New Book: Crossing Borders

The English version of my Norwegian biography of prof. Peder Borgen has just recently been published by Wipf & Stock. It is a somewhat revised version of the Norwegian edition, somewhat more aimed at an international reader:

Torrey Seland, Crossing Borders. The Life and Work of Peder Borgen in Context. Foreword by Paul Anderson. Eugene, Or.: Wipf and Stock, Sept 2022. $42 paperback; $62 hardback. 330 pages.

The volume is now also available at and other Amazon sites.

Abstract (as written on the back leaf): “The intention of this biography is–on the one hand–to describe what happened as Peder Borgen (b. 1928) grew up and tried to establish himself as a theologian and a New Testament scholar in his Norwegian and Lutheran state-church context. On the other hand, it also describes how his development and life as a student of the New Testament and Philo of Alexandria were influenced by his minority background and the borders he had to cross to achieve his goals. Crossing Borders is thus a description of the life and work of a Norwegian Methodist, scholar, church politician, ecumenist, and an internationally acclaimed writer on the Gospel of John and Philo of Alexandria. Students of both the New Testament and Philo of Alexandria should feel enlightened by this volume of how context may influence both a person and his scholarly achievements.”

Philo on divine forgiveness

Timmers, F. J. (2022). Philo of Alexandria on divine forgiveness (Doctoral dissertation). Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society (LUCAS), Faculty of Humanities, Leiden University.

Abstract: “This study investigates the meaning of divine forgiveness in the thought of Philo of Alexandria. Did Philo share in the common philosophical disregard for seeking divine pardon? Could he still encourage his readers to seek God’s pardon when they have done evil, while he at the same time explained to them that God cannot be hurt nor angered by human evil or made to change his mind? Can divine pardon have a meaningful place within the well-considered thought of a Hellenistic intellectual at all? This study shows that in the case of Philo of Alexandria the answer to this question is affirmative. Yes, divine amnesty has a meaningful place within Philo’s thought, while he managed to avoid implications he and other contemporary intellectuals considered inappropriate. He saw divine pardon as a vital manifestation of God’s goodness, allowing humans to purge their minds from the evil thoughts that have overwhelmed them and caused them to commit evil, to re-establish the control of good reason and welcome God’s wisdom to form their thoughts, words and acts, so that they think, speak and act rationally, as their Creator intended them when he created humans in his own image.”

Open Access is available here:

Karl-Gustav Sandelin 1940-2022

A couple of days ago I was informed of the sad news that the Finnish Prof.em. Karl-Gustav Sandelin died on July 18. There will be a funeral on August 13.

Karl-Gustav Sandelin was born on April 1, 1940, and studied at the University of Helsinki from 1959-62. He then moved to Åbo Akademi University and received his Master of Theology there in 1964. He was an ASLA-Fulbright student at Harvard University in 1967-68, then worked as a Pastor for a few years before returning to Åbo as a teacher of Greek and New Testament exegesis. He gained a licentiate degree in theology there in 1973, and his doctoral degree in 1977. In 1981 he became a lecturer in biblical languages and exegesis, and in 1995 he was appointed professor of New Testament Exegesis, still at Åbo. His doctoral dissertation dealt with a topic from 1 Corinthians, later he also published on Philo of Alexandria, and he will thus be well-known to Philo scholars. Karl-Gustav was a mild and friendly person; pleasant to work with and cooperative. He retired in 2006.

In 2000, he was given a Festschrift at his 60th Birthday, containing 10 articles, written by internationally renown scholars: A Bouquet of Wisdom. Essays in Honour of Karl-Gustav Sandelin, edited by Karl-Johan Illman, Tore Ahlbäck, Sven-Olav Back, and Risto Nurmela. Åbo: Åbo Akademi, 2000.

He had a personal webpage set up in 2018, which contains a lot of info about his life and work, including some article-length essays:

I had the pleasure of working with him when I edited Reading Philo. A Handbook to Philo of Alexandria (published 2014), a project that, in fact, was initiated by him in a somewhat larger scale, but when that turned out not to be realizable, he -as he had by then retired – accepted that I proceeded on his idea and he even participated with a very interesting piece on ‘Philo as a Jew.’ I believe that this was one of his last scholarly articles published internationally.

As for his major publications (books), see the following works:

Die Auseinandersetzung mit der Weisheit in 1 Korinther 15. Åbo: Åbo Academi (Meddelanden från Stiftelsens før Åbo Akademi forskningsinstitut, 12 (Diss.).

Wisdom as Nourisher: A Study of an Old Testament Theme, Its Development Within Early Judaism and Its Impact on Early Christianity. Acta Academiae Aboensis Ser A. Humaniora, vol. 64. Åbo Akademi, 1986. UBT.

Sophia och hennes värld. Exegetiska uppsatser från fyra årtionden. Studier i exegetik och judaistik utgivna av Teologiska fakulteten vid Åbo Akademi Nr. 6. Åbo: Teologiska Fakulteten, Åbo Akademi, 2008. (Collection of articles)

Attraction and Danger of Alien Religion. Studies in Early Judaism and Christianity. Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen Zum Neuen Testament 290. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2012. (A collection of articles).

