Some recent articles on Philo

Bednarek, T. (2021). “Philo of Alexandria, De Cherubim (1-39)”. Vox Patrum, 79, 505-522. DOI: https://doi.org/10.31743/vp.9683

Niehoff, M. R. (2021). “A Roman Portrait of Abraham in Paul’s and Philo’s Later Exegesis”. Novum Testamentum, 63(4), 452-476. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1163/15685365-12341713

Yli-Karjanmaa, S. (2021). “Hiding One’s Tolerance: Cyril of Alexandria’s Use of Philo”. Lehtipuu, O., Labahn, M. (eds.), Tolerance, Intolerance, and Recognition in Early Christianity and Early Judaism. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, pp. 169-194. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/9789048535125-009

Yli-Karjanmaa, S. (2021). “Returning from the Diaspora of the Soul: Eschatology in Philo of Alexandria”. Marlow, H., Pollman, K. & van Noorden, H. (eds.), Eschatology in Antiquity: Forms and Functions (Rewriting Antiquity). Londres: Routledge. ISBN 9781138208315

Vibe,  Klaus, ‘Freedom from Necessity in Philo of Alexandria’s Ethical Thought’, JGRChJ 17 (2021), pp. 9-37

Wasserman, E. (2021). “Philosophical cosmology and religious polemic: The “worship of creation” in the writings of Philo of Alexandria and the Wisdom of Solomon”. Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha, 31(1), 6–28. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177/09518207211041308

Illuminations by Philo

A new collection of articles on Philo and the New Testament was published most recently by Brill:

Peder Borgen, Iluminations by Philo of Alexandria. Selected Studies on Interpretation in Philo, Paul, and the Revelation of John. Edited by Torrey Seland (Studies in Philo of Alexandria 12: Leiden; Brill, 2021).

The volume contains 17 articles, all previously published in various Journals and Festschriften, and not always easy to track or find. Hence this new volume brings some of the most recent studies by prof. P. Borgen. David E. Aune introduces the volume by summarizing each article in the collection.

For further info about what particular studies are included in this volume, go here.

Torah, Temple, Land

The general topic of this book as such should be interesting to students of ancient Judaism and Philo. In addition the volume also contains one article dealing specifically with Philo:

Marcus Witte, Jens Schröter and Verena Lepper, eds, Torah, Temple, Land. Constructions of Judaism in Antiquity. Texts and Studies in Ancient Judaism184. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck. 2021. Pp. 316. ca. 135 €.

Contents:

Markus Witte, Jens Schröter, Verena Lepper
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
Peter Schäfer
Judaism or Judaisms: The Construction of Ancient Judaism . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Benedikt Hensel
Debating Temple and Torah in the Second Temple Period:
Theological and Political Aspects of the Final Redaction(s)

of the Pentateuch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
Sebastian Grätz
The Golah, the Temple, and the Torah in the Book of Ezra: Biblical
and Religious-Historical Perspectives on Judah and Jerusalem
in Postexilic Times . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
Stefan Schorch
“Mount Gerizim is the house of God and the dwelling place for
his glory”: The Origins and Early History of Samaritan Theology
. . . . . . 61
Karel van der Toorn
The Religion of the Elephantine Jews . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 79
Charlotte Hempel
The Dead Sea Scrolls: Challenging the Particularist Paradigm . . . . . . . . . 91
John J. Collins
Jewish Communities in the Dead Sea Scrolls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 105
Robert Kugler
Finding “Judaism” in Documentary Papyri: The Case of the
Petitions from the Herakleopolis Archive
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 117
Lutz Doering
Torah and Temple in Judean Pseudepigrapha: From Jubilees to
Fourth Ezra and Second Baruch
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 137
Gabriele Boccaccini
What Does the Forgiving Jesus Have to Do with the Unforgiving
Enoch? Forgiveness of Sins in the Enochic Traditions
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 157
Maren R. Niehoff
Constructing Temple and Torah in Philo of Alexandria . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 173

Martin Goodman
Paul as Persecutor and the History of Judaism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 189
Adela Yarbro Collins
What Sort of Jew Is the Jesus of Mark? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 197
René Bloch
Jew or Judean: The Latin Evidence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 229
Werner Eck
Die – fast – unsichtbare jüdische Diaspora im Westen des
Imperium Romanum vor der Spätantike . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 241
Shaye J. D. Cohen
Jews and Judaism in Antioch as Portrayed by John Chrysostom
and the Rabbinic Sages . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 257
Catherine Hezser
The Contested Image of King David in Rabbinic and Patristic
Literature and Art of Late Antiquity . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 277

For further info, see this link.

