1902 Encyclopedia > Philo (Philo Judaeus)

(often called: Philo Judaeus)
Jewish philosopher
(c. 20 BC - c 45 AD)

PHILO, often called PHILO JUDAEUS, Jewish philosopher, appears to have spent his whole life at Alexandria, where he was probably born c. 20-10 B.C. His brother Alexander was alabarch or arabarch (that is, probably, chief farmer of taxes on the Arabic side of the Nile), from which it may be concluded that the family was influential and wealthy (Jos., Ant., xviii. 8, 1). Jerome's statement (De Vir. III., 11) that he was of priestly race is confirmed by no older authority. The only event of his life which can be exactly dated belongs to 40 A.D., when Philo, then a man of advanced years, went from Alexandria to Rome, at the head of a Jewish embassy, to persuade the emperor Caius to abstain from claiming divine honour of the Jews. Of this embassy Philo has left a full and vivid account (De Legatione ad Gaium). Various fathers and theologians of the church state that in the time of Claudius he met St Peter in Rome; but this legend has no historic value, and probably arose because the book De vita contemrplativa, falsely ascribed to Philo, in which Eusebius already recog-nized a glorification of Christian monasticism, seemed to indicate a disposition towards Christianity.

Though we know so little of Philo's own life, his numer-ous extant writings give the fullest information as to his views of the universe and of life, and his religious and scientific aims, and so enable us adequately to estimate his position and importance in the history of thought. He is quite the most important representative of Hellenistic Judaism, and his writings give us the clearest view of what this development of Judaism was and aimed at. Since the time of Alexander many Jews had been led to settle beyond Palestine either with commercial objects or attracted by the privileges conferred by the diadochi on the inhabit-ants of the cities they founded. _ In the great towns of Syria, Asia Minor, and Egypt there were Jewish communi-ties many thousands strong, but the Jews were most numerous in Alexandria, where from its first foundation they formed a considerable part of the population. The development of Judaism in the diaspora differed in im-portant points from that in Palestine, where, since the successful opposition of the Maccabee age to the Hellen-ization which Antiochus Epiphanes had sought to carry through by force, the attitude of the nation to Greek culture had been essentially negative. In the diaspora, on the other hand, the Jews had been deeply influenced by the Greeks; they soon more or less forgot their Semitic mother-tongue, and with the language of Hellas they appropriated much of Hellenic culture. They were deeply impressed by that irresistible force which was blending all races and nations into one great cosmopolitan unity, and so the Jews too on their dispersion became in speech and nationality Greeks, or rather " Hellenists." Now the distinguishing character of Hellenism is not the absolute disappearance of the Oriental civilizations before that of Greece, but the combination of the two with a preponder-ance of the Greek element. So it was with the Jews, but in their case the old religion had much more persistence than in other Hellenistic circles, though in other respects they too yielded to the superior force of Greek civilization. This we must hold to have been the case not only in Alexandria but throughout the diaspora from the com-mencement of the Hellenistic period down to the later Roman empire. It was only after ancient civilization gave way before the barbarian immigrations and the rising force of Christianity that rabbinism became supreme even among the Jews of the diaspora. This Hellenistico-Judaic phase of culture is sometimes called " Alexandrian," and the expression is justifiable if it only means that in Alexandria it attained its highest development and flourished most. For here the Jews began to busy them-selves with Greek literature even under their clement rulers, the first Ptolemies, and here the law and other Scriptures were first translated into Greek ; here the pro-cess of fusion began earliest and proceeded with greatest rapidity; here, therefore, also the Jews first engaged in a scientific study of Greek philosophy and transplanted that philosophy to the soil of Judaism. We read of a Jewish philosopher Aristobulus in the time of Ptolemy VI. Philometor, in the middle of the 2d century B.C., of whose philosophical commentary on the Pentateuch fragments have been preserved by Clement of Alexandria and Eusebius. So far as we can judge from these, his aim was to put upon the sacred text a sense which should appeal even to Greek readers, and in particular to get rid of all anthropomorphic utterances about God. Eusebius regards him as a Peripatetic. We may suppose that this philo-sophical line of thought had its representatives in Alexan-dria between the times of Aristobulus and Philo, but we are not acquainted with the names of any such. Philo certainly, to judge by his historical influence, was the greatest of all these Jewish philosophers, and in his case we can follow in detail the methods by which Greek culture was harmonized with Jewish faith. On one side he is quite a Greek, on the other quite a Jew. His language is formed on the best classical models, especially Plato. He knows and often cites the great Greek poets, particu-larly Homer and the tragedians, but his chief studies had been in Greek philosophy, and he speaks of Heraclitus, Plato, the Stoics, and the Pythagoreans in terms of the highest veneration. He had appropriated their doctrines so completely that he must himself be reckoned among the Greek philosophers; his system was eclectic, but the borrowed elements are combined into a new unity with so much originality that at the same time he may fairly be regarded as representing a philosophy of his own, which has for its characteristic feature the constant prominence of a funda-mental religious idea. Philo's closest affinities are with Plato, the later Pythagoreans, and the Stoics. Yet with all this Philo remained a Jew, and a great part of his writings is expressly directed to recommend Judaism to the respect and, if possible, the acceptance of the Greeks. He was not a stranger to the specifically Jewish culture that prevailed in Palestine ; in Hebrew he was not pro-ficient, but the numerous etymologies he gives show that he had made some study of that language. His method of exegesis is in point of form identical with that of the Palestinian scribes, and in point of matter coincidences are not absolutely rare. But above all his whole works prove on every page that he felt himself to be thoroughly a Jew, and desired to be nothing else. Jewish "philo-sophy " is to him the true and highest wisdom ; the know-ledge of God and of things divine and human which is contained in the Mosaic Scriptures is to him the deepest and the purest.

