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Per Bilde – Collected Studies

Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht (V&T Academic) has published a collection of studies in memory of the Danish scholar Per Bilde, who died in May 2014:

Eve-Marie Becker, Morten H. Jensen, Jacob Mortensen(Hg.),
Per Bilde, Collected Studies on Philo and Josephus
Edited by Eve-Marie Becker, Morten Hørning Jensen and Jacob Mortensen
1. Auflage 2016. 316 Seiten gebunden. ISBN 978-3-525-54046-6. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. Studia Aarhusiana Neotestamentica (SANt). – Band 007.

The volume contains a Prologue, and then 11 studies by Per Bilde, all previously published.
The following studies deal explicitly with Philo:
1. The Roman Emperor Gaius (Caligula)’s Attempt to Erect his Statue in the Temple of Jerusalem.(orig.1987)
6. The Essenes in Philo and Josephus (Orig. 1998)
9. The Jews in Alexandria in 38-41 CE (Orig. 2006)
10. Philo as a Polemist and Political Apologist: An Investigation of his Two historical Treatises Against Flaccus and The Embassy to Gaius.(Orig 2007 (Danish); 2009 (Eng.))
11. Der Konflikt zwischen Gaius Caligula un den Juden uber du Aufstellung einer Kaiserstatue im Tempel von Jerusalem.(Orig. 2012)

As mentioned in an earlier posting of mine (see here), there was held a one-day conference at the Århus University May 28, 2015. It would have been nice to have the lectures from this conference published too; but as far as I know, they have not been published yet.


Religio Licita?

The relation of the Roman state to Jewish settlements (and probably also vice versa), is a problem still debatable, and the first mentioned topic is still being discussed in scholarly studies. A collection of studies was published by DeGruyter this winter:

“Religio licita?”
Rom und die Juden
[Rome and the Jews]
Ed. Hasselhoff, Görge K. / Strothmann, Meret
Series: Studia Judaica 84. Berlin/New York; DeGruyter, 2016/2017. viii, 230 pages.89,95 € / $126.00 / £67.99

“This volume examines the pertinence of the designation religio licita to Judaism and its relevance for describing the relationship between the Roman state and Judaism. This question applies not only to Judaism but also to the process of differentiation between Judaism and Christianity, for from the beginning of the 3rd century, the term was used exclusively by Christian writers.” (publisher’s note)

Looking into the book at Google Books you can see the list the contents of this volume, and read some of its stuff.



Philo at SBL Annual Meeting (II)

In addition to the Philo Seminar mentioned below, there will also be several other Group Sessions and Seminar papers that will deal with topics in which they will also ask for input from Philo’s works.
Here is a list of those papers I found when searching the online Program Book at the SBL site.

S19-137 Meals in the Greco-Roman World
11/19/2016 9:00 AM to 11:30 AM
Room: Bonham D (3rd Level) – Grand Hyatt (GH)

Theme: Meal and Teaching

Meredith Warren, University of Sheffield, Presiding
Steven C. Muir, Concordia University of Edmonton and Frederick S. Tappenden, McGill University
Not by Bread Alone, but by Every Word from the Mouth of the Lord – The Confluence of Eating and Teaching in the Ancient Mediterranean (35 min)
Birgit van der Lans, University of Bergen
Quarrelling over opinions’ (Rom. 14:1): verbal disorder and competitive speech at Greco-Roman meals (35 min)
Angela Standhartinger, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Germany
The School of Moses at Table. Sympotic Teaching in Philo’s De vita contemplativa (35 min)
Soham Al-Suadi, Universität Bern – Université de Berne, Respondent (20 min)

Discussion (25 min)


S19-246 Religious Experience in Antiquity
11/19/2016 1:00 PM to 3:30 PM
Room: Texas B (4th Level) – Grand Hyatt (GH)

Theme: Open Session
The Religious Experience in Antiquity section investigates the experiential elements of religions from the ancient near east to late antiquity, with a particular interest in examining (1) the relationship between texts and experience, (2) religious practices in the context of ritual, prayer, ecstasy, dreams and visions, 3) the role of embodied experiences (cognitive, neurological, and sensory) in the generation of religious ideas and commitment.

