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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
3 Histoires grecques, récits bibliques. la lecture des mythes chez Philon d’Alexandrie
4 Polytheos doxa and Mythologein: Philo of Alexandria as a “Historian of Religions”
Giulia Sfameni Gasparro
5 Philo’s Struggle with Jewish Myth
Part 2: Gods, Heroes, and some Monsters
6 The God of the Philosophers, and the God of Israel
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
10 Homer in Philo: Scylla’s Myth in Philonic Philosophical Context
11 Les « plaies » d’Empédocle et la mythologie infernale chez Philon d’Alexandrie
Greek Writers and Philosophers in Philo and Josephus. A Study of Their Secular Education and Educational Ideals
(Studies in Philo of Alexandria, Volume 9) Leiden; Brill, 2019.
The Finnish scholar Erkki Koskenniemi is having a new book on Philo (and Josephus) published this year.
The contents are given thus: Preface
1 Introduction 1 The Task of the Study 2 A Brief History of the Research 3 The Outline of Graeco-Roman Education 4 A More Precise Definition of the Task
2 Philo: Offspring from Sarah and Hagar 1 Introduction 2 Philo and Greek Writers 3 Philo’s Educational Ideals and His Own Witness 4 Jews and the Secular Education in Alexandria 5 Conclusion
3 Josephus: It Is Difficult to Transplant an Old Tree 1 Introduction 2 Josephus and Greek Writers 3 Greek Language and Classical Education in Jerusalem 4 Josephus’ Own Witness and the Quality of His Greek 5 Conclusion
I think it will be interesting to see what he writes about ‘Education,’ his contribution in Reading Philo, on ‘Philo and Classical Education’ has been very well received in several reviews of that book. I presume he will elaborate on this article in his new book.
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.
A new book is about to be published, written by Erkki Koskenniemi:
Greek Writers and Philosophers in Philo and Josephus
A Study of Their Secular Education and Educational Ideals
Series: Studies in Philo of Alexandria, Volume: 9
Leiden; Brill, 2018.
The advertisement has just ‘popped up’ on the Brill site, and it runs thus:
“In Greek Writers and Philosophers in Philo and Josephus Erkki Koskenniemi investigates how two Jewish writers, Philo and Josephus, quoted, mentioned and referred to Greek writers and philosophers. He asks what this tells us about their Greek education, their contacts with Classical culture in general, and about the societies in which Philo and Josephus lived. Although Philo in Alexandria and Josephus in Jerusalem both had the possibility to acquire a thorough knowledge of Greek language and culture, they show very different attitudes. Philo, who was probably educated in the gymnasium, often and enthusiastically refers to Greek poets and philosophers. Josephus on the other hand rarely quotes from their works, giving evidence of a more traditionalistic tendencies among Jewish nobility in Jerusalem.”
Price; as expected; (too) expensive: EUR €138.00USD $166.00, but tell your institution’s library to get it!
I just received an offprint of my most recent article, this time on 1 Peter. It is published in a volume published in memory of a Norwegian New Testament scholar, Hans Kvalbein:
The Church and Its Mission in the New Testament and Early Christianity. Essays in Memory of Hans Kvalbein, edited by David E. Aune and Reidar Hvalvik. Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen Zum Neuen Testament, Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck. Siebeck.2018.
My own contribution is : “‘Like Newborn Infants..’ The Readers of 1 Peter as Newly Converted Christians?” (pp 227-242):
In a study published in 2005 on acculturation and assimilation in 1 Peter, I argued, in opposition to the views on acculturation of both John H. Elliott and David Balch,that the burning issue in 1 Peter was not how to cope with current Greco-Roman society (social acculturation and assimilation issues), but that “the Christians of 1 Peter are first generation Christians, that is, they are still in a process of being socialized into the Christian worldview.” I also argued that they were perceived of as in a kind of liminal situation as newly converted Christians, and that their attitudes to Greco-Roman institutions were a secondary aspect of the author’s strategy in this letter, and thus more a consequence of the intended primary acculturation into the Christian faith and ways of living than as a program of acculturation or assimilation to Greco-Roman society.
An important premise in this view is the issue of whether or not the readers can really be understood as relatively new as Christians. In the present study, I would like to elaborate on this question, trying to substantiate my view that they were considered fairly recently converted Christians. I might admit that there is no single statement in the letter providing a clear-cut answer, but, as I argue, the cumulative effect of some passages supports the conclusion that the addressees were considered first generation Christians, probably as having been Christians for just a few years.