If now we ask wherein Philo's Judaism consisted, we must answer that it lies mainly in the formal claim that the Jewish people, in virtue of the divine revelation given to Moses, possesses the true knowledge in things religious. Thoroughly Jewish is his recognition that the Mosaic Scriptures of the Pentateuch are of absolute divine author-ity, and that everything they contain is valuable and significant because divinely revealed. The other Jewish Scriptures are also recognized as prophetic, i.e., as the writings of inspired men, but he does not place them on the same line with the law, and he quotes them so seldom that we cannot determine the compass of his canon. The decisive and normative authority is to him the "holy laws " of Moses, and this not only in the sense that every-thing they contain is true but that all truth is contained in them. Everything that is right and good in the doctrines of the Greek philosophers had already been quite as well, or even better, taught by Moses. Thus, since Philo had been deeply influenced by the teachings of Greek philosophy, he actually finds in the Pentateuch everything which he had learned from the Greeks. From these premises he assumes as requiring no proof that the Greek philosophers must in some way have drawn from Moses,—a view indeed which is already expressed by Aristobulus. To carry out these presuppositions called for an exegetical method which seems very strange to us, that, namely, of the allegorical interpretation of Scripture. The allegorical method had been practised before Philo's date in the rabbinical schools of Palestine, and he himself expressly refers to its use by his predecessors, nor does he feel that any further justification is requisite. With its aid he discovers indications of the profoundest doctrines of philosophy in the simplest stories of the Pentateuch.

This merely formal principle of the absolute authority of Moses is really the one point in which Philo still holds to genuinely Jewish conceptions. In the whole substance of his philosophy the Jewish point of view is more or less completely modified—sometimes almost extinguished— by what he has learned from the Greeks. Comparatively speaking, he is most truly a Jew in his conception of God. The doctrine of monotheism, the stress laid on the absolute majesty and sovereignty of God above the world, the principle that He is to be worshipped without images, are all points in which Philo justly feels his superiority as a Jew over popular heathenism. But only over popular heathenism, for the Greek philosophers had long since arrived at least at a theoretical monotheism, and their influence on Philo is nowhere more strongly seen than in the detailed development of his doctrine of God. The specifically Jewish (i.e., particularistic) conception of the election of Israel, the obligation of the Mosaic law, the future glory of the chosen nation, have almost disappeared; he is really a cosmopolitan and praises the Mosaic law just because he deems it cosmopolitan. The true sage wdio follows the law of Moses is the citizen not of a particular state but of the world. A certain attachment which Philo still manifests to the particularistic conceptions of his race is meant only " in majorem Judseorum gloriam." The Jewish people has received a certain preference from God, but only because it has the most virtuous ancestry and is itself distinguished for virtue. The Mosaic law is binding, but only because it is the most righteous, humane, and rational of laws, and even its outward ceremonies always disclose rational ideas and aims. And lastly, outward prosperity is promised to the pious, even on earth, but the promise belongs to all who turn from idols to the true God. Thus, in the whole substance of his view of the universe, Philo occupies the standpoint of Greek philosophy rather than of national Judaism, and his philosophy of the world and of life can be completely set forth without any reference to conceptions specifically Jewish.

His doctrine of God starts from the idea that God is Being absolutely bare of quality. All quality in finite beings has limitation, and no limitation can be predicated of God, who is eternal, unchangeable, simple substance, free, self-sufficient, better than the good and the beautiful. To predicate any quality (TTOIOT^S) of God would be to reduce Him to the sphere of finite existence. Of Him we can say only that He is, not what He is, and such purely negative predications as to His being appear to Philo, as to the later Pythagoreans and the Neo-Platonists, the only way of securing His absolute elevation above the world. At bottom, no doubt, the meaning of these nega-tions is that God is the most perfect being; and so, con-versely, we are told that God contains all perfection, that He fills and encompasses all things with His being.