Angela Kim Harkins, Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, Presiding
Silviu N. Bunta, University of Dayton
Transformational mysticism in the liturgy of Hebrews (25 min)
Paul V. M. Flesher, University of Wyoming
Scripture Reading and Communal Prayer in the First-Century Gamla Synagogue: What Architecture Reveals about Religious Practice and Experience (25 min)
Nathalie LaCoste, University of Toronto
Fluid Identities: How Experiences with Water Shaped the Jews of Egypt (25 min)
Jason N. Yuh, University of Toronto
Paul’s Kodak Moment: Analyzing Gal 3:27’s Reference to Baptism through Studies of Memory, Embodiment, and Ritual (25 min)
Frederick S. Tappenden, McGill University
Contexts and Foundations: Paul’s Apocalyptic Imagination and the Confluence of Participation and Resurrection (25 min)
Discussion (25 min)


S21-156 Wisdom in Israelite and Cognate Traditions
11/21/2016 9:00 AM to 11:30 AM
Room: 211 (2nd Level – West) – Convention Center (CC)

Theme: The Book of Ecclesiastes

Samuel Adams, Union Presbyterian Seminary, Presiding
Elisa Uusimäki, Helsingin Yliopisto – Helsingfors Universitet
The Maskil of the Dead Sea Scrolls among the Hellenistic Jewish Sages (25 min)
Thomas Wagner, Bergische Universität Wuppertal
Reflecting creation traditions – Qohelet’s use of the Priestly creation account (25 min)
Hee Suk Kim, Chongshin University, Qohelet as an Ambiguous Image of Ruah (25 min)
Break (10 min)
Knut M. Heim, Denver Seminary, Ecclesiastes and Emotion (25 min)
Katharine Dell, University of Cambridge
All is decay: Intertextual links between Ecclesiastes and Lamentations (25 min)
Discussion (15 min)


S21-309 Christian Theology and the Bible
11/21/2016 4:00 PM to 6:30 PM
Room: Conference Room 6 (3rd Level) – Marriott Rivercenter (MRC)

Theme: The theological significance of Hagar in Genesis and Galatians

This is the first of a four-year series on biblical figures who appear in both Testaments and their significance for Christian theology. This session focuses on Hagar, one of the few women to appear in both Old and New Testaments. Papers explore how theologians have understood her at different stages in history, and what her role might be in constructive Christian theology today.

Claire Mathews McGinnis, Loyola University Maryland, Presiding (5 min)
Andrew M. Harmon, Marquette University
“The Clever Handmaiden of Perfect Virtue”: Reappraising Ambrose of Milan’s Portrait of Hagar (30 min)
Justin Rogers, Freed-Hardeman University
Philo or Paul? The Hagar Allegory in Alexandrian Patristic Theology (30 min)
Andrea D. Saner, Eastern Mennonite University
Inheriting Hagar with Grace (30 min)
Discussion (45 min)


S21-315 Early Jewish Christian Relations
11/21/2016 4:00 PM to 6:30 PM
Room: Independence (3rd Level) – Grand Hyatt (GH)
Marcie Lenk, Shalom Hartman Institute, Presiding

J. Cornelis de Vos, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster
Paul and the Parting of the Arguments in Galatians (20 min)
Discussion (10 min)
A. Grayson Benko, Brite Divinity School (TCU)
The God who Grafts: Genos and Genealogy in Romans 11:16-24 (20 min)
Discussion (10 min)
Hyun Ho Park, Graduate Theological Union
From Jewish Mission to Gentile Mission: Triple Stories of Peter and the Border Crossing in Acts 9:32-10:48 (20 min)
Discussion (10 min)
Sung Uk Lim, Yonsei University
Philo’s Sophia vs. John’s Jesus in Gender Trouble (20 min)
Discussion (10 min)
Paul M. C. Elliott, Hebrew Union College – Jewish Institute of Religion
Philonic Borrowings in the Letters of Ambrose (20 min)
Discussion (10 min)


