Philonica et Neotestamentica

Home » Conference » 2. Philo Group session at SBL

2. Philo Group session at SBL

December 2009
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Picture: Gregory Sterling presents his paper.

Monday 23, at 0900-to 1145am Philo scholars met for the second session in the Philo Group. The theme for this session was Philo and the Bible of Alexandria, with Robert A. Kraft, University of Pennsylvania, Presiding. The lecturers and topics this morning were:
Tessa Rajak, University of Reading
Philo’s Hebrew: The Etymologies Once Again (30 min)
Abstract: Philo’s biblical etymologies are often used as evidence for his ignorance of Hebrew. The argument comes down to a small number of test cases where an etymology appears to depend on the Greek Bible alone. Revisiting some of these cases, she asked what conclusions may legitimately be drawn from them. Furhtermore, she concluded with some suggestions as to the broader implications of re-opening the question of Philo’s Hebrew. Her final tentative conclusion was that the question seemed to her to be much more open than usually argued.

Benjamin G. Wright III, Lehigh University
The Septuagint in Philo: Translation and Inspiration (30 min)

Gregory E. Sterling, University of Notre Dame
Which version of the Greek Bible did Philo Read? (30 min)

Maren Niehoff, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Did Alexandrian Jews apply text-critical methods to their Bible? (30 min)

Hans Svebakken, Loyola University Chicago
Philo’s Reworking of a Traditional Interpretation of ‘Clean’ and ‘Unclean’ Winged Creatures (30 min)

Only Tessa Rajak had provided an abstract to the program catalogue, none of the papers were issued before the session, and none provided extensive handouts, providing arguments and conclusions. Hence it is diffucult to give a resyme of the various viewpoints set forth that will provide an acceptable impression of the various and advanced arguments set forth. Alas, the session was not as well visited as it ought to be.

Later on, some of the participants went out for dinner at an Italian restaurante.


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