A consistent application of Philo's abstract conception of God would exclude the possibility of any active relation of God to the world, and therefore of religion, for a Being absolutely without quality and movement cannot be con-ceived as actively concerned with the multiplicity of indi-vidual things. And so in fact Philo does teach that the absolute perfection, purity, and loftiness of God would be violated by direct contact with imperfect, impure, and finite things: But the possibility of a connexion between God and the world is reached through a distinction which forms the most important point in his theology and cos-mology ; the proper being of God is distinguished from the infinite multiplicity of divine Ideas or Forces : God himself is without quality, but He disposes of an infinite variety of divine Forces, through whose mediation an active relation of God to the world is brought about. In the details of his teaching as to these mediating entities Philo is guided partly by Plato and partly by the Stoics, but at the same time he makes use of the concrete religious conceptions of heathenism and Judaism. Following Plato, he first calls them Ideas or ideal patterns of all, things ;. they are thoughts of God, yet possess a real existence, and were produced before the creation of the sensible world, of which they are the types. But, in distinction from Plato, Philo's ideas are at the same time efficient causes or Forces (Swa/ieis), which bring unformed matter into order conformably to the patterns within themselves, and are in fact the media of all God's activity in the world. This modification of the Platonic Ideas is due to Stoic influence, which appears also when Philo gives to the ISeai or Suva/it is the name of \oyoi, i.e., operative ideas,—parts, as it were, of the operative Beason. For, when Philo calls his mediat-ing entities Aoyoi, the sense designed is analogous to that of the Stoics when they call God the Logos, i.e., the Beason which operates in the world. But at the same time Philo maintains that the divine Forces are identical with the " daemons " of the Greeks, and the " angels " of the Jews, i.e., servants and messengers of God by means of which He communicates with the finite world. All this shows, how uncertain was Philo's conception of the nature of these mediating Forces. On the one hand, they are nothing else than Ideas of individual things conceived in the mind of God, and as such ought to have no other reality than that of immanent existence in God, and so Philo says expressly that the totality of Ideas, the KOO-JXOS vo-qro'?, is simply the Beason of God as Creator (GeoC Ao-yos rjS-,j Koa-fj.oTTOiovvTO's'). Yet, on the other hand, they are repre-sented as hypostases distinct from God, individual entities existing independently and apart from Him. This vacil-lation, however, as Zeller and other recent writers have justly remarked, is necessarily involved in Philo's premises, for, on the one hand, it is God who works in the world through His Ideas, and therefore they must be identical with God; but, on the other hand, God is not to come into direct contact with the world, and therefore the Forces through which He works must be distinct from Him. The same inevitable amphiboly dominates in what is taught as to the supreme Idea or Logos. Philo regards all indi-vidual Ideas as comprehended in one highest and most general Idea or Force—the unity of the individual Ideas— which he calls the Logos or Reason of God, and which is again regarded as operative Reason. The Logos, therefore, is the highest mediator between God and the world, the firstborn son of God, the archangel who is the vehicle of all revelation, and the high priest who stands before God on behalf of the world. Through him the world was created, and so he is identified with the creative Word of God in Genesis (the Greek Ao'yos meaning both "reason" and "word"). Here again, we see, the philosopher is unable to escape from the difficulty that the Logos is at once the immanent Reason of God, and yet also an hypo-stasis standing between God and the world. The whole doctrine of this mediatorial hypostasis is a strange intertwining of very dissimilar threads ; on one side the way was prepared for it by the older Jewish distinction between the Wisdom of God and God Himself, of which we find the beginnings even in the Old Testament (Job xxviii. 1 2 sq.; Prov. viii., ix.), and the fuller development in the books of Ecclesiasticus and Wisdom, the latter of which comes very near to Philo's ideas if we substitute for the term "wisdom" that of (divine) "Reason." In Greek philosophy, again, Philo, as we have seen, chiefly follows the Platonic doctrines of Ideas and the Soul of the World, and the Stoic doctrine of God as the Aoyos or Reason opera-tive in the world. In its Stoic form the latter doctrine was pantheistic, but Philo could adapt it to his purpose simply by drawing a sharper distinction between the Logos and the world.

Like his doctrine of God, Philo's doctrine of the world and creation rests on the presupposition of an absolute metaphysical contrast between God and the world. The world can be ascribed to God only in so far as it is a cosmos or orderly world; its material substratum is not even indirectly referable to God. Matter (riAij, or, as the Stoics said, ovo-ia) is a second principle, but in itself an empty one, its essence being a mere negation of all true being. It is a lifeless, unmoved, shapeless mass, out of which God formed the actual world by means of the Logos and divine Forces. Strictly speaking, the world is only formed, not created, since matter did not originate with God.

Philo's doctrine of man is also strictly dualistic, and is mainly derived from Plato. Man is a twofold being, with a higher and a lower origin. Of the pure souls which fill airy space, those nearest the earth are attracted by the sensible and descend into sensible bodies ; these souls are the Godward side of man. But on his other side man is a creature of sense, and so has in him a fountain of sin and all evil. The body, therefore, is a prison, a coffin, or a grave for the soul which seeks to rise again to God. From this anthropology the principles of Philo's ethics are derived, its highest maxim necessarily being deliverance from the world of sense and the mortification of all the impulses of sense. In carrying out this thought, as in many other details of his ethical teaching, Philo closely follows the Stoics. But he is separated from Stoical ethics by his strong religious interests, which carry him to very different views of the means and aim of ethical development. The Stoics cast man upon his own resources; Philo points him to the assistance of God, without whom man, a captive to sense, could never raise himself to walk in the ways of true wisdom and virtue. And as moral effort can bear fruit only with God's help, so too God Himself is the goal of that effort. Even in this life the truly wise and virtuous is lifted above his sensible existence, and enjoys in ecstasy the vision of God, his own consciousness sinking and disappearing in the divine light. Beyond this ecstasy there lies but one further step, viz., entire liberation from the body of sense and the return of the soul to its original condition; it came from God and must rise to Him again. But natural death brings this consummation only to those who, while they lived on earth, kept themselves free from attachment to the things of sense; all others must at death pass into another body; transmigration of souls is in fact the necessary consequence of Philo's premises, though he seldom speaks of it expressly.

