Enduring Divine Discipline

Scot D. Mackie, “Enduring Divine Discipline in Philo, De congressu 157–180 and the Epistle to the Hebrews 12:5–17,” in Ancient Texts, Papyri, and Manuscripts: Studies in Honor of James R. Royse (ed. D.T. Runia, A.T. Farnes, and S.D. Mackie; NTTSD 64; Leiden: Brill, 2022), 269–301

Abstract: “The relationship of the Epistle to the Hebrews to Philo of Alexandria has been long debated. Though most scholars are pessimistic about the possibility of establishing any substantive connection between the two authors, there is widespread admission that they stand in proximate streams of Alexandrian Judaism and share somewhat similar cosmologies and metaphysics. This essay seeks to expand the potential range of their affinities by examining the remarkably similar theodicies offered in Philo’s De congressu 157–180 and Hebrews 12:5–17. Both texts pursue the same rhetorical goal (to defend the necessity of trials and tests, and the benefits of enduring adversities), quote Prov 3:11–12, and contain an extraordinary cluster of themes, including the contrast between appearance and reality, the need to correctly interpret adverse circumstances, the nature and role of παιδεία, confessing “kinship” with God, “looking ahead” to a reward, and the life of faith as an agonistic/athletic contest. “

New article by Paula Fredriksen

Fredriksen, P. (2022). “Philo, Herod, Paul, and the Many Gods of Ancient Jewish “Monotheism””. Harvard Theological Review, 115(1), 23-45. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/S0017816022000049

Abstract

“Many gods lived in the Roman Empire. All ancient peoples, including Jews and, eventually, Christians, knew this to be the case. Exploring the ways that members of these groups thought about and dealt with other gods while remaining loyal to their own god, this essay focuses particularly on the writings and activities of three late Second Temple Jews who highly identified as Jews: Philo of Alexandria, Herod the Great, and the apostle Paul. Their loyalty to Israel’s god notwithstanding, they also acknowledged the presence, the agency, and the power of foreign deities. Reliance on “monotheism” as a term of historical description inhibits our appreciation of the many different social relationships, human and divine, that all ancient Jews had to navigate. Worse, “monotheism” fundamentally misdescribes the religious sensibility of antiquity.”

Plutarch, Philo and the New Testament

Hirsch-Luipold, Rainer (ed.), “Part 2. Plutarch, Philo and the New Testament”. In: Plutarch and the New Testament in Their Religio-Philosophical Contexts. Bridging Discourses in the World of the Early Roman Empire. Series Brill’s Plutarch Studies, Volume 9, Leiden, Brill

Pleše, Zlatko (2022). ““God Is the Measure of All Things”: Plutarch and Philo on the Benefits of Religious Worship”. In: Rainer Hirsch-Luipold (ed.), Plutarch and the New Testament in Their Religio-Philosophical Contexts. Bridging Discourses in the World of the Early Roman Empire. Series Brill’s Plutarch Studies, Volume 9. Leiden: Brill, 87–108. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004505070_006

Sterling, Gregory E. (2022). “When East and West Meet: Eastern Religions and Western Philosophy in Philo of Alexandria and Plutarch of Chaeronea”. In: Rainer Hirsch-Luipold (ed.), Plutarch and the New Testament in Their Religio-Philosophical Contexts. Bridging Discourses in the World of the Early Roman Empire. Series Brill’s Plutarch Studies, Volume 9. Leiden: Brill, 109–124. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004505070_007

Reydams-Schils, Gretchen (2022). “Philautia, Self-Knowledge, and Oikeiôsis in Philo of Alexandria and Plutarch”. In: Rainer Hirsch-Luipold (ed.), Plutarch and the New Testament in Their Religio-Philosophical Contexts. Bridging Discourses in the World of the Early Roman Empire. Series Brill’s Plutarch Studies, Volume 9. Leiden: Brill, 125–140. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004505070_008

