Philonica et Neotestamentica

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Philo at SBL Annual Meeting (I)

This year there will be three sessions in the Philo Seminar at the SBL Annual Meeting in San Antonio in November. A variety of papers will be offered by both younger and more seasoned scholars. The papers will be posted during the first half of November on this site:


S20-220 Philo of Alexandria
1:00 PM to 3:30 PM
Room: 217C (2nd Level – West) – Convention Center (CC)

Theme: The Knowledge of God in Philo of Alexandria

Sean Adams, University of Glasgow, Presiding
Mark Hamilton, Abilene Christian University
Divine (Dis)embodiment as an aspect of Divine Otherness in Philo (30 min)
Ilaria L.E. Ramelli, Catholic University+Angelicum +Oxford University
The Knowledge of God and the Dialectics of Apophatic Theology: Philo between Scripture and the Platonic Tradition (30 min)
Break (10 min)
Sharon Weisser, Tel Aviv University
Knowing God by Analogy: Philo of Alexandria’s Proofs for the Existence of God in the Context of the Debate around Stoic Theology in the Roman Period (30 min)
Tyler A. Stewart, Marquette University
Theological Suicide: Evil and the Imperception of God (30 min)
Discussion (20 min)


S20-345 Philo of Alexandria
11/20/2016 4:00 PM to 6:30 PM
Room: 304B (3rd Level) – Convention Center (CC)

Theme: Reincarnation and Afterlife in Philo and His World

Torrey Seland, Independent Scholar, Presiding
Sami Yli-Karjanmaa, University of Helsinki
Philo’s Position on Reincarnation (30 min)
David Runia, University of Melbourne
Does Philo Accept the Doctrine of Reincarnation? (30 min)
Break (10 min)
Rainer Hirsch-Luipold, Universität Bern – Université de Berne
Afterlife and Reincarnation in Plutarch (30 min)
Jeffrey Trumbower, Saint Michael’s College (Vermont)
Closing the Door on Reincarnation in Early Christianity: Limiting the Options (30 min)
Discussion (20 min)


S21-144b Philo of Alexandria
11/21/2016 9:00 AM to 11:45 AM
Room: 008A (River Level) – Convention Center (CC)

Theme: Philo’s de Mutatione Nominum

Scott Mackie, Independent Scholar, Presiding
Michael Cover, Marquette University
Philo’s De mutatione nominum: Sample Commentary, Exegetical Structure, and Its Place in the “Abrahamic Cycle” of the Allegorical Commentary (20 min)
Gregory Sterling, Yale Divinity School
What’s in a Name? The Place of De mutatione nominum in Philo’s Allegorical Commentary (20 min)
Discussion (20 min)
Break (10 min)
James Royse, Claremont, California
The Text of Philo’s De mutatione nominum (20 min)
Frederick Brenk, Pontifical Biblical Institute, Rome
A Name by Any Name? The Allegorizing Etymologies of Philo and Plutarch (20 min)
Michel Barnes, Marquette University
Divine Powers in De mutatione nominum and Patristic Reception (20 min)
Discussion (20 min)
Business Meeting (15 min)


Impressive new Dragon Professional

During the years, in several blog postings, (for the last one, see here), I have mentioned my experiences with a program called Dragon NaturallySpeaking which claims to be able to transfer my speech into text.
Now it’s company, Nuance, has produced a new version, named Dragon Professional  Individual,  version 15.

This is an impressive new and improved version. It is faster, and it understands my speaking much better than ever before. Even with my Norwegian accent, I am able to speak for much longer sections and using a much more elaborate terminology than ever before. In order to enhance the use of the program, I can make it read some of my papers, and it accepts and incorporates the  vocabulary I use in my papers. Most of these papers are about Philo of Alexandria, and in this way, the program incorporates the vocabulary relevant for such papers.

I am just impressed and I do think, with this new version, I will use this program much more than before just because it understands my pronunciation, it learns my way of speaking much better than ever before.

If you are a little bit interested, have a look at their web page. The program is quite new, and you might find some very interesting discount offers.

” With an all-new, next-generation speech engine leveraging Deep Learning technology, dictate and transcribe faster and more accurately than ever before, and spend less time on documentation and more time on activities that boost the bottom line.” (from Nuance’s web page.)



Great great news!!

The Loeb edition of the works of Philo (both Greek and English) is going to be available in Logos by the end of this month (sept 23.)!

