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Studies in Hellenistic Judaism

Volume XVII


edited by
David T. Runia
Gregory E. Sterling

Brown Judaic Studies 344

Studies in Hellenistic Judaism
Program in Judaic Studies
Brown University

Edited by

David Jacobson
Ross S. Kraemer
Saul Olyan
Michael L. Satlow

Number 344
Studies in Hellenistic Judaism

edited by
David T. Runia
Gregory E. Sterling
Studies in Hellenistic Judaism



David T. Runia
Gregory E. Sterling

Associate Editor
David Winston

Book Review Editor

Hindy Najman

Brown University
Studies in Hellenistic Judaism

The financial support of

C. J. de Vogel Foundation, Utrecht
Queen’s College, University of Melbourne
University of Notre Dame
University of Toronto
is gratefully acknowledged

© 2005
Brown University

ISBN: 1-930675-24-0
ISSN : 1052-4533

Editorial Board
Editors: David T. Runia, Queen’s College, University of Melbourne
Gregory E. Sterling, University of Notre Dame
Associate editor: David Winston, Berkeley
Book review editor: Hindy Najman, University of Toronto

Advisory board
David M. Hay, Atlanta (chair)
Hans Dieter Betz, University of Chicago
Peder Borgen, Oslo
Jacques Cazeaux, CNRS, University of Lyon
Lester Grabbe, University of Hull
Ellen Birnbaum, Cambridge, Mass.
Annewies van den Hoek, Harvard Divinity School
Pieter W. van der Horst, Utrecht University
Jean Laporte, Paris
Burton L. Mack, Claremont
Birger A. Pearson, Escalon, California
Robert Radice, Sacred Heart University, Milan
Jean Riaud, Catholic University, Angers
James R. Royse, Berkeley
Dorothy Sly, University of Windsor
Abraham Terian, St. Nersess Armenian Seminary
Thomas H. Tobin S.J., Loyola University, Chicago
Herold D. Weiss, St. Mary’s College, Notre Dame

The Studia Philonica Annual accepts articles for publication in the area of
Hellenistic Judaism, with special emphasis on Philo and his Umwelt.
Contributions should be sent to the Editor, Prof. G. E. Sterling, Associate Dean of
the Faculty, College of Arts and Letters, 100 O’Shaughnessy, University of Notre
Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556, USA; email: Please send
books for review to the Book Review Editor, Prof. H. Najman, Dept. of Near and
Middle Eastern Civilizations, University of Toronto, 4 Bancroft Ave, Toronto,
Ontario M5S 1C1, Canada; email:
Contributors are requested to observe the ‘Instructions to Contributors’ located at
the end of the volume. These can also be consulted on the Annual’s website: Articles which do not conform to these instruc-
tions cannot be accepted for inclusion.
The Studia Philonica Monograph series accepts monographs in the area of
Hellenistic Judaism, with special emphasis on Philo and his Umwelt. Proposals for
books in this series should be sent to Prof. David M. Hay, 1428 Airline Road,
McDonough, GA 30252, USA; email:


Walter T. Wilson, Pious Soldiers, Gender Deviants, and the Ideology

of Actium: Courage and Warfare in Philo’s De Fortitudine................... 1
Frank Shaw, The Emperor Gaius’ Employment of the Divine Name .... 33
Allen Kerkeslager, The Absence of Dionysios, Lampo, and Isidoros
from the Violence in Alexandria in 38 C.E. .............................................. 49
James R. Royse, Three More Spurious Fragments of Philo....................... 95
Maren R. Niehoff, Response to Daniel S. Schwartz................................... 99


Gregory E. Sterling, Introduction................................................................ 102

Harold W. Attridge, Philo and John: Two Riffs on One Logos............... 103
Gregory E. Sterling, ‘Day One’: Platonizing Exegetical Traditions of
Genesis 1:1–5 in John and Jewish Authors ............................................... 118


David T. Runia, A Conference on Philo in Germany................................. 141

Ishay Rosen-Zvi, Joining the Club: Tannaitic Legal Midrash and
Ancient Jewish Hermeneutics .................................................................... 153


D. T. Runia, E. Birnbaum, K. A. Fox, A. C. Geljon, H. M. Keizer,

J. P. Martín, R. Radice, J. Riaud, D. Satran, G. Schimanowski,
T. Seland, Philo of Alexandria: An Annotated Bibliography 2002...... 161
Supplement: Provisional Bibliography 2003–2005 ..................................... 198


David E. Aune, Torry Seland, and Jarl Henning Ulrichsen (edd.),

Neotestamentica et Philonica: Studies in Honor of Peder Borgen.
Reviewed by Thomas H. Tobin ................................................................ 215
Daniel Boyarin, Border Lines: The Partition of Judaeo-Christianity.
Reviewed by Adele Reinhartz ................................................................ 217
viii contents

Laura Gusella, Esperienze di comunità nel giudaismo antico: esseni,

terapeuti, Qumran.
Reviewed by Silvia Castelli ..................................................................... 223
Bruce W. Winter, Philo and Paul Among the Sophists: Alexandrian and
Corinthian Responses to a Julio-Claudian Movement.
Reviewed by Matt Jackson-McCabe...................................................... 225
Francesca Calabi (ed.), Italian Studies on Philo of Alexandria.
Reviewed by Leslie Baynes ....................................................................... 230
Kåre Fuglseth. A Comparison of Greek Words in Philo and the
New Testament.
Reviewed by Karl-Wilhelm Niebuhr....................................................... 236
Kathy L. Gaca, The Making of Fornication: Eros, Ethics and Political
Reform in Greek Philosophy and Early Christianity.
Reviewed by David T. Runia.................................................................... 237
Stephen Weitzman, Surviving Sacrilege. Cultural Persistence in Jewish
Reviewed by John J. Collins .................................................................... 243
Philip Bosman, Conscience in Philo and Paul: A Conceptual History of
the Synoida Word Group.
Reviewed by Gregory E. Sterling........................................................... 246

News and Notes............................................................................................ 252

Notes on Contributors .............................................................................. 254

Instructions to Contributors ................................................................. 258

* The editors wish to thank the typesetter Gonni Runia once again for her tireless and
meticulous work on this volume. They also wish to thank Eva Mroczek (Toronto) for her
assistance with the book reviews, Michael Champion (Melbourne) for his assistance
with the bibliography, and Kindalee DeLong for the outstanding work she has done in
the Philo of Alexandria Office at the University of Notre Dame.
The Studia Philonica Annual XVII (2005) 1–32


Courage And Warfare In Philo’s De Fortitudine
Walter T. Wilson

‘It remained for him to gain a reputation for éndre¤a, nearly the
most important virtue in every polite¤a, and especially in Rome.’1

Claims regarding éndre¤a permeated the discursive systems of political

power in Greco-Roman society. While the term could be employed to
denote various dimensions or instances of ‘courage,’ regardless of the
circumstances surrounding its use in any specific situation, it seems that at
its root éndre¤a always came down to the business of being éndre›ow
(‘manly’). Of course, there was much more to this than biological gender.
Manliness was a quality imputed to one by others, an achievement that had
to be continually earned and defended, especially in public, agonistic
venues. As a number of recent studies have shown, such competitiveness
played a normative role in the construction of moral identity both among
those who constituted ‘the male establishment class’ in antiquity and
among those who aspired to do so.2 Yet, as these same studies suggest, the
processes undergirding such identity formation were messy and uncertain,
not least of all because the meaning of éndre¤a itself was never explicated
according to some unambiguous essence or fixed set of behavioral rules.
Rather, both the definition and attribution of courage were matters of
contention between different groups vying for honor and control, each
insisting that they were uniquely equipped to face risk, endure adversity,
and wield power in a manner that was supremely masculine.3
Given the vagaries of such ideological debates, in analyzing any
particular case it is important to discern the criteria and motivations that

1 Polybius 31.29.1.
2 E.g., R. M. Rosen, I. Sluiter (edd.), Andreia: Studies in Manliness and Courage in
Classical Antiquity, Mnemosyne Sup. 238 (Leiden 2003). The quotation is from S. Swain,
Hellenism and Empire: Language, Classicism, and Power in the Greek World AD 50–250
(Oxford 1996) 65.
3 ‘In a society where men competed for honor, or were in conflict with each other, there
was an incentive to dispute what courage actually meant and how risk should be
properly faced.’ J. Roisman, ‘The Rhetoric of Courage in the Athenian Orators’, in Rosen
and Sluiter, Andreia, 131.
2 walter t. wilson

guide a group in cultivating certain understandings of courage, including

how such understandings are developed vis-à-vis the discursive systems of
other groups. To take a well-known example, it has long been recognized
that the rhetoric of Pericles’ funeral oration (Thucydides 2.35–46) is anima-
ted by competing corporate professions about the best form of éndre¤a.4
At 2.39.4, for example, the observation that the Athenian polite¤a instills
courage in its citizens through trÒpow (‘habit’ or ‘custom’), rather than
through arduous compulsory training, is offered as proof that it is superior
to other political systems. As Karen Bassi observes, the notion here of ‘an
innate and collective Athenian manliness’ supports the broader objective of
the speech to idealize the pÒliw by characterizing it as an autochthonous
and transcendent reality.5 This visioning is achieved in part through a
transvaluation of traditional heroic norms (with their emphasis on valor in
individual combat), repositioning the significance of éndre¤a so that it func-
tions as a fundamentally civic virtue, ‘an abstract concept and a defining
characteristic of the city.’6
Insofar as its argument is constructed contrastively, Pericles’ (or Thucy-
dides’) oration typifies ancient evaluations of courage. The same can be
said of the speech’s emphasis on the battlefield as the prototypical setting
for its demonstration.7 At the same time, any effort to grasp the full signifi-
cance of éndre¤a must take into consideration the interest ancient people
took in understanding non-martial forms of courage as well, a fact that
testifies to the capacity of ‘manly’ rhetoric to serve a variety of social
functions.8 Within the domain of the ever popular gumnãsion culture, for
example, athletic training was advertised to urban elites as an effective
means of fashioning a virile and courageous character.9 Greco-Roman ora-
tors claimed expertise in ‘making men’ as well, though the calisthenics in
this instance focused on ‘control of one’s voice, carriage, facial expression,
and gesture, control of one’s emotions under conditions of competitive
stress — in a word, all the arts of deportment necessary in a face-to-face
society where one’s adequacy as a man was always under suspicion.’10

4 E.g., N. Loraux, The Invention of Athens: The Funeral Oration in the Classical City
(Cambridge 1986) 172–262; cf. E. Rawson, The Spartan Tradition in European Thought
(Oxford 1969) 12–55.
5 K. Bassi, ‘The Semantics of Manliness in Ancient Greece’, in Rosen and Sluiter,
Andreia, 48.
6 Bassi ‘Semantics of Manliness’ 49, cf. 32–46.
7 Cf., e.g., Aristotle, Eth. nic. 3.6.6–12.
8 I. Sluiter and R. M. Rosen, ‘General Introduction’, in Rosen and Sluiter, Andreia, 1–24.
9 O. van Nijf, ‘Athletics, Andreia and the Askêsis-Culture in the Roman East’, in Rosen
and Sluiter, Andreia, 263–86.
10 M. Gleason, Making Men: Sophists and Self-Representation in Ancient Rome (Princeton
1995) xxii. Cf. J. Connolly, ‘Like the Labors of Heracles: Andreia and Paideia in Greek
courage and warfare in philo’s de fortitudine 3

Even ancient physicians could in their self-representations draw on

contemporary debates about éndre¤a, advocating a prognostic approach
that ‘examined a given situation in which such qualities as daring and
endurance might be called for, assessed the risks, and considered what the
benefits of ‘courageous’ action were likely to be.’11

Philosophical Courage: Plato’s Respublica

From early on, the question of how philosophical conceptions of the best
life required or bestowed courage was a topic of critical reflection as well.
In his Polite¤a, or Respublica, for example, arguments about éndre¤a figure
prominently in Plato’s grand quest to explain the arrangements by which
both political communities and human souls can be morally good. The
central sections of this dialogue merit attention, at least in outline form, on
account of the profound impact their ‘remodelled version of andreia’ had
on the subsequent history of moral and political thought in Greco-Roman
Plato assumes that even for the ideal state warfare will be an ongoing
reality. A standing army is required, therefore, to defend the state’s
freedom and train its future leaders. The presence of éndre¤a in the state as
such, he says, will depend not on the manifestation of courage among its
individual citizens, but only among those who serve in the military, an elite
class known as the Guardians, which is distinguished from the larger,
money-making class, the Producers (429B). Given its critical function,
admission to the former group is restricted to the best individuals, who are
selected according to various criteria. Naturally, they must be young, quick,
and strong. They must also demonstrate éndre¤a, of course, though this
must be combined with high-spiritedness (ı yumÒw or tÚ yumoeid°w), by
which Plato denotes a complex cluster of tendencies encompassing fearless-
ness, assertiveness, indignation, and ambition for glory and revenge.13
These tendencies are treated with a certain ambivalence, however, since it is
likely that recruits thus endowed will end up being savage not only to the

Culture under Rome’, in Rosen and Sluiter, Andreia, 290: imperial orators ‘weave
together certain negative stereotypes about teachers’ femininity and passivity into a
subtly new conception of andreia, one that favors diplomacy and endurance over active
risk and daring.’
11 R. M. Rosen and M. Horstmanshoff, ‘The Andreia of the Hippocratic Physician and
the Problem of Incurables’, in Rosen and Sluiter, Andreia, 113.
12 A. Hobbs, Plato and the Hero: Courage, Manliness and the Impersonal Good (Cam-
bridge 2000) 234.
13 375A–B, cf. 440A–41C; Hobbs, Plato and the Hero, 6–37.
4 walter t. wilson

enemies of the state but also to their fellow citizens. Therefore, the seem-
ingly opposed qualities of aggressiveness and gentleness must both be
cultivated among the young Guardians through an intensive period of
physical and intellectual preparation (375B–412B), or êskhsiw (404A, C). The
trainees’ literary and musical curriculum in particular must be chosen with
care, since this serves as the means by which they obtain a true and ‘holy’
conception of the gods and heroes (376E–98B), thereby learning to admire
only what is brave, free, pious, and self-controlled (395C). Conversely, they
are prohibited from emulating the roles of women or slaves (395D–E), or
from participating in sloth or drunkenness, since such behavior will render
them ‘soft’ (malak¤a).14 By the same token, since the natures of men and
women are intrinsically similar, the latter can be admitted with the former,
provided they meet the same qualifications (451C–57C). All the Guardians
are to live a common life together, unacquainted with private wealth, pro-
perty, or even families — in short, with anything that might distract them
emotionally from their service to the state.15 The nature of their education,
like their whole way of life, is designed to foster moderation (svfrosÊnh),16
which includes resistance to the desire for luxury that is so characteristic of
the Producers’ class.17 Ultimately, Plato assures us, this process will yield
Guardians who are not only able warriors but also lovers of wisdom
(375E), their high-spiritedness ordered (410D–E) so as to be obedient to
reason (lÒgow, 401D).18 At this point their courage is properly ‘civic’ in
nature, by which he means that they will hold fast to beliefs inculcated in
them by the state about ‘overall values and ends,’ which they will defend
even in the face of manifold dangers, hardships, and temptations.19
Beginning at 412B, Plato introduces the process by which some of the
Guardians will be selected for advanced education as potential rulers,
distinguished from the military class from which they originate, the latter
henceforth referred to as the Auxiliaries. These individuals are not only
intellectually gifted, they also exhibit the greatest zeal for what is in the
state’s best interest (412C–E). A lengthy philosophical curriculum makes
them attentive to the eternal truths of the intelligible realm (503E–18B),
culminating in an apprehension of the Form of the Good, to which they
endeavor to assimilate (éfomoioËsyai) themselves.20 Having thus achieved
an understanding of the virtues ‘as they are in the nature of things,’ the

14 398E, cf. 410D–11B; and below, n. 95.

15 415E–17B, 457C–61E.
16 390A, 402C, E, 404E, 410A, cf. 399C.
17 399E, cf. 372E, 422A.
18 415E, 421A, 424E. Cf. R. W. Hall, Plato (London 1981) 81–102.
19 429B–D, 430A–B, cf. 433C; Hobbs, Plato and the Hero, 111.
20 500C, cf. 613B, Tim. 50C–D, Theat. 176A–B.
courage and warfare in philo’s de fortitudine 5

philosopher rulers take this knowledge as a pattern for ordering the

polite¤a and its citizens.21 With this final course of study in place, Plato’s
account of the state’s structure and defining qualities is complete. Its
wisdom resides with the Rulers, its courage with the Auxiliaries. Mean-
while, all three classes exhibit moderation in agreeing that the Rulers ought
to rule, thereby ensuring the state’s harmony. Finally, the polite¤a achieves
justice when each class carries out its own function (427C–34C).
However, in order to provide an adequate explanation of these defining
qualities, it is incumbent upon Plato to probe also their psychological
dimensions, since any quality in the state must derive ultimately from the
citizens of the state who possess this quality and have the same form
(435E). He theorizes, then, that the human personality is divided into three
faculties (the reasoning part, the spirited part, and the appetitive part),
corresponding to the three classes of the ideal state and (if similarly
organized) manifesting the same virtues.22 Accordingly, for the soul’s
spirited faculty to exhibit the proper form of courage, it must, like its civic
counterpart, be trained to ‘hold fast to the order of reason about what to
fear’ (442B–C) and function as reason’s ally, especially when it comes into
conflict with the appetitive faculty. If all the parts of the soul agree to follow
the reasoning part, then the soul achieves svfrosÊnh. Similarly, the soul
can be said to be just when each part sticks to its own function, rendering
the cuxÆ harmonious and ‘healthy’ (441C–44E). Conversely, psychic injus-
tice arises when one of the lower parts tries to usurp reason’s rule (444B–
C). If dominated by the spirited part, an individual becomes self-willed
(548D–50C), selfishly obsessed with obtaining glory. If dominated by the
appetitive part, the individual gives in to avarice and licentious cravings.23
With his Respublica, Plato furnished the ancient world with one of its
most compelling visions of the ideal state, engaging inter alia various issues
of abiding interest to the philosophical conversation about courage. The
most fundamental of these issues can be summarized under four headings.
The first concerns how the cultivation of courage relates to the cultiva-
tion of other forms of moral excellence, especially those designated in what
came to be known as the canon of cardinal virtues, which, besides éndre¤a,
included frÒnhsiw, dikaiosÊnh, and svfrosÊnh.24 Among other things,

21 501A–B, cf. 500D, 540A; Hall, Plato, 53, 103–9.

22 435B–E, 441C–43B. Cf. T. Irwin, Plato’s Ethics (Oxford 1995) 203–22.
23 553A–55A, cf. 590A–D; J. Annas, An Introduction to Plato’s Republic (Oxford 1981) 294–
24 Resp. 433B and passim. Cf. H. F. North, ‘Canons and Hierarchies of the Cardinal
Virtues in Greek and Latin Literature’, in L. Wallach (ed.), The Classical Tradition:
Literary and Historical Studies in Honor of Harry Caplan (Ithaca 1966) 167–74; Irwin,
Plato’s Ethics, 223–43.
6 walter t. wilson

attention to the dynamics of these interrelationships indicates that educa-

tion in courage cannot be separated from education that has as its aim the
total transformation of character.25
The second concerns the relationship between the cultivation of courage
in the individual and the cultivation of courage in the state. An assumption
that guides Plato throughout is that the best form of éndre¤a is that which
supports the best interests of the state and, as such, is the product of a
selection/education process determined and supervised by the state. If one
concurs that personal and civic forms of courage are not altogether
irrelevant to each other, then any complete explication of the virtue
requires attention to the political and military arrangements by which it is
supposed to be nurtured.
The third concerns the relationship between theory and practice in the
administration of such systems. In the Respublica, Plato adopts an orienta-
tion to this subject that can be described as philosophical in nature
inasmuch as his conception of courage (as well as the other virtues) is
illumined by claims regarding a higher reality, the ‘eternal and unchanging
order’ of things (500C). But, even granting the existence and apprehension
of such a reality, the challenge remains of how such claims are best
implemented in the creation of actual laws and policies for the state,
especially as it faces such nettlesome tasks as organizing a government,
waging war, and educating diverse individuals in virtue.
The fourth concerns the relationship between virtue and gender. As we
have seen, to a certain extent Plato problematized more ‘traditional’
understandings of courage (according to which it is the exclusive proven-
ance of men) by allowing female Guardians, though their way of life is
hardly ‘feminine’ or ‘soft’ in character. Subsequent moralists would need
to address the question of how and why connotations of manliness ought
to inform a philosophically guided approach to éndre¤a and what implica-
tions this would have for their vision of the ideal state and its social

Philo’s De fortitudine: Literary and Political Contexts

Plato’s Polite¤a illustrates the importance that could be attached to

courage as a topic of philosophical inquiry, particularly in conjunction with
theories about the ideal political system and the manner in which indivi-
duals relate to it morally. As he endeavored to interpret the Jewish polite¤a

25 Annas, Introduction, 114.

26 Cf. Hobbs, Plato and the Hero, 68–74.
courage and warfare in philo’s de fortitudine 7

from a philosophically informed perspective, Philo found it necessary to

dilate on the topic as well. Although it surfaces at various points in his
oeuvre,27 Philo’s most systematic treatment of courage as a facet of the
Mosaic law is located in the (sub-)treatise entitled Per‹ éndre¤aw, or De
fortitudine (= De virtutibus 1–50). Given his intellectual predilections, we
should not be surprised to discover evidence here of Philo’s engagement
with the sorts of issues and perspectives on courage entertained by Plato in
his Respublica.28 By the same token, in dealing with such an ideologically
weighted concept, we should not be surprised, either, to find that Philo’s
approach to the subject reflects realties specific to his political situation in
Roman Egypt.
By way of preliminaries, it is important to note that Philo’s account of
courage in De fortitudine does not constitute an independent statement, but
belongs to a set of treatises customarily designated the Exposition of the
Law. In terms of its general literary character, this ‘host’ text shows greater
signs of Hellenistic influence and systematic organization than Philo’s other
commentary series, the Allegorical Commentary and the Questions and
Answers.29 Evidence of this can be found not least of all in a major section
of the work that organizes its presentation of the law according to a
version of the canon of cardinal virtues. The review of legislation begins
with the general laws, the ten commandments (De decalogo), then the
particular ordinances dependent on each of them (De specialibus legibus).
Beginning at Spec. 4.133–35, however, the analysis moves in a new direc-
tion: besides assigning laws to each of the commandments individually,
Philo says, it is possible also to demonstrate that the Decalogue in its
entirety accords with ‘the virtues of universal value,’ which adherents of
the law actualize in whatever they think, say, or do.30 These virtues include
eÈs°beia/ısiÒthw, frÒnhsiw, and svfrosÊnh (which he claims to have spo-
ken of earlier),31 as well as dikaiosÊnh, éndre¤a, and filanyrvp¤a (the topics
of Spec. 4.136–238, Virt. 1–50, and 51–174 respectively).32 This recourse to

27 E.g., Leg. 1.63–71, Ebr. 114–19.

28 On Philo’s Platonism, see, e.g., J. Dillon, The Middle Platonists (Ithaca 1977) 139–83;
D. T. Runia, Philo of Alexandria and the Timaeus of Plato (Leiden 19862) 365–519.
29 See S. Sandmel, Philo of Alexandria: An Introduction (Oxford 1979) 47–76; J. Morris,
‘The Jewish Philosopher Philo’, in E. Schürer et al. (edd.), The History of the Jewish
People in the Age of Jesus Christ, Volume 3, Part 2, rev. ed. (Edinburgh 1987) 840–54;
P. Borgen, Philo of Alexandria: An Exegete for His Time, NovTSup 86 (Leiden 1997) 63–79;
D. T. Runia, Philo of Alexandria: On the Creation of the Cosmos according to Moses, PACS
(Leiden 2001) 6–7.
30 Cf. N. G. Cohen, Philo Judaeus: His Universe of Discourse, BEATAJ 24 (Frankfurt am
Main 1995) 86–105.
31 Cf. Decal. 52, Spec. 2.12, 4.96.
32 Appended are two shorter sections, Per‹ metano¤aw (Virt. 175–86) and Per‹ eÈgene¤aw
8 walter t. wilson

the virtues as a structural and thematic device is consistent with Philo’s aim
to demonstrate the superiority and broad significance of Judaism within its
Greco-Roman context.33 In this enterprise, he is concerned to showcase the
Jewish community not as an ethnic group but as a nation guided by ‘the
most excellent philosophy’ 34 and established according to laws and
customs that constitute ‘the best polite¤a,’35 which, as such, accords with
the divine, cosmic polite¤a.36 Embodying the highest moral and political
aspirations of human culture, Judaism represents the preeminent school for
education in ‘the virtuous life’ (Spec. 2.61–63).37
In order to grasp their full import, it is essential to bear in mind that
Philo’s claims about the Jewish polite¤a were not mere theoretical
ruminations, but emanated from an intense personal involvement in the
struggle of Alexandrian Jews for civil rights. In Spec. 3.1–6, he complains
about being drawn into a sea of worries concerning polite¤a, which many
scholars take as a reference to the civil unrest of 38–41 c.e..38 In this case,
the writing of the Exposition (or at least its latter portions) belongs to a
period late in Philo’s life. This would have been shortly after he lead the
embassy to Gaius, what he later described as ‘a campaign on behalf of our
polite¤a’ (Legat. 349, cf. 193–94).

(Virt. 187–227), for which see M. Alexandre, ‘Le lexique des vertus: vertus philosophiques
et religieuses chez Philon’, in C. Lévy (ed.), Philon d’Alexandrie et le langage de la
philosophie, Monothéismes et Philosophie (Turnhout 1998) 17–46. On the contents of the
treatise as a whole, see Morris ‘The Jewish Philosopher Philo’ 850–53; E. Hilgert, ‘A
Review of Previous Research on Philo’s De Virtutibus’, SBLSP 30 (1991) 103–15; D. T.
Runia, ‘Underneath Cohn and Colson: The Text of Philo’s De virtutibus’, SBLSP 30 (1991)
33 For other formulations of the canon, see, e.g., Opif. 73, Abr. 24, 219, Mos. 2.185, 216,
Spec. 2.62, Praem. 52, 160.
34 Cf. Opif. 8, Virt. 65; V. Nikiprowetzky, Le commentaire de l’écriture chez Philon
d’Alexandrie, ALGHJ 11 (Leiden 1977) 97–116.
35 Spec. 3.167, Virt. 175, cf. Decal. 14, Spec. 2.73, 3.24, 181, 4.10, 226, Virt. 108, 219, Praem. 4;
H. A. Wolfson, Philo, 2 vols. (Cambridge 1947) 2.374–95.
36 See Decal. 97–98, with Borgen, Philo of Alexandria, 73; cf. Opif. 143, Ios. 28–29, Spec.
1.51, 63, 314, 4.55, 159, Virt. 127.
37 Cohen, Philo Judaeus, 88–89: ‘the ‘virtuous life’ as defined in Greek thought is to be
achieved by ordering one’s life according to the precepts of the Mosaic revelation.’
38 Morris ‘The Jewish Philosopher Philo’ 843–44; Runia, On the Creation, 4; cf.
A. Terian, ‘The Priority of the Quaestiones among Philo’s Exegetical Commentaries’, in
D.´M. Hay (ed.), Both Literal and Allegorical: Studies in Philo of Alexandria’s Questions
and Answers on Genesis and Exodus, BJS 232 (Atlanta 1991) 29–46. In addition, Borgen
(Philo of Alexandria, 176–93) notes parallels that the Exposition (esp. its last four
treatises) shows with In Flaccum and Legatio ad Gaium, both written late in Philo’s life.
The suggestions of N. G. Cohen also accord with such a dating: ‘Agrippa I and D e
Specialibus Legibus IV 151–159’, SPhA 2 (1990) 72–85.
courage and warfare in philo’s de fortitudine 9

The crisis necessitating such diplomatic action had historical roots ex-
tending back almost to the foundation of Alexandria itself.39 Since the early
days of the Ptolemaic era, Jews there had enjoyed the right to organize as a
‘quasi-independent and self-governing communal organization,’ referred
to as a pol¤teuma by most modern and some ancient authors.40 The rights
intrinsic to such an institution, which must have been essential to the
preservation of the community’s native customs, continued to be respected
under Roman rule, a fact displayed perhaps most palpably in a stÆlh
erected in the city by Augustus.41 Significantly, the monument linked
official confirmation of the Jews’ civil rights with an acknowledgement of
the military service they had rendered representatives of Rome, in this case
troops serving under Julius Caesar in 48/47 B .C .E .42 In fact, the event
commemorated by the emperor would have been just one in a series of
armed interventions by Jewish forces in Egyptian politics, usually in ways
that aligned Jewish interests with those of Rome.43 The Alexandrian popu-
lace, denied its own governing body and despising Roman control general-
ly, resented such interventions and the special privileges accorded the
Jews.44 The situation was exacerbated further by the efforts of some elite,
Hellenized Jews to obtain citizenship in the Alexandrian pÒliw, a status
closely associated with the acquisition of Greek culture, as signified
especially through a gumnãsion education.45

39 For what follows, see esp. V. A. Tcherikover (with A. Fuks), Corpus Papyrorum
Judaicarum, 3 vols. (Cambridge 1957–64) 1.1–78 (henceforth CPJ).
40 D. Dawson, Allegorical Readers and Cultural Revision in Ancient Alexandria (Berkeley
1992) 114.
41 Josephus, c. Ap. 2.61, cf. 2.37, AJ 14.188; Philo, Flacc. 50.
42 Cf. A. Kasher, The Jews in Hellenistic and Roman Egypt, TSAJ 7 (Tübingen 1985) 13–
43 CPJ 1.19–25, 55–56; E. M. Smallwood, Philonis Alexandrini: Legatio ad Gaium, (Leiden
19702) 11; J. M. G. Barclay, Jews in the Mediterranean Diaspora (Edinburgh 1996) 35–41.
44 Reflective of the mood were various anti-Jewish histories of Egypt depicting them as
impious invaders from the East who viciously destroyed entire cities and desecrated
sacred sites. On the narratives of Manetho, e.g., see Josephus, c. Ap. 1.73–92, 227–87;
GLAJJ 1.62–86. Further, Kasher, Jews, 327–45; H. Conzelmann, Gentiles, Jews, Christians:
Polemics and Apologetics in the Greco-Roman Era (Minneapolis 1992) 79–91.
45 CPJ 1.38–43; Smallwood, Legatio, 12–14; Barclay, Jews, 42, 49, 66–70. The imposition of
the laograf¤a or poll tax beginning in 24/23 B .C.E ., from which Roman citizens and
citizens of Greek cities were exempt, would have created powerful social and economic
incentives for them to do so. Indeed, for elite Hellenized Jews living in Alexandria but
lacking Alexandrian citizenship payment of the tax would have been ‘a mark of extreme
political and cultural degradation.’ CPJ 1.61 (cf. 1.60–64; also Kasher, Jews, s.v.
laographia). Beginning in 4/5 c.e., the Roman government recognized a new class, ofl épÚ
gumnas¤ou, Greek-educated inhabitants living outside one of the pÒleiw who paid the poll
tax at a reduced rate: CPJ 1.59.
10 walter t. wilson

Such ambitions, however, met with fierce opposition from Alexandrian

Greeks, who feared the ‘corruption’ of their city’s citizen body.46 These
disputes regarding the Jews’ civic standing came to a head in the pogrom
of 38 c.e., during which the Roman prefect Flaccus (egged on by some of
the city’s Greek leaders) proclaimed the Jews to be ‘aliens and foreigners,’
a move that, in Philo’s estimation, represented an attempt ‘to destroy our
polite¤a’ (Flacc. 53–54).47 The communal rights of the Jews would be
reinstated by Claudius some two-and-a-half years later, though with the
caveat that they were no longer to seek the privileges of Greek citizen-
ship, thereby effectively barring them from future access to the
In such a volatile environment, Philo followed a strategy that we can
assume was embraced by most Alexandrian Jewish elites, one that sought
rapprochement with Roman rule and the benefits this could provide.49
Accordingly, it was incumbent upon him to configure Judaism’s relation-
ship with the empire in as positive a light as possible, for example, by mak-
ing complimentary statements about Rome’s leaders and their achieve-
ments (e.g., Legat. 140–61). More importantly, in writings like the Exposi-
tion, Philo also endeavors to construct an image of Judaism that makes
such a political and cultural strategy plausible. This would have involved
examining the Mosaic tradition through the eyes of its ‘significant others,’50
demonstrating how it establishes the best polite¤a by standards embraced
by the Roman ruling classes and therefore deserves respect in a world
dominated by Roman power. Polybius’ comment about Publius Scipio
(cited in the epigraph of this paper) serves as just one indication of how
crucial displays of courage could be in such a context.

Courage in a Roman Context I: Cicero

Of course, Roman perspectives on the nature of political power and those

who wield it came to expression in various forms during this era. While a
number of representative sources might repay close reading, Book 1 of

46 CPJ 1.38, 64–65; Barclay, Jews, 50–51.

47 Smallwood, Legatio, 14–23; Barclay, Jews, 51–55.
48 CPJ 1.69–74, 2.36–55; Kasher, Jews, 310–26; Barclay, Jews, 55–60; cf. Josephus, A J
49 Cf. R. Barraclough, ‘Philo’s Politics: Roman Rule and Hellenistic Judaism’, ANRW
II.21.1 (1984) 449–551; Dawson, Allegorical Readers, 113–26; M. R. Niehoff, Philo on
Jewish Identity and Culture, TSAJ 86 (Tübingen 2001) s.v. Rome/Romans.
50 J. Dyck, ‘Philo, Alexandria and Empire: The Politics of Allegorical Interpretation’, in
J. R. Bartlett (ed.), Jews in the Hellenistic and Roman Cities (London 2002) 173.
courage and warfare in philo’s de fortitudine 11

Cicero’s De officiis is particularly instructive for our study of courage in the

Exposition, not least of all because it communicates the insights of an
individual who, like Philo, not only participated in public life but also found
time to reflect on the moral challenges attendant on such a life. Given the
nature of his topic, Cicero was obliged to include an extended treatment of
courage (fortitudo), one that critically adapts philosophical traditions in
order to show how this virtue ought to function in the ideal political
A reworking of Panaetius’ Per‹ toË kayÆkontow, the intellectual perspec-
tive of De officiis 1 is grounded ‘in a Stoicism of an all-encompassing and
humane variety, which freely quotes Plato and Aristotle.’51 While its stated
purpose is to aid the moral progress of the author’s son, Marcus, the
treatise actually has in view the sorts of obligations that ought to be
honored by any young noble training for a career in Roman politics. In
articulating these, however, Cicero is not interested in surveying a broad
range of opinions, but advances instead ‘a specific political program’ based
on a vision of ‘the proper form of the state and its rôle.’52 Specifically, he
summons his readers to defend the Roman Republic and its traditions by
subordinating their individual interests to those of the community, while
rejecting the sorts of motivations that inform a rival political culture, as
exemplified especially in the career of Julius Caesar.53
In keeping with Stoic (and Platonic) convention, the interpretation of
courage in De officiis 1 belongs to a broader analysis that relates it systema-
tically to the canon of cardinal virtues.54 As the programmatic statement of
15 explains, those who seek what is morally good must recognize that all of
their responsibilities will derive from one of these four sources. The third of
these is initially identified as ‘the greatness and strength of a noble and
invincible spirit.’ The ensuing analysis in 61–92 expands on this definition
with material that can be outlined as follows:55

51 A. R. Dyck, A Commentary on Cicero, De Officiis (Ann Arbor 1996) 37, cf. 185. In Off.
2.7–8, Cicero indicates his allegiance to the Skeptical Academy.
52 Dyck, De Officiis, 29, 36.
53 Dyck, De Officiis, 30–36. This involves for Cicero showing how honestum ‘always
attaches to what is genuinely utile,’ the former being ‘not the vaguely ‘honourable’ of
traditional ideology, but a Stoicized concept of ethical excellence, in which justice is the
principal constituent.’ See A. A. Long, ‘Cicero’s politics in De officiis’, in A. Laks, M.
Schofield (edd.), Justice and Generosity: Studies in Hellenistic Social and Political
Philosophy (Cambridge 1995) 218, cf. 213–40.
54 North ‘Cardinal Virtues’ 174–77.
55 Cf. Dyck, De Officiis, 183.
12 walter t. wilson

I. Prologue: What sort of ‘brave and noble work’ warrants praise?

II. Characteristics of courage (62–73):
A. justice (62–65)
B. indifference to external goods; performance of dangerous deeds
C. tranquillitas animi (68–73)
III. Courage in wartime and peacetime (74–87):
A. comparison of military and civilian achievements (74–78)
B. precepts for wartime (79–84)
C. precepts for peacetime (85–87)
IV. Conclusion (88–92):
A. courage guided not by anger (88–89) but by humility (90–91)
B. courage in public and private life (92)

While the exposition of fortitudo here contains various concepts and argu-
ments, on the whole it appears to be organized around two major theses.
First, like Panaetius and other Stoics, Cicero adheres to a principle that
came to be known as the éntakolouy¤a t«n éret«n, according to which ‘the
virtues imply one another, not only in the sense that he who has one has all
but also in the sense that he who performs any act in accordance with one
does so in accordance with all.’56 The ramifications that this has for the
analysis of courage are explored at various junctures in the exposition,
where we learn how the other virtues of the canon are constitutive of it. He
begins, for example, by interacting with Platonic statements about the
relationship between courage and justice, concurring that acts of daring
cannot be deemed properly courageous unless they are motivated by a
desire to champion lawful causes that serve the common good (cf. Plato,
Leg. 197B, Resp. 342E), rather than by selfishness or favoritism (62–65, cf.
85). Elsewhere, courage is shown to accord with wisdom. Certainly, the
frequent use of magnitudo animi to help capture the meaning of the former
results in ‘emphasizing the rational component at the expense of mere
animal courage.’57 Cicero concedes that physical training in preparation for
military service is advantageous, but only so that the body will obey the
judgments of reason more efficiently, since ultimately it is prudent counsel
that determines victory (cf. 76, 79–80). Hence the successful leader busies
himself with courage that is ‘true and wise’ (65). Intellectually self-reliant,

56 Plutarch, Stoic. rep. 1046E; cf. Cicero, Off. 1.15; Dyck, De Officiis, 98, 191; SVF 3.295–
304; Dillon, Middle Platonists, 76; H. Cullyer, ‘Paradoxical Andreia: Socratic Echoes in
Stoic ‘Manly Courage’’, in Rosen and Sluiter, Andreia, 213–33.
57 Dyck, De Officiis, 185.
courage and warfare in philo’s de fortitudine 13

he can discern the most sensible way to manage risks and dangers (81).
This attitude is summed up at 67 with the observation that it is ‘the rational
cause that makes men great.’ Attention is paid, finally, to demonstrating
the complementarity of courage with moderation. For Cicero, a crucial
measure of the former is an indifference to external goods and circum-
stances, through which one refuses to become ‘subject to any man or any
passion or any accident of fortune’ (66). True men, he says, are not satisfied
with overcoming obstacles like fear and pain. They must overcome also
any emotions that might disrupt the tranquillitas animi, especially the desire
for wealth, pleasure, and glory (67–69). This means additionally that they
will not indulge their anger when administering punishment or dealing
with conquered adversaries, being guided instead by placabilitas and
clementia (82, 88–89).58
Second, Cicero is at pains in this segment to construct a hierarchy of the
forms of courage, corresponding to the principle venues in which it can be
practiced. Asserted here is the superiority of the vita activa to the vita
contemplativa.59 While under certain circumstances the pursuit of the latter is
understandable, those who enter public life do more to profit the commun-
ity and earn greater acclaim, since they must assume greater risks (69–71).
Within this sphere, an additional preference is expressed for civilian over
military service. Without neglecting the topic of courage in wartime (79–
84), Cicero voices disagreement with the opinion held, he says, by most
people that the general’s accomplishments outweigh those of the states-
man (74, cf. 65, 67). He suggests, to the contrary, that the latter’s contribu-
tion to the public good is not only more enduring but it is, in fact, what
makes the exploits of the former possible (75–76). It stands to reason, then,
that civic courage demands ‘greater energy and devotion’ than its martial
counterpart, which too often deteriorates into vain ambition for personal
glory (74, 78). The argument here and elsewhere is advanced by means of
historical exempla relating the achievements of famous Greeks and Romans,
including Solon, Marcus Scaurus, and, of course, Cicero himself (75–78).
Such men embody the vision of courageous leadership that De officiis
promotes insofar as they combine the totality of traditional personal
virtues with ‘a regard for the utilitas communis.’60

58 Dyck (De Officiis, 226) notes that elsewhere the latter is treated under the head of
temperantia. Cf. Plato, Resp. 469B–71C.
59 With this emphasis Cicero may be departing from his source: Dyck, De Officiis, 29.
60 Dyck, De Officiis, 191.
14 walter t. wilson

Courage in a Roman Context II: Philo

The foregoing analysis provides a basis for comparison with De fortitudine,

which can be outlined as follows:61

I. Prologue: True and false forms of courage compared (1–4)

II. Courage in peacetime (5–21):
A. courage exhibited in enduring different hardships (5–14)
B. the law as training in courage (15–21)
III. Courage in wartime (22–46):
A. criteria for military selection (22–33)
B. historical exemplum: the Midianite war (34–46)
IV. Conclusion: Divine support for the virtuous in peacetime and
wartime (47–50)

Structurally, the exposition falls into two major sections, as spelled out in
Fort. 22: courage can be manifested either in peacetime (the focus of 5–21)
or in wartime (the focus of 22–46).62 The prologue (1–4) sets forth another
basic distinction, that between ‘true’ courage and its counterfeit. The latter,
evidenced by those who slaughter their enemies out of anger, is what most
people count as excellent, though in fact it amounts to nothing more than
foolish recklessness (yrasÊthw).63 Contrasting with this is Philo’s subject,
éndre¤a as a form of knowledge (§pistÆmh) 64 located in the soul and
esteemed among those who train in wisdom (éskhta‹ sof¤aw).65 Combin-
ing intelligence (frÒnhma) with valor (eÈtolm¤a), those who cultivate this
virtue are able to reason about what is beneficial (tÚ sumf°ron)66 for the
good of the state, offering effective counsel even when they are old or
infirm. The next section of the treatise goes on to describe this form of
courage at the expense of the other, as the two are exhibited in civilian life.
The thesis for this section (5–14) is given in 5a: a person of limited under-
standing will go soft (malak¤zomai) when confronted with situations that
are difficult to endure (dusupomÒnhta),67 especially poverty, disrepute, dis-
ablement, and sickness.68 Conversely, whoever is governed by frÒnhsiw is

61 Cf. M. Alexander, ‘A rhetorical analysis of Philo’s De uirtutibus’, Euphrosyne 21

(1993) 9–15.
62 Cf. Philo, Praem. 3; Plato, Resp. 399A–B.
63 Cf. Philo, Spec. 4.146, Praem. 52; Plato, Lach. 184B, 197B; Aristotle, Eth. nic. 3.7.7–12.
64 Cf. Philo, Leg. 1.68, Spec. 4.145; Plato, Lach. 196D, 198C, 199A–C; Aristotle, Eth. nic.
3.8.6; SVF 3.274–75.
65 Cf. Philo, Mos. 1.76, Spec. 2.44; Plato, Protag. 342B, Gorg. 487C.
66 = Latin utile, for which see above, n. 53; also cf. Aristotle, Rhet. 1.6.17–20.
67 Cf. Philo, Leg. 1.65, 68, Mut. 153, Mos. 2.184, Spec. 4.145. For the definition of courage
as a form of ÍpomonÆ, cf. Aristotle, Eth. nic. 3.7.2–6; SVF 3.255, 264, 295.
68 Cf. Plato, Lach. 191D, with W. T. Schmid, On Manly Courage: A Study of Plato’s
courage and warfare in philo’s de fortitudine 15

steadfast (karterÒw)69 in resisting and overcoming all such difficulties. This

assertion is then demonstrated by identifying the means of resistance to
each of these four ‘foes’ by which the truly courageous show themselves
to be impervious to external circumstances and superior to the masses.
Against poverty, then, the courageous pit the ‘riches’ bestowed by
sof¤a through philosophical study, which engenders in the soul frugality
and contentment (5b–9). Against disrepute they pit good fame (eÎkleia)
and the nobility (kalokégay¤a) from which it originates, even as these
attributes are ignored or slandered by the multitude (10). Against physical
impairment, especially blindness, they pit the superior vision of the mind
(diãnoia) empowered by frÒnhsiw (11–12). Lastly, against bodily disease
they pit the ‘healthy’ ordering of the soul and its faculties, otherwise
known as svfrosÊnh, with reason (lÒgow) in command, reining in high-
spiritedness (yumÒw) and desire (§piyum¤a).70
The section concludes in 15–21, where we learn of the relevance to these
psychic ideals of the Mosaic law, hitherto unmentioned. Indeed, Philo main-
tains that everything commended so far in fact represents lessons derived
from scripture, whose t°low is a virtuous life characterized by indifference
to all bodily and external goods (15). This claim is then demonstrated with
two examples. First, reference is made to various (unnamed) regulations
that Philo says promote ‘simplicity’ (étuf¤a),71 a concept that resonates
especially with the emphasis on frugality in 8–9. The relevance of the
second illustration to the material of 1–14, though, is more difficult to
discern. The law, we hear, trains the soul in courage by enforcing strict
differentiation between the sexes, extending even to matters of dress (18–
21; cf. Deut 22:5). Since men and women are by nature unalike, the law
assigns to each a different b¤ow, the former political, the latter domestic. In
order for a man to be properly courageous, nothing must be done that
might confuse these roles. Thus he is banned from assuming the guise of a
woman, while women are instructed not to appear indecent or manly (21).
An examination of how Mosaic courage is exhibited in wartime follows,
divided into two parts. The first explains the process stipulated by the law
for the selection of military recruits (23–33), while the second gives an
historical example of how an army thus constituted excels when tested on
the battlefield (34–46). Finally, 47–50 concludes the treatise as a whole,

Laches (Carbondale 1992) 105–10.

69 Cf. Plato, Lach. 192B–D, Resp. 390D, 399B.
70 Philo, Fort. 13–14, cf. Spec. 4.92–96; Plato, Tim. 70A, Resp. 441C–44E; Runia, Philo of
Alexandria and the Timaeus, 301–11. For the definition in Fort. 14 of svfrosÊnh as the
preservation (svthr¤a) of frÒnhsiw, cf. Plato, Crat. 411E.
71 Fort. 16–17; cf. above, n. 17.
16 walter t. wilson

promising divine support for those who pursue ‘justice, holiness, and the
other virtues’ in peacetime and wartime (cf. Lev 26:5; Deut 28:1–2, 7).72
Philo begins here by listing the criteria for exclusion from military
service (cf. Deut 20:5–8).73 Cowards, of course, are banned because they are
afflicted by softness (malak¤a), a condition that would contaminate the
other soldiers and render them unmanly (23–26). In addition, anyone who
might be distracted by certain private affairs, such as a betrothal, is not
allowed to serve (27–31). In 32–33, he goes on to list the qualifications for
inclusion: the body must be healthy and agile, the soul possessed of
eÈtolm¤a and frÒnhsiw, preferring death with good fame (eÎkleia) to a
dishonorable life. An army composed of soldiers thus equipped, says Philo,
will defeat any adversary, achieving even a ‘bloodless’ victory in the
This claim is then substantiated in 34–46 with an exemplary historical tale
drawn from Numbers 25 and 31.75 Stymied in their attempts to conquer the
Israelites by force, the Midianite men hatch a plot to disrupt the unity of
their enemy by enlisting the aid of the Midianite women: enticed by the
latter’s beauty, the Israelite men will willingly break the law and commit
idolatry, causing their own downfall. Divine punishment of the 24,000
youths who subsequently fall prey to this tactic spurs a military reprisal on
the part of the Israelites. Their souls inspired by pious dÒgmata, a thousand
of the best warriors from each tribe obliterate the Midianite army without
incurring a single casuality, evidence, Philo says, of their divine support.
As with the fuller version provided in De vita Mosis 1.294–311, in recount-
ing this biblical story Philo betrays a special interest in its element of seduc-
tion.76 Near the beginning of both accounts, he produces a major speech
detailing the Midianite plot and identifying its basic premise, the desire that
youths have for sex (Fort. 35–38, cf. Mos. 1.296–99). In Fort. 39–40, Philo
embellishes the theme with an additional segment, unparalleled in De vita
Mosis, describing the women’s consent, character, and appearance. The
version in De fortitudine is distinguished further by its disinclination to
name any of the biblical characters involved in the story. In fact, Balaam,

72 Cf. Philo, Praem. 93–97, with Borgen, Philo of Alexandria, 265–76.

73 Cf. Philo, Agr. 146–68.
74 Cf. Philo, Mos. 1.180, Praem. 97.
75 See especially Num 25:1–5, 9, 16–18, 31:1–9, 15–18, 49. Philo harmonizes the Moabite
and Midianite narratives, as explained by F. H. Colson, trans., Philo, Volume VIII, LCL
(Cambridge 1960) 443–44. An extended version of the story is preserved also by Josephus
in AJ 4.102–64, where the accent is more on the problem of exogamy and assimilation; see
L. H. Feldman, ‘Josephus’ Portrait of Balaam’, SPhA 5 (1993) 48–83.
76 ‘Philo here links a commonplace of Hellenistic ethics — the problem of reason’s
subversion by passion — with the specifically Jewish concern to follow the customs of the
ancestors.’ Dawson, Allegorical Readers, 120 (referring to Mos. 1.298, 301).
courage and warfare in philo’s de fortitudine 17

Balak, and Phinehas do not figure in the account at all, and even Moses
warrants only brief mention in 42 as ı toË ¶ynouw ≤gem≈n. As a result,
attention is drawn to the fighting forces themselves. The principal conflict is
not between the leaders of the respective nations but between the
Midianite women with their feminine wiles and the pious courage of the
Israelite soldiers.

