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Philo and Paideia

A Google alert made me aware of this interesting volume on pedagogy in ancient Judaism and early Christianity. I find it interesting for several reasons; first, because ‘paideia’ was an important issue in the ancient world; second because it was also important to Philo of Alexandria, and third; it was also important to the early Christians. This volume contains studies related to all these fields or issues:

Hogan, Karina Martin, Matthew Goff, and Emma Wasserman, eds. 2017. Pedagogy in Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity. Early Judaism and Its Literature. Atlanta: SBL Press

In addition to the usual Introduction chapter, introducing the various chapters, the volume contains 14 interesting studies. As of special interest to Philo scholars, if one should single out some, I would point to these three:

Ballard, C. Andrew,  “The Mysteries of Paideia: ‘Mystery’ and Education in Plato’s Symposium, 4QInstruction, and 1 Corinthians.” pp. 243–82.

Martin Hogan, Karina,  “Would Philo Have Recognized Qumran Musar as Paideia?”  pp. 81–100.

Zurawski, Jason M., “Mosaic Torah as Encyclical Paideia: Reading Paul’s Allegory of Hagar and Sarah in Light of Philo of Alexandria’s,” pp. 283–308.

In the first mentioned study (I am here drawing on the introductory presentation of the editor Karina Martin Hogan, pp. 1-12), the one by Ballard, explores the pedagogical functions of mystery language, a feature well known to readers of Philo. He argues that “the authors of these compositions (dealt with here) describe their teachings with mystery terminology to distinguish their pedagogical techniques from other forms of education- to legitimate the authority of the instructor, to lead the student on a path to acquire esoteric knowledge, and to encourage the student to experience some sort of transformative vision” (p. 8).

Karina Martin Hogan argues that ‘Philo would have recognized the ‘musar’ practiced by the Dead Sea sect as a kind of paideia, in part because both Philo and the authors of the wisdom texts from Qumran were shaped by the study of Proverbs and the torah” (p. 5)

Then, in his study of Paul’s and Philo’s allegorical use of the story of Hagar and Sarah, Zurawski concludes that “Just as Philo allows that preliminary paideia lays the groundwork for the pursuit of wisdom, Paul believes that the torah prepared the Jewish people for salvation, but that it must be set aside now that salvation is freely given through Christ to Jews and gentiles alike” (p. 9).

Those of you interested in the rest of the studies presented in this volume can read more HERE.


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.


Runesson on

By way of a post on Facebook, I became aware of the page of prof. Anders Runesson (University of Oslo). Anders has uploaded a lot of his articles. Some of the pdf copies are somewhat blurry, a little hard to read and difficult to index (at least for my NotaBene Orbis indexer), but most of them are good, both in visibility and content.

To my surprise, I find that his Ph.D. dissertation (from Lund, Sweeden) is also available on this site, in pdf format. Only that volume alone makes this site worthy of a visit. It is one of the really great dissertations published in Sweeden in the last decades (and by great, I do not just mean the number of pages…).

Have a look. Enjoy.

ERC project “Judaism and Rome”

Due to a brief note on Larry Hurtado’s blog I became aware of an interesting project on Judaism and Rome, which I would like to point to here too.

The project has its own website here: Judaism and Rome. Re-thinking Judaism’s Encounter with Roan Empire, and is led by professor Katell Berthelot. She has an impressive lot of publications, which also include some dealing with Philo of Alexandria. I think this project should be of interest also to Philonic scholars.

I present here a section from the presentation on the web page: ” In the last decade, scholarship (on the history of the relationship between Rome and the Jewish people in Antiquity) has turned to a new research agenda less focused on conflict, along two intertwined lines of enquiry: 1) the Romanness of the Jews who lived in the Roman empire, and, in particular, that of the Palestinian Rabbis; 2) the impact of Roman values, norms, and institutions upon Judaism, mainly through the study of Jewish literary texts.

