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Original Research

Accuser, Judge and Paraclete - On conscience in Philo of Alexandria

H-J Klauck

Verbum et Ecclesia; Skrif en Kerk: Vol 20, No 1 (1999), 107-118. doi: 10.4102/ve.v20i1.1169

Submitted: 06 August 1999
Published:  06 August 1999


Of all known ancient authors writing in Greek, Philo of Alexandria is the one and related terms and concepts (the apostle Paul comes next, more or less). Something similar may only be found in Latin authors speaking of conscientia, like Cicero. This needs an explanation. After discussing some relevant passages from Philo's writings, with special stress on the texts from scriptures exposed by him, analogies in wisdom literature and in Graeco-Roman rhetoric and mythology are indicated. The following solution is proposed: Philo combines the punishing Furies (cf Cicero) and the benevolent guardian spirit (c. Seneca) of Graeco-Roman mythology and philosophy with the personified reproof from Jewish Wisdom literature, and so he creates a concept that helps him to give a visual description of the strict but nevertheless kind guidance God practices on man.

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Author affiliations

H-J Klauck, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, München, Germany



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ISSN: 1609-9982 (print) | ISSN: 2074-7705 (online)

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