Philo's literary labours have a twofold object, being directed either to expound the true sense of the Mosaic law, i. e., the philosophy which we have just described, to his Jewish brethren, or to convince heathen readers of the excellence, the supreme purity and truth, of the Jewish religion whose holy records contain the deepest and most perfect philosophy, the best and most humane legislation. Thus as a literary figure Philo, in conformity with his education and views of life, stands between the Greeks and the Jews, seeking to gain the Jews for Hellenism and the Greeks for Judaism, yet always taking it for granted that his standpoint really is Jewish, and just on that account truly philosophical and cosmopolitan.

The titles of the numerous extant writings of Philo present at first sight a most confusing multiplicity. More than three-fourths of them, however, are really mere sections of a small number of larger works. Three such great works on the Pentateuch can be distinguished.

(I.) The smallest of these is the _/______. __1 \iaets (Qusestiones et sohdiones), a short exposition of Genesis and Exodus, in the form of question and answer. The work is cited under this title by Eusebius (H. E., ii. 18, 1, 5; Prsep. Ev., vii. 13), and by later writers, but the Greek text is now almost wholly lost, anil only about one-half preserved in an Armenian translation. Genesis seems to have occupied six books. Eusebius tells us that Exodus filled five books. In the Armenian translation, first published by the learned Mechitarist Aucher in 182(1, are preserved four books on Genesis and two on Exodus, but with lacuna;. A Latin frag-ment, about half of the fourth book on Genesis (Phil. Jud. __. quxstt. . . . super Gen.), was first printed at Paris in 1520. Of the Greek we have numerous but short fragments in various Flori-legia.- The interpretations in this work are partly literal and partly allegorical.

(II.) Philo's most important work is the TSbpuov lepdv dXK-nyopiat (Euseb., H. E., ii. 18,1 ; Phot., Bibl., Cod. 103), a vast and copious allegorical commentary on Genesis, dealing with chaps, ii.-iv., verse by verse, and with select passages in the later chapters. The readers in view are mainly Jews, for the form is modelled on the rabbinic Midrash. The main idea is that the characters which appear in Genesis are properly allegories of states of the soul (TOO7TOI rijs ^vxvs). All persons and actions being interpreted in this sense, the work as a whole is a very extensive body of psycho-logy and ethics. It begins with Gen. ii. 1, for the De mundi opijicio, which treats of the creation according to Gen. i., ii., does not belong to this series of allegorical commentaries, but deals with the actual history of creation, and that under a quite different literary form. With this exception, however, the No^ow riXXyyoptcu includes all the treatises in the first volume of Mangey's edition, viz. :—

2 See Opp., ed. Mangey, ii. 648-680; Mai, op. cit., vol. vii. pt. i. 96 sq. ; Euseb., Prvep. Ev., vii. 13. A fragment on the cherubim, Exod. xxv. 18, has been published by Mai, Class. Auett., iv. 430 sq., by Grossmann (1856), and by Tischendorf (p. 144 sq.).