Philo and Cicero Compared

Looking at its overall shape, De fortitudine exhibits a number of general

priorities in its analysis of courage which are comparable to those identified
in De officiis, though distinctively Philonic concerns are evident as well. To
begin with, both authors distinguish true courage from expressions of
anger or brute force. In the same vein, both privilege the virtue’s psycho-
logical dimensions over its physical ones. Cicero signals this in various
ways, for example, through recourse to the concepts of magnitudo animi and
tranquillitas animi. Similarly, Philonic education in courage focuses on the
cuxÆ, training it to despise material goods and desires (3, 5, 8, 9, 13, 17, 18).
While physical ability is a requirement of good soldiering (27, 32, 45), at the
end of the day success is determined by the soul, and even a robust body is
worthless if the cuxÆ is unprepared (30–31).
Matching this anthropological hierarchy is a social one, according to
which courage is the provenance of the elite. In De officiis, as we saw, Cicero
concerns himself entirely with the moral requirements of political and mili-
tary leadership on the national level. Meanwhile, in the opening paragraphs
of De fortitudine, we are reminded repeatedly that the unlearned ‘masses’
of humanity fail to possess or even comprehend the sorts of ideals being
extolled.77 Mosaic courage, deriving as it does from philosophical inquiry,
belongs not to all but to ‘noble and inspired men’ (8), who are set apart by
their kalokégay¤a (10), a term with ‘well-established class connotations.’78
The general sentiment is summed up in 10 (cf. 42): the number of those
who act with excellence (érist¤ndhn) is small, since virtue is not common
among the multitude. It is almost axiomatic, then, that among the
‘lowborn’ (égenne›w) cowardice prevails (25), while the best soldiers are of
‘noble’ descent (eÈgene›w, 32).

77 Cf. Plato, Resp. 493E–94A: the number of those who love wisdom is small, and
generally they will be despised by the public; also Lach. 197B–C. The few vs. the many
motif figures in Philo’s description of the battle as well, e.g., Fort. 46.
78 Hobbs, Plato and the Hero, 84.
18 walter t. wilson

Another similarity has to do with the distinction between civil and

martial forms of courage, which functions for both authors as a basic
conceptual and organizational device. For his part, however, Philo shows
no preference for one type over the other. Indeed, it seems that, for him,
excellence in the preparation and execution of military activities counts as
essential proof of Israelite courage. That military éndre¤a is on a par with its
civic counterpart can be seen in the way Philo develops another theme
familiar from De officiis, the éntakolouy¤a t«n éret«n.79 Like Cicero, Philo
explicates the different facets of courage by exploring its relationship to
other virtues. The analysis in De fortitudine is distinctive in this regard,
however, insofar as it operates with a different version of the canon, one
that, as noted earlier, advances Philo’s broader aims in organizing the
Exposition.80 Besides courage, wisdom, and moderation, this includes filan-
yrvp¤a (which Philo routinely aligns with justice)81 and its counterpart, the
‘highest’ of virtues, eÈs°beia or ısiÒthw.82 The analysis in De fortitudine is
distinctive also in that it demonstrates the nature of these relationships as
they apply to courage in both wartime and peacetime. In this regard, the
extent of specific correspondences that the descriptions in 22–46 show with
those in 5–21 is noteworthy. It appears that Philo was concerned to show
that the same virtuous qualities that generate authentic éndre¤a in peace-
time are manifest in Mosaic soldiers as well.
So, for example, Philo’s explanation of how courage is illumined by
wisdom and cognate attributes relates to military as well as civilian affairs.
The one who exhibits peacetime courage is not ÙligÒfrvn but wields
frÒnhsiw (5, cf. 3, 11 14). Relying less on physical senses than on those of the
mind (diãnoia), he offers reasoning (logismÒw) that benefits others (3, 11).
Similarly, no one can be enlisted for military service who is ÙligÒfrvn (40),
whose diãnoia is distressed by external yearnings (30), or whose moral
deficiencies might confuse the logismÒw of his fellow combatants (24).
Rather, the soul of each fighter is tested to see if it is full of frÒnhsiw and
sound reasoning, logismÒw (32). In combat, then, the soldiers’ minds will be
receptive to divine counsel (45).
The cultivation of courage implies also the cultivation of moderation,
again applying to both peacetime and wartime. The essence of courage in
the former, says Philo, is to refrain steadfastly from luxury and vanity,

79 Cf. Philo, Mos. 2.7; D. Winston, ‘Philo’s Ethical Theory’, ANRW II.21.1 (1984) 395.
80 See above, nn. 29–33.
81 Philo, Mut. 225, Abr. 232, Mos. 2.9, Decal. 164, Spec. 2.63. The language of justice does
make an appearance near the end of the treatise; see Fort. 42, 47, 50.
82 See Abr. 60, 208, Decal. 52, 119, Spec. 4.97, 135, 147, Virt. 51, 95. In Spec. 2.62–63, the
curriculum of synagogue education is summarized with reference to the Platonic canon
plus the ‘ two main heads’: eÈs°beia/ısiÒthw and filanyrvp¤a/dikaiosÊnh.
courage and warfare in philo’s de fortitudine 19

thereby minimizing one’s bodily needs and holding every desire in check
(8, 13, 15–17; cf. Cicero, Off. 1.67–69). This leads to svfrosÊnh, which pre-
vents the reasoning faculty from being swept away by the tide of the
passions (ÍpÚ t∞w t«n pay«n forçw kataklÊzesyai, 14). Similarly, the mili-
tary rolls include no one into whom any pãyow has found entry (31). Those
who do suffer from such passion are punished as a lesson to others in
danger of being similarly swept away, as though by a torrent (Àsper ÍpÚ
xeimãrrou kataklusy∞nai, 41).
Among the components of courage Philo also implicates the virtue of
humanity.83 As we learn from the introduction to De humanitate (the sub-
treatise that immediately follows De fortitudine), Moses recognized that
those who aspire to filanyrvp¤a must practice koinvn¤a, that is, fellowship
in public affairs (Virt. 51). In doing so, they build up human communities
on various levels (119) and imitate God, whose generosities are of common
benefit (koinvfele›w) to humanity (169). Elsewhere, filanyrvp¤a and
koinvn¤a can even be used as parallel expressions.84 In the same work, Philo
suggests that certain acts of mercy (o‰ktow) can also be concomitant with
filanyrvp¤a, for example, showing pity on young women taken captive in
In De fortitudine, the value of courage as a prerequisite for ‘public’
service is as applicable to military contexts as it is to civilian ones. As a rule,
the law assigns men a b¤ow politikÒw (19). Philo stresses that those who are
courageous in this sphere render assistance of the highest public value
(koinvfel°statai), benefiting the common life (tå koinã) of the state (3).
They do so even if they are physically unfit for military service, where it is
expected that all enlistees will exhibit an ethos that is public spirited
(koinvnikÒw, 27). The army benefits from the application of filanyrvp¤a as
a criterion in its formation, which requires the exemption of men with
certain external commitments (28). In turn, the Israelite soldiers demon-
strate a humane disposition in carrying out their duties: while they kill the
women involved in the plot against them, they spare the Midianite
maidens, having pity (ofiktisãmenoi) for their youthful innocence (43).86

83 For Philo’s views on filanyrvp¤a, see Winston ‘Philo’s Ethical Theory’ 391–400; P.
Borgen, ‘Philanthropia in Philo’s Writings’, in L. B. Elder et al. (edd.), Biblical and
Humane: A Festschrift for John F. Priest, Scholars Press Homage Series 20 (Atlanta 1996)
173–88; K. Berthelot, Philanthrôpia Judaica: Le débat autour de la ‘misanthropie’ des lois
juives dans l’Antiquité, JSJSup 76 (Leiden 2003) 233–321.
84 Virt. 80, cf. Mos. 2.9, Decal. 109–10, Spec. 1.295, 324, 2.104, 141, Virt. 63, 81, 84, 90, 96,
85 Virt. 110, cf. Spec. 2.138, 4.18.
86 Cf. Num 31:17–18; Philo, Mos. 1.311. With this we may compare the o‰ktow God takes
in Fort. 41 on the 24,000 idolaters.
20 walter t. wilson

Finally, the case is made that courage can be properly understood only
insofar as it is informed by the virtue of eÈs°beia. This is, for Philo, not
simply a pious attitude, but an orientation that entails ısiÒthw prÚw yeÒn,87
that is, knowing and following God,88 the goal of which is assimilation
(§jomo¤vsiw) to God and the divine order.89 In De fortitudine, as throughout
the Exposition, Philo simply assumes that the distinguishing national
feature of the Israelites is their holiness (ısiÒthw), in which they offer rever-
ence and honor to God (34, cf. 42, 47, 50). In peacetime, courage contributes
to this state chiefly through a steadfast commitment to self-sufficiency,
which facilitates the process of assimilation (§jomo¤vsiw) to God, who has no
needs or wants (8), so that one stands, as it were, ‘midway between immor-
tal and mortal nature’ (9). Association with the divine also characterizes
wartime courage. As we would expect, the minds and bodies of those who
fight for eÈs°beia in battle are enlivened by divine power (45). But what
ultimately carries the day is the manifestation of God’s very self among
their ranks as a warrior — ‘the foremost combatant, an invincible ally’ —
furnishing the most dramatic evidence of the nation’s unique piety and
divine favor (45, cf. 42, 46–47, 49–50).
Philo’s exposition in De fortitudine, then, shows not only how Mosaic
courage as such is constituted by the other virtues, but also how this
defining quality applies equally to both of its forms. The law trains its
followers to observe the full range of virtues in military as well as civilian
If Philo does not join Cicero in attempting to demonstrate the superior-
ity of one type of courage over another, he does develop a hierarchy of a
different kind, one that avers the essentially masculine character of
éndre¤a.91 As noted above, Fort. 18–21, with its exegesis of Deut 22:5, seems
at first glance only loosely tethered to the preceding discussion about what
the courageous endure and how they do so.92 However, it plays a critical

87 Abr. 208. Philo uses eÈs°beia and ısiÒthw so frequently in parallel constructions that
they seem to be practically interchangeable, e.g., Opif. 155, 172, Mos. 1.198, 307, 2.142,
216, 270, Decal. 110, 119, Spec. 1.54, 186, 2.63, 224, 3.127, 4.135, cf. Virt. 51.
88 See Abr. 60–61, Decal. 100–1; Runia, On the Creation, 367.
89 On Philo’s ımo¤vsiw doctrine, see Opif. 144, 151, Fug. 63, Abr. 61, 87, Decal. 73, 101, Spec.
4.188, Virt. 168; W. E. Helleman, ‘Philo of Alexandria on Deification and Assimilation to
God’, SPhA 2 (1990) 51–71. Cf. above, n. 20.
90 Similarities in the descriptions of those evidencing peacetime and wartime courage
extend to a variety of other lexical details as well, e.g., both exhibit yarsaleÒthw and
eÈtolm¤a (3, 32), girding themselves (§papodÊv) for the fight (5, 31), scorning (katafron°v)
all dangers (15, 17, 43) as they pit themselves (éntitãssv) against the foe (5, 10, 43).
91 This is of relatively little importance in De officiis, though cf. 1.61.
92 In his characterization of the treatise as ‘a poor piece of work,’ Colson (Philo, xiii)
complains that ‘[t]he first seventeen sections … are not illustrated from the laws at all.
courage and warfare in philo’s de fortitudine 21

role in the overall argument of the treatise by introducing strict gender

differentiation as a basic concern in the regimen dictated by the law for
training in courage.93 Here Philo articulates what had been implicit all
along: courage not only belongs to men rather than women, it also entails
recognizing and resisting womanly threats to one’s manhood. The ‘true
man’ (20) will defend his masculine identity under all circumstances, even
in matters of dress, ‘so that no trace, no merest shadow of the female
should attach to him to spoil his masculinity’ (18). Attention to such details
signals gendered differentiation in b¤oi: women are relegated to the
domestic sphere, men to the political, the venue in which courageous acts
are performed and acknowledged (3).94 In such a regime, the masculine
woman (éndrÒgunow) is as much a threat to the law’s version of courage as
its corollary, the feminine man (gÊnandrow, 21).
The contrariety of male and female informs the presentation of éndre¤a
in De fortitudine at various points. Philo is careful in his descriptions, for
example, to distance the courageous from any association with ‘softness’
(malak¤a), a quintessentially female characteristic.95 For example, in 6, those
who endure poverty bravely are contrasted with individuals who have
been ‘softened by lack of manliness’ (Íp’ énandr¤aw … malakisy°ntew).
Similarly, potential army recruits enfeebled by softness are to be rejected
(23).96 The fullest illustration of this dilemma, however, and apparently the
most troubling from Philo’s perspective, concerns the Midianite women.
Indeed, we can surmise that it was a priority for him to construct an image
of this group in which it functions vis-à-vis the Israelites not only as an
effective enemy but also as a perverse antitype, a moral inversion of the
Mosaic paradigm of virtue. This is evident in the Midianite women’s
contraposition both to qualities attributed to the Israelite army (especially
in 24–25, 32–33, 42–45) and to the rules regarding gender differentiation laid
out in 18–21.
To take the latter first: like their Jewish counterparts, the Midianite
women have received training (éskhye›sai, 39, cf. éskÆsaw in 21), not in
decency of adornment (kÒsmow, 21), however, but so as to adorn (diakos-
m°v) themselves in extravagant (polutelÆw) attire (39), unschooled in

[Philo] then notes the law which forbids a man to assume a woman’s dress, which … is
hardly a law promoting éndre¤a in the sense of courage.’
93 Cf. Josephus, AJ 4.301.
94 Cf. Plato, Meno 73A; Aristotle, Pol. 1.5.8.
95 Cf. C. Edwards, The Politics of Immorality in ancient Rome (Cambridge 1993) 63–97; C.
Williams, Roman Homosexuality: Ideologies of Masculinity in Classical Antiquity (New
York 1999) s.v. mollitia.
96 Another point on which civilian and military forms of courage approximate one
22 walter t. wilson

doctrines that remove from the soul its desire for extravagance (polut°-
leia, 8). Rather than ‘following nature,’ as the law prescribes (18–19), they
hope to improve upon their natural beauty (tÚ §k fÊsevw kãllow, 39). The
fact that they trade in the very sorts of passions that the temperate ought
to resist (13–14) exposes their claims to svfrosÊnh as utter hypocrisy (39).
In all this they contradict the Mosaic ideal of womanhood.
It is not, however, only in their transgressions, in their profane
appearance, harlotry, and idolatry (40), that the Midianite women spurn the
law. It is also in the fact that they constitute an actual fighting ‘force’
capable of undermining the Israelites, a menace that must be defeated in
order to re-establish Mosaic order. This becomes evident when we examine
the accumulation of descriptive details Philo offers in the exposition
showing how the two sides mirror one another in their motivation and
Like the Israelite soldiers, for example, the women utilize physical ‘pos-
tures and movements’ to overwhelm their foes (40: sx°sesi ka‹ kinÆsesin,
cf. 32: sx°seiw te ka‹ kinÆseiw). Both sides are encouraged not to be fearful
(de¤dv) — the Israelites of a formidable enemy (48), the women of the
sullied reputation they will earn for their misdeeds (37). While the latter
willingly accept such disgrace (afisxÊnh, 37, 40) for the sake of victory, the
Israelite soldiers refuse to invest disgraceful action (afisxrÒw) of any kind
‘with fair-sounding titles’ (24). Like the courageous man of 10, the women
intend to convert their édoj¤a into eÎkleia through ‘excellent’ conduct (37–
38, cf. 32). Their ériste¤a, however, is counterfeit, in contrast to that of the
12,000 Israelites chosen for battle in 42.
Both groups hope that their actions will reap benefits (»f°leiai) for their
respective countries (25, 37, cf. 3). The women’s aim is to secure victory
without bloodshed (énaimvt¤), having received assurances that ‘you have
merely to be seen (aÈtÚ mÒnon Ùfye›sai) and … the day will be yours’ (38).
But, in the end, both the Midianite commanders and their female provoca-
teurs fall victim to the same fate they had intended for their enemy. On the
battlefield, the Israelite army mows down many myriads ‘by a mere
shout’ (aÈtoboe¤, 43), achieving precisely the sort of bloodless (énaimvt¤)
victory its enlistment procedures were designed to produce (33). The rea-
son for this, of course, is that the soldiers champion the cause of eÈs°beia
(42, 45) against the forces of és°beia (34).97 But more than this, their enemy
constitutes a shocking inversion of the gender polarity upon which the
law’s regimen of éndre¤a is predicated. The Midianite men explain that by
prostituting their bodies it is the women who will ‘outwit and outgeneral’

97 With the unholy resolutions (gn«mai) in which the women participate (43), cf. the
gn≈mh of the men zealous for military service in 27; cf. Schmid, On Manly Courage, 108.
courage and warfare in philo’s de fortitudine 23

the enemy (37). However, even if their ruse meets with success, it will in
fact constitute for the men a Pyrrhic victory. Since it will be ‘brought to a
successful conclusion by women and not men,’ the latter are forced to
acknowledge that ‘it is our sex … which will suffer defeat’ (38). Conversely,
Israelite courage is defined in overcoming this anomaly through the
destruction of masculine women, who usurp male prerogatives, and their
effeminate men, who acquiesce to female activity in, of all places, inter-
national warfare.
To sum up: even as both writers analyze courage from a philosophical
perspective and in conjunction with a set of virtues deemed essential for
personal, civic, and military life, the foregoing analysis has revealed some
differences in their assumptions and priorities as well, the chief of which can
be stated as follows. First, the two explicate the principal features of cour-
age in relation to different versions of the canon of cardinal virtues: Cicero
works with the conventional four, Philo with a version that includes
filanyrvp¤a and eÈs°beia. Second, Philo shows a greater interest than does
Cicero in explaining the nature of military courage and in highlighting
wartime achievements as legitimate demonstrations of virtue. Third, even
as he shares Cicero’s elitist perspective, in describing such achievements
Philo looks less to military leaders for moral exempla and more to the army
as such.98 Fourth, Philo makes a more concerted effort than does Cicero to
portray courage as a uniquely masculine concept, opposed to femininity
and aberrations of gender norms.

Philonic Courage and the Ideology of Actium

Of course, these differences can be attributed partly to the different literary

sources and genres selected by the authors in constructing their respective
analyses. At least as important, though, are the differences in their historical
and geopolitical circumstances: Cicero writing from and for the center of
Roman power in the dying days of the Republic, Philo writing as the
member of a subject minority in a province conquered at a pivotal moment
in the Augustan revolution. In coming to terms with the latter, it is difficult
to overestimate the degree to which the ideological projects associated with
this revolution and its solidification influenced prevailing discourse about
courage and warfare in the Mediterranean world. No doubt a politically
prominent local elite like Philo would have been well acquainted with the

98 Note also how the principles of selection in Fort. 32 apply equally to soldiers and
24 walter t. wilson

elements of such discourse, especially insofar as it was developed in part to

justify the necessity and nature of Roman rule in his homeland.
More than any other single event, the master narrative for the Augustan
principate was provided by the defeat of Antony and Cleopatra at Actium,
the import of which was clarified by means of a system of polarized
signifiers familiar from Hellenic political rhetoric.99 Recasting civil conflict as
an epic confrontation between civilizations, Augustan propaganda aligned
Roman imperium with the virile and virtuous West, its enemies with the
feminized, decadent East.100 By subordinating himself to a woman, Antony
personified the emasculated male who abandons ancestral customs and
succumbs to his desire for sex and exotic luxuries. Incapable of enforcing
proper protocols of moral and sexual order, he is rendered weak, passive,
and cowardly. Cleopatra, in turn, becomes an avatar of the promiscuous,
extravagant female who ruthlessly enslaves Roman men, leaving political
and moral anarchy in her wake. Augustan rule, on the other hand, is coded
as emphatically male, its dominion over Eastern nations justified as an
extension of the dominion real men ought to exercise over gender deviants
like Antony and Cleopatra. In the imperial ethic, then, the ‘virtues most
prominently included [were] such militaristic values as courage and ascetic
self-discipline together with piety.’101
The remarkable success that this propaganda enjoyed was due in part to
its ability to capitalize on perceptions already circulating among elite
Roman men about the greatest threats to their power and the moral
arrangements that sustained it. The need to restrict the role of women in
society and control female sexuality, for example, was a ongoing object of
male anxiety.102 This imperative, of course, came to expression in various
forms, including patterns of invective that characterized female agency in

99 See, e.g., F. Hartog, The Mirror of Herodotus: The Representation of the Other in the
Writing of History (Berkeley 1988) 330–39; E. Hall, ‘Asia unmanned: Images of victory in
classical Athens’, in J. Rich, G. Shipley (edd.), War and Society in the Greek World
(London 1993) 108–33.
100 For what follows, see K. Scott, ‘The Political Propaganda of 44–30 B.C.’, Memoirs of
the American Academy in Rome 11 (1933) 7–49; R. Syme, The Roman Revolution (Oxford
1939) 259–75, 440–58, and passim; P. Zanker, The Power of Images in the Age of Augustus
(Ann Arbor 1988) 33–77; M. Wyke, ‘Augustan Cleopatras: Female Power and Poetic
Authority’, in A. Powell (ed.), Roman Poetry and Propaganda in the Age of Augustus
(Bristol 1992) 98–140; cf. P. Wallmann, Triumviti Rei Publicae Constituendae: Untersu-
chungen zur Politischen Propaganda im Zweiten Triumvirat (43–30 v. Chr.), Europäische
Hochschulschriften 3.383 (Frankfurt am Main 1989) 249–342.
101 S. K. Stowers, A Rereading of Romans: Justice, Jews, and Gentiles (New Haven 1994)
102 See, e.g., Edwards, Politics of Immorality, 34–62; S. R. Joshel, ‘Female Desire and the
Discourse of Empire: Tacitus’ Messalina’, in J. P. Hallett, M. B. Skinner (edd.), Roman
Sexualities (Princeton 1997) 221–54.
courage and warfare in philo’s de fortitudine 25

the political and/or military domains — and the sexual license thought to
inevitably accompany such incursions — as portents of moral decline and
social upheaval.103 In concert with this, the ideology of Actium projected
male ambivalence toward female otherness onto the culture of the
vanquished enemy, mapping gender dominance onto the structure of
Eastern conquest. This was the logic of a regime ‘in which Roman Order is
re-established externally through the defeat of Cleopatra and internally
through the re-domestication of women.’104
A related set of concerns was animated by the increasing contacts with
foreign cultures occasioned by military expansion, cultures whose habits
seemed to Roman sensibilities as corrupting as they were alluring. Simply
put, male elites operated according to a political ethic in which the capacity
to control one’s desires legitimated the authority one exercised over those
lacking such control. Hence it was incumbent upon members of the
governing class to resist and denounce any interest in foreign luxuries and
vices, especially those that had infiltrated Roman society from the East.
Failure to do so on any number of fronts rendered one ‘soft’ and unfit to
rule.105 For example, one of the most obvious ways in which a man might
appear to lose a grip on his masculine identity was ‘by indulging in an
excessive focus on his appearance or making himself look like a woman,’106
which could include ‘wearing loose, colorful, feminine clothing (including
the mitra or Eastern-style turban).’107 On this issue, the opinion of Donatus
is representative: to ‘share the same dress’ as a woman is tantamount to
sharing ‘the same bodily weakness, the same mental decadence.’108 Such
self-indulgence signaled one’s incapacity in the face of temptation and an
excessive, womanly interest in sex.109 As evidence that he had been

103 E.g., Lysias, Or. 2.4–6; Sallust, Bell. Cat. 25; Lucan, Bell. civ. 10.53–171. Cf. Wyke
‘Augustan Cleopatras’ 108–28; R. A. Gurval, Actium and Augustus: The Politics and
Emotions of Civil War (Ann Arbor 1995) 167–208; J. McInerney, ‘Plutarch’s Manly Women’,
in Rosen and Sluiter, Andreia, 319–44.
104 A. M. Keith, Engendering Rome: Women in Latin Epic (Cambridge 2000) 81, cf. 65–
105 E. S. Gruen, Studies in Greek Culture and Roman Policy, Cincinnati Classical Studies
7 (Leiden 1990) 158–92; Edwards, Politics of Immorality, 22–24, 92–97; Williams, Roman
Homosexuality, 132–42 and s.v. Greece and Greek cultural traditions.
106 Williams, Roman Homosexuality, 141.
107 Williams, Roman Homosexuality, 129. See, e.g., Virgil, Aen. 9.614–20; Dio Cassius
43.2–4; Seneca, Ep. 122.7; Aulus Gellius, Noct. att. 1.5.1–2, 6.12.1–6; Athenaeus, Deipn.
108 Donatus 2.268.25–30 (translation from Keith, Engendering Rome, 22). According to
Seneca, Contr. 9.2.17, it is especially disgraceful for a man of authority to perform his
official duties ‘in the clothing of a slave or a woman.’ Conversely, for a woman to don a
toga marked her as an adulteress or prostitute: Edwards, Politics of Immorality, 40.
109 Edwards, Politics of Immorality, 81–84.
26 walter t. wilson

‘bewitched’ by Cleopatra, for example, it was said of Antony that he

‘sometimes wore an oriental dagger at his belt, dressed in a manner not in
accordance with the customs of his native land, and let himself be seen even
in public upon a gilded couch.’110 Augustan ideology mapped such sartorial
norms onto international confrontation: the threat of the East is located in
its power to emasculate Roman men, while the ‘danger for the West is to
repeat the fate of Antony, to become Easternized and womanish.’111
Another priority within the imperial ideological system had to do with
demonstrating divine sanction of the Augustan revolution and the new
arrangements of power subsequently instated. It was incumbent upon the
emperor to show not only that he was morally worthy to rule, but also that
by virtue of this he enjoyed a special relationship with the gods, a felicitas
observable in both peacetime and wartime.112 With respect to the former,
the allied tasks of ‘restoring’ traditional religious practices and promul-
gating the fiction that the Romans were ‘the most pious of all peoples’
were central to imperial propaganda.113 In this regard, pietas (‘reverence,’ a
term that commonly renders the Greek eÈs°beia)114 figures conspicuously
in the Augustan canon of virtues, signaling the emperor’s devotion to the
state and to the gods upon whom its welfare ultimately depends.115 We
find it listed in Res Gestae 34.2, for instance, alongside virtus, clementia, and
iustitia.116 Years earlier, when addressing his troops on the eve of the battle

110 Dio Cassius 50.5.2–3; cf. Plutarch, Ant. 28–29.

111 D. Quint, Epic and Empire: Politics and Generic Form from Virgil to Milton (Princeton
1993) 29.
112 J. R. Fears, ‘The Theology of Victory at Rome: Approaches and Problems’, ANRW
II.17.2 (1981) 747–48: ‘Felicitas was blessed good fortune which good men had earned by
their actions … As such it was complemented by virtus, which, like felicitas, was a
concrete object of cult as well as a conception of social and ethical value. … Together
felicitas and virtus formed the twin pillars of the theology of victory.’ And p. 809: ‘Actium
was the concrete manifestation of the virtus and felicitas of Augustus.’ Cf. N. Rosenstein,
Imperatores Victi: Military Defeat and Aristocratic Competition in the Middle and Late
Republic (Berkeley 1990) 54–91.
113 Stowers, A Rereading of Romans, 54. Edwards, Politics of Immorality, 46: Augustus
fashioned himself ‘as a restorer of traditional Roman practices in religion as well as in
morals.’ Cf. A. Wardman, Religion and Statecraft among the Romans (Baltimore 1982) 63–
107; Zanker, Power of Images, 101–66; K. Galinsky, Augustan Culture (Princeton 1996)
288–331; D. Kienast, Augustus: Prinzeps und Monarch, 3rd ed. (Darmstadt 1999) 220–44.
114 J. D. Garrison, Pietas from Vergil to Dryden (University Park, Pennsylvania 1992) 12.
115 Livy 44.1.11 sums up the mentality: ‘the gods support the cause of duty and pietas, the
qualities by which the Roman people has climbed to so great an eminence.’
116 Cf. Fears ‘Theology of Victory’ 798. On the Augustan canon of virtues, see A.
Wallace-Hadrill, ‘The Emperor and His Virtues’, Historia 30 (1981) 298–323; J. R. Fears,
‘The Cult of Virtues and Roman Imperial Ideology’, ANRW II.17.2 (1981) 884–948;
Zanker, Power of Images, 95–98; Galinsky, Augustan Culture, 83–90; E. S. Ramage, The
Nature and Purpose of Augustus’ ‘Res Gestae’ (Stuttgart 1987) 73–100; idem, ‘Augustus’
courage and warfare in philo’s de fortitudine 27

of Actium, Augustus had apparently included himself among those whose

words and deeds evidence greater reverence (eÈseb°stera), while casting
aspersions on the eÈs°beia of Antony (Dio Cassius 50.24.1, 27.7).
Yet another illustration comes from that great Augustan epic, the Aeneid,
in which pietas constitutes an essential heroic trait.117 Indeed, the relevance
of this theme for constructing the foundation myth of the new political
order emerges perhaps most vividly in Virgil’s depiction of the battle of
Actium on the shield of Aeneas in 8.671–731.118 On one side of the
panorama, we see ‘Caesar Augustus, leading the Italians into battle, with
the senators and people, with the Penates and great gods’ (8.678–79). On
the other, we have ‘Antony with barbaric wealth and varied arms …
bringing with him Egypt and the strength of the Orient’ (8.685, 687),
together with Cleopatra, who is accompanied by ‘monstrous gods of every
kind and barking Anubis, holding weapons against Neptune and Venus,
against Minerva’ (8.698–99).119 The clash of East and West is here expressed
as ‘a political mythology of victory,’120 with Augustus defending the Olym-
pian deities against a cadre of perverse Oriental gods and suprahuman
forces of chaos. In his official self-representations, it appears that the
emperor exploited his association with Apollo.121 It is not surprising, then,
that in Virgil’s interpretation the battle’s outcome is ultimately determined
through the latter’s intervention, so that ‘all Egypt and India, all Arabians,
all Sabaeans turned their backs in flight’ (8.705–6).122 At the subsequent
triumph in Rome, Augustus consecrates ‘his eternal vow to the Italian
gods, three hundred mighty shrines’ (8.715–16), taking his place ‘on the
snowy threshold of shining Phoebus’ (8.720). Both the emperor’s rever-
ence for the ancestral gods and their support for him are demonstrated
conclusively in military conquest over the forces of an alien social and
religious order.

Propaganda in Spain’, Klio 80 (1998) 473–80.

117 ‘Virgil was writing de pietate Augusti.’ A. Powell, ‘The Aeneid and the Embarrass-
ments of Augustus’, in Powell, Roman Poetry, 150, cf. 141–59.
118 See Gurval, Actium and Augustus, 209–47 (translations are from this text); P. R.
Hardie, Virgil’s Aeneid: Cosmos and Imperium (Oxford 1986) 97–110, 336–75; Quint, Epic
and Empire, 21–48.
119 The reference to Anubis abets the assimilation of Cleopatra to Isis (whose cult
Augustus debarred from Roman state religion), bringing with it ‘ideas of disorder,
dissonance, and barbarous animality.’ Wyke ‘Augustan Cleopatras’ 105, cf. 107.
120 Fears ‘Theology of Victory’ 798.
121 J. Gagé, Apollon Romain: Essai sur le culte d’Apollon et le développement du ‘ritus
Graecus’ à Rome des origines à Auguste, Bibliothèque des écoles françaises d’Athènes et
de Rome 182 (Paris 1955) 479–522; Zanker, Power of Images, 44–53, 85–89; cf. Gurval,
Actium and Augustus, 87–136.
122 Cf. Propertius 4.6.15–62.
28 walter t. wilson

In the Res Gestae, as we saw, Augustus sought to associate his principate

with another traditional virtue, clementia, ‘a peculiarly Roman concept’ cor-
responding to a range of Greek terms, including praÒthw and filanyrv-
p¤a.123 Stereotypically, it came to expression in the leniency one showed to
vanquished enemies, for example, in Off. 1.88, where Cicero acknowledges
it as a basic obligation of the courageous leader.124 It was, in fact, important
to the Roman national self-image that this temperament be displayed
generally by its fighting forces. Polybius sums up the expected deportment
as follows: ‘Good men ought to be stern and high-spirited in combat, noble
and high-minded when worsted, but moderate and merciful and humane
(metr¤ouw ka‹ prae›w ka‹ filanyr≈pouw) when victorious.’125 This mentality
contributed to the ‘recipe for empire’ that Augustus followed, apparently
from the inception of his rule.126 In recounting the aftermath of Actium, for
example, Velleius Paterculus noted that ‘his victory was indeed very
merciful (clementissima) and no one was executed except for a very few.’127
Such forbearance towards Antony’s soldiers would have been considered
‘an extraordinary move towards reconciliation.’128
One final concern regarding arrangements of power in the empire was
directed towards what must have been the most visible extension of
Roman imperium. Specifically, during this era the moral anxieties of Roman
elites came to be projected increasingly onto the Roman soldiery, the very
instrument through which the empire’s control over subjects and enemies
alike was supposed to be administered.129 Just as the Augustan revolution

123 Dyck, De Officiis, 225–26. Cf. M. Reinhold, An Historical Commentary on Cassius

Dio’s Roman History, Volume 6, APAMS 34 (Atlanta 1988) 124: ‘clementia was held forth
as one of the cardinal virtues of Augustus and the new order.’ Further, K. Winkler,
‘Clementia’, RAC 3 (1957) 206–18; B. Mortureux, ‘Les idéaux stoiciens et les premières
responsabilités politiques: le ‘De clementia’’, A N R W II.36.3 (1989) 1639–85; M. B.
Dowling, The Development of Clementia During the Roman Principate (Ph.D. dissertation,
Columbia University, 1995) 1–79; M. Griffin, ‘Clementia after Caesar’, in F. Cairns, E.
Fantham (edd.), Caesar against Liberty? Perspectives on his Autocracy, Papers of the
Langford Latin Seminar 11 (Cambridge 2003) 157–82.
124 Cf. T. Hölscher, Victoria Romana (Mainz 1967) 106–7.
125 Polybius 18.37.7, cf. 3.75.8, 3.99.7, 27.8.8–9; Cicero, Off. 1.35; Diodorus Siculus 27.14,
16, 32.4.
126 E. S. Gruen, The Hellenistic World and the Coming of Rome, Volume I (Berkeley 1984)
346; cf. T. Adam, Clementia Principis: Der Einfluß Hellenistischer Fürstenspiegel auf den
Versuch einer rechtlichen Fundierung des Principats durch Seneca, Kieler Historische
Studien 11 (Stuttgart 1970) 86–88.
127 Velleius Paterculus 2.86.2 (text and translation from Reinhold, Roman History, 124);
cf. Seneca, Clem. 1.9.1.
128 Reinhold, Roman History, 125; cf. Dio Cassius 51.3.1–2. Augustus announced clemency
also to the Alexandrians: ibid., 51.16.3–4.
129 For what follows, see R. Alston, Soldier and Society in Roman Egypt (London 1995)
54–56; idem, ‘Arms and the man: Soldiers, masculinity and power in Republican and
courage and warfare in philo’s de fortitudine 29

itself was accomplished principally by military means, its continuing con-

solidation relied on strong, loyal armies. In this enterprise, defending the
physical security of the empire and defending the moral standards whose
possession made empire possible were seen as mutually informing activi-
ties.130 Masculine, self-reliant, courageous, and patriotic, the citizen under
arms was the traditional embodiment of the ideal Roman vir. However, the
exigencies of empire building had wrought sweeping changes in the nature
of the military and its relationship to Roman society. The days in which the
army could count on citizen volunteers to fill its ranks belonged to the
romanticized past.131 Due in part to reforms initiated by Augustus himself,
the army became increasingly professionalized. Recruits served for longer
tours of duty and in theaters further from home. They also tended to be
drawn increasingly from poor, rural, uneducated, and non-Italian elements
of society. Forbidden to marry, a soldier enjoyed no personal sphere in
which to practice imperium. Any offspring he had would necessarily be
illegitimate.132 Even worse, he was subject to beatings from his superiors,
an indignity usually associated with servile status.133
Evaluations recorded by contemporaneous moralists and historians are
less than kind as well.134 Roman literature routinely portrays soldiers as
uncultured, violent, and emotionally unrestrained, motivated less by the
desire for honor than by greed and lust. Irreverent and malicious brutes,
they plunder temples and mutiny against their superiors, killing and raping
helpless captives in wartime,135 bullying the civilian population they are
supposed to protect in peacetime. It is no wonder, then, that they readily
serve as a conduit for the insidious influence of Eastern vices into Roman
society. In fact, the corruption of the army’s traditional moral and religious
values was thought by many to be occasioned by its contact with Eastern
culture, as we see, for example, in Sallust, Bell. Cat. 11.5–6:136

Imperial Rome’, in L. Foxhall, J. Salmon (edd.), When Men Were Men: Masculinity,
power and identity in classical antiquity (London 1998) 205–23; B. Campbell, War and
Society in Imperial Rome (London 2002) 1–46.
130 Edwards, Politics of Immorality, 1–2.
131 Alston ‘Arms and the man’ 211; Campbell, War and Society, 30–31; W. V. Harris, War
and Imperialism in Republican Rome (Oxford 1979) 17–18.
132 S. E. Phang, The Marriage of Roman Soldiers: Law and Family in the Imperial Army,
Columbia Studies in the Classical Tradition 24 (Leiden 2001).
133 J. Walters, ‘Invading the Roman Body: Manliness and Impenetrability in Roman
Thought’, in Hallett and Skinner, Roman Sexualities, 29–43.
134 E.g., Cicero, Verr. 2.116, Phil. 3.31; Sallust, Bell. Cat. 51.9; Tacitus, Ann. 1.16, 31, 13.35,
Hist. 2.56, 73, 3.33, 4.14; Dio Cassius 75.2.5–6; Fronto, Ad Verum. Imp. 2.1.19. Cf. I.
Kajanto, ‘Tacitus’ Attitude to War and the Soldier’, Latomus 29 (1970) 699–718.
135 Williams, Roman Homosexuality, 104 (cf. 105–7): ‘Roman writers often give voice to
fears that victorious armies … will rape both males and females among the vanquished.’
136 Text and translation from Williams, Roman Homosexuality, 136. Cf. Livy 39.6.6–7;
30 walter t. wilson

In order to ensure the loyalty of the army he had brought with him in Asia,
Lucius Sulla treated them luxuriously and too freely, violating the standards of
our ancestors. The lovely, pleasant regions had easily softened (molliverant) the
soldiers’ fierce minds … There for the first time the army of the Roman people
became accustomed to love and drink; … to steal … to loot temples; to dese-
crate everything, both sacred and profane.

By and large, in spite of the essential role they played in procuring and
preserving elite power, theirs was — by aristocratic standards — a severely
compromised manhood.137 Indeed, it appeared that too often the Roman
soldiery wallowed in the vices of the very societies over which they were
suppose to exercise dominion. Unsettled by such a burgeoning moral ano-
maly, elites denounced soldiers as threats to the moral fabric of imperium.
Shown by their behavior to be sub-viri, even sub-human,138 they were
deemed incapable of commanding themselves, much less others. Through
a series of military reforms, Augustus presented himself in this context as
‘both creating a ‘new’ army and restoring ‘old’ discipline.’139 The prohibi-
tion of marriage, for example, was simply part of a larger effort to maintain
warfare as the exclusive domain of males, insulating troops ‘from any taint
of effeminization, in order to maintain their ability to conquer and to
ensure dominion over the Greeks and barbarians.’140


The interpretive practices evident in the Exposition can be fairly labeled

‘political’ insofar as they belonged to a larger effort on Philo’s part to
secure the civil rights of the Jewish community in Alexandria, a turbulent
setting in which the final arbiter of all such rights was the emperor. Philo’s
response involved demonstrating how the basis of this community’s life,
its scriptures, embodied the ideal polite¤a in terms that would win respect

Polybius 31.25.4; E. L. Wheeler, ‘The laxity of Syrian legions’, in D. L. Kennedy (ed.),

The Roman Army in the East (Ann Arbor 1996) 229–76; A. Rossi, ‘The Camp of Pompey:
Strategy of Representation in Caesar’s Bellum Ciuile’, CJ 95 (2000) 239–56.
137 Campbell, War and Society, 33: ‘Soldiers, by their ethnic, legal, social and economic
status, had no obvious community of interest with the propertied élite or the urban
society and culture they helped to protect.’
138 See, e.g., Cicero, Phil. 8.9; Dio Chrysostom, 1 Regn. 28; Petronius, Satyr. 62.
139 Phang, Marriage of Roman Soldiers, 347. On these reforms, see K. Raaflaub, ‘Die
Militärreformen des Augustus und die politische Problematik des frühen Prinzipats’, in
G. Binder (ed.), Saeculum Augustum I: Herrschaft und Gesellschaft, Wege der Forschung
266 (Darmstadt 1987) 246–307.
140 Phang, Marriage of Roman Soldiers, 356, cf. 344–83. Fraternization with non-Roman
women was thought to be especially problematic: ibid., 364–66.
courage and warfare in philo’s de fortitudine 31

within the discursive systems of imperial power. Accordingly, he recasts

Mosaic law and history from a contemporary political perspective, con-
structing an image of Judaism in which its moral ideals and concerns come
to expression in ways that are congenial with those of Rome.
We find evidence of this in De fortitudine, where scriptural details are
assimilated to elements of imperial ideology, so as to align Jewish interests
in cultivating éndre¤a with those of the Roman West in its opposition to the
depraved East. In particular, Philo’s conception of the Midianites as per-
verse other serves to situate Mosaic courage critically vis-à-vis a range of
negative moral stereotypes familiar from Augustan propaganda. Accord-
ingly, Mosaic courage is defined in terms of mastery over women and
femininity. Its actualization is normed in the domestication of women,
including resistance to female interference in the military/political domain
and the sexual license thereby implicated. It is determined also in opposi-
tion to the passive men who tolerate such gender aberrations and the sorts
of ‘soft’ habits that emasculate them. In subjugating such threats to the
law, its adherents prove both their superior virtue and the divine support
conferred on those who honor moral and religious tradition.
From the imperial perspective, the decisive venue for testing and
demonstrating masculine excellence was the battlefield. After all, ‘Roman
moral superiority was a guarantee of the divine favour which assured
Roman military success.’141 A similar logic guides Philo, for whom the
success of Israelite soldiers functions as the ultimate ‘proof’ (p¤stiw) of their
nation’s courage (34). But, more than this, his account of the Midianite war
reflects an historiographical tradition of combat description (popular espe-
cially with Roman authors like Julius Caesar) in which victory is attributed
not to factors like numerical superiority, better generalship, or good
fortune, but to the exceptional virtue of the combatants themselves.142 As
we have seen, in its patterns of description, De fortitudine implies that the
moral standards promoted by the law permeate Jewish society to such an
extent that even its soldiers show themselves to be paradigms of virtue.
Wise, moderate, reverent, and humane in their courage, they embody
Mosaic dominance over Eastern vice and sensuality, executing the divine
will. As such, their victory over Midian functions for Philo as a formative

141 Edwards, Politics of Immorality, 21.

142 J. E. Lendon, ‘The Rhetoric of Combat: Greek Military Theory and Roman Culture in
Julius Caesar’s Battle Descriptions’, Classical Antiquity 18 (1999) 273–329. Such
descriptions were wont to analyze battlefield outcomes in ‘psychological’ terms, i.e.,
with respect to the condition of the participants’ respective cuxa¤. Polybius 6.52.8–9,
e.g., explains that Roman military success depends on éretÆ and eÈcux¤a (cf. 18.15.2–3,
19.30.5–6, 20.38.5, 20.51.5), while Julius Caesar accentuates a clutch of virtues, including
courage, greatness of spirit, obedience, and self-control (Bell. gall. 7.52).
32 walter t. wilson

event in Israelite history — ‘a political mythology of victory’ — of the

same moral value and type as the Augustan victory at Actium.143
One final observation regarding the account of the Midianite war con-
veyed in De fortitudine helps to clarify its author’s geopolitical bearing. The
only item that tethers this otherwise generic tale to any specific time or
place, a detail absent from the parallel account in De vita Mosis, is found in
the introduction, which identifies the Israelites’ antagonists as ‘Arabians,
whose name in old times was Midianites’ (34). In the Roman imagination,
Arabia was a barbarian, Eastern nation given to extravagant luxuries and
populated by robbers.144 As we saw earlier, Virgil’s depiction of Actium
includes among Augustus’ vanquished enemies ‘all Arabians’ (Aen. 8.705–
6). Most likely, this alludes to the military support Antony received at the
time from certain Arabian kings, one of whom was later led in the trium-
phal procession in Rome.145 The addition of this detail helps to solidify the
integration of Philo’s Jews into the ethos and execution of imperial power.
Jewish courage and warfare not only exhibit the same moral logic as their
Roman counterparts, but at decisive moments in their respective histories
the two nations have also proven their superiority in defeating a common
Later, in 26/25–22 B .C .E ., Augustus authorized military aggression
against Arabia, noted as an imperial achievement in Res Gestae 26.5. In his
account of the expedition, Strabo notes that in one engagement the Arab
army lost 10,000 men, the invasionary force only two.146 As Tacitus ob-
serves, among Romans it was ‘a great matter for pride in the event of
victory, if the battle were fought without the expenditure of Roman blood’
(Agr. 35.2). In Philo’s reimagining of the Israelite victory over the Arabs/
Midianites, soldiers schooled in the Mosaic law achieve a similarly impres-
sive victory, though, without suffering a single casualty, they are able to do
the Romans one, or two, better.

Emory University

143 Cf. Niehoff, Philo on Jewish Identity, 45–58.

144 E.g., Strabo, Geogr. 16.2.20, 16.4.22, 25–26; Diodorus Siculus 2.48.1–2, 3.43.5; Pliny,
Nat. 6.32.142–62.
145 Dio Cassius 51.2.2; cf. Gurval, Actium and Augustus, 29.
146 Strabo 16.4.22–24. Cf. G. W. Bowersock, Roman Arabia (Cambridge 1983) 46–49; B.
Isaac, The Limits of Empire: The Roman Army in the East (Oxford 1990) 118–34, 349–52.
Similar casualty ratios are not uncommon, e.g., Josephus, BJ 3.19–21; cf. Campbell, War
and Society, 68–70.
The Studia Philonica Annual XVII (2005) 33–48


Frank Shaw

There is a brief, and to some a bit puzzling, account at the end of Philo’s
Legatio ad Gaium (§353) that could stand some elaboration. After much ver-
biage describing the background to the embassy and to the delegation’s
actual meeting with the emperor in the first 90% of our historical treatise,
Philo provides a record, finally, of his encounter with Caligula, and he
implies that Gaius’ opening words were meant as a provocation. The epi-
sode raises several issues: (1) Just what was the utterance that so irritated
the Jewish party? (2) How is the Greek here to be understood? (3) If the
emperor really did use the divine name, this opens up further questions: (i)
Would he have understood the concept of a (normally) nameless god? (ii)
How could he have been aware that using the divine name would be
displeasing to the Jews from Alexandria? (iii) How could he have learned
the name itself? (iv) In what form was it most likely to have been known?
It is best to begin by quoting our passage:2
sarkavzwn ga;r a{ma kai; seshrwv", uJmei'", ei\pen, ejste; oiJ qeomisei'", oiJ qeo;n mh;
nomivzonte" ei\naiv me, to;n h[dh para; pa'si toi'" a[lloi" ajnwmologhmevnon, ajlla;
to;n ajkatonovmaston uJmi'n… kai; ajnateivna" ta;" cei'ra" eij" to;n oujrano;n ejpe -
fhvmize provsrhsin, h}n oujde; ajkouvein qemitovn, oujc o{ti diermhneuvein aujtolexeiv.