S21-356 Wisdom and Apocalypticism
11/21/2016 4:00 PM to 6:30 PM
Room: Lone Star E (2nd Level) – Grand Hyatt (GH)
Theme: Philo vis-a-vis Wisdom and Apocalypticism

Jason Zurawski, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Presiding
Ellen Birnbaum, Cambridge, Massachusetts
Is There Wisdom in Philo’s Rationales for the Book of Genesis? (30 min)
Michael Cover, Marquette University
“Consecrating all the Excellences of Speech” (Mut. 220): Philo on the Right Use of Apocalyptic Tragedy and Gnomic Wisdom (30 min)
Break (5 min)
Archie Wright, Regent University
Questions of Eschatology and other Apocalyptic Themes in Philo’s Demonology (30 min)
Gregory E. Sterling, Yale Divinity School
When Ontology Meets Eschatology (30 min)
Discussion (25 min)

S22-114 Book of Deuteronomy
11/22/2016 9:00 AM to 11:30 AM
Room: 304A (3rd Level) – Convention Center (CC)

Theme: The Reception of Deuteronomy in the Hellenistic Period: Authority, Transmission and Transformation

Cynthia Edenburg, Open University of Israel, Presiding
Bernard Levinson, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
The Reception of Deuteronomy in the Second Temple Period as a Window into the Formation of the Pentateuch (30 min)
Hindy Najman, University of Oxford
Reading Deuteronomy and Writing a New Law: reflections on the reception and transformation of Deuteronomy in the Hellenistic Period (30 min)
Francis Borchardt, Lutheran Theological Seminary, Hong Kong
Idolatry, Retribution, and the Judean Homeland: Deuteronomic Ideology in 4 Maccabees (30 min)
Torrey Seland, VID-School of Mission &Theology, Norway
Philo of Alexandria and Deuteronomy (30 min)
David Lincicum, University of Notre Dame
Deuteronomy and Deuteronomic Tradition in the Epistle of Barnabas: A Reconsideration (30 min)

Judeans in the Greek Cities of the Roman Empire

A new book is about to be published by Brill that should be interesting to Philo readers, especially those interested in his social history, social world or political world and circumstances:

Bradley Ritter, Judeans in the Greek Cities of the Roman Empire. Rights, Citizenship and Civil Discord.
(Supplements to the Journal for the Study of Judaism 170) Leiden; Brill, May 2015 (€126,00 / $163.00).

The publishers presentation is thus:

In the first century CE, Philo of Alexandria and Josephus offer vivid descriptions of conflicts between Judeans and Greeks in Greek cities of the Roman Empire over various issues, including the Judeans’ civic identity, the extent of their obligations to local cities and cults, and the potential security threat they posed to those cities. This study analyzes the narratives of these conflicts, investigating what citizenship status Judeans enjoyed, their political influence and whether they enjoyed the right to establish institutions for observing their ancestral worship. For these narratives to be understood properly, it should be assumed that many Judeans were already citizens of their cities, and that this status played a central role in those conflicts.

You can find a description of the contents here. Contents. I am looking forward to this book, both because it is relevant for my own present writing, and because it might provide some more insights for understanding the social world of Philo, especially sinece it appears to be written by a classicist.



Per Bilde in Memoriam

Per Bilde was lecturer/professor at Århus University from 1965 to 2007, when he retired. He was a specialøist in Josephian studies; in his later years, however, he wrote several works on the historical Jesus. A brief bibliography can be found here (from the Norwegian BIBSYS’s catalogue).

In memory of prof Bilde,who died in May 2014, there will be a one-day conference at the Århus University May 28, at 2.15 PM to 4:30 PM.
Two of the three lectures to be held will be (partly) on Philo; here is the program:

14.15 Welcome
14.30-15.00 Prof. Tessa Rajak: “Per Bilde’s impact on studies in Philo (and Josephus)”

15.00-15.15 Coffee break

15.15-15.45 Prof. Mogens Müller: “Per Bilde’s (Danish) contributions on Philo and Josephus”
15.45-16.15 Prof. Steve Mason: “Per Bilde’s impact on studies in Josephus”

Digitalizing the Loeb editions (II)

philo loebAs mentioned in a brief posting in last November, Logos is now working on digitalizing and making available  with their Logos Bible Software, Logos 5, several of the volumes of  The Loeb Classical Edition.
So far- from info gathered on their website – it looks like the folks at are working on too many of the volumes to list them all here. But you might have a closer look by checking out these pages.
Some of the works are still gathering interest, while others are underdevelopment.