~N6p.cw UpQv dW-nyopiat _______ TG>V /____ TT\V e^a-buepov (Legztm alle-goriarum, lib. i., M. i. 43-65), on Gen. ii. 1-17. (2) Ni,u.. Up. aXX. devrepai 'Leg. all, lib. ii., M. i. 66-86), on Gen. ii. lS-iii. la. (3) ~N6p.. Up. aXX. Tp'irai (Leg. all, lib. iii., M. i. 87-137), on Gen. iii. 8b-]9. The commentaries on Gen. iii. lb-Sa, 20-23 are lost. (4) ___! TUV xepovfilp. nal rijs _____-_', pop.cbaias __\ ___ KTtoSevTos Trpojrov e'£ dvdpibirov KdiV (De cherubim et flammeo gladio, M. i. 138-162), on Gen. iii. 24 and iv. 1. (5) ___! ihv Upovp-youGiv "_/___ __ Kal KcuV (De sacrificiis Abells et Caini, M. i. 163-190), on Gen. iv. 2-4. The commentaries on Gen. iv. 5-7 are lost. (6) ___! ___ __ xelpou Ttp Kpe'iTTOVt cpiKeiv ____1__<_6_1 (Quod deterius potiori insidiari soleal, M. i. 191-225), on Gen. iv. 8-15. (7) Hep! T(OV ___ ___________ Kd'i'v eyybvwv nal ojs fxeravdar-qs ylverat (De posteritate Caini, &c., M. i. 226-261), on Gen. iv. 16-25 ; tliis book, which is wanting in editions prior to Mangey's, is incorrectly given by him, but much more correctly by Teschendorf, Philonea, pp. 84-143. None of the preceding is mentioned by its special title by Euseb., H. E., ii. 18, while he cites all that follow by their titles. The reason must be that all up to this point, and no farther, are included by him in the NdpLcov UpGiv aXknyopiai ; agreeing with this we find that these and these only are cited under that general title in the Florilegia, especially the so-called' Johannes Monachus ineditus (see Mangey's notes before each book). We may therefore conclude with confidence that Philo published the continuous commentaries on Gen. ii.-iv. under the title Allegories of the Sacred Laws, and the following commentaries on select passages under special titles, though the identity of literary character entitles us to regard the latter as part of the same great literary plan with the former. (8) Hep! ytydvTwv (De gigantibus, M. i. 262-272), on Gen. vi. 1-4. (9)"Ort drpeir-TOV __ Qeiov (Quod Dens sit immutabilis, M. i. 272-299), on Gen. vi. 4-12. (10) Hep! yeojpylas (De agricultura, M. i. 300-328), on Gen. ix. 20a. (11) ___! dtvrovpyias XuJe __ ________ (De plantatione Noe, M. i. 329-356), on Gen. ix. 20b. (12) ___! /xdOvs (De ebrietate, M. i. 357-391), on Gen. ix. 21; the introduc-tion shows that this book was preceded by another which put together the views of the philosophers about drunkenness. (13) ___! ___ e^^e ___ (De sobrietatc, M. i. 392-403), on Gen. ix. 24. (11) ___! avyxvo'eojs StaXe/crwc (De confusione Unguarum, M. i. 404-435), on Gen. xi. 1-9. (15) ___! dwotKias (De migratione Abrahami, M. i. 436-472), on Gen. xii. 1-6. (16) ___! ___ ris 6 TOJV Oe'toiv irpayudrw K\npovop.os (Quis rerun divinarum heeres sit, M. i. 473-518), on Gen. xv. 1-1S. (17) ___! rrjs els __ _______1____.___ avvodov (De congressn eiueerendse erudilionis causa, M. i. 519-545), on Gen. xvi. 1-6. (18) ___! (pvydSoiv (De profugis, M. i. 546-577), on Gen. xvi. 6-14. (19) ___! ___* /j.¤Tovoua£o[ieva)v __\ &r eveica ueTovoptd^ovrai (De mutatione nominum, M. i. 578-619), on Gen. xvii. 1-22; in this work Philo mentions that he had written two books, now wholly lost, ITepl SiaB-nnCbv (M. i. 586). (20) Ilepl TOU deoire'uirTOVs eivai robs oVeipous (De somniis, lib. i., M. i. 620-658), on the two dreams of Jacob, Gen. xxviii. and xxxi. (21) Book ii. of the same (M. i. 659-699), on the dreams of Joseph, the chief butler, the chief baker, and Pharaoh, Gen. xxxvii. and xl., xli. Busebius makes Philo the author of five books on dreams ; three, therefore, are lost.

(III.) A work of a very different kind is the group of writings which we may call " An Exposition of the Mosaic law for Gentiles," which, in spite of their very various contents, present on nearer examination indubitable marks of close connexion. In them Philo seeks to give an orderly view of the chief points of the Mosaic legislation in the Pentateuch, and to recommend it as valuable to Gentile readers. The method of exposition is somewhat more popular than in the allegorical commentaries, for, though that method of interpretation is not wholly excluded, the main object is to give such a view of the legislation as Philo accepted as historical. This work has three main divisions: (a) an Account of the Creation (Koo-aoiroua), which Moses put first, to show that his legislation was conformed to the will of nature, and that therefore those who followed it were true cosmopolitans ; (6) the Biographies of the Virtuous,—being, so to speak, the living unwritten laws which, unlike written laws, present the general types of moral conduct; (c) Legislation Proper, in two subdivisions — (a) the ten principal chapters of the law, (f}) the special laws belonging to each of these ten. An appendix adds a view of such laws as do not fall under the rubrics of the decalogue, arranged under the headings of certain cardinal virtues.