In the last sentence the emperor raises his hands to heaven and says
something impermissible. Just what was the provsrhsi"? This has tradition-
ally been understood to refer to the divine name of the Hebrew God.
Representatively, Smallwood expounds the text, ‘Gaius uttered the sacred
name for the Jewish God, Jahweh (the tetragrammaton), as an intentional
act of blasphemy.’3 Others have drawn a similar conclusion.4 However, this

1 I thank Adam Kamesar, Hebrew Union College, for reading an earlier draft and
offering suggestions.
2 The text used here (with the punctuation slightly adapted) may be found in PCW
6.220. It is also available in E. Mary Smallwood, Philonis Alexandrini Legatio ad Gaium,
first ed. (Leiden 1961) second ed. (1970), both on 142. Since she changed the translation of
this passage in her second edition, I sometimes cite by both editions infra.
3 318 in both eds.
4 This appears to be a very old interpretation going back at least to T. Mangey, Philonis
Judaei Opera . . . omnia, vol. 2 (London 1742) 597; J. F. Eckhard takes this position in his
German translation, Die Gesandtschaft an den Caius (Leipzig 1783) 143 n. 2; see also I.
34 frank shaw

interpretation has been recently challenged by Sean M. McDonough in a

significant work on the use of the divine name in Greco-Roman antiquity.5
He claims, ‘all the text asserts is that the emperor uttered something
offensive. It is not at all clear that Philo intends us to understand the tetra-
grammaton here. Caligula may have simply been declaring his own
divinity, which would have been blasphemous enough for a faithful Jew.’6
In all fairness to McDonough he has since softened his view on this matter,
as his statement to me in a personal letter indicates: ‘I will concede that it
[Leg. 353] could refer to the tetragrammaton.’7 There is good reason for
thinking that it does refer to the divine name. The word aj k atonov m asto"
which occurs in our locus is rather rare.8 It appears in only one other
passage in Philo, Somn. 1.67. Here it is used in a series of other modifiers for
God,9 that is, there is no doubt that the word in its only other occurrence in
the Philonic corpus applies to the Jewish God. How might this bear on our
passage from the Legatio?
Here is where the difficulty in Greek alluded to above enters the
picture. Are the two phrases beginning with tovn, that is, to;n h[dh para; pa'si
toi'" a[lloi" ajnwmologhmevnon and the immediately following ajlla; to;n

Heinemann, Philos griechische und jüdische Bildung (Breslau 1932) 531 n. 2; W. L. Knox,
Some Hellenistic Elements in Primitive Christianity (London 1944) 49–50; F. W. Kohnke,
Gesandtschaft an Caligula, PCH 7 (Berlin 1964) 262 n. 1; V. Nikiprowetzky, De Decalogo,
PAPM 23 (Paris 1965) 146–7; A. Pelletier, Legatio ad Caium, PAPM 32 (Paris 1972) 308–9.
In one of the most extended modern commentaries on this passage Nikiprowetzky
declares: ‘Il est certain que Philon connaissait l’existence du Tétragramme et qu’il était
parfaitement capable de le reconnaître sur les lèvres de Caligula. Il n’ignorait pas que ce
nom divin était, aux yeux des Juifs, revêtu d’une sainteté particulière. On ne devait pas le
prononcer ailleurs qu’au temple. . . . [He then cites the above quotation and continues]
Ayant proféré ces mots, l’Empereur lève les mains au ciel et pronounce le Tétragramme.
La solution de continuité logique paraît manifest entre les paroles de Gaius et le geste sur
lequel elles débouchent,’ Le commentaire de l’écriture chez Philon d’Alexandrie, ALGHJ 11
(Leiden 1977) 59, 86. David Runia, in an article that is often germane to the topic
discussed here, likewise believes that our locus refers to the tetragram, ‘Naming and
Knowing: Themes in Philonic Theology with Special Reference to the De Mutatione
Nominum,’ in R. van der Broek et al. (edd.), Knowledge of God in the Graeco-Roman
World, EPRO 112 (Leiden 1988) 78 n. 32.
5 S. M. McDonough, YHWH at Patmos: Rev. 1:4 in its Hellenistic and Jewish Setting,
WUNT 107 (Tübingen 1999).
6 McDonough, YHWH at Patmos, 83 n. 127.
7 Private correspondence (09-25-00). I thank S. McDonough for his continued dialogue on
this matter with me; several of the points in the following paragraphs are the result of
our electronic discussions.
8 For more on this word, see n. 27 infra.
9 The passage reads: mhvpote mevntoi ge oujde; tovpon nu'n ajllhgorw'n ejpi; tou' aijtivou pareivlh-
fen, ajll j e[sti to; dhlouvmenon toiou'ton: h\lqen eij" to;n tovpon, kai; ajnablevya" toi'" ojfqalmoi'"
ei\den aujto;n to;n tovpon, eij" o}n e\lqe, makra;n o[nta tou' ajkatonomavstou kai; ajrrhvtou kai; kata;
pavsa" ijdeva" ajkatalhvptou qeou', text from PCW 2.219, with slight punctuation changes.
the emperor gaius’ employment of the divine name 35

ajkatonovmaston uJmi'n, to be understood as modifying the me just before

them? Do both grammatical units simply refer to Gaius in an instance of
the sort of parallelism of which English speakers are so fond? According to
certain modern language translations, this is how one group of academics
has viewed our locus. All three English translators render the to;n ajkato-
novmaston uJmi'n as grammatically corresponding to the preceding to;n . . .
ajnwmologhmevnon. For example, F. H. Colson translates the passage, ‘Are
you the god-haters who do not believe me to be a god, a god acknow-
ledged among all the other nations but not to be named by you?’10 The
renderings by Smallwood and Yonge are similar11 as is the Italian trans-
lation.12 However, there is another possibility, that of understanding the
second ‘tovn . . .’ clause as not parallel to the first, but as speaking of the
Jewish God. This is how André Pelletier takes it: ‘C’est vous, dit-il, les gens
qui haïssent Dieu, les gens qui ne veulent pas reconnaître que je suis dieu,
moi qui suis déjà qualifié ainsi auprès de tous les autres hommes, mais qui
croyez en celui que vous ne pouvez nommer.’13 Nikiprowetzky argues for
a similar understanding of the Greek, reminding the reader that ajkatonov-
masto" occurs at Somn. 1.67 in conjuction with a[rrhto" and that is certainly
the meaning in our Legatio passage. He continues:
Il nous paraît donc nécessaire, en ce qui concerne notre passage, de mettre en
connexion oiJ qeo;n mh; nomivzonte" ei\naiv me d’une part et ajlla; to;n ajkatonovma-
ston uJmi'n , de l’autre. De sorte que la phrase entière se traduirait de la manière
suivante: ‹‹Eh bien! Vous voilà, les ennemis de la divinité, vous qui pensez que
ce n’est pas moi qui suis dieu, alors que tous les autres désormais en convien-
nent, mais celui que vous ne devez pas nommer›› : ‹‹votre Yahweh››. Dès lors la
phrase qui décrit le geste de Gaius et son ‹‹blasphème›› est très logiquement
raccordée à celle que nous venons d’analyser.14

10 F. H. Colson, PLCL, vol. 10.177.

11 In her first edition Smallwood renders the passage ‘the people who do not believe
that I am a god — I, who am acknowledged as a god among all other nations by this time
but am denied that title by you?’ while in her revision she changes the last part to ‘that
I am a god — Why the rest of the world now acknowledges me as a god, yet you refuse to
pronounce the title!’ 142 in both eds. Charles D. Yonge translates the last bit ‘I who am
already confessed to be a god by every other nation, but who am refused that appellation
by you,’ The Works of Philo Judaeus, vol. 4 (London 1855) 176, reprinted in an updated
one-volume edition by Hendrickson (Peabody, Mass. 1993) 789.
12 By C. Kraus: ‘quelli che non credono che io sia un dio, un dio ormai riconosciuto da tutti
gli altri, a cui voi soli negate questo nome?’, Filone Alessandrino e un’ora tragica della
storia ebraica (Naples 1967) 251.
13 Pelletier, PAPM 309.
14 Nikiprowetsky, Le commentaire, 86–7. Evidently, since Nikiprowetzky criticizes
Smallwood’s original translation amid his commentary here, he was a stimulus for
changing her rendering, but the second version certainly does not provide what he is
arguing for.
36 frank shaw

A substantial number of German and French scholars so understand our

passage on this point.15 It is perhaps easy for a native English speaker to
want to see nice grammatical parallelism with the two ‘tovn . . .’ clauses
here, but it is good to remember that we should not impose what we think
is good syntax in our native language onto ancient Greek, where sophisti-
cated freedom in syntax (very much unlike English) was a sign of a good
writer,16 and something that Philo regularly employs. It is also worthy of
note that even if the aforementioned English translations of Philo are
acceptable, at least in the case of Smallwood, she still believes that Gaius
uttered the divine name. The ‘Franco-German’ interpretation just streng-
thens this view.
At this point we need to stop and ask something further: does the
presence of two such modern understandings of our locus point to another
factor in Philo’s writing? Could it be that our author is employing an
intentional double entendre here? That is, did he have two meanings in
mind and deliberately choose this sophisticated syntax in order to convey
both possibilities, albeit with considerable ambiguity? This seems to be the
thinking of Pelletier who states, ‘Dans notre texte, il y a une espèce de jeu
de mots (cf. De Somniis I, 67, où il s’agit du Dieu ineffable), ce qui rend le
propos de Caius doublement blasphématoire.’17 Philo is well-known for
this writing with two levels of meaning. Of course in a general sense he

15 This goes back to at least Eckhard who renders, ‘Send [= seid] ihr allein diejenigen,
welche keinen Gott leiden können, als den, dessen Namen ihr nicht aussprechet, die ihr
mich vor keinen Gott halten wollet, da ich von allen Uebrigen davor erkannt werde?’ Die
Gesandtschaft, 143–4. Other Germans who similarly understand out passage include Hans
Lewy, Von den Machterweisen Gottes (Berlin 1935) 79, and Kohnke, Gesandtschaft a n
Caligula, 261–2. Marcel Simon likewise takes the Greek in this manner, ‘Jupiter-Yahvé,’
Numen 23 (1976) 49.
16 The fact that German and French native speakers so easily and consistently see one
possibility, while all the English translators (and one Italian) do not, may indicate that
the native language of the latter group is interfering with seeing both possible
understandings of the passage. Then too one might wonder how much influence that first
English translation of our text by Yonge has continued to exercise. We should remember
that Yonge’s work is a ‘rather inaccurate English translation,’ Hans Lewy, Philo:
Selections, Philosophia Judaica 8 (Oxford 1946) 107 reprinted in Three Jewish Philosophers
(New York 1960 et freq.) same pagination. The classic work on ancient Greek variatio or
metabolhv continues to be Jan G. A. Ros, Die METABOLH (Variatio) als Stilprinzip des
Thukydides (Paderborn 1938, reprint Amsterdam 1968). Even in Ros’ most advanced
section on syntax (387–450), which might contain principles pertinent for help in
understanding the Greek in our passage, he does not attempt to handle the sort of thing
we see here, a phenomenon likely more common in the flowery literary koine of Philo’s
time than in the non-rhetorical sections of Thucydides (where Ros argues that the
historian’s use of sophisticated syntactic variation is the greatest).
17 Pelletier, PAPM 308. Might this also be what lies behind the revised translation of
Smallwood (n. 11 supra)?
the emperor gaius’ employment of the divine name 37

holds to both a literal observance and an allegorical interpretation of

Mosaic law.18 Likely memorable to savants of our author is the double
entendre found at Congr. 74–8 where Philo describes his own attraction to
philosophy in sexual terms. 19 At Praem. 153–7 he plays on both the
‘mystical virtues of Seven’ and the same number as representing the
These are discernable to someone working with Philo in translation, but
in a deeper sense, in his style of writing that may not be immediately
perceived in translation but only by individuals reading him in Greek, Philo
can convey more than one meaning. Probably one of the best known
instances of this is in a passage not completely unrelated to our locus in the
Legatio: Mut. 11–14. Here Philo uses kuvrio" both in the word’s original and
far more common function (in non-biblical Greek), as an adjective, and then
soon afterward as a noun (so well-known in the biblical sphere), the
‘name’ for the Jewish God.21 That there is some irony here is obvious from
the fact that a ‘proper’(kuvrio" as adjective) name, which God cannot reveal
to humanity,22 is followed by kuvrio" as noun, the very ‘name’ that God has
given to mankind who needs a provsrhsi" for the Deity as an ‘improper’

18 This is clear througout the Philonic corpus but is covered specifically, e.g., at Spec.
2.29 and Mig. 89–93.
19 David Winston has drawn attention to the similar language used at Sirach 51.13–30
LXX and 11QPsa (= 11Q5), Philo of Alexandria, Classics of Western Spirituality (Ramsey,
New Jersey 1981) 330.
20 Colson’s term, PLCL 7: 411. Colson’s note on this passage further explains the two-fold
meaning, 458.
21 The problems with this text are many and varied, too complex so to do justice to them
all here. Runia mentions several including the fact that at the first encounter with our
word kyrios in § 11 (as adj.), one does not know whether ‘proper’ name is to be understood
as a ‘legitimate’ name or a ‘personal’ one. Previous views on precisely what other
play(s) on words here may exist vary; they are reviewed by Runia who then presents his
own thinking, ‘Naming and Knowing, ’76–9. Not surprisingly the passage has textual
problems relating to our word. A further consideration is that as an adjective kyrios can
have more than the two connotations mentioned by Runia, and even if one wants to stick
with ‘proper, legitimate’ throughout our text, a reader of Philo’s day would likely not
have missed the additional shades of meaning such as ‘authorized, fixed, appointed,’
and ‘current,’ especially given the contextual statements that this ‘name’ is merely
aijwvnion and is linked to temporary human existence, is revealed to created beings, and is
not set beyond memory and noetic processes. Thus several meanings of kyrios as adjective
could easily be viewed as fitting better with the noun here, exactly what we do not find
Philo specifying.
22 Because, according to Philo, ultimately he does not have one.
23 Literally the ‘the improper use’ (katav c rhsi") of a divine name; see Runia, ‘Naming
and Knowing,’ 77–8.
38 frank shaw

David Runia has pointed out to me that the phrase e{neka th'" pro;" to;n
oJrato;n ‹qeo;n› aijdou'" at Aet. 20 could be taken with the material prior to it
or after it. This sentence states that is it necessary to put in order first the
arguments (lovgou" . . . protevrou" taktevon) that take their proper beginning
(oijkeivan ajrch;n labovnta" which come after the e{neka phrase) and that
contend that the world is uncreated and indestructible (tou;" de; ajgevnhton
kai; a[fqarton kataskeuavzonta" which come before the e{neka phrase). Is
the showing of respect for the visible God to be construed with arguments
contending that the world is not created and imperishable or with making
a proper start of such argumentation? In a private communication Runia
has suggested that although it is usually preferable to find a single meaning
in Philo, instances of deliberate double import should not be ruled out, and
that in this passage our author may have had both implications in mind.24
The position of the e{neka phrase ambiguously placed between the two
participles might well indicate this.
In her new Septuagint primer Jenny Dines sees a double connotation in
Philo’s description of how the Torah’s translators chose their ojnovmata kai;
rJhvmata, w{sper uJpobolevw" eJkavstoi" ajoravtew" ejnhcou'to" (Mos. 2.37). Focus-
ing in on the uJpoboleuv", ajoravtew", and ejnhvcw, she presents two options for
the first word, the ‘prompter’ of the Greek theater and the ‘interpreter’
usage by Philo at Mig. 78–80. Dines then notes that ejnhvcw connotes a loud,
persistent noise, and since ‘Greek theatres required more than a discreet
whisper from the prompter,’ the notion of uJpoboleuv" as interpreter may be
more prominent. However, she goes on, ‘Philo may be thinking of both
images simultaneously; the fact that the ‘voice’ is ‘unseen’ might suggest
both the prompter in the wings and the heavenly provenance of the
inspired words.’25 More examples of this possibility of multiple meanings
that are only accessible to those reading the original language could be
rallied,26 but the point has been made. Thus the mature solution to the
quandary of how to understand the sophisticated syntax in our Legatio
passage may be to recognize that Philo actually intended to convey both
meanings proposed by modern translators. So much for comprehending
the original Greek.

24 Private correspondence (02-20-05).

25 J. Dines, The Septuagint, Understanding the Bible and Its World (London–New York
2004) 68–9. It is noteworthy that according to Dines this sentence, only a small portion of
which is quoted above, is, like our passage, a ‘very complex’ one, ibid.
26 Cf. P. W. van der Horst’s comments on Flacc. 52 (how to take w\ gennai'oi), and 76, the
ambiguity of di j eJtevrwn, Philo’s Flaccus, The First Progrom, Philo of Alexandria
Commentary Series, vol. 2 (Leiden 2003) 151–2, 171; Winston has noted the repeated
a[peiro" at Op. 171 as ‘untranslatable word play’ and made similar comments regarding
the verbs e[gnw/ajpevgnw at Somn. 1.60, Philo of Alexandria, 340 n. 106, 357 n. 319.
the emperor gaius’ employment of the divine name 39

One might now wonder whether the ajkatonovmasto" would make sense
to Jews but be relatively cryptic to gentile readers.27 Without entering into
the question of Philo’s intended audience, especially for this historical work,
such thinking might indicate some ignorance of this concept among educa-
ted pagans. Pelletier argues that the term would have been sensible to
them in this context.28 He does not mention this, but certainly both Philo’s
assertion about God’s being nameless29 and the same concept as it existed
among gentile philosophers must ultimately go back to the statements in
Plato’s Parmenides concerning to; e[n: oujd j a[ra o[noma e[stin aujtw'/ . . . oujd j
ojnomavzetai.30 Plotinus at least twice expresses similar thoughts.31 Roelof van
der Broek summarizes: ‘The idea that God has no proper name is very
common in the philosophical and religious literature of the first centuries of
our era; it is expressed by pagan, Jewish and Christian writers alike.’32
Henry Chadwick likewise traces the notion that God is ineffable as present

27 Of course there is no problem with ancients or moderns understanding that

aj k atonov m asto" literally means ‘not (really) having a name.’ Interestingly J. Dillon
claims that Philo is the first writer we know of who applied this adjective to God, The
Middle Platonists, second ed. (London 1996) 155. A check of the Thesaurus Linguae
Graecae (TLG) shows that this comment of Dillon (originally made in his 1977 first ed.)
is correct. However, the entry in LSJ (p. 48 with no revision in the 1996 supplement by P.
G. W. Glare) evidently could use some improvement. There a fragment of Epicurus is
listed as the first usage of the word (an ‘unkown poet’), but the TLG offers no such
instance, instead giving the second-century b.c.e. astronomer Hipparchus as the first user
of the adj. He employed it to describe certain as yet unnamed celestial bodies, Comm. in
Arat.,, 3.3.1b. I could find no such passage in any edition of Epicurus’
fragments. The word’s next use after Hipparchus is among the grammarians, specifically
the Alexandrian Tryphon who lived slightly before Philo and the undatable Rhetorica
Anonyma; both employ the term in defining katachresis (for Tryphon’s use of the term see
Runia, ‘Naming and Knowing,’ 84). These two sources are available in L. Spengel, (ed.)
Rhetores Graeci, vol. 3 (Leipzig 1856) 192–3, 208.
28 Pelletier, PAPM 32: in loco: ‘Philon entend bien qu’ils [les propos de Caius] le
[blasphématoire] soient aux yeux de tout le monde, car il parle à plusieurs reprise de ce
caractère ineffable de la divinité . . . et d’autre part il est sûr d’être compris en dehors du
Judaïsme. D’après Plutarch, en effect (Moralia, 898 D, Placita Philosophorum, IV), Épicure
désignait ainsi les quatre éléments de l’âme. Plus précisement Moralia, 1118 E (Adv.
Colotem): ainsi était qualifiée une capacité de l’âme d’où vient qu’elle juge, se souvient,
aime ou conçoit de la haine . . . . Cf. Stobée, Physica, 798 (Épicure): ‹‹c’est un mélange de
quartre (éléments); d’un certain élément igné, d’un élément aérien, d’un élément
‹‹pneumatique››, d’un quatrième élément impossible à dénommer mais qui était pour lui
l’élément sensible››.’
29 Philo, Mut. 11–17, Mos. 1.75.
30 Plato, Parm. 142A. Cf. Runia, ‘Naming and Knowing,’ 77, 82.
31 Plotinus: [aujtoevn ejstin] a[rrhton th'/ ajlhqeiva/ (Enn.; and to; e[n, w|/ o[noma me;n kata;
ajlhvqeian oujde;n prosh'kon (Enn. 6.9.31–2).
32 ‘Eugnotos and Aristides on the Ineffable God,’ in R. van der Broek et al. (eds.), Know-
ledge of God, 208.
40 frank shaw

in early Christianity as well as Neoplatonism back to the Parmenides.33 It is

not unreasonable therefore to assume that Gaius and his counselors may
have been aware of this idea.
Even if one should argue that we do not know how well-trained in
philosophical concepts Caligula and his court advisors were, it is meet to
mention that, from an entirely pragmatic perspective, the concept of a deity
whose name it was strictly forbidden to utter was evidently pretty well-
known in the Roman world at this time. Einar Löfstedt mentions that
sometimes ‘the name of great divinities are taboo; the most celebrated
example is Jehovah (Jahveh),’ but this notion was not limited just to him.
He continues:
In the same way the Romans, according to the consistent testimony of antiquity
. . . kept in the utmost secrecy the name of Rome’s tutelary deity. It was forbid-
den under penalty of death it utter it, or even to enquire whether the deity was
a god or goddess. The learned poet Valerius Soranus, the friend of Cicero and
Varro, is said to have been put to death because he was alleged to have spoken

To this day we do not know the name of the divinity involved here. Given
the reputation this story had, it is certainly likely that Gaius, even if his
philosophical training was not very comprehensive, understood the notion
of a god being ajkatonovmasto".
Yet another point that one might have difficulty with is how the empe-
ror could have both learned the name and that its articulation could be
offensive to the Jewish delegation. Beside the fact that Gaius may certainly
have had imperial advisors who were educated enough to have this infor-
mation, one need not look very far for other possibilities. King (Herod)
Agrippa I may immediately to come to mind. As is well-known among
scholars of ancient Judaism, he was a close friend to Caligula, one who
surely could have conveyed this information to the emperor .35 Then there
is the slave Helicon who, if we are to believe Philo, had been raised a Jew in
Alexandria but had left his native traditions and risen in the imperial

33 H. Chadwick, The Church in Ancient Society (Oxford 2001) 128. Here Chadwick is
specifically speaking of Justin Martyr and Clement of Alexandria’s ‘finding an antici-
pation of the Christian triad in contemporary Platonist exegesis.’
34 E. Löfstedt, Late Latin (Oslo–Cambridge 1959) 182. The ancient references are Pliny,
NH, 3.65, Plutarch, Quaest. Rom. 58.61, Servius, In Aen. 1.277, and Macrobius, Sat. 3.9.3. I
thank my colleague Mischa Hooker for giving me these references from the Löfstedt
book. The definitive work on this topic is A. Brelich, Die geheime Schutzgottheit von Rom
(Zurich 1949). For a review of Brelich, see S. Weinstock, JRS 40 (1950) 149–50.
35 Philo, Legat. 261–333. Given the crisis of Gaius’ statue and the similarity of 265 to 353,
Agrippa might well be pressed into service to argue for this view. See also Flacc. 40,
Josephus, AJ 18.166–8, 228–37.
the emperor gaius’ employment of the divine name 41

household. Given the hostility he manifested toward the Jewish emissaries,

Helicon’s relating the necessary information to the emperor is perhaps
likely too.36
Finally we come to the matter of what manifestation of the name Gaius
would most likely have employed. Without knowing the evidence for what
form of the divine appellation was most heavily used at the date of the
embassy, one might immediately assume that this was Yhwh. This is
precisely what nearly all those who have commented on the passage have
taken for granted.37 But it is far more likely that a Greek rather than a
Hebrew form of the name would have been known, both to Jews of the
diaspora and to pagans.38 There were two Greek forms of the divine name,
pi-iota-pi-iota and iota-alpha-omega. One came about through a misunder-
standing by those ignorant of Hebrew who saw a written hwhy and assumed
it was the Greek pipi.39 This form of the name is actually attested only in
sources from the later Greco-Roman world and into the Byzantine period,40

36 Legat. 166–73.
37 Note how Smallwood, Philonis Alexandri Legatio, 318, Nikiprowetzky, Le commen-
taire, 59, 86, and others have so presumed this, n. 4 supra. A major problem with taking
these interpreters at face value any more is that the modern understanding of the use and
non-use of various forms of the divine name has changed dramatically, largely due to MS
finds from Egypt and the Judean desert and the subsequent academic research on them.
38 The possible evidence for gentiles (esp. Romans) knowing a Hebrew form of the name
is so remote that it is only discussed in the Appendix to this article; see infra. Of course,
it is always feasible that Agrippa and/or Helicon could have given Gaius a direct
Hebrew pronunciation, but the actual evidence we have suggests otherwise.
39 Explained by Jerome: ‘[Dei nomen est] tetragrammum, quod ajnekfwvnhton, id est
ineffabile, putaverunt et his litteris scribitur: iod, he, vau, he. Quod quidam non
intelligentes propter elementorum similitudinem, cum in Graecis libris reppererint, PIPI
legere consueverunt,’ Ep. 25.3.
40 It is best known to Septuagint scholars from a handful of Hexaplaric MSS, the oldest
of which dates to the sixth century (Codex Marchalianus, a well-preserved uncial of the
prophets) and has this form of the name written sporadically in the margins of some
books; another MS is a ninth-century palimpsest of Origen’s Hexapla which contains
square script tetragrams that look like pipis in all its columns; see B. Metzger, Manu-
scripts of the Greek Bible (Oxford 1981) 35, 94–5, 108. This word is also present very rarely
in a few magical papyri which date to the fourth century and later (e.g., PGM 3.575),
and in the prefaces to certain copies of Byzantine LXX MSS under the name of the late
fourth-century ascetic Evagrius Ponticus where the report is found that on the sacred
breastplate of the Jewish high priest pipi was inscribed. These prefaces treat the Jewish
deportations, Aristeas and the LXX editions, and the divine name. This supposed work
of Evagrius includes a reference to the so-called ‘Ten Names of God’ list and some of these
(there were several versions) contain instances of pipi; see R. Devreesse, Introduction à
l’étude des manscrits grecs (Paris 1954) 101–11, P. de Lagarde, Onomastica sacra, second ed.
(Göttingen 1887, reprint Hildesheim 1966) 229–30, and G. Mercati, ‘Sulla scrittura del
tetragramma nelle antiche versioni greche del Vecchio Testamento,’ Biblica 22 (1941)
339–66. For data on how a similar ‘Ten Names’ tradition developed within Judaism at
roughly the same time as in Christianity, see D. Green, ‘Divine Titles: Rabbinic and
42 frank shaw

and thus is far less likely to have been known to Gaius and his advisors
than the other Greek form, the trigram Iaw.41 The latter is most familiar to
modern academics from its magical and mystical usage among gnostics, on
various talismans, and in the magical papyri. However, it was not born into
these environments. It had a non-mystical Jewish history prior to its
appearance in these sources.
At least two classical authors from the mid-first century b.c.e. attest that
the name was known in a non-mystical setting among pagans. Most signifi-
cant is the comment of Diodorus of Sicily, who, in providing a catalogue of
national lawgivers and their deities, finalizes his list by referring to the Jews,
Moses, and to;n jIaw; ejpikalouvmenon qeovn.42 Here we see that the Jewish God
was understood to have been invoked by this name. It is of interest that
Diodorus was not using some secret, magical, or esoteric form of the name
comprehensible only to the initiated. All the other peoples, lawgivers, and
named gods in his catalogue were well established and known to his
readership. There is no reason for thinking that the Jewish God was any

Qumran Scribal Techniques,’ in L. Schiffman et al. (edd.) The Dead Sea Scrolls Fifty Years
After Their Discovery (Jerusalem 2000) 501–2, 508; its germ may antedate its development
within Christianity — cf. mShebu. 4.13. From this Greek form pipi comes the pypy in the
Syriac translation of the LXX; see Metzger, Manuscripts of the Greek Bible, 35, and
Mercati, ‘Sulla scrittura,’ 342 n. 1. For an easily accessible sampling (i.e., photographs)
of many of the sources listed here and in footnotes below, the reader is encouraged to visit
the web site of LXX scholar R. Kraft at
41 Iaw was likely pronounced originally as Yaho (a vocalization impossible to show in
Greek due to its inability to represent a medial ‘h’ sound) as transcriptions into Latin and
Demotic indicate: Jerome, Comm. in Ps. 8.2, CCSL 72.191; H. D. Betz (ed.), The Greek
Magical Papyri in Translation, second ed. (Chicago 1992) 249; cf. also E. R. Goodenough,
Jewish Symbols in the Greco-Roman Period, vol. 2 (Princeton 1953) 192. Nevertheless, we
should probably not assume that this was widespread knowledge among many Greek
readers who most likely took it simply as it was written Ya-o; this as well as the fact
that it is represented by only three Greek letters are two reasons for my term trigram
above, even though as Yaho, one could argue it is still a four-letter name. However, using
‘tetragram’ would surely call to mind Yhwh, an error I wish to avoid. Of course, this
Greek form developed from a Hebrew one, but there is some debate over whether this is
due to a northern vs. a southern Israelite pronunciation as well as whether the tetragram
itself is more original in its shorter or longer version; for details see my The Earliest Non-
mystical Jewish Use of Iaw (Ph.D. diss., University of Cincinnati 2002) 93 n. 20; 95; 187 n.
40; henceforth ENJU. This work is available electronically (for a fee) from ProQuest
Company, formerly University Microfilms International, at
42 1.92.2; text in F. Vogel, Diodori Bibliotheca Historica, Teubner (Stuttgart 1888, reprint
1964) 158; also available in M. Stern, GLAJJ 1:171.
43 For an in-depth discussion of this matter, including the modern rehabilitation of
Diodorus as a reliable historian, see ENJU, 45–74.
the emperor gaius’ employment of the divine name 43

The second pagan writer to have known Iao as the name of the Jewish
God is the Roman polymath Varro. This testimony is preserved in a work
of the sixth-century Byzantine civil servant John Lydus, De Mensibus, in his
essay on the identity of the Jewish God as understood by gentiles.44 While
an initial reading of the passage may give the impression that the ‘quota-
tion’ of Varro by Lydus indicates a mystical use of Iaw by the Roman, a
consideration of the wider context reveals that this is a mere one-word
citation of Varro (i.e., the name Iaw only), and the rest of the statement
immediately surrounding it belongs to Lydus who was heavily influenced
by Neoplatonism.45 It is possible that the pagan writers Valerius Maximus
and Herennius Philo of Byblos also knew of this Greek form of the divine
name, but the evidence is, to varying degrees, muddled.46
Some believe that the NT book of Revelation also attests to a use of
Iao,47 and if true, then knowledge of this name in a non-mystical context
lasted well past Caligula’s day. In any case, a number of early Christian
copies of originally Jewish onomastica (or glossae) contain the name Iaw in
the column explaining the corresponding Hebrew name transliterated into
Greek.48 One MS of the LXX from Qumran contains this form of the name
instead of the Hebrew tetragram or kuvrio" as in other sources.49 The fact

44 John Lydus 4.53.

45 For a full discussion see ENJU, 74–88, 255–73.
46 ENJU, 89–115.
47 A group of scholars has argued for a slightly hidden use of Iaw at Rev. 1.8. They
believe that the statement of God, ejgwv eijmi to; a[lfa kai; to; w\ is a reference to Iaw. They
feel that the ejgwv eijmi is equivalent to the Greek iota and the to; a[lfa kai; to; w\ more
obviously equivalent to the last two letters of this Greek divine name, and that the
expression is or may be related to the one in verse 4 where God is (= iota), was (= alpha),
and will be (‘is to come’ = omega). Apparently the first to propose this idea was A. M.
Farrer in his A Rebirth of Images (Glasgow 1949, reprint Albany 1986) 262–271, 282–3,
idem, The Revelation of St. John the Divine (Oxford 1964) 63. This thesis has since been
improved by D. Aune, ‘The Apocalypse of John and Graeco-Roman Revelatory Magic,’
NTS 33 (1987) 481–501, esp. 490–1; idem, Revelation 1–5, WBC 52A (Dallas 1997) 57; R.
B a u c k h a m , The Theology of the Book of Revelation (Cambridge 1993) 25–8, and
McDonough, YHWH at Patmos, 198–200, 218–20. While these academics argue that this
usage of Iao is partly veiled, they also believe that it was not so much so that the
recipients of the Revelation failed to recognize the play on the name.
48 The implication of this fact is that the no longer extant Jewish copies of the onomas-
tica had regular instances of Iao in their exposition column since our earliest Christian
onomastica have large numbers of these present in them, as do some Syriac and Ethiopic
onomastica. As time passed however, especially from the sixth century c.e. on, ecclesias-
tical scribes came to replace these occurrences of Iao with kyrios, theos, and other surro-
gates. Thus the ‘heyday’ of onomastic Iao usage must have fallen right at the time of
Philo and in the centuries before. This does not mean, of course, that all Jewish and very
early Christian onomastica employed Iao; it is certainly possible that some of these
name lists had surrogates for the divine name early on. For more detail, see ENJU, 21–44.
49 4QLXXLev b (= 4Q120). The script of the papyrus is dated to the first century b.c.e.
44 frank shaw

that Iaw is present in the writings of some church fathers (in a non-mystical
context), usually when they draw on the above-mentioned onomastica
while expounding the meaning of originally Hebrew theophoric personal
names, indicates that knowledge of Iaw continued in some circles well past
the age of Gaius.50 Naturally, we cannot expect gentiles such as Caligula
and his advisors to have been directly familiar with these sources, but again
Agrippa and Helicon may well have been. It is interesting to note further
that Varro is the first Latin author we know of who employed glossae51 and
he knew of this name Iaw. Thus it is not so remote to countenance that he
or his source material on the Jews could have been aware of these name
lists containing Iao,52 and he undoubtedly was heavily read by a wide
Roman audience.53

See P. W. Skehan et al., DJD IX, Qumran Cave 4, IV (Oxford 1992) 8, 10–11, 167–177. The
latest discussion of the import of Iao in the LXX textual tradition based on this MS may
be found in E. Tov, ‘The Greek Biblical Texts from the Judean Desert,’ in S. McKendrick
and O. O’Sullivan, (edd.) The Bible as Book: The Transmission of the Greek Text (London–
Newcastle–Grand Haven, Michigan 2003) 112–3, 121. I thank Otto Nordgreen of the
University of Oslo, Norway for the Tov reference.
50 Origen most likely employed an onomasticon for the use of Iaw in his commentary on
John when explaining the meaning of the prophet Jeremiah’s name, metewrismo;" Iaw,
2.196, E. Preuschen (ed.), Origenes Werke IV. Der Johanneskommentar, GCS 10 (Leipzig
1903) 53. Also attributed to Origen are two occurrences of Iah at Sel. Ps. 2, PG 12.1104.
Eusebius has two instances of Iaw when giving etymologies of biblical characters’ names:
jIwsoue; dev ejstin Iaw swthriva, tou't j e[stin qeou' swthvrion, Dem. Ev. 4.17.23, I. Heikel (ed.),
Eusebius Werke VI. Die Demenstratio Evangelica, GCS 6 (Leipzig 1913) 200; Iwsedek . . .
eJrmhneuvetai Iaw dikaiosuvnh, Eclog. Proph. 3.23, PG 22.1148–9. Theodoret refers to Iaw in
quoting Herennius Philo of Byblus, Affect. 2.44, and he once must have used an onomasti-
con with Iaw to expound the appellation of the Nethinim. The reference here to tou'to to;
o[ n oma, though perhaps initially difficult to see, is to the earlier mentioned Nethinim:
eu|ron de; kai; ejn th/' tw'n eJbrai>kw'n ojnomavtwn eJrmhneiva/ tou'to dhlou'n to; o[noma dovsin Iaw,
toutevsti, tou' o[nto" Qeou', N. Fernández Marcos and J. R. B. Saiz, (edd.), Quaest. in I
Paral., Theodoreti Cyrensis Quaestiones in Reges et Paralipomena, Editio critica (Madrid
1984) 248. For confirmation of this identification cf. the onomastic entry Naqanivou dovsi"
kuriv o u, On. Vat. 196.91–2, Lagarde, Onomastica sacra, 220, and Procopius of Gaza’s
similar etymology: Naqinanaioi de par j JEbaioi" qeou dosi" eJrmhneuetai, unaccented text
from F. Wutz, Onomastica Sacra, TU 41 (Leipzig 1914–15) 1065. Two names in Hesychius
are glossed with meanings containing instances of Iaw, jIwaqavm Iaw suntevleia, and
jOzeiav" ijscu;" Iaw, K. Latte, (ed.), Hesychii Alexandrini Lexicon, vol. 2 e-o (Copenhagen
1966) 385, 736, and although he was likely a pagan, the entries are probably the work of
an unknown ecclesiastical interpolator, P. J. Rhodes and R. Browning, ‘Hesychius,’ The
OCD, third ed. revised (Oxford 2003) 701–2.
51 R. A. Kaster, ‘glossa, glossary, Latin,’ OCD, 640.
52 Just slightly later in time Alexander Polyhistor used Jewish-Hellenistic authors
directly, Stern, GLAJJ 1.157.
53 The ancient testimony to Varro’s supreme erudition is impressive: Dionysius of
Halicarnassus calls him ajnh;r tw'n kata; aujth;n hJlikivan ajkmasavntwn polupeirovtato", 2.21.2;
Quintilian designates him vir Romanorum eruditissimus, Inst. 10.1.95; Tarentianus
Maurus characterizes him as vir doctissimus undecumque, Gramm. Lat. 6.409; John Lydus
the emperor gaius’ employment of the divine name 45

Thus the available evidence points toward concluding that the form of
the name invoked by the emperor was Iaw. One pertinent aside that should
be of interest to Philonic scholars is the question of what manifestation of
the divine name appeared in Philo’s copies of the onomastica which he
employed so frequently in providing his sometimes surprising etymo-
logies.54 Contrary to previous opinion on a related matter,55 in an article
appearing in this journal some years ago textual critic James Royse has
argued that Philo’s Bible did not contain kyrios as the representation of the
Hebrew tetragrammaton, but the actual tetragram itself. Thus for Royse
Philo was responsible for changing hwhy to kuvrio" each time he quoted a
scripture containing the tetragram.56 Royse’s strongest support for his
position is the textual evidence he rallies.57 In a similar vein given what we
now know about the divine name in the onomastica, should we not also
ask whether Philo saw Iaw regularly in his copies of these name lists and
changed the entries to the correctly inflected forms of kuvrio" when citing
them in his commentaries or whether he employed onomastica that
already had kuvrio" in the interpretation column?58 In our present state of

labels Varro oJ didaskalikwvtato" and oJ polumaqevstato", De Magist. Prol., 1. For further

examples see H. D. Jocelyn, ‘Varro’s Antiquitates Rerum Diuinarum and Religious
Affairs in the Later Roman Republic,’ BJRL 65 (1982) 150 n. 11.
54 That Philo did not know enough Hebrew to determine on his own the etymologies of
the names he expounds (and therefore had to use whatever Greek onomastica were
available to him at the time) has now become the standard view. For details see L.
Grabbe, Etymology in Early Jewish Interpretation, the Hebrew Names in Philo, BJS 115
(Atlanta 1988) 63, 89–133, and D. Rokeah, ‘A New Onomasticon Fragment from
Oxyrhynchus and Philo’s Etymologies,’ JTS n.s. 19 (1968) 75–82. This conclusion largely
depends on the important article by Y. Amir, ‘Explanation of the Hebrew Names in
Philo,’ Tarbiz 31 (1961/2) 297 (Hebrew); Grabbe offers an English translation of Amir,
55 C. Siegfried, Philo von Alexandria als Ausleger des Alten Testaments (Jena 1875) 203; I.
Heinemann, Philos griechische und jüdische Bildung (Breslau 1932) 20–1; N. A. Dahl and
A. Segal, ‘Philo and the Rabbis on the Names of God,’ JSJ 9 (1978) 1, 4; Nikiprowetzky,
Le commentaire, 58–62; A. Pietersma, ‘Kyrios or Tetragram: A Renewed Quest for the
Original Septuagint,’ in A. Pietersma and C. Cox, (edd.), De Septuaginta: Studies on
Honour of John William Wevers (Mississauga, Ontario 1984) 93.
56 J. Royse, ‘Philo, Kuvrio", and the Tetragrammaton,’ SPhA 3 (1991) 167–83.
57 Royse, ‘Philo, Kuvrio", and the Tetragrammaton,’ esp. 179–82. This evidence includes
case variants, evidently the first instance of bringing this important topic into the
debate concerning what form of the divine name was original to the LXX.
58 We can cross-check only three pertinent names in Philo and our extant onomastica:
Philo gives kurivw/ ejxomolovghsi" for jIouda" (Plant. 134) but the sixth-century Codex
Coislinianum offers Iaw ejxomologouvmeno" as one of this name’s etymologies (169.83,
Lagarde, Onomastica sacra, 200); in one of our two earliest onomastic MSS, the third-to-
fourth-century Heidelberg papyrus, jIwshf is interpreted as Iaw provsqema (Wutz,
Onomastica sacra, 676; the Coislinianum has Iaw proqhvkh, 171.16, Lagarde, Onomastica
sacra, 201) whereas Philo offers kurivou provsqesi" at Jos. 28 and simply provsqema at Mut.
46 frank shaw

knowledge the answer to this query must remain indefinite, but it is now
fitting for academics to question any past suppositions they might have
formed on this matter since the evidence available to answer it is no longer
considered clear.
In response to the questions proposed in this article’s first paragraph we
may reply that Gaius did indeed utter a form of the divine name, but that
Philo’s expressing precisely who was ajkatonovmasto" among the Jews is
less than clear. Our author may well have intentionally played with the
syntax here to convey a double meaning, in spite of scholars historically
taking up single, differing positions on understanding his words. Such
deliberate ambiguity is not without precedent within Philo’s sizeable
corpus. It is highly likely that Caligula knew of a nameless god or gods
(whether from a philosophical or practical perspective), and candidates for
informing him about both the Jewish practice of not speaking God’s name
and what the ‘impermissible’ pronunciation was are not lacking. The
supposition of previous generations of Philonic scholars that the name used
here was Yhwh rests on unsupported assumptions rather than actual
evidence. Testimony available from the pertinent time period points rather
to the form Iao as the best known proper name for the Jewish God since it
long survived any living Hebrew pronunciation. Finally, Philonic scholars
today need to give consideration to what form of the divine name our
Alexandrian philosopher actually read in his own copies of (1) the LXX and
(2) the onomastica which he employed so regularly in his expositions.

Appendix: Testimony for a Hebrew Divine Name among Romans?

There is not much evidence for any Roman knowledge of the Hebrew
form Yahweh (or any related abbreviation of it). One exceedingly remote
exception in this vein may be a statement found in the elder Pliny. At NH
30.11 he writes: ‘Est et alia magices factio a Mose et Ianne et Latope [or
Iotape] ac Iudaeis pendens, sed multis milibus annorum post Zoroastern.’59
Charles Cutler Torrey has argued that the Latopes here is a corruption of

89; jIhsou" is swthriva kurivou at Mut. 121 but Iw swthriva in the Heidelberg (Wutz, Ono-
mastica sacra, 676; Iaw was shortened to Iw in some MSS). The Heidelberg onomasticon is
also handily available in A. Deissmann, Light from the Ancient East, second English ed.
(London 1927, reprint Grand Rapids 1978) 405–6.
59 The text is available in Stern, GLAJJ, 1.498, as well as C. Mayhoff (ed.), C. Plini
Secundi Naturalis Historiae, vol. 4 (Stuttgart 1897, reprint 1967) 423; for a text that may
be more updated, see A. Ernout (ed.), Pline l’ancien, Histoire naturelle, livre XXX, Budé
(Paris 1963) 27. Here Ernout prints ‘Iotape’ in the text. For the explanation of this
reading, see infra.
the emperor gaius’ employment of the divine name 47

Iotape, which is in turn simply a spelling out of the two Greek letters iota
and pe (= pi).60 If this is so, he then maintains, the iota and pe/pi are
remnants of an original tetragram in the form discussed supra, that is, PIPI.
Of course, the letters would first have to be inverted to yield iota-pi-iota-pi,
and then half of the name would have to drop out in order to produce this
form. To support the first condition, Torrey appeals to the ‘Septuagintal’
text of Daniel 9.2 which has a Greek th'/ gh'/ or better, THGH, for the Hebrew
tetragram and ‘Theodotion’s’ kurivou. James A. Montgomery has noted
that the text likely had an earlier PIPI which an unknown scribe in the
LXX’s history could not understand and made into THGH. This at least
‘made some kind of sense and so has been preserved.’61 Torrey sees an
inversion of the PIPI to IPIP here, something which might more readily
be taken as THGH. To fill the bill on the second condition, Torrey latches on
to the fact that the tetragram was frequently ‘abbreviated to a monsyllable,
Yah,’62 a well-known phenomenon. Finally, Torrey notes: ‘Latope is not the
only reading of the text in this passage; Iotape is at least equally well
The small reaction available to Torrey’s idea has been mixed. The editor
and translator of the Loeb edition of Pliny, W. H. S. Jones, seems convinced
by Torrey’s argument, as his note states: ‘Pliny should have written Iotape
= ijw'ta ph' = Yahweh.’64 As already mentioned in notes 59 and 63, the Budé
editor adopts ‘Iotape’ in the text, and defends it less on textual grounds
than on sense. However, Stern seems quite unconvinced by Torrey: ‘The
name Latopes remains an enigma and the attempt made by Torrey to
solve it is not successful,’ but Stern does not explain why he is unmoved by
Torrey’s thinking.65 Quoting Torrey’s closing words are apt. He proffers
that the name may go back to a well-known sorcerer who took on this

60 C. C. Torrey, ‘The Magic of ‘Latopes’’, JBL 68 (1949) 325–7.

61 J. A. Montgomery, ‘A Survival of the Tetragrammaton in Daniel,’ JBL 40 (1921) 86.
62 Torrey, ‘The Magic of ‘Latopes’,’ 327.
63 He goes on that Iotape ‘has been generally discarded for obvious reasons. It is a much-
used feminine name, borne by great ladies of the hellenistic period. It has no Jewish
associations, and seems definitely ruled out from any group of Jewish sorcerers,’ 325–6.
Unfortunately, the two critical editors’ apparatus for our locus are not the easiest to
decipher, but evidently no extant MSS contain the reading Iotape. However, the reading
is cited on the authority of earlier editors; see Mayhoff, Plini Secundi Naturalis
Historiae, 423, and Ernout, Pline l’ancien, Histoire naturelle, 27. The latter’s comments
indicate another possible origin for the form: ‘Iotape: forme préférable à Latope; le nom
serait d’origine araméenne, et composé de Iahwe et tab- proprement ‹‹Jahwe est bon››, cf.
hébreu Tobias,’ 82. In any case, Torrey’s claim that ‘Iotape is equally well attested’ may
not stand up to critical scrutiny. Obviously then, a critical edition of Pliny, one which
clearly explains the textual evidence for any Iotape here, is a desideratum.
64 W. H. S. Jones, Pliny, LCL vol. 3 (1963) 284, with a reference to Torrey.
65 Stern, GLAJJ 1:499.
48 frank shaw

appellation ‘as his chief resource’66 but also reminds his readers that Pliny
‘may have misunderstood his information. The latter alternative is by far
the more probable, as all those know who have had much to do with the
Natural History.’67 For our purposes, even if Torrey is onto something here,
the odds that any Romans grasped some ‘proper’ Hebrew pronunciation
from this mixed up and shortened form of the divine name, if indeed it is
such, are virtually nil.
One other possible line of evidence which might support a confused, and
therefore remote, knowledge of a Hebrew name for God among Romans
is based on the much-mooted passage about Jewish Jove-Sabazius wor-
shipers in Valerius Maximus.68 Here the Iove, pronounced Yo-weh in classi-
cal Latin, may be connected with some sort of original Yahweh. But little
else can be said on this matter, partly because the passage is an epitome of
Valerius with additional textual difficulties.69 There simply is no other even
negligibly feasible evidence for the name Yahweh among educated

Cincinnati, Ohio

66 In favor of this may be the fact that Moses and the Egyptian (not Israelite) priest
Jannes are both well-known from tradition; for the latter see Albert Pietersma, ‘Jannes
and Jambres,’ ABD, 3:638–40.
67 Torrey, ‘The Magic of ‘Latopes’’, 327.
68 Valerius Maximus, Facta et dicta memorabilia, 1.3.3. The text is also in Stern, GLAJJ
69 For further discussion of the many complex problems with, and criticism of certain
scholarly postions on, this text, see ENJU 97–115, 217. For the issue of dating when the
divine name of the Hebrew God began to move from the non-mystical realm into the
mystical/gnostic/magical one and the closely related problem of scholars carelessly
jumping across centuries when citing data on matters of the divine name’s use and disuse,
as well as the Jewish God’s being perceived as nameless, and modern academics assuming
that the name Iaw was always mystical/magical, see 184–94.
The Studia Philonica Annual XVII (2005) 49–94


Allen Kerkeslager


In the summer of 38 c.e., the Judean king Agrippa I paid a visit to

Alexandria that provoked a prolonged series of attacks on the city’s Judean
community.1 The contrast between the relative insignificance of the catalyst
and the ferocity of the attacks has led scholars to try to explain the violence
by appeal to preexisting ethnic tensions. Ever since the publication of the
Letter of Claudius to the Alexandrians (P. Lond. 6.1912) in 1924, most of
these efforts have concentrated on conflicts between the city’s Judeans and
the Greek elite over civic status.2 Dissatisfaction with this approach has
revived an older interest in the simmering hostility between Egyptians and

1 Special thanks to Erich Gruen and Pieter W. van der Horst for suggestions. Pieter also
kindly sent me a manuscript of his excellent recent book a year before its publication,
Philo’s Flaccus: The First Pogrom; Introduction, Translation and Commentary, Philo of
Alexandria Commentary Series 2 (Leiden, 2003). On using ‘Judeans’ to capture ancient
ethnic connotations and avoid anachronisms that beset ‘Jew,’ see my article, ‘Jewish
Pilgrimage and Jewish Identity in Hellenistic and Early Roman Egypt’, in D. Frankfurter
(ed.), Pilgrimage and Holy Space in Late Antique Egypt (Leiden, 1998) 99–225, esp. 222–23.
The problems are evident in G. Bohak, ‘Good Jews, Bad Jews, and Non-Jews in Greek
Papyri and Inscriptions’, in B. Kramer et al. (edd.), Akten des 21. internationalen
Papyrologenkongresses (Stuttgart, 1997) 1.105–12. See esp. M. R. Niehoff, Philo on Jewish
Identity and Culture (Tübingen, 2001) 19–44; S. J. D. Cohen, The Beginnings of Jewishness:
Boundaries, Varieties, Uncertainties (Berkeley, 1999) passim, though both prefer to
continue using ‘Jew.’
2 H. I. Bell and W. E. Crum (edd.), Jews and Christians in Egypt: The Jewish Troubles in
Alexandria and the Athanasian Controversy (Oxford, 1924) 1–37, plate I. For full
bibliography, see Van der Horst, Philo’s Flaccus. For recent surveys, see J. J. Collins,
Between Athens and Jerusalem: Jewish Identity in the Hellenistic Diaspora, 2nd ed. (Grand
Rapid, 2000) 113–38; J. M. G. Barclay, Jews in the Mediterranean Diaspora from Alexander
to Trajan (323 b.c.e. – 117 c.e.) (Berkeley, 1996) 48–78; Joseph Mélèze-Modrzejewski, The
Jews of Egypt: From Ramses II to Emperor Hadrian (Philadelphia, 1995) 161–83. The
most influential study is still V. A. Tcherikover, CPJ 1, pp. 48–78; CPJ 2, pp. 25–81. For a
different view, see A. Kasher, The Jews in Hellenistic and Roman Egypt: The Struggle for
Equal Rights, TSAJ 7 (Tübingen, 1985), esp. 18–24; but see the qualifications in S.
Honigman, ‘The Jewish Politeuma at Heracelopolis’, SCI 21 (2002) 251–66; Honigman,
‘Philon, Flavius Josèphe, et la citoyenneté alexandrine: vers une utopie politique’, JJS 48
(1997) 62–90, esp. 86.
50 allen kerkeslager

local Judeans.3 Roman imperialism usually has been identified as a rather

broad irritant in the violence rather than the definitive theme in the
In contrast, Philo’s In Flaccum and Legatio ad Gaium respectively assign
primary blame to the Roman prefect Aulus Avillius Flaccus and the Roman
emperor Gaius. Philo paints three portraits to emphasize that their actions
deviated from normal Roman policy: (1) a bamboozled Flaccus hood-
winked by his provincial enemies into a conspiracy against Alexandria’s
Judeans; (2) a juggernaut Gaius warped by his megalomania; (3) a crowd of
powerful Romans who supposedly exemplified a contrasting benevolence
toward Judeans (Augustus, Tiberius, Petronius, and others). As will be
suggested later in this study, Philo’s emphasis on the deviance of the two
Roman villains was intended to undo some of the affects of the violence in
38 and reduce its value as a precedent for future imperial policy.
Philo suggests that the deviant behavior of Flaccus and Gaius was partly
inspired by provincial advisors who were enemies of the Judeans.5
However, the manipulation of fabricated images of evil advisors is a
common rhetorical strategy in ancient tales of royal and imperial courts.6
This raises the possibility that Philo may have created his own images of
evil advisors to divert attention away from the real motivation for the
actions of Flaccus and Gaius.7 A recent study arguing that the most brutal

3 E.g., E. S. Gruen, Diaspora: Jews Amidst Greeks and Romans (Cambridge, MA, 2002) 54–
83; P. Schäfer, Judeophobia: Attitudes toward the Jews in the Ancient World (Cambridge,
M A , 1997) 136–69; cf. earlier, M. Radin, The Jews Among the Greeks and Romans
(Philadelphia, 1915) 199–203.
4 Perceptively in W. Ameling, ‘ ‘Market-Place’ und Gewalt: Die Juden in Alexandrien 38
n.Chr.’, Würzburger Jahrbücher für die Altertumswissenschaft 27 (2003) 71–124. After this
article was first submitted, S. Gambetti kindly gave me a copy of her dissertation, The
Alexandrian Riots of 38 c.e. and their Implications for the Experience of the Jews of the
Diaspora: A Historical Assessment (Ph.D. Dissertation; Berkeley: University of Califor-
nia Berkeley, 2003). She still attributes a major role to the trio studied here, but makes a
genuine effort to account for the responsibility of the Roman authorities. For my own
view of the Roman issues, see A. Kerkeslager, ‘Agrippa and the Mourning Rites for
Drusilla in Alexandria’, JSJ, forthcoming.
5 E.g., Philo Flacc. 16–32; Legat. 162–78, 203–206.
6 E.g., hostile advisors pepper the Persian court in Herodotus, Esther, and Daniel; the
execution of Alexandrian heroes is blamed on Judeans in the Roman court rather than
violation of Roman policy in Herbert A. Musurillo, The Acts of the Pagan Martyrs: Acta
Alexandrinorum (Oxford, 1954) nos. 4, 8 (CPJ 2.156, 157); the Gospels distract from Jesus’
disruption of the Roman order by playing up Judean influence on Pilate; e.g., see J.
Dominic Crossan, Who Killed Jesus? Exposing the Roots of Anti-Semitism in the Gospel
Story of the Death of Jesus (New York, 1996). More positive but still largely fictional are
the characters in the courts discussed by E. Gruen, Heritage and Hellenism: The
Reinvention of Jewish Tradition (Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1998) 189–245.
7 On this, see more fully below. Note the warning about creative Jews rewriting history
the violence in alexandria in 38 c.e. 51

phase of the violence was a typical Roman response to an embarrassing

Judean crime suggests that this was indeed Philo’s intention.8 If it was, his
calculated diversion from the Roman agenda in the violence has proven
eminently successful. It has imparted an aura of credibility to the scholarly
conviction that the true source of the violence is to be found in provincial
‘anti-Semites.’9 In the most anachronistic form of this approach, the events
in 38 even have been described using analogies drawn directly from the
history of the Nazi party.10
The provincials most frequently charged with orchestrating the violence
are three members of the Alexandrian Greek elite known as Dionysios,
Lampo, and Isidoros.11 Our scant information about these three figures
comes primarily from the works of Philo and from a corpus of fragmen-
tary papyri known as the Acts of the Alexandrians, which take the literary
form of records of judicial conflicts before Roman prefects and emperors.12
The following analysis of this evidence will demonstrate that no members
of our trio were involved in the violence in 38 at all. This will clear away
one of the largest pieces of clutter that has distracted scholarly interest
away from Philo’s emphasis on the role of the Roman authorities and his

in Gruen, Heritage and Hellenism, 203 (bottom).

