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3. Athene and Her Owl: the Wisdom of the Greeks
Jewish Responses to Pagan Philosophy

Before we do that, one final task remains. Granted that Paul grew up in the world of strict Pharisaic Judaism, what response might we expect him to have to the world of pagan philosophy? It would be easy to jump straight to a purely negative conclusion: all this is so much foolishness, swept aside by the divine self-revelation in Torah. But there are signs that other avenues were there to be explored as well. Once more it is obviously out of the question to attempt any sort of full or comprehensive account. The interaction between Judaism and the wider world of culture, philosophy, politics and so on in the relevant period already fills many volumes on the library shelves. It would be possible to work through a dozen second-Temple Jewish books and authors and to analyze each in terms of their engagement with the wider philosophical and cultural tradition. Josephus, in particular, would be an attractive choice for such study. For our present purposes, however, as much illustrative as expository, I choose another obvious text: the Wisdom of Solomon...

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