Parrhesia in Philo and Acts

The most recent issue of Journal for the Study of the New Testament (published online Aug. 2) contains an article dealing with The Performance of Parrhesia in Philo and Acts. The study is written by Arco den Heijer. According to the Abstract given on (

“This article examines the role of the performance of frankness in the work of Philo of Alexandria and in the book of Acts. With respect to Philo, the differences are highlighted in the use of παρρησία between the various series of his writings. With respect to Acts, the role of scripture is emphasized in authorizing the frankness of the disciples. Comparing both, it is argued that the performance of frankness functions as a means to display inner freedom for Jews in the Roman Empire (for Philo) and for Christians within Jewish synagogues in the Roman Empire (for Acts), a freedom that consists of a sense of dignity and status. The comparison demonstrates the extent to which Philo and the book of Acts participate in a shared Roman discourse from Jewish perspectives.”

Philo at SNTS General Meeting 2022

Seminar: ‘Philo and Early Christianity’ (Per Jarle Bekken and Greg Sterling) – terminates in 2023

Session 1: Gottfried Schimanowski (Germany): ‘Philo als Bibelausleger: Spurensuche seiner Hermeneutik im grundlegenden Traktat De vita Mosis’

Session 2: Jean-Claude Loba Mkole (Kenya): ‘Philo of Alexandria: An Intercultural Mediator’  

Session 3: Per Jarle Bekken (Norway): ‘Paul’s Discussion of the Gentile Problem in Romans 3–4 in Jewish Context’

Philo at SBL International Meeting

10:30 AM to 12:00 PM
Room: HS213 – LawMayer Gruber, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Presiding

Adi Amsterdam, David Yellin Academic College of Education
A Unique Vowel Sign in Targum Onqelos of Ms. Vat.Ebr.448 (20 min)
Tag(s): Targumic Texts (Early Jewish Literature – Rabbinic Literature), Aramaic (Philology / Linguistics (incl. Semiotics))

Jonathan Jacobs, Bar-Ilan University
Virtue Ethics in the Thought of Naḥmanides (20 min)
Tag(s): Commentary (Text and Translation), Other Texts (Early Jewish Literature – Other)

Robert Williams, B. H. Carroll Theological Institute
Journeying in Philo’s On the Life of Moses, Book 1 (20 min)
Tag(s): Philo (Early Jewish Literature – Other), Torah/Pentateuch – Numbers (Biblical Literature – Hebrew Bible/Old Testament/Greek OT (Septuagint)), Hellenistic Period (History & Culture)

Discussion (10 min)
18-28a Hellenistic Judaism
1:30 PM to 3:00 PM
Room: HS104 – TheologyTheme: Hellenistic Jewish Writings 1Georg Fischer SJ, Leopold-Franzens-Universität Innsbruck, Presiding

Paola Druille, Universidad Nacional de La Pampa
The Existence of the Jewish Gerousia in Alexandria (37–40 AD): Lexicon and Context (25 min)
Tag(s): Philo (Early Jewish Literature – Other)

Jin Young Kim, Oklahoma State University
The Concept of Conversion in Philo (25 min)
Tag(s): Philo (Early Jewish Literature – Other), Hellenistic Period (History & Culture), Greco-Roman Literature (Greco-Roman Literature)

Michael Avioz, Bar-Ilan University
Murder in Josephus’ Writings (25 min)
Tag(s): Josephus (Early Jewish Literature – Other), Biblical Interpretations (Early Jewish Literature – Dead Sea Scrolls), Greco-Roman Period (History & Culture)
20-42Hellenistic Judaism
3:30 PM to 5:00 PM
Room: HS106 –
Theology Theme: Hellenistic Jewish Writings 2
Georg Fischer SJ, Leopold-Franzens-Universität Innsbruck, Presiding

Robert Williams, B. H. Carroll Theological Institute
Journeying in Philo’s On Abraham (25 min)
Tag(s): Philo (Early Jewish Literature – Other), Torah/Pentateuch – Numbers (Biblical Literature – Hebrew Bible/Old Testament/Greek OT (Septuagint)), Hellenistic Period (History & Culture)

Justin Hagerman, Université Catholique de Lyon
“From the Creation of the Cosmos”: The Reception of Genesis’ Lexicon of Creation Motifs in Philo and Paul (25 min)
Tag(s): Hellenistic Period (History & Culture), Lexicography (Text and Translation), Comparative Approaches (Interpretive Approaches)

