Philo on Youtube!

It probably was only a mater of time; why not present material related to Philo of Alexandria on other platforms than just webpages and blogs? Now it has happened:

You will get more info by going to this webpage: Inicio – Filón de Alejandría ( : “Welcome to Philo of Alexandria. This space is part of the Research Projects of the National University of La Pampa, aimed at the translation, academic study and dissemination of the work, life and thought of Philo of Alexandria, and scientific research around its production” (from webpage). You can get more info by going to the page listed above, and its subpages. All pages are in Spanish, but translations are available by the browser.

Introduction/Self-presentation (from webpage): “We welcome those who have an interest in the work of Philo of Alexandria or who want to contact the members of the organization group of the page. We are a team that more than ten years ago works on the translation into the Spanish language of the complete work of Philo of Alexandria. We started under the direction and guidance of José Pablo Martín and have now established ourselves as a group that has enthusiastically received other contributions. Different researchers, specialists in authors and related aspects of philology and ancient philosophy, collaborate with us and enlighten us with their vast knowledge. We all owe them something. In the joint work, relationships of mutual support, shared ideals, cooperation and, above all, affection have grown. We invite you to join, much or little you can offer, or have nothing but questions. Every contribution is valuable, we never in life have we finished learning. Personal exchanges are the ones that nourish our intellectual life.”

As to Philo on Youtube, you will find several (and of various quality) by just searching for Philo on Youtube, but here is info presented by this Project: Creación de Canal de YouTube “Filón de Alejandría” – Filón de Alejandría ( So far, all of it is in Spanish; hopefully in the future there will also be contributions in English.

“Durante el mes de abril del año 2021, Equipo de Trabajo del portal filonalejandría creó el canal de YouTube Filón de Alejandría, donde los usuarios tendrán acceso a los videos de los eventos desarrollados en el año 2020 (Primer Congreso Internacional sobre Filón de Alejandría y Entrevista al Dr. Marcelo Boeri, “Filón de Alejandría y los estoicos”), y al resto de los materiales generados a partir de las actividades del Equipo.”

Eng. transl: “During the month of April 2021, a Team of the Philo of Alexandria portal created the YouTube channel Philo of Alexandria,where users will have access to the videos of the events developed in 2020 (First International Congress on The End of Alexandria and Interview to Dr. Marcelo Boeri, “Philon of Alexandria and the Stoics”), and to the rest of the materials generated from the activities of the Team.”

New book on Alexandria

Alexandria. Hub of the Hellenistic World

Edited by Benjamin Schliesser, Jan Rüggemeier, Thomas J. Kraus, and Jörg Frey, with the assistance of Daniel Herrmann Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 460. Mohr Siebeck. April 2021. 621 pages.

A new book on Alexandria is about to be published. And as expected, it contains several articles related to Philo, and to biblical studies. Below I list the articles most interesting (in my mind) to Philo-scholars. See also here.

Balbina Bäbler
Whose “Glory of Alexandria”? Monuments, Identities, and the Eye of the
Beholder ……………………………………………………………………………… 29-48

Barbara Schmitz
Alexandria: What Does the So-Called Letter of Aristeas Tell Us about
Alexandria?…………………………………………………………………………… 49-62.

Christoph Riedweg
Alexandria in the New Outline of Philosophy in the Roman Imperial Period
and in Late Antiquity………………………………………………………………… 99-106.

Beatrice Wyss
Cultural Rivalry in Alexandria: The Egyptians Apion and Chaeremon ………………….145-164

Benjamin Wright
The Letter of Aristeas and the Place of the Septuagint in Alexandrian

Jan. N. Bremmer
The First Pogrom? Religious Violence in Alexandria in 38 CE?………………………..245-260.

René Bloch
How Much Hebrew in Jewish Alexandria?…………………………………………..261-278

Justin P. Jeffcoat Schedtler
From Alexandria to Caesarea and Beyond: The Transmission of the
Fragments of the Hellenistic Jewish Authors…………………………….…………..279-302

John Granger Cook
Philo’s Quaestiones in Genesin and Paul’s σῶμα πνευματικόν……………….. ……..303-324.

Samuel Vollenweider
Apollos of Alexandria: Portrait of an Unknown ………………………………….…325-344.

