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Examples of Mimicry and Hybridity in Philo’s writings

My study from 2010, ‘Colony’ and ‘metropolis’ in Philo. Examples of Mimicry and Hybridity in Philo’s writing back from the Empire? Études platoniciennes, 7.2010, 11-33, is now available on the web at this link.

Philo conference in UK

Summertime  is the when several conferences related to biblical studies are held, and the summer of 2016 is no exception. My own participation in such conferences this summer , alas, has been non-existent, due to several reasons.
One of those I would have liked to attend was the Philo symposium held in UK last July.

Sean Adams has written the following comment on this conference:
“The first UK Philo colloquium was held at the University of Glasgow on 21 July 2016. In this one-day event, twenty scholars from three continents (Europe, Africa, North America) came together to hear nine papers on various aspects of Philo scholarship (listed below). Of particular note was the presentation by James R. Royse (cf. picture to left), who shared his findings and new textual emendations resulting from his recent work on the Coptos papyrus in Paris. Future colloquia are expected to run bi-annually, with the next meeting to be held at King’s College London in 2018 and Oxford in 2020.

Presenters and Papers include: Joan Taylor (KCL), ‘The Therapeutae, Gender, and the Synagogue’; Erlend MacGillivray (Aberdeen), ‘Primitivism in Philo of Alexandria’s Thought and his Perception of Non-Jews’; Mina Monier (KCL), ‘Reception of Philo in Epistle of Barnabas’; Ekaterina Matusova (Tübingen), ‘Cognizing God in Philo: between Hellenistic Platonism and Parabiblical Texts’; Sean A. Adams (Glasgow), ‘Philo’s Literary Forms and Genre Adaptations’; Joshua Carroll (Aberdeen), ‘Philo’s Education in De congressu’; Elisa Uusimäki (Helsinki), ‘Jacob’s Spiritual Exercises in the Context of Philo’s Pedagogical Programme’; James R. Royse (Claremont), ‘Philo’s Biblical Quotations according to the Coptos Papyrus (Cohn-Wendland’s “Pap”) with Some Newly Discovered Readings’; Hindy Najman (Oxford), ‘Transcendence, Immanence, and Revelation in Philo of Alexandria’.”

The First UK Philo Colloquium


Date: 21 July 2016
Time: 10-5
Location:  The University of Glasgow,
Theology and Religious Studies Building,
No. 4 The Square, G12 8QQ

The event is free to attend, though please email Sean Adams to register (

For more information, visit:


10:00 – Welcome and Introductions
10:20 – Joan Taylor (KCL) – ‘The Therapeutae, Gender and the Synagogue’
10:55 – Erlend MacGillivray (Aberdeen) – ‘Primitivism in Philo of Alexandria’s Thought and his Perception of Non-Jews’

11:30 – Coffee/tea

11:50 – Mina Monier (KCL) – Reception of Philo in Barnabas
12:25 – Ekaterina Matusova (Tübingen) – ‘Cognizing God in Philo: between Hellenistic Platonism and Parabiblical Texts’

1:00 – Lunch

2:00 – Sean Adams (Glasgow) – ‘Philo’s Literary Forms and Genre Adaptations
2:30 – Joshua Carroll (Aberdeen) – Philo’s education
3:00 – Elisa Uusimäki (Helsinki) – ‘Jacob’s Spiritual Exercises in the Context of Philo’s Pedagogical Programme’

3:30 – Coffee/tea

3:50 – James R. Royce (Claremont) – ‘Philo’s Biblical Quotations according to the Coptos Papyrus (Cohn-Wendland’s “Pap”) with Some Newly Discovered Readings’
4:20 – Hindy Najman (Oxford) – Trancendence, Immanence, and Revelation in Philo of Alexandria

4:50 – Future Planning

5:00 Close of event


The Studia Philonica Annual 2015

The latest issue of The Studia Philonica Annual finally reached my desk last week:

The Studia Philonica Annual XXVII . 2015/
Studies in Hellenistic Judaism
Edited by David T. Runia and Gregory E. Sterling
(Atlanta, SBL Press, 2015).271pp.

As usual, the Annual has a section of Articles, a Special section, and a Bibliography section, and a Book review section.
In the Articles section we find the following studies:
Sarah Pearce, Intermarriage and the Ancestors of the Jews: Philonic Perspectives (pp. 1-26);
Michael Francis, Wasted Seed and Sins of intent: Sexual Ethics in De Specialibus Legibus 3.34-36 in the Case of Infertile Marriage (pp. 27-52);
Arco den Heijer, Cosmic Mothers in Philo of Alexandria and in Neopythagoreanism (pp. 53-70);
Gregory E. Sterling, The Theft of Philosophy: Philo of Alexandria and Numenius of Apamea (pp. 71-86);
Orrey McFarland, Philo’s Prepositional Metaphysics within Early Christian Debates about the Relation of Dicine Nature and Agency (pp. 87-110);
Benjamin Pollock, Philosophy’s Inquisitor: Franz Rosenzweig’s Philo between Judaism, Paganism and Christianity (pp. 111-127).

