From Exclusion to Inclusion?

Clifford, H. “From Exclusion to Inclusion? Deuteronomy 23:1–8 in Philo and Beyond”. In: Hywel Clifford & Megan Daffern (eds.), The Exegetical and the Ethical. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill, 2022, pp. 175–199.

Abstract: “This essay considers Philo of Alexandria’s interpretations of Deuteronomy 23:1–8, biblical laws about exclusion (of the “eunuch”, etc.), which he allegorised in terms of religious/philosophical doctrines (e.g. atheism). For Philo, “the assembly of the Lord” is predominantly the soul; hence Deut. 23:1–8 is about what must not enter there. What must enter is orthodox belief and practice: to be a disciple of Mosaic law, to enable the soul’s ascent towards God (in biblical Jewish Middle Platonist terms, suited to Philo’s cultural setting). Philo’s interpretations are compared with texts from Second Temple Judaism (e.g. DSS, NT), highlighting their shared landscape yet distinctive perspectives. The essay then outlines approaches from the history of interpretation: Deut. 23:1–8 are (1) marriage laws, (2) laws about the sanctuary, or (3) laws about holding public office. Philo is compared to each in turn. Modern historical-critical scholars seek to assign Deut. 23:1–8 their original setting (early Israelite governance), whereas deconstructive postmodern approaches go beyond “the tradition” seeing in these laws all non-normative identities. Finally, suggestions are made as to what a Christian sermon on Deut. 23:1–8 might contain in view of its reception history in relation to exclusion and inclusion.”

De Vita Contemplativa

Diego Andrés Cardoso Bueno,

«El tratado De vita contemplativa de Filón de Alejandría en el marco de la Pentalogía que le atribuye Eusebio de Cesarea.» Gerión. Revista de Historia Antigua  40(1) 2022: 153-178.

Abstract. “The text of De Vita Contemplativa was written by Philo of Alexandria as an encomium of the Jewish people, and it was part of a set of essays aiming to the same purpose. We know about the existence of this group of five writings thanks to Eusebius of Caesarea, who called it Pentalogy. Only three of these five works have survived, and they were probably written (at least most part of them) during Philo’s stay in Rome, at the occasion of the embassy sent by the Hebrew Politeuma to the princeps Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, better known as Caligula. In this article, we try to establish the essays that were included in the Pentalogy and the order of the original composition or publication.”

Studies in Honor of James R. Royse

Alan Taylor Farnes, Scott D. Mackie, and David Runia (eds.), Ancient Texts, Papyri, and Manuscripts. Studies in Honor of James R. Royse. (New Testament Tools, Studies and Documents, Volume: 64. Leiden, The Netherlands: Brill. 2021). €139.00 $167.00.

“This volume honors Prof. James R. Royse on the occasion of his seventy-fifth birthday and celebrates his scholarly achievement in the fields of New Testament textual criticism and Philonic studies. An introductory section contains a biographical notice on the honoratus and a complete list of his scholarly publications. Part one contains nine articles on New Testament textual criticism, focusing on methodological issues, difficult passages and various textual witnesses. Part two presents eight studies on the thought, writings, textual record, and reception of Philo of Alexandria. This wide-ranging collection of articles will introduce the reader to new findings in the scholarly fields to which Prof. Royse continues to make such an outstanding contribution.” (adopted from the publisher’s webpage.

The eight studies “on the thought, writings, textual record, and reception of Philo” are listed below:

10 The Scribes of Philo of Alexandria’s Oxyrhynchus Codex
  Sean A. Adams

11 Of Dreams and Editions: Emendations, Conjectures, and Marginal Glosses in David Hoeschel’s Copy of De Somniis 2
  Michael B. Cover

12 Enduring Divine Discipline in Philo, De Congressu 157–180 and the Epistle to the Hebrews 12:5–17
  Scott D. Mackie

13 The Late-Byzantine Philonic Treatise De mundo: Analysis of its Method and Contents
  David T. Runia

14 The Student Sharpens the Master’s Face: The Text of QE 2.62 Reconsidered
  Frank Shaw

15 Philon als Jurist
  Folker Siegert

16 In Fragments: The Authenticity of the Hypothetica
  Gregory E. Sterling

17 The Conflation of Israel’s Past, Present, and Future in Philo
  Abraham Terian

Great news!

In an earlier posting below I have mentioned that a new bibliographic volume of Philo of Alexandria has been published this fall: Philo of Alexandria: an Annotated Bibliography 2007-2016.

Now we can bring the good news telling that the three former volumes containing such bibliographies, that is, An Annotated Bibliography 1937-1986; An Annotated Bibliography 1987–1996, and An Annotated Bibliography 1997–2006 are now all available online for free on Brills open Access site! Links are provided below.

R. Radice and Douwe (David) Runia, editors,
Philo of Alexandria. An annotated bibliography 1937-1986
Series: Vigiliae Christianae, Supplements, Volume: 8. Brill,1988.

D.T. Runia, ed., Philo of Alexandria. An Annotated Bibliography 1987-1996, with Addenda for 1937-1986
Series: Vigiliae Christianae, Supplements, Volume: 57. Brill,2000.

D.T. Runia, ed., Philo of Alexandria. An Annotated Bibliography 1997-2006
Series: Vigiliae Christianae, Supplements, Volume: 109. Brill, 2012.