Jörg Frey
Locating New Testament Writings in Alexandria:
On Method and the Aporias of Scholarship ………………………………………….345-366

I’ll stop here. As you see, there are enough interesting articles to legitimate to spend some money on this volume (which contains a total of 26 articles). The prices is set to 154 Euro (both pdf version and hardback.)

Tempel, Lehrhaus, Synagoge,- and Philo!

Christian A. Eberhart, Martin Karrer, Siegfried Kreuzer, und Martin Meiser, (Hrg.),
Tempel, Lehrhaus, Synagoge
Orte jüdischen Gottesdienstes, Lernens und Lebens. Festschrift für Wolfgang Kraus
Publisher: Ferdinand Schøningh, 2020.

Two articles in this volume are directly related to Alexandria/Philo:

Consequences of the Desecration and Destruction of Alexandrian Synagogues as Spaces of Learning and Living. An Orientation Based on Philo’s In Flaccum and Legatio ad by Gert J. Steyn, pp. 57–77

Philos Vorstellung vom Lehrer nach De posteritate Caini, 138–142.146–147. By  Eberhard Bons, pp. 103–118.

Private Associations and Jewish Communities

In a recent web ‘edition’ of Review of Biblical Literature ( John S. Kloppenborg has a review of a book published in 2019 on ancient associations:

Benedikt Eckhardt, ed.
Private Associations and Jewish Communities in the Hellenistic and Roman Cities
Supplements to the Journal for the Study of Judaism 191
Leiden: Brill, 2019. Pp. vi + 227. Cloth. $126.00

This volume also contains an article on Philo which especially caught my interest: Kimberley Czajkowski’s “Jewish Associations in Alexandria?” (pp. 76–96), as I myself had an article  published on Philo and the associations as far back as in 1995 (T. Seland, ‘Philo and the clubs and associations of Alexandria,’ in John S. Kloppenborg & Stephen G. Wilson, ed., Voluntary Associations in the Graeco-Roman World. London/New York: Routledge, 110-145). As far as I have been able to observe, not much have been written on Philo and the associations in recent years; hence another study is welcome. Alas, however, I have not been able to see this new article/volume as my access to libraries are somewhat restricted by location. But Kloppenborg evaluates Czajkowskis’s contribution thus:

Kimberley Czajkowski’s “Jewish Associations in Alexandria?” (76–96) makes several critical points for understanding Philo’s polemic against synodoi and thiasoi in Flaccus. Politeuma were, in the first place, fiscal rather than strictly ethnic associations. Hence, the Judean politeumata in Alexandria and elsewhere (and the Phygian and Lycian politeumata) were not co-terminus with the entire Judean (or Phrygian, Lycian) populations of Egyptian cities. With the Roman reduction of Egypt to a province, the politeumata, originally military settlements, lost their public and military features and became essentially private associations. If some Judeans in Alexandria were constituted as a politeuma, as the Letter of Aristeas (§310) claims, these would have similarly been reduced to the status of private associations. It is in this context that Czajkowski discusses Philo’s polemic against thiasoi and synodoi, arguing that Philo was exercised to assert that Judean synodoi were not associations that merely used the pretext of religion to have drunken orgies. They genuinely assembled religionis causa and hence constituted collegia licita that should not
fall under Flaccus’s ban on associations.

It should be mentioned that this volume also contains another article that might touch upon Philo: “Les communautés juives de la Diaspora dans le droit commun des associations du monde gréco-romain” (97–114).

Hopefully, I will be able to get my hands on that article/volume in not a too distant future.


Reading Philo: A Handbook

My Handbook to Philo of Alexandria, published in 2014 is now available for Kindle at for $3.99! A terrible price for me, but a good one for you!  🙂

Have a look at Reading Philo: A Handbook to Philo of Alexandria
Publisher: Eerdmans (Nov., 2014). 362 pp.

“A contemporary of both Jesus and the apostle Paul, Philo was a prolific Jewish theologian, philosopher, and politician — a fascinating, somewhat enigmatic figure — who lived his entire life in Alexandria, Egypt. His many books are important sources for our understanding of ancient Judaism, early Christianity, and the philosophical currents of that time.
Reading Philo is an excellent introductory guide to Philo’s work and significance. The contributors — all well-known experts on Philo of Alexandria — discuss Philo in context, offer methodological considerations (how best to study Philo), and explore Philo’s ongoing relevance and value (why reading him is important). This practical volume will be an indispensable resource for anyone delving into Philo and his world.” (Publishers note).