8 Kerkeslager, ‘Agrippa and the Mourning Rites for Drusilla.’
9 On the anachronisms in this terminology, see S. J. D. Cohen, ‘Anti-Semitism in Anti-
quity: the Problem of Definition’, in D. Berger (ed.), History and Hate: The Dimensions of
Anti-Semitism (Philadelphia, 1986) 43–47; cf. J. J. Collins, ‘Anti-Semitism in Antiquity?
The Case of Alexandria’, in C. Bakhos (ed.), Ancient Judaism in Its Hellenistic Context,
JSJSup 95 (Leiden, 2005) 9–29.
10 Canonized by Tcherikover, CPJ 2, p. 25; expressed most vividly in the fascinating
study of W. Bergmann and C. Hoffmann, ‘Kalkül oder ‘Massenwahn’? Eine soziologische
Interpretation der antijüdischen Unruhen in Alexandria 38 n.Chr.’, in R. Erb and M.
Schmidt, eds., Antisemitismus und Jüdische Geschichte: Studien zu Ehren von Herbert A.
Strauss (Berlin, 1987) 15–46.
11 Already a consensus in early studies; e.g., H. Box, Philonis Alexandrini In Flaccum:
Edited with an Introduction, Translation and Commentary (New York, 1939) xxxviii–lvii;
E. R. Goodenough, The Politics of Philo Judaeus: Practice and Theory (New Haven, 1938) 7–
9; H. I. Bell, Juden und Griechen im Römischen Alexandria (Leipzig, 1926) 17. See
surveys above and Van der Horst, Philo’s Flaccus, for more recent bibliography.
12 Most of the papyri on this trio are in Musurillo, Acts; Musurillo, Acta Alexandrinorum:
De Mortibus Alexandriae Nobilium Fragmenta Papyracea Graeca (Lipsiae, 1961); CPJ, vol.
2. See also P. Oxy. 42.3021; P. Giss. Lit. 4.7 (P. Giss. Univ. 5.46 + P. Yale 2.107 [inv. 1385])
in P. Alois Kuhlmann, Die Giessener Literarischen Papyri und die Caracalla-Erlasse:
Edition, Übersetzung und Kommentar (Giessen, 1994). Possibly related, though too
fragmentary to be certain, is BKT 9.64 (P. Berol. inv. 21161v, ed. G. Ioannidou). On the
Acts of the Alexandrians, see J. Rowlandson and A. Harker, ‘Roman Alexandria from the
Perspective of the Papyri’, in A. Hirst and M. Silk (edd.), Alexandria, Real and Imagined
(Burlington, VT, 2004) 79–111; A. Harker, Loyalty and Dissidence in Roman Egypt: The
Case of the Acta Alexandrinorum (Ph.D. Dissertation; London: University of London,
52 allen kerkeslager

intentional selectivity in describing how Roman policy applied to events in


1. What Philo Does and Does Not Say

The most serious difficulty encountered by any assertion that Dionysios,

Lampo, and Isidoros were involved in the violence in 38 is that it directly
controverts what Philo says in his In Flaccum, which furnishes the most
elaborate ancient description of this violence. Philo does not even try to
implicate these three figures in the violence and gives every reason to
believe that they were not even present. Previous scholarship has failed to
grasp these difficulties because of a tendency to draw historical conclusions
from the text before fully wrestling with its character as a literary work.
Philo carefully molded the text’s overall structure, rhetoric, and wording to
conform to models and themes derived from philosophy, classical historio-
graphy, ancient novels, and the theater.14 In this way he created a literary
tragedy of epic proportion out of events that for outsiders might have
seemed to be a mere bump in the road of Roman provincial history.15 The
resulting narrative is replete with a tragic protagonist reminiscent of legen-
dary dramas of hubris and a plundered population described with the evo-
cative imagery of a military conquest.16 Philo’s literary artistry demands

13 On Philo’s selective representation of Roman policy, see H. D. Slingerland, Claudian

Policymaking and the Early Imperial Repression of Judaism at Rome, SFSHJ 160 (Atlanta,
1997) 65–110, 219–45. Josephus is also selective and thus of limited use as a corrective; M.
Pucci Ben Zeev, Jewish Rights in the Roman World (Tübingen, 1998). For my own proposal
explaining the Roman issues in the violence, see Kerkeslager, ‘Agrippa and the Mourning
Rites for Drusilla.’
14 E.g., Van der Horst, Philo’s Flaccus, 11–15; F. Calabi, ‘Theatrical Language in Philo’s
In Flaccum’, in F. Calabi (ed.), Italian Studies on Philo of Alexandria (Leiden, 2003) 91–
116; P. Borgen, ‘Philo’s Against Flaccus as Interpreted History’, in K.-J. Illman, T.
Ahlbäck, S.-O. Back, and R. Nurmela (edd.), A Bouquet of Wisdom: Essays in Honour of
Karl-Gustav Sandelin (Åbo, 2000) 41–57; M. Meiser, ‘Gattung, Adressaten und Intention
von Philos ‘In Flaccum’ ‘, JSJ 30 (1999) 418–30; M. Kraus, ‘Philosophical History in
Philo’s In Flaccum’, SBLSPS 33 (1994) 477–95; D. R. Schwartz, ‘On Drama and Authen-
ticity in Philo and Josephus’, SCI 10 (1989/90) 113–29. The unfortunate tendency has been
to take an atomistic approach that separates reputedly more historically reliable
portions from reputedly more literary portions. A more defensible methodology is to
grapple with the entire work first as a literary production and only afterward as a
source for history.
15 Pace Harker, Loyalty and Dissidence, 21–56, who argues that the conflicts in 38–41
were the primary factor in the emergence of the Alexandrian Acts literature.
16 Compare Flaccus with examples of self-destructive hubris in Greek tragedies; e.g.,
Sophocles Ant. 682–1352; Oed. T. 872–96; Euripides Supp. 399–743; Bacchae, passim
(Pentheus). Philo’s repeated comparisons to a conquered city in Flacc. 54–61 exploited the
the violence in alexandria in 38 c.e. 53

much greater sensitivity to the difficulties of disentangling history from

fiction in this narrative. Thus a literary analysis of what Philo actually says
must precede any effort to deal with historical questions.
(1) First, Philo never says that our trio had a role in plotting the violence.
The key passage cited for such a role is Flacc. 18–21. But here Philo invokes
the names of our trio only in the plural in a type of grammatical con-
struction used to refer to three categories of people, not three individuals
(DiovÊsioi dhmokÒpoi, Lãmpvnew grammatokÊfvnew, ÉIs¤dvroi stasiãrxai).17
Their names function here merely as stereotypical masks in a larger
metaphor portraying Flaccus as a masked character manipulated by
antagonists in the theater. Like a chorus of evil advisors to the protagonist
in a Greek tragedy, ‘Dionysian demagogues, Lamponian tamperers, and
Isidorian faction leaders’ urged the unwitting Flaccus onward to the hubris
that would arouse divine wrath against him.18 The names of our trio in this
passage are thus nothing more than adjectival epithets used to create an
impression of evil advisors whose real identity, if they existed at all, is
obscured by the literary demands that Philo imposed on them.
The charges with which these epithets impugn our trio do not imply
anti-Semitism. Demagoguery, tampering with documents, and stirring up
factions reflect only part of a list of terms in Flacc. 20 that indicate threats to
civic and political stability. In the context of the Roman administration of
Alexandria, these terms implied activity that ultimately disrupted the
Roman order. This point is emphasized when Philo later applies terms
from this list to Lampo and Isidoros when describing their opposition to
Flaccus in his role as chief representative of Roman order in Alexandria
(Flacc. 125–47).19 Philo’s goal in using these implicitly anti-Roman epithets
in Flacc. 20–21 becomes clear when he follows them with the damning
statement that it was by collusion with such enemies of the Roman order
that Flaccus himself ‘exercised the title’ of ruler.20 Philo apparently wanted

same emotions that assured the enduring popularity of Homer, allusions to the fall of
Troy in the classical tragedians and Vergil, and historical narratives of the conquests of
Alexander, Julius Caesar, and other generals.
17 Rightly, Kraus, ‘Philosophical History’, 484–85; Musurillo, Acts, 96. See H. Weir
Smyth, Greek Grammar (Cambridge, MA, 1984) 267, 270 (sections 986, 1000).
18 On ‘tamperer,’ note that the terms parallel to grammatokÊfvn in Flacc. 20 suggest civic
disruption. The use of this term again in Flacc. 131 appears in a context describing
tampering with civic documents. Thus the term is not a mere insulting reference to the
crooked back of the writer, but rather refers to ‘one who writes crookedly,’ here in the
sense of corrupting documents.
19 Compare Flacc. 20–21 with Flacc. 131 (grammatokÊfvn), 135 (dhmokÒpow), 137 (taraji-
pÒliw); see the discussion of the legal problems of Lampo and Isidoros below.
20 On the connection between ˆnoma érx∞w and toÎnoma in Flacc. 20–21, which indicates
that the subject of kekrãthke is Flaccus, see Van der Horst, Philo’s Flaccus, 58, 111.
54 allen kerkeslager

his readers, especially those who were Roman, to conclude that the plots of
Flaccus against the Judeans were ultimately contrary to Roman interests in
the city.21 Philo emphasizes a similar contrast between the actions of Gaius
and Roman ethical and political virtues in the Legatio.22 Philo clearly did not
want the actions of Flaccus or Gaius to establish a precedent for the Roman
treatment of Judeans.
The broader literary context adds even further insight into why Philo
used the names of Dionysios, Lampo, and Isidoros in Flacc. 18–21. Numer-
ous parallels between the beginning and the end of the In Flaccum suggest
that Philo constructed his narrative around an overall inclusio structure.23
Among these are the parallels between the allusion to the Lamponian and
Isidorian advisors in Flacc. 18–21 and the description of the role of Lampo
and Isidoros in the downfall of Flaccus in Flacc. 125–47. This inclusio sug-
gests that Philo inserted the names of Lampo and Isidoros into Flacc. 18–21
to dramatically foreshadow the denouement of Flaccus. As will become
clear in our later discussion of Flacc. 125–47, the primary role of Lampo and
Isidoros in Philo’s description of the denouement of Flaccus was to
intensify the irony and sense of providential justice in his downfall (e.g.,
Flacc. 103, 125–28, 146–47).24 Philo emphasized this irony by elaborating the
role reversal of ruler and subject that occurred when Lampo and Isidoros
brought charges against Flaccus (Flacc. 125–47). Precisely the same theme
of the reversal of ruler and subject dominates Flacc. 16–24. The names of
Lampo and Isidoros thus probably were introduced into Flacc. 20–21 to

21 Most likely the assumed audience included both Judeans and Romans; Van der Horst,
Philo’s Flaccus, 13–14; cf. Borgen, ‘Philo’s Against Flaccus’, 48–57. For a predominantly
Gentile audience, see especially Meiser, ‘Gattung’, 423–26; so even V. Tcherikover,
‘Jewish Apologetic Literature Reconsidered’, Eos 48/3 (1956) 169–93, esp. 182–83; Good-
enough, Politics, 9–11. Unconvincing is the limited Judean audience advocated by
Niehoff, Philo on Jewish Identity, 33–44. The publication process in antiquity suggests
that an elite such as Philo probably would have sent copies of his major works to a
network of aristocratic friends in various cities of the empire; C. P. Jones, ‘T h e
Circulation of Literary Texts in the Roman World’, CQ 37 (1987) 213–23; B. A. van
Groningen, ‘ÖEkdosiw’, Mnemosyne (Batava; ser. 4) 16 (1963) 1–17. Any effort to limit
these friends to Judeans in the case of Philo’s two major works dealing with elite Roman
villains ignores the close relationship between the Roman aristocracy and Philo’s
family; e.g., see K. G. Evans, ‘Alexander the Alabarch: Roman and Jew’, SBLSPS 34
(1995) 576–94.
22 E.g., Legat. 22–40, 66–113, 140–65, 276–329.
23 E.g., the early and later rehearsals of the glories of Flaccus (Flacc. 1–5; cf. 152, 158,
163); the description of the arrival of Agrippa before the violence and the description of
the arrival of the military legate after the violence (Flacc. 25–28; cf. 109–115); the
suppression of the Alexandrian clubs and the subversive activity of Isidoros in the clubs
(Flacc. 4, 135–45). Cf. Kraus, ‘Philosophical History’, 482–83.
24 See more fully below.
the violence in alexandria in 38 c.e. 55

precondition the reader for the dramatic function that these two characters
would serve in the later narrative of the denouement of Flaccus.
In our subsequent discussion of Dionysios it will be suggested that he
could not appear in the narrative of the denouement of Flaccus because he
had been executed by Flaccus before any of the events in the In Flaccum
occurred (below). If this is correct, it would add a particularly haunting
twist of irony to Philo’s use of his name for one of the masks worn by the
advisors of Flaccus in Flacc. 18–21. For the original readers, such an
appearance of a figure who had already been executed would signify that
the ghost of this executed Alexandrian hero had enticed Flaccus to his
downfall like the avenging shades in a Greek tragedy.25 As with the names
of Lampo and Isidoros, the name of Dionysios would have been introduced
into Flacc. 18–21 to intensify the irony of the narrative.
One must conclude that Philo’s allusion to our trio in Flacc. 18–21 was
purely rhetorical and dramatic in its design. The actual enemies of Flaccus
described here are unnamed and unknown.
A final point that must be noted about this passage is that the literary
artistry it displays raises grave obstacles to any attempt to read it as a
straightforward record of actual events. This problem extends to the entire
section of the narrative describing the purported conspiracy against the
Judeans (Flacc. 16–24). Examples of literary artistry in this section include
the following: the dramatic use of our trio’s names as disguises for the
provincial enemies of Flaccus (above); the stereotypically Philonic identi-
fication of their evil character as ‘Egyptian’;26 the fictional speech that Philo
constructs for these enemies;27 the common ancient literary motif of a
feigned reconciliation between erstwhile enemies;28 the conveniently Plato-
nic contrast between appearance and reality in this reconciliation; 29 and the
calculated contrast between the actions of the Roman prefect and normal
Roman policy (above). These details seriously undermine the veracity of
this section. Philo’s earlier portrait of Flaccus as an exemplary prefect casts
further doubt on the reliability of his portrait of the deterioration and
inveiglement of Flaccus (Flacc. 2–8; cf. also 92–93, 125–47). Philo provides a

25 Cf. the avenging furies of the Judeans (toÊtvn . . . afl poina¤) in Flacc. 175 and the
general notion of madness induced by the furies in Flacc. 162–80; cf. similarly, Euripides
Iph.T. 218–319. For a classic description of the close relationship between a murder
victim and the furies (ÉErinÊew), see Aeschylus Eu. (passim), esp. 1–142; cf. Ag. 1468–1611.
26 See Niehoff, Philo on Jewish Identity, 45–74. Cf. E. Birnbaum, ‘Philo on the Greeks: A
Jewish Perspective on Culture and Society in First-Century Alexandria’, SPhA 13 (2001)
27 Cf. Meiser, ‘Gattung’, 419–21.
28 E.g., Lucian Tox. 9; cf. A. Pelletier, In Flaccum: Introduction, Traduction et Notes
(Paris, 1967) 182–84.
29 Kraus, ‘Philosophical History’, 491–92.
56 allen kerkeslager

rationale that seamlessly adapts this earlier praise of Flaccus to his broader
agenda of condemning him (Flacc. 6–7). But it seems unlikely that Philo
would have conceded any praise to Flaccus at all if there were no grounds
for it. That there were such grounds is clearly evident in the documentary
evidence, which even decades later preserves the memory of a competent
Flaccus but seems unaware of any bamboozled Flaccus.30
Perhaps it is precisely the contrast between Philo’s portrait of a
competent Flaccus and his portrait of a bamboozled Flaccus that explains
the great artistic effort that Philo devoted to the caricature of bamboozle-
ment in Flacc. 16–24. Philo probably constructed this caricature to respond
to arguments by opponents who insisted that Flaccus had impeccably
adhered to standard Roman policy in the events in 38.31 Philo even may
have first employed an early sketch of his bamboozled Flaccus as an
apologetic strategy during the hearings before the emperor in 39 (probably
not 40).32 In these hearings Philo would have employed this image of
bamboozlement not to accuse Flaccus, who had already been executed, but

30 OGIS 669 (IGRR 1.1263; SB 5.8444), esp. lines 26–29. For earlier evidence suggesting
that Flaccus admirably fulfilled routine duties, see Chrest. Wilck. 13; O. Wilck. 1372
(Chr. Wilck 414). Less helpful are IGRR 1.1290 (SB 5.8392), C.23, fragmentary Nilometer
date; OGIS 661 (IGRR 1.1263; SB 5.8329), lacuna in dating formula in dedicatory
inscription. Uncertain is P. Giss. Lit. 4.7 (P. Giss. Univ. 5.46 + P. Yale 2.107 [inv. 1385];
Musurillo, Acts, no. 3), esp. col. 5.4–5, suggested by A. Stein, Die Präfekten von Ägypten in
der Römischen Kaiserzeit (Bern, 1950) 27. Similarly obscure is Philo Somn. 2.123–32,
surveyed with an unconvincing alternative in D. R. Schwartz, ‘Philonic Anonyms of the
Roman and Nazi Periods: Two Suggestions’, SPhA 1 (1989) 63–73; cf. also R. Kraft, ‘Philo
and the Sabbath Crisis: Alexandrian Jewish Politics and the Dating of Philo’s Works’,
in B. A. Pearson (ed.), The Future of Early Christianity: Essays in Honor of Helmut Koester
(Minneapolis, 1991) 131–41.
31 For more on this, see Kerkeslager, ‘Agrippa and the Mourning Rites for Drusilla.’
32 For a date in 39, see convincingly D. R. Schwartz, Agrippa I: The Last King of Judaea
(Tübingen, 1990) 78–88, 196–99, against the date in 40 advocated by E. M. Smallwood,
Philonis Alexandrini Legatio ad Gaium: Edited with an Introduction, Translation and
Commentary, 2nd ed. (Leiden, 1970) 24–31, 47–50, 321; similarly, Smallwood, The Jews
Under Roman Rule: From Pompey to Diocletian, SJLA 20 (Leiden, 1976) 242–45. A date in
39 is also preferred by Harker, Loyalty and Dissidence, 254–55; C. Salvaterra,
‘Considerazioni sul Progetto di Caligola di Vistare Alessandria’, in L. Criscuolo and G.
Geraci (edd.), Egitto e Storia Antica dall’Ellenismo all’Età Araba: Bilancio di un Confronto
(Bologna, 1989) 631–56; P. J. Sijpesteijn, ‘The Legationes ad Gaium’, JJS 15 (1964) 87–96.
The fullest discussion of the chronology is Gambetti, Alexandrian Riots, 1–30, although
for the summer of 38, see Kerkeslager, ‘Agrippa and the Mourning Rites for Drusilla.’
Philo was in Rome when Gaius ordered his statue set up, so Philo would have heard of
the order long before Petronius in Syria. If the order was given shortly after a hearing in
the early autumn of 39 (before Gaius’ departure for the German campaign; cf. Legat. 356),
Petronius would not have received it until it was almost winter. Since Petronius could not
have taken much action until spring, this fits perfectly with Philo’s reference to
subsequent events in the spring of 40 (Legat. 248–49).
the violence in alexandria in 38 c.e. 57

to argue that the official decisions of Flaccus about the Judeans of Alexan-
dria were an aberration from standard Roman policy. Philo’s goal would
have been to persuade Gaius to mitigate or reverse the affects of his pre-
fect’s decisions. Later conflicts over Judean rights at the time Philo penned
his In Flaccum may have compelled him to reinvigorate this apologetic
strategy in this narrative.
Thus our trio’s absence as actual individuals from Flacc. 18–21 may not
be the only obstacle to charging them with a conspiracy on the eve of the
violence in 38. Flaccus might not have been manipulated by any provincial
enemies at all.33 If Philo’s opponents were correct, Flaccus may have
remained an ideal epitome of Roman imperialism throughout the summer
of 38.
(2) Second, our trio is completely absent from Philo’s major descriptions
of the violence against the Judeans (Flacc. 36–96; Legat. 119–37). The generic
use of the name of Dionysios in Flacc. 20 is Philo’s only allusion to him. The
names of Lampo and Isidoros do not reappear in the In Flaccum until after
Philo has finished describing the violence and begins describing the arrival
of Flaccus in Rome in the winter of 38–39. The subsequent details about
Lampo and Isidoros make no reference to any interaction between them
and Judeans at all, whether friendly or hostile (Flacc. 125–47).
Philo may, of course, be charged with directing attention away from our
trio to enhance the guilt of Flaccus, who is the evil tragic protagonist of the
In Flaccum. But in the Legatio Philo is still able to impugn Flaccus while
directing his fusillade against Gaius (Legat. 132). This indicates that if Philo
had wanted to attribute a leading role in the violence to our trio he could
have done so without detracting from his criticisms of either Flaccus or
Gaius. The simplest explanation for Philo’s failure to assign a leading role in
the violence to our trio is that they had no such role.
(3) Third, the only segment of the In Flaccum that actually describes the
activity of any members of our trio as individuals indicates that their
preeminent role in the In Flaccum is that of enemies of Flaccus, not enemies
of the Judeans. This segment is Flacc. 125–47. The frequent attempts to
transmogrify Philo’s statements about Lampo and Isidoros in this section
into evidence that they were ‘anti-Semites’ fly directly in the face of Philo’s
own stated intentions. Philo’s repeated, elaborate, and explicit statements at
the introduction and conclusion of Flacc. 125–47 indicate that his one single

33 Gambetti, Alexandrian Riots, 31-36, 88; A. N. Sherwin-White, ‘Philo and Avillius

Flaccus: A Conundrum’, Latomus 31 (1972) 820–28; accepting nuanced details of Philo’s
portrait is A. A. Barrett, Caligula: The Corruption of Power (New Haven, 1989) 23, 39, 66,
80, 90. Cf. the introductory comments above on the literary manipulation of images of
advisors in other tales of royal and imperial courts.
58 allen kerkeslager

goal in this section of his narrative was to emphasize that the downfall of
Flaccus was due to divine intervention.34 Philo’s statements identify this
divine activity with ‘divine providence’ (ye¤a prono¤a), ‘Justice’ (D¤kh), and
a sovereign penchant for irony (Flacc. 125–28, 146–47). Illustrating these
themes was the primary reason that Philo devoted any space to Lampo
and Isidoros at all.
This point cannot be overemphasized because it is so consistently
ignored. The portion of the In Flaccum devoted to Lampo and Isidoros is in
fact only the third part of a larger section in which Philo elaborates three
illustrations of the providential activity of divine justice in the downfall of
Flaccus (Flacc. 104–47).35 These three illustrations are explicitly enumerated
‘first’ (pr«ton), ‘also’ (ka¤), and ‘third’ (tr¤ton; Flacc. 104, 116, 125). The first
illustration was the termination of the prefecture of Flaccus by an arrest in
his very home (Flacc. 104–15). In this Philo found a just retribution for the
expulsion of Judeans from their homes (Flacc. 115). The second was the
fortuitous timing of the arrest of Flaccus during the festival of Sukkoth
(Flacc. 116–24). Philo perceived a providential irony in the way that this
recalled Pharaoh’s humiliation and other events commemorated in the
festival. The third illustration was the action of Lampo and Isidoros as
accusers of Flaccus during his trial (Flacc. 125–47). Philo claimed that their
role in his trial revealed the action of providential justice because it
ironically reversed the earlier positions of prosecutor and prosecuted (Flacc.
125–28, 145–47). Like the other two illustrations of providential justice in
Flacc. 104–47, the chronicle of the activity of Lampo and Isidoros in Flacc.
125–47 was introduced to furnish Judean readers with a theodicy and warn
Gentile readers of the dangers of hubris against the Judeans and their
Perhaps one reason that Philo’s rhetorical goal in manipulating the
characters of Lampo and Isidoros has been so easily ignored is that it is so

34 Unfortunately scholars often divide the literary structure of the In Flaccum after
Flacc. 145 and assign Flacc. 146–47 to the next section of the narrative; e.g., Van der Horst,
Philo’s Flaccus, 6–9; Pelletier, In Flaccum, 42. This obscures the literary function of Flacc.
125–28 and 146–147. Both of these passages deal with the trial of Flaccus; in contrast,
Flacc. 148 begins a description of the punishments that followed the trial. Further, Flacc.
125–28 and 146–47 have close parallels with each other. These and other features of
these passages indicate that they were intended to function as the introduction and
conclusion of their section, which thus embraces all of Flacc. 125–47.
35 On the themes of providence and justice elsewhere in Philo’s narrative, see, e.g., Van
der Horst, Philo’s Flaccus, 16–17; C. Kraus [Reggiani], Filone Alessandrino e un’ora tragica
della storia ebraica (Napoli, 1967) 49–54. P. Frick, Divine Providence in Philo of Alexandria
(Tübingen, 1999), includes only a passing treatment of the In Flaccum and Legatio, but has
useful general comments and bibliography about these themes.
36 For the ethnically mixed elite audience of the In Flaccum, see note above.
the violence in alexandria in 38 c.e. 59

unconvincing. Philo’s effort to transform the role reversal during the trial
of Flaccus into a fitting retribution for the attacks on the Judeans in 38
would have been more persuasive if he could have cited the action of
Judean accusers during this trial. Philo’s need to call on two persecuted
Greek subjects to fill a role that would have been filled more effectively by
persecuted Judean subjects unwittingly reveals that no advocate for Judean
concerns was even present during the trial of Flaccus. But closer inspection
betrays similar weaknesses in the other two illustrations of providential
justice described in Flacc. 104–47. All three illustrations were constructed
from mere coincidences that Philo exploited to establish an artificial impres-
sion of cause and affect between the attacks on the Judeans and the fate of
Philo was compelled to create this artificial impression because he him-
self admitted that the real source of Gaius’ animosity toward Flaccus was
to be found in political intrigues in Rome that had nothing to do with the
Judeans (Flacc. 9–16, 22–23, 108, 180–85). Objections sometimes have been
raised against Philo’s description of these intrigues.37 But his attribution of
the arrest of Flaccus to causes unrelated to Judeans is not easily disregarded
because it appears in a narrative in which Philo wanted to vilify Flaccus for
uniquely Judean concerns.38 Philo employed Lampo and Isidoros to create
the impression of a supernatural relationship of cause and affect between
the attacks on the Judeans and the demise of Flaccus because he was fully
aware that no genuine relationship existed at all.
Once the rhetorical goal in Philo’s description of Lampo and Isidoros in
Flacc. 125–47 is recognized, the nuances of Philo’s literary artistry in this
section can be more fully appreciated. The description of the activities of
Lampo and Isidoros takes the form of an interruption that flashes
backward to the period before the accession of Gaius in 37 (Flacc. 128–45;
on the dates, see below). This flashback allows Philo to describe the original
legal conflicts in Alexandria that compelled them to bring charges against
Flaccus in Rome in 38–39 (Flacc. 125–47). When Philo finishes describing the

37 See esp. Sherwin-White, ‘Philo and Avillius Flaccus’, 820–28. See correctly Van der
Horst, Philo’s Flaccus, 207, against Gruen, Diaspora, 60–61. A full treatment of the arrest
of Flaccus would require a separate study; for now, see Barrett, Caligula, 23, 39, 66, 80, 90;
P. A. Brunt, ‘Charges of Provincial Maladministration Under the Early Principate’,
Historia (Wiesbaden) 10 (1961) 189–223, esp. 203. Based on Philo Flacc. 97–103 and Legat.
178–80, it is often asserted that Agrippa’s advocacy for the Judeans played a role in the
arrest of Flaccus; e.g., A. Kushnir-Stein, ‘On the Visit of Agrippa I to Alexandria in 38
AD’, JJS 51 (2000) 227–42; Schwartz, Agrippa, 74–77. Closer reading of these passages and
other related evidence raises serious doubt about Agrippa’s advocacy, however.
Unfortunately this also must be deferred to a separate study (in process).
38 The events in the Legatio indicate that Gaius would have been pleased with the
violence; explicitly, Legat. 165.
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events in the period before 37 he jumps quickly forward again to the

events in Rome after the arrival of Flaccus in the winter of 38–39 (Flacc.
146–48). Philo’s explicit emphasis on the personal nature of the charges that
Lampo and Isidoros brought against Flaccus indicates that his intent in the
short flashback and the immediate return to his broader narrative se-
quence was to establish a direct link between the legal difficulties of Lampo
and Isidoros in Alexandria and the trial of Flaccus in Rome (Flacc. 125–26,
135, 146–47). Philo’s creation of this shockingly direct connection between
legal disputes that in actuality were widely separated in time enhanced the
brutal irony of his portrait of the reversal of accuser and accused (Flacc.
125–28, 135, 146–47). To an ancient reader the brutality of this irony
successfully created the impression of a divine anger. Such anger would
have added legitimacy to Philo’s claim that divine providence was at work
in the fate of Flaccus (Flacc. 125, 146–47).
The conclusion that emerges from this detailed analysis of the structure
and intent of Philo’s chronicle of the activities of Lampo and Isidoros in
Flacc. 125–47 is that Philo strategically inserted these characters into the In
Flaccum to emphasize the divine role in the downfall of Flaccus. The literary
function of Lampo and Isidoros in this narrative is thus not that of ‘anti-
Semites.’ On the contrary, they function as dramatic agents of the Judean
This unfortunately reveals very little about our trio’s real relationships
with Judeans. But a useful observation still might be teased out of the direct
link that Philo established in Flacc. 125–47 between the legal conflicts of
Lampo and Isidoros in Alexandria prior to 37 and the trial of Flaccus in
Rome in the winter of 38–39. This is that forging such a dramatic link re-
quired Philo to skip directly over the attacks on the Judeans in the summer
of 38. In fact, nowhere in Flacc. 125–47 are Judeans even mentioned. Thus
Philo’s description of the violence in Flacc. 36–96 and his description of the
activity of Lampo and Isidoros in Flacc. 125–47 are consistent with each
other. Neither one actually says that these two characters were involved in
the violence in 38. If the In Flaccum implies anything at all about their
activity in the summer of 38, it is that they were away in Rome busily
stoking the fateful fury with which Flaccus was greeted when he himself
arrived in the city (Flacc. 125–26).
(4) Fourth, the only indisputable case in which Philo pictures any one of
our trio as an opponent of Judeans does not impugn him in the violence in
38. This is Legat. 354–56, where Philo places Isidoros alongside of the Alex-
andrian ambassadors in Rome in 39 (or 40).39 As will be argued more fully
below, the dubious distinction that Philo gives to Isidoros in this passage

39 See above note on the date.

the violence in alexandria in 38 c.e. 61

confirms that Isidoros was not himself an ambassador and had never
returned to Alexandria after the legal proceedings in 33–35 that climaxed in
his departure from the city. At this point it is sufficient to note that the one
passage in which Philo singles out Isidoros for activity that is uniquely anti-
Judean refers only to events that occurred in Rome after the summer of 38.
On this Philo is in complete agreement with all of the papyri that contain
indisputable evidence for action by any of our trio against Judeans.40 Philo
shares with all of these other sources an image of provincial patriots cham-
pioning their native city in hearings before the emperor.41 Not a single
ancient source actually presents them as anti-Semitic gangsters instigating
The following treatment of the legal difficulties of our trio will indicate
that the sources dealing with our trio did not attribute them with this role
because they never had such a role. These legal difficulties probably
resulted in the execution of Dionysios before 38 and the complete absence
of both Lampo and Isidoros from the city for the entire year.

2. The Death of Dionysios

Frequently it is suggested that the Dionysios alluded to in Flacc. 20 might

be the ‘Dionysios son of Theon’ who appears in P. Lond. 6.1912 as a
vociferous opponent of the Judeans in the hearings before Claudius in 41.42
But as in the case of ‘tamperer,’ ‘faction leader,’ and other labels that Philo
associates with our trio in Flacc. 20, the phrase ‘Dionysian demagogues’

40 Musurillo, Acts, no. 4 (CPJ 2.156a-d); possibly P. Oxy. 42.3021; unlikely P.Lond. 6.1912
(CPJ 2.153), lines 17, 76, which would confirm my point but (as will be suggested below)
probably do not refer to our Dionysios. Judeans are not explicitly mentioned in P.Oxy.
8.1089 (CPJ 2.154). The same is true of P. Giss. Lit. 4.7 (P. Giss. Univ. 5.46 + P. Yale 2.107
[inv. 1385]; Musurillo, Acts, no. 3; cf. CPJ 2.155). Despite the probable setting of P. Giss.
Lit. 4.7 in 37, some relationship with the events in 38 has sometimes been suggested; S.
Stephens, Yale Papyri in the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library II, (Chico, CA,
1985) 85–98; and especially Gambetti, Alexandrian Riots, 51–86. While I am not
persuaded by most of these arguments, it is at least possible that the accuser who is burnt
in this text is a Judean. But the setting is clearly Rome. For more on the date of this
setting in 37 rather than 38, see Harker, Loyalty and Dissidence, 44–47; Kuhlmann,
Giessener Literarischen Papyri, 119; Musurillo, Acts, 107.
41 For this portrait in the papyri, though assuming a different portrait in Philo, see
Mélèze-Modrzejewski, Jews, 174-75; M. Pucci Ben Zeev, ‘New Perspectives on the Jewish-
Greek Hostilities During the Reign of Emperor Caligula’, JSJ 21 (1990) 227-35; J. Mélèze-
Modrzejewski, ‘H D¤kh toË Is¤dvrou: Po¤nikh KatastolØ ka‹ IdeolÒgikh Anam°trhsh MetajÁ
Alejãndreiaw ka‹ R≈mhw’, Praktika tês Akadêmias Athênôn 61 (1986) 245-75, esp. 248.
However, note the caution against oversimplifying the purported ‘anti-Roman’ element
in these papyri in Harker, Loyalty and Dissidence, 215–17.
42 E.g., with qualification, Tcherikover, CPJ 2, p. 44.
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indicates an enemy of Flaccus in the maintenance of civic order, not an anti-

Semite. Furthermore, the name Dionysios was so common in Alexandria
that at least two if not three individuals of this name appear in P. Lond.
6.1912 alone.43 Our Dionysios thus cannot be certainly identified with any
of the individuals of this name in P. Lond. 6.1912.44
In contrast, the close parallel between the implied role of Dionysios and
Isidoros as enemies of Flaccus in Flacc. 18–21 and the similar portrait found
in P.Oxy. 8.1089 (CPJ 2.154) suggests that both texts refer to the same
Dionysios.45 Often it is claimed that P.Oxy. 8.1089 shows Flaccus making an
alliance with Dionysios and Isidoros on the eve of the violence in 38.46 But
fatal flaws undermine all such interpretations of this text. (1) They depend
heavily on the allusions to our trio in Flacc. 18–21. But we have seen that
this passage provides no evidence for the activity of our trio in any conspi-
racy against Judeans. (2) They assume that Philo’s portrait of a conspiracy
in Flacc. 18–21 is historically reliable. We have seen that this is extremely
dubious. (3) Judeans are not even mentioned in P.Oxy. 8.1089. Nothing in
the text itself even hints that the events it describes are related to Judeans.
(4) Isidoros appears in Alexandria in P.Oxy. 8.1089. As later discussion in
this article will demonstrate, Isidoros probably went into exile in 33–35
(certainly no later than 36) and never returned to Alexandria. This indicates
that the setting of P.Oxy. 8.1089 is well before 38. (5) Despite references to a
formal agreement between Flaccus, Dionysios, and Isidoros in P.Oxy.
8.1089, the text repeatedly emphasizes that Flaccus still poses an ominous
threat to the two members of our trio. This seems inappropriate to a
reconciliation or alliance between them and Flaccus. (6) The Greek author’s
choice of Flaccus as the Roman villain in P.Oxy. 8.1089 suggests that Flaccus
provided a paradigmatic example of oppressive Roman imperialism. Thus
it is unlikely that the preserved fragment portrayed a purely benign
cooperation on his part.

43 Correctly, Tcherikover, CPJ 2, p. 44.

44 This also applies to Gambetti, Alexandrian Riots, 103–108, who follows the popular
identification of our Dionysios with the Gaius Julius Dionysios of P. Lond. 6.1912 (CPJ
2.153), line 17. Based on this assumption, she identifies both individuals with a
Dionysios in P. Oxy. 42.3021, which she interprets (possibly correctly) as a description of
the embassy in P. Lond. 6.1912 (CPJ 2.153).
45 So, e.g., Gambetti, Alexandrian Riots, 106–108; Tcherikover, CPJ 2, pp. 60–64;
Musurillo, Acts, 93–104.
46 Gruen, Diaspora, 60–61; Mélèze-Modrzejewski, Jews, 166–69; Kasher, Jews, 20–22;
Smallwood, Legatio ad Gaium, 14–16; Smallwood, Jews, 237; W. Dunne Barry, Faces of the
Crowd: Popular Society and Politics of Roman Alexandria, 30 BC–AD 215 (Ph.D.
Dissertation; Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, 1988) 109–110 and 148 note 56; D.
Hennig, ‘Zu der alexandrinischen Märtyrerakte P. Oxy. 1089’, Chiron 4 (1974) 424–40,
esp. 432–35; Bell, Juden und Griechen, 17.
the violence in alexandria in 38 c.e. 63

This list does not exhaust the weaknesses of the popular hypothesis that
P.Oxy. 8.1089 depicts a purported conspiracy against Judeans.47 The details
repeatedly emphasize a different theme.
This central theme is an impending conflict between Dionysios and
Flaccus that is unsuccessfully averted by the pleading of an old man (ı
geraiÒw).48 This theme is emphasized in a number of ways: (1) The actions
of the old man clearly signal agitated concern for Dionysios; e.g., throwing
himself down on his knees and grasping Dionysios (lines 31–32; cf. possibly
46). (2) The old man pleads: ‘Dionysios, . . . do not contend with Flaccus . . .
Change your mind, child Dionysios!’ (lines 33–38). (3) Dionysios indicates
that he has denied Flaccus before and yet will not do so a second time.
Instead, he will meet with Flaccus willingly, even though some apparent
tension with Flaccus suggests that Dionysios should avoid him (lines 38–
42). (4) The old man addresses Flaccus, ‘(I beg) you, by the Lord Sarapis,
that you do no harm to Isidoros and Dionysios’ (lines 46–49).49
This indisputable evidence of tension between Flaccus and Dionysios
implies that Flaccus poses some serious danger to both Dionysios and
Isidoros. But the focus of the threat seems to be especially on Dionysios.
Herbert Musurillo correctly recognized this and proposed that the text
might have been a fragment of an Alexandrian ‘Acts of Dionysios.’50 But
perhaps because Musurillo identified this Dionysios with a Dionysios who
was still alive in 41, he failed to reach the logical conclusion suggested by his
proposal.51 This is that the missing part of the text described the execution
of Dionysios. In other examples of the Alexandrian Acts genre the execu-
tion of Alexandrian nationalists is ordered by the emperor.52 But the prefect

47 Others will become clear as this article progresses.

48 Most have followed Hunt’s conjecture (editio princeps) that the old man (ı geraiÒw) is
one of the ‘elders’ (to¤w g°rousin) mentioned in line 36; e.g., Tcherikover, CPJ 2, p. 63. But
this is hardly certain. In line 33, only two letters (d and s) of ‘master’ (d°spota) are
secure and others [ot] barely fill the lacuna. Thus a variety of readings are possible,
including ‘most miserable’ (dusãylie), ‘ill-fated’ (dustux°w), or ‘wretched’ (dÊsthne), all
of which would fit with the implicit threat to Dionysios in the text; despite Harker,
Loyalty and Dissidence, 230. Such a reading would eliminate the tension between the old
man’s identification of Dionysios as both ‘master’ and ‘child’ (t°knon, line 38), noted by
Tcherikover, CPJ 2, p. 64. ‘Child’ then might be understood quite literally and the old
man could be identified as the father of Dionysios. This would certainly fit the intensity
of his emotion. But the text is too fragmentary to settle the issue.
49 The widely followed translation of Tcherikover, CPJ 2, p. 63, unfortunately obscures
the desperate petition to Flaccus by mistakenly translating the oath formula (‘by the
Lord Sarapis’) as if Sarapis were being addressed.
50 Musurillo, Acts, 94 note 2; followed by Harker, Loyalty and Dissidence, 48.
51 Musurillo, Acts, 99, like many others, identifies him with Gaius Julius Dionysios in P.
Lond. 6.1912.
52 E.g., Musurillo, Acts, nos. 4A–C, 8, 9A–B, 11 (CPJ 2.156a–d, 157, 158a–b, 159b).
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was of sufficient rank to provide a formidable Roman villain in P.Oxy.