Philo and Josephus on the Fidelity of Judeans

Eyl, J. (2021). “Philo and Josephus on the Fidelity of Judeans”. Journal of Ancient Judaism, 1, 1-28.

Abstract: “The first century sees a substantial rise in the frequency with which Greek speaking authors discuss pistis(here, understood as fidelity, trust, confidence, proof). The authors who use pistis the most include Philo, Paul, and Josephus. This suggests that while many people are thinking about fidelity, ethnic Judeans are thinking about it disproportionately. This essay focuses on two such authors, Philo and Josephus. I argue that both Judeans claim fidelity to be a foundational national-ethnic characteristic, from the patriarchs to their own day. Furthermore, the article argues that this image of enduring Judean fidelity can be better understood within the context of living under the colonizing power of Rome – a principate that is equally preoccupied with fidelity (fides).”

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 (filonalejandria.com) : “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 (filonalejandria.com) 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
Judaism………………………………………………………………………………..229-244

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.)

Philo’s Jewish Law

A full text of a PhD dissertation submitted in 2015:

Yedidya Etzion, Philo’s Jewish Law: Uncovering the Foundations of a Second-Temple System of Jewish Law

A dissertation submitted in partial satisfaction of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, in Near Eastern Studies.

The author presents his work thus:

Among Philo of Alexandria’s many writings, he dedicated quite-a-few treatises to the exposition of Jewish Law. The purpose of this dissertation is to identify what is distinctive in Philo’s approach towards Jewish law and to reveal the ideological, hermeneutical and practical considerations behind it. In addition, I have presented the study of Philo’s Jewish lawfrom a comparative point of view, introducing many Second-Temple –and especially rabbinic texts–in order to better understand the processes underlying the development of Jewish law in Late-Antiquity and Philo’s place in it. I analyze the relationship between Philo’s own different writings and genres such as law, narrative and allegory, as well.

The dissertation deals with five major halakhic subjects: the halakhic implications of both the Septuagint and Speech-Acts, Marital laws, The Sabbath, and the Temple Cult and Priesthood.

My examination of Philo’s law raises the following observations:

1.Philo reflects an internalization of Hellenistic concepts and values while implementing these concepts into distinctively Jewish practices. Occasionally, laws which were shaped by Greco-Roman concepts found their way into other halakhic corpora. This phenomenon attests to a process through which rabbinic traditions were influenced by Greek ideas through the agency of Jews like Philo.

2.At times, Philo shared certain halakhic traditions with other Palestinian corpora, while at others he reflected a totally independent approach. While in certain cases Philo’s independence can be accounted for by his essential, distinctive views in quite a few cases Philo represents an early stage in the development of halakha.

3.Philo’s formulation of Jewish law gives weight to ideological (predominantly Greek), exegetical and practical considerations. Among the exegetical considerations I identify several midrashic interpretations, some of which are similar to other Second-Temple and rabbinic traditions. This does not render Philo as “eclectic” but rather his approach is a typical example for the formulation of Jewish law in Late-Antiquity. Philo’s most distinctive feature with respect to Jewish law is his view of Jewish law as a cure against excessive desires (ἐπιθυμίας) through the exercise of self-control (ἐγκράτεια). While Philo lacks a conception of defined measures for the fulfillment of religious obligations, this is consistent with both the early stage Philo represents in the development of halakha and with the view of Jewish law as geared towards self-improvement, rather than appeasing or pleasing God.24. Philo indeed reflects certain sentiments, which could be characterized as “Diasporic”, but more than a representative of a Diasporic version of Judaism, Philo should be understood as a representative of Greek-Speaking Jews, a group which was part of the Social reality ofPalestine, as well. 5.Philo’s most distinctive feature with respect to Jewish law is his view of Jewish law as a cure against excessive desires (ἐπιθυμίας) through the exercise of self-control (ἐγκράτεια). While Philo lacks a conception of defined measures for the fulfillment of religious obligations, this is consistent with both the early stage Philo represents in the development of halakha and with the view of Jewish law as geared towards self-improvement, rather than appeasing or pleasing God.

2 new Commentaries on Philo!