Philo and De Abrahamo

weisenA new book on De Abrahamo!

Das Leben des Weisen

Philon v. Alexandria, De Abrahamo
Eingel., übers. u. m. interpretierenden Essays vers. v. Matthias Adrian, Maximilian Forschner, Daniel Lanzinger, Heinz-Günther Nesselrath, Maren R. Niehoff, Friederike Oertelt, Simone Seibert u. Nicolai Sinai. Hrsg. v. Daniel Lanzinger

2020. XIII, 334 Seiten.
In 2017 a volume of Philo’s De Migratione Abrahami was published in a series with the somewhat peculiar name (!): Scripta Antiquitatis Posterioris ad Ethicam REligionemque pertinentia XXXVI. This year another volume is about to be published (see above). Both as a hardback and as E-book (84,00 €).
With this volume, two very interesting German books have been published, dealing with Philo’s picture of Abraham. The other, published in 2017, was:
Abrahams Aufbruch. Philon von Alexandria, De migratione Abrahami
Eingeleitet, übersetzt und mit interpretierenden Essays versehen von Heinrich Detering, Lutz Doering, Reinhard Feldmeier, Rainer Hirsch-Luipold, Heinz-Günther Nesselrath, Maren R. Niehoff, Peter Van Nuffelen, Florian Wilk
Hrsg. v. Maren R. Niehoff u. Reinhard Feldmeier
2017. XIII, 292 pages. SAPERE XXX.
Both volumes subscribe to a great extent to Maren R. Niehoff’s view of Philo, especially her chronology description of Philo’s work. She is also a participating author in both volumes.
In addition, her great volume on Philo (Philo of Alexandria. An Intellectual Biography. Yale University Press, 2018), has now also been translated and published in German by Mohr Siebeck:
Niehoff, Maren R.
Philon von Alexandria
Eine intellektuelle Biographie
Übersetzt von Claus-Jürgen Thornton und Eva Tyrell
Mohr Siebeck, 2019. XIII, 346 pages.
It looks like there might be a growing interest in Philo in Germany!

New Commentary on Philo


In 2001, the first volume in the then-new commentary series on Philo was published: On the Creation of the Cosmos according to Moses. Introduction, Translation and Commentary, by David T. Runia. Then followed Philo’s Flaccus (by Pieter van der Horst) in 2003; On Virtues in 2011 (by Walter T. Wilson), and On Cultivation (by Albert C. Geljon and David T. Runia), in 2013.

Several volumes have been in the making for several years no, and it seems that in the not so far away future, there will be published several new volumes.

Maybe the volume published most recently introduces a new wave of commentaries on Philo. Anyway, at the very end of 2019, it was announced that a fifth volume was out:

Philo of Alexandria On Planting

Introduction, Translation and Commentary

Philo of Alexandria Commentary Series (PACS)

By Albert C. Geljon and David T. Runia

The volume is introduced thus by the publisher:

The Jewish exegete and philosopher Philo of Alexandria has long
been famous for his complex and spiritually rich allegorical
treatises on the Greek Bible. The present volume presents
first translation and commentary in English on his treatise De
plantatione (On planting), following on the volume devoted to On
cultivation published previously by the same two authors. Philo
gives a virtuoso performance as an allegorist, interpreting Noah’s
planting of a vineyard in Genesis 9.20, first in theological and
cosmological terms, then moving to the spiritual quest of both of
advanced souls and those beginning their journey. 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 next volume to be published will be On the Life of Abraham, written by Ellen Birnbaum and John M. Dillon. Scheduled for Apr. 22. 2020.

Congratulations to the writers and editors for keeping this commentary series alive!