In my former posting, way too long ago (see here), I gave some examples of how I in my own personal life had encountered the phenomenon of Evil Eye. It was supposed to function as an introduction to the great four-volume set of studies published by John H. Elliott.
The first volume was published in 2015:
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, an imprint of Wips and Stock, 2015.
The four volumes as such covers Mesopotamia, Egypt (vol.1), Greece, and Rome (vol. 2), the evil eye in The Bible and Related Sources. (vol. 3), and Postbiblical Israel and Early Christianity through Late Antiquity (vol. 4). A vast area of time, space, and material indeed. The focus in the present posting is primarily vol. 1.
Elliott defines the ‘evil eye’ phenomenon thus:
“…that some persons are enabled by nature to injure others, cause illness and loss, and destroy any person, animal or thing through a powerful noxious glance emanating from the eye.” (p. xi).
“”This belief holds that certain individuals (humans, gods, demons, animals, and mythological figures) possess an eye whose powerful glance or gaze can harm or destroy any object, animate or inanimate, on which it falls. Through the power of their eye, which can operate involuntarily as well as intentionally, such Evil Eye possessors (also known as ‘fascinatorsæ) are thought capable of injuring, withering, or obliterating the health and life, means of sustenance and livelihood, familial honor, and personal well-being of their hapless victims” (p. 3).
It is a central thesis in Elliott’s presentation that this phenomenon is an ‘international’ phenomenon, it is to be found in most cultures. In fact, on p. 16 he presents terms for Evil Eye in 39 languages, and ideas and practices associated with it span over five millennia and across the globe, though of course, there are cultural and temporal variations. Nevertheless, he presents 7 features inherent in the concept (p. 17):
- power emanates from the eye (or mouth) and strikes some object or person;
- the stricken object is of value, and its destruction or injury is sudden;
- the one casting the evil eye may not know he has the power;
- the one affected may not be able to identify the source of power;
- the evil eye can be deflected or its effects modified or cured bt particular devices, rituals, and symbols;
- the belief helps to explain or rationalize sickness, misfortune, or loss of possessions such as animal or crops;
- in at least some functioning of the belief everywhere, envy is a factor.
In societies, where such ideas were an acknowledged reality, the fear of being attacked, could be alarming and paralyzing; on the other hand, accusations of being a ‘fascinator’, one who throws evil eyes, would be just as alarming and scary, as such accusations would stigmatize the one accused as a social deviant and dangerous person. Hence apotropaic means also became important, as e.g., amulets. On p. 34-38 Elliott deals with several such items, gestures and defensive gestures prevalent.
It is impossible in a posting like this to deal with all of the features of this volume One. In many ways, it functions as an introduction to both the phenomenon as such and to the 4-volume book-set presented and written by Elliott. I especially found his chapters on ‘Research on the Evil Eye from Past to Present’ and ‘on ‘Method, aims, and Procedure of this Study’ interesting and valuable as it also lays the groundwork for the subsequent volume on ‘The Bible and related Sources’ (vol. 3). The focus of my next posting will thus be on that third volume.
The 2017 issue of this cherished Annual for all Philo students has been published! A couple of weeks ago
The Studia Philonica Annual XXIX – 2017
(Studies in Hellenistic Judaism)
Edited by David T. Runia & Gregory E. Sterling.
Atlanta; SBL Press, 2017
arrived at my desk. A welcome publication every year!
The volume contains 5 articles, and the Special Section contains papers from the 2016 SBL Philo Seminar on Philo’s De Plantatione. In addition, we get the Bibliography Section, which contains An Annotated Bibliography for 2014 (pp. 185-228), and a Provisional Bibliography 2015-2017 (pp. 229-243), and A Book Review Section (pp. 245-264).
Among the Articles (pp. 1-110), you will find the following studies:
Geert Roskam, Nutritious Milk from Hagar’s School: Philo’s Reception of Homer,
Sharon Weisser, Knowing God by Analogy: Philo of Alexandria against the Stoic God,
Jerome Moreau, A Neocentric Exegesis: The Function of Allegory in Philo of Alexandria and its Hermeneutical Implications,
Yakir Paz, Examining Blemishes: The /Mwmoskopoi/ and the Jerusalem Temple,
Eric J. DeMeuse, Nostre Philon: Philo after Trient.
Then, in the Section concerning De Plantatione, you will find these studies:
David T. Runia, Introduction,
David T. Runia, The Structure of Philo’s De Plantatione and Its Place in the Allegorical Commentary,
James R. Royse, The Text of Philo’s De Plantatione,
Sami Yli-Karjanmaa, The Significance of Reading Philonic Parallels: Examples from De Plantatione.