The availability of open access to the first two of these bibliographies has been made possible by a generous subsidy from Freed-Hardeman University, Tennessee, USA.

Congratulations to prof. Bekken!

perjarlebekkenAssoc. prof., Ph.D., Per Jarle Bekken, University of Nordland, has been evaluated by an independent committee, and the committee has recommended that he get a personal promotion to full professor!
This procedure is a part of the Norwegian system; you may achieve the status of a full professor in two ways: either by applying for/being appointed to a chair, or by getting a personal promotion. The criteria used by the relevant committees are mainly identical.

Prof. Bekken will be known by several for his studies in Philo, Paul and John. His dissertation (The word is near you: a study of Deuteronomy 30:12-14 in Paul’s Letter to the Romans in a Jewish context. Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft und die Kunde der älteren Kirche Bd. 144. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin ), was published in 2007. In addition he has published several articles, most of them dealing with Philo and John or Paul.

And most recently this fall he has published another major study : The Lawsuit Motif in John’s Gospel from New Perspectives. Jesus Christ, Crucified Criminal and Emperor of the World (Novum Testamentum, Supplements 158; Leiden, Brill, 2014). He is also a contributor to the Reading Philo. A Handbook to Philo of Alexandria volume, for which he as written a major review article on “Philo’s Relevance for the Study of the New Testament.”

Finally; P.J. Bekken is a former doctoral student of prof. em. Peder Borgen, and now all three of his doctoral students from his time at the University of Trondheim have achieved the rank of full professor. Hence; congratulations to prof. Borgen too for excellent mentorship!

A newbook on Philo

A book on Philo, written by Mireille Hadas-Lebel, is to be published by Brill, Leiden, in August this year:
Mireille Hadas-Lebel, Professor emeritus at Paris-Sorbonne,
Philo of Alexandria:
A Thinker in the Jewish Diaspora
(Studies in Philo of Alexandria, 7)
• ISBN 978 90 04 20948 0. Hardback (Approx. 240 pp.)
• List price EUR 101.- / US$ 140.-

“Philo (20BCE?-45CE?) is the most illustrious son of Alexandrian Jewry and the first major scholar to combine a deep Jewish learning with Greek philosophy. His unique allegorical exegesis of
the Greek Bible was to have a profound influence on the early fathers of the Church. Philo was, above all, a philosopher, but he was also intensely practical in his defence of the Jewish faith and law in general, and that of Alexandria’s embattled Jewish community in particular. A famous example was his leadership of a perilous mission to plead the community’s cause to Emperor Caligula. This monograph provides a guide to Philo’s life, his thought and his action, as well as his continuing influence on theological and philosophical thought.” (from the catalog).

The book is probably a translation of the original French volume, published in 2003; Philon d’Alexandrie: Un penseur en diaspora (Fayard,2003).

The Alexandrian Riots

Sandra Gambetti has written an intriguing study on The Alexandrian Riots of 38 C.E. and the Persecution of the Jews: A Historical Reconstruction. Supplements to the Journal for the Study of Judaism 135. Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2009. Pp. viii, 336. $169.00. You can read my review of her work here

The monograph developed from a 2003 doctoral dissertation at the University of California, Berkeley, supervised by Erich Gruen. After a brief Introduction, the theses of the book are set forth in ten well-argued chapters, followed by a chapter of conclusions, and five appendices, an impressive bibliography, and indexes. The book challenges much of the received view concerning the Alexandrian riots in the thirties CE, and its theses will have to be addressed in future work.

While Gambetti claims to be rather traditional when it comes to methodology, there are some important novel hypotheses governing much of her approach. First, she argues that the Jews were not expelled from Alexandria as such but secluded into a small part of it labeled the Delta District (Δ). This is a very important part of her thesis as it makes her consider the events of the thirties CE in light of the history of the Jewish settlements in Alexandria: She claims that identity was defined by rational territorial subdivisions more than race. Thus the territory initially given to the Jews determined their continuing role and place in the city. Second, she finds Philo’s language in describing the riot to be imbued with a legal quality, and that draws her to explore the judicial environment at that time. Third, her legalistic reading of the riots leads her to a new view of P. Yale II 107, a papyrus which is usually thought to belong to the Acta Alexandrinorum. Gambetti believes this belongs to the first century CE, and draws on it for her historical explanation of the Alexandrian riots of the thirties CE. You can read the rest of my review on the link provided above.

Filon de Alejandria: Obras completa

The second volume of the new Spanish translation of Philos works has not been published:

Filón de Alejandría
Obras completas, Volumen V

Edición de José Pablo Martín
Trotta Editorial, 2009, 360pp.

This volume comprises De vita Mosis, Vita contemplativa, Contra Flaccum, and Legatio ad Gaium. For those of you who read Spanish, here is the publisher presentation:
“El presente volumen V continúa el proyecto de edición en castellano de las Obras completas de Filón de Alejandría. Se contienen en él los tratados que pueden ordenarse en el género histórico-teológico. Se los considera históricos porque contienen documentación, descripción e interpretación de eventos del pasado y del presente del pueblo de Israel, de la ciudad de Alejandría y del Imperio romano. Sin embargo, no pueden ser considerados netamente historiográficos porque en estos tratados subyace una argumentación que los estudiosos han calificado con diversos conceptos: escrito teológico, filosófico, apologético, bíblico.” See further here.