Mateusz Wyrzykowski, Akademia Katolicka w Warszawie
The Universal Dimension of the Interpretation of Philo (25 min)
Tag(s): Philo (Early Jewish Literature – Other), Egyptian (Ancient Near Eastern Literature – Region), Old Testament (Ideology & Theology)
20-44Johannine Literature
3:30 PM to 5:00 PM
Room: HS107 – TheologyTheme: Johannine Theology
Stan Harstine, Friends University, Presiding

Milan Kostresevic, Universität Rostock
Symbolism of Light as a Key Christological Motif of the Gospel of John (20 min)
Tag(s): Gospels – John (Biblical Literature – New Testament), Philo (Early Jewish Literature – Other), Greco-Roman Literature (Greco-Roman Literature)

Discussion (10 min)

Berti Józsa, University of Edinburgh
Jesus: “Enabler” in the Gospel of John (20 min)
Tag(s): Narrative Criticism (Interpretive Approaches), Theological Interpretation (Interpretive Approaches), Literary Criticism (incl. poetics, new criticism, formalism, close reading, narratology) (Interpretive Approaches)

Discussion (10 min)

Marius J. Nel, Universiteit van Stellenbosch – University of Stellenbosch
The Breath of Forgiveness (20 min)
Tag(s): Gospels – John (Biblical Literature – New Testament), Theological Interpretation (Interpretive Approaches)

Discussion (10 min)
21-6Hellenistic Judaism
8:30 AM to 10:00 AM
Room: HS106 – Theology
Theme: Hellenistic Jewish Writings 3
Ljubica Jovanovic, American Military University, Presiding

Carmen Palmer, Stetson University
Philo’s Hellenistic-Jewish Approach in the Decalogue and on the Contemplative Life: Blending Wisdom of Solomon’s Critique against Idols with a Notion of Moderation (25 min)
Tag(s): Philo (Early Jewish Literature – Other), Wisdom of Solomon (Biblical Literature – Deuterocanonical Works), Greco-Roman Period (History & Culture)

R. Gillian Glass, University of British Columbia
Aseneth among the Prophetesses: Second Temple Greek Literary Depictions of Women’s Visionary Experiences (25 min)
Tag(s): Gender and Sexuality Criticism (incl. Feminist, Womanist, Masculinity Studies, Queer Theory) (Interpretive Approaches), Other Jewish Compositions (e.g., 1 Enoch) (Early Jewish Literature – Dead Sea Scrolls), Greco-Roman Period (History & Culture)

Various dimensions in presentations of Sarah

Marta Alesso. “Dimensiones simbólicas de la Sara bíblica: del judaísmo al cristianismo”. Circe, de clásicos y
modernos 26/1 (enero-junio 2022).


Abstract: “The article reviews the successive symbolic dimensions that the figure of Sarah, Abraham’s wife, acquires, from its biblical origins in Genesis of LXX to the comments of the Fathers of the Church, focusing especially in the interpretations of Philo of Alexandria and Paul of Tarsus. Sarah symbolizes in Philo virtue –ἀρετή– and wisdom –σοφία– and, by means of a particular exegesis of Gn 18. 11, virginity in its pure state. Paul’s version (Gal 4. 21-31) of the story of Sarah and Hagar displaces the Jews from the inheritance of the promise and places Christians on that pedestal and Sarah as the mother of Christianity.”

La historia judía en Hypothetica de Filón

Pérez, L. “La historia judía en Hypothetica de Filón de Alejandría: una versión apologética del Éxodo y la Conquista de Canaán”. Circe de clásicos y modernos26.1 (2022) 37-61. DOI:

Abstract: “The purpose of this article is to analyze Philo’s presentation of the Exodus and the Conquest of Canaan in the historical section of the apologetic treatise Hypothetica (5. 11-7. 20), and the motivations that could have guided this representation. We will inquire other narratives of these same episodes to which Philo can be responding, and we will try to demonstrate that the oddness and novelty of the treatise among Philo’s works can be explained from its production in the changing and urgent context of the Jewish-Alexandrian
conflicts of the years 38-40, but they should not hide the lines of continuity between this text and other Philonic writings.”