The treatises which belong to this work are the following. (1) Hepl TTJS Mtoiice'ws Koaaoirouas (De mundi opificio, M. i. 1-42). This work does not fall within the number of the allegorical commentaries. On the other hand, the Introduction to the treatise De Abrahamo makes clear its im-mediate connexion with the De mundi opificio. The position of the De mundi opificio at the head of the allegorical commentaries, which is at present usual in the editions, seems indeed to go back to a very early date, for even Eusebius cites a passage from it with the formula dirb rod irpdrrov TWV els rbv vbptov (Prsep. Ev., viii. 12 fin., ed. Gaisford). The group of the Btot trotpwf is headed by (2) Bios ffotpov TOO Kara dtdaaKaXiav reXetojOevros ?) 7repi vbp-oiv aypdtpwv [d], o eari irepl' Afipadpt (De Abrahamo, M. ii. 1-40). Abraham is here set forth as the type of Sioao-KaXlKT] dperi}, i.e., of virtue as a thing learned. This biography of Abraham was followed by that of Isaac as a type of tpvGLKT] dperrj, i.e., of innate or natural virtue, which in turn was succeeded by that of Jacob as representing atrKIJTIKTJ dper-f), i.e., virtue acquired by practice ; but both these are now lost. Hence in the editions the next treatise is (3) Bt'os iroXiriKos birep earl irepl 'lai<r?)0 (De Joseplw, M. ii. 41-79), where Joseph is taken as the pattern of the wise man in his civil relations. The Biographies of the Virtuous are followed by (4) Ilepl ru>v 6YK<X ~Xoylojv & KedtdXata vbpoiv eltrl (De decalogo, M. ii. 1S0-209) and (5) Hep! r£>v dvacpepo-fiivojv ev e'tSet vbuwv els rd avvreivovra KecbdXata rwv biKa Xbytor (De specialibm legibus ; the unabridged title is given by Eusebius, II. E., ii. IS, 5). Here under the rubrics of the ten commandments a systematic review of the special laws of the Mosaic economy is given ; for example, under the first and second commandments (divine worship) a survey is taken of the entire legisla-tion relating to priesthood and sacrifice ; under the fourth (i.e., the Sabbath law, according to Philo's reckoning) there is a survey of all the laws about feasts ; under the sixth (adultery) an account of matrimonial law ; and so on. According to Eusebius the work embraced four books, which seem to have reached us entire, but in the editions have been perversely broken up into a considerable number of separate tractates, (a) The first book (on the first and second commandments) includes the following: De circumcisione (M. ii. 210-212); De monarchia, lib. i. (ii. 213-222); De monarchia, lib. ii. (ii. 222-232); De prtemiis saeerdotvm (ii. 232-237); De victimis (ii. 237-250); De sacrificantibus, or De victimns ojferentibus (ii. 251-264); De mereede meretricis non accipienda in sacrariitm (ii. 264-269). (b) The second book (on the third, fourth, and fifth commandments, i.e., on perjury, Sabbatli observance, and filial piety) is incomplete in Mangey (ii. 270-29S), the section De septenario (on the Sabbath and feasts in general) being imperfect, and that De colendis parentibus being entirely wanting. Mai to a large extent made good the defect (De cophini festo et de colendis parentibus, Milan, 181S), but Teschen-dorf was the first to edit the full text (Philonea, pp. 1-83). (c) The third book relates to the sixth and seventh commandments (adultery and murder ; M. ii. 299-334). (d) To the fourth book (relating to the last three commandments) belongs all that is found in Mangey, ii. 335-374, that is to say, not merely the tractates De judiee (ii. 344-348) and De concupiscentia (ii. 348-358), but also those De justitia (ii. 35S-361) and De creatione principum (ii. 361-374). The last-named is, properly speaking, only a portion of the De justitia, which, how-ever, certainly belongs to the fourth book, of which the superscription expressly bears that it treats also 7rept OLKaLoavvns. With this tractate begin-, the appendix to the work De specialists legibus, into which, under the rubi-ic of certain cardinal virtues, such Mosaic laws are brought together as could not be dealt with under any of the decalogue rubrics. The continuation of this appendix forms a book by itself. (6) Ilepl rpioiv dperQsv iqrot irepl dvbpeias Kal <piXav6pojirlas Kal fieravotas (De fortitudine, M. ii. 375-383 ; De caritate, ii. 383-405 ; De pcenitentia, ii. 405-407). Finally, in less intimate connexion with this entire work is another treatise still to be mentioned, (7) Ilepl cXdXtov Kal eiriripuojv (De prsemiis et pcenis, M. ii. 408-428) and Ilepl dpoiv (De exe-crationibus, M. ii. 429-457), two parts which constitute a single whole and deal with the promises and threatenings of the law.

