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Elisa Uusimaki (University of Helsinki, Finland), has published an article dealing with the issue of “How does Philo of Alexandria depict the formation of a wise person?”
Elisa Uusmaki,’A Mind in Training: Philo of Alexandria on Jacob’s Spiritual Exercises,’ Journal for the Study of Pseudepigrapha 27.4 (2018): 265-288.
Its abstract runs like this:
“How does Philo of Alexandria depict the formation of a wise person? This article pays attention to the centrality of spiritual training in Graeco-Roman philosophy, and argues that Philo likewise regards the process of seeking wisdom as entailing mental practice. The analysis focuses on two passages of Quis rerum divinarum heres sit and Legum allegoriarum where Philo attributes lists of spiritual exercises to the figure of Jacob. As such, these accounts illustrate how Philo makes use of scriptural interpretation as he imagines the execution of a life dedicated to wisdom. The listed exercises are largely familiar from Graeco-Roman philosophical traditions, yet they coexist with and contribute to the performance of Philo’s ancestral tradition. This melange of cultural elements suggests that Philo discusses Jacob’ s inner cultivation in order to enable his audience to grasp (one prospect of) how to lead a Jewish philosophical life in the Roman Alexandria.”
In order to wet your appetite even more, I quote this from her first paragraph (sorry, the Greek did not come through):
How did Philo of Alexandria’ imagine the practical performance of philosophical life, that is, the mental training considered to advance one’s search for wisdom (sofia)? In this article, I propose one answer to the question by demonstrating how Philo associates two narratives on Jacob, the eponymous and exemplary patriarch, with the practice (askesis) of diverse spiritual exercises (Her. 252-53; Leg. 3.18-19). In the context of Graeco-Roman philosophy, such exercises were undertaken to shape the mind and attitude of the practising subject who pursued wisdom. Before the textual analysis, further elaboration on the ancient conception of philosophy and Philo’s notion of the cultivation of a person towards being a philosopher (filosofos), or even a sage (sofos) who possesses virtue (arete), is needed.
Philo of Alexandria has several comments on the ancient theater of his time, and a few studies have been published dealing with his views and attitudes (see e.g., Koskenniemi; now an issue of the Journal ‘Journal of Ancient Judaism‘ is devoted to the theme Jews and Drama, and included here are also a couple of articles o Philo and the theater:
- Jeff Jay, ‘Spectacle, Stage-Craft, and the Tragic in Philo’s In Flaccum: A Literary-Historical Analysis,’ 222-240,
- Courtney J. P. Friesen, ‘Virtue and Vice on the Stage: Theatrical Ambivalences in Philo of Alexandria,’ 241-256.
I have not seen this issue yet, and can not provide any further information, its website, alas, does not present any abstracts either.
The yearly SNTS meeting was this year arranged in Athens, Greece. What a wonderful place to have a meeting focusing on New Testament studies. While some might suggest Jerusalem as the place most filled with symbolism for biblical studies, Athens might come as a good # 2.
In addion to that, the conference found place at the Titania hotel, that with its great restaurant at the top floor provided a magnificent view to the Acropolis and Athens. Three Philo scholars from Norway were attending the meeting, and among them, the doyen of Norwegian Philo studies, prof Peder Borgen. Here you see him seated in the restaurant withtwo of his former doctoral students, prof Per Jarle Bekken to the right (Borgen’s left side), and me on the other side. It was great to have Borgen with us, and to see him – in his age of 90 1/2 years- enjoying and participating in the sessions.
On Saturday 11th, there was an very interesting excursion to Corinth and Epidaurus, a trip also enjoyed by prof Borgen, his wife and two daughters.
The great theatre at Epidaurus
Prof. em. Karl-Gustav Sandelin has been challenged – and helped – by a grandchild to set up a personal webpage, and here is the nice result:
Have a look!
Professor emeritus, dr.theol, Ph.D., Peder J. Borgen, is celebrating his 90th birthday this weekend. The day is today; January the 26th., but it will surely be celebrated the whole weekend!
Congratulations to Peder Borgen from ‘Philonica et Neotestamentica’!
Wikipedia correctly states that “He is considered a pioneer “within the theological scientific community in Norway and was the first Methodist and the first member of a Norwegian Free Church who took the theological doctorate at a Norwegian university. He was also the first non-Lutheran who became a professor at a Norwegian University when he in 1973 became a professor of New Testament at the University of Trondheim. He retired in 1997, but is still active, informed engaged. His most recent article is about to be published this spring.
All the papers for the S19-138 Philo of Alexandria Seminar are now available at my site here: http://torreys.org/philo_seminar_papers/
The papers to be discussed at The SBL Annual Meeting 2017 Philo Seminar, that is S 19-138: Philo of Alexandria (at 11/19/2017 9:00 AM to 11:45 AM Room: 103 (Plaza Level) – Hynes Convention Center (HCC)) on the Philo’s De Cherubim, with Ronald Cox, Pepperdine University, Presiding, is about to be available at my website here: http://torreys.org/philo_seminar_papers/
The rest of the papers will be made available as soon as I receive them from the writers.