8.1089. Since Antioch is the setting for one of the other texts in this genre,
nothing militates against a dramatic climax in Alexandria in this one.53 The
appearance of Isidoros in P.Oxy. 8.1089 indicates a date before the exile of
Isidoros, which probably occurred ca. 33–35 (cf. below). This would suggest
that Flaccus executed Dionysios as early as 33 and almost certainly before
Moving beyond this conclusion is more speculative. The secondary role
of the threat that Flaccus poses to Isidoros in this text is especially difficult
to explain. One possibility is that Isidoros and Dionysios both had been
charged with crimes, but that Isidoros was the primary beneficiary of the
business arrangement (tÚ xr∞ma) mentioned in the text (lines 26, 44). The
fact that Flaccus singles out Isidoros to assure him that this arrangement is
now ‘ready’ might add weight to this suggestion (lines 42–45; cf. 25–26).
This makes it tempting to identify the scene with preparations for the
departure of Isidoros into voluntary exile, which allowed him to preempt
execution for capital crimes.54 In this interpretation, the money exchanged
in the text could have come from either Isidoros or Dionysios.55 Dionysios
theoretically might have assisted his friend because of the financial difficul-
ties imposed on the exiled Isidoros by the confiscation of his property.56 In
contrast to Isidoros, Dionysios chose to stay in Alexandria and risk

53 In Antioch in 115 is Musurillo, Acts, no. 9A–B (CPJ 2.158a–b); Maria Pucci Ben Zeev,
‘Greek Attacks against Alexandrian Jews During Emperor Trajan’s reign’, JSJ 20 (1989)
31–48; Pucci [Ben Zeev], ‘CPJ 2.158, 435 e la rivolta ebraica al tempo di Traiano’, ZPE 51
(1983) 95–103. Some have occasionally seen a journey of Dionysios from Alexandria to
Rome in P. Oxy. 8.1089, lines 36–37 (∑ soË poreuy°ntow); e.g., Tcherikover, CPJ 2, p. 61. But
lines 34–35 suggest that the referent of this ‘departure’ is a trip either to ‘contend’ with
Flaccus or to ‘[sit] with the elders.’ Both of these options apply only to further action in
Alexandria. If lines 34–37 directly equate the ‘contending with Flaccus’ to the
‘departure’ of Dionysios (reading ≥ instead of ∑), the ‘departure’ might even be a euphe-
mism for dying (‘Do not contend with Flaccus . . . Or after you have gone, . . . ?’). The least
that can be said is that there is no support in the context for assuming that a journey of
Dionysios to Rome is intended by ∑ soË poreuy°ntow.
54 Flacc. 144–45; see the discussion of Isidoros below. This would at least imply some
value in the suggestion of Anton von Premerstein, Zu Den Sogenannten Alexandrinischen
Märtyrerakten (Leipzig, 1923) 6–7, who proposed that the text referred to payment for an
exit permit. Unfortunately his treatment of the text is based on a host of erroneous
assumptions and tenuous emendations; cf. Tcherikover, CPJ 2, pp. 60–64.
55 Probably not Flaccus, contra Mélèze-Modrzejewski, Jews, 169, who presupposes the
relevance of the alleged alliance in Philo Flacc. 18–21, which is subject to the criticisms
described above. The unlikelihood of Philo’s scenario of the Roman prefect expecting
provincials to protect him from the emperor has already been mentioned above; cf.
Sherwin-White, ‘Philo and Avillius Flaccus’, 825.
56 Gnomon 37 (B G U 5.1210.101–105; dupl. P. Oxy. 42.3014.5–10); for payment of
securities by others, see, e.g., P. Hib. 1.92. See more fully the discussion of Isidoros below.
the violence in alexandria in 38 c.e. 65

‘contending with Flaccus’ in a trial for complicity in the same capital

This is merely an admittedly imaginative elaboration of the more
defensible core hypothesis that a later scene described the execution of
Dionysios in Alexandria. The fragmentary nature of the text prevents
complete confidence even in this hypothesis, but it is safe to affirm that the
details and genre of the text make his execution the most likely outcome. In
this case the old man’s desperate warnings against Dionysios’ stubborn
insistence on entering into a legal dispute with Flaccus ominously
foreshadowed the fateful end of this legal dispute.
Confirmation of this proposal may be found in texts suggesting that
Dionysios and Theon may have been names repeatedly used by one
particular family among the Alexandrian elite.57 These texts might suggest
that Dionysios can be identified with an executed Theon from this family
whose name appears just before Isidoros and Lampo in P. Oxy. 1.33 (frag.
4; CPJ 2.159b.4), which is another text in the Alexandrian Acts genre.58 The
order ‘Theon, Isidoros, and Lampo’ that appears in the list of martyrs in P.
Oxy. 1.33 suggests that Theon’s martyrdom may have preceded that of
Isidoros and Lampo.59 This would certainly be the case if the Theon of
P.Oxy. 1.33 was the same as the Dionysios of P.Oxy. 8.1089, whose pro-
posed execution by Flaccus in 33–36 would have preceded the later execu-
tion of the other two by Claudius in 41.60 The difference between the use of
‘Theon’ for the executed hero in P.Oxy. 1.33 and ‘Dionysios’ for the same
individual in P.Oxy. 8.1089 would easily be explained by the confusing use
of Dionysios and Theon by fathers and sons in the same elite family over

57 Musurillo, Acts, 102–104, 218, though Musurillo identifies the executed Theon with
Theon the exegete in Acts, no. 4A.1–2 (CPJ 2.156a). This identification is unlikely; Theon
the exegete was executed by the machinations of Isidoros and his placement together
with Lampo and Isidoros as executed heroes would be a bit strained. However, Harker,
Loyalty and Dissidence, 54–55, proposes that the later authors in the Alexandrian Acts
tradition simply were confused over who was responsible for the execution of Theon. For
more on possible members of this family, see Naphtali Lewis, ‘Literati in the Service of
Roman Emperors: Politics Before Culture’, in Lionel Casson and Martin Price (edd.),
Coins, Culture and History in the Ancient World: Numismatic and Other Studies in Honor
of Bluma L. Trell (Detroit, 1981) 149–66, esp. 159; P. J. Sijpesteijn, The Family of the Tiberii
Iulii Theones (Amsterdam, 1976) 1–7.
58 Tcherikover in CPJ 2, p. 106, who identified the executed Theon of P. Oxy. 1.33
(Musurillo, Acts, no. 11; CPJ 2.159b) with the Dionysios of P. Oxy. 8.1089 because he
identified both figures with the same purported anti-Semite. Tcherikover did not
recognize that P. Oxy. 8.1089 may be a fragment of the ‘Acts of Dionysios.’
59 The identification of the executed Theon with Theon the exegete by Musurillo, Acts,
102–104, 218, is problematic if Isidoros really did aid his death because in this passage
Isidoros and Theon are placed together as if almost on equal terms as patriots.
60 For the dates, see above on Dionysios and below on Lampo and Isidoros.
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successive generations.61 If this is correct, the ‘Dionysios son of Theon’ in

P.Lond. 6.1912 might still be indirectly relevant to this discussion because he
could have been the son or grandson of the Dionysios-Theon executed by
Flaccus in the missing portion of P.Oxy. 8.1089.62
One final point in favor of the suggestion that our Dionysios was
executed by Flaccus sometime before 38 is that it would explain a number
of details in the In Flaccum. (1) First, it would illuminate Philo’s inclusion of
allusions to Dionysios, Lampo, and Isidoros together in a single list in Flacc.
20. While at the most obvious level this signified that they were all enemies
of Flaccus, it would have been even more appropriate if Philo was writing
after they all had met their fate at the hands of the Roman authorities. (2)
Second, it would explain Philo’s placement of Dionysios first in this list of
names. This would fit well with the assumption that Dionysios was execu-
ted well before the other two were executed in 41.63 (3) Third, it would
provide a ready explanation for Philo’s failure to mention Dionysios in his
description of the violence in 38 and the later trial of Flaccus. Dionysios was
not mentioned because he was dead before the violence even began.

3. The Legal Troubles of Lampo

The chronological and punitive implications of Lampo’s legal difficulties

make it unlikely that he was involved in the violence in 38.
(1) First, none of the known activities of Lampo in Alexandria can be
dated to 38. In Flacc. 125–35 Philo describes the legal conflicts that trans-
formed Lampo into an enemy of Flaccus. Philo explicitly places most or all
of these conflicts under Tiberius and thus before March of 37 (Flacc. 128).
Furthermore, Philo’s claim that Lampo was an enemy of Flaccus for ‘most’
of Flaccus’ rule would require us to trace the conflicts that generated
Lampo’s animosity back to a date early in the tenure of Flaccus (Flacc. 128).
Other details in Flacc. 125–35 confirm that Lampo’s legal difficulties date to
well before the events in 38.
Philo indicates a chronological contiguity between Lampo’s post in
handling legal documents and his subsequent post as gymnasiarch (Flacc.
128–34). Comparison between Philo’s description of the activity of Lampo

61 Harker, Loyalty and Dissidence, 54–55, posits a similar confusion in the later Alexan-
drian Acts tradition over responsibility for the execution of Theon; cf. note above.
62 Members of the Alexandrian elite were pressed into civic offices at an early age; D.
Delia, Alexandrian Citizenship During the Roman Principate (Atlanta, 1991) 92–93.
63 Musurillo, Acts, 118–24, preferred a date in 53, but for the date in 41, see Harker,
Loyalty and Dissidence, 27–28; Schwartz, Agrippa, 96–98; Mélèze-Modrzejewski, ‘D¤kh toË
Is¤dvrou’, 249–50; Tcherikover, CPJ 2, pp. 68–69.
the violence in alexandria in 38 c.e. 67

and the evidence for Alexandrian civic offices suggests that Lampo’s tenure
as gymnasiarch probably followed his tenure in the powerful office of
hypomnematographos (‘chief recorder’).64 Whatever Lampo’s official title
was, Philo clearly indicates that one of Lampo’s chief responsibilities was
the management of judicial records (Flacc. 131–34; cf. 20). Philo uses the
plural of ‘governors’ to describe Lampo’s activity in this official role (Flacc.
131, 133). This indicates that Lampo held the office of chief recorder or
some similar role during the rule of at least two prefects. Flaccus probably
arrived in Alexandria as prefect in the summer or fall of 32 (less likely, early
33).65 Hiberus, the predecessor of Flaccus, died soon after being appoin-
ted.66 Thus Lampo probably became the official manager of judicial records
late in the prefecture of Gaius Galerius, who ruled from 15 (or 16) to 31

64 The title Ípomnhmatogrãfow (hypomnematographos) may be implied in the use of

Ípomnhmat¤zomai in Flacc. 131 and the administrative role described in Flacc. 134. The
contiguity of this role with Lampo’s tenure as gymnasiarch makes it unlikely he was a
lowly scribe or clerk; against Harker, Loyalty and Dissidence, 30; Tcherikover, CPJ vol. 2,
p. 70. Occasionally Lampo has been assigned a different title, such as archdikastes, which
(like hypomnematographos) appears in Strabo Geo. 17.1.12 (C797). Most well known is
Box, In Flaccum, 117, followed by Pelletier, In Flaccum, 164–65, who emends Flacc. 131 to
read efisagvg°vw, which suggests that Lampo held the corresponding office (eisagogeus).
But see Van der Horst, Philo’s Flaccus, 210–12; Musurillo, Acts, 124–25; cf. Delia,
Alexandrian Citizenship, 92–94, 104–107, 112, who assigns equivalent rank in the cursus
honorum to hypomnematographos and gymnasiarch (and thereby counters her odd omis-
sion of Lampo on 154; cf. 157). See also the illuminating parallel to the possible contigu-
ity of gymnasiarch and hypomnematographos in Lampo’s career in SEG 50.1563, discussed
in J. Bingen, ‘Un Nouvel Épistratège et Arabarque Alexandrin’, ZPE 138 (2002) 119–120;
A. Lukaszewicz, ‘Tiberius Claudius Isidorus: Alexandrian Gymnasiarch and Epistrategus
of the Thebaid’, in T. Gagos and R. S. Bagnall (edd.), Essays and Texts in Honor of J.
David Thomas (Exeter, Great Britain, 2001) 125–29 and plate 11; Lukaszewicz, ‘Some
Remarks on the Trial of Isidoros and on Isidoros Junior’, JJP 30 (2000) 59–65. Other texts
associating the office with the prefect’s judiciary function are listed in J. E. G. White-
horne, ‘The Hypomnematographus in the Roman Period’, Aegyptus 67 (1987) 101–25,
although Whitehorne marginalizes this role.
65 J. Schwartz, ‘Préfets d’Egypte sous Tibère et Caligula’, ZPE 48 (1982) 189–92. For
sources, see P. Bureth, ‘Le préfet d’Égypte (30 av. J.C.–297 ap. J.C.): État présent de la
documentation in 1973’, ANRW 2.10.1 (1988) 472–502; G. Bastianni, ‘Il prefetto d’Egitto
(30 a.C.–297 d.C.): Addenda 1973–1985’, ANRW 2.10.1 (1988) 503–17; Bastianni, ‘Lista
dei prefetti d’Egitto dal 30 a.C. al 299 d.C.’, ZPE 17 (1975) 263–328. Still helpful is Stein,
Präfekten von Ägypten, 25–28.
66 Schwartz, ‘Préfets d’Egypte sous Tibère et Caligula’, 189–90, who points out the
probable mistake in Cassius Dio 58.19.6 on Vitrasius Pollio (the successor of Flaccus, not
his predecessor); Bastianni, ‘Il prefetto d’Egitto’, 504.
67 Similarly, P. A. Brunt, ‘The Administrators of Roman Egypt’, JRS 64 (1975) 124–47,
esp. 125, 134, who cites SEG 8.527 as evidence of corruption during the tenure of Galerius.
On the dates of Gaius Galerius, see Schwartz, ‘Préfets d’Egypte sous Tibère et Caligula’,
189–90; Bastianni, ‘Lista dei prefetti d’Egitto’, 270; Bastianni, ‘Il prefetto d’Egitto’, 504.
68 allen kerkeslager

On this assumption two reasons suggest that Lampo completed his

tenure as a manager of judicial records as early as 33 and almost certainly
no later than 34.
(a) First, although Alexandrian magistrates sometimes did hold their
offices for a number of years, the normal length of their term of office was
one year and they were usually limited to just a few terms.68 If Lampo had
become hypomnematographos or held a comparable magistracy by 31 or
even earlier, he was probably overdue for replacement in this office by 33
or 34.
(b) Second, the routine business of Flaccus in hearing judicial appeals and
settling legal disputes would have required frequent consultation of judicial
records managed by Lampo soon after Flaccus arrived in Alexandria.69 This
would suggest that any problems in Lampo’s previous activity as chief
manager of judicial records would have come to the attention of Flaccus
early in his tenure as prefect.
Precisely what it was about the activity of Lampo that led to the charges
against him is impossible to determine. Philo attempts to smear Lampo for
tampering with judicial documents (Flacc. 128–34). Yet one must be suspi-
cious of the accuracy of Philo’s accusation because he admits that Lampo
was eventually acquitted for any actual guilt for such a crime. One possible
way to reconcile these two contradictory pieces of evidence is suggested by
closer analysis of ancient archival activity. Frequent consultation of
Lampo’s records during the routine duties that the prefect assumed upon
his arrival in Alexandria would have quickly revealed documents that were
lost, damaged by use and age, or carelessly copied. These were perennial
problems in ancient archives.70 In such cases Roman officials often unfairly

68 Delia, Alexandrian Citizenship, 89–92, who notes that P. Lond. 6.1912.62–66 implies
an effort at restriction to three one-year terms, not a term of three years; cf. the yearly
term in P. Oxy. 8.1117.10. So also Naphtali Lewis, The Compulsory Public Services of
Roman Egypt, 2nd ed. (Firenze, 1997) 19, 64, 75–76, who notes that the application of the
one-year term in Roman Egypt was rooted in the Greek polis. The effort to limit terms to
one year may be implied in the plea for a senate (boulÆ) that would hold annual
meetings in PSI 10.1160 (Musurillo, Acts, no. 1; CPJ 2.150); A. K. Bowman and D.
Rathbone, ‘Cities and Administration in Roman Egypt’, JRS 82 (1992) 107–27, esp. 116–19.
Bowman and Rathbone’s point about the ability of a small elite to retain their official
positions for a long time does not eliminate the clear evidence of limits on their tenure
(discussed in Delia and Lewis).
69 Appeals probably were especially frequent after a change in officials gave new hope
for a more sympathetic ear; OGIS 669 (SB 5.8444; IGRR 1.1263), lines 34–40. On the role
of documents, see the much older process of appeal under the Ptolemies in P. Hal. 1.r.24–
70 E.g., P. Oxy. 2.237 (Sel. Pap. 2.219); P. Fam. Tebt. 15; 24 (dupl. SB 4.7404); discussed in
W. E. H. Cockle, ‘State Archives in Graeco-Roman Egypt from 30 BC to the Reign of
Septimius Severus’, JEA 70 (1984) 106–22, esp. 121–22. See also the decree of Quintus
the violence in alexandria in 38 c.e. 69

thrust the expense of restoration and recopying upon the most recent
manager of the archives.71 These situations reveal a pattern that includes a
threat of serious charges to the archival officials, a delay for the archival
officials to resolve the problems with the archives, and finally either prose-
cution or dismissal of the charges. This pattern seems to resonate with
what one finds in the legal difficulties that followed Lampo’s tenure as
manager of judicial records. The desperate financial straights in which he
later was found when examined for the office of gymnasiarch would be
consistent with the assumption that he had won his acquittal from the
earlier charges related to his archival activity partly by exhausting his own
finances on the repair and recopying of the archival records.72
Whether or not this is the correct explanation for the problems that
Flaccus discovered in Lampo’s activity as a manager of judicial records, it is
still probably safe to assume that Flaccus became aware of these problems
during his routine judicial business at an early point in his tenure as prefect.
This would probably date the beginning of Lampo’s legal troubles to 33 or
This probably marks the beginning of the ‘two years’ during which the
hapless Lampo was on trial for ‘impiety’ (és°beia) against the emperor
Tiberius (Flacc. 128). ‘Impiety against the emperor’ clearly refers to the
charge of treason i.e., maiestas.73 Maiestas was a capital crime punishable
by execution or disfranchisement, confiscation of property, and exile.74

Veranius in M. Wörrle, ‘Zwei neue Griechische Inschriften aus Myra zur Verwaltung
Lykiens in der Kaiserzeit’, in J. Borchhardt (ed.), Myra: Eine Lykische Metropole in
antiker und byzantinischer Zeit, Istanbuler Forschungen 30 (Berlin, 1975) 254–300 and
Tafeln 99–100, esp. 255–56. Cf. SEG 33.679, in which tampering seems to be the main
concern. For the archival system in Egypt and corrections to Cockle, see F. Burkhalter,
‘Archives locales et archives centrales en Egypte romaine’, Chiron 20 (1990) 191–216.
71 P. Fam. Tebt. 15; 24 (dupl. SB 4.7404); see Cockle, ‘State Archives’, 121–22. Cf. the
physical punishments in the decree in Wörrle, ‘Zwei neue Griechische Inschriften’, 255–
72 The prefect may have had a significant role in the process of choosing gymnasiarchs
in the absence of a senate; P. Lond. 6.1912.66–72. But there does seem to have been a
council of elders who could attend to the task; P. Oxy. 8.1089; P. Giss. Lit. 4.7 (P. Giss.
Univ. 5.46 + P. Yale 2.107 [inv. 1385]; Musurillo, Acts, no. 3). On the electoral process, see
P. Ryl. 2.77; P. Oxy. 8.1119; 12.1413; cf. Aristotle Ath. 55.1–5. See Delia, Alexandrian
Citizenship, 89–98.
73 For a full discussion, see B. Levick, Tiberius the Politician (New York, 1999) 180–200;
R. A. Bauman, Impietas in Principem: A Study of Treason Against the Roman Emperor
with Special Reference to the First Century A.D. (München, 1974); R. A. Bauman, The
Crimen Maiestatis in the Roman Republic and Augustan Principate (Johannesburg, 1967).
74 Dig., 9, 11. On capital crimes, see Justinian Inst. 4.18.1–2; Dig. 48.1.1–2. Cf.
Gnomon 36–37 (BGU 5.1210.101–108; dupl. P. Oxy. 42.3014.5–14); also death in cases of
bearing arms for sedition in Chrest. Wilck. 13. Cf. R. Taubenschlag, The Law of Greco-
Roman Egypt in the Light of the Papyri: 332 B.C.–640 A.D., 2nd ed. (Warszawa, 1955)
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Identifying the precise infraction of Lampo is difficult because this crime

was notoriously ambiguous. It embraced any action that ‘diminished the
majesty of the Roman people.’75 This even could include the altering of
legal documents used by Roman officials.76 Thus the charge of maiestas
might have been imposed on Lampo as a serious threat to the perceived
faults in Lampo’s archival activity, whether this involved actual tampering
or the unavoidable problems of any ancient archive that have been
described above.77 Depending on how Philo calculated the ‘two years’ of
Lampo’s trial, a trial that began in 33 or 34 was probably over sometime
between the middle of 34 and the end of 36.
This chronology suggests two reasons why Lampo probably was not
gymnasiarch in 38 as is sometimes claimed.78
(a) First, Lampo’s term as gymnasiarch seems to have followed soon
after the end of his trial. If indeed his trial was over sometime in the period
of 34–36, a gymnasiarchy that lasted for one year could have been finished
as early as 35.79 It almost certainly would have been over by 37. Of course,
multiple terms of office easily could have extended Lampo’s tenure as
gymnasiarch into 38. However, the tendency to limit the number of terms
held by Alexandrian magistrates places the weight of evidence against this
alternative (above). The financial difficulties that Lampo experienced with
holding the gymnasiarchy for even one term pose an additional objection
to any claim that he held multiple terms (Flacc. 129–30).
(b) Second, the duties of a gymnasiarch continued at least until new
gymnasiarchs took office. This probably occurred in Alexandria on August
29 (Thoth 1, i.e., New Year’s day).80 Even after being relieved of duties, a

75 Tacitus Ann. 1.72; Dig. 48.4.1–11.
76 Dig. 48.4.2. Lampo may also have been charged with other crimes; e.g., possibly
forgery (though usually applied in the case of wills) Dig. 48.10.1, 16, 20, 23, 25, 27, 29, 31–
77 Once again, it should be noted that Lampo was never actually found guilty of this
charge. This is consistent with the unwillingness of Tiberius to prosecute for such charges;
cf. Levick, Tiberius the Politician, 180–200
78 Contra Delia, Alexandrian Citizenship, 157.
79 On the one-year term of Alexandrian magistracies, see above. This limit seems to
have been routine for gymnasiarchies in Egypt; e.g., P. Oxy. 8.1117; P. Lond. 3.1177 (Chr.
Wilck. 193), lines 10–27. See Delia, Alexandrian Citizenship, 89–92; Lewis, Compulsory
Public Services in Roman Egypt, 19, 64, 75–76, and next note below.
80 As was typical of gymnasiarchies elsewhere in Egypt; e.g., P. Par. 69 (Chr. Wilck. 41);
P. Oxy. 8.1117; 17.2147 (Sel. Pap. 1.173); P. Lond. 3.1177 (Chr. Wilck. 193), lines 10–27. See
Lewis, Compulsory Public Services in Roman Egypt, 19. Likewise, magistrates took office
on New Year’s Day in the province of Asia, which ca. 9 b.c.e. was assigned for this
province to September 23 (the birthday of Augustus); OGIS 458 (Sherk, RDGE 65). In the
Macedonian gymnasiarchal law, gymnasiarchs take office on the Macedonian New
the violence in alexandria in 38 c.e. 71

gymnasiarch probably had to spend a month preparing his accounts for

the audit that followed the end of his term.81 The fresh outrages against
Judeans that Philo describes during the celebration of the emperor’s
birthday (August 31) in 38 confirm that whoever was directing the violence
was still present and active after August 29 in 38 (Flacc. 74, 81, 83).82 Flaccus
was arrested in late September or the first half of October in 38 (Flacc. 116–
17).83 At this time any gymnasiarch who had just completed his term on
August 29 might still have been preparing his accounts for auditing or at
least was probably still awaiting the final judgment on this audit. Thus such
a gymnasiarch almost certainly would have still been in Alexandria when
Flaccus was arrested. Since a trip from Alexandria to Rome typically
required as much as two months or more, a journey to Rome by a
gymnasiarch relieved of his duties on August 29 in 38 would have been
much too late to allow him to have any role in Gaius’s decision to arrest
Flaccus.84 Thus for Lampo and Isidoros to have the role in the decision to
arrest Flaccus that is implied by Philo, they would have had to have
completed their tenure of office as gymnasiarchs no later than the previous
August 29 in 37.85
These factors suggest that we should exonerate Lampo from charges
that he exploited his position as gymnasiarch during the violence in 38.

Year, Dios 1 (equated with Thoth 1 in Ptolemaic Egypt around the same time the decree
was published, 2nd cent. b.c.e.); SEG 27.261, side A.34–36; cf. B.89–97; as corrected in P.
Gauthier and M. B. Hatzopoulos, La loi gymnasiarchique de Beroia, Meletemata 16
(Athenes, 1993) 17–28; on the date, see p. 55. Death or default could result in other dates
for installation in Egypt; e.g., P. Oxy. 44.3202; cf. also P. Oxy. 46.3297 (kosmetes rather
than gymnasiarch); see F. Perpillou-Thomas, Fêtes d’Égypte Ptolémaïque et Romaine
d’après la documentation papyrologique Grecque, Studia Hellenistica 31 (Lovanii, 1993)
27–28. Even though installation on Thoth 1 was typical of the gymnasiarchy and a wide
variety of offices, the tenure for some officials, especially those dealing with
agriculture, did sometimes follow different cycles; N. Lewis, On Government and Law in
Roman Egypt: Collected Papers of Naphtali Lewis (Atlanta, 1995) 81–93, 114–19.
81 As in SEG 27.261, side B.89–97; cf. B.107–109; see edition of Gauthier and Hatzo-
poulos, Loi gymnasiarchique de Beroia.
82 This is, of course, easily explicable if Flaccus himself was in control as I am suggest-
ing, rather than Lampo and Isidoros.
83 See more fully below.
84 See L. E. Lord, ‘The Date of Julius Caesar’s Departure from Alexandria’, JRS 28 (1938)
19–40. Cf. R. Chevallier, Roman Roads (London, 1976) 178–95, who is more circumspect
than L. Casson, Ships and Seamanship in the Ancient World, 2nd ed. (Baltimore, 1995)
281–99. Three months was not uncommon. E.g., Lucian Nav. 9, 35, required a trip of 70 days
from Alexandria to Athens, although this was slow and would normally have been
enough time to reach ‘Italy’ (not necessarily Rome). From Athens to Rome required at
least another 20 days; Procopius Bell. 3.13.21–23.
85 Flacc. 125–28, 146–47; cf. discussion above on Flacc. 125–47. As will become clear later,
Isidoros could not have held this office even as late as 37.
72 allen kerkeslager

Many of these same considerations also apply to Isidoros. Serious obstacles

stand in the way of any claim that either Lampo or Isidoros was acting
gymnasiarch in 38.86
Despite the caution with which one must approach the preceding
attempt to reconstruct the chronology for Lampo’s activity in Alexandria,
one point is clear. Nothing in Philo’s description of the activity of Lampo
requires the conclusion that Lampo was in Alexandria in 38 at all.
(2) A second major objection to claims that Lampo played a leading role
in the violence in 38 is that Lampo had good reason to leave Alexandria
well before the violence. The previous details indicate that Lampo might
have been free from his duties as gymnasiarch as early as 35. If Lampo had
not already gone to Rome during the reign of Tiberius, the accession of
Gaius in March of 37 may have encouraged him to redress his grievances
with Flaccus by seeking a benefaction from the new emperor.87 Lampo also
might have sailed to Rome as one of the Alexandrian ambassadors sent
with a civic decree congratulating the new emperor later in the spring of
37.88 One might plausibly suggest that Lampo would have volunteered for
such a journey if he already planned to appeal to the new emperor because
the stipend ambassadors received would have helped defray the expenses
of his trip to Rome.89 Even if Lampo was still gymnasiarch when the

86 Contra Delia, Alexandrian Citizenship, 157, who assigns the gymnasiarchy of both to
38. P. J. Sijpesteijn, Nouvelle liste des gymnasiarques des métropoles de l’Égypte romaine
(Zutphen, Holland, 1986) 52, does not mention Lampo and assigns the gymnasiarchy of
Isidoros to ‘52/3,’ apparently assuming that he died in 53 rather than 41. On Isidoros, see
below. Not at issue here is the honorific ‘perpetual gymnasiarch’; Taubenschlag, Law,
87 Aside from the issue of beneficence from the new imperial patron, legal appeals were
common among provincial elite and were not limited to Roman citizens; F. Millar, The
Emperor in the Roman World (31 BC–AD 337) (Ithaca, 1977) 507–16.
88 For references to such decrees (usually called cÆfismata), see J. H. Oliver, Greek
Constitutions of Early Roman Emperors from Inscriptions and Papyri (Philadelphia,
1989), nos. 13, 14, 19, 23; cf. other decrees in nos. 7, 18, 34, 64, 107, 113, 136, et al.; see also
Philo Flacc. 97–101.
89 On embassies, see F. Kayser, ‘Les Ambassades Alexandrines à Rome (Ier–IIe Siecle)’,
REA 105 (2003) 435–68; Millar, Emperor, 375–85. The emperor assured that each worthy
ambassador would receive civic honors and any outstanding financial reimbursement by
including him in the list of names in the official response to the embassy; e.g., Oliver,
Greek Constitutions, nos. 18, 23, 24, 27, 39, 42, 44, 45, 47, 79; cf. Dig. 50.7.9–10. A recommen-
dation against such honors probably explains the ‘crown of virtue’ that the emperor says
should be denied to a hostile companion of an embassy in P. Giss. Lit. 4.7 (P. Giss. Univ.
5.46 + P. Yale 2.107 [inv. 1385]; Musurillo, Acts, no. 3); pace Gambetti, Alexandrian Riots,
54–57. Travel allowances long predate the Roman period; e.g., IG 2(2).360 (Syll. [3] 304),
lines 40–45 (325/324 b.c.e.); SEG 1.366 (MDAI[A] 1919, 25–29, no. 13; Samos 21), lines 25–
36 (ca. 240 b.c.e.). The financial implications for provincial cities are epitomized in
Pliny Ep. 10.43–44; see G. A. Souris, ‘The Size of Provincial Embassies to the Emperor
Under the Principate’, ZPE 48 (1982) 235–44; W. Williams, ‘Antoninus Pius and the
the violence in alexandria in 38 c.e. 73

Alexandrian ambassadors left the city in the spring of 37, by the autumn of
37 he probably would have been free to sail to Rome to appeal to the
emperor concerning the manner in which Flaccus had handled his case.90
Petitions from other provincial elites in financial straits similar to
Lampo’s suggest that Lampo might have taken the opportunity to plead
with the emperor for exemption from future expensive magistracies.91 But
Philo’s description of Lampo’s role in the trial of Flaccus indicates that one
of Lampo’s chief goals was to seek revenge on his former prosecutor
(Flacc. 125–27, 135, 146–47). If the financial difficulties that Lampo experi-
enced were tied to any exploitative behavior by Flaccus, Lampo may have
attempted to charge Flaccus with extortion.92 But the precise nature of the
charges that Lampo brought against Flaccus is unclear.93 It is certain,
however, that Lampo would have recognized that cordial relationships
with the emperor’s friends and relatives could be crucial for winning his
case.94 It would have been to Lampo’s great benefit if he was already in
Rome beginning to cultivate such relationships by the time the sailing
season closed in November of 37.95
(3) A third reason for exonerating Lampo from any role in orchestrating
the violence in 38 is that Lampo’s previous protracted legal dispute over
maiestas charges would have left him in no position to risk any involvement
in incendiary activities. Any role in fomenting a riot after being accused of
the capital crime of maiestas would have exposed Lampo to grounds for
accusing him of another capital crime.96 For a suspected second offense on
this level he could not have avoided the seizure of his property and
immediate exile or, more likely, a summary execution.97 No purported
alliance with Flaccus could have eliminated the risk of such an accusation

Control of Provincial Embassies’, Historia (Wiesbaden) 16 (1967) 470–83. Probably the

financial burden imposed on the Roman treasury during the Republic had already
ceased; Plutarch QR 43.
90 See above on the probable date of the installation of a new gymnasiarch (August 29).
91 As is the case, e.g., in Oliver, Greek Constitutions, no. 48 (Reynolds, Aphrodisias and
Rome, no. 14).
92 The sentence against Flaccus indicates a capital crime, but extortion (repetundae)
seems to have varied widely in its gravity; e.g., SEG 9.8 (Sherk, RDGE 31), lines 90–134.
It may even have been overlooked in most cases under Tiberius to keep provincial
administrators in office as long as possible; Josephus AJ 18.170-78; Tacitus Ann. 1.80. See
Brunt, ‘Charges of Provincial Maladministration’, 189–223.
93 Cf. note above; Van der Horst, Philo’s Flaccus, 207; Brunt, ‘Charges of Provincial
Maladministration’, 203; against Gruen, Diaspora, 60–61.
94 E.g., Oliver, Greek Constitutions, no. 1 (Reynolds, Aphrodisias and Rome, no. 13), on
Livia’s influence on Augustus’ decision about Samians.
95 Cf. Vegetius Res. Mil. 4.39.
96 See below on Isidoros.
97 On greater stringency in repeat offenses, see Dig. 48.19.28.
74 allen kerkeslager

from either Flaccus or his successor, who was expected to arrive in Alexan-
dria soon.98 In addition to the fear of criminal penalties, Lampo would not
have wanted to expose himself to any accusation that would undermine his
efforts to mount a legal counterattack against Flaccus.
Lampo’s personal interests were best served if he was in Rome for all of
38. As was already discussed earlier, Philo himself seems to imply that both
Lampo and Isidoros were already in Rome inciting Gaius against Flaccus
while the violence was going on in Alexandria. It would be best to cease
lampooning Lampo with any role in this violence.

4. The Rise and Fall of the Notorious Isidoros

Philo’s description of the seditious activity of Isidoros in the Alexandrian

voluntary associations is often cited as evidence that he orchestrated the
violence against the city’s Judeans (Flacc. 135–45).99 But as was already
demonstrated earlier, the entire section of the In Flaccum that contains this
description was created merely to emphasize the providential irony of the
reversal between Flaccus and his enemies (Flacc. 125–47). Philo was certain-
ly willing to express disdain for the Alexandrian clubs for philosophical
reasons.100 But nowhere does he actually portray them as hotbeds of anti-
Semitic violence. Perhaps Philo did not attribute a leading role in the
violence of 38 to Isidoros and these clubs precisely because they had none.
(1) First, the subversive activities and departure of Isidoros from
Alexandria described in Flacc. 135–45 date to well before 38.
Philo introduces the broader section in which the description of Isidoros
appears by affirming that Lampo and Isidoros had been enemies of Flaccus
for ‘most of the time’ he was in office (Flacc. 128). As in the case of Lampo,
this points to a date early in the rule of Flaccus for the origin of the
animosity between Isidoros and Flaccus. Because the immediate goal of
Flacc. 135–45 is to explain this animosity, one must conclude that the
activities in Flacc. 135–45 date to the early part of Flaccus’ rule. This would
suggest that these activities may have occurred ca. 33–35.

98 Macro had been appointed to succeed Flaccus as prefect, so the death of Macro was
only a temporary setback to the inevitable replacement of Flaccus; Musurillo, Acts, no. 4B
(CPJ 2.156b) 1.14–16; Cassius Dio 59.10.6. On the role of Isidoros, see below and
Tcherikover, CPJ 2, p. 77.
99 E.g., Gruen, Diaspora, 61; Bergmann and Hoffmann, ‘Kalkül’, 27–46; J. G. Gager, The
Origins of Anti-Semitism: Attitudes Toward Judaism in Pagan and Christian Antiquity
(New York, 1983) 47–50.
100 T. Seland, ‘Philo and the Clubs and Associations of Alexandria’, in J. S. Kloppenborg
and S. G. Wilson, Voluntary Associations in the Graeco-Roman World (New York, 1996)
the violence in alexandria in 38 c.e. 75

The same conclusion results from analysis of the extensive arrests and
public inquisition described in Flacc. 135–45. These proceedings follow
patterns typical of formal Roman investigations of masses of people.101 This
is easily explained if the events described in Flacc. 135–45 correspond to the
formal suppression of the voluntary associations described in Flacc. 4–5.102
Philo explicitly dates the suppression of these clubs to early in the rule of
Flaccus (Flacc. 2–5, 8). Hence one is again led to the conclusion that the
seditious activities of Isidoros described in Flacc. 135–45 date to ca. 33–35.
Identification of the activities of Isidoros with the suppression of the
clubs described in Flacc. 4–5 might also suggest additional evidence for an
early date for the subversive activities of Isidoros. The reported date early
in the tenure of Flaccus for the suppression of the clubs parallels the date of
an edict of Flaccus against carrying weapons, which is 34–35.103 This edict
and the suppression of the clubs may be closely related or even two
expressions of the same legislation.104 Both imply the same kind of concern
for violent revolutionary activity that motivated regulations against
voluntary associations in the late Republic and early Principate.105 Problems
in Alexandria may have come to the attention of the prefect before
problems elsewhere in Egypt, so the suppression of the clubs in the capital
may have slightly preceded the edict of 34–35. Once again, a date for the
subversive activity of Isidoros in ca. 33–35 seems likely.
These points add further weight to the evidence previously discussed
which suggests that the gymnasiarchy of Isidoros should be dated to
before 38.106 The climax of the seditious activities of Isidoros in the clubs
was an outburst in the gymnasium (Flacc. 138–39). This indicates that they

101 E.g., Livy 39.8–19; Pliny Ep. 10.96; P. Col. Apokrimata (P. Col. 123; SB 6.9526); Dig.
48.1.1–2; and in general, Dig. 48.18.1–22. For bibliography on the Bacchic inquisition, see
H. I. Flower, ‘Rereading the Senatus Consultum de Bacchanalibus of 186 BC: Gender
Roles in the Roman Middle Republic’, in V. B. Gorman and E. W. Robinson (edd.),
Oikistes: Studies in Constitutions, Colonies, and Military Power in the Ancient World.
Offered in Honor of A. J. Graham (Leiden, 2002) 79–98; cf. R. Bauman, ‘The Suppression
of the Bacchanals: Five Questions’, Historia (Wiesbaden) 39 (1990) 334–48.
102 Contra Gruen, Diaspora, 60–61. See correctly, e.g., Van der Horst, Philo’s Flaccus, 96;
Smallwood, Jews, 236 (esp. note 64); Smallwood, Legatio ad Gaium, 14–15; Hennig, ‘Zu
der alexandrinischen Märtyrerakte’, 432.
103 Chrest. Wilck. 13; Philo Flacc. 4–5, 86–94.
104 Similarly, Hennig, ‘Zu der alexandrinischen Märtyrerakte’, 432.
105 P. A. Brunt, ‘Did Imperial Rome Disarm Her Subjects?’ Phoenix 29 (1975) 260–70; see
further the discussion of voluntary associations below.
106 Above on Lampo as gymnasiarch. The purported gymnasiarchy of Isidoros in 38 is
also rejected by Gambetti, Alexandrian Riots, 91–103, although she still asserts that he
was a ringleader in the mockery of Agrippa in the gymnasium and the outburst in the
theater in 38.
76 allen kerkeslager

probably occurred while Isidoros was gymnasiarch.107 Since the seditious

activity of Isidoros in the clubs dates to early in the rule of Flaccus, the same
period must be assigned to the gymnasiarchy of Isidoros.108 The tendency
to limit the number of one-year terms held by a gymnasiarch would make
it unlikely that any gymnasiarch in 33–35 would still be in office as late as
38.109 Isidoros probably was not the acting gymnasiarch when Agrippa was
mocked in the gymnasium in 38 (Flacc. 34–40).
The difficulties of ancient travel place further constraints on dating the
activities of Isidoros in Alexandria. A journey from Alexandria to Rome
could easily require two months or more.110 A journey from Rome to
Alexandria usually required close to a month (20–30 days).111 This indicates
that the soldiers who arrested Flaccus during Sukkoth (late September or
mid-October) must have received their orders and departed from Rome
sometime between mid-August and late September (Flacc. 116).112 Their
departure would have to be dated to August if Sukkoth coincided with the
autumn equinox as Philo suggests.113 The accusatory role of Isidoros in the
trial of Flaccus in the winter of 38–39 suggests that Isidoros was probably in
Rome when the order to arrest Flaccus was given (Flacc. 125–28, 135, 145–
47).114 Since this order was probably given in August and certainly by late
September, Isidoros was probably in Rome in the late summer of 38. But
Isidoros also may have played a role in the intrigues against Macro in

107 Attested in Musurillo, Acts, nos. 4A–B (CPJ 2.156.a–b, d).

108 Contra Delia, Alexandrian Citizenship, 157, who dates it to 38; and Sijpesteijn,
Nouvelle liste 52, who dates it to ‘52/3,’ apparently assuming that Isidoros died in 53
rather than 41.
109 On term limits, see the discussion of Lampo above.
110 Lord, ‘Date’, 19–40; Chevallier, Roman Roads, 178–95, who cautions against the
assumptions behind the ranges in Casson, Ships and Seamanship, 281–99.
111 D. W. Rathbone, ‘The Dates of the Recognition in Egypt of the Emperors from Cara-
calla to Diocletianus’, ZPE 62 (1986) 101–31, who suggests twenty – twenty-five days. But
(as Rathbone admits) examples may extend beyond this range; e.g., probably twenty-
eight days in OGIS 669 (SB 5.8444); thirty-five days to Oxyrhynchus in P.Oxy. 7.1021
(Sel. Pap. 2.235). See L. Casson, Travel in the Ancient World (Baltimore, 1994) 151–55;
Casson, Ships and Seamanship, 278–99, although Casson’s lower limits (citing, e.g., Pliny
NH 19.3–4) place too much weight on record journeys and overlook the stage of the
journey from Rome to Puteoli.
112 I am not confident that later calendars can be projected back before 70 so as to fix the
date in October; despite Van der Horst, Philo’s Flaccus, 198.
113 This may have been just an accommodation to Philo’s Greco-Roman readers. But this
could indicate a genuine practice among the Judeans of Alexandria, who may have
followed a solar calendar as the native Egyptians did; pace Van der Horst, Philo’s
Flaccus, 198. Judeans hardly agreed on calendars; e.g., 4Q327; 4Q394; 1 Enoch 82; note esp.
Philo Contempl. 65, which seems to refer to a Passover (not Pentecost) celebrated after a
jubilee cycle of fifty days.
114 See further on Lampo above.
the violence in alexandria in 38 c.e. 77

Rome in the spring of 38.115 Since travel by sea was rare before March and
still dangerous until May, this would probably place Isidoros in Rome in
May of 38.116 Modern claims that Isidoros was a ringleader of the violence
in the summer of 38 thus require the short period between May and
September to accommodate an assumed journey of Isidoros from Rome to
Alexandria; a purported reconciliation between Isidoros and Flaccus; at
least the initial phase of the violence in Alexandria; an assumed journey of
Isidoros back again to Rome; and the journey of the soldiers who went
from Rome to Alexandria to arrest Flaccus. Given the time required for the
journeys alone, this is tenuous in the extreme. It is much easier to believe
that Isidoros was in Rome for all of 38.
The general cessation of sailing from November to March also illumi-
nates the earlier activity of Isidoros.117 If Isidoros was indeed involved in
the trial of Macro in the spring of 38, the closure of the seas during the
previous winter of 37–38 would have encouraged him to spend this time in
Rome.118 This places Isidoros in Rome by the end of the sailing season in
November of 37. Philo’s attribution of the suppression of the clubs to the
reign of Tiberius requires dating this suppression before the accession of
Gaius in March of 37, which roughly coincided with the opening of the
sailing season in 37 (Flacc. 8). Because the suppression of the clubs resulted
in the immediate departure of Isidoros from Alexandria, it is unlikely that it
occurred while the seas were closed in the winter of 36–37. Thus the
suppression of the clubs and the departure of Isidoros from Alexandria
probably would have to be pushed back before the close of the sailing
season in November of 36.119 From this point the other factors that have

115 Musurillo, Acts, no. 4B (CPJ 2.156b) 1.14–16; cf. Cassius Dio 59.8.1–6; 59.10.6;
Suetonius Gaius 23, 26; Philo Flacc. 10–16; Legat. 23-65; Acta Fratrum Arvalium for May 24
of 38; see AFA 44.c.32–36 (ed. G. Henzen; AFA 9.c.32–36, ed. A. Pasoli); cf. E. M. Small-
wood, Documents Illustrating the Principates of Gaius, Claudius and Nero (Cambridge,
1967) 11. On the role of Isidoros, see below and Tcherikover, CPJ 2, p. 77. The precise date
of the death of Macro is impossible to determine. Philo places Macro’s death after that
of Tiberius Gemellus (Gaius’s nephew) and before that of Marcus Silenus (Gaius’s father-
in-law). Both of the latter were replaced in the Arval college on May 24 of 38, which
probably indicates they had died before that date. Suetonius and Cassius Dio describe
Macro’s death after that of the other two. But placing the date of the death of Macro
much later than late May, when the period of safest sailing began, would raise questions
about why Macro had not left Rome to take up his post. A date in late winter or early
spring may be more likely (Cassius Dio even suggests 37). See Barrett, Caligula, 73–78;
Schwartz, ‘Préfets d’Égypte sous Tibère et Caligula’, 189–92; Smallwood, Legatio ad
Gaium, 177, 185–86.
116 Vegetius Res. Mil. 4.39; cf. Apuleius Met. 11.5, 17.
117 See preceding note.
118 See above.
119 Vegetius Res. Mil. 4.39.
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already been discussed above would suggest moving the date for the
suppression of the clubs and the departure of Isidoros from Alexandria
back to one of the sailing seasons in ca. 33–35.
One point that now appears certain is that the seditious activities of
Isidoros and his consequent departure from Alexandria date to well before
38. They had nothing to do with the violence in 38.
(2) Second, the crimes of Isidoros were far too serious for him to have
risked any further trouble in Alexandria after his departure. Philo implies
that the seditious activities of Isidoros were motivated primarily by a per-
sonal animosity toward Flaccus (Flacc. 138–39). But this must be doubted.
Suspicion is immediately aroused by how well this image contributes to
Philo’s emphasis on the ironic reversal of their individual roles as accuser
and accused (Flacc. 125–28, 146–47; cf. 19). Furthermore, attributing the
seditious activities of Isidoros to mere personal animosity ignores the
nature of the response of Flaccus, which involved operating in his official
role as chief agent of Roman rule in Egypt. In addition, the popularity of
Isidoros in the Acts of the Alexandrians places Isidoros in a broader social
context of characters, authors, and readers who were often frustrated with
various elements of Roman rule.120 In light of these considerations, Philo’s
statements about the efforts of Flaccus to take legal action against Isidoros
and his supporters demand that more careful attention be devoted to those
features of the activities of Isidoros that may have been regarded in some
way as anti-Roman.
Alexandrian clubs had fundamentally benign practical and social
functions that were neither anti-Semitic nor anti-Roman.121 But the strict
regulations that Flaccus imposed on the Alexandrian clubs indicate that
Flaccus perceived at least some of them as a potential threat to Roman
control. Such suspicions were grounded firmly in Roman legal precedents
created to regulate disruptive Roman political associations and gatherings
of foreigners whose loyalty to Rome might be suspect.122 These precedents

120 Isidoros is the main character in Musurillo, Acts, no. 4A-C (CPJ 2.156a-d), which is
consequently usually called the Acts of Isidoros. But he also appears in P. Oxy. 8.1089
(Musurillo, Acts, no. 2; CPJ 2.154); P. Giss. Lit. 4.7 (P. Giss. Univ. 5.46 + P. Yale 2.107 [inv.
1385]; Musurillo, Acts, no. 3; CPJ 2.155), col. 3.33–34; Musurillo Acts, no. 11 (CPJ 2.159);
possibly P. Oxy. 42.3021. On the larger social context of these Acts, see Rowlandson and
Harker, ‘Roman Alexandria from the Perspective of the Papyri’, 79–111, esp. 94–102;
exhaustively, Harker, Loyalty and Dissidence.
121 J. S. Kloppenborg, ‘Collegia and Thiasoi: Issues in Function, Taxonomy, and Member-
ship’, in J. S. Kloppenborg and S. G. Wilson (edd.), Voluntary Associations in the Graeco-
Roman World (New York, 1996) 16–30; W. M. Brashear, Vereine im griechisch-römischen
Ägypten, Xenia 34 (Konstanz, 1993) 19–32, and bibliography.
122 E.g., Livy 39.14–19; ILS 4966, 7212; Philo Legat. 311-13, 316; Suetonius Iul. 42.3;
Josephus AJ 14.213-16; Pliny Ep. 10.34, 93, 96-97; Cassius Dio 60.6.6-7; Dig. 47.22.1-4;
the violence in alexandria in 38 c.e. 79

guaranteed that the actions of Isidoros would have opened him to some
kind of charge associated with subverting the Roman order (e.g., maiestas,
vis publica, or perduellio).123 Philo implies that Isidoros was accused of some
unidentified charge of this nature when he explicitly labels Isidoros ‘an
enemy of well-regulated order’ (eÈnÒmƒ katastãsei pol°miow; Flacc. 143).
The potential punishments that Philo conjures against Isidoros (disfran-
chisement, exile, and execution) are also typical responses to crimes against
the Roman state (Flacc. 144–45).124 Flaccus’ own edict against bearing arms
threatened violators with execution.125 Thus while Philo’s portrait of the
Alexandrian crowds denouncing one of their own heroes is dubious, it is
possible that the city tried to distance itself from Isidoros out of fear of a
broader reprisal (Flacc. 141, 144). Such a fear would have been justified
because of the Roman practice of extending punitive justice against political
criminals to potentially innocent members of the group that they repre-
sented.126 These and the other details of Philo’s description of the seditious
activity of Isidoros indicate that Isidoros was guilty of capital crimes.127
The threat of capital charges would suggest that Isidoros preserved his
life only by his departure from Alexandria. As indicated above, this must
have occurred in 33–35. A subsequent offense would have guaranteed
massive financial penalties and probably assured his execution.128 When
these considerations are taken into account, it strains credibility to assert
that Isidoros would have risked further incendiary activities in 38.

