‘GOD HAS HAD MERCY ON ME’

Scott D. Mackie, ‘GOD HAS HAD MERCY ON ME’:THEOLOGY AND SOTERIOLOGY IN PHILO OF ALEXANDRIA’S DE SACRIFICIIS ABELIS ET CAINI, In The Journal of Theological Studies, nov. 2021

Abstract

Philo of Alexandria’s treatise De sacrificiis Abelis et Caini offers a rich example of his theology and soteriology. The majestic God of De sacrificiis is transcendent, omnipresent, and absolutely unique. Anthropomorphic and anthropopathic conceptions of God also are memorably discussed and dismissed. Standing in tension with these ontological characteristics are relational attributes of God, which often are expressed in redemptive acts. Thus, the merciful God of De sacrificiis ‘transcends his transcendence’, and compassionately reaches out to humans in need. A full array of soteriological themes populate the pages of the treatise, including the war against the passions, the allegory of the soul, transformative revelatory experiences, salvific worship, contemplative ascent, and the vision of God. Furthermore, the agential acts and roles played by God and humans are complexly intertwined, demonstrating a sophisticated, experientially informed soteriology. Though these important Philonic themes typically are interpreted thematically and systemically, thus ‘ironing out’ any idiosyncrasies, this essay closely attends to the particular thought of this treatise. As a consequence, unique elements and emphases emerge, which in addition to distinctive depictions of divine compassion and soteriological agency, include a Stoic emphasis on reason, the relative absence of mediatorial figures, and a rare portrayal of an unequivocal visio Dei.

Happiness in Second Temple literature

Daniel Maier, Das Glück im antiken Judentum und im Neuen Testament. Eine Untersuchung zu den Konzepten eines guten Lebens in der Literatur des Zweiten Tempels und deren Einfluss auf die frühchristliche Wahrnehmung des Glücks, Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 2. Reihe (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2021)

A recent publication by Mohr Siebeck on ‘Happiness in Second Temple literature’ contains also an extensive chapter on Philo of Alexandria, and should thus be of special interest to Philo scholars.

Annotated Bibliography 2007-2016

The long-awaited annotated bibliography on Philo of Alexandria, comprising works published in 2007-2016 is now about to be released from the press:

Philo of Alexandria: an Annotated Bibliography 2007-2016

With addenda for items earlier than 2006. Series:  Vigiliae Christianae, Supplements, Volume: 174. Editor: David T. Runia. Publisher: Brill, Leiden, 2021.

This volume is a further continuation of the annotated bibliographies on the writings and thought of the Jewish exegete and philosopher Philo of Alexandria, following those on the years 1937–1986 published in 1988, 1987–1996 published in 2000 and 1997–2012 published in 2012. Prepared in collaboration with the International Philo Bibliography Project, it contains a complete listing of all scholarly writings on Philo for the period 2007 to 2016. Part One lists texts, translations, commentaries, etc. (75 items). Part Two contains critical studies (1143 items). In Part Three additional items up to 2006 are presented (27 items). In all cases, a summary of the contents of the contribution is given. Six indices, including a detailed Index of subjects, complete the work.