Among the latter, one might mention

Some of the Loeb sets are also already available for downloading, like e.g., Clement of AlexandriaHomers Iliad and Odyssey, Select works of Virgil, and some more.

Philo at SBL III

In addition to the main Philo sessions at the SBL Annual Meeting in Chicago in mid-November this year, listed below (scroll down to see), there are several other sessions that include one or more papers dealing with Philo. Here is what I found relevant and interesting when I searched the Annual Meeting Program Catalog (if you have found any other papers dealing with Philo, please inform me):

Saturday 17
S17-128Second Corinthians: Pauline Theology in the Making
11/17/2012. 9:00 AM to 11:30 AM
Room: N139 – McCormick Place

Reimund Bieringer, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Presiding
Volker Rabens, Ruhr-Universität Bochum:
Transformation through Contemplation: New Light from Philo on 2 Corinthians 3:18 (30 min)

In 2 Corinthians 3 Paul compares and contrasts the effects of his ministry with that of Moses, which leads up to the much debated climactic statement: “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord as in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one glory to another; for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit” (v.18). In this paper I will argue that a number of intertextual echoes from the writings of Philo of Alexandria shed new light on the interpretation of this text. Next to some verbatim parallels to 2 Corinthians 3:18 (cf. Post. 12–13), Philo provides a broad textual basis for the thematic connection of (1) the work of the Spirit who enables (2) an intimate, mystical beholding of God that leads to (3) a virtuous life (e.g., Mos. 2.69; Gig. 54–55; QE 2.29; cf. Migr. 36). My paper will demonstrate that studying Philo on this issue provides us with deeper insights into the making of Paul’s theology in 2 Corinthians 3:18 where he describes the same causality, ascribing like Philo a transforming role to intimate beholding of the divine which is enabled by the Spirit. Moreover, reading 2 Corinthians 3:18 in the context of this Philonic tradition helps us to guard against one-sided comprehensions of the nature of “beholding” (reception of cognitive revelation [F. Back] vs. Damascus-Road-encounter [A.F. Segal, S. Kim]). Philo’s notion of beholding encompasses both a cognitive-noetic as well as an existential-mystical dimension. Accordingly, I will demonstrate that it is fitting to speak of transformation through contemplation with regard to Philo as well as 2 Corinthians 3:18.

S17-344Wisdom and Apocalypticism in Early Judaism and Early Christianity
11/17/2012 4:00 PM to 6:30 PM
Room: E258 – McCormick Place

Theme: Paideia and “Internalized Apocalypticism”

Matthew Goff, Florida State University, Presiding
Jason M. Zurawski, University of Michigan
Mosaic Torah as Encyclical Paideia: Reading Paul’s Allegory of Hagar and Sarah in Light of Philo of Alexandria’s (25 min)