(IV.) Besides the above-named three great works on the Pentateuch, Philo was the author of a number of isolated writings, of which the following have reached us either in their entirety or in fragments. (1) nepl /3i'ou Mwcrews (Vita Mosis, lib. i.-iii., M. ii. 80-179). It is usual to group this, as being biographical in its character, with the Bi'oi aoepGw, and thus to incorporate it imme-diately after the De Joseplio with the large work on the Mosaic legislation. But, as has been seen, the Bioi ooabwv are intended to represent the general types of morality, while Moses is by no means so dealt with but as a unique individual. All that can be said is that the literary character of the Vita Mosis is the same as that of the larger work. As in the latter the Mosaic legislation, so in the former the activity of the legislator himself, is delineated for the benefit of Gentile readers. (2) Ilepl TOO irdvra airovSaiov that eXeidepov (Quod omnis probus liber, M. ii. 445-470). In the intro-duction to this treatise reference is made to an earlier book which had for its theme the converse proposition. The complete work was still extant in the time of Eusebius (H. E., ii. 18, 6): Ilepl rod SovXov elvat irdvra cpadXov, cp e^rjs eartv 6 7repi rod irdvra airovdaiov eXebBepov elvca. The genuineness of the writing now possessed by us is not undisputed; but see Lucius, Der Essenismus (1881), pp. 13-23. (3) Ei$ <bXdKKOi> (Adversus Flaccum, M. ii. 517-544) and (4) Ilepl dperwv Kal irpeafieias irpbs Tdiov (De legatione ad Caium, M. ii. 545-600). These two works have a very intimate connexion. In the first Philo relates how the Roman governor Flaccus in Alexandria, towards the beginning of the reign of Caligula, allowed the Alex-andrian mob, without interference, to insult the Jews of that city in the grossest manner and even to persecute them to the shedding of blood. In the second he tells how the Jews had been subjected to still greater sufferings through the command of Caligula that divine honours should be everywhere accorded to him, and how the Jews of Alexandria in vain sought relief by a mission to Rome which was headed by Philo. But both together were only parts of a larger work, in five books, of which the first two and the last have perished. For it is clear from the introduction to the Adversus Flaccum that it had been preceded by another book in which the Jewish persecutions by Sejanus, under the reign of Tiberius, were spoken of, and the Chronicon of Eusebius (ed. Schoene, vol. ii. pp. 150, 151) informs us that these persecutions of Sejanus were related in the second book of the work now under discussion. But from the conclusion of the Legatio ad Caium, which we still possess, we learn that it was also followed by another book which exhibited the iraXtvaSia, or change of Jewish fortunes for the better. Thus we make out five books in all,—the number actually given by Eusebius (H. E., ii. 5, 1). (5) Ilepi irpovoias (De providentia). This work has reached us only in an Armenian translation, which has been edited, with a Latin translation, by Aucher (see below). It is mentioned by its Greek title in Eusebius (H. E., ii. 18, 6 ; Prsep. Ev., vii. 20 fin., viii. 13 fin., ed. .Gaisford). The Armenian text gives two books, but of these the first, if genuine at all, at any rate appears only in an abridged and somewhat revised state. Eusebius (Prsep. Ev., viii. 14) quotes from the second book to an extent that amounts to a series of excerpts from the whole. The short passage in Prsep. Ev., vii. 21, is also taken from this book ; and it appears that Eusebius knew nothing at all about the first. (6) 'AX^avbpos 7} irepl rod Xbyov %xeLV rd aXoya fuia (De Alexandro et quod propriam rationem muta animalia habeant; so Jerome, De Vir. III., 13- 11); the Greek title is given in Euseb., H. E., ii. 18, 6. This also now exists only in an Armenian translation, which has been edited by Aucher. Two small Greek fragments occur in the Florilegium of Leontius and Johannes (Mai, Scr. vet. nov. coll., vii. 1, pp. 99, 100a). (7) 'YwoderiKd; a writing now known to us only through fragments preserved in Euseb., Prsep. Ev., viii. 6, 7. The title, as Bernays has shown, means _" Counsels," " Recom-mendations," the reference being to such laws of the Jews as can be recommended also to non-Jewish readers. (8) Ilepl 'lovSaloiv, a title met with in Euseb., H. E., ii. 18, 6. The writing is no doubt the same as 'H virep'IovSaioiv diroXoyia, from which a quotation is given in Euseb., Prsep. Ev., viii. 11. To this place also, perhaps, belongs the De nobilitate (M. ii. 437-444), which treats of that true noblesse of wisdom in which the Jewish people also is not wanting.

(V.) Spurious works ascribed to Philo. (1) Ilepl /3iou BeuprrrtKov ?) tKerCov dperdv (De vita contemplativa, M. ii. 471-486). That the Therapeutic life here praised is that of Christian monks was seen by Euseb., H. E., ii. 17 (who, however, accepted the book as Philo's), and the same view was long prevalent in the church. But, if the Therapeutfe are monks, the book cannot be genuine ; see especially Lucius, Die Therapeuten und ihre Stellung in der Gesch. der Askese, Strasburg, 1879. There are, however, so many other objections to its genuineness that the book is now given up even by such as do not admit that the Therapeutse are monks. (2) Ilepl aqbdapalas Kotrixov (De incorruptibilitate mundi, M. ii. 487-516). Bernays, who first showed that the received text is disordered by misplacement of leaves (Monatsb. Perl. Akad., 1863, p. 34 sq.), published a cor-rected text with German version in Abh. Berl. Akad., 1876. An unfinished commentary of the same critic was posthumously pub-lished in the Berlin Abhandlungcn, 1882. (3) Ilepl Kocraov (De mundo, M. ii. 601-624). That this collection of extracts from Philo, and especially from the De incor. mundi, is spurious has been long recognized. (4) Two orations, De Sampsone and De Jona, published from the Armenian by Anchor in 1826, are generally held to be spurious. (5) The lexicon of Hebrew proper names with Greek interpretations ('Ep/xiji'eta TWP eßpaiKwv bvoßarwv), which Origen completed by adding the New Testament names, and which Jerome rewrote, was often ascribed to Philo. It appears from ancient testi-monies that rt bore no author's name, so that Philo's part in it is at least very problematical ; nor does its original form seem to be extant (see Orig., Comm. in Joan., vol. ii»c. 27 ; Euseb., H. E., ii. 18, 7 ; Jerome in the preface to His recension of the book).

Various Greek and Latin recensions aie given by Vallarsi and in Lagarde's Onomastica sacra, 1870 ; see also on this class of literature as a whole Fabricius-Harles, Bib. Gr., iv. 742 sq., vi. 199 sq., vii. 226 sq. (6) On a Latin work, De biblicis antiquitatibus, ascribed to Philo, see Fabr.-Harb, iv. 743. (7) For the pseudo-Philonic Brcviarium temporum, a forgery of Annius of Viterbo, see ibid. (8) The book On Virtue, published as Philo's by Mai (Phil. Jud. de rirt. ejusque partibas, 1816), is a work of Gemistus Pletho.