The ERC project “Judaism and Rome” builds upon this new trend of scholarship. Its starting point or fundamental hypothesis is that Roman imperialism—and, more specifically, Roman imperial ideology—represented a particular challenge for the Jews, even if the history of Israel was already rich in episodes of imperial domination, from the Assyrian empire to the Hellenistic kingdoms, via the Neo-Babylonian and Persian empires. What made the encounter with Rome special was the paradoxical similarity between Roman and Jewish self-perceptions, which from a Jewish perspective resulted in a sense of rivalry between Israel and Rome, which the rabbis adequately expressed through the identification of Rome with Esau, Israel’s twin brother. This identification can be traced back to a period during which Rome was still a “pagan” empire, and is thus not to be interpreted, originally, as a response to Christianity.

The ERC project “Judaism and Rome” examines how, because of this paradoxical similarity, Roman imperialism challenged Judaism —both rabbinic and non-rabbinic—on a political-religious level, and tries to assess how the Jewish encounter with (the pre-Christian) Rome contributed to shaping Judaism itself.”

The website provides, furthermore, a presentation of the project, links to pages containing lists of ‘Resources,’ ‘Events’, the ‘ERC Team’, ‘Collaborations’, a ‘Search’ function and a form for ‘Contact’.

All in all, a very nice and informative website presenting an interesting project.

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.



A bookreview

On, Harold Attridge has a review of the latest book published by Peder J. Borgen:

The Gospel of John: More Light from Philo, Paul and Archaeology: The Scriptures, Tradition, Exposition, Settings, Meaning (Supplements to Novum Testamentum, 154; Leiden: Brill, 2014 pp. xxi + 329. $162.00.

The publisher presents the book thus:

To Paul the traditions from and about Jesus had authority similar to that of the Scriptures: a logion or story served as text for paraphrastic expositions. Such expositions are also seen in John’s Gospel. – It is insufficient to discuss ‘John and the Synoptics’. A better scope is ‘John within early gospel traditions’.- Paul and Philo maintain a cosmic understanding of Jesus and the Jewish people, respectively. Correspondingly, Jesus is seen in cosmological perspective in John’s Prologue. Philo illuminates the role of God’s logos relative to creation and revelation. – Archaeology testifies to the reliability of John’s topographical references. Both John and Philo can combine theological and ideological elaborations with specific geographical references, historical events and religious feasts. The study has brought in material and perspectives which strengthen the view that the Gospel of John was independent of the other three written gospels.

In his review, Attridge concludes thus:

Although the presentation in this volume, based on several previously published pieces, involves a certain amount of repetition, the abundance of comparative data is valuable for any student of the Fourth Gospel. The reading of the cultural background of John in Hellenized Judaism is largely persuasive, although more could be done with the conceptual elements of that milieu. The analysis of the relationship of John to the Synoptics unduly minimalizes the parallels in both form and content, but Borgen’s suggestions will no doubt stimulate further fruitful debate on this and other crucial issues.




Studien zu Philo

Otto Kaiser, who in 2014 published an introductory book to Philo of Alexandria, has now another volume on Philo coming from the press:

Otto Kaiser, Studien zu Philo von Alexandrien. Ed. by Markus Witte. Beiheft zur Zeitschrift fur die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft 501 (Berlin, De Gruyter, 2016). ca 175 pages.

The volume will contain the following studies:

  • Metapher und Allegorie bei Philo von Alexandrien
  • Philos Kosmologie zwischen Platonismus und Biblizismus
  • Die kosmische Bedeutung des jüdischen Hohepriesters im Denken Philos von Alexandrien
  • Das Gebet bei Philo von Alexandrien
  • Aretē und Pathos bei Philo von Alexandrien
  • Hoffnung und Freude, Kummer und Furcht bei Philo von Alexandrien
  • Gesundheit und Krankheit bei Philo von Alexandrien
  • Vom Tod des Leibes und der Seele sowie der Freiheit als dem höchsten irdischen Gut oder Die Rolle des Todes in Philos Denken