Philonica et Neotestamentica

Home » Blogging

Category Archives: Blogging

Beware the Evil Eye 1

During my years as a research fellow, I met for the first time the use of cultural anthropological models and perspectives in New Testament studies, and found it extremely interesting. I applied some models in my dissertation (published 1995), and in other works, and still find it interesting. In the years since my PhD work, such views have been very much accepted and integrated in Biblical studies. We now take them for granted.

One of the Mediterranean cultural aspects, however, that -at least to us Scandinavians- represents an issue rather unfamiliar to us is the evidence and practice of Evil Eye belief. I have, however, met it some times up through the years, but not always quite realized what it was, or how to read it:

  1. Visiting Greece in the early 1990-ies, when leaving the country, we were given an amulet in the form of a heart, with an eye in the middle. It was said to keep and protect us from the evil eye. I did not catch its meaning.
  2. For some time during my career I had a colleague that had worked in Palestine for some years, His wife told me that,  at one particular time, they had visited the home of some acquaintances there. When arriving, she looked at and praised some flower plants standing at their entrance. When they were about to leave some hours later, she discovered that the plants were standing at their car. They were supposed to take them with them, and it turned out that the reason was that she had looked at them and commented on their beauty.  It turned out it was the role of evil eye at work.
  3. My daughter spent a year at an US High School in 1994-95. At school, which had students from many different cultures, she discovered that looks could be problematic, even evoking aggression. Initially she did not understand the reason why. It was because of the fear of an evil eye.

Now we have been given a tremendous help in understanding the function of the evil eye phenomenon in ancient cultures, in Biblical times and cultures, and in fact, in many life situations of today. John H. Elliott has for many years studied the Evil Eye phenomenon, he has published several articles on the evil Eye and the New Testament (cf. his bibliography here, -up to 1997. See also here.), and now he has published a four-volume work dealing with the Evil Eye in the Bible and the Ancient world.

I am grateful to the publisher, ( who has provided me with these 4 volumes, and in a series of postings in the coming months I will present the volumes in some brief reviews. Hopefully, these will wet your appetite, and encourage you to read the volumes for your self.

These are the volumes concerned:
John H. Elliott,
Beware the Evil Eye.
The Evil Eye in the Bible and the Ancient World.
Volume 1: Introduction, Mesopotamia, and Egypt.
Eugene, Oregon, Cascade Books, and imprint of Wips and Stock, 2015.

John H. Elliott,
Beware the Evil Eye.
The Evil Eye in the Bible and the Ancient World.
Volume 2: Greece and Rome.
Eugene, Oregon, Cascade Books, and imprint of Wips and Stock, 2016.

John H. Elliott,
Beware the Evil Eye.
The Evil Eye in the Bible and the Ancient World.
Volume 3: The Bible and Related Sources.
Eugene, Oregon, Cascade Books, and imprint of Wips and Stock, 2016.

John H. Elliott,
Beware the Evil Eye.
The Evil Eye in the Bible and the Ancient World.
Volume 4: Postbiblical Israel and Early Christianity through Late Antiquity.
Eugene, Oregon, Cascade Books, and imprint of Wips and Stock, 2017.

Loeb’s Philo in Logos 7!

As mentioned in a posting below, the Loeb Classical Library ‘s edition of Philo’s texts has now been included in the Logos Bible Software 7. At the same time the handbook to Philo, Reading Philo, which was published late in 2014 by Eerdmans, has also been included. These additions, in addition to some other works on Philo already included for some time, (see here, here, and here) make Logos Bible Software even more useful for studying Philo.
The Greek text of the Loeb edition and the English translation are here published in separate volumes (see picture above). All the footnotes of the print edition are, of course, kept in this digital version too, and when the two are associated they scroll together.