Editions.—The first, very imperfect, edition of the Greek text of Philo is by Turnebus (Paris, 1552). Some additional pieces were given by Höschel (Frank-fort, 1587 ; Augsburg, 1614). Other editions are those of Geneva, 1613 ; Paris, 1640 ; Frankfort, 1691 (a page-for-pnge reprint of the Paris edition) ; but the best is still that of Mangey (2 vols., London, 1742), which alone is based on a number of MSS. and gives a critical apparatus. Pfeifier's unfinished edition, vols, i.-v., appeared at Erlangen in 1785-95, 2d ed. 1820. An important supple-ment to Mangey is given by Anchor's publications from the Armenian—Phil. Jud. sermones très inediti, Venice, 1S22. Phil. Jud. paraliponiena Armenu, Venice, 1826. The Greek pieces newly published since Mangey are less exten-sive. The editions by Mai, Grossmann, and Tischendorf have been already noticed. Aucher's publications and Mai's of 1818 are contained in the con-venient edition of Richter (Leipsic, 1S28-30) and in the Tauchnitz stereotype edition (1851-53). Of editions of particular works, J. G. Müller's Des Juden Philo Buch v. d. Weltschöpfung (Berlin, 1841), with commentary, claims special notice. Compare further for the editions and versions, Fürst, Bibl. Jud.. ; Grasse, Trésor de livres rares et précieux, v. 269-271 (1864) ; and Eng. tr. by Yonge, 4 vols., London, 1854-55.

Literature.—(A.) On Philo's writings in general. Fabricius-Harles, Bibl. Gr., iv. 721-750. On the order of Philo's works, Gfrörer, Philo und die Älexandrinische Theosophie, i. (1831) ; Dähne, in Stud, und Krit., 1833, p. 984 sq. ; Grossmann, De Phil. Jud. operum continua série et online chronol., pts. i., ii., Leipsic, 1841-42. On the text, Creuzer, in Stud, und Krit., 1832, p. 3 sq. J. G. Müller, Texteskritik, der Sehr, des Juden Philo, Basel, 1839, reprinted in his edition of the Weltschöpfung, 1841. On Philo's language, method, and influence on posterity, see Siegfried, Philo von Alex, als Ausleger des A. T. Jena, 1875. On his knowledge of Palestinian legnl tradition, B. Ritter, Philo und die Halacha, Leipsic, 1879. (B.) On Philo's teaching. Gfrörer, op. cit. ; Dähne, Gesch. Darstellung der jud.-alex. Religionsphilosophie, Halle, 1834; Zeller, Phil. d. Griechen, pt. iii. sect. ii. (3d ed., 1P81),—this is on the whole Hiebest general sketch; Gfrörer and Uiihne give fuller material. On special points, see Keferstein, Philo's Lehre von, dein göttlichen Mittelwesen, Leipsic, 1816 ; Heinze, Lehre vom Logos, 1872 ; Soulier, La doctrine da Logos chez Philon, Turin, 1876. (E. S*.)


2 The fathers of the church have specially noticed his Platonismand Pythagoreanism ; an old proverb even says, with some exaggeration, 7j nXdrai' <fiikuvL'<;ei i) Ql\wv Tr\aTwvi£ei. (Jerome, Photius, and Suidas, ut supra). Clement of Alexandria directly calls him a Pythagorean. Eusebius (H. E., ii. 4, 3) observes both tendencies. Eecent writers, especially Zeller, lay weight also on his Stoic affinities, and with justice, for the elements which he borrows from Stoicism are as numerous and important as those derived from the other two schools.

Euseb., H. E., ii. 17, 1; Jer., ut supra; Phot, Bill., Cod. 105 ; Suid., s.v. "$L\wi>."
See the list of these in Yallarsi's edition of Jerome (iii. 731-734), and compare Siegfried, " Philonische Studien," in Merxs Archiv, it 143-163 (1872).
See Siegfried, Philo, pp. 142-159.

For details, see Gfrorer, Philo, i. 68 sq. ; Zeller, Phil, eler Gr., 3d ed., vol. iii., pt. ii. 346-352; Siegfried, Philo, 160 sq.

See, especially Mai, Seriptt. vett. nov. coll., vol. vii. pt. i. pp. 100, 106, 108.

2 See Opp., ed. Mangey, ii. 648-680; Mai, op. cit., vol. vii. pt. i. 96 sq. ; Euseb., Prvep. Ev., vii. 13. A fragment on the cherubim, Exod. xxv. 18, has been published by Mai, Class. Auett., iv. 430 sq., by Grossmann (1856), and by Tischendorf (p. 144 sq.).

See Diels, Doxographi Greed, 1S79, pp. 1-4 ; Zeller, Phil. d. Gr., iii. 2, p. 340 (3d ed.).
Monatsb. d. Berl. Akad. (1876), pp. 589-609.
This conjecture is Dahne's, Theol. Stud. u. Krit. (1833), pp. 990. 1037.
So still Montfaucon, the learned notes to whose French translation are still valuable (Paris, 1709).
Nicolas, in Rev. Theol., Strasburg, 1868, p. 25 sq. ; Kuenen, Godsdienst, ii. 440-444; Weingarten, " Monchtunl," in Herzog-Plitt, R. E., x.

About this EncyclopediaTop ContributorsAll ContributorsToday in History
Terms of UsePrivacyContact Us

© 2005-19 1902 Encyclopedia. All Rights Reserved.

This website is the free online Encyclopedia Britannica (9th Edition and 10th Edition) with added expert translations and commentaries