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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.”

Contents:
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
Index

Studia Philonica 2018

062230C
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.

Per Bilde – Collected Studies

Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht (V&T Academic) has published a collection of studies in memory of the Danish scholar Per Bilde, who died in May 2014:

Eve-Marie Becker, Morten H. Jensen, Jacob Mortensen(Hg.),
Per Bilde, Collected Studies on Philo and Josephus
Edited by Eve-Marie Becker, Morten Hørning Jensen and Jacob Mortensen
1. Auflage 2016. 316 Seiten gebunden. ISBN 978-3-525-54046-6. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. Studia Aarhusiana Neotestamentica (SANt). – Band 007.

The volume contains a Prologue, and then 11 studies by Per Bilde, all previously published.
The following studies deal explicitly with Philo:
1. The Roman Emperor Gaius (Caligula)’s Attempt to Erect his Statue in the Temple of Jerusalem.(orig.1987)
6. The Essenes in Philo and Josephus (Orig. 1998)
9. The Jews in Alexandria in 38-41 CE (Orig. 2006)
10. Philo as a Polemist and Political Apologist: An Investigation of his Two historical Treatises Against Flaccus and The Embassy to Gaius.(Orig 2007 (Danish); 2009 (Eng.))
11. Der Konflikt zwischen Gaius Caligula un den Juden uber du Aufstellung einer Kaiserstatue im Tempel von Jerusalem.(Orig. 2012)

As mentioned in an earlier posting of mine (see here), there was held a one-day conference at the Århus University May 28, 2015. It would have been nice to have the lectures from this conference published too; but as far as I know, they have not been published yet.

 

Bible Odyssey

The Bible Odyssey is getting better and better as it is being ‘constantly updated’ with new articles and new info.

The site, driven by the Society of Biblical Literature and other partners, has an impressive Editorial Board, and the texts are written by an equally impressive list of Contributors

While not everyone will agree with everything that is stated on the pages, the site is a very useful one for everyone who wants to be informed and updated about a lot of issues related to the reading AND study of the Bible and its world.

I searched the site for Philo of Alexandria, and regrettably, there is not yet a specific article on this personality. He is, however, dealt with in some other articles that hardly could evade the mentioning of the life and works of Philo.

See, e.g., Philo, Clement and Origen; Alexandria, Alexandria and Allegory.

 

 

More about Studia Philonica 2016

As mentioned in a posting below, the Studie Philonica has now been published, and the volume is organized as a Festschrift to David T. Runia. For more about the volume, see the following links provided by the publisher:

  • Download volume front matter, including table of contents and introduction.
  • Download a printable publication sheet that you can put in your files or give to your librarian or bookstore.

A bookreview

On Bookreviews.org., Harold Attridge has a review of the latest book published by Peder J. Borgen:

The Gospel of John: More Light from Philo, Paul and Archaeology: The Scriptures, Tradition, Exposition, Settings, Meaning (Supplements to Novum Testamentum, 154; Leiden: Brill, 2014 pp. xxi + 329. $162.00.

The publisher presents the book thus:

To Paul the traditions from and about Jesus had authority similar to that of the Scriptures: a logion or story served as text for paraphrastic expositions. Such expositions are also seen in John’s Gospel. – It is insufficient to discuss ‘John and the Synoptics’. A better scope is ‘John within early gospel traditions’.- Paul and Philo maintain a cosmic understanding of Jesus and the Jewish people, respectively. Correspondingly, Jesus is seen in cosmological perspective in John’s Prologue. Philo illuminates the role of God’s logos relative to creation and revelation. – Archaeology testifies to the reliability of John’s topographical references. Both John and Philo can combine theological and ideological elaborations with specific geographical references, historical events and religious feasts. The study has brought in material and perspectives which strengthen the view that the Gospel of John was independent of the other three written gospels.

In his review, Attridge concludes thus:

Although the presentation in this volume, based on several previously published pieces, involves a certain amount of repetition, the abundance of comparative data is valuable for any student of the Fourth Gospel. The reading of the cultural background of John in Hellenized Judaism is largely persuasive, although more could be done with the conceptual elements of that milieu. The analysis of the relationship of John to the Synoptics unduly minimalizes the parallels in both form and content, but Borgen’s suggestions will no doubt stimulate further fruitful debate on this and other crucial issues.