Enduring Divine Discipline

Scot D. Mackie, “Enduring Divine Discipline in Philo, De congressu 157–180 and the Epistle to the Hebrews 12:5–17,” in Ancient Texts, Papyri, and Manuscripts: Studies in Honor of James R. Royse (ed. D.T. Runia, A.T. Farnes, and S.D. Mackie; NTTSD 64; Leiden: Brill, 2022), 269–301

Abstract: “The relationship of the Epistle to the Hebrews to Philo of Alexandria has been long debated. Though most scholars are pessimistic about the possibility of establishing any substantive connection between the two authors, there is widespread admission that they stand in proximate streams of Alexandrian Judaism and share somewhat similar cosmologies and metaphysics. This essay seeks to expand the potential range of their affinities by examining the remarkably similar theodicies offered in Philo’s De congressu 157–180 and Hebrews 12:5–17. Both texts pursue the same rhetorical goal (to defend the necessity of trials and tests, and the benefits of enduring adversities), quote Prov 3:11–12, and contain an extraordinary cluster of themes, including the contrast between appearance and reality, the need to correctly interpret adverse circumstances, the nature and role of παιδεία, confessing “kinship” with God, “looking ahead” to a reward, and the life of faith as an agonistic/athletic contest. “

Plutarch, Philo and the New Testament

Hirsch-Luipold, Rainer (ed.), “Part 2. Plutarch, Philo and the New Testament”. In: Plutarch and the New Testament in Their Religio-Philosophical Contexts. Bridging Discourses in the World of the Early Roman Empire. Series Brill’s Plutarch Studies, Volume 9, Leiden, Brill

Pleše, Zlatko (2022). ““God Is the Measure of All Things”: Plutarch and Philo on the Benefits of Religious Worship”. In: Rainer Hirsch-Luipold (ed.), Plutarch and the New Testament in Their Religio-Philosophical Contexts. Bridging Discourses in the World of the Early Roman Empire. Series Brill’s Plutarch Studies, Volume 9. Leiden: Brill, 87–108. DOI:

Sterling, Gregory E. (2022). “When East and West Meet: Eastern Religions and Western Philosophy in Philo of Alexandria and Plutarch of Chaeronea”. In: Rainer Hirsch-Luipold (ed.), Plutarch and the New Testament in Their Religio-Philosophical Contexts. Bridging Discourses in the World of the Early Roman Empire. Series Brill’s Plutarch Studies, Volume 9. Leiden: Brill, 109–124. DOI:

Reydams-Schils, Gretchen (2022). “Philautia, Self-Knowledge, and Oikeiôsis in Philo of Alexandria and Plutarch”. In: Rainer Hirsch-Luipold (ed.), Plutarch and the New Testament in Their Religio-Philosophical Contexts. Bridging Discourses in the World of the Early Roman Empire. Series Brill’s Plutarch Studies, Volume 9. Leiden: Brill, 125–140. DOI:

Despotis, Athanasios (2022). “The Relation between Anthropology and Love Ethics in John against the Backdrop of Plutarchan and Philonic Ideas”. In: Rainer Hirsch-Luipold (ed.), Plutarch and the New Testament in Their Religio-Philosophical Contexts. Bridging Discourses in the World of the Early Roman Empire. Series Brill’s Plutarch Studies, Volume 9. Leiden: Brill, 141–161. DOI:

Elschenbroich, Julian (2022). “The Mechanics of Death: Philo’s and Plutarch’s Views on Human Death as a Backdrop for Paul’s Eschatology”. In: Rainer Hirsch-Luipold (ed.), Plutarch and the New Testament in Their Religio-Philosophical Contexts. Bridging Discourses in the World of the Early Roman Empire. Series Brill’s Plutarch Studies, Volume 9. Leiden: Brill, 162–174. DOI:

The Studia Philonica Annual 2021

The Studia Philonica Annual 2021 / Studies in Hellenistic Judaism Volume XXXIII is now available. Editors this year too are David T. Runia and Gregory E. Sterling. Publisher: SBL Press, Atlanta.

A lot of interesting articles (as usual), a large Bibliography section dealing with Philo-related works for the year 2018, with a Supplement: A Provisional Bibliography 2019–2021, presented some of the works to be presented in the coming years. In addition, there is also a Review section, presenting 13 in-depth reviews.

