The Logic and Poetics of Association: Secondary and Tertiary Lemmas in Philo’s De Cherubim

This paper catalogues and analyzes Philo’s use and distribution of secondary and tertiary biblical texts in his allegorical work, On the Cherubim. After a definition of secondary and tertiary lemmas and their place in the Platonic commentary tradition, a comprehensive table of supplementary biblical citations and allusions will be presented. Selected analyses of Philo’s “poetics of association” in several “thick” loci (Cher. 3–9; Cher. 12–17; Cher. 25–36; Cher. 63–108) will be offered. This paper also presents studies of Philo’s clustering of secondary lemmas (Cher. 42–47), his use of non-pentateuchal lemmas (Cher. 49–54), and “contextualizing” biblical lemmas (Cher. 54–60). Without offering a comprehensive account of the treatise’s structure, the paper will finally consider what the relative distribution of secondary and tertiary lemmas might suggest about the organization and unity of the De Cherubim.