living, as much as possible, alone. For the Bramins cannot endure to remain with others, nor to speak much; but when this happens to take place, they afterwards withdraw themselves, and do not speak for many days. They likewise frequently fast. But the Samanaeans are, as we have said, elected. When, however, any one is desirous of being enrolled in their order, he proceeds to the rulers of the city; but abandons the city or village that he inhabited, and the wealth and all the other property |130 that he possessed. Having likewise the superfluities of his body cut off, he receives a garment, and departs to the Samanaeans, but does not return either to his wife or children, if he happens to have any, nor does he pay any attention to them, or think that they at all pertain to him. And, with respect to his children indeed, the king provides what is necessary for them, and the relatives provide for the wife. And such is the life of the Samanaeans. But they live out of the city, and spend the whole day in conversation pertaining to divinity. They have also houses and temples, built by the king, in which they are stewards, who receive a certain emolument from the king, for the purpose of supplying those that dwell in them with nutriment. But their food consists of rice, bread, autumnal fruits, and pot-herbs. And when they enter into their house, the sound of a bell being the signal of their entrance, those that are not Samanaeans depart from it, and the Samanaeans begin immediately to pray. But having prayed, again, on the bell sounding as a signal, the servants give to each Samanaean a platter, (for two of them do not eat out of the same dish,) and feed them with rice. And to him who is in want of a variety of food, a pot-herb is added, or some autumnal fruit. But having eaten as much as is requisite, without any delay they proceed to their accustomed employments. All of them likewise are unmarried, and have no possessions: and so much are both these and the Bramins venerated by the other Indians, that the king also visits them, and requests them to pray to and supplicate the Gods, when any calamity befalls the country, or to advise him how to act. SPAN

Subjects of this text:

subject book bibliographic info
abraham, criticism of Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 319
abraham, defense of Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 319
alexandria, conflicts in Moss, Ancient Christian Martyrdom: Diverse Practices, Theologies, and Traditions (2012) 199
alexandria/alexandrians Gruen, Ethnicity in the Ancient World - Did it matter (2020) 159
alexandria Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 39
alien/foreigner, in philo Gruen, Ethnicity in the Ancient World - Did it matter (2020) 159, 162
amorites Gruen, Ethnicity in the Ancient World - Did it matter (2020) 159
asceticism Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 25
assyrians Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 25
babylonians Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 25
brahmins Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 25
buddhism, sarmanae Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 25
buddhism Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 25
burchard, c. Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 25
calanus Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 319
canaan/canaanites Gruen, Ethnicity in the Ancient World - Did it matter (2020) 159
celts Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 25
chaeremon Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 25
chaldeans Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 25
child sacrifice, in biblical israel Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 319
child sacrifice Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 319
claudius Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 39
criticism of abraham Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 319
customs/traditions/practices as identity markers, as differentiating peoples Gruen, Ethnicity in the Ancient World - Did it matter (2020) 159
daniel, book of Moss, Ancient Christian Martyrdom: Diverse Practices, Theologies, and Traditions (2012) 199
disparagement, of egyptians by philo Gruen, Ethnicity in the Ancient World - Did it matter (2020) 159
druids Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 25
egypt Gruen, Ethnicity in the Ancient World - Did it matter (2020) 162
egyptians Gruen, Ethnicity in the Ancient World - Did it matter (2020) 159
essenes, as a root of christianity Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 39
ethnos/ethne, in philo Gruen, Ethnicity in the Ancient World - Did it matter (2020) 162
eusebius Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 39
genos/gene/gens/genus, in philo Gruen, Ethnicity in the Ancient World - Did it matter (2020) 162
gnostic, terminology Moss, Ancient Christian Martyrdom: Diverse Practices, Theologies, and Traditions (2012) 199
gymnosophists Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 319
hebrews/israelites, and mixed marriages Gruen, Ethnicity in the Ancient World - Did it matter (2020) 159
hebrews Moss, Ancient Christian Martyrdom: Diverse Practices, Theologies, and Traditions (2012) 199
hittites Gruen, Ethnicity in the Ancient World - Did it matter (2020) 159
identity as nation or people, not defined by direct lineage in philo Gruen, Ethnicity in the Ancient World - Did it matter (2020) 162
idolatry, in philo Gruen, Ethnicity in the Ancient World - Did it matter (2020) 159
india, and gymnosophists Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 25
india/indians Gruen, Ethnicity in the Ancient World - Did it matter (2020) 159
india Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 319
innate capacity as determining ethnicity, absent in philo Gruen, Ethnicity in the Ancient World - Did it matter (2020) 159
intermarriage, in philo Gruen, Ethnicity in the Ancient World - Did it matter (2020) 159
jews/judeans/ioudaioi, and intermarriage in post-biblical texts Gruen, Ethnicity in the Ancient World - Did it matter (2020) 159
jews/judeans/ioudaioi, in alexandria Gruen, Ethnicity in the Ancient World - Did it matter (2020) 159
josephus, and philos hypothetica Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 39
josephus Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 39
lineage and genealogy as identity marker, in philo Gruen, Ethnicity in the Ancient World - Did it matter (2020) 162
mendels, d. Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 25
moses Gruen, Ethnicity in the Ancient World - Did it matter (2020) 162; Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 39
parthia/parthians Gruen, Ethnicity in the Ancient World - Did it matter (2020) 159
persia, magi and Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 25
philo Gruen, Ethnicity in the Ancient World - Did it matter (2020) 159, 162
philo of alexandria, and the philosophical lifestyle Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 25
philo of alexandria Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 25, 39
philos essenes Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 25, 39
porphyry Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 25, 39
qumran, cemetery site at Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 25
sacrifice of isaac, ethical interpretation of Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 319
sacrifice of isaac Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 319
scythians Gruen, Ethnicity in the Ancient World - Did it matter (2020) 159
self-immolation Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 319
suttee Birnbaum and Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham: Introduction, Translation, and Commentary (2020) 319
values/character as identity marker, for philo Gruen, Ethnicity in the Ancient World - Did it matter (2020) 162
vienne and lyons, on septimus severus Moss, Ancient Christian Martyrdom: Diverse Practices, Theologies, and Traditions (2012) 199
virtue' Taylor, The Essenes, the Scrolls, and the Dead Sea (2012) 25
worship/ritual/cult as identity markers, for jews in philo Gruen, Ethnicity in the Ancient World - Did it matter (2020) 159