48.4.1, 5. See Andrew Lintott, Violence in Republican Rome, 2nd edition (New York, 1999)
67–88, 107–24; Wendy Cotter, ‘The Collegia and Roman Law: State Restrictions on
Voluntary Associations, 64 b.c.e.–200 c.e.’, in John S. Kloppenborg and Stephen G.
Wilson (edd.), Voluntary Associations in the Graeco-Roman World (New York, 1996) 74–
89; Max Radin, The Legislation of the Greeks and Romans on Corporations (Ph.D.
Dissertation; New York: Columbia University, 1910) 68–137.
123 On specific charges, such as treason and sedition, see O. F. Robinson, The Criminal
Law of Ancient Rome (Baltimore, 1995) 74–86; Taubenschlag, Law, 473–74, 554–58. E.g.,
see Dig. 48.4.1 (maiestas); 48.6.1–5, 9–11 (vis publica); 48.4.11 (perduellio, which was
usually subsumed under maiestas).
124 E.g., Tacitus Ann. 3.50; 6.18; Dig. 48.1.1–2;, 11; specifically in Egypt, Gnomon
36–37 (BGU 5.1210.101–108; dupl. P. Oxy. 42.3014.5–14); also death in cases of bearing
arms for sedition in Chrest. Wilck. 13. Cf. Taubenschlag, Law, 473–74.
125 Chrest. Wilck. 13.
126 E.g., Philo Spec. Leg. 3.158–63 (cf. 2.92–95); Josephus BJ 2.75, 253; AJ 18.65–84; P.
Thmouis 1.99; P. Ant. 2.87; cf. similarly representative justice against defeated soldiers;
Tacitus Ann. 3.21; slaves who murdered masters, Tacitus Ann. 14.42–45. Cf. Acts 19:40.
127 For the definition of a capital crime, see Justinian Inst. 4.18.1–2; Dig. 48.1.1–2. Cf.
comparison between exile and punishments for capital crimes in Gnomon 36 (B G U
5.1210.101–105; dupl. P. Oxy. 42.3014.5–10).
128 For confiscation for violating an explicit order of a prefect (in the case of Isidoros, one
suppressing clubs), see Gnomon 37 (BGU 5.1210.106–108). On resistance to imposed
penalties and on repeat offenses, Dig. 48.19.4, 28.
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(3) Third, the circumstances of the departure of Isidoros from Alexandria

indicate either a formal punishment that explicitly forbade his return to the
city or more implicit legal assumptions that placed insuperable obstacles
against him doing so. In either case his departure was not a surreptitious
escape from a personal squabble that calmly could be dismissed by a
private reconciliation with Flaccus.
Philo says nothing about the sentence given to the accomplices of
Isidoros who came from the lower classes (Flacc. 136–45). But the departure
of Isidoros in the context of a capital investigation probably indicates that
many of these accomplices were executed. This would have been a typical
consequence of the kind of incendiary activities described by Philo.129
Philo’s claim that Isidoros, ‘perceiving his situation, preempted arrest and
fled voluntarily,’ suggests that Isidoros foresaw that he too would be liable
to execution if he were brought to trial (Flacc. 145).
Philo’s description of the departure of Isidoros might at first suggest
that Isidoros barely escaped prosecution by a secret flight from Alexandria.
But the impression of a humiliating escape cannot be accepted without
qualification because it would have served so well to enhance the irony of
Philo’s portrait of the later reversal of the roles of Flaccus and Isidoros
(Flacc. 125–28, 146–47). Furthermore, the language that Philo uses to
describe the departure of Isidoros is quite similar to the language other
authors used to describe the practice of allowing members of the elite to go
into voluntary exile without being prosecuted for their crimes.130 Class
distinctions maintained in ancient penal codes justified the infliction of
humiliating physical punishments on members of the lower classes such as
the accomplices of Isidoros while allowing a member of the elite such as
Isidoros himself to negotiate a settlement that preserved him from such
humiliation. 131 This suggests that the elite status of Isidoros may have
absolved him from the need to flee Alexandria secretly.
Other considerations point in the same direction. Fleeing without the
customary acquisition of a passport from the prefect by itself would have
subjected Isidoros to a massive fine (probably 33.3% of his property) and

129 Cf. above and the punishments that Philo himself describes in Flacc. 144-45.
130 Cf. Philo Flacc. 145 with Polybius 6.14.7–8; Cassius Dio 38.17.4. For the general
situation of an elite exile, see Cassius Dio 38.17.4–30.1. The status of voluntary exile is
applied to Isidoros by Gambetti, Alexandrian Riots, 94–101; Smallwood, Jews, 236,
Pelletier, In Flaccum, 133. Smallwood seems to mean the formal legal status negotiated
during a trial; see below. Gambetti grasps some of the problems this poses for his return
to Alexandria but still asserts his role in the events in 38.
131 E.g., Dig. 48.19.1, 8–10, 16; Paulus Sent. 5.23.14, 19; P. Oxy. 9.1186; Philo Flacc. 78–80.
Such distinctions were not always maintained in practice; Richard A. Bauman, Crime
and Punishment in Ancient Rome (New York, 1996) 13–20, 124–40.
the violence in alexandria in 38 c.e. 81

merely compounded his legal difficulties.132 A surreptitious escape also

would not have forestalled the confiscation of the bulk of his property,
which was the punishment customarily imposed on exiles.133 Hence it was
to his advantage to assure the smooth transfer of the small portion of his
property that was legally reserved for the children (10%) and wife (8.5%
and her dowry) of an exile.134
These factors suggest that Isidoros probably followed standard
procedures for going into voluntary exile, which allowed a member of the
elite to forego the degradation of a trial and avoid execution for capital
crimes.135 These procedures would have allowed Isidoros to preempt arrest
and negotiate a temporary suspension of any possible trial as long as he
agreed to leave Alexandria within a fixed time limit.136 Flaccus still may
have considered a trial to be necessary to complete the legal fiction implied
in any judicial minutes that might have reported that the exile of Isidoros
was a formal sentence. If so, Flaccus could have tried Isidoros in absentia
once he was safely outside of the prefect’s jurisdiction.137 In either case

132 Gnomon 64, 66 (BGU 5.1210.162–63, 165–66). If treated as a Roman citizen, the fine
was a number of talents unfortunately lost in a lacuna; Gnomon 68 (BGU 5.1210.172–73).
Cf. P. Oxy. 10.1271 (Sel. Pap. 2.304). On greater stringency for lack of cooperation, see Dig.
133 Gnomon 37 (BGU 5.1210.101–105; dupl. P. Oxy. 42.3014.5–10); cf. Cassius Dio 38.17.4–
7. Similar practices are found in the Athenian laws on which Alexandrian laws were
based; Aristotle Ath. 47.2; cf. IG 2(2).109 frag. 1.15–21. Cf. Taubenschlag, Law, 555. For
the ongoing similarity between Alexandrian and Athenian law, see P. Oxy. 18.2177
(Musurillo, Acts, no. 10).
134 Gnomon 37 (BGU 5.1210.101–105; dupl. P. Oxy. 42.3014.5–10). Concern for heirs
(combined with fear and humiliation) often motivated accused Romans to preempt the
confiscation of their property (not always effectively) by committing suicide; Tacitus
Ann. 6.29; cf. 3.15–18; 4.19–21; 6.38–40; Dig. 48.21.1–3. Potential children of our Isidoros
are unknown. If the Tiberius Claudius Isidoros senior in SEG 50.1563 is our Isidoros, then
the son of the same name honored in this inscription would be the son of our Isidoros;
Lukaszewicz, ‘Tiberius Claudius Isidorus’, 126–29; Lukaszewicz, ‘Some Remarks’, 59–65.
But against this see Bingen, ‘Nouvel Épistratège’, 119–20. Nevertheless, even if Bingen
is correct, the inscription’s Tiberius Claudius Isidorus senior still could be the son of our
Isidoros (rather than our Isidoros himself). This may fit the chronology better than the
suggestion of Lukaszewicz. But certitude is impossible.
135 Bauman, Crime and Punishment, 13–20, 124–40. Especially illuminating are Livy
25.3.8–4.9; Cassius Dio 38.17.4–7. Exile was also a preemptive alternative to blood
revenge for murder and often preceded a trial in Greek law; e.g., Aeschylus Ag. 1410–30;
Euripides El. 1238–76; Aristotle Ath. 57.3.
136 On such time limits and delays, see Dig. 48.19.4;; cf. Livy 3.13.4–10; 5.32.8–
9; 25.3.8–4.9; 26.3.8–12; 43.2.7–11. Similarly, Athenian law allowed suspension in the
midst of homicide trial so that the defendant could preempt execution by going into
exile; Antiphon 5.13; Demosthenes 23.69.
137 In Roman law, Livy 2.35.5–7; 5.32.8–9; 25.3.8–4.9; Cassius Dio 38.17.4–7; Dig. 48.17.1–
5; in Athenian law (on which Alexandrian law was based), see the trial outside of
Athens in the harbor in Aristotle Ath. 57.3.
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Isidoros would have been exempted from execution as long as he did not
return to Alexandria. Some variation of a settlement of this kind would
explain why Flaccus made no effort to pursue Isidoros after his departure
from Alexandria despite the apparent gravity of the crime of Isidoros, the
incontrovertible evidence against him, and the established procedures for
pursuing fugitives (Flacc. 145).138
If Isidoros did negotiate a voluntary exile, he may have offered Flaccus a
bribe or some other surreptitious financial incentive to resolve his legal
difficulties in this way. But bail and other financial deposits given as a
pledge that the accused would be present on a future trial date provided an
acceptable legal fiction for allowing an exile time to leave the city before
that date.139 The considerable financial discretion that Tiberius gave to pro-
vincial governors suggests that Flaccus would not have been reprimanded
by the emperor for negotiating the acquisition of a share of the property of
Isidoros before Isidoros’ trial date or the formal confiscation of his pro-
perty.140 Once Isidoros and Flaccus reached their initial agreement, Flaccus
and his legal staff would have assured that any remaining arrangements
for the exile of Isidoros were completed in a perfectly legal manner before
Isidoros left the city. It is tempting to suggest that the customary prelimi-
naries that would have preceded the exile of Isidoros might lie behind the
obscure ‘business’ (tÚ xr∞ma) that Flaccus seems to have arranged for
Isidoros in P. Oxy. 8.1089 (cf. above).
The legal implications of the probable exile of Isidoros may also pose
other obstacles to any assumption that Isidoros could have returned after
his exile. If this exile had been negotiated in terms of a formal sentence
reported in the prefect’s routine communication with the emperor, Flaccus
himself might not even have been able to rescind this sentence. At least in

138 E.g., on runaway slaves, see P. Cair. Zen. 1.59015v; UPZ 1.121; P. Lond. 7.2052; BGU
10.1993 (SB 8.9779); PSI 6.570; BGU 8.1774; P. Oxy. 12.1422; P. Harr. 62; P. Oxy. 51.3616;
51.3617; P. Heid. 212; P. Beatty Panop. 1.149–2; P. Oxy. 14.1643; et al.; and the discussion in
S. R. Llewelyn, ‘The Government’s Pursuit of Runaway Slaves’, New Documents Illustrat-
ing Early Christianity 8, 1984–85 (Grand Rapids, 1998) 9–46. For suppressing bandits and
criminals (often referring to those escaping taxes or liturgies), see BGU 1.325 (Chr. Wilck.
472); BGU 2.372 (Chr. Wilck. 19); P. Ant. 2.87. See B. C. McGing, ‘Bandits, Real and
Imagined, in Greco-Roman Egypt’, BASP 35 (1998) 159–83; R. Alston, Soldier and Society
in Roman Egypt: A Social History (New York, 1995), 81–86. The kind of rewards promised
in P.Oxy. 12.1408 would have provided ample motivation for aiding the capture of
139 Livy 3.13.4–10; 25.4.8–9; Dig. 48.1.4; 48.3.1–6; Gaius Inst. 4.183–87; for securities given
by others, see P. Hib. 1.92. Cf. Dig. 48.19.4;; note also the temporary suspension
of a homicide trial in Athenian law; Antiphon 5.13; Demosthenes 23.69.
140 Josephus AJ 18.170-78; cf. Tacitus Ann. 1.80; Suetonius Tib. 41. Thus a bribe in this
case would have been almost routine, since it was far from the extortion more likely to
irk an emperor.
the violence in alexandria in 38 c.e. 83

later centuries, only the emperor had the right to rescind a sentence of
exile. 141 Isidoros later may have been able to secure the patronage of
Gaius. 142 But this alone would not have required any reversal of the
decision of Flaccus because a sentence of exile rather than execution already
implied imperial benevolence (humanitas).143 Gaius also was unlikely to
endanger the security of his rule by setting a precedent of rescinding the
penalty of a notorious criminal.144 As will be suggested below, Gaius found
Isidoros much more useful in Rome.
Previous scholarship attributing Isidoros with a role in the violence in 38
has too easily passed over the legal implications of the departure of
Isidoros from Alexandria. Isidoros was probably never permitted to return
to Alexandria after he had left the city in 33–35.
(4) Fourth, Isidoros probably would have been killed if he had returned
to Alexandria. Since voluntary exile was in effect a suspended death sen-
tence, it presumed that if the exile returned to his or her city he or she could
be killed with impunity by anyone who so desired.145 The same threat
applied to anyone who harbored the returned exile.146 In the case of
Isidoros, the gravity of these threats would have been prohibitive because
the Roman authorities would have viewed his return as an effort to stir up
more trouble. For his personal enemies, who may have included relatives
of individuals from the lower classes executed for complicity in his earlier
crimes (above), his return would have offered a chance for revenge. For
robbers and other opportunists, it would have been an occasion for easy
money.147 Evidence from other cities suggests that in some cases even the
dangers posed to exiles who had been granted legal amnesty were serious
enough to require the authorities to impose threats on individuals who

141 Certainly later; Dig. 48.19.4, 27; cf. 1.19.3.

142 E.g., Musurillo, Acts, 4A (CPJ 2.156d), col. 3.5–7; see more fully below.
143 On exile as a benevolent substitute for execution or other severe punishment, see, e.g.,
Cicero Caec. 100; Livy 43.2.7–12; Polybius 6.14–18; Tacitus Ann. 3.50–51; Philo Flacc. 180–
85; Dig. 48.1.2. See Bauman, Crime and Punishment, 13–20.
144 Despite Gambetti, Alexandrian Riots, 97, who proposes an exoneration from criminal
charges by Gaius to support her claim that Isidoros was able to return to Alexandria
after his earlier legal difficulties.
145 Cassius Dio 38.17.7; Philo Prob. 6–7; cf. the gravity of failing to comply with the
terms of exile in Dig. 48.19.4. Among the many assumptions operative in such cases was
that certain crimes (e.g., homicide) were so repugnant to the gods that condoning the
defiling presence of the criminal in the land would arouse divine wrath against the
entire population, so that execution or exile was necessary; e.g., Aristotle Ath. 57.3–4. For
a classic example built on this assumption, see Sophocles Oedipus Tyrannus (esp. 224–75).
146 Cassius Dio 38.17.7.
147 Not only in the freedom to rob Isidoros with impunity, but also possibly in the
rewards offered for him as a fugitive; see the note on fugitives above.
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imperiled the security of these pardoned exiles.148 Because similar legal and
social conventions were probably practiced in Alexandria, Isidoros had
reason to fear returning to the city whether or not the strictures of his exile
were ever rescinded.
(5) Fifth, Isidoros probably lacked the financial resources to provoke the
trouble with which he is usually credited in 38. The previous description of
the details of his exile indicate that the bulk of his property had been
confiscated when he was exiled in 33–35. Thus Isidoros may have been
unable to afford the long journeys he is often credited with making in 38
from Rome to Alexandria and back again to Rome. He also could not
afford the hefty bribe needed for any purported reconciliation with Flaccus.
He also lacked funds sufficient to persuade mob leaders to risk arrest by
harassing Judeans.
(6) Sixth, the presence of Isidoros in Rome during the events in 38 is
consistent with his status as an exile. Isidoros appears in conspicuous legal
disputes in Rome from early 37 to early 41. These include an obscure hear-
ing before Gaius that probably dates to early 37;149 the intrigues against
Macro in the spring of 38;150 the trial of Flaccus in the winter of 38–39;151 the
hearings of the rival embassies before Gaius in 39 (or 40);152 and a fateful
legal dispute with Agrippa I in 41.153 The previous discussion of the earlier
legal difficulties of Isidoros in Alexandria demands that some explanation

148 E.g., Syll.(3) 306[2], esp. 57–66. Cf. the warning to Cicero in Cassius Dio 38.29.1–4.
149 P. Giss. Lit. 4.7 (P. Giss. Univ. 5.46 + P. Yale 2.107 [inv. 1385]; Musurillo, Acts, no. 3),
col. 3.33–34. The text is too fragmentary to be certain that this is our Isidoros. The version
in CPJ 2.155 and Tcherikover’s accompanying effort to identify the text with events in 38
are marred by dealing with only part of the text, none of which mentions Judeans; CPJ 2,
pp. 64–66. The best edition is now Kuhlmann’s (P. Giss. Lit. 4.7). For the date of the
setting in 37 rather than 38, see esp. Harker, Loyalty and Dissidence, 44–47; also
Gambetti, Alexandrian Riots, 51–86; Kuhlmann, Giessener Literarischen Papyri, 119, 129;
Stephens, Yale Papyri, 85–97; Herbert Musurillo and George M. Parássoglou, ‘A New
Fragment of the Acta Alexandrinorum’, ZPE 15 (1974) 1–7 and Plate Ia; Musurillo, Acts,
8–17, 105–112 (no. 3). The text seems to picture the period in which Tiberius was
succeeded by Gaius, which would point to a date early in 37. Harker’s discussion accounts
for possible anachronisms from later conflicts projected back into 37 by the author.
150 Musurillo, Acts, no. 4B (CPJ 2.156b) 1.14–16. On the date and question of the involve-
ment of Isidoros, see note above.
151 Philo Flacc. 125–28, 135, 146–47.
152 Philo Legat. 354–56. On the date in 39 rather than 40, see note above.
153 Musurillo, Acts, no. 4A–C (CPJ 2.156a–d). Musurillo, Acts, 118–24, like some others,
prefers a date in 53 before Agrippa II. But for the date in 41, see Harker, Loyalty and
Dissidence, 27–28 (who tries to harmonize the conflicting evidence by proposing a pos-
sible trial date in 53 fictionally projected back to 41 by the author); Schwartz, Agrippa,
96–98; Mélèze-Modrzejewski, ‘D¤kh toË Is¤dvrou’, 249–50; Tcherikover, CPJ 2, pp. 68–69.
One of the characters in this text (Balbillos) also appears BKT 9.64 (P. Berol. inv.
21161v), which may be another text in the same genre.
the violence in alexandria in 38 c.e. 85

be offered for the questions of how Isidoros could later achieve such a
powerful role and why he only appears exercising this role in Rome.
One possible explanation for the presence of Isidoros in Rome is that he
had been exiled to an island and then was granted a partial amnesty with
other political exiles upon the accession of Gaius.154 In an exceptional
demonstration of benevolence (humanitas), Gaius could have permitted
Isidoros to go to Rome while still preserving order in Alexandria by
reaffirming the strictures against his return. This alternative does not seem
likely, however. One weakness in this proposal is that the role of Isidoros in
the death of Macro in the spring of 38 indicates that Isidoros already must
have wormed his way into circles of elite Romans at least by the preceding
winter of 37–38. Isidoros’ entry into these circles is most likely to have
been a slow process requiring a long period of social networking after his
arrival in Rome.
Another possibility is that Isidoros was in Rome as a condition of his
exile.155 One concern that often seems implied in the relocation of an exile
was that he or she remain in an allied region of unquestioned loyalty.156
This assured that such criminals could be easily observed and kept out of
an environment where they could win a new following of insurgents. Thus
in the Republic and early Principate, Rome and other cities in Italy were
often frequented by elite fugitives, notorious provincial criminals, and exiles
from allied states.157 One possible objection to explaining the presence of
Isidoros in Rome in this way is that with the Roman consolidation of allied
states within a unified empire subject to Rome, the practice of allowing
provincial cities to banish their own exiles to Rome seems to have
gradually fallen into disfavor.158 But if the practice was still allowed in the
30s, the negotiations between Flaccus and Isidoros for conditions of exile
might have resulted in a requirement that Isidoros go to Rome.
Perhaps the most appealing possibility is that Isidoros may have secured
permission from Flaccus to go to Rome when Isidoros negotiated the
conditions of his exile. The conditions and forms of exile retained a fluid

154 Dig. 48.19.2, 4; especially common in the case of elite criminals, such as Flaccus him-
self; Philo Flacc. 151–91. Gambetti, Alexandrian Riots, 97, proposes a similar exoneration
from criminal charges as a result of a personal reward from Gaius for his earlier service
against the emperor’s enemies.
155 On the possibility of conditions, see Dig. 48.19.4. See Dig. 48.22.5, 7, which suggests a
long tradition of variety in the sentence.
156 E.g., Polybius 6.14.7–8; Livy 43.2.7–12; perhaps implicitly Tacitus Ann. 4.43.
157 Sending exiles from Rome to allied cities in Polybius 6.14.7–8 probably assumes that
the reverse also occurred. Similar though not strictly dealing with exiles is Tacitus Ann.
2.63. Restriction of a provincial under close observation in Rome is vividly illustrated in
SEG 9.8.40–55, although the issue here is not exile.
158 Dig.–16.
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variety subject to judicial discretion.159 Given the close trade relations

between Rome and Alexandria, Isidoros may have wanted to go to Rome
to take advantage of social connections he had there. This accommodating
provision would not have eliminated his status as an exile from Alexandria.
At least one key to explaining the subsequent activity of Isidoros in
Rome might be found in a piece of data often employed in arguments that
Isidoros returned to Alexandria and regained his influence there before the
summer of 38. This is Philo’s portrait of Isidoros alongside of the Alexan-
drian ambassadors in Rome in 39 (or 40; Legat. 354–56). This has typically
been interpreted as evidence that Isidoros was one of the rival Alexandrian
ambassadors.160 Against this are three points: First, Isidoros may have been
undesirable if not disqualified as an official ambassador because his prior
exile for capital crimes probably entailed reduction in his legal status and
possibly even loss of his Alexandrian citizenship.161 Second, it seems highly
unlikely that Alexandrian citizens would have nominated a notorious
political criminal to represent them in a sensitive political dispute before the
emperor instead of a candidate more likely to receive the approval of the

159 See the variety of options in Dig. 48.22.5, 7. The rules excluding a relegated person
from Rome were more strict than for persons who simply went into exile; Dig. 48.22.14–15,
160 E.g., Kayser, ‘Ambassades Alexandrines à Rome’, 449–50, 458–63; Delia, Alexandrian
Citizenship, 164–65; Smallwood, Legatio ad Gaium, 248–49, who at least tries to accom-
modate this to the problems ancient travel poses for her chronology.
161 Delia, Alexandrian Citizenship, 164, cites P. Oxy. 18.2177 (Musurillo, Acts, no. 10) as
evidence that Alexandrian citizenship was not required of ambassadors. But even if this
is implied in this text (which is not clear), the emperor’s statements indicate that he
may have objected to such practices. Ambassadors could come from a variety of ranks, but
higher ranks were preferred; Dig. 50.7.5. On status reduction (capitis deminutio), see Dig.
48.1.1–2; cf. 48.4.1; 48.13.3; 48.22.14–15; Gaius Inst. 1.159–63; also Athenian laws on
which Alexandrian laws were based, Aristotle Ath. 16.10; cf. implicitly 47.2. The
reduced legal status of Isidoros cannot be determined, since reduction had a variety of
degrees (maxima, minor [media], minima; Gaius Inst. 1.159–63). Isidoros may have been
reduced to a peregrinus dediticius; see Gaius Inst. 1.13–15. Restoration of his Alexandrian
citizenship would require a direct reversal of the earlier decision of Flaccus, which
seems an unlikely encroachment on the prefect’s jurisdiction; cf. Pliny Ep. 10.5–7. His
elite status also may have opened the door to Roman citizenship. But his acquisition of
this honor cannot be determined, since it is not certain that the ‘Tiberius Claudius
Isidoros’ senior in SEG 50.1563 is our Isidoros; against Lukaszewicz, ‘Tiberius Claudius
Isidorus’, 125–29; Lukaszewicz, ‘Some Remarks’, 59–65; see Bingen, ‘Nouvel Épistratège’,
119–20. However, even if Bingen’s rejection of Lukaszewicz’s identification is correct, it
would still be possible to identify the inscription’s ‘Tiberius Claudius Isidoros’ senior as
the son of our Isidoros, thus indicating that Roman citizenship was held by his son. If
‘Tiberius Claudius Isidoros’ senior is our Isidoros, his Roman citizenship was probably
acquired well before 41, just as the Claudii who appear in P. Lond. 6.1912 (contra
Lukaszewicz); see Kayser, ‘Ambassades Alexandrines à Rome’, 451–53.
the violence in alexandria in 38 c.e. 87

Roman authorities.162 The evidence that members of Alexandrian embas-

sies often possessed Roman citizenship indicates that the citizens of
Alexandria were well aware of the strategic value of impeccable loyalty to
Rome. 163 However, as the next point will suggest, this would not have
prevented the Alexandrian ambassadors themselves from exploiting
possible benefits that they could secure from Isidoros after they had
arrived in Rome. Third, a better alternative to the portrait of Isidoros as an
ambassador is readily available.
This is that Isidoros was merely a hired legal professional who was paid
exorbitant fees by the Alexandrian ambassadors because of his proven
record of patriotism in Alexandria and his demonstrated success in legal
conflicts before Gaius. Professional advocates (sunÆgoroi) were often
employed by embassies.164 Isidoros was also admirably qualified for such a
role.165 The previous elite status of Isidoros probably had given him power-
ful connections in Rome and valuable political experience. This would have
enabled him to alleviate the financial burden of his exile by joining the
crowd of hired prosecutors and volunteer informers who profited from
lawsuits against elite Romans.166 This appears to be the rather shady role
that Isidoros had in the legal conflicts with Macro, Flaccus, and Agrippa.167
Each of these defendants possessed immense wealth that would have
offered a tantalizing prize. For the successful informer, this may have
amounted to as much as 25% of the defendant’s confiscated property.168

162 On possible elections, see Delia, Alexandrian Citizenship, 164; cf. 189–96. Selection of
Isidoros would have implied willingness to grant him a financial stipend to support his
journey; see on Lampo above.
163 Kayser, ‘Ambassades Alexandrines à Rome’, 451–53. E.g., P. Oxy. 42.3021; P. Lond.
6.1912 (CPJ 2.153), on which Kayser notes that even the Claudii probably received
Roman citizenship before their journey; P. Oxy. 10.1242 (Musurillo, Acts no. 8; Dionysios).
For the possible Roman citizenship of Isidoros, see above note.
164 See P. Oxy. 25.2435.30–60, where ‘Timoxenos the rhetor’ (=Ætvr) appears alongside of
an Alexandrian embassy before Augustus in 13 c.e.; similarly, P. Oxy. 10.1242 (Musurillo,
Acts, no. 8), where both the Greek and Judean embassies each hire an advocate
(sunÆgorow). In suits against provincial administrators for extortion that sought repara-
tion rather than capital charges, the senate itself provided an advocate (sunÆgorow);
SEG 9.8 (Sherk, RDGE 31), lines 101–104.
165 Even in a severely reduced legal status, Isidoros still would have been qualified to
bring charges for enough crimes to keep himself busy, e.g., maiestas; Dig. 48.4.7. This
category was broad enough that all of the appearances of Isidoros before an emperor
might have fallen in this category (including the one in Legat. 355–56). For other
regulations on bringing accusations, see Dig. 48.2.1–22.
166 E.g., Tacitus Ann. 1.72–74; 2.34; 3.38, 49; 4.20; 4.30–38; Epictetus Disc. 4.13.5.
167 Against Schwartz, Agrippa, 96–99, see note below.
168 Tacitus Ann. 4.20; cf. 2.32. Policies for rewarding informers did, however, vary
widely depending on the crime and other factors; e.g., 12.5% under the legate of
Domitian in Pisidian Antioch, M. McCrum and A. G. Woodhead, Select Documents of the
88 allen kerkeslager

Because Isidoros had already proven his abilities in the roles of prosecutor
and informer in the imperial court by the time of the arrival of the
Alexandrian embassy that opposed Philo, he could have acquired additional
financial rewards as the ideal advocate for the Alexandrian cause.
In Legat. 350, Philo himself sets the stage for such an interpretation by
suggesting that he had anticipated that qualified advocates would be
alongside each embassy (ofl sunagoreÊsontew). Philo also offers a close
parallel for attributing this role to Isidoros when he describes the financial
rewards that the Alexandrian ambassadors offered the slave Helicon,
another Alexandrian loyalist of low legal status in the coterie of Gaius
(Legat. 172; cf. 166–78, 203–206). The space Philo devoted to Helicon would
make it unlikely that Philo would fail to mention the rhetorician hired by
the Alexandrians, whose unique role gave him a comparably high degree
of visibility.
Nevertheless, Philo does not give Isidoros the honor of the title ‘advo-
cate’ (sunÆgorow). Instead, in Legat. 355–56, Philo’s deprecating identification
of Isidoros as ‘the bitter slanderer’ (ı pikrÚw sukofãnthw) who has ‘slan-
dered’ (sukofant°v) Judeans explicitly relegates him to the despised role of
the informer. The definite article Philo uses in the nominal phrase (ı pikrÚw
sukofãnthw) even suggests that Isidoros was well known as an informer to
the mixed audience of the In Flaccum. These points unfortunately have
been obscured because of assumptions that the negative connotations of
Philo’s terminology in Legat. 355–56 derive from the purported ‘anti-
Semitic’ activity of Isidoros in Alexandria.169 Such assumptions ignore the
Roman legal context of Legat. 355–56 itself. The negative implications of
Philo’s terms (sukofãnthw, sukofant°v) are more than adequately ex-
plained by their usage in Greek descriptions of the legal havoc wreaked by
informers (Latin delatores).170 Philo’s terminology can be accounted for if he
used it not to identify Isidoros as an anti-Semite, but rather to distinguish
the legal function of Isidoros from the elite Alexandrian ambassadors
whom he represented.

Principates of the Flavian Emperors: Including the year of Revolution A.D. 68–96 (Cam-
bridge, 1966) no. 464; and 50% in Athens under Hadrian, IG 3.38 (SEG 15.108; Oliver,
Greek Constitutions, no. 92), lines 33–55.
169 E.g., Kraus, Filone Alessandrino, 127–28, suggests that Philo mentions Isidoros in
Legat. 355–56 because he was ‘il principale fomentatore dell’antisemitismo alessan-
drino.’ Smallwood, Legatio ad Gaium, 248–49, 319–20, simply ignores the terms.
170 E.g., most clearly in Alexandria in OGIS 669 (IGRR 1.1263; SB 5.8444), lines 34–45; in
Rome, Cassius Dio 52.37.1–6; 58.1.1–3; 58.25.2; 60.4.2; 60.13.2–3; 61.1.3–4; 68.1.2–3; cf. the
accusations against Cicero in Cassius Dio 46.1.1–10.4 (esp. 46.4.1; 46.8.3; 46.10.4). See LSJ
s.v. sukofãnthw. The term already had acquired its negative connotations in Athens by
the end of the fifth century b.c.e.; D. M. MacDowell, The Law in Classical Athens
(Ithaca, 1978) 62–66.
the violence in alexandria in 38 c.e. 89

Philo’s quotation of Isidoros enhances this distinction by suggesting that

Isidoros had the most vocal role in the opposing group (Legat. 355). From
this some have concluded that Isidoros was the formal leader of the oppos-
ing embassy.171 But Philo merely may have been offering an eyewitness’s
account of the highly visible activity of the legal representative of the
Alexandrian ambassadors. Josephus, who knew of Philo’s activity in the
ambassadorial conflict, does not even mention Isidoros in his account of the
same events (Josephus AJ 18.257–60). Instead, Josephus credits Apion with
the very theme of the speech that Philo attributes to Isidoros. Josephus
certainly knew the writings of Apion against Judean rights in Alexandria.172
This suggests that one of the sources used by Josephus in his version of the
ambassadorial conflict may have been an account of these events included
in the writings of Apion. If Isidoros was merely a hired spokesperson,
Apion would have been free to give himself credit for the arguments of
Isidoros in writing his own account without being criticized by other
Alexandrians. The evidence of Josephus thus at least fits with the proposal
that the role of legal representative provides the best explanation of Philo’s
portrait of Isidoros. Nothing that Philo says indicates that Isidoros had ever
regained his former status in Alexandria.
Not surprisingly, later Alexandrian Acts texts obscured the humiliation
of their hero by memorializing the noble titles and rank that Isidoros had
enjoyed before his exile.173 But none suggests that he ever returned to
Alexandria after his exile.174 Fragments from the story of his execution (the

171 E.g., Sijpesteijn, ‘Legationes ad Gaium’, 94–96.

172 Josephus Ap. 2.1-144, esp. 2.7, 32-78.
173 E.g., ‘gymnasiarch’; Musurillo, Acts, nos. 4A–C (CPJ 2.156a–d). Isidoros himself
might have paraded his former titles in Rome. Certainly this would have helped him
obtain clients to represent in legal disputes. But he obviously could not exercise the role
implied in ‘Alexandrian gymnasiarch’ and other such elite titles in Rome. Use of these
titles in these texts might confirm that he was gymnasiarch when he was exiled.
Probably not at issue is the honorific ‘perpetual gymnasiarch’; see Taubenschlag, Law,
639. But in some cases (especially ones closer in time to the author of the text), honors
from holding the gymnasiarchy may have been retained after leaving the office; N.
Lewis, ‘The Metropolitan Gymnasiarchy, Heritable and Salable (A Reexamination of
CPR VII 4)’, ZPE 51 (1983) 85–91.
174 Musurillo and Parássoglou, ‘New Fragment’, 5, suggest that Isidoros appears in
Alexandria in 37 in P. Giss. Lit. 4.7 (P. Giss. Univ. 5.46 + P. Yale 2.107 [inv. 1385]), col. 2.1
(Musurillo, Acts, no. 3, updated line numbering, line 21), where the speaker seems to be
identified as [ . . . ] . . row. But the speaker here is far more likely to be ‘the prosecutor’ (ı
katÆgorow). In contrast to our Isidoros, whose presence in the text is not even certain, the
unnamed foreign prosecutor repeatedly appears in this column of the text as well as both
the preceding and following columns. Even the challenge that comes from the
unidentified speaker in the lines in which the troubling lacuna appears takes a form
similar to a challenge that comes from the prosecutor in P. Giss. Lit. 4.7, col. 3.14 (in P.
Yale 2.107, col. 2.14; Musurillo, Acts, no. 3, updated line numbering, line 69). If our Isidoros
90 allen kerkeslager

Acts of Isidoros) seem to associate him closely with an Alexandrian embassy

while preserving a distinction between the Alexandrian ambassadors and
‘Isidoros the gymnasiarch.’175 One line of this story may even explicitly
identify Isidoros as a professional legal advocate (=Ætvr). 176 But the
degraded status hidden behind this complimentary title was not completely
obscured. At least one fragment explicitly states that Gaius himself had
employed Isidoros as a prosecutor (using kathgor°v).177 Of less certain
value is another fragmentary text that might come from the narrative of
the execution of Isidoros or may be from an unrelated Alexandrian Acts
text (P. Oxy. 42.3021).178 This text seems to preserve an explicit distinction
between an ‘Isidoros’ and ‘all the ambassadors.’ 179 Unfortunately the

appears in the text at all, it is not until later at P. Giss. Lit. 4.7, col. 3.33–34 (in P. Giss.
Univ. 5.46; Acts, no. 3, updated line nos. 88–89). Even at this point he may be merely a
figure in a quoted edict from Gaius rather than a participant in the events.
175 Musurillo, Acts, nos. 4A–C (CPJ 2.156a–d). The difficulties found in this distinction
by Tcherikover, CPJ 2, pp. 72–73, are easily resolved if one simply accepts the distinction
rather than insisting that Isidoros was one of the ambassadors.
176 Musurillo, Acts, no. 4B (CPJ 2.156b), line 36. The comments of Tcherikover once again
pose problems that could have been resolved by eliminating his insistence that Isidoros
was an ambassador and accepting the implications of his own statements about the role
of Isidoros as delator; CPJ 2, p. 77.
177 Musurillo, Acts, no. 4A (CPJ 2.156d), col. 3.3–7 (kathgor°v). This might explain the
role of Isidoros in P. Giss. Lit. 4.7 (P. Giss. Univ. 5.46 + P. Yale 2.107 [inv. 1385]; Musurillo,
Acts, no. 3), col. 3.33–34, but the latter papyrus is too fragmentary to reach any firm
conclusion. Isidoros simply may have been a hired representative of the Alexandrian
ambassadors as he was in Legat. 354–56. In the trial of Flaccus, it is impossible to know
whether Gaius or someone else had hired Isidoros. Typically it is assumed that the
status and role of Lampo and Isidoros in the accusations against Flaccus were equivalent.
But this is not demanded by the evidence. Lampo clearly had reasons for bringing
charges against Flaccus (Philo Flacc. 125–35, 146–47). Thus it is possible that Lampo is
the one who hired Isidoros in the trial of Flaccus. Of course, Lampo may have decided to
work together with Isidoros for the informer’s share of the confiscated property. On the
other hand, the verb kathgor°v used in Musurillo, Acts, no. 4A (CPJ 2.156d), col. 3.3–7,
might suggest a more official role given to Isidoros by Gaius, since the cognate noun
(katÆgorow) could designate an official state prosecutor in distinction from an informer
(sukofãnthw); e.g., OGIS 669 (IGRR 1.1263; SB 5.8444), discussed in N. Lewis, ‘On Legal
Proceedings Under the Idios Logos: KatÆgoroi and Sukofãntai’, JJP 9–10 (1956) 117–25. But
even OGIS 669 indicates that a prosecutor could act on his own behalf, so the distinction
often was moot in actual practice.
178 His execution narrative is especially likely if P. J. Parsons (editio princeps of P. Oxy.
42.3021) is correct in suggesting that line 2 might include the name of Agrippa (although
only the final two letters are clearly readable). But lines 5–6 also may preserve the
name of Tiberius Claudius [Balbillu]s, who is another character from the Acts of Isidoros.
179 Mélèze-Modrzejewski, ‘D¤kh toË Is¤dvrou’, 252–53, identifies this text’s 'Is¤dvrow
Dionus¤o(u) (‘Isidoros [son of] Dionysios’) with our Isidoros. He also concludes that we
now have evidence of his father’s name. However, Harker, Loyalty and Dissidence, 248,
citing the absence of any evidence for this proposed relationship elsewhere, proposes the
nominative Dionus¤o(w) and contends that two separate individuals were intended.
the violence in alexandria in 38 c.e. 91

identity of this Isidoros is uncertain and it is unclear whether ‘the ambas-

sadors’ in this case are Alexandrians or Judeans.180
The execution of Isidoros in 41 was itself consistent with the fate of an
unsuccessful informer in a capital case brought against an ally of the
emperor.181 Nothing in the fragmentary narrative of his execution indicates
that he was charged with any crimes in the violence of 38.182 The
narrative’s repeated emphasis on his legal attacks against members of the
circle of Claudius suggests that he was executed for both libel (calumnia)
and impiety against the emperor (maiestas).183 Probably the new emperor’s

Similarly, Gambetti, Alexandrian Riots, 104–106, who points to the nominative without
final sigma in this name in P. Lond. 6.1912 (CPJ 2.153), line 17 and a similar problem in
BGU 4.1140. The appearance of Isidoros and an unidentified Dionysios together may
imply common cause but does not, however, require their conclusion that both were
ambassadors. Even less clear is P. Giss. Lit. 4.7 (P. Giss. Univ. 5.46 + P. Yale 2.107 [inv.
1385]), col. 3.33–34, as read by Musurillo and Parássoglou, ‘New Fragment’, 4–5
(Musurillo, Acts, no. 3, updated line. nos. 88–89). In this text Isidoros may be a figure
mentioned in an edict from Gaius and at most is a speaker alongside an Alexandrian
embassy. But once again he is not clearly identified as an ambassador or recent arrival to
Rome, pace Harker, Loyalty and Dissidence, 44.
180 Harker, Loyalty and Dissidence, 248, might be correct in suggesting that the lacuna
surrounding ‘all the ambassadors’ should be filled to read ‘all the ambassadors [of the
Judeans].’ It is at least certain that Isidoros is not actually called an ambassador.
181 The penalty for libelous or vexatious claims in private suits was 10–33.3% of the
amount claimed from the other person; Gaius Inst. 4.174–81. But failed capital accusa-
tions could result in punishments appropriate to capital crimes (i.e., exile, reduction in
status, or execution); e.g., Tacitus Ann. 4.36; 6.9; 6.30; 12.42. See P. A. Brunt, ‘Did Empe-
rors Ever Suspend the Law of ‘Maiestas’?’ in V. Giuffre (ed.), Sodalites: Scritti in onore di
Antonio Guarino, Biblioteca di Labeo 8 (Napoli, 1984) 1.469–80, esp. 479–80.
182 Against Schwartz, Agrippa, 96–99. See Musurillo, Acts, nos. 4A–C (CPJ 2.156a–d).
Schwartz claims that §pãgomai in frag. b, 2.34 indicates that Isidoros was ‘brought (to
trial)’ and is thus the accused rather than the accuser. But it is not even certain §pãgomai
is passive; the middle is used for introducing witnesses or evidence; see LSJ s.v. Further-
more, other phrases besides ‘to trial’ could fill the lacuna; e.g., ‘to humiliation’ or ‘to
execution,’ the last of which would describe the outcome (rather than beginning) of the
legal dispute and would fit the context’s reference to tearing clothing (frag. b, 2.37).
Schwartz’s claim might also have to be dismissed because of the suggestion of Harker,
Loyalty and Dissidence, 232. Harker persuasively argues that §pãgomai is a corruption for
épãgomai (‘I am being led away to death’), citing this word in the close parallel just a
few lines later in frag. b, 2.46–47. Furthermore, despite the translation of tÚ toË ÉIsid≈rou
(frag. b, 1.4; reconstructed, frag. a, 2.8–9) as ‘Isidoros’ trial’ in CPJ 2, pp. 71, 76,
translating ‘the indictment brought by Isidoros’ seems more appropriate. The lawsuit
over which Claudius presides is called ‘the indictment brought against Agrippa the
King by Isidoros gymnasiarch of the city of the Alexandrians’ (ékoÊei KlaÊdiow Ka›sa[r
tÚ toË ÉIsid≈rou] gumnasiãrxou pÒlevw ÉA[lejandr°vn] katå ÉAgr¤ppou basil°v[w]; frag. 4a,
2.2–4). The later phrase tÚ toË ÉIsid≈rou is almost certainly just an abbreviation of this
longer phrase, which Schwartz marginalizes in his discussion.
183 Mélèze-Modrzejewski, ‘D¤kh toË Is¤dvrou’, 254. On calumnia, see, e.g., Dig. 48.16.1; for
maiestas, see the discussion of Lampo above and Brunt, ‘Did Emperors Ever Suspend the
92 allen kerkeslager

attempt to root out potential enemies left over from the reign of Gaius has
much more to do with the execution of Isidoros than anything that
occurred three years earlier in Alexandria.
This proposed reconstruction of the transformation of Isidoros from an
exiled political criminal to a powerful advocate and informer in the court of
the emperor is hardly without parallel. Fortuitous social connections and
unique personal skills allowed disproportionate influence in the imperial
court to be exercised by foreign slaves such as Helicon, former political
prisoners such as the Judean king Agrippa, onetime slaves such as Narcis-
sus and Pallas, and even notorious commanders of rebel armies such as
Josephus.184 The fact that the attested developments in the legal activity of
Isidoros in Rome correspond so well chronologically with the fate of Gaius
suggests that the rise and fall of Isidoros somehow hinged on the political
winds introduced by the succession of emperors.185
If the preceding proposal is correct, Isidoros was not an ambassador. His
wrangling against Judeans in imperial hearings was driven more by greed
and simple patriotism than by ‘anti-Semitism.’ His need to sink to employ-
ment as an advocate and informer confirms that he never regained his
former status or returned from exile to Alexandria.
The inevitable conclusion is that Isidoros had no role in the violence in
38. He had gone away from Alexandria into voluntary exile as a notorious
instigator of anti-Roman activities probably in 33–35 and certainly no later
than 36. He went directly to Rome and eventually established a successful
legal career there.186 Isidoros remained in Rome for the entirety of 38.

Conclusion: Toward a More Roman Alternative

Dionysios, Lampo, and Isidoros were not involved in the violence in 38.
Flaccus was not bamboozled into a conspiracy with our trio.
Flaccus was probably not bamboozled into a conspiracy with anyone at
all.187 Philo does not mention any effort to ferret out any purported co-
conspirators of Flaccus in his description of the arrest of Flaccus (Flacc. 110–
16). Philo also never says that any purported co-conspirators appeared

Law of ‘Maiestas’?’ 469–80, esp. 479–80.

184 For Helicon, see Philo Legat. 166–78, 203; for Agrippa, Josephus BJ 2.178–83; AJ 127–
239; for Narcissus and Pallas, Tacitus Ann. 11–12; Suetonius Claud. 28; for Josephus, his
BJ 2.562–3.408; 4.622–29; Vita.
185 This even seems to be stated explicitly in Musurillo, Acts, 4A (CPJ 2.156d), col. 3.5–7.
186 Exile did not preclude such success; e.g., Cassius Dio 38.26.1–3; Tacitus Ann. 4.43;
ISamos 20, 22, 26, 29, 34, 35, 41, 58.
187 Cf. above on Flacc. 18–21.
the violence in alexandria in 38 c.e. 93

alongside of Flaccus as defendants in his trial (Flacc. 125–28, 135, 46–51).

Flaccus and Gaius remain the chief villains in Philo’s descriptions of the
violence in 38.
These conclusions have at least three major implications.
(1) First, the absence of any known representatives of the Greek elite
from a central role in the violence fatally weakens efforts to explain it by
conflicts over civic status. The entire edifice of assumptions about such
conflicts must be reevaluated.188
(2) Second, Philo’s attribution of blame to the Roman authorities must
be taken much more seriously. For example, speculation about the role of
the mobs in the gymnasium must be modified to accommodate the
evidence that the gymnasium was the site of the prefect’s tribunal and the
place in which his notorious edict would have been posted (Flacc. 54).189
Perhaps even more illuminating are the difficulties that now must be
acknowledged in previous suggestions that Flaccus could not control the
violence.190 A simple word from the prefect would have elicited a quick
response from the local cohorts of Egypt’s estimated 16,000 troops, a large
number of whom were stationed in the nearby suburb of Nikopolis.191
Philo himself unequivocally emphasizes this point (Legat. 132). Philo’s
explicit references to the army in his descriptions of events before, during,
and after the violence indicate that Flaccus remained in firm control of the
military (Flacc. 5, 86–94, 111–12). Hence the evidence that the violence was
centrally orchestrated can most easily be explained if soldiers from the two
legions commanded by Flaccus were alongside of the Alexandrian mobs
for the entire summer of 38.192 Therefore the military’s role as a police
force can be presupposed in Philo’s statements that Flaccus ‘permitted’
various outrages, ‘worked hand in hand’ with the crowds, or supported
actions typically performed by Roman soldiers (e.g., arrests, crucifixion, and

188 Already, Gruen, Diaspora, 69–83.

189 E.g., Strabo Geo. 17.1.10 (C795); cf. P. Col. Apokrimata (P. Col. 123; SB 6.9526), lines 1–
3, 22; P. Flor. 3.382 (Chr. Wilck. 143), lines 15–16; see F. Burkhalter, ‘Le Gymnase
d’Alexandrie: Centre Administratif de la Province Romaine d’Égypte’, BCH 116 (1992)
345–73. Contrast R. Alston, ‘Philo’s Flaccum: Ethnicity and Social Space in Roman
Alexandria’, Greece and Rome 44 (1997) 165–75.
190 E.g., Gruen, Diaspora, 57–62.
191 Originally three legions; Strabo Geo. 17.1.12 (C797); reduced to two by 23 c.e.;
Tacitus Ann. 4.5; 5.1; Josephus BJ 2.387, 494; 4.606; Tacitus Hist. 5.1.2. See Alston, Soldier
and Society, 22–33.
192 See Bergmann and Hoffmann, ‘Kalkül’, 31–46, although they barely mention the
army, which was the most obvious agent of central control. For an analogy, see Josephus
BJ 2.487–98. See Alston, Soldier and Society, 53–142, who emphasizes the integration of
the army into the local population.
94 allen kerkeslager

use of the sword).193 Philo avoided criticizing the military probably because
he did not want to confirm accusations that the Judeans were enemies of
Rome. Philo also was quite simply less interested in the military henchmen
employed by Flaccus than in the prefect who commanded them.
(3) Third, much greater attention must be given in future research to the
possibility that throughout all of the violence in 38 Flaccus was acting in
accordance with accepted Roman policies that were presumed by the em-
peror himself. Philo desperately tried to divert attention away from these
policies because he wanted to reverse the negative results of the violence
and any legal precedent that it may have established. But the violence may
have been a perfectly ‘normal’ expression of the same brutal Roman poli-
cies that are well attested in punitive measures imposed on both individuals
and communities across the empire.194 Roman imperialism, not a culture
war between Judaism and Hellenism or a religious conflict between various
subject peoples, may provide the most illuminating theme for under-
standing the violence in 38.195

Saint Joseph’s University,


193 E.g., Flacc. 33–35, 40, 43–44, 53–54, 67, 72, 74–85, 86–94, 96; Legat. 132. See Alston,
Soldier and Society, 81–101.
194 E.g., see Slingerland, Claudian Policymaking, 65–110, 219–45; R. MacMullen, Essays in
the Ordinary: Changes in the Roman Empire (Princeton, 1990) 204–17; Alston, Soldier and
Society, 81–86; cf. R. Bagnall, ‘Official and Private Violence in Roman Egypt’, BASP 26
(1989) 201–16. For examples, see P. Thmouis 1.99; Josephus BJ 2.75, 253, 487–98; Tacitus
Ann. 14.42–45; Philo Spec. Leg. 3.158–63 (cf. 2.92–95). As is clear from the preceding
discussion, exile often indicates a capital crime because of its frequent use as a suspended
death sentence; hence see also Josephus AJ 18.81–84 (on these events, see Suet. Tib. 36;
Tacitus Ann. 2.85; Cassius Dio 57.18.5; Seneca Epist. 108.22).
195 For the Roman issues in the violence, see Kerkeslager, ‘Agrippa and the Mourning
Rites for Drusilla in Alexandria.’
The Studia Philonica Annual XVII (2005) 95–98


James R. Royse

Philo’s substantial corpus of writings have had a complex fate. Much is

preserved in Greek, there is an ancient Armenian translation that overlaps
with the works preserved in Greek, there is an ancient Latin translation,
and there are hundreds of Greek fragments. Most of the Greek fragments
in fact can be located in the works preserved in Armenian (and occasionally
in Latin), but many cannot be. Moreover, confusions, errors, and inaccu-
racies in ancient and medieval sources, as well as by modern scholars, have
resulted in the incorrect ascription of many texts to Philo of Alexandria. I
attempted to clear away these spurious texts in my Spurious Texts, where
further details of the textual transmission of Philo’s works and fragments
may be found.1 Included there were 61 fragments (the ‘fragmenta spuria’)
that have been printed as from Philo but that are in fact not from him.
However, there remained many Greek fragments that could neither be
located in the Armenian or Latin nor be determined definitely to be
spurious. And in an earlier article I provided a list of 124 unidentified texts
that are ascribed to Philo in one source or another.2
In this earlier work I was indebted to the Thesaurus Linguae Graecae.3
With its steadily increasing corpus of Greek texts, the TLG is becoming ever
more valuable (and is now accessible online at, and a
recent check of these unidentified fragments has permitted me to remove
three more fragments as definitely spurious. I continue the numbering of
these fragmenta spuria from chapter 4 of my Spurious Texts.