Those of you who have not subscribed, have a look at Philo in Logos 7 here.

At the same time, the book I edited (and partly wrote); Reading Philo. A Handbook to Philo of Alexandria, will also be made available in Logos!

That made my day!  :)



Examples of Mimicry and Hybridity in Philo’s writings

My study from 2010, ‘Colony’ and ‘metropolis’ in Philo. Examples of Mimicry and Hybridity in Philo’s writing back from the Empire? Études platoniciennes, 7.2010, 11-33, is now available on the web at this link.

L.W. Hurtado in Oslo

Hurtado290816mfThe seminar at MF Norwegian School of Theology, Oslo, mentioned in an earlier posting, found place today. As it was in honor of the New Testament professor Reidar Hvalvik, it was good to see both former and present colleagues and not a few students being present.

The first main speaker was Larry W. Hurtado, prof.em. at Divinity School, University of Edinburgh (see picture). His topic was An Early Christian Book and its Story: P45 as Early Christian Artefact. Hurtado presented and characterized the P45, then discussed its importance for 4 different aspects of early Christianity; 1) the importance that it contains the four (now) canonical gospels, 2) the placement or location of Acts in the collection, 3) the codex format used, and then 4) the importance of p45 for its use of nomina sacra.

Then there were two other lectures (Professor Kristin Bliksrud Aavitsland (MF):Representations of Church and the Synagogue in Ecclesiastical Art, and  Postdoc. Dr. Ole Jakob Filtvedt (MF): Picturing the Father in the Gospel of John?). What I found particular interesting here was a picture shown by Aavitsland, of Christ carrying his cross in form of a tree (cf. Deutr 21:23; Gal. 3:13). I have never seen that before!  That may be due to my lack of knowledge of art, but, nevertheless, or in particular for that reason- interesting to me!  🙂

Nice day in the auditorium!   Congratulations to Prof. Hvalvik!



Review of Rabbi M. L. Samuel, Torah from Alexandria

My review of  Torah from Alexandria: Philo as a Biblical commentator.
Volume III: Leviticus, Edited by Rabbi Michael Leo Samuel, New York: Kodesh Press, 2015, has now been published by Review of Biblical Literature.

Description of the book (taken from the backpage of the book) runs thus:

“The third volume of Torah from Alexandria sets on display how Philo interpreted the role of the Temple, offerings, festivals, dietary practices, marital laws, and laws of purity. While Philo always remains firmly committed to the importance of the actual religious act, he consistently derives ethical lessons from these ritual practices, thus putting him alongside the great Jewish philosophers of history. Reading Philo alongside Rabbinic wisdom, Greek philosophy, Patristic writers, as well as Medieval and modern authors, breathes new life into the complexities of Leviticus and reinstates Philo’s importance as a biblical exegete. Reclaiming Philo as a Jewish exegete puts him in company with the great luminaries of Jewish history—a position that Philo richly deserves. Philo remains as one of Jewish history’s most articulate spokespersons for ethical monotheism. Rabbi Michael Leo Samuel has meticulously culled from all of Philo’s exegetical comments, and arranged them according to the biblical verses. He provides extensive parallels from rabbinic literature, Greek philosophy, and Christian theology, to present Philo’s writing in the context of his time, while also demonstrating Philo’s unique method of interpretation.”

You can download the review here.


Prof. dr. Reidar Hvalvik 65

Upcoming Monday, Aug 29th, there will be a held a seminar (symposium) at the Norwegian School of Theology (Menighetsfakultetet) in honor of prof. dr. Reidar Hvalvik, who has reached the age of 65.

The theme of the gathering will be: Picturing the New Testament, and the international  (non-Norwegian) lecturer will be Larry W. Hurtado:

10.30–11.00       Professor Karl Olav Sandnes (MF): Reidar Hvalvik – a presentation

11.00–11.45       Emeritus professor Larry W. Hurtado (University of Edinburg): An Early Christian Book and its Story: P45 as Early Christian Artefact

11.45–12.45       Lunch.

12.45–13.30       Professor Kristin Bliksrud Aavitsland (MF):Representations of Church and the Synagogue in Ecclesiastical Art

13.30–14.00       Coffee/tee

14.00–14.45       Postdoc. Dr. Ole Jakob Filtvedt (MF): Picturing the Father in the Gospel of John?

14.45–15.00       Summary, thanks etc.

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