Philo on the Therapeutes

Cardoso Bueno, D. A. (2022). “El retrato de las mujeres contemplativas por Filón de Alejandría: las ʽterapéutridesʼ”. Circe de clásicos y modernos, 26(1) 2022, 63-86. DOI:

Abstract: “In De vita contemplativa, Philo of Alexandria describes a pious group of Hebrew philosophers. They established their residence in a small village near
Lake Mareotis, outside Alexandria. The members of the congregation, called Therapeutae because of their dedication to the cure or care of souls, were both male and female. They lived in isolation from each other in small, humble houses, although on special occasions they had moments of fraternal contact. The presence of women in a regime of equality with men is one of the
most striking and original features of this unique Jewish ascetic community.”

Does Justin argue with Jews, i.e., Philo?

Hubbard, J. M. (2022). “Does Justin Argue with Jews? Reconsidering the Relevance of Philo”. Vigiliae Christianae. ? (2022) 1-20.

Online publication date: May 12. 2022.

Abstract: “Several recent studies on Justin’s Dialogue with Trypho the Jew have argued that the Dialogue should not be read as a witness to the state of theological debate between Jews and Christ-followers in the second century. Such arguments conclude that Justin does not engage with actual Jewish perspectives, but rather reconstructs a hypothetical Judaism from second-hand, polemical sources, or merely uses Trypho’s “Judaism” as a stand-in for what are actually (in Justin’s view) heterodox Christian interpretations. This article challenges this claim by returning to an older debate in Justin scholarship: the question of his relationship with Philo of Alexandria. By attending particularly to the role of the Logos in each author’s exegesis of Pentateuchal theophanic texts, the article argues that Justin’s interpretations in the Dialogue carefully avoid a kind of Logos theology that is well represented in the writings of Philo. This rhetorical distancing supports the conclusion that, in the Dialogue, Justin is, in fact, responding to exegetical traditions which he knows from the writings of Hellenized Judaism.”

Two Lofty Liturgies of Life

Romulus D. Stefanut, “Two Lofty Liturgies of Life: Philo’s Therapeutae and their Friendly Polemics with the Essenes.” Early Christianity 13.1 (2022) 58-83.

Abstract: “Die Studie untersucht das Verhältnis zwischen zwei faszinierenden jüdischen Sekten, den Essenern und den Therapeuten, aus dem Blickwinkel der Schriften Philos. Die beiden religiösen und philosophischen Gruppen stellen in Philos Sicht nicht nur die hervorragendsten Repräsentanten des Judentums im judäischen Heimatland bzw. in der alexandrinischen Diaspora dar, sondern auch die vorbildlichsten Vertreter einer aktiven und einer kontemplativen Lebensweise. Beide praktizieren sie einen radikalen Gottesdienst, sie leben ein gemeinschaftliches, aber genügsames Leben und vermeiden die Versuchungen des Stadtlebens um jeden Preis. Besonders bedeutsam ist, dass ihr Alltag in einer erhabenen Liturgie des Lebens von raum-zeitlichen Rhythmen und symbolischen geistlichen Übungen umgriffen wird.”

Philo’s Hellenistic-Jewish Approach

Carmen Palmer, “Philo’s Hellenistic-Jewish Approach in On the Decalogue and On the Contemplative Life: Blending Wisdom of Solomon’s Critique against Idols with a Hellenistic Notion of Moderation.” in Journal of Ancient Judaism (2022) 1-16. (Brill).

Online Publication Date: 06 Jun 2022.

Abstract: “Philo draws on the Wisdom of Solomon in his tripartite critique against idols found in On the Decalogue and On the Contemplative Life. As he fashions these critiques in the pursuit of upholding Mosaic law, Philo not only criticizes Greek and Egyptian forms of worship, he also integrates the notion of moderation evident in Hellenism and Hellenistic-Egyptian Isis worship. This essay demonstrates ways in which the pursuit of moderation and Isis as lawgiver are integrated into Philo’s concepts of Moses as lawgiver and pursuit of law in opposition to Roman forms of excess. The essay considers various texts, including excerpts from Greek philosophers and Hellenistic Egyptian hymns to Isis, in addition to considerations of contemporary Roman excesses vis-à-vis Philo’s Decalogue, Contempl. Life, and his uses of Wis. Philo’s Hellenistic Judaism emerges from a simultaneous criticism yet also integration of both Hellenistic and Hellenistic-Egyptian concepts and traditions.”

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. “