Philo and Greek Myth

Brill is publishing a new book on Philo of Alexandria, this late fall,  edited by Francesca Alesse:

Philo of Alexandria and Greek Myth:Narratives, Allegories, and Arguments
Series: Studies of Philo of Alexandria Vol 10
Brill (to be published October 2019). 
E-Book List price EUR €116.00 USD$140.00

“In Philo of Alexandria and Greek Myth: Narratives, Allegories, and Arguments, a fresh and more complete image of Philo of Alexandria as a careful reader, interpreter, and critic of Greek literature is offered. Greek mythology plays a significant role in Philo of Alexandria’s exegetical oeuvre. Philo explicitly adopts or subtly evokes narratives, episodes, and figures from Greek mythology as symbols whose didactic function we need to unravel, exactly as the hidden teaching of Moses’ narration has to be revealed by interpreters of Bible. By analyzing specific mythologems and narrative cycles, the contributions to this volume pave the way to a better understanding of Philo’s different attitudes towards literary and philosophical mythology.”

Preface by Francesca Alesse
Part 1: Philo of Alexandria and Myth-Telling
1 Philo’s Refashioning of Greek Myth
Erich S. Gruen
2 Philo’s Reception of Greek Mythology
Geert Roskam
3 Histoires grecques, récits bibliques. la lecture des mythes chez Philon d’Alexandrie
Francesca Calabi
4 Polytheos doxa and Mythologein: Philo of Alexandria as a “Historian of Religions”
Giulia Sfameni Gasparro
5 Philo’s Struggle with Jewish Myth
René Bloch

Part 2: Gods, Heroes, and some Monsters
6 The God of the Philosophers, and the God of Israel
Erkki Koskenniemi
7 Philo of Alexandria on Greek Heroes
Pura Nieto Hernández
8 Heracles and Philo of Alexandria: The Son of Zeus between Torah and Philosophy, Empire and Stage
Courtney J. P. Friesen
9 The Greek Character of Philo’s Biblical Giants: A Reading of QG 2.82
Benjamin Garstad
10 Homer in Philo: Scylla’s Myth in Philonic Philosophical Context
Marta Alesso
11 Les « plaies » d’Empédocle et la mythologie infernale chez Philon d’Alexandrie
Lucia Saudelli

Studia Philonica 2018

The 2018 issue of The Studia Philonica Annual XXX 2018 arrived in my snail mailbox just as the SBL Annual Meeting was going on in Denver.

As usual – it contains a lot of relevant material for those interested in Philo of Alexandria and Hellenistic Judaism.

In this volume, you will find the following articles:

  • Royse, James R.  “Fragments of Philo of Alexandria Preserved in Pseudo-Eustathius.” pp.   1–14.
  • Cover, Michael B.  “A New Fragment of Philo’s Quaestiones in Exodum in Origen’s Newly Discovered Homilies on the Psalms? A Preliminary Note.” pp. 15–29.
  • Sterling, Gregory E.  “Philo of Alexandria’s Life of Moses: An Introduction to the Exposition of the Law.” pp. 31–45.
  • Adams, Sean A. “Movement and Travel in Pilo’s Migration of Abraham: The Adaptation of Genesis and the Introduction of Metaphor.” pp. 47–70.
  • Hartog, P.B. “Space and Travel in Philo’s Legatio Ad Gaium.” pp. 71–92.
  • Appelbaum, Alan.  “A Fresh Look at Philo’s Family.” pp. 93–113.

In addition, of course, there also is the usual Bibliographic Section, pp. 115-181, and the Book Review Section, pp. 183-217. And finally some News and Notes, and Notes on contributors.

This issue represents the 18th time I have contributed to the Bibliographic Section, and I have asked the editors to find some successor. I am always looking forward to the publication of this annual, and I will continue to do so. No scholar interested in Philo should go without this.

Philo and the Ancient Theater

Philo of Alexandria has several comments on the ancient theater of his time, and a few studies have been published dealing with his views and attitudes (see e.g., Koskenniemi; now an issue of the Journal ‘Journal of Ancient Judaism‘ is devoted to the theme Jews and Drama, and included here are also a couple of articles o Philo and the theater:

  • Jeff Jay, ‘Spectacle, Stage-Craft, and the Tragic in Philo’s In Flaccum: A Literary-Historical Analysis,’ 222-240,
  • Courtney J. P. Friesen, ‘Virtue and Vice on the Stage: Theatrical Ambivalences in Philo of Alexandria,’ 241-256.

I have not seen this issue yet, and can not provide any further information, its website, alas, does not present any abstracts either.