Jews and their Roman Rivals

I have just received my copy of the (in so many ways) great work of Katell Berthelot, Jews and their Roman Rivals. Pagan Rome’s Challenge to Israel (Princeton University Press: Princeton, 2021). I must still postpone indulging in the book for some days, but here and now I would just like to direct my readers to a website she mentions in the Bibliography of her book (cf. p. 436ff):


“On this website you will find useful resources for studying Roman imperial ideology, or Roman imperial discourses, artefacts and performances, displayed in literary records, epigraphy, numismatics, as well as through monuments, statues and other material artefacts. There is a particular focus on sources connected to the three sub-themes of the project, “Roman Power,” “Roman Law” and “Roman Citizenship”.
You will also find Jewish, Greek, Egyptian and Christian sources documenting the responses of some of the provincials of the Roman empire to the challenge of Roman domination. By “responses,” however, we do not intend only the provincial sources that explicitly mention Rome and address issues such as Roman law courts or grants of Roman citizenship. We also take into account the way the Roman imperial context led provincials to formulate their own conceptions of power, law, and citizenship or membership with a given group.”

“The website Judaism and Rome aims to:

  • give access to some important sources, providing as much information as possible: images, original text, translation…
  • provide the reader with an original and detailed analysis of each source, a service that is very rarely offered on the internet, and which makes this website comparable to a rich sourcebook
  • promote interdisciplinary discussion between scholars working on Roman history, Jewish Studies, Epigraphy, Numismatics, Classics, Patristics, History of Christianity, etc.”

There are multiple ways to perform a search and to find sources that are relevant to your specific interests.

A Great source, indeed!

A Platonic Argument in Philo

Delgado, A. C. (2022). “The Presence of the Myth in the Pentateuch: A Platonic Argument in Philo of Alexandria”, [En:] Radka Fialová , Jiří Hoblík and Petr Kitzler (eds.), Hellenism, Early Judaism, and Early Christianity. De Gruyter, 29-44.

La historia judía en Hypothetica de Filón

Pérez, L. “La historia judía en Hypothetica de Filón de Alejandría: una versión apologética del Éxodo y la Conquista de Canaán”. Circe de clásicos y modernos26.1 (2022) 37-61. DOI:

Abstract: “The purpose of this article is to analyze Philo’s presentation of the Exodus and the Conquest of Canaan in the historical section of the apologetic treatise Hypothetica (5. 11-7. 20), and the motivations that could have guided this representation. We will inquire other narratives of these same episodes to which Philo can be responding, and we will try to demonstrate that the oddness and novelty of the treatise among Philo’s works can be explained from its production in the changing and urgent context of the Jewish-Alexandrian
conflicts of the years 38-40, but they should not hide the lines of continuity between this text and other Philonic writings.”

Philo on the Therapeutes

Cardoso Bueno, D. A. (2022). “El retrato de las mujeres contemplativas por Filón de Alejandría: las ʽterapéutridesʼ”. Circe de clásicos y modernos, 26(1) 2022, 63-86. DOI:

Abstract: “In De vita contemplativa, Philo of Alexandria describes a pious group of Hebrew philosophers. They established their residence in a small village near
Lake Mareotis, outside Alexandria. The members of the congregation, called Therapeutae because of their dedication to the cure or care of souls, were both male and female. They lived in isolation from each other in small, humble houses, although on special occasions they had moments of fraternal contact. The presence of women in a regime of equality with men is one of the
most striking and original features of this unique Jewish ascetic community.”

Philo on LegAll 3,169-178

New article on Philo recently published:

Beatrice Wyss, ‘Die Brotrede Philons aus Alexandreia in Legum Allegoriae 3,169-178,’ Early Christianity vol 12.2, 2021, pp. 200-227.

Summary: “In Leg.3.169–178, Philo of Alexandria gives a dense and concise sketch of his theory of the logos. In this essay, first I show the scriptural basis of Philo’s interpretation of manna as God’s word or logos (Leg.3.173–174). Second, I offer a running commentary of Leg.3.169–178, discussing different aspects of Philo’s theory of the logos hinted at in this passage. In the Jewish scriptures, Philo found God’s word as active in the process of creation and identical with God’s law and as a chastising force, each aspects he includes in his theory of the logos. Furthermore, he adds the pagan concept of Hermes as Zeus’s word, Zeus’s son, and Zeus’s messenger (e. g., Cornutus 16). Sapiential literature is important here, because Philo uses and reworks crucial concepts of God’s wisdom in his theory of the logos (as already shown by Burton Mack). Third, I demonstrate the liturgical setting of Philo’s exegesis, namely Passover (Leg. 1.165) and Yom Kippur (3.174). Fourth, I situate Philo’s exegesis in Leg.3.169–178 in a wider context within his exegesis of Exodus, arguing that Israel’s exodus out of Egypt is to be understood as an encounter with God’s logos in different dimensions. The essay concludes with a few remarks about John 6:22–58. I propose that Philo’s exegesis in Leg.3.169–178 provides hermeneutical assistance toward amore accurate understanding of this New Testament passage.”

Philo on Youtube!

