Book on Philo’s world

Gottfried Schimanowski
Juden und Nichtjuden in Alexandrien
Koexistenz und Konflikte bis zum Pogrom unter Trajan (117 n. Chr.)
Reihe: Münsteraner Judaistische Studien
Bd. 18, 2006, 288 S., 34.90 EUR, br., ISBN 3-8258-8507-0

This seems to be an interesting and needed book about co-existence and conflict in Alexandria. I have tried to buy it both via and its publisher, but for some reason they can not send it to Norway. If interested, you can have a look at its content at Google Books by clicking here.

The publishers presentation of the volume runs like this:
Dies ist die erste deutschsprachige Monographie über das alexandrinische Judentum, jenen Sitz “multikultureller” Aktivität und Gelehrsamkeit, dem die westliche Kultur bis heute so entscheidende Anstöße verdankt. Vom ersten Auftreten kurz nach der Gründung der Stadt (323 v.Chr.) an wird seine Geschichte verfolgt bis hin zum Untergang in einem förmlichen Bürgerkrieg 115 – 117 n.Chr.

Wieso ist es dieser weltoffenen, von ihrer Verfassung her griechischen Stadt nicht gelungen, ihre jüdischen Mitbewohner besser zu integrieren? – Die Konkurrenz um die Privilegien der “Griechen” der Stadt hat den Juden Feindschaft eingetragen, sowohl bei diesen selbst (als den einzigen vollberechtigten Bürgern) als auch bei den Ägyptern. Dagegen half auch keine Anlehnung an die – keineswegs beliebte – auswärtige Macht Rom, im Gegenteil.

Zur Illustration der singulären, durchaus verworrenen Rechtslage dient ein griechisch-deutscher Quellenanhang; er bietet die einschlägigen Inschriften und Papyri.”

Quadrilateral Thoughts

Over on his blog on Quadrilateral Thoughts, Ken Schenk is providing an extensive review of my book on Philo and 1 Peter; Strangers in the Light. He is dealing with each chapter, and here is the order he uses when discusses its various chapters:
Chapter One,
Chapter Three,
Chapter Five,
Chapter Two,
Chapter Four (still to come).

This is obviously a part of his process of writing a review of my work for an Annual to be published late fall. He has a lot to say of both positive and negative evaluations. Sometimes he calls me Torrey, sometimes Seland; I first though he was calling me Torrey when he agreed with me or said something positive, and Seland when he disagreed, but it looks like this dichotomy breaks down several times…. 🙂

I am grateful and honored by the time and space he spends on me, and am sorry I am not able to respond this week, as I am going away to our cabin, in order to read some exam papers, and an interesting dissertation I am to evaluate,- and in addition, getting strength to overcome my 60 birthday coming up Friday this week.

I can’t believe the calender. All others getting 60 look much older then me…. (uh?, careful now….).

Have a nice week.

Phinehas’ Intercessory Prayer

Being interested in traditions about Phinehas, zealotry, and these traditions role in relation to Philo’s views on Phinehas, I will need to have a closer look at this article which had escaped my notice untill today:
David A. Bernat,
‘Phinehas’ Intercessory Prayer: A Rabbinic and Targumic Reading of the Baal Peor Narrative.’
Journal of Jewish Studies 58/2 (2007): 263-282.

A number of Rabbinic texts, along with Targum Pseudo-Jonathan, portray Phinehas as interceding with God, through prayer, on Israel’s behalf, in the aftermath of the Baal Peor apostasy, recounted in Numbers 25 and Psalm 106. This tradition constitutes an exegetical innovation, as nowhere in scripture is Phinehas represented in the act of prayer. The Phinehas-prayer nexus is explored, with attention to the creative reading of the verb ללפ ???in Ps. 106:31; the significance of prayer in the Rabbinic and Targumic worldview; and the changing role of the priesthood in a post-Temple environment. The article also considers the implications of intercessory prayer as an aspect of Phinehas’ zealotry.

Philo’s Scriptures

Cohen, Naomi,
Philo’s Scriptures: Citations from the Prophets and Writings: Evidence for a Haftarah Cycle in Second Temple Judaism
(Supplements to the Journal for the Study of Judaism, 123
Leiden: Brill, 2007), pp. xvii + 278 ,$142.00

Description: It is indeed remarkable that although Philo has quoted extensively from the Pentateuch, his works contain no more than forty-six references to the Prophets and Writings. The author provides a convincing explanation for every one of these citations. It corroborates the thesis that Philo availed himself of lexicographic aids and midrashic material, and further, that even when the language of their composition was Hebrew/Aramaic, that he used them in Greek translation. It identifies a circle engaged in esoteric philosophic allegorization of Scriptures, with which Philo associated, and it finds that the specific quotations from the Prophets point to the existence, already in the 1st century CE, of a traditional Haftarah Cycle. The book fills a long felt lacuna.

Naomi G. Cohen, taught for many years at Tel-Aviv and Haifa Universities, and is presently a Senior Research Fellow at Haifa University. She has published extensively both on Philo and on Jewish Liturgy, including Philo Judaeus: His Universe of Discourse (1995; according to the publisher, this book is now out of print).