The Special Section provides some papers presented at the Philo sessions at the SBL Annual Meeting in San Diego in 2014:
Sarah Pearce, Introduction (pp. 129-132);
James R. Royse, The Text of Philo’s De Decalogo in Vaticanus GR. 316 (pp. 133-142);
Abraham Terian, The Armenian Textual Tradition of Philo’s De Decalogo (pp. 143-154);
Manuel Alexandre Jr., Rhetorical Texture and Pattern in Philo’s De Decalogo (pp. 155-180)

Then follows the Bibliography Section, which focuses on studies published in 2012, followed by a Review Section, containing seven book reviews. Finally then, some News and Notes, Notes on Contributors, and Instructors to Contributors.

It is a great asset to have such an Annual, completely devoted to Philo, his works and his world, and it is a pleasure to have and read, and to contribute. It is an Annual you will return to over and over again if you like studying Philo of Alexandria.

The Studia Philonica web page?

The Studia Philonica Annual (etc) webpage ( has been down for some time now, and I still do not know the reason why; hopefully it is just due to some temporary problems.

In the meanwhile, some Philo material is still available on my page: (check out the right column)


vigilantismToday, March 9., it is 25 years since I had my public defense of my Norwegian PhD dissertation. Umbelievable how the years fly away..

The ‘disputatio’ was held at the University of Trondheim, now called Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU). My mentor was prof. Peder Borgen, and the two other members of the evaluation committee were prof Niels Hyldahl, University of Copenhagen, and Prof. Ernst Baasland, Norwegian School of Theology, Oslo.

The dissertation was slightly reworked, and then published by Brill in 1995.The volume is still available. Looking back I am particularly pleased that it was well received by both Jews and Christians, as it dealt with a somewhat sensitive issue in the relations between Jews and Christians in the first century CA.

Below is a picture of me, and my mentor. We both were young at that time……….:)

IMG_0231At that time I was an associate professor at Volda Regional College, an institution I served until I moved to Stavanger and the School of Mission and Theology in 2005.I retired in 2014.


New article on Philo in RAC

The latest issue of the well-known Lexicon, Reallexicon fur Antike und Christentum, has now been published, including a new article on Philo of Alexandria:

  1. D.T. Runia, Philon von Alexandria. RAC Bd 27 (Lfg. 210/217): 605-627 (columns)

The publisher of this famous Lexicon states its goals thus (German):

Das RAC dient als Hilfsmittel zur Erforschung der ausgehenden Antike und des beginnenden Frühmittelalters bzw. der frühbyzantinischen Zeit. Konkret soll die Frage beantwortet werden: Wie wurde aus der vielschichtigen, keineswegs einheitlichen antiken Kultur, die sich seit hellenistischer Zeit in der Mittelmeerwelt entwickelte, die spätantik-christliche der folgenden Jahrhunderte? Die Bedeutung dieser Fragestellung ergibt sich aus der Tatsache, dass diese spätantik-christliche Kultur eine Vorstufe der mittelalterlichen und damit zum Teil der heutigen bildet. Verkürzt wird diese Aufgabenstellung mit der von F. J. Dölger geprägten, im Untertitel des RAC programmatisch verwendeten Formel “Auseinandersetzung des Christentums mit der antiken Welt” umschrieben.

The lexicon article, written by David T. Runia, fulfills these goals in an excellent manner. The article has the following structure:

  1. Leben und Werk (Life and Work): Here is Philo’s works presented and their context of origin (Entstehungskontext).
  2. Nicht-Christlich (Non-Christian): Focus here is on Philo and his Jewish people and his knowledge of non-Jewish authors.
  3. Christlich (Christian): Here Runia deals with how Philo was received and used by the early Christian writers from the New Testament and up to and including Augustin. In many ways, it is a brief summary of his own book on Philo in Early Christian Literature. A Survey (CRINT III,Vol 3: Assen; van Gorcum, 1993).


Runia is also the author of another enzyclopedic article, written in French:

Runia. David T. 2011. “Philon d’Alexandrie.” In Dictionnaire des Philosophes Antiques V. de Paccius à Rutilius Rufus  VA. de paccius à Plotin, edited by Richard Goulet, 362–90. Paris: C.N.R.S. Éditions.