Fr. sp. 62

meg¤sth sumforå ényr≈pƒ duspragoËnti ka‹ ≤ §rhm¤a énakthsom°nou.

1 The Spurious Texts of Philo of Alexandria: A Study of Textual Transmission and Corrup-
tion with Indexes to the Major Collections of Greek Fragments, ALGHJ 22 (Leiden 1991).
2 ’Reverse Indexes to Philonic Texts in the Printed Florilegia and Collections of Frag-
ments,’ SPhA 5 (1993) 156–79; the ‘unidentified texts’ are at 174–79.
3 Spurious Texts, 60–61. See also the helpful survey by David T. Runia, ‘How to Search
Philo,’ SPhA 2 (1990) 106–39, and his supplements, ‘A New Philo Word Index,’ SPhA 10
(1998) 131–34, and Review of P. Borgen, K. Fuglseth, and R. Skarsten, The Philo Index: A
Complete Greek Word Index to the Writings of Philo of Alexandria, SPhA 12 (2000) 205–6.
96 james r. royse

Gessner, 70 = PG 136.981B5–6 (no lemma; follows Fr. sp. 37), from

Combefis, 589 = 91.832A11–12 (no lemma; follows Fr. sp. 37) from
Unidentified no. 45.

Removed as = Gregory Thaumaturgus, Metaphrasis in Ecclesiasten

Salomonis 4 (PG 10.997D3–5): meg¤sth d¢ ka‹ sumforå ényr≈pƒ duspragoËnti,
ka‹ ≤ §rhm¤a toË énakthsom°nou.

I had earlier expressed doubts about the genuineness of this fragment,

since it occurs between spurious fragments.4 And we can now reconstruct
what happened. As observed earlier, this text is present in both Antonius
and Maximus, occurring in each florilegium immediately after Fr. sp. 37 and
immediately before Fr. sp. 38. The wider context is in fact:

Maximus Antonius
(PG 91) (PG 136)

QG 4.52 (b) 832A3–4 (F¤lvn.) not present5

Fr. sp. 35 (Gregory of Nazianzus) 832A5–6 981A12
Fr. sp. 36 (Gregory of Nazianzus) 832A7–8 981B12–13
Fr. sp. 37 (Gregory of Nazianzus) 832A9–10 981B3–4
Fr. sp. 62 (Gregory Thaumaturgus) 832A11–12 981B5–6
Fr. sp. 38 (Gregory of Nazianzus) 832B1–3 981B7–9

Thus, the loss of the lemma(ta) in Maximus after the correct lemma on QG
4.52 (b) resulted in the inclusion of these five fragments from Gregory of
Nazianzus and Gregory Thaumaturgus among the fragments of Philo. It
would seem that an even earlier error somehow placed Fr. sp. 62, from
Gregory Thaumaturgus, among fragments of Gregory of Nazianzus. Of
course, the multiple Gregorys could be readily confused, just as the multiple
Philos were on occasion confused.6

Fr. sp. 63

mÆ se kataplhtt°tv tå t∞w cux∞w fusÆmata: e‡dvla går efid≈lvn tå t«n

ényr≈pvn tetÊxhke prãgmata.

4 Spurious Texts, 32–33.

5 As reported in Spurious Texts, 164 n. 6, Fr. sp. 35 is the first text in chapter A.oÄ, which
is mutilated at the beginning, and omits the first three words of Fr. sp. 35. The reprint in
PG 136 omits the Greek of this text entirely, but includes the Latin translation.
6 See the examples cited in Spurious Texts, 11–12.
three more spurious fragments of philo 97

Boissonade, 59 = PG 117.1116C12–14 (F¤lvnow), from Johannes

Harris, 108.1, from Boissonade.
Unidentified no. 48.

Removed as = Theophylactus Simocatta, Epistula 76 (Giuseppe Zanetto

(ed.), Theophylacti Simocatae epistulae [Leipzig 1985] 41): mÆ se kataplhtt°tv
tå t∞w tÊxhw fusÆmata: diapa¤zei går toÁw ényr≈pouw Àsper ka‹ boÊletai:
e‡dvla går efid≈lvn tå t«n ényr≈pvn tetÊxhke prãgmata.

Fr. sp. 64

filÒsofow cuxØ pãntvn §st‹n Íchlot°ra ka‹ xart«n ka‹ luphr«n: oÎte
går §n §ke¤noiw xaunoËtai oÎyÉ ÍpÚ toÊtvn katast°lletai ka‹ tapeinoËtai,
éllå diam°nei diå pãntvn ‡sh, tØn ofike¤an fisxÁn ka‹ dÊnamin §pideiknum°nh.

Lewy, 84.32, from Laur. plut. VII 15, f. 92v (‘ohne Lemma hinter
Unidentified no. 115.

Removed as = John Chrysostom, Ad populum Antiochenum habitae,

homilia 17 (PG 49.174, ll. 10–15): tosoËtÒn §sti filosof¤a cux∞w pãntvn
Íchlot°ra ginom°nh, ka‹ t«n xrhst«n ka‹ t«n luphr«n èpãntvn: oÎte går §n
§ke¤noiw xaunoËtai, oÎte ÍpÚ toÊtvn katast°lletai ka‹ tapeinoËtai, éllå
m°nei diå pãntvn ‡sh, tØn ofike¤an fisxÁn ka‹ dÊnamin §pideiknum°nh.
Perhaps a few brief comments on some other results may be of interest.
The remaining 121 unidentified fragments are a varied lot. Some are, I be-
lieve, almost certainly from Philo, among which may (again) be especially
noted no. 43, which reads koinvnikÚn ka‹ oÈ monvtikÚn z“on ı ênyrvpow,
and no. 56, which includes the phrase tÚn går ênyrvpon ≤ fÊsiw kateskeÊa-
sen oÈx …w tå monvtikå yhr¤a éllÉ …w tå égela›a ka‹ sÊnnoma, koinvnik≈-
taton. The TLG reports no. 56 (both from Petit and from PG 96.240) but not
no. 43, and reports nine other occurrences of forms of monvtikÒw. Of those
seven are from Philo: Cher. 58, Her. 211, 234; Fug. 25, 35; Spec. 1.162; Praem.
89. The two other occurrences are at Aristotle, Politics, 2.6, 1265a22 (b¤on
politikÒn, mØ monvtikÒn), and Procopius, Catena in Canticum Canticorum (PG
87.2.1656C1–2: l°ontew d¢ ka‹ pardãleiw, monvtikã, ka‹ oÈ sÊnnoma).
Stephanus adds that monvtikÒw also occurs as a variant to monadikÒw in

7 In a note Lewy corrects xart«n to xrhst«n, which is confirmed by the passage in

98 james r. royse

Aristotle, Historia animalium 1.1, 488a1.8 Now, it would seem totally unjusti-
fied to think that errors in the transmission of the florilegia just happened
to foist upon Philo either or both of fragments no. 43 and no. 56, which
contain a word that he otherwise uses in seven of its nine or ten occur-
rences in extant Greek literature. Rather, it is overwhelmingly probable
that both no. 43 and no. 56 are also from Philo, who found this unusual
word in Aristotle and became fond of it. (I suppose that Procopius is also
indebted to Aristotle, although of course it is always possible that the word
had a wider usage that is now lost to us.)
Some further confirmation is indeed found in Philo’s conjoining monv-
tikÒw with koinvnikÒw in both fragments no. 43 and no. 56; the latter word
occurs otherwise at sixteen places in Philo’s writings (including a second
time in no. 56), but is not found at the other places where he uses
monvtikÒw. Further, the term égela›ow is found at thirteen places in Philo
other than no. 56, and it is joined with monvtikÒw at three of these: Cher. 58;
Her. 211; Praem. 89. And sÊnnomow is found at four places in Philo other than
no. 56, and it is joined with monvtikÒw at two of these: Cher. 58; Praem. 89.
This evidence seems to me to make it virtually certain that both no. 43 and
no. 56 are genuine texts of Philo, deriving from his lost works.
Finally, it remains true that no fragment that is definitely assigned to
Philo’s Quaestiones has been found to be spurious.9 The overall reliability of
such ascriptions is thus confirmed.

San Francisco State University

8 See my earlier comments in Spurious Texts, 8–9.

9 See Spurious Texts, 33–36.
The Studia Philonica Annual XVII (2005) 99–101


Maren R. Niehoff

I would like to respond to Daniel S. Schwartz’s article published in the

previous volume of this Annual,2 because I wish to draw attention to the
fact that some of my arguments have been misrepresented. Schwartz sets
out to criticize three works related to child exposure and infanticide which
were to some extent inspired by Adele Reinhartz’s article, ‘Philo on Infanti-
cide’, SPhA 4 (1992) 42–58. While Schwartz accepts Reinhartz’s conclusion
that some Jews may have practiced infanticide, he vehemently objects to
the subsequent works (p. 62):
Reinhartz’s case has been repeated, inflated, and supplemented by arguments
for three additional crimes in the ancient Jewish family: wife-killing (Tal Ilan),
failure to require the feeding of children (Ilan and esp. Catherine Hezser), and
child sacrifice (Maren R. Niehoff). All of these claims have been made in the
context of discussions of infant exposure, and the implication is that if Jews
could be guilty of and/or condone, such other terrible things, then why not child
exposure too?

Schwartz suggests here that I argued for the practice of child exposure
among Alexandrian Jews on the basis of their approval and/or practice of
child sacrifice. This alleged analogy is very important to him. He stresses it
on other occasions, writing for example that ‘willy-nilly this [Philo’s posi-
tive attitude to the Biblical Aqeda] affords support, by analogy, for the
immediately preceding argument about child-exposure, for if the Bible and
Philo posit child sacrifice, and ancient Jews practiced it for a long time, then
it is easy to suppose that they regularly endangered and killed babies in
other ways as well’ (ibid.). Schwartz similarly notes: ‘Thus, Niehoff’s
treatment of Abr. 196 will again lead the reader to infer that if even the
philosopher Philo could approve of child sacrifice, other Jews could engage
in it, and approve of, infant exposure’ (p. 86). The reader of Schwartz’s
article is thus invited to think that I implied the practice of child sacrifice
among Jews in Hellenistic Alexandria, assuming that this also explains their
practice of child exposure.

1 I wish to thank Martin Goodman for his helpful comments on a draft of this response.
2 ‘Did The Jews Practice Infant Exposure And Infanticide In Antiquity?’ SPhA 16 (2004)
100 maren r. niehoff

Unfortunately, however, this presentation of my argument is profound-

ly mistaken. I never argued that Jewish children were sacrificed in Hellenis-
tic Alexandria. Instead I followed Jon Levenson’s work on Biblical notions
of child sacrifice,3 arguing that Philo continued certain Biblical traditions and
accepted the idea of child sacrifice in the story of Isaac’s binding. In com-
parison to both Josephus and Genesis Rabbah, it is striking, I suggested, that
Philo does not particularly problematize the Divine command. Instead of
questioning its implications for the image of God, he speaks about the loss
of one child in a surprisingly comforting way. More importantly, I never
drew an analogy between Philo’s attitude to the Biblical Aqeda and the
issue of child exposure in Hellenistic Alexandria. On the contrary, I stressed
the difference between the two cases, wondering about Philo’s consistency.
The blatant contrast between Philo’s acceptance of the Divine command to
Abraham and his outspoken polemics against child exposure led me to
speculate about the underlying principles of his position in each case.
Schwartz once acknowledges this procedure of mine (p. 82), but then
continues to stress the alleged analogy.
Furthermore, I would like to respond to Schwartz’s judgment that I
have simply ‘misunderstood’ Ps.-Phocylides 184–5, because I did not real-
ize that its author principally condemns child exposure (p. 66). This dismis-
sal seems to me premature, ignoring what is in fact a particular scholarly
approach. It is indeed legitimate to interpret Ps.-Phoc. 184–5 as reflecting
the wide-spread Greek view of women as obliged to their husbands for the
production of offspring and therefore not permitted to do away with their
babies without paternal consent. This reading is possible, because the au-
thor, unlike Philo, merely says: ‘Do not let a woman destroy the unborn
babe in her belly, nor after its birth throw it before the dogs and the
vultures as prey’. These concise instructions are the only ones on this topic
in Ps.-Phoc. and they are not further illuminated by their context, where
other issues are discussed. The question thus is whether they can be inter-
preted in light of conceptions prevalent in the general environment. This
option is particularly relevant in the case of Ps.-Phoc. which is famous for
lacking a sense of Jewish particularism. Jacob Bernays was revolutionary in
the 19th century when insisting on its Jewish author as well as its authentic-
ity as an expression of ancient Judaism.4 Some Jews in Antiquity obviously
acculturated to a considerable degree to their Hellenistic environment and
differed in respect of their identity from other Jews. It is possible that the

3 J. D. Levenson, The Death and Resurrection of the Beloved Son. The Transformation of
Child Sacrifice in Judaism and Christianity (New Haven 1993).
4 J. Bernays, Über das Phokylideische Gedicht. Ein Beitrag zur hellenistischen Literatur
(Breslau Jahresbericht 1856).
response to: daniel s. schwartz 101

author of Ps.-Phoc. entertained views on child exposure entirely or partially

different from Philo’s. Instead of harmonizing the two one must recognize
each particular position with its characteristic tone and intention. In short,
any attempt to reconstruct the complexity of the Ancient Jewish world
from the scanty sources that have survived requires a proper academic

Hebrew University
The Studia Philonica Annual XVII (2005) 102


Gregory E. Sterling

During a seminar in Berkeley, David Winston once related a well-known

biographical tradition about Aristotle. Plato is reported to have refused to
begin his lectures until Aristotle came. He would say: ‘Not until the Nous is
here.’ When the Stagerite arrived, Plato would say: ‘Begin reciting, the
Nous is present.’1 Winston then made his point. If he were to give Philo a
tag as Plato did Aristotle, he would call Philo the Logos. There is no doubt
about the centrality of the Logos for the Alexandrian Jewish commentator.
The term appears more than 1400 times in his extant corpus (though not all
uses refer to the Logos). At the same time, the Logos is one of the most
difficult and complex concepts in Philo.
It was therefore entirely appropriate for The Philo of Alexandria Group
of the Society of Biblical Literature to devote two sessions of the 2004
annual meeting to ‘The Worlds of Logos Theology.’ The co-chairs of the
Group, Hindy Najman and David T. Runia, invited seven scholars to pre-
sent papers. Three papers in the first session dealt with Philo or with Philo
and Alexandrian Christianity. Four papers in the second session focused on
Philo and Rabbinic or New Testament texts. The program thus attempted
to provide coverage of Philo, the New Testament, Rabbinic Judaism, and
Alexandrian Christianity.
We have made it a practice to select some of the papers presented at spe-
cial sessions of the Philo of Alexandria Group for inclusion in the Annual.
Unfortunately, some of the papers were written for other publications and
will eventually appear elsewhere. We offer two of the papers, one devoted
to Philo and another to the relationship between Philo’s Logos and the
Logos of the Prologue of the Fourth Gospel, as examples of how current
research on the Logos in Philo and the relevance of Philo’s Logos for early
Christianity may advance.

1 D. Winston incorporated this story in Logos and Mystical Theology in Philo of Alexan-
dria (Cincinnati 1985) 14–15.
The Studia Philonica Annual XVII (2005) 103–117


Harold W. Attridge

The Prologue to the Fourth Gospel continues to be a focus of scholarly

fascination. Various issues remain under discussion, including the relation-
ship of the Prologue to the rest of the Gospel2 and the character of the text
as midrash.3 Post-modern perspectival readings of the text are also part of
the discussion, in both feminist4 and theological versions.5 Several scholars
have tried to contextualize the Prologue by seeing it in competition with
other readings of Genesis, 6 while others resist attempt to reduce the
Prologue to some other non-Johannine cultural complex.7 Possible relation-
ships between the Prologue and the ‘Logos’ theology of Philo have not
been at the forefront of discussion, although Philonic texts certainly play a
role in the analysis of exegetical traditions that scholars increasingly see at
work in the Prologue.
Philo is certainly noted as a point of comparison by commentators on
the Fourth Gospel, whatever they think the relationship might be. For
example, D. Moody Smith’s recent commentary8 duly notes that Philo’s
Logos is labeled God’s ‘Firstborn Son’ in Conf. 146–47; that light and dark-
ness are an important part of the commentary on Gen 1:3 at Somn. 1.75;
and that Philo, in Legat. 118, says that ‘God would no sooner change into a

A version of this paper was initially delivered to the Philo Seminar at the Annual
Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature in San Antonio, TX, November 22, 2004. The
final version has benefited enormously from the critical conversations that ensued.
E. Harris, Prologue and Gospel: The Theology of the Fourth Evangelist, JSNTSup 107
(Sheffield, 1994) 13, 16, 38–39, 188–91, in which an actor introduces the elements of the
plot (apud Kurz).
E. Pagels, ‘Exegesis of Genesis 1 in the Gospels of Thomas and John,’ JBL 118 (1999) 477–
496; D. Boyarin, ‘The Gospel of the Memra: Jewish Binitarianism and the Prologue to
John,’ HTR 94 (2001) 243–284.
4 A. Jasper, The Shining Garment of the Text: Gendered Readings of John’s Prologue,
JSNTSup 165; Gender, Culture, Theory 6 (Sheffield, 1998).
5 W. S. Kurz, ‘The Johannine Word as Revealing the Father: A Christian Credal
Actualization,’ Perspectives in Religious Studies 28 (2001) 67–84.
6 N. F. Denzey, ‘Genesis Traditions in Conflict,’ VChr 55 (2001) 20–44; J. Painter,
‘Rereading Genesis in the Prologue of John,’ in D. E. Aune, T. Seland and J. H. Ulrichsen
(edd.), Neotestamentica et Philonica: Studies in Honor of Peder Borgen (Leiden/Boston,
2003)179–201. The contributions by Pagels and Boyarin, mentioned above, also contribute
to this discussion.
7 E. L. Miller, ‘The Johannine Origins of the Johannine Logos,’ JBL 112 (1993) 445–5.
8 D. M. Smith, John (Nashville, 1999)
104 harold w. attridge

man than a man into God,’ obviously illustrating the difference between
Philo and John. It would be tedious to cite other treatments; Smith is fairly
typical of the way in which Philo appears in most discussions of the Fourth
Gospel, as an illustration of the presence of some Johannine themes in first-
century Jewish literature.
This essay will leave aside the contemporary conversations about the
genre of the Prologue, although the thesis that it is ‘midrashic’ in some
sense is certainly viable. It will focus on the comparable material in Philo,
but not in the atomistic fashion common in the commentaries. It will argue
that the ‘Logos theologies’ of Philo and John are related in a profound
way, one that is not usually recognized, even by those who defend some
connection between Philo and John. In order to see that connection, it is
necessary to take a comprehensive view of the use of the Logos theme in
the Philonic corpus, or at least a sub-set of the corpus, the Allegorical Com-
mentaries on the Pentateuch, and attend to the rhetoric or the pedagogical
strategy of that corpus. The Fourth Gospel offers a version of the same
strategy, a ‘riff,’ to use a jazz metaphor, on that fundamental Philonic
strategy or rhetoric.
Let me begin with some non-controversial basics from De opificio mundi,
the first tractate in the Exposition of the Law. The contours of Philo’s
treatment of the Logos are well known.9 Insofar as it has a structural role in
Philo’s metaphysics, the Logos does a good deal of heavy lifting. It is at
once the sum and substance of the noetic realm (Opif. 24–25, 29), the
incorporeal world of ideas (Opif. 36), now firmly planted in the mind of
God. It thus solves the problem of the relationship between first principles
that confronted monotheistic exegetes of Plato. The Demiurge and the
Forms are now harmonized since the Forms are simply ideas in the mind
of God.
But the Logos does even more. It is also the expression of the ideal,
noetic world in the phenomenal realm. In good Stoic fashion, and with a
gesture toward the Stoic language of spermatikoi logoi (Opif. 43), the Logos is
the force that holds all things together and lends them their rational
The relationship between the Logos as imbedded in the mind of God
and expressed in a more or less rational universe, reflecting Stoic analysis of
the relationship between thought and speech, will be productive for the
history of Christology, although exactly how the analogy between
expressed and unexpressed logos and the history of the Son of God works

9 D. Winston, Logos and Mystical Theology in Philo of Alexandria (Cincinnnati, 1985).

10 Cf. also Fug. 106–18.
philo and john 105

is open to different construals.11 All of those construals lie in the later story
of the Logos in the history of Christian thought. The metaphysical heavy
lifting that the Logos does for Philo is clear enough, but the contribution of
the Logos to Philo’s program needs more analysis.
Even where the physics and the metaphysics are strongest, Philo is
involved in the exegesis of the Biblical text, and that exegesis leads him to
territory that is familiar in the Fourth Gospel, to the contrast of light and
darkness and the association of the creative and sustaining Word with the
Light (Opif. 30, 32). Implicit in this Logos theology of creation is an anthro-
pology and a doctrine of revelation that is universal and optimistic. Thus all
human beings have a reflection, fragment, or ray of the shiny Logos within
them (Opif. 146). They have, therefore, a natural way of relating to the first
principle, however distant it may be.
If this were the conceptual milieu from which the Gospel prologue
emerged, it is clear what its program would be: appropriation of a cosmo-
gony, an anthropology, and a notion of natural theology, stood on its head.
If (and it remains a big if), John know Philo or Philonism, he was a
rebellious pupil indeed.12 But there is more to Philo and his Logos than the
De opificio mundi, and a sequential reading of the Allegorical Commentary is
revealing. What follows is a brief review of the major texts, in their
‘canonical’ order.

Sequential roster of passages on the Logos in the Allegorical Commentary

Legum Allegoriae 1.19–42, commenting on Gen 2:4–7, builds on the distinc-

tion of ideal and phenomenal ‘man’. It also makes an interesting equation
of Logos/Reason with the Book of Moses.
De cherubim 27–29 introduces the notion of the Potencies, ruling and
beneficent, and connects them with the cosmic Logos.13 The text also

11 For a survey of the options, see A. Grillmeier, S.J., Christ in Christian Tradition: Vol. 1,
From the Apostolic Age to Chalcedon (451) (Atlanta, 19752) 85–149.
12 Boyarin (‘The Gospel of the Memra,’ 243–284) offers a good analysis of this aspect of
the relationship between John and the varieties of Jewish Memra/Logos theology.
13 ‘But there is a higher thought than these. It comes from a voice in my own soul, which
oftentimes is god-possessed and divines where it does not know. This thought I will
record in words if I can. The voice told me that while God is indeed one, His highest and
chiefest powers are two, even goodness and sovereignty. Through His goodness He begat
all that is, through His sovereignty He rules what He has begotten. And in the midst
between the two there is a third which unites them, Reason, for it is through reason
(logos) that God is both ruler and good. Of these two potencies sovereignty and goodness
the Cherubim are symbols, as the fiery sword is the symbol of reason’ (Cher. 27–28,
translations from PLCL).
106 harold w. attridge

introduces what we might call Logos piety, in the form of a prayer for
reception of the virtues that flow from the doctrine.14 That pietistic form
will reappear, insistently, toward the end of the segment of the corpus.
De posteritate Caini, commenting on Gen 4:16–25, introduces an important
bit of new metaphorical language into the discourse, familial metaphors
defining the relationships between God/Logos/and humankind. ‘Right
reason’ (Logos) ought be accepted as the ‘bride of the soul’15 but it can
also be understood as the ‘father of the soul.’16 The cash value of these
metaphors is a recommendation to live a life of virtue, which may be the
subject of 90% of Philo’s allegory, but of interest at the moment is simply
the familial language, deployed rather promiscuously.
De gigantibus, commenting on Gen 6:1–4, does not have much to say
about the Logos in any of its forms, but it does add something to the
repertoire of familial images that will eventually come into relationship
with the Logos. Toward the end of the tractate, Philo introduces a more
complex anthropology than was evident in the Opif. While the Logos might
be available to all people who share the divine pneuma, there are, in fact,
different classes of human beings, who relate to their ultimate source in
different ways.17
Some tractates in the series add little. Toward the end of Quod Deus sit
immutabilis, which comments on Gen 6:4–12, Philo, stimulated by another
intertext, Num 22:31, finds the Logos symbolized by an ‘angel’ in the
biblical account. That angel is, in typical Philonic fashion, demythologized
and winds up being little more than the ‘conscience’ of a morally sensitive
individual, but the introduction of the personal image is still worth noting,

14 ‘O then, my mind, admit the image unalloyed of the two Cherubim, that having
learnt its clear lesson of the sovereignty and beneficence of the Cause, thou mayest reap
the fruits of a happy lot. For straightway thou shalt understand how these unmixed
potencies are mingled and united, how, where God is good, yet the glory of His
sovereignty is seen amid the beneficence, how, where He is sovereign, through the
sovereignty the beneficence still appears. Thus thou mayest gain the virtues begotten of
these potencies, a cheerful courage and a reverent awe toward God…’ (Cher. 29)
15 ‘For to those who welcome training, who make progress, and improve, witness is borne
of their deliberate choice of the good, that their very endeavor may not be left
unrewarded. But the fitting lot of those who have been held worthy of a wisdom that
needs no other teaching and no other learning is, apart form any agency of their own, to
accept from God’s hands Reason as their plighted spouse, and to receive knowledge,
which is partner in the life of the wise.’ (Post. 78)
16 ‘Probably, then, the lawgiver gives the title of father of our soul to right reason, and
of elders to the associates and friends of right reason. These were the first to fix the
boundaries of virtue. To the school of these it is advisable to go, to learn by their
teaching the essential matters’ (Post. 91)
17 Cf. Opif. 146 for the relationship of all humans to the Logos. Gig. 60–67 for different
types of soul.
philo and john 107

because the personal, mythological dimensions of the Logos will loom

larger as the series progresses.
De agricultura 51, commenting on Gen 9:20, but drawing on Ps 23:1, calls
God, the great ‘I AM,’ the Shepherd of the human soul.18 The text also
refers to the Logos, God’s firsborn son, who follows in his father’s
shepherding footsteps. The passage may have implications for John 5 and
10; it certainly expands the intimate tone of the relationships between
De ebrietate 30–33 resumes the relational metaphor. The text suggests a
hierarchy, with God and God’s wisdom, the progenitors of God’s Word.
That Word, in turn, constitutes the Right Reason, which, in partnership with
customary education, generates virtue in the soul. Here the cash value of
the metaphorical play — the importance of rational moral reason — seems
clear enough, even though the route to the application is complex.
De confusione linguarum, commenting on Gen 11:1–9, pushes the meta-
phorical character of Logos language further. As in most prior tractates,
Philo here makes his connections with the aid of secondary texts. At Conf.
41 Philo appeals to Gen 42:11, ‘We are all sons of one man, we are peace-
ful.’ In the language of ‘one man’ Philo finds an allusion to the Logos,
‘God’s Man.’ 19 The familial language is also important. The ‘we’ who
abide by the values of good sense, knowledge, and peacefulness, are ‘sons
of the Man,’ the Logos.
Similar ‘riffs’ on the notion of the Logos punctuate the treatise at two
other points, Conf. 62 and 146. The first of those two passages illustrates the
interweaving of cosmic and psychological perspectives on a Biblical text
characteristic of Philo.20 The specific intertext is Zech 6:12, ‘Behold a man
whose name is the rising,’ which elicits a reflection on the cosmic first-born
Son. In a manner reminiscent of Plato’s Phaedrus, that Son has viewed the
‘archetypal patterns’ and, like the Demiurge of the Timaeus, shaped their
copies.21 The language of ‘sonship’ is important, but it refers primarily to

18 The prominence of Exod 3:12 in Philo’s treatments of God cannot be underestimated.

19 ‘Let us flee, the, without a backward glance from the unions which are unions for sin,
but hold fast to our alliance with the comrades of good sense and knowledge (epistemes).
And therefore when I hear those who say ‘We are all sons of one man, we are peaceful’ I
am filled with admiration for the harmonious concert which their words reveal. ‘Ah!
My friends,’ I would say, ‘how should you not hate war and love peace – you who have
enrolled yourselves as children of one and the same Father, who is not mortal but immor-
tal – God’s Man, who being the Word of the Eternal must needs himself be imperish-
able?’ ‘ (Conf. 40–41)
20 See T. H. Tobin, The Creation of Man: Philo and the History of Interpretation, CBQMS
14 (Washington, D.C. 1983) and idem, ‘The Prologue of John and Hellenistic Jewish
Speculation,’ CBQ 52 (1990) 252–69.
21 ‘I have heard also an oracle from the lips of one of the disciples of Moses, which runs
108 harold w. attridge

the relationship between the unique Son and his Father, not to the
addressees’ relationship to God and God’s word.
The final passage in this tractate, Conf. 146, continues to deploy ‘sonship’
language, but focuses instead on the relationship between the other sons
and the one unique ‘Son.’ Once again intertextual plays are essential to the
development of the argument. On the surface, the text is part of a
commentary on Gen 12:4, but the crucial passages are Deut 14:1; 32:18 and
32:6, all of which have to do with divine ‘begetting’ and ‘sonship.’22 The
passage offers a remarkable list of names for the cosmic principle:
Beginning, Name, Word, Man after his Image, Israel.
The logic of the list of names is worth attention, since it reflects the
overall logic of Philo’s play on the Logos. The cosmological category of the
‘logos’ has universalistic implications, but Philo happily combines that
language not only with allegorized familial language, but with language of
ethnic identification. The Word of God is finally equated not only with God,
but with Israel. The instability of the categories is endemic to Philo’s
rhetorical scheme. By virtue of its universal applicability, anyone who
partakes of right reason is a Son of God (or at least a Son of the Word of
God), but the embodiment of that sonship is clearly in an ethnic entity,
Israel. The Fourth Gospel shares the interest in making people ‘children of

thus: ‘Behold a man whose name is the rising’, strangest of titles, surely, if you suppose
that a being composed of soul and body is here described. But if you suppose that it is
that Incorporeal one, who differs not a whit from the divine image, you will agree that
the name of ‘rising’ assigned to him quite truly describes him. For that man is the eldest
son, whom the Father of all raised up, and elsewhere calls him His first born, and
indeed the Son thus begotten (gennetheis) followed the ways of his Father, and shaped
the different kinds, looking to the archetypal patterns which that Father supplied.’
(Conf. 62–63)
22 ‘But they who live in the knowledge of the One are rightly called ‘sons of God,’ as
Moses also acknowledges when he says, ‘Ye are sons of the Lord God (Deut 14:1), and ‘God
who begat thee’ (Deut 32:18), and ‘Is not He Himself they father?’ (Ibid 6). Indeed with
those whose soul is thus disposed it follows that they hold moral beauty to be the only
good, and this serves as a counterwork engineered by veteran warriors to fight the cause
which makes Pleasure the end and to subvert and overthrow it. But if there be any as yet
unfit to be called a Son of God, let him press to take his place under God’s First-born, the
Word, who holds the eldership among the angels, their ruler as it were. And many
names are his, for he is called, ‘the Beginning,’ and the Name of God, and His Word and
the Man after his image, and ‘he that sees,’ that is Israel. And therefore I was moved a
few pages above to praise the virtues of those who say that ‘We are all sons of one man’
(Gen 42:11). For if we have not yet become fit to be thought sons of God yet we may be sons
of His invisible image, the most holy Word. For the Word is the eldest-born image of
God and often indeed in the law-book we find another phrase, ‘sons of Israel,’ hearers,
that is, son of him that sees, since hearing stands second in estimation and below sight,
and the recipient of teaching is always second to him with whom realities present their
forms clear to his vision and not through the medium of instruction.’ (Conf. 146–148)
philo and john 109

God’ through the agency of the Logos. Does it share the ambivalence
about what that means?
Different intertexts generate slightly different nuances. The next tractate
in the commentary series, De migratione Abrahami, offers a structure similar
to that encountered in the Conf. Three passages, scattered at strategic points
in the commentary, invoke the notion of the Logos. The first appears close
to the beginning of the tractate and situates the Logos as the voice in the
mind that is God. The use of the mind/voice/speech triad is reminiscent of
the Trimorphic Protennoia from Nag Hammadi that has generated a certain
amount of speculation about the form of Logos theology underlying the
FG. 23 The conceit is a part of the Philonic repertoire of images for
describing the relationship of divine Word to its source, but it does not
seem to be fundamental to Philo’s play with the Logos, nor is the conceit
pervasive in his treatment of the theme.
Philo, in any case, does not operate with a simple ‘mind/speech/word’
pattern. Instead he finds the point of the analogy to be that Mind (nous)
dwells in speech (logos), both in the macrocosm of the universe and the
microcosm of the individual human being.24 The emphasis in this text is on
the cosmic Logos, which, of course, has its counterpart in the phenomenal
The play on the relationship of mind and speech continues in the second
‘Logos’ passage of the tractate, Migr. 70–75. Here the emphasis is on the
human correlate and on the ‘cash value’ of the imagery, the necessity of
having mind and speech in harmony.25
The concluding deployment of the motif in this tractate moves quickly to
the ultimate cash value of the imagery: obedience to the Law of Moses.

23 Cf. Denzey, above, n. 6.

24 ‘And marvel not at Moses having given to speech the title of Mind’s house in man; for
indeed he says that God, the Mind of the universe, has for His house His own Word. It
was the vision of this Word that the Self-trainer received when he emphatically
declares ‘This is assuredly not the House of God’ (Gen 28:17), as much as to say ‘The
House of God is not this that is all round me, consisting of things at which we can point or
that fall under sense-perception generally, no, not such is God’s House, but invisible,
withdrawn from sight, and apprehended by soul as soul. Who, then, can that House be,
save the Word who is antecedent to all that has come into existence? The Word, which
the Helmsman of the Universe grasps as a rudder to guide all things on their course?
Even as, when He was fashioning the world, He employed it as His instrument, that the
fabric of His handiwork might be without reproach.’ (Migr. 4–6)
25 ‘All His gifts are full and complete. And so, in this case also, He does not send the
blessing or ‘logos excellence’ in one division of logos, but in both its parts, for He holds it
just that the recipient of His bounty should both conceive the noblest conceptions and
give masterly expression to his ideas. For perfection depends, as we know, on both
divisions of logos, the reason which suggests the ideas with clearness and the speech
which gives unfailing expression to them.’ (Migr. 73)
110 harold w. attridge

Commenting on Gen 12:4, Philo invokes as secondary texts Gen 26:5 and
Deut 33:326 and equates God’s speech with the injunctions embedded in the
The Fourth Gospel will eventually take a similar route, hinted at already
in the Prologue in its juxtaposition of Jesus and Moses. Finally, the person
of the incarnate Word will issue a command in word (13:31) and deed
(15:13, 19:30) that aims to elicit the response of obedient discipleship.
The tractate Quis rerum divinarum heres sit explicitly treats a theme that is
at the heart of much of Philo’s ‘Logos-discourse.’ Perhaps the most impor-
tant passages for our purpose do not have to do with the Logos itself, but
with the alternatives to its parentage. Her. 53–63 is critical. The passage,
commenting on Gen 15:2, distinguishes those who are alive only to the
senses and those who are alive to the soul. The former are likened to those
who are ‘born of blood’ and those who are born of the spirit of God.27 It is
particularly intriguing to note the universalistic implications, at least at the

26 After citing Gen 12:4: ‘Abraham journeyed even as the Lord spoke to him.’ ‘This is the
aim extolled by the best philosophers, to live agreeably to nature; and it is attained
whenever the mind, having entered on virtue’s path, walks in the track of right reason
and follows God, mindful of His injunctions, and always and in all places recognizing
them all as valid both in action and speech. For ‘he journeyed as the Lord spake to him’:
the meaning of this is that as God speaks — and He speaks with consummate beauty and
excellence — so the good man does everything, blamelessly keeping straight the path of
life, so that the actions of the wise man are nothing else than the words of God. So in
another place He says, ‘Abraham did all my law’ (Gen 26:5). ‘Law’ being evidently
nothing else than the Divine word enjoining what we ought to do and forbidding what
we should not do, as Moses testifies by saying ‘he received a law from His words’ (Deut
33:3). If then, the law is a Divine word, and the man of true worth ‘does’ the law, he
assuredly ‘does the word: so that, as I said, God’s words are the wise man’s ‘doings.’ ‘
(Migr. 128–30)
27 ‘The name of the child born of the life which we have explained as the ‘life from a
kiss’ he puts before us as Damascus, which is interpreted as ‘the blood of a sackcloth
robe.’ By sackcloth robe he intimates the body, and by blood the ‘blood-life,’ and the
symbolism is very powerful and apt. We use ‘soul’ in two senses, both for the whole soul
and also for its dominant part, which properly speaking is the soul’s soul, just as the eye
can mean either the whole orb, or the most important part, by which we see. And
therefore the lawgiver held that the substance of the soul is twofold, blood being that of
the soul as a whole, and the divine breath or spirit that of its most dominant part. Thus
he says plainly ‘the soul of every flesh is the blood’ (Lev 17:11). He does well in
assigning the blood with its flowing stream to the riot of the manifold flesh, for each is
akin to the other. On the other hand he did not make the substance of the mind depend
on anything created, but represented it as breathed upon by God. For the Maker of all, he
says, ‘blew into his face the breath of life, and man became a living soul’ (Gen 2:7); just as
we are also told that he was fashioned after the image of his Maker (Gen 1.27). So we
have two kinds of men, one that of those who live by reason, the divine inbreathing, the
other of those who live by blood and the pleasure of the flesh. This last is a molded clod
of earth, the other is the faithful impress of the divine image.’ (Her. 53–57)
philo and john 111

surface, of the language of begetting from the Logos. People who live by
reason are the children of God in this scheme of things.
Explicit references to the Logos appear in Her. 201–214, in a comment on
Gen 15:9–10, with an intertextual play on Deut 5:5, as well as other texts.28
The Word here is portrayed in highly personal terms as a mediator
between heaven and earth. The most concrete referent of this personal
metaphor is no doubt the scriptural word that conveys both hope for the
creature and the words with which the child of God might ‘pledge never to
The notion of the Word as intermediary soon (Her. 215) leads to the
function of Word as divider, symbolized by the Menorah in the Temple.29
The cosmic word is furthermore the model of the human mind, which
exercises its rationality by making distinctions, or, more correctly, finding
the divisions that cosmic rationality has set in nature.30 The Logos as a
universal principle of rationality again looms large.

28 ‘I marvel too when I read of that sacred Word, which ran in impetuous breathless
haste ‘to stand between the living and the dead… To His Word, His chief messenger,
highest in age and honour, the Father of all has given the special prerogative, to stand
on the border and separate the creature from the Creator. This same Word both pleads
with the immortal as suppliant for afflicted mortality and acts as ambassador of the
ruler to the subject. He glories in this prerogative and proudly describes it in these words,
‘and I stood between the Lord and you’ (Deut 5:5), that is neither uncreated as God, nor
created as you, but midway between the two extremes, a surety to both sides; to the
parent, pledging the creature that it should never altogether rebel against the rein and
choose disorder rather than order; to the child, warranting his hopes that the merciful
God will never forget His own work. For I am the harbinger of peace to creation from that
God whose will is to bring wars to an end, who is ever the guardian of peace.’ (Her. 204–
29 ‘But there is another matter which should not be passed over in silence. What are
called the half-pieces of the three animals when they are divided into two made six
altogether and thus the Severer, the Word, who separates the two sets of three and
stationed himself in their midst, was the seventh.’ (Her. 215)
30 ‘Our mind is likened to a pigeon, since the pigeon is a tame and domesticated creature,
while the turtle-dove stands as the figure of the mind which is the pattern of ours. For
the Word, or Reason of God, is a lover of the wild and solitary, never mixing with the
medley of things that have come into being only to perish, but its wonted resort is ever
above and its study is to wait on One and One only. So then the two natures, the reasoning
power within us and the divine Word or Reason above us, are indivisible, yet indivisible
as they are they divide other things without number. The divine Word separated and
apportioned all that is in nature. Our mind deals with all the things material and
immaterial which the mental process brings within its grasp, divides them into an infin-
ity of infinities and never ceases to cleave them. This is the result of its likeness to the
Father and Maker of all. For the Godhead is without mixture or infusion or parts and yet
has become to the whole world the cause of mixture, infusion, division and multiplicity
of parts. And thus it will be natural that these two which are in the likeness of God, the
mind within us and the mind above us, should subsist without parts or severance and yet
be strong and potent to divide and distinguish everything that is.’ (Her. 234–36)
112 harold w. attridge

The three passages on the Logos in Quis heres thus display the tension in
Philo’s notion of the Logos. The first and the third display the universal-
izing characteristics. The second, with its highly personal imagery and its
focus on the scriptural word of God in Torah, displays the particularistic or
national embodiment of the universal Logos.
De congressu eruditionis causa 170–74 provides a brief reference to the
Logos as Manna, shades of John 6.31 The treatise seems to offer a respite in
the development of the Logos theme in the whole corpus.
Philo’s engagement with the Logos reaches a new level in two passages
from De fuga, a commentary on Gen 16:6–12. Perhaps the best known is the
meditation on the law of cities of refuge (Exod 21:12–14) at Fug. 108–18, the
climactic conclusion of a long excursus (53–118) on the theme of flight
ultimately triggered by the patriarchal narratives. The key allegorical
conceit of this section is the equation of the Logos with the High Priest, at
whose death the involuntary manslayer could return from his city of
refuge. The allegorizing surpasses in its complexity anything seen before,
although many of the elements woven into this symbolic tapestry have
echoes in tractates on previous portions of the Pentateuch.
The passage begins at Fug. 108 with familial or relational imagery that
echoes Conf. 62–63.32 The Logos has God as his Father and Wisdom as his
mother, so cannot possibly be defiled by contact with either parent, as an
earthly high priest would be by contact with the corpse of either.
The heavenly Logos manifests the same associations with ‘light’ en-
countered in Opif. 30. There the allusion to Genesis was explicit; here it is a
faint echo, mediated by the glistening oil that anoints the high priest.33 This
creative Logos is the cosmic force, familiar from Opif. and Leg. As the
earthly high priest is cloaked in sacral attire, this heavenly priest wears its
holy garment, the world.34 This Logos, in good Stoic fashion, is the ‘bond of

31 On which see especially P. Borgen, Bread from Heaven: An Exegetical Study of the
Concept of Manna in the Gospel of John and the Writings of Philo, NovTSup 10 (Leiden,
32 ‘We say, then, that the High Priest is not a man, but a Divine Word and immune from
all unrighteousness whether intentional or unintentional. For Moses says that he cannot
defile himself either for the father, the mind, nor for the mother, sense perception (Lev
21:11 – a play on the regulations regarding corpse impurity and the high priest), because,
methinks, he is the child of parents incorruptible and wholly free from stain, his father
being God, who is likewise Father of all, and his mother Wisdom, through whom the
universe came into existence; because, moreover, his head has been anointed with oil,
and by this I mean that his ruling faculty is illumined with a brilliant light, in such
wise that he is deemed worthy ‘to put on the garments.’ (Fug. 108–10)
33 See the end of Fug. 110.
34 ‘Now the garments which the supreme Word of Him that is puts on as raiment are the
world, for He arrays Himself in earth and air and water and fire and all that comes
forth from these; while the body is the clothing of the soul considered as the principle of
philo and john 113

all existence, which holds and knits together all the parts, preventing them
from being dissolved and separated’ (Fug. 112).
The complex meditation moves in a different direction when Philo
reflects on the stipulations regarding the marriage of the high priest (Lev
21:11–12). In the law that the high priest is to marry a ‘maiden of the
hallowed people, pure and undefiled and of ever inviolate intention’ Philo
finds a sign of the relationship between the self and God. He can refer to
that relationship in two perhaps contradictory ways. At first blush the
virgin soul that the high priestly Logos can marry is both daughter and
wife of the All-sovereign God.35 But the soul is also the spouse of the
Word!36 Does that mean that the soul is polygamous, or that ‘marriage’ to
God and to God’s Word are one and the same? The latter surely is what
Philo intends.
Philo’s rhetoric can certainly be explained in a cool and rational way. If
the Word of God, that is Torah, lives in the hearts of those who ‘see God,’
then they will not sin. But the medium is the message. The relationship to
God’s Word must be an intimate and emotional one. Philo insists that God
and God’s word must abide in the heart and mind with the intensity of the
most intimate of unions. As Philo continues to treat the theme of the Logos,
he continues to find more personal and more emotive language with which
to do so. The emotive commitment to this ‘rational mysticism’ of the
Logos is evident in the prayer that closes this section of the De fuga:
Wherefore it is meet that we should pray that he who is at once High Priest and
King may live in our soul (zên en psychê) as Monitor on the seat of justice, seeing
that he has received for his proper sphere the entire court of our understanding,
and faces unabashed all who are brought up for judgment there. (Fug. 118)

physical life and the virtues of the wise man’s understanding.’ (Fug. 110)
35 ‘The harlot he (the high priest/Logos) deigns not even to look at, having learned to
love her who adopted, as her one Husband and Father, God the All sovereign’ (Fug.
36 ‘The observations which I have been making are not beside the mark, but are meant to
shew that the fixing of the High Priest’s death as the term for the return of the exiles is
in perfect accordance with the natural fitness of things (Num 35:25). For so long as this
holiest Word is alive and is still present in the soul, it is out of the question that an
unintentional offence should come back into it; for this holy Word is by nature incapable
of taking part in and of admitting to itself any sin whatever. But if the Word die, not by
being itself destroyed, but by being withdrawn out of our soul, the way is at one open for
the return of unintentional errors; for if it was abiding within us alive and well when
they were removed, assuredly when it departs and goes elsewhere they will be
reinstated. For the Monitor, the undefiled High Priest, enjoys as the fruit of his nature
the special prerogative of never admitting into himself any uncertainty of judgment.’
(Fug. 117–18)
114 harold w. attridge

The tractate De mutatione nominum does not contribute much directly to the
development of a theology of the Logos, but it does provide essential
background in its first section (1–59) which reflects at length on the
unknowability of God, the function of names for God, and the ‘signifying’
character of the ‘potencies’ by which God is present in the world.
Philo returns full throttle to the theme of the Logos in the last text in the
sequence, De somniis 1, an allegorical treatment of Gen 28:11–13, which
includes three clusters of Logos texts. The first comes at the climax of the
initial exposition (1–71). While Gen 28:11, ‘he met a place’ is the primary
text, Philo introduces other texts to support his connection of the Logos and
Place. He first evokes Exod 24:10, Deut 12:5, and Exod 20:24,37 to affirm that
the Logos or Word of God is a ‘place’ filled with the divine potencies, an
evocation of the notion encountered in Cher. 34 and Mut. 15–36, all of which
develop Stoic notions of the immanent logoi.
Philo thus begins this riff on the Logos with an evocation of its cosmic
creative and sustaining functions. He next sounds a theological theme,
defining the relationship of God and Logos.38 In the process he notes both
the adequacy and inadequacy of encounter with the Word of God. That
Word is the only access one has to God, but it is finally inadequate to grasp
who God really is. Philo’s assessment of the human relationship with God,
whatever the dynamics of universalism and particularism in his parsing of
the Logos/Torah, has an air of melancholy. God is disclosed, but never
adequately. Human yearning for God is bound to be unfulfilled. The

