The Letter of Aristeas embellishes its account of Ptolemy’s gift of a table and bowls to the Jerusalem Temple with what Greek rhetoric calls ekphrasis, a graphic description of a thing or person intended to bring the subject vividly to the eyes of the reader. What is the purpose of this embellishment?
Benjamin G. Wright III
Does God have a penchant for cows, goats, and pigeons? A distaste for pigs, mice, and weasels? If not, why are the former permitted to eat but the latter proscribed? According to some Jewish and Christian allegorical interpreters in ancient Alexandria, the Torah’s distinction between clean and unclean meats was intended to tell us as much about how to behave as how to eat.