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Three or more Introductions to Philo?

June 2009
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With the publication of the latest Introduction to Philo mentioned in my former posting (see below), we now have 3 useful Introductions that complement each other in a very fine way. I am here thinking of the following volumes:

1) Ken Schenk, A Brief Guide to Philo (Lousiville: Westminster John Knox, 2005),

2) Adam Kamesar, The Cambridge Companion to Philo (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009),

3) Peder Borgen, Philo of Alexandria: An Exegete for his Time (Supplements to Novum Testamentum LXXXVI; Leiden; Brill, 1997).

Initiates (I do like that word!) into the world and thoughts of Philo should read all these three volumes, starting with Schenk and then proceeding to Kamesar and Borgen.

However, I would also like to reveal that there is work going on here in Scandinavia to produce even a fourth Introduction to Philo, but this time one that will be a little bit more practical oriented than those mentioned above. I will serve as its editor, and will also have chapter on ‘Why and How study Philo’  that will be very practical, dealing with how to proceed, what kind of other books that should be used (texts, lexica, computer programs etc etc). So far we have no publisher for the project, but we hope that that issue will be solved in the coming months.

Older Introductions

This being said, I must admit that I still find two older Introductions very interesting and helpful; I am here thinking about the volumes by E. R. Goodenough, An Introduction to Philo Judaeus (J. Neusner. Brown Classics in Judaica. Lanham: University Press of America, Inc., 1986 (orig.publ.1940, sec. ed. 1962), and Samuel Sandmel, Philo of Alexandria. An Introduction (New York: Oxford University Press, 1979). They deserve not to be forgotten.

Some years ago

I made some recommendations concerning Recommended Reading Lists to Philo. As these are still to be found on my old, now sleeping, Philo Blog, I provide links to them here (just in case you should be interested):

Recommended Reading List I

Recommended Reading List II

Recommended Reading List III


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