Concerning the Reading Philo volume, all the references to Philo’s works included therein, are of course linked to Philo’s texts, whether that be in this Loeb edition, or to the older text version (of Borgen-Fuglseth-Skarsten) and the Yonge’s old translation, which are also available in Logos. I am a little bit surprised, however, that works mentioned in the book, and also available, are not all linked in Reading Philo ( see e.g., no link to the Lexicons or Runia’s Commentary On the Creation).However, it is nice to have the Handbook included!  🙂

Below is a picture of how my desktop in Logos may look when working on Philo. From left: it is possible to highlight texts (by color or underlining, or both: I often have this feature open), then I have the Biblia Hebraica opened, including (below) some lexicons (BDAG, LLS, Louw, BDB); then I have the LXX with some translations below. Then in the fourth column from left is the Loeb edition of Philo (text and translation, including Yonge’s translation). Finally, to the right, in this case, Ryle’s old volumes on the quotations of Philo from the Old Testament.

I wish I had two screens available, one for Logos, and one for my word processor, but I have no room for that on my desk. I do have a 27” screen, however, and that works very well too.



Impressive new Dragon Professional

During the years, in several blog postings, (for the last one, see here), I have mentioned my experiences with a program called Dragon NaturallySpeaking which claims to be able to transfer my speech into text.
Now it’s company, Nuance, has produced a new version, named Dragon Professional  Individual,  version 15.

This is an impressive new and improved version. It is faster, and it understands my speaking much better than ever before. Even with my Norwegian accent, I am able to speak for much longer sections and using a much more elaborate terminology than ever before. In order to enhance the use of the program, I can make it read some of my papers, and it accepts and incorporates the  vocabulary I use in my papers. Most of these papers are about Philo of Alexandria, and in this way, the program incorporates the vocabulary relevant for such papers.

I am just impressed and I do think, with this new version, I will use this program much more than before just because it understands my pronunciation, it learns my way of speaking much better than ever before.

If you are a little bit interested, have a look at their web page. The program is quite new, and you might find some very interesting discount offers.

” With an all-new, next-generation speech engine leveraging Deep Learning technology, dictate and transcribe faster and more accurately than ever before, and spend less time on documentation and more time on activities that boost the bottom line.” (from Nuance’s web page.)



SNTS in Montreal

James McGrath provides summaries of various lectures at rhe SNTS meeting in Montreal this week here: 

See also his input on Facebook and the SNTS 2016 Montreal group on Facebook.

Philo?? No, I did not see any mention of Philo in the titles of the main lectures or in the seminar sessions……

JETS review

Another review of T. Seland (ed.), Reading Philo, is available in Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society  59/1 (2016) 202-204; it is written by Kenneth Schenk.

Quite positive here too; its conclusion runs thus:

“On the whole, this handbook by Seland and these other authors is a great success. It is clearly written and effectively introduces a reader to the person and writings of this important Jewish figure from the time of Christ. The book is of great potential as a resource for evangelical scholars, and it will surely become a standard text for graduate seminars for years to come.”


Articles by way of

I don’t know if you know, but if you are scholar, I encourage you to be a member. It is a wonderful arena in which we can share our academic work for mutual benefit. If you ‘follow’ colleagues on this site, you will be notified when they post something on the site.

Got to and have a look.

Philo on

As just an example of the procedure mentioned above, I was noticed that Sofia Torallas (Associate Professor at the Dpt. of Classics and NELC at the University of Chicago) had just uploaded her study on Philo:

«El orfebre del insulto. Filón y el griego de Alejandría», in Samir Khalil Samir – Juan Pedro Monferrer-Sala (eds.), Graeco-Latina et Orientalia. Studia in honorem Angeli Urbani heptagenarii, Córdoba-Beirut, 2013: 384-399.

According to some site info, “35,179,170 academics have signed up to, adding 11,182,942 papers and 1,843,083 research interests. attracts over 36 million unique visitors a month.”

There might be something for you too!


Hurtado and Lincoln-festschriften

I just want to point your attention to two more recent Festschriften, here described by Nijay Gupta:

Two prominent scholars, well deserving this honor of having great Festschriften published!