The ship of state: Metaphor and intertextuality in Philo of Alexandria

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This article discusses Philo’s use of the well-known state is ship metaphor. After offering a definition of topos and intertextuality, I discuss passages from the Philonic corpus in which this image features. I will argue that Philo’s use of the state is ship metaphor in most of his writings must be attributed to Philo’s familiarity with a literary trope rather than to intertextual borrowing. The exception is Philo’s Legatio ad Gaium where, I intend to show, Philo’s formulation of the metaphor draws an intertextual connection with Plato’s Republic.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)187-204
JournalJournal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Intertextuality
  • Legatio ad Gaium
  • Philo of Alexandria
  • Plato
  • Ship of State
  • Topos

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