Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Arts




Dr. Daniel A. Smith


This thesis examines how Judaism was Hellenized by comparing how difference, boundaries, and syncretism function in both Philo and 4 Maccabees. Recent historical and anthropological methods demand rejection of old approaches to these works which differentiated between the Judaism and the Hellenism in them and were often dominated by attempts to show where these authors’ intellectual fidelities lay. By re-evaluating ideas of boundaries and identity, this thesis argues that these authors could be committed to the ends of both Judaism and Hellenism. This necessitates recognition that identity and boundaries are ultimately products of individual self-consciousness; these authors attempt to understand the world around them using multifarious resources. While the Torah is vitally important to the Jewish identity of both these authors, it becomes a symbol which transcends perceived boundaries between Judaism and Hellenism and becomes applicable to both paradigms.