Despotis, Athanasios (2022). “The Relation between Anthropology and Love Ethics in John against the Backdrop of Plutarchan and Philonic Ideas”. In: Rainer Hirsch-Luipold (ed.), Plutarch and the New Testament in Their Religio-Philosophical Contexts. Bridging Discourses in the World of the Early Roman Empire. Series Brill’s Plutarch Studies, Volume 9. Leiden: Brill, 141–161. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004505070_009

Elschenbroich, Julian (2022). “The Mechanics of Death: Philo’s and Plutarch’s Views on Human Death as a Backdrop for Paul’s Eschatology”. In: Rainer Hirsch-Luipold (ed.), Plutarch and the New Testament in Their Religio-Philosophical Contexts. Bridging Discourses in the World of the Early Roman Empire. Series Brill’s Plutarch Studies, Volume 9. Leiden: Brill, 162–174. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1163/9789004505070_010

‘Ex-Pagan Pagans’?

Denys N. McDonald, “Ex-Pagan Pagans? Paul, Philo, and Gentile Ethnic Reconfiguration.” Journal for the Study of the New Testament March 2022, 1-28. https://doi.org/10.1177/0142064X221082363

Abstract: “In Paul: The Pagans’ Apostle (2017), Paula Fredriksen reminds us that gods and their cults were intertwined with ancient ethnic groups so much so that, when Gentiles committed themselves exclusively to Israel’s God, some Jews considered this ‘tantamount to changing ethnicity’. Fredriksen claims, however, that Paul’s Gentile addressees – whom she terms ‘ex-pagan pagans’ – remain separate ethnically from Jews despite forsaking their ancestral gods for Israel’s. Given that gods and ethnicity were intertwined, this article examines if it is reasonable to conclude that Paul thinks Gentile Christ-followers remain strictly Gentiles after they have abandoned their ethnic gods and entered into a relationship with Israel and its God. I argue that, similar to Philo’s proselyte inclusion strategy, Paul incorporates Gentiles-in-Christ into ethnic Israel. As Abraham’s ‘offspring’, Paul suggests that his addressees not only gain membership in Israel’s covenant on account of Israel’s messiah, but that they also acquire a new ethnic identity despite that their prior identities as ‘the Gentiles’ are not erased. This study, then, seeks to destabilize the binary that Fredriksen posits between ethnic Israel and Paul’s Gentiles-in-Christ as ethnic ‘other’. In the end, I demonstrate that Paul’s ethnic reconfiguration of Gentile identities resembles Philo’s proselyte discourse and is more disruptive ethnically than Fredriksen’s phrase ‘ex-pagan pagans’ would suggest.”

The Studia Philonica Annual 2021

The Studia Philonica Annual 2021 / Studies in Hellenistic Judaism Volume XXXIII is now available. Editors this year too are David T. Runia and Gregory E. Sterling. Publisher: SBL Press, Atlanta.

A lot of interesting articles (as usual), a large Bibliography section dealing with Philo-related works for the year 2018, with a Supplement: A Provisional Bibliography 2019–2021, presented some of the works to be presented in the coming years. In addition, there is also a Review section, presenting 13 in-depth reviews.

The articles contained in this volume can be listed thus:

ARTICLES
Carlos Lévy, La notion de progressant chez Philon et Sénèque: Des différences essentielles …………………………………………………………………….. 1
Carson Bay, Philo, the Gospel of John, and Two Moses Traditions: Traditionary Competition over a Cultural Icon ……………………………….. 35
Christopher S. Atkins, Human Body, Divine Image, and the Ascent of the Mind in Philo’s De plantatione………………………………………………… 73
Athanasios Despotis, Aspects of Cultural Hybridity in Philo’s Apophatic Anthropology ………………………………………………………………………………….. 91
David Satran, Repetition and Intention: Grammar and Philosophy in the Exegesis of Philo of Alexandria………………………………………………….. 109