It probably was only a mater of time; why not present material related to Philo of Alexandria on other platforms than just webpages and blogs? Now it has happened:

You will get more info by going to this webpage: Inicio – Filón de Alejandría ( : “Welcome to Philo of Alexandria. This space is part of the Research Projects of the National University of La Pampa, aimed at the translation, academic study and dissemination of the work, life and thought of Philo of Alexandria, and scientific research around its production” (from webpage). You can get more info by going to the page listed above, and its subpages. All pages are in Spanish, but translations are available by the browser.

Introduction/Self-presentation (from webpage): “We welcome those who have an interest in the work of Philo of Alexandria or who want to contact the members of the organization group of the page. We are a team that more than ten years ago works on the translation into the Spanish language of the complete work of Philo of Alexandria. We started under the direction and guidance of José Pablo Martín and have now established ourselves as a group that has enthusiastically received other contributions. Different researchers, specialists in authors and related aspects of philology and ancient philosophy, collaborate with us and enlighten us with their vast knowledge. We all owe them something. In the joint work, relationships of mutual support, shared ideals, cooperation and, above all, affection have grown. We invite you to join, much or little you can offer, or have nothing but questions. Every contribution is valuable, we never in life have we finished learning. Personal exchanges are the ones that nourish our intellectual life.”

As to Philo on Youtube, you will find several (and of various quality) by just searching for Philo on Youtube, but here is info presented by this Project: Creación de Canal de YouTube “Filón de Alejandría” – Filón de Alejandría ( So far, all of it is in Spanish; hopefully in the future there will also be contributions in English.

“Durante el mes de abril del año 2021, Equipo de Trabajo del portal filonalejandría creó el canal de YouTube Filón de Alejandría, donde los usuarios tendrán acceso a los videos de los eventos desarrollados en el año 2020 (Primer Congreso Internacional sobre Filón de Alejandría y Entrevista al Dr. Marcelo Boeri, “Filón de Alejandría y los estoicos”), y al resto de los materiales generados a partir de las actividades del Equipo.”

Eng. transl: “During the month of April 2021, a Team of the Philo of Alexandria portal created the YouTube channel Philo of Alexandria,where users will have access to the videos of the events developed in 2020 (First International Congress on The End of Alexandria and Interview to Dr. Marcelo Boeri, “Philon of Alexandria and the Stoics”), and to the rest of the materials generated from the activities of the Team.”

New book on Alexandria

Alexandria. Hub of the Hellenistic World

Edited by Benjamin Schliesser, Jan Rüggemeier, Thomas J. Kraus, and Jörg Frey, with the assistance of Daniel Herrmann Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 460. Mohr Siebeck. April 2021. 621 pages.

A new book on Alexandria is about to be published. And as expected, it contains several articles related to Philo, and to biblical studies. Below I list the articles most interesting (in my mind) to Philo-scholars. See also here.

Balbina Bäbler
Whose “Glory of Alexandria”? Monuments, Identities, and the Eye of the
Beholder ……………………………………………………………………………… 29-48

Barbara Schmitz
Alexandria: What Does the So-Called Letter of Aristeas Tell Us about
Alexandria?…………………………………………………………………………… 49-62.

Christoph Riedweg
Alexandria in the New Outline of Philosophy in the Roman Imperial Period
and in Late Antiquity………………………………………………………………… 99-106.

Beatrice Wyss
Cultural Rivalry in Alexandria: The Egyptians Apion and Chaeremon ………………….145-164

Benjamin Wright
The Letter of Aristeas and the Place of the Septuagint in Alexandrian

Jan. N. Bremmer
The First Pogrom? Religious Violence in Alexandria in 38 CE?………………………..245-260.

René Bloch
How Much Hebrew in Jewish Alexandria?…………………………………………..261-278

Justin P. Jeffcoat Schedtler
From Alexandria to Caesarea and Beyond: The Transmission of the
Fragments of the Hellenistic Jewish Authors…………………………….…………..279-302

John Granger Cook
Philo’s Quaestiones in Genesin and Paul’s σῶμα πνευματικόν……………….. ……..303-324.

Samuel Vollenweider
Apollos of Alexandria: Portrait of an Unknown ………………………………….…325-344.

Jörg Frey
Locating New Testament Writings in Alexandria:
On Method and the Aporias of Scholarship ………………………………………….345-366

I’ll stop here. As you see, there are enough interesting articles to legitimate to spend some money on this volume (which contains a total of 26 articles). The prices is set to 154 Euro (both pdf version and hardback.)

Reading Philo: A Handbook

My Handbook to Philo of Alexandria, published in 2014 is now available for Kindle at for $3.99! A terrible price for me, but a good one for you!  🙂

Have a look at Reading Philo: A Handbook to Philo of Alexandria
Publisher: Eerdmans (Nov., 2014). 362 pp.

“A contemporary of both Jesus and the apostle Paul, Philo was a prolific Jewish theologian, philosopher, and politician — a fascinating, somewhat enigmatic figure — who lived his entire life in Alexandria, Egypt. His many books are important sources for our understanding of ancient Judaism, early Christianity, and the philosophical currents of that time.
Reading Philo is an excellent introductory guide to Philo’s work and significance. The contributors — all well-known experts on Philo of Alexandria — discuss Philo in context, offer methodological considerations (how best to study Philo), and explore Philo’s ongoing relevance and value (why reading him is important). This practical volume will be an indispensable resource for anyone delving into Philo and his world.” (Publishers note).

New book on Philo


Erkki Koskenniemi
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.


Studia Philonica 2018

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.