Two new commentaries on Philo are coming out this Fall. This is a great event, as the commentaries deal with two very important treatises of Philo. Every serious Philo scholar should rush to buy these!

However, check your bank account first, for these volumes are not only valuable, but also really expensive when it comes to money. They are available in pdf versions too, but the price is the same. Books at these prices are likely to end up in libraries only, not on the shelf of individual scholars. And that is regrettable.

Anyway, here are the commentaries, and the publisher’s presentation of them:

Ellen Birnbaum & John M. Dillon, Philo of Alexandria: On the Life of Abraham. Introduction, Translation, and Commentary.  Philo of Alexandria Commentary Series, Volume: 6 Leiden: Brill, oct 2020 (€189.00 $227.00)

Publisher:On the Life of Abraham displays Philo’s philosophical, exegetical, and literary genius at its best. Philo begins by introducing the biblical figures Enos, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as unwritten laws. Then, interweaving literal, ethical, and allegorical interpretations, Philo presents the life and achievements of Abraham, founder of the Jewish nation, in the form of a Greco-Roman bios, or biography. Ellen Birnbaum and John Dillon explain why and how this work is important within the context of Philo’s own oeuvre, early Jewish and Christian exegesis, and ancient philosophy. They also offer a new English translation and detailed analyses, in which they elucidate the meaning of Philo’s thought, including his perplexing notion that Israel’s ancestors were laws in themselves.”

Joan E. Taylor & David M. Hays, Philo of Alexandria: On the Contemplative Life. Introduction, Translation and Commentary. Philo of Alexandria Commentary Series, Volume: 7. Leiden: Brill, Nov. 2020 (€155.00 $187.00).

Publisher:On the Contemplative Life is known for its depiction of a philosophical group of Jewish men and women known as the ‘Therapeutae’. Yet the reasons for their depiction have been little understood. In the first commentary on the treatise in English for over 100 years, the social, cultural and political background of the times in which Philo lived are shown to be crucial in understanding Philo’s purposes. As Alexandrian Jews were vilified and attacked, Philo went to Rome to present the case for his community, faced with intense opposition. Side-stepping direct confrontation, Philo here cleverly presents the Therapeutae as the pinnacle of excellence, most especially in their communal meal, while ridiculing his accusers in a stinging parody of a festive banquet.”

Reading Philo: A Handbook

My Handbook to Philo of Alexandria, published in 2014 is now available for Kindle at Amazon.com 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).

Philo and De Abrahamo

weisenA new book on De Abrahamo!

Das Leben des Weisen

Philon v. Alexandria, De Abrahamo
Eingel., übers. u. m. interpretierenden Essays vers. v. Matthias Adrian, Maximilian Forschner, Daniel Lanzinger, Heinz-Günther Nesselrath, Maren R. Niehoff, Friederike Oertelt, Simone Seibert u. Nicolai Sinai. Hrsg. v. Daniel Lanzinger

2020. XIII, 334 Seiten.
In 2017 a volume of Philo’s De Migratione Abrahami was published in a series with the somewhat peculiar name (!): Scripta Antiquitatis Posterioris ad Ethicam REligionemque pertinentia XXXVI. This year another volume is about to be published (see above). Both as a hardback and as E-book (84,00 €).
With this volume, two very interesting German books have been published, dealing with Philo’s picture of Abraham. The other, published in 2017, was:
Abrahams Aufbruch. Philon von Alexandria, De migratione Abrahami
Eingeleitet, übersetzt und mit interpretierenden Essays versehen von Heinrich Detering, Lutz Doering, Reinhard Feldmeier, Rainer Hirsch-Luipold, Heinz-Günther Nesselrath, Maren R. Niehoff, Peter Van Nuffelen, Florian Wilk
Hrsg. v. Maren R. Niehoff u. Reinhard Feldmeier
2017. XIII, 292 pages. SAPERE XXX.
Both volumes subscribe to a great extent to Maren R. Niehoff’s view of Philo, especially her chronology description of Philo’s work. She is also a participating author in both volumes.
In addition, her great volume on Philo (Philo of Alexandria. An Intellectual Biography. Yale University Press, 2018), has now also been translated and published in German by Mohr Siebeck:
Niehoff, Maren R.
Philon von Alexandria
Eine intellektuelle Biographie
Übersetzt von Claus-Jürgen Thornton und Eva Tyrell
Mohr Siebeck, 2019. XIII, 346 pages.
It looks like there might be a growing interest in Philo in Germany!