SPECIAL SECTION: FROM EDITIO PRINCEPS TO EDITIO MAIOR: THE HISTORY OF EDITIONS OF PHILO
Gregory E. Sterling, Introduction……………………………………………………….. 125
Gregory E. Sterling, The First Critical Edition of Philo: Thomas Mangey and the 1742 Edition.………………………………………………………….. 133
Abraham Terian, Aucher’s 1822 and 1826 Editions of Philonis Judaei Opera in Armenia Conservata: A History……………………………………………. 161
Michael B. Cover, Karl Ernst Richter’s Schwickert Edition: An Opera Omnia for Its Season ………………………………………………………………………… 175
James R. Royse, The Cohn-Wendland Critical Edition of Philo of Alexandria.………………………………………………………………………………………. 197

Happiness in Second Temple literature

Daniel Maier, Das Glück im antiken Judentum und im Neuen Testament. Eine Untersuchung zu den Konzepten eines guten Lebens in der Literatur des Zweiten Tempels und deren Einfluss auf die frühchristliche Wahrnehmung des Glücks, Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 2. Reihe (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2021)

A recent publication by Mohr Siebeck on ‘Happiness in Second Temple literature’ contains also an extensive chapter on Philo of Alexandria, and should thus be of special interest to Philo scholars.

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.

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.)

A Peder Borgen Biography

Torrey Seland,

Peder Borgen. Metodist – Økumen – Professor i en brytningstid.

Cappelen Damm Akademisk, Oslo, Des. 2020.  ca. 350 s.

I denne boken presenteres en repre­sentant for en av frikirkene i Norge, Peder Johan Borgen (1928-). Borgen var metodist, forkynner, kirke­politiker, økumen, og universitets­professor i kristendoms­kunn­skap, og er en inter­nasjonalt anerkjent bibel­forsker.

Som metodist i Norge ble Borgen en ivrig for­kjemper for frikirkenes plass i det norske kirkelandskap, og for religions­­­frihet i vid forstand. Beskrivelsen av hans liv kan dermed også leses som uttrykk for erfaringer som mange innen frikirkene i Norge kunne oppleve. Boken forsøker slik å bringe ny innsikt i og forståelse for frikirkenes plass i norsk kirkeliv som på denne tiden var så preget både av Den norske kirkes hegemoniske rolle og manglende økumeniske interesse og arbeid. Samtidig gir den en omfattende oversikt over Peder Borgens liv og innsats i norsk universitets- og samfunnsliv og internasjonale bibelforskning.

Vale Tom Tobin

About a week ago I received the sad news that Tom Tobin had passed away at 9:25 a.m. on Sunday, August 30th, due to heart complications. He was a respected Philo,- and Pauline scholar, and a Facebook friend. We also always met at the SBL Annual Meeting’s Philo seminars. Here is some words in memory of Tom, written by Greg Sterling:

“Tom was a first-rate scholar. I still remember reading his The Creation of Man when I was a doctoral student. What most impressed me was the care that he took with the text and the way that he attempted to work through the exegetical traditions systematically and chronologically. One does not need to agree with all of his conclusions to appreciate the quality of the mind that produced the work. When I invited a small group of scholars to Notre Dame to plan the commentary series, Tom was on the must list of invitees.

His work on Philo in this and in his other publications impressed me so much that when I stepped down as chair of the Philo Seminar/Group, I nominated Tom to succeed me. When David Hay died suddenly, David Runia and I discussed whom we should ask to succeed David Hay as the editor of the monograph series and both reached the same judgment, Tom Tobin. For many years he has also been the chair of the board of the Studia Philonica Annual.

Tom was a priest who gave his life in service as a Jesuit. He did not wear his priesthood on his sleeves, but he took his vows with utter seriousness and served many. Tom was a “Chicago” boy through and through. He loved the city and knew it exceptionally well. He could tell you stories about where gangsters used to eat etc.  He has lived in his city, in a university run by the order of priests to which he belonged, and is now home. But we will miss him!

Requiescat in pace carus et dignus amicus.

There are also many greetings and nice words about him on his Facebook page; see https://www.facebook.com/thomas.tobin.982