Philo’s allegorical reading of Genesis’ Hagar, Sarah, and Abraham narrative deals with the advantages, and possible disadvantages, of a Greek education. In his reading, Hagar represents encyclical paideia, or what we might call liberal arts, subjects pertaining to a specifically Greek education such as grammar, rhetoric, or music. For Philo, this education (i.e. Hagar) was an absolutely essential step for Abraham in the attainment of his true desire, virtue or wisdom (i.e. Sarah), the former preparing him for the latter. While for Philo, Greek paideia was an often necessary means to attaining wisdom, there were dangers involved, namely becoming too devoted to the maidservant to the detriment of the mistress. Sarah banished Hagar because once Abraham obtained wisdom, he no longer had need for the encyclical studies. Paul’s reading of the narrative, on the surface, seems completely unrelated, and scholars, not surprisingly, have almost universally rejected any connection between the two. While I do not suggest that Paul was necessarily reading Philo, I do believe there is good reason for attempting to understand Paul’s exegesis in light of Philo’s. Two popular topics of conversation among Jews in the Diaspora were, one, Mosaic Law as a means to obtaining wisdom, and two, Greek paideia as a more cautious means to wisdom. Paul’s reading, then, becomes part of this conversation, yet with some fairly drastic innovation due precisely to his new understanding of wisdom, fully available now only as or through Christ. Paul conflates the two paths to wisdom, Mosaic Torah and Greek paideia, the Torah itself becoming Hagar, Philo’s encyclical studies. It has a definite purpose, but once the goal of wisdom is reached, it is no longer needed. Paul, therefore, warns the Galatians of the dangers of returning to the Mosaic Law, as pedagogue and paideia, once having attained true wisdom via Christ. This reading of the allegory shows a consistency in Paul’s argumentation in the letter which has been lost due to the more typical interpretations of the allegory.

S19-104Ancient Fiction and Early Christian and Jewish Narrative
11/19/2012 9:00 AM to 11:30 AM
Room: E260 – McCormick Place

Theme: Borders, Boundaries, Crossings
Janet Spittler, Texas Christian University, Presiding (5 min)
James Petitfils, University of California-Los Angeles
A Tale of Two Moseses: Philo’s De Vita Mosis and Josephus’ Ant. 2-4 in light of the Roman Discourse of Exemplarity (25 min)

The preferred moral curriculum of a Roman education largely consisted of exemplary narratives of Rome’s native heroes. Elite and non-elite Romans would regularly encounter these carefully-emplotted heroes both audibly, in frequently repeated—and specifically crafted—ancestral anecdotes and visually, whether by means of prominently displayed ancestral masks (imagines), conspicuously storied statuary, or a host of easily narrativized monuments ornamenting the urban landscape. In short, when Roman writers, orators, or parents wished to articulate or inculcate their conceptions of virtuous “Roman” leadership, they consistently deployed exempla as rhetorical vehicles of the mos maiorum. In dialogue with recent scholarship in the field of Classics (especially the work of Matthew Roller and Karl-Joachim Hölkeskamp), the proposed paper will examine the way in which Philo of Alexandria (De Vita Mosis 1-2) and Flavius Josephus (Antiquities 2-4) appropriate and redeploy the narrative features characterizing this “Roman Discourse of Exemplarity” as they showcase their paradigmatic “Jewish” leader, Moses. I will explore the way in which these authors, in their efforts to establish clear cultural boundaries and prescribe distinctively “Jewish” leadership ideals ironically employ characteristically “Roman” narrative strategies and affirm a number of traditionally “Roman” leadership preferences. This study will also examine the virtues of ideal “Jewish” leadership shared by the respective Moseses as well as those more uniquely Philonic or Josephan priorities. In the end, this presentation will highlight both the permeability of ancient cultural boundaries, as well as the ironic utility of Hellenistic and Roman discursive practices and approaches to narrative for the construction of Jewish identity/ies.

Francoise Mirguet, Arizona State University
Emotions Retold: Emotional Discourse in Judeo-Hellenistic Rewritten Bibles (25 min)

In line with the proposed theme of “Borders, Boundaries, and Crossings,” this paper will explore a particular effect of narratives crossing cultural and linguistic boundaries. It will examine how rewritten biblical stories, from the Hellenistic period, transform or expand character’s emotions. The license with which Hellenistic authors rewrite emotions is noteworthy, and may suggest the construction of a new emotional discourse. I will consider for example Josephus’ retelling of Amnon’s desire for Tamar (Ant. 7:163, based on 2 Sam 13:1-2), Philo’s description of Abraham’s self-mastery when preparing to sacrifice Isaac (Abr. 1:170, based on Gen 22), or the story of David’s thirst in 4 Macc 3:6-18 (based on 2 Sam 23:13-17 and 1 Chr 11:15-19). Combining literary analysis with a study of social constructions and historical context, I will examine the literary expression (vocabulary, figures of speech, etc.), the use of the body, and the kind of emotionality promoted in the rewritten biblical stories—control of the passions appearing as the mainstream ideal. Comparing this emotional discourse with the somewhat later Hellenistic novels, I will suggest that emotions are conceived as a mirror of the self, and the body as a mirror of the emotions. The paper is part of a larger study on emotions in Judeo-Hellenistic literature, and is inscribed within the emerging discipline of emotional history (see Stearns [1994], Reddy [2001], and Rosenwein [2006]).