The articles contained in this volume can be listed thus:

Carlos Lévy, La notion de progressant chez Philon et Sénèque: Des différences essentielles …………………………………………………………………….. 1
Carson Bay, Philo, the Gospel of John, and Two Moses Traditions: Traditionary Competition over a Cultural Icon ……………………………….. 35
Christopher S. Atkins, Human Body, Divine Image, and the Ascent of the Mind in Philo’s De plantatione………………………………………………… 73
Athanasios Despotis, Aspects of Cultural Hybridity in Philo’s Apophatic Anthropology ………………………………………………………………………………….. 91
David Satran, Repetition and Intention: Grammar and Philosophy in the Exegesis of Philo of Alexandria………………………………………………….. 109

Gregory E. Sterling, Introduction……………………………………………………….. 125
Gregory E. Sterling, The First Critical Edition of Philo: Thomas Mangey and the 1742 Edition.………………………………………………………….. 133
Abraham Terian, Aucher’s 1822 and 1826 Editions of Philonis Judaei Opera in Armenia Conservata: A History……………………………………………. 161
Michael B. Cover, Karl Ernst Richter’s Schwickert Edition: An Opera Omnia for Its Season ………………………………………………………………………… 175
James R. Royse, The Cohn-Wendland Critical Edition of Philo of Alexandria.………………………………………………………………………………………. 197

New book: Paul and Philo on Abraham

The Norwegian scholar, Per Jarle Bekken has written another study on Paul, and one in which he draws heavily on Philo as a significant part of his Jewish context:

Bekken, Per Jarle. Paul’s Negotiation of Abraham in Galatians 3 in the Jewish Context: The Galatian Converts — Lineal Descendants of Abraham and Heirs of the Promise (Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft 248; Berlin, Boston: De Gruyter, 2021).

de Gruyter: “This work offers a fresh reading of Paul’s appropriation of Abraham in Gal 3:6–29 against the background of Jewish data, especially drawn from the writings of Philo of Alexandria. Philo’s negotiation on Abraham as the model proselyte and the founder of the Jewish nation based on his trust in God’s promise relative to the Law of Moses provides a Jewish context for a corresponding debate reflected in Galatians, and suggests that there were Jewish antecedents that came close to Paul’s reasoning in his own time. This volume incorporates a number of new arguments in the context of scholarly discussion of both Galatian 3 and some of the Philonic texts, and demonstrates how the works of Philo can be applied responsibly in New Testament scholarship.”

Some recent articles on Philo

Bednarek, T. (2021). “Philo of Alexandria, De Cherubim (1-39)”. Vox Patrum, 79, 505-522. DOI:

Niehoff, M. R. (2021). “A Roman Portrait of Abraham in Paul’s and Philo’s Later Exegesis”. Novum Testamentum, 63(4), 452-476. DOI:

Yli-Karjanmaa, S. (2021). “Hiding One’s Tolerance: Cyril of Alexandria’s Use of Philo”. Lehtipuu, O., Labahn, M. (eds.), Tolerance, Intolerance, and Recognition in Early Christianity and Early Judaism. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, pp. 169-194. DOI:

Yli-Karjanmaa, S. (2021). “Returning from the Diaspora of the Soul: Eschatology in Philo of Alexandria”. Marlow, H., Pollman, K. & van Noorden, H. (eds.), Eschatology in Antiquity: Forms and Functions (Rewriting Antiquity). Londres: Routledge. ISBN 9781138208315

Vibe,  Klaus, ‘Freedom from Necessity in Philo of Alexandria’s Ethical Thought’, JGRChJ 17 (2021), pp. 9-37

Wasserman, E. (2021). “Philosophical cosmology and religious polemic: The “worship of creation” in the writings of Philo of Alexandria and the Wisdom of Solomon”. Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha, 31(1), 6–28. DOI:

Illuminations by Philo

A new collection of articles on Philo and the New Testament was published recently by Brill:

Peder Borgen, Iluminations by Philo of Alexandria. Selected Studies on Interpretation in Philo, Paul, and the Revelation of John. Edited by Torrey Seland (Studies in Philo of Alexandria 12: Leiden; Brill, 2021).

The volume contains 17 articles, all previously published in various Journals and Festschriften, and not always easy to track or find. Hence this new volume brings some of the most recent studies by prof. P. Borgen. David E. Aune introduces the volume by summarizing and characterizing each article in the collection. A very brief review of Borgen’s life and work is accessible here, as part of the introduction to the volume.

For further info about what particular studies are included in this volume, go here.

A Peder Borgen Biography

Torrey Seland,

Peder Borgen. Metodist – Økumen – Professor i en brytningstid.

Cappelen Damm Akademisk, Oslo, Des. 2020.  ca. 350 s.

I denne boken presenteres en repre­sentant for en av frikirkene i Norge, Peder Johan Borgen (1928-). Borgen var metodist, forkynner, kirke­politiker, økumen, og universitets­professor i kristendoms­kunn­skap, og er en inter­nasjonalt anerkjent bibel­forsker.

Som metodist i Norge ble Borgen en ivrig for­kjemper for frikirkenes plass i det norske kirkelandskap, og for religions­­­frihet i vid forstand. Beskrivelsen av hans liv kan dermed også leses som uttrykk for erfaringer som mange innen frikirkene i Norge kunne oppleve. Boken forsøker slik å bringe ny innsikt i og forståelse for frikirkenes plass i norsk kirkeliv som på denne tiden var så preget både av Den norske kirkes hegemoniske rolle og manglende økumeniske interesse og arbeid. Samtidig gir den en omfattende oversikt over Peder Borgens liv og innsats i norsk universitets- og samfunnsliv og internasjonale bibelforskning.