“Philo of Alexandria is a representative of Diaspora Judaism and of Judaism as such in the late second Temple period. His writings have also been used to illuminate the background and the wider context of the New Testament and the early church. It is easy to forget that substantial parts of the New Testament are dependent on their relationship to the Jewish Diaspora. Either the New Testament was written by Jews in the the Jewish Diaspora or to members and communities living in a Jewish Diaspora context. In light of this fact, Philo’s writings are not only a major representative of such a Hellenistic Judaism, but also, perhaps, the most important body of material to inform about the world of Diasora Judaism that formed the background for the New Testament writings.”
Want to read more about this? Go see
P. J. Bekken, ‘Philo’s Relevance for the Study of the New Testament,’
in T. Seland, Reading Philo. A Handbook to Philo of Alexandria
(Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 2014): 226-267, here p. 226.
“I regard Philo as probably the single most important first-century Jewish writer for
understanding the Jewish religious setting of earliest Christianity,
especially in its trans-local expressions outside of Roman Judea.”
L. W. Hurtado, ‘Does Philo Help Explain Early Christianity?’, in
R. Deines & K-W. Niebuhr, Philo und das Neue Testament (Mohr Siebeck, 2004):73.
“In Philos Schriften begegnet uns der erste biblische Theologe, der sich zur Daseins- und Existenzerhellung philosophischer Lehren bediente, ohne ihnen ein Einspruchsrecht gegen den Glauben an den persönlichen Gott zu gewähren, der Israel als sein Volk zum Heil der ganzen Welt erwählt hat. Damit ist Philo zum Urbild aller biblischen Theologen geworden, die ihren Glauben denkend vertreten. Als ein solcher verdient er es, nicht nur Spezialisten der Auslegungs- und Philosophiegeschichte sondern auch einem breiteren Kreis von Geisteswissenschaftlern und Theologen vorgestellt zu werden.”
A quote from the Foreword of a forthcoming book
by Otto Kaiser on Philo from Alexandria;
for more info concerning the book, see my posting below.
One of Germany’s grand old men in Old Testament research, Otto Kaiser,Professor emer. of Old Testament Studies at the University of Marburg, was able to celebrate hos 90th birthday on Nov. 30 this year. He was professor in Old testament from 1963 to 1993, but lectured widely also after that. During his time as an professor in the OT, he was also interested in ancient and modern philosophy; this interest became especially evident after he left his chair as an OT professor.
He has published widely in the field of Old testament, but also on several other books and themes; a list of many of his books as available on Amazon.de can be seen here.
But now, in 2015, he is the author of a new introduction to Philo of Alexandria!
Philo von Alexandrien
Denkender Glaube – Eine Einführung
(Forschungen zur Religion und Literatur des Alten und Neuen Testaments 259)
1. Auflage 2015, 331 Seiten mit 2 Karten gebunden
ISBN 978-3-525-54041-1; Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht
A list of contents and a few pages from the book (in German) can be read here.
The German publisher (Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht), has given their presentation of the book here.