Reading Philo in Greek

James F. McGrath has an interesting and relevant posting on his blog Exploring our Matrix on Nov 27: “I just recently started meeting with some colleagues and a student in a Greek reading group. I suggested to a colleague in Classics that it might be interesting to read Philo of Alexandria together, and she got very excited about the idea, and some other colleagues in Religion also expressed an interest.
And so lately, I have felt disconcertingly like I am back in Greek class, wondering why the verses that I end up with when it is my turn to read and translate are so difficult, while those others end up with seem comparatively easy. Of course, if I had been preparing …… Read more here.
May be some more should try to get together reading Philo in Greek?

Philo dinner


Every year during the SBL Annual Meeting, some Philo scholars use to get together and go out for dinner. This time we went to the Italian Village Restaurant on West Monroe Street, ca 15 of us.

It was not easy to get a picture, and I only had my Iphone available, but it should be possible to see the following persons here:
From left; me (T.Seland), then alas, F. Calabi is hidden behind the head of F.E. Brenk, furthermore, on the other side of the table; P.N Hernandez, J. Otto, D.Konstan, S. Gambetti; on the other side of the table from right, you might see R. Bloch, E.Birnbaum, A.Geljon, and C. Carlier. Then in addition, the following persons were present; R. Cox, J. Reddoch, and AM Seland.

New Commentary on Philo

Brill is publishing a new commentary on Philo’s De Agricultura (I’m not sure if there ever has been a commentary on this text before, at least not in English):

Albert C. Geljon and David T. Runia,
Philo of Alexandria, De Agricultura
Introduction, Translation and Commentary
Philo of Alexandria Commentary Series Vol 4.
Leiden, Brill 2012 (Nov).Approx. 305 pp.

Hopefully, it will be out and available at the SBL Annual Meeting at the end of this week.
Bring some extra money (!), it’s not cheap: €112.00 //$156.00.
The publisher presents the volume thus:”The present volume contains the first translation and commentary in English on his treatise De agricultura (On cultivation), which gives an elaborate allegorical interpretation of Genesis 9:20. Noah’s role as a cultivator is analysed in terms of the ethical and spiritual quest of the soul making progress towards its goal. The translation renders Philo’s baroque Greek into readable modern English. The commentary pays particular attention to the treatise’s structure, its biblical basis and its exegetical and philosophical contents. The volume will be valuable for the insights it gives into an unusual but highly influential method of biblical interpretation.”

Philo at SBL I (corrected)

Due to the fact that Sarah Pearce is not able to attend the SBL Annual Meeting this year, there will be a slight change in the Philo session on Sunday morning:
S18-137 Philo of Alexandria
11/18/2012 9:00 AM to 11:45 AM
Room: S103d – McCormick Place
Theme: Philo’s Graeco-Roman Readers

The aim of this panel is to open up new evidence or revisit old questions about who read and made use of Philo’s writings in the past.
Torrey Seland, School of Mission and Theology, Norway, Presiding
James R. Royse, Claremont, CA
Did Philo Publish His Works? (25 min)
Gregory Sterling, University of Notre Dame
“A Man of the highest Repute”: Did Josephus know the Works of Philo of Alexandria? (25 min)
Frederick E. Brenk, Pontifical Biblical Institute, Rome
Philo and Plutarch on the Nature of God (25 min)
Break (15 min)
Jennifer Otto, McGill University
Philo, Judaeus? A re-evaluation of why Clement calls Philo “the Pythagorean” (25 min)
Gretchen Reydams-Schils, University of Notre Dame
Calcidius, Philo, and Origen (25 min)
Discussion (25 min)


Thanks to a message from James McGrath on FaceBook, I became aware of the fact that AAR/SBL have now issued their new Annual Meeting 2012 app for Iphone/Ipad. This is the second time we have such an App, and the former, issued last year, was very helpful when trying to make a schedule of what/where/when  to attend a particular session.

Description (taken from their webpage)
EventPilot® conference app is your full featured guide to manage your conference attendance. App features include:
• Native app: No wifi connection required to access the conference program, schedule or animated maps.
• Now: Stay informed about hot issues, event program changes, your upcoming sessions and organizer messages.
• Program: Browse the entire event program to build your personal schedule, bookmark sessions or speakers, or access session handouts as available.
• Take notes and email them as part of your trip report for reference.
• Exhibitors, Maps, related conference info and much more.