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Markus Bockmuehl and Guy G. Stroumsa are the editors of a new and interesting book on paradise in Antiquity. Philo scholars will find that it also includes a chapter on Philo.

The publisher announces the book thus:

The social and intellectual vitality of Judaism and Christianity in antiquity was in large part a function of their ability to articulate a viably transcendent hope for the human condition. Narratives of Paradise – based on the concrete symbol of the Garden of Delights – came to play a central role for Jews, Christians, and eventually Muslims too. These collected essays highlight the multiple hermeneutical perspectives on biblical Paradise from Second Temple Judaism and Christian origins to the systematic expositions of Augustine and rabbinic literature. They show that while early Christian and Jewish sources draw on texts from the same Bible, their perceptions of Paradise often reflect the highly different structures of the two sister religions. Dealing with a wide variety of texts, these essays explore major themes such as the allegorical and literal interpretations of Paradise, the tension between heaven and earth, and Paradise’s physical location in space and time.

The volume comprises the folowing studies:
1. Introduction, by Guy G. Stroumsa;
Part I. Paradises of Second Temple Judaism and Christian Origins:
2. The Messiah in the Garden, by Joachim Schaper;
3. Philo’s scholarly inquiries into the story of Paradise, by Maren R. Niehoff;
4. Paradise in the Biblical Antiquities of Pseudo-Philo, by Richard Bauckham;
5. Paradise, gardens and the afterlife in the first century CE, by Martin Goodman;
6. Paradise in the New Testament, by Grant Macaskill;
7. Quis et Unde? Heavenly obstacles in Gos. Thom. 50 and related literature, by Simon Gathercole;
Part II. Contemporizing Paradise in Late Antiquity:
8. Tertullian and the law of Paradise, by Sabrina Inowlocki;
9. The language of Paradise: Hebrew or Syriac? Linguistic speculations and linguistic realities in late antiquity, by Yonatan Moss;
10. The Tree of Life and the turning sword: Jewish biblical interpretation, symbols and theological patterns and their Christian counterparts, by Menahem Kister;
11. Erotic Eden: a rabbinic nostalgia for Paradise, by Galit Hasan-Rokem;
12. Augustine on Virgil and Scripture, by Gillian Clark;
13. Paradise as political theme in Augustine’s City of God, by Emile Perreau-Saussine;
14. Locating Paradise, by Markus Bockmuehl;
Epilogue: a heaven on earth, by Alessandro Scafi;

Philo Seminar at SBL Annual Meeting

Yes, I know it is several months to the SBL Annual Meeting is coming up in Atlanta; this year it will be held at Nov. 20-23.  But for those  who want to know what there will be of interest concerning their favorite(!) Philo of Alexandria, here is what will be coming up in the Philo Seminar. I strongly regret that I will not be able to attend, as here are some very interesting topics:

1. Sunday 21 November 2010, 1.00 pm – 3.45 pm
Theme: Philo and the Roman World: Session 1
Sarah Pearce, University of Southampton, Presiding
Erich Gruen, University of California-Berkeley, ‘Caligula, the Imperial Cult, and Philo’s Legatio ad Gaium’ (20 min)
Daniel Schwartz, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, ‘Philo and Josephus on the Violence in Alexandria in 38 CE’ (20 min)
Joshua Yoder, University of Notre Dame, ‘Sympathy for the Devil? Philo on Flaccus and Rome’ (20 min)
Break (10 min)
Allen Kerkeslager, Saint Joseph’s University, ‘The Edict of Flaccus and the Violence in Alexandria in 38 CE’ (20 min)
Tessa Rajak, University of Oxford, Respondent (20 min)
Discussion (55 min)
2. Tuesday 23 November 2010, 9.00 am – 11.45 am (with Business Meeting)
Theme: Philo and the Roman World: Session 2
David Runia, Queen’s College, University of Melbourne, Presiding
Ilaria Ramelli, Catholic University of Milan, ‘Between Rome and Alexandria: Clement, Eusebius, and Jerome on Mark and Philo’ (20 min)
Paul Robertson, Brown University, ‘Philo and Sacrifice in the Roman World’ (20 min)
Sharon Weisser, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, ‘Philo and the Controversy concerning the Passions’ (20 min)
Break (10 min)
Maren Niehoff, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, ‘The importance of Seneca for Philo’. (20 min)
John Barclay, Durham University, Respondent (20 min)
Discussion (40 min)


Am back in good old Norway, trying to recover from jetlag, and getting back into the routines of more normal days.

Then, in just a few weeks, it is summer vacation!

Philo on the Greek language

(Vita Mosis 2,38) “And yet who is there who does not know that every language, and the Greek language above all others, is rich in a variety of words, and that it is possible to vary a sentence and to paraphrase the same idea, so as to set it forth in a great variety of manners, adapting many different forms of expression to it at different times.”
Philo, o. A., & Yonge, C. D. (1996, c1993). The works of Philo : Complete and unabridged (494). Peabody: Hendrickson.

καίτοι τίς οὐκ οἶδεν, ὅτι πᾶσα μὲν διάλεκτος, ἡ δʼ Ἑλληνικὴ διαφερόντως, ὀνομάτων πλουτεῖ, καὶ ταὐτὸν ἐνθύμημα οἷόν τε μεταφράζοντα καὶ παραφράζοντα σχηματίσαι πολλαχῶς, ἄλλοτε ἄλλας ἐφαρμόζοντα λέξεις

Borgen, P., Fuglseth, K., & Skarsten, R. (2005). The Works of Philo : Greek Text with Morphology (Mos II 38). Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.