P19-145Society for Ancient Mediterranean Religions
Joint Session With: Society for Ancient Mediterranean Religions, Greco-Roman Religions
11/19/2012 9:00 AM to 11:30 AM
Room: W190b – McCormick Place

Theme: Divination in Ancient Mediterranean Religions
Eric Orlin, University of Puget Sound, Introduction (5 min)
Jason Reddoch, Colorado Mesa University
Cicero’s De Divinatione and Philo of Alexandria’s Criticism of Artificial Divination (20 min)

This paper will present Philo of Alexandria’s critical remarks about divination against the backdrop of Cicero’s De Divinatione. According to Cicero, there are two types of divination: natural and artificial. Natural divination is described as a spontaneous experience of divine inspiration such as predictive dreams or other prophecy. Artificial divination is described as a skill based on human observation, and includes, for example, haruspicy and augury. Philo recognizes the same distinction but tends to distance the two categories and is very critical of artificial divination. Philo accepts its legitimacy but thinks that it is theologically dangerous since it neglects the importance of personal divine agency. Both Cicero and Philo describe the Stoic concept of cosmic sympathy (sympatheia), which refers to the organic and determinate structure of the universe and was often used to validate divination. There is no question of Philo’s acceptance of the doctrine of cosmic sympathy since he explicitly says that Moses approved of it (Migr. 180). However, whereas Cicero relates cosmic sympathy to both artificial and natural divination, Philo avoids the explicit language of cosmic sympathy when discussing natural divination and prefers instead to emphasize the internal experience of the separation of the soul from the body. Philo associates artificial divination with the Chaldeans and claims that they are very successful at observing the sympathetic connections in nature; however, he complains that they have overlooked the fact that these connections are a product of God extending his powers into the world. The Chaldeans, he insists, have confused God with nature itself. Thus Philo’s rejection of artificial divination can be understood as the product of an inherent difference between monotheism and polytheism in terms of their theological implications. As a pious monotheist, Philo was uncomfortable with pantheism or an impersonal view of God, both of which were more easily reconciled with polytheism, in which natural phenomena could be identified with the gods. In other words, although Philo accepted the limited effectiveness of artificial divination and its theoretical basis (i.e. cosmic sympathy), he disapproved of its tendency to ignore the personal aspect of divine agency. Philo’s criticism of artificial divination also illustrates his general inclination towards mysticism and his preference for divine experience over human knowledge.

S19-222Hellenistic Judaism
11/19/2012 1:00 PM to 3:30 PM
Room: E264 – McCormick Place

Theme: Egypt in the Jewish Imagination
René Bloch, Universität Bern – Université de Berne, Presiding
Stewart Moore, Yale University
Lepers and Beast-worshippers: Did Hellenistic Judeans and Egyptians Really Hate Each Other? (20 min)

Sonja Ammann, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen
A Case of Mimicry? Jewish Polemic against Animal Worship in the Roman Period (20 min)
Discussion (10 min)

Tom McGlothlin, Duke University
The Fragility of Diaspora Security in 3 Maccabees (20 min)

J.R.C. Cousland, University of British Columbia
Poison Ivy: The Dionysiac Brand in 3 Maccabees (20 min)

Discussion (10 min)
Nathalie LaCoste, University of Toronto
“There shall be blood throughout the land of Egypt”: The First Plague in Jewish Hellenistic Literature from the Second Temple Period (20 min)

Kimberly Stratton, Carleton University
Memorializing Violence in Hellenistic Accounts of the Exodus (20 min)
Discussion (10 min)