The Book of Exodus in Philo

Sean A. Adams, ‘The Book of Exodus in Philo of Alexandria,’ in: Beate Kowalski and Susan Docherty, eds., Let my People go: The Reception of Exodus Motifs in Jewish and Christian Literature. Themes in Biblical Narrative, Vol 30. Leiden: Brill, 2021, pp. 177-192.

Intro: “The book of Exodus and its interpretation are prominent in Philo’s corpus. So frequently did Philo cite or allude to this book that few scholars have attempted to discuss this topic as a whole. A full discussion of Philo’s engagement with Exodus is not possible in the limits of this study. In this chapter, I begin with a general discussion of the reception of the Exodus narratives in Philo’s writings. From this broad overview, I divide my study into two parts. The first focuses on specific instances where Exodus material is employed by Philo across multiple treatises and the second examines how specific Exodus passages are interpreted by Philo in the Allegorical Commentary. The chapter concludes with a reflection on how Exodus was used by Philo as part of his wider practice of interpreting the works of Moses.”

The book is to be published in October 2021; Hardback and E-Book (pdf).

Philo on LegAll 3,169-178

New article on Philo recently published:

Beatrice Wyss, ‘Die Brotrede Philons aus Alexandreia in Legum Allegoriae 3,169-178,’ Early Christianity vol 12.2, 2021, pp. 200-227.

Summary: “In Leg.3.169–178, Philo of Alexandria gives a dense and concise sketch of his theory of the logos. In this essay, first I show the scriptural basis of Philo’s interpretation of manna as God’s word or logos (Leg.3.173–174). Second, I offer a running commentary of Leg.3.169–178, discussing different aspects of Philo’s theory of the logos hinted at in this passage. In the Jewish scriptures, Philo found God’s word as active in the process of creation and identical with God’s law and as a chastising force, each aspects he includes in his theory of the logos. Furthermore, he adds the pagan concept of Hermes as Zeus’s word, Zeus’s son, and Zeus’s messenger (e. g., Cornutus 16). Sapiential literature is important here, because Philo uses and reworks crucial concepts of God’s wisdom in his theory of the logos (as already shown by Burton Mack). Third, I demonstrate the liturgical setting of Philo’s exegesis, namely Passover (Leg. 1.165) and Yom Kippur (3.174). Fourth, I situate Philo’s exegesis in Leg.3.169–178 in a wider context within his exegesis of Exodus, arguing that Israel’s exodus out of Egypt is to be understood as an encounter with God’s logos in different dimensions. The essay concludes with a few remarks about John 6:22–58. I propose that Philo’s exegesis in Leg.3.169–178 provides hermeneutical assistance toward amore accurate understanding of this New Testament passage.”