37 ‘Now ‘place’ has a threefold meaning, firstly that of a space filled by a material
form, secondly that of the Divine Word, which God Himself has completely filled
throughout with incorporeal potencies; for ‘they saw,’ says Moses, ‘the place where the
God of Israel stood’ ‘ (Exod 24:10). Only in this place did he permit them to sacrifice,
forbidding them to do so elsewhere: for they were expressly bidden to go up ‘to the place
which the Lord God shall choose’ (Deut 12:5), and there to sacrifice ‘the whole burnt
offering and the peace offerings’ (Exod 20:24) and to offer the other pure sacrifices. There
is a third signification, in keeping with which God Himself is called a place, by reason
of His containing things, and being contained by nothing whatever, and being a place for
all to flee into, and because He is Himself the space which holds Him; for He is that
which He Himself has occupied, and naught encloses Him but Himself.’ (Somn. 1.62–63)
38 Philo opened by citing Gen 22:3: ‘Tell me, pray, did he who had come to the place see
it from afar?’ He explained: ‘Nay, it would seem that one and the same word is used of
two different things: one of these is a divine Word, the other the God Who was before
the Word. One who has come from abroad under Wisdom’s guidance arrives at the former
place, thus attaining in the divine word the sum and consummation of service. But when
he has his place in the divine Word he does not actually reach Him Who is in very
essence God, but sees Him from afar, or rather not even from a distance is he capable of
contemplating Him; all he sees is the bare fact that God is far away from all Creation,
and the apprehension of Him is removed to a very great distance from all human power
of thought.’ (Somn. 1.64–66)
philo and john 115

approach to the Place where God is, God’s Word, is bound to be, like that
of Abraham, ‘from afar’ ‘a long way off from God for Whom no name
nor utterance nor conception of any sort is adequate’ (Somn. 1.67).
While Philo paints this rather stark picture of the chasm between God
and humankind, he can also accentuate the positive dimension of what the
ever inadequate Word can convey. In doing so he returns to the personal
or mythological categories that had played so prominent a role in Fuga.
God’s word ‘succours the lovers of virtue’ and functions as a physician of
the soul, although these succouring words are also evidence of a God who
has, in Philo’s words ‘withdrawn’ from contact.39
This tractate like no other sketches a theology of the Word of God. The
foundation is the traditional sapiential trope, as old as Ben Sira, of the
universality of Wisdom now firmly embedded in the particularity of the
scriptural word. ‘Word’ particularly in the second sense, is a source of
comfort and personal consolation, but in either sense, it remains a cipher, a
sign, a pointer to a God who remains hidden.
Philo flirts here with a radical apophaticism that subjects both reason and
revelation to critique. Yet He concludes this meditation on a positive note
at Somn. 1.71, suggesting that the Word as suddenly manifesting insight
provides an access to God that delights the soul.40 In this first section of
Somn. Philo probes the limits of his rational theology and his confidence in
Logos, whatever that means. He steps to the brink of recognizing the
ultimate hiddenness of God, but then retreats, keeping in dialectical tension
mystery and disclosure.
The next section (72–119) reaffirms the positive. Early on (85–86) Philo
explains how the Logos is referred to by the word ‘sun,’ as in Gen 19:23,

39 ‘For God, not deeming it meet that sense should perceive Him, sends forth His Words
to succour the lovers of virtue, and they act as physicians of the soul and completely heal
its infirmities, giving holy exhortations with all the force of irreversible enactments,
and calling to the exercise and practice of these and the like trainers implanting
strength and power and vigour that no adversary can withstand. Meet and right then is
it that Jacob, having come to sense-perception, meets not now God but a word of God, even
as did Abraham, the grandfather of his wisdom. For we are told that ‘the Lord
departed, returned to his place’ (Gen 18:33). By ‘returning to his place’ is implied the
meeting with sacred Words of a kind from which the God Who is prior to all things has
withdrawn, ceasing to extend visions that proceed from Himself, but only those that
proceed from the potencies inferior to Him.’ (Somn. 1.70)
40 ‘There is an extraordinary fitness in saying not that he came to the place, but that he
met with a place; for coming is a matter of choice, but there is often no exercise of choice
in meeting. Thus should the divine Word, by manifesting Itself suddenly and offering
Itself as a fellow-traveler to a lonely soul, hold out to it an unlooked for joy – which is
greater than hope. For Moses too, when he ‘leads out the people to meet God’ (Exod
19:17), knows full well that He comes all unseen to the souls that yearn to come into His
presence.’ (Somn. 1.71)
116 harold w. attridge

and the imagery of light continues in what follows. At the end of the
section (115–18), using Exod 10:3, Philo waxes eloquent, painting the Logos
as a very special revealer who comes to the soul in need.41
Space and time preclude a detailed review of the passages at the end of
De somniis, which reinforce the personal imagery that Philo has used in this
tractate. The word, symbolized the stone pillow on which the patriarch
sleeps, is a ‘manly’ principle (Somn. 1.124). The cautionary note is sounded
in the discussion of the Logos as a linguistic pointer, a name, theos, of the
unnamed and unnamable God (Somn. 1.230). Yet this pointer, this Angel,
named God, acts in the place of God (Somn. 1.238–40). It is the Hyparch,
God’s vice-regent, sustaining all (Somn. 1.241) as it reveals the unfathom-


So then what do we make of this vast body of material, so briefly

surveyed. My argument is that the fundamental conceptual and rhetorical
structure of the whole of the developed Logos discourse is precisely that of
the Fourth Gospel, with an interesting twist, a genre-bending exercise if
you will.42 Like Philo, the Gospel begins with cosmology and with the
tension between the universal and the particular. In contrast to Philo, as is
often noted, the particular is embedded in an individual, Jesus, not in the
Torah of Moses.
What is not adequately appreciated is the way Philo continues through
his allegorical exposition to play with the function of the Logos/Word,
embodied as it is in scripture. He continues to test the limits of the claim
that this Logos reveals God. He acknowledges but does not fully embrace
an apophatic theology, at the same time increasingly investing the figure of
the Logos with personal, mythological characteristics. The Logos, an angelic
High Priest, finally does succour the soul, weary of the quest for God.
Whether or not the Fourth Gospel read Philo, it knows something very
much like this scheme and plays on many of the motifs at work in it
throughout the gospel (light, name, Man/son of Man, divine begetting,

41 ‘For so long as mind and sense-perception imagine that they get a firm grasp, mind of
the objects of mind and sense of the objects of sense, and thus move aloft in the sky, the
divine Word is far away. But when each of them acknowledges its weakness, and going
through a kind of setting passes out of sight, right reason is forward to meet and greet at
once the practicing soul, whose willing champion he is when it despairs of itself and
waits for him who invisibly comes from without to its succour.’ (Somn. 1.119)
42 For the notion, see H. W. Attridge, ‘Genre Bending in the Fourth Gospel,’ JBL 121
(2002) 3–21.
philo and john 117

shepherd). Finally it is true to the positive Philonic impulse: God is know-

able through the Word. At two particular points the Gospel resembles
crucial moves that the philosopher makes. (1) Both insist on the ‘particular’
pole of the universal-particular dichotomy, but John in a more radical way.
Philo’s angelic Logos comes to the soul as a surprise, as an invader from
without. The Gospel’s word comes to the believer in the person of Jesus
who challenges acceptance. (2) Like Philo, the Fourth Gospel finds that
knowledge is intimately connected to action: one knows who God is by
obeying. For Philo, obedience is to Torah; for John it is to the command to
love displayed on the cross.
Philo and the Fourth Gospel are indeed both riffs on a common theme:
two intimately related, but distinct articulations of a common exegetical and
theological impulse.

Yale Divinity School

The Studia Philonica Annual XVII (2005) 118–140

Gregory E. Sterling

In the throne scene that opens the cycle of seven seals in the Apocalypse,
the prophet John saw four living creatures. He compared the appearance
of the first to a lion, of the second to a ox, of the third to a human being,
and of the fourth to an eagle.1 As is well known, these four creatures later
served as symbols for each of the New Testament gospels.2 The Fourth
Gospel was commonly identified with the eagle, determined in part on the
basis of the soaring nature of the opening section of the gospel. The eleva-
ted nature of the Prologue exists both in its language and in its concepts.
The language of the Prologue contains a poetic lilt that has led most
interpreters to posit an underlying hymn, although there is little consensus
on the reconstruction of the hymn.3 The concepts of the Prologue consti-
tute some of the highest Christological affirmations of the New Testament.
At the same time, the background and underlying assumptions that
provide the conceptual framework for these statements are opaque. The
author assumed that the implied reader would be familiar with the larger
framework, an assumption that has set off a vigorous debate.

* I gave an earlier draft of this article as a paper to the Philo of Alexandria Group at
the Annual Meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature in November of 2004. I am
grateful to Hindy Najman and David T. Runia for the invitation to participate and for
the members of the editorial board who recommended that we include this presentation
in SPhA. I am particularly grateful to Tom Tobin who provided a careful critique.
1 Rev 4:6–8.
2 The earliest attestation is Irenaeus, Adv. haer. 3.11.8, who identified the four as
follows: the lion=John, the ox=Luke, the human=Matthew, and the eagle=Mark. This is
not the typical order of the gospels for Irenaeus who usually follows the so-called
Western order: Matthew, John, Luke, and Mark. Victorinus, Comm. in Apoc. 4.4 (Jerome
recension) gives the more popular list: the lion=Mark, the human=Matthew, the
ox=Luke, and the eagle=John. For details and bibliography see D. E. Aune, Revelation, 3
vols., WBC 52A, B, C (Dallas/Nashville, 1997–98) 1.300.
3 One of the most important treatments in my judgment is G. Rochais, ‘La formation du
prologue (part 1),’ ScEs 37 (1985) 5–44 and idem, ‘La formation du prologue (Jn 1,1–18) (2nd
part),’ ScEs 37 (1985) 161–87. There are convenient summaries of the major reconstructions
in R. E. Brown, The Gospel According to John, 2 vols.; AB 29, 29A (Garden City, N.Y,
1966–70) 21–23 and M. Endo, Creation and Christology: A Study on the Johannine Prologue
in the Light of Early Jewish Creation Accounts, WUNT 2.149 (Tübingen, 2002) 182–87.
platonizing exegetical traditions of genesis 1:1-5 119

The majority of interpreters have attempted to identify the background

on the basis of the conceptual or thematic similarities between the Pro-
logue and other philosophical/religious texts.4 The positions represent an
enormous range of texts including the lov g o~ in Greek philosophical
discourse,5 the sofiva or lovgo~ of philosophically informed Judaism,6 the
word of the LORD in the LXX and personified Wisdom in Jewish traditions,7
the armym of the targumim,8 the personification of Hermes as the lovgo~ in
the Hermetica,9 and the redeemer figure in Gnostic myths.10 In recent
years, a number of scholars have moved away from thematic comparisons
and attempted to explore exegetical traditions. 11 I propose to follow the

4 For a recent summary of the basic views of the religionsgeschichlich background of the
Prologue see C. A. Evans, Word and Glory: On the Exegetical and Theological Background
of John’s Prologue, JSNTSup 89 (Sheffield, 1993). For the background of the Fourth Gos-
pel as a whole with attention to the Prologue see J. Frey, ‘Auf der Suche nach dem Kon-
text des vierten Evangeliums: Eine forschungsgeschichtliche Einführung,’ in J. Frey and
U. Schnelle (edd.), Kontexte des Johannesevangeliums: Das vierte Evangelium in religions-
und traditionsgeschichtlicher Perspective, WUNT 175 (Tübingen, 2004) 1–45, esp. 4–35.
5 It is routine for commentators to point to Heraclitus and the Stoics. For an analysis of
the former see E. Fascher, ‘Vom Logos des Heraklit und dem Logos des Johannes,’ in idem,
Frage und Antwort: Studien zur Theologie und Religionsgeschichte (Berlin, 1968) 117–33.
On the Stoic similarities see J. R. Harris, ‘Stoic Origin of the Fourth Gospel,’ BJRL 6
(1921–22) 439–51.
6 A classic treatment along these lines is A. Aall, Der Logos: Geschichte seiner Entwicke-
lung in der griechischen Philosophie und der christlichen Literatur, 2 vols. (Leipzig, 1896–
99; reprinted, Frankfurt, 1968) esp. 2:109–48. Two of the most important modern repre-
sentatives of this position are C. H. Dodd, The Interpretation of the Fourth Gospel
(Cambridge, 1970) 263–85 and T. H. Tobin, ‘The Prologue of John and Hellenistic Jewish
Speculation,’ CBQ 52 (1990) 252–69.
7 The most important example is probably Brown, The Gospel According to John, 1:519–
24. Brown is skeptical of Hellenistic influence. He includes the targumim in his
discussion (see the next option).
8 A major representative of this view is M. McNamara, ‘Logos of the Fourth Gospel and
Memra of the Palestinian Targum (Ex 1242),’ ExpTim 79 (1967–68) 115–17. More recently
D. Boyarin, ‘The Gospel of the Memra: Jewish Binitarianism and the Prologue to John,’
HTR 94 (2001) 243–84, has argued for the importance of the Memra; however, he has
argued that Philo and the targumim share a common Logos theology.
9 The most important advocate of this was W. Boussett, Kyrios Christos: Geschichte des
Christusglaubens von den Anfängen des Christentums bis Irenaeus, 4th ed., FRLANT n. F. 4
(Göttingen, 1921) 304–16. The ET is Kyrios Christos: A History of the Belief in Christ from
the Beginnings of the Christianity to Irenaeus, J. E. Steely (trans.) (Nashville, 1970) 385–
10 The most famous advocate is R. Bultmann, ‘Der religionsgeschichtliche Hintergrund
des Prologs zum Johannes-Evangelium,’ in Eucharisterion: Festschrift für H. Gunkel (1923)
2:3–26; reprinted in E. Dinkler (ed.), Rudolf Bultmann Exegetica: Aufsätze zur Erforschung
des Neuen Testaments (Tübingen, 1967) 10–35 and idem, The Gospel of John: A
Commentary (Philadelphia, 1971) 20–31.
11 The most important of these include P. Borgen, ‘Observations on the Targumic Charac-
ter of the Prologue of John,’ NTS 16 (1969–70) 288–95, who argues that John drew from
120 gregory e. sterling

lead of the latter group, but to attempt to isolate a particular exegetical

The invitation to such a possibility is offered by the first five verses of
the Prologue. There is an obvious connection between the opening state-
ments in the Prologue and the first chapter of Genesis. For the sake of
clarity, I have set the LXX of Genesis 1:1–5 beside John 1:1–5 and placed the
common vocabulary in bold.12

Genesis 1:1–5 John 1:1–5

1 1
ejn ajrch//` ejpoivhsen oJ qeo;~ ejn ajrch/`/
to;n oujrano;n kai; th;n gh`n.
hJ de; gh` h\n ajovrato~ h\n
kai; ajkataskeuvasto~,
kai; skovto~ ejpavnw th`~ ajbuvssou,
kai; pneu`ma qeou` ejpefevreto
ejpavnw tou` u{dato~.
kai; ei\pen oJ lovgo~,
oJ qeov~ kai; oj lovgo~ h\n pro;~ to;n qeovn,
kai; qeo;~ h\n oJ lovgo~.
ou|to~ h\n ejn ajrch/` pro;~ to;n qeovn.
Genhqhvtw fw`~. pavnta di∆ aujtou` ejgevneto,
kai; ejgevneto fw`~. kai; cwri;~ aujtou` ejgevneto oujde; e{n.
o} gevgonen 4ejn aujtw/` zwh; h\n,
kai; ei\den oJ qeo;~ to; fw`~ kai; hJ zwh; h\n to; fw`~ tw`n ajnqrwvpwn:

Gen 1:1–5; idem, ‘Logos was the True Light: Contributions to the Interpretation of the
Prologue of John,’ NovT 14 (1972) 115–30, which is based in part on the preceding; idem,
Philo, John and Paul: New Perspectives on Judaism and Early Christianity, BJS 131
(Atlanta, 1987) 75–101, a revised and enlarged version of the preceding articles; Boyarin,
‘The Gospel of the Memra,’ 243–84, esp. 267, 271, 279, where he argues that John 1:1–5 is a
midrash on Gen 1:1–5 and that the remainder of the Prologue is an expansion; J. Painter,
‘Rereading Genesis in the Prologue of John,’ in D. E. Aune, T. Seland, and J. H. Ulrichsen,
Neotestamentica et Philonica: Studies in Honor of Peder Borgen, NovTSup 106 (Leiden/
Boston, 2003) 179–201; and J. Leonhardt-Balzer, ‘Der Logos und die Schöpfung: Streif-
lichter bei Philo (Op 20–25) und im Johannesprolog (Joh 1,1–18),’ in Frey and Schnelle
(edd.), Kontexte des Johannesevangeliums, 296–319. For broader treatments of Jewish exe-
getical traditions and the Prologue see Evans, Word and Glory, 100–45 and Endo, Creation
and Christology. C. Carmichael, The Story of Creation: Its Origin and Its Interpretation in
Philo and the Fourth Gospel (Ithaca/London, 1996), attempted to draw parallels between
the days of creation in Philo and the days in John 1:19–2:1. For the broader use of Genesis
in John see E. C. Hoskyns, ‘Genesis I–III and St. John’s Gospel,’ JTS 21 (1920) 210–18, esp.
12 I have used the editions of J. W. Wevers (ed.), Genesis, Septuaginta, Vetus Testamen-
tum Graecum 1 (Göttingen, 1974) and B. Aland, K. Aland et al. (edd.), Novum Testamen-
tum Graece, 27th ed. (Stuttgart, 1995).
platonizing exegetical traditions of genesis 1:1-5 121

o{ti kalovn.
kai; diecwvrisen oJ qeo;~
ajna; mevson tou` fwto;~ kai; to; fw`~
kai; ajna; mevson tou` skovtou~. ejn th/` skotiva/ faivnei,
kai; hJ skotiva aujto; ouj katevlaben.
kai; ejkavlesen oJ qeo;~
to; fw`~ hJmevran
kai; to skovto~ ejkavlesen nuvkta.
kai; ejgevneto eJspevra
kai; ejgevneto prwiv,
hJmevra miva.

The synopsis demonstrates the extent of the borrowed language. The

frequency of the allusions to Genesis is unusual in the Fourth Gospel and is
unique within the Prologue. The fact that the borrowing came from a
distinct unit of Genesis is worth noting. It is not an accident: the Prologue
took up the language of Genesis 1:1–5 in the same order as it appears in
Genesis.13 This suggests that Genesis 1:1–5 served as a point of reference
for John 1:1–5.
There is another factor that invites us to consider John 1:1–5 as a distinct
subset in the Prologue. The verses are set off by what was classically called
staircase or climactic parallelism and which today is sometimes called co-
occurrence. This unusual feature of Semitic poetry repeats a key element
from the end of one clause at the beginning of the subsequent clause. The
effect of this repetition is to interlock the two clauses.14 Some of the best
examples in the Hebrew Bible include the Song of Deborah15 and Psalm
121.16 Semitic features such as this led several to postulate an underlying
Aramaic hymn.17 This however, goes too far: the dependence on the LXX
of Genesis 1:1–5 that we have noted above suggests that the composition
was in Greek. The exception to the staircase parallelism or co-occurrence in
these verses is the break between v. 2 and v. 3. This structural break

13 The exception to this is ‘darkness’ (skovto~) which appears in Gen 1:2; however, it also
appears in Gen 1:4–5 which is the basis for the statements in the Prologue.
14 A statement of the phenomenon in classic terms can be found in S. R. Driver, An Intro-
duction to the Literature of the Old Testament, rev. ed., International Theological Library
(New York, 1913) 363. For a contemporary treatment of repetition see M. O’Connor,
Hebrew Verse Structure (Winona Lake, IN, 1980) 109–11 and 361–70.
15 Judg 5:6a and b and c, 19a and b, 21a and b, 30d and e.
16 Ps 121:1b and 2a, 3b and 4a; 4b and 5a.
17 C. F. Burney, The Aramaic Origin of the Fourth Gospel (Oxford, 1922), argued that the
Fourth Gospel was based on an Aramaic original. He offered a reconstruction of the hymn
in Aramaic (pp. 40–41). Bultmann, The Gospel of John, 18, accepted Burney’s thesis for
the Prologue and the Jesus-discourses, but not for the Gospel as a whole.
122 gregory e. sterling

represents a conceptual break between the first strophe that describes the
relationship between the Logos and God (vv. 1–2) and the second strophe
that describes the relationship between the Logos and creation (vv. 3–5). I
have set out the verses in a chart that places the repetition in bold.

ejn ajrch/` h\n oJ lovgo~,
kai; oJ lovgo~ h\n pro;~ to;n qeovn,
kai; qeo;~ h\n oJ lovgo~.
ou|to~ h\n ejn ajrch/` pro;~ to;n qeovn.
pavnta di∆ aujtou` ejgevneto,
kai; cwri;~ aujtou` ejgevneto oujde; e{n.
o} gevgonen 4ejn aujtw/` zwh; h\n,
kai; hJ zwh; h\n to; fw`~ tw`n ajnqrwvpwn:
kai; to; fw`~ ejn th/` skotiva/ faivnei,
kai; hJ skotiva aujto; ouj katevlaben.

The use of staircase parallelism or co-occurrence is limited to these verses in

the Prologue, at least in the form in which it has come down to us.18 It may
be that an earlier hymn or version of the Prologue used the same tech-
nique in later sections, but the feature has not been preserved. Why does
this unusual feature of Semitic poetry appear in John 1:1–5? It is possible
that the staircase parallelism or co-occurrence of these verses was inspired,
in part, by Genesis 1:1–5.

18 A case can be made for vv. 9–11 on the basis of parallelism; however, these verses do
not use staircase parallelism with the consistency that we find in vv. 1–2 and 3–5.
«Hn to; fw`~ to; ajlhqinovn,
o} fwtivzei pavnta a[nqrwpon,
ejrcovmenon eij~ to;n kovsmon.
ejn tw/` kovsmw/ h\n,
kai; oJ kovsmo~ di∆ aujtou` ejgevneto,
kai; oJ kovsmo~ aujto;n ouj parevlabon.
eij~ ta; i[dia h\lqen,
kai; oiJ i[dioi aujto;n ouj parevlabon.
It is possible to understand the ejrcovmenon to refer back to a[nqrwpon which would be an
example of climactic parallelism, from fw`~ to o{, from a[nqrwpon to ejrcovmenon, from kovsmon
to kov s mw/ where the pattern is broken. However, the following lines emphasize the
presence of the fw` ~ in the world. I therefore understand fw`~ as the antecedent of
ejrcovmenon. The first three lines thus emphasize fw`~ (fw`~, o{, ejrcovmenon). The next three
lines emphasize kov s mo~ (ejn tw/` kovsmw/, oJ kovsmo~, oJ kovsmo~) and the last two oiJ i[dioi (ta;
i[dia, oiJ i[dioi). The lines repeat key vocabulary, but do not interlock vocabulary in the
pattern of vv. 1–2 and 3–5.
platonizing exegetical traditions of genesis 1:1-5 123
ejn ajrch/` ejpoivhsen oJ qeo;~ to;n oujrano;n kai; th;n gh`n.
hJ de; gh` h\n ajovrato~ kai; ajkataskeuvsasto~,
kai; skovto~ ejpavnw th`~ ajbuvssou,
kai; pneu`ma qeou` ejpefevreto ejpavnw tou` u{dato~.
kai; ei\pen oJ qeov~
Genhqhvtw fw`~. kai; ejgevneto fw`~.
kai; ei\den oJ qeo;~ to; fw`~ o{ti kalovn.
kai; diecwvrisen oJ qeo;~ ajna; mevson tou` fwto;~
kai; ajna; mevson tou` skovtou~.
kai; ejkavlesen oJ qeo;~ to; fw`~ hJmevran
kai; to; skovto~ ejkavlesen nuvkta.
kai; ejgevneto eJspevra kai; ejgevneto prwiv, hJmevra miva.

While this is a prose text and does not follow the conventions of Semitic
poetry with any rigor, there is an unmistakable pattern of interlocking
nouns from one unit of thought (each verse in this case) to another. It is
possible that the author of the Prologue or the underlying hymn noted this
general pattern and took it as a cue to create the interlocking parallelism of
John 1:1–2 and 3–5. This had the result of giving the Prologue an unmistak-
able poetic feel. While the free recasting of Genesis 1:1–5 in John 1:1–5
makes it impossible to consider this as anything more than a possibility, it is
worth noting that the Prologue makes use of three of the same interlock-
ing nouns that give Genesis 1:1–5 a sense of unity: qeov~, fw`~, and skovto~.
We thus have a unit of text (or two units of text if there is an underlying
hymn) that drew heavily from Genesis 1:1–5. At the same time, the Johan-
nine Prologue has redefined the biblical language by positioning it in both a
different literary and a different intellectual framework. Can we identify
the specific framework that would enable us to understand the shifts from
Genesis 1:1–5 to the Prologue? I think that we can. We will begin by
examining some of the hints of the larger intellectual framework that are
embedded within the Prologue of John and then consider possible
exegetical traditions that embrace a similar framework.

‘Day One’ in the Johannine Prologue

We will begin with the hints in the Prologue. We take our cue from an
ancient reader. Augustine set out what he had found in certain Neoplatonic
treatises: ‘In them I read — not, of course, word for word, though the sense
was the same and it was supported by all kinds of different arguments —
that at the beginning of time the Word already was; and God had the Word
abiding with him, and the Word was God. He abode, at the beginning of
124 gregory e. sterling

time, with God.’ The bishop continued, ‘It was through him that all things
came into existence, and without him came nothing that has come to be. In
him there was life, and that life was the light of men. And the light shines in
darkness, a darkness which is not able to master it.’19 Was Augustine right?
Should we understand a basic congruity between the first two strophes of
the Prologue and the Platonic tradition? There are at least four potential
points of contact.
The World of Being versus the World of Becoming. The first point that draws
our attention is the shift in verbs and tenses from ‘was’ (h\n) to ‘came into
existence’ (ejgevneto): ‘In the beginning was (h\n) the Word, and the Word
was (h\n) with God, and the Word was (h\n) God. He was (h\n) in the begin-
ning with God. Everything came into existence (ejgevneto) through him, and
without him came into existence (ejgevneto) not even one thing.’20 The four-
fold repetition of ‘was’ (h\n) contrasts sharply with the twofold appearance
of ‘came into existence’ (ejgevneto). The shift may have been inspired by the
shift in Genesis 1:2–3: ‘the earth was (h\n) invisible and unshaped (ajovrato~
kai; ajkataskeuvasto~) .., And God said: ‘Let there be light’ (Genhvqhtw fw`~).
And light came into existence (kai; ejgevneto fw`~).’ The Genesis text appears
to indicate a temporal distinction between a primordial period and the crea-
tion itself, although the precise relationship between the two is not entirely
clear.21 In John the distinction between the tenses is used both temporally
and ontologically. The temporal distinction is no longer between two
stages in creation, but between the Logos that exists alongside God in
eternity and the later creation. The ontological claim is related: the fact that
the Logos pre-exists creation and is the agent through whom the cosmos
came into existence makes the Logos superior to creation. In this way, the
Prologue of John has taken a temporal marker in the narrative and given it
an ontological twist.

19 Augustine, Conf. 7.9. Augustine went on to include some statements within vv. 8–12. Cf.
also his comments on the Platonic nature of the Prologue in Civ. 10.29 and Tract. Ev. Jo.
2.4. He treated John 1:1–14 in Trin. 13. For details on Conf. 7.9 see J. J. O’Donnell,
Augustine, Confessions, 3 vols. (Oxford, 1992) 2.413–26.
20 John 1:1–3.
21 There is a syntactical problem in the Hebrew which does not exist in the Greek
translation which the Fourth Evangelist appears to have known. There are four major
syntactical possibilities in the Hebrew of Gen 1:1–3. Ibn Ezra thought that v. 1 was a
temporal clause subordinate to the main clause in v. 2. Rashi thought that v. 1 was a
subordinate clause subordinate to the main clause in v. 3; v. 2 was a parenthetical inser-
tion. The traditional view among Christian commentators is that v. 1 is an independent
clause and represents the first act of creation that is followed by subsequent acts in vv. 2–
3. Many modern scholars consider v. 1 to be a heading for the creation account in much the
same way that 2:4a introduces the second creation account. For details and bibliography
see G. J. Wenham, Genesis, 2 vols., WBC 1–2 (Waco, Texas, 1987–94) 1.10–13. The
translators of the LXX understood v. 1 to be an independent sentence.
platonizing exegetical traditions of genesis 1:1-5 125

The distinction in verbs and tenses is maintained throughout the Pro-

logue: the text consistently affirms that the Logos was (h\n)22 and that the
world ‘came into existence’ (ejgevneto).23 The exception to this is the state-
ment in verse 14: ‘and the Logos became flesh’ (kai; oJ lovgo~ savrx ejgevneto).
The uniqueness of this statement sets it off and makes it a focal point in the
Prologue. This, however, is a unique statement. The Logos is never given a
human name; the Logos is eternal. The opening lines of the Prologue em-
phasize the ‘being’ of the Logos over against the ‘becoming’ of creation.
The shift from ‘was’ (h\n) to ‘came into existence’ (ejgevneto) to mark the
distinction between the eternal world of the Logos and the temporal world
of the cosmos reminds us of the distinction that Plato drew between the
world of being and the world of becoming in the Timaeus. Plato asked:
‘What is that which always exists (tiv to; o]n ajeiv) and has no becoming
(gevnesin de; oujk e[con)? What is that which is always becoming (kai; tiv to;
gignovmenon me;n ajeiv) and never in the state of being (o]n de; oujdevpote)?’ Again
he asked ‘whether the cosmos always was (povteron h\n ajeiv), having no
beginning (genevsew~ ajrch;n e[cwn oujdemivan), or came into existence (h]
gevgonen), having begun from a certain beginning.’ He answered: ‘it came
into existence (gevgonen).’24 The plays that Plato made between ‘existing’ or
‘being’ (o[ n ) and ‘becoming’ (gignov m enon) and between ‘was’ (h\ n ) and
‘came into existence’ (gevgonen) became a standard way for later Platonists
to distinguish between the eternal world of the ideas and the sense-
perceptible world in which we live.25 I suggest that the author of the hymn
understood the shift from h\n to ejgevneto in Genesis 1 as a textual warrant
for a Platonic understanding between the intelligible world and the sense-
perceptible world. This was probably aided by the description of the earth
as ‘invisible’ (ajovrato~) in Genesis 1:2, a quality that fit a Platonic under-
standing of the intelligible world quite nicely.
The Logos. The second example is the key term lovgo~. This is the only
time in the Fourth Gospel where the term is applied to Jesus Christ.26 The
exegetical basis for the postulation of the Logos was probably the refrain in
Genesis 1 that serves as the opening formula for the days of creation: ‘and
God said’ (kai; ei\pen oJ qeov~).27 A major transformation occurred between

22 John 1:1 (3t.), 2, 4 (bis), 9 (although this may be a periphrasis with ej r cov m enon), 15
(bis), 18 (w[n).
23 John 1:3 (3t.), 10. See also vv. 6, 14, 17.
24 Plato, Tim. 27d–28b.
25 Plato, Tim. 27d–28a is cited or alluded to in a number of later Platonists, e.g.,
Apuleius, De Plat. 193 and Numenius F 7. Cf. also the Pythagorean Nicomachus, Intr.
Arith. 1.2.1.
26 Cf. also 1 John 1:1 and Rev 19:13.
27 Gen 1:3, 6, 9, 14, 20, 24; cf. also 1:26, 29.
126 gregory e. sterling

the text of Genesis and the Prologue: the principal modus operandi for crea-
tion in Genesis 1 has been hypothesized into a separate being who exists
beside God in the Prologue.28 What led to this hypostasization? Is there
anything in the Platonic tradition that would help us?
Plato did not posit a Logos; he did have second principles. For example,
he made the Good a second principle in Republic 6, the One in the Parme-
nides, the Demiurge or World Soul in the Timaeus, and the principles of
unlimited (indeterminate potentiality) and limit (precise numbers) in the
Philebus. Middle Platonists so elevated God or the Supreme Principle that
they found it necessary to posit an intermediary metaphysical principle.
They gave this intermediary a number of names, including ‘the Idea,’29
‘the heavenly Mind,’30 ‘the demiurgic God,’31 and the ‘Logos.’ The Logos
appeared as early as Antiochus of Ascalon32 and Eudorus33 who are among
the earliest known representatives of Middle Platonism. Later Platonists
such as Plutarch used the Logos for the immanent (not the transcendent)
aspect of God’s relationship to the cosmos and humanity, i.e., how the
intermediary relates to humanity but not how the intermediary relates to
the divine. In his allegorical interpretation of the Isis-Osiris myth, Plutarch
identified Isis with the receptacle, Osiris with the Logos, and their offspring
Horus with the sense-perceptible cosmos, brought about by the imposition
of order and reason on the receptacle.34 This quick survey suggests that
Platonism offered a framework that posited an intermediary between the
transcendent God and humanity, a being that in some texts served the
same functions as the Logos in John. This, however, is a rather broad point
of comparison and only demonstrates the conceptual compatibility of an
intermediary figure between the Prologue and the Platonic tradition. Is
there something more specific?
Prepositional Metaphysics. The Prologue assigns a role to the Logos in cre-
ation that corresponds to the Middle Platonic position in a debate among
Stoics, Peripatetics, and Platonists. The second strophe opens with the
refrain: ‘everything came into existence through him’ (pavnta di∆ aujtou`

28 This point led Bultmann and E. Haenchen to reject the connection between Gen 1:3 and
the Logos of the Prologue. See Bultmann, The Gospel of John, 20–21 and E. Haenchen,
John, 2 vols.; Hermeneia (Philadelphia, 1980) 1:136. I find their objection incredible in
light of the heavy dependence of John 1:1–5 on Gen 1:1–5 and the identification of the
Logos with ‘and God said’ in Jewish exegetical traditions (see below).
29 Timaeus of Locri, On the Nature of the World and the Soul 7.
30 Alcinous, Didaskalikos 10.3.
31 Numenius F 12 ll. 1–3.
32 See Cicero, Acad. Post. 28–29.
33 The evidence is Philonic, i.e., if it can be assumed that the two shared a common
view. See J. Dillon, The Middle Platonists: 80 B.C. to A.D. 220 (Ithaca, N.Y. 1977) 128.
34 Plutarch, Mor. 369.
platonizing exegetical traditions of genesis 1:1-5 127

ejgevneto).35 The statement is repeated as the Prologue contrasts his creation

of the cosmos with the reception he received: ‘he was in the world (ejn tw/`
kovsmw/ h\n), and the world came into existence through him’ (kai; oJ kovsmo~
di∆ aujtou` ejgevneto), and the world did not know him.’36 The agreement in
formulation is especially impressive when we recall that other elevated or
liturgical texts in the New Testament use the same expression to present
Christ in relation to the creation of the cosmos. The phrase appears in the
confession Paul cited in 1 Corinthians 8:6 (di∆ ou|), in the hymn of Colossians
1:16 (di∆ aujtou`; see vv. 15–20 for the hymn), and in the elevated preface to
the Epistle to the Hebrews (di∆ ou| in Heb 1:2). The uniformity of expression
is striking. How should we explain it?
In order to answer this question we need to sketch the broad contours
of prepositional metaphysics or the use of specific prepositions to denote
metaphysical causes.37 The basis of the discussion rests on Aristotle’s differ-
entiation of causes (ai[tia). The Stagirite distinguished four causes (ai[tia):
the material cause (to; ejx ou|), the formal cause (to; ei\do" h] to; paravdeigma), the
efficient cause (hJ ajrch; th'" metabolh'" hJ prwvth h] th'" hjremhvsew"), and the final
cause (to; ou| e{neka).38 Ancients found it convenient to illustrate the differ-
ences among the causes by means of a statue: the bronze is the material
cause; the shape of the statue is the formal cause; the artist is the efficient
cause; and the purpose of the creation — whether the artist is sculpting for
financial reward, fame, or piety — is the final cause.39
Hellenistic philosophical traditions took up Aristotle’s causes and
assigned prepositions to them. The origins of prepositional metaphysics are
now lost to us. We do know, however, that the different Hellenistic philoso-
phical schools debated the association of specific causes and prepositions.
Seneca set out the contours of the debate in his 65th letter. The first position
he mentions is his own, the Stoic. The classical Stoic view is that there are
two principles in creation: one is active and the other is passive. Seneca
formulated it in this way: ‘Therefore there must be that from which (unde)
something is made, then that by which (a quo) something is made. The
latter is the causa, the former is the materia.’40 Note that he only recognized

35 John 1:3.
36 John 1:10.
37 I have provided a more extensive treatment of this in ‘Prepositional Metaphysics in
Jewish Wisdom Speculation and Early Christian Liturgical Texts,’ SPhA 9 (1997) 219–38.
38 Aristotle, Phys. 2.3 (194b–95a); 2.7 (198a); Metaph. 1.3.1 (933a–b); 5.2.1–3 (1013a–b);
An. post. 2.11 (94a 20–24). For a full discussion see Phys. 2.3–9 (194b–200b).
39 E.g., Seneca, Ep. 65.4–6; Alexander of Aphrodisias, De fato 3 (cited by Eusebius, Praep.
ev. 6.9.3–6); and Clement, Strom.–3; On the limitations of this illustra-
tion see R. K. Sprague, ‘The Four Causes: Aristotle’s Exposition and Ours,’ The Monist 52
(1968) 298–300.
40 Seneca, Ep. 65.2.
128 gregory e. sterling

one cause. Later Stoics made more elaborate distinctions, but similarly
stopped short of speaking of more than one cause. The second position is
the Peripatetic. Seneca modified Aristotle slightly by stating that there were
three causes: the material, the efficient, and the formal. He made the final
cause an afterthought.41 The four did, however, become standard in later
Peripatetic thinking. The final position Seneca presents is that of Plato who
— he claims — added a fifth cause, the idea. It is at this juncture that Seneca
lists the prepositional phrases as part of the discussion: the material ‘from
which’ (ex quo), the agent ‘by whom/which’ (a quo), the formal ‘in which’
(in quo), the idea ‘according to which’ (ad quod), and the final ‘on account of
which’ (propter quod).42 He then illustrated the Platonic understanding with
a brief cosmology: God is the agent or a quo, matter is the ex quo, the shape
of the world is the forma or in quo, the pattern (exemplar) is the idea or ad
quod, and the goodness of the Creator is the propter quod. This exposition of
Plato reflects the Middle Platonic interpretations of their Master better than
that of the Athenian himself.
Middle and NeoPlatonists had different understandings of the tradition.
One of the tendencies was to expand the number of causes. Philo of Alex-
andria is an important witness to this tradition.43 There are three texts in
Philo which set out his version of the Middle Platonic position.44 The most
important is On the cherubim 124–27, in which the exegete interprets a state-
ment in Genesis 4:1 which he attributes to Adam rather than Eve: ‘I have
gained possession of a person through God (dia; tou' qeou').’45 Philo claimed

41 Seneca, Ep. 65.4–6.

42 Seneca, Ep. 65.7–10, esp. 8.
43 There is a substantial amount of literature that has explored prepositional meta-
physics in Philo. Previous discussions include: W. Theiler, Die Vorbereitung des Neuplato-
nismus (Berlin/Zürich, 1934) 28–31; J. Pépin, Théologie cosmique et théologie chrétienne,
(Ambroise, Exam. I 1, 1–4), Bibliothèque de Philosophie contemporaine (Paris, 1964) 349–
53, who argues that Philo was the source for several texts in Ambrose (Ep. 8.2 [PL
16.951A] and Philo, Fug. 24; De Cain et Abel 1.1.2 and Philo, Cher. 124–27; QG 1.58); H.-
F. Weiss, Untersuchungen zur Kosmologie des hellenistischen und palästinischen Juden-
tums, TU 97 (Berlin, 1966) 269–72; H. Dörrie, ‘Präpositionen und Metaphysik’, Museum
Helveticum 26 (1969) 223–25; M. Hadas-Lebel, De Providentia I et II, PAPM 35 (Paris,
1973) 1:71–72; G. D. Farandos, Kosmos und Logos nach Philo von Alexandria, Elementa 4
(Amsterdam, 1976) 267–71; Dillon, The Middle Platonists, 160–61; T. H. Tobin, The
Creation of Man: Philo and the History of Interpretation, CBQMS 14 (Washington, D.C.,
1983) 67–71; D. T. Runia, Philo of Alexandria and the Timaeus of Plato, PhilAnt 44
(Leiden, 1986) 171–74; and M. Baltes, Der Platonismus in der Antike: Grundlagen-System-
Entwicklung, Vol. 4: Die philosophische Lehre des Platonismus: Eine grundlegende
Axiome/Platonische Physik (im antiken Verständnis) I Stuttgart/Bad Cannstatt, 1996)
130–31, 408–13.
44 The other two are QG 1.58 and Prov. 1.23.
45 Philo, Cher. 124. Cf. also Sacr. 10 for the attribution of the statement to Adam.
platonizing exegetical traditions of genesis 1:1-5 129

that Adam erred in making such a statement. Why? ‘God is the cause
(ai[tion), not the instrument (o[rganon). That which comes into existence,
comes through an instrument (di∆ ojrgavnou) but by a cause (uJpo; ... aijtivou).’
He explained: ‘For many things must come together for the generation of
something: the by whom/which (to; uJf∆ ou|), the from which (to; ejx ou|), the
through whom/which (to; di∆ ou|) , and the for which (to; di∆ o{) .’ He
proceeded to identify each: ‘The by whom/which (to; uJf∆ ou|) is the cause (to;
ai[ t ion), the from which (to; ejx ou|) is the matter (hJ u{lh), the through
whom/which (to; di∆ ou|) is the tool (to; ejrgalei'on), the for which (to; di∆ o{) is
the purpose (hJ aijtiva).’ Like Seneca, he identified each of these in the
Platonic cosmos: the ‘cause (ai[tion) is God, by whom (uJf∆ ou|) it came into
existence, its material (hJ u{lh) is the four elements out of which (ejx w|n) it has
been composed, its instrument (o[rganon) is the Logos of God (lovgo" qeou')
through whom (di∆ ou|) it was constructed, the purpose (aij t iv a ) of its
construction is the goodness of the Demiurge.’ Philo has touched on the
most telling aspect of the Middle Platonic tradition, i.e., the incorporation of
an instrumental cause. It is intriguing that the Prologue of John uses the
terminus technicus for the Platonic tradition in assigning the role of
instrumentality to the Logos.
Light versus Darkness. The final element that we will mention is the con-
trast between light and darkness. The introduction of light and darkness in
the Prologue of John within a series of statements drawn from Genesis 1,
suggests that Genesis 1:3–5 lay behind these statements, especially since
light and darkness are important elements in the first day of creation. It is
important to note two points about the treatment in the Prologue. The
evangelist has associated the Logos with light.46 The sharp contrast
between light and darkness is probably grounded in the statement: ‘God
divided between the light and the darkness’ (Genesis 1:4). The evangelist
has, however, given the cosmological statement in Genesis a moral
dimension: light and darkness are two opposing moral spheres: the Logos
is associated with light and is opposed by darkness. The use of light and
darkness as opposites is common to many traditions, including the Platonic.
The important point to note at present is that the Prologue has based the
contrast on Genesis 1:4.

46 A lengthy study of the Platonic background of light in John has just appeared: G. H.
van Kooten, ‘The ‘True Light Which Enlightens Everyone’ (John 1:9): John, Genesis, the
Platonic Notion of the ‘True, Noetic Light,’ and the Allegory of the Cave in Plato’s
Republic,’ in G. H. van Kooten (ed.), The Creation of Heaven and Earth: Re-interpretations
of Genesis 1 in the Context of Judaism, Ancient Philosophy, Christianity, and Modern
Physics, Themes in Biblical Narrative, Jewish and Christian Traditions 8 (Leiden/
Boston, 2005) 149-94.
130 gregory e. sterling

There are other points that are worth investigation (the understanding
of ejn ajrch/`), but these are sufficient to illustrate the possibility that Augus-
tine was right about the Platonic nature of the Prologue. The issue that we
now need to address is whether the Prologue could have been influenced
by an exegetical tradition that interpreted Genesis 1:1–5 through a Platonic
perspective. This might help us understand how some of the technical
concerns of Platonism were mediated to the author of the Fourth Gospel
or, at least, to the author of the underlying hymn who does not demon-
strate philosophical sophistication.

‘Day One’ in Platonizing Jewish Interpretations of Genesis 1:1–5

The stipulation that we are looking for Platonizing exegetical traditions

narrows our search appreciably. Platonism was not a major option for
exegetes of Genesis until Middle Platonism became a force in Alexandria in
the late first century BCE. While there are a significant number of texts that
interpreted Genesis 1:1–5, there are only two that gave it a distinctive
Platonic twist.

1. Philo of Alexandria, Opif. 15–35

The first is a tradition preserved in Philo of Alexandria. In his commentary
on the opening chapters in Genesis, the Alexandrian exegete provided two
different Platonizing traditions that demarcated the intelligible world from
the sense perceptible world. Initially, he drew the divide between day one
and the second through the sixth days on the basis of the shift from the
cardinal number ‘one’ to the ordinal numbers ‘second … third … fourth …
fifth … sixth.’47 In this scheme God created the intelligible world on day
one and the sense-perceptible world on the second through the sixth days.
Philo sustained this scheme until he reached Genesis 2:4 where he shifted
the line to the two creation stories. In this second scheme the two accounts
of creation correspond to the two worlds: the first creation story related
the creation of the intelligible world and the second creation story the
creation of the sense-perceptible world.48 The presence of multiple and
conflicting traditions suggests that one or both are pre-Philonic.49 Philo was

47 Philo, Opif. 15–16, 35.

48 Philo, Opif. 129–30.
49 The most important treatment of these exegetical traditions is Tobin, The Creation of
Man, 59–60 and 20–35. For alternative readings on the relationship of day one and the
other days as well as the relationship between the two creation accounts of Genesis see
V. Nikiprowetzky, ‘Problèmes du ‘récit de la création’ chez Philon d’Alexandrie,’ REJ
124 (1965) 271–306; reprinted in idem, Études philoniennes, Patrimoines Judaisme (Paris,
platonizing exegetical traditions of genesis 1:1-5 131

apparently unconcerned with the tension that the two schemes created
within a single treatise; his concern was to make the ontological distinction.
It is the first of these two schemas that interests us. Like the Prologue of
John, there is a discrete textual unit devoted to ‘day one,’50 and more im-
portantly, a unit that understood ‘day one’ as the creation of the intelligible
world. Are there similarities in detail between this pre-Philonic tradition
and John 1:1–5? We will take up the same Platonizing hints that we found
in John.
The World of Being versus the World of Becoming. Shortly before he offered
his exposition of day one, Philo introduced his account of creation with
these words: ‘But the great Moses held that the ungenerated (to ajgevnhton)
was totally different from the visible. For the entire sense-perceptible realm
is in the process of becoming (ejn genevsei) and change, never remaining in
the same condition (oujdevpote kata; taujta; o[n).’ This, he stated, formed a
contrast with the incorporeal world: ‘To the invisible and intelligible he
assigned eternity as a sibling and relative, but to the sense-perceptible he
gave the appropriate name, Genesis (gevnesi~).’51 Philo has paraphrased the
famous section of Plato’s Timaeus that we cited above. He returned to this
distinction at the outset of his exposition of day one. In a brief — at least
compared to his treatment of the hebdomad — commentary on ‘one’ he
wrote: ‘For it contains the exquisite intelligible cosmos as the treatise on it
states.’ He explained this terse statement by using the metaphysical catego-
ries of the monad (=the intelligible cosmos created on day one) and the
dyad (=the sense-perceptible cosmos created on the second through sixth
days). ‘For God, being God, assumed that a beautiful copy would never
come into existence apart from a beautiful pattern nor would anything
among the sense-perceptibles be without blemish which was not shaped
with respect to an archetype and intelligible Idea.’ He then applied this to
the cosmos: ‘When he wanted to create this sense-perceptible cosmos, he
first shaped the intelligible so that he could use the incorporeal and most
divine model to make the corporeal (cosmos), a younger copy of the older,
containing as many sense-perceptible kinds as there are intelligible kinds in
the model.’52 These statements are far clearer than those in John, yet they
associate the eternal or intelligible cosmos with day one.
The Logos. The background of Philo’s Logos appears to have some of the
same connections with Genesis as the Prologue of John; however the

1996) 45–78, esp. 61, and D. T. Runia, Philo of Alexandria, On the Creation of the Cosmos
according to Moses, PAC 1 (Leiden, 2001) 19–20, 309–11.
50 Philo, Opif. 15–35; cf. also 36.
51 Philo, Opif. 12. For a detailed treatment see Runia, Philo of Alexandria and the
Timaeus of Plato, 92–111.
52 Philo, Opif. 15–16.
132 gregory e. sterling

sources of influence are much more complex. On what textual grounds did
Philo associate the Logos with the intelligible world? Did he draw on the
refrain ‘and God said’ (kai; ei\pen oJ qeov~)? We know that earlier Jewish
exegetes, such as Aristobulus, played with the phrase ‘and God said’ in
Genesis 1;53 however, Aristobulus did not hypostasize the Logos. Unfortu-
nately, we do not have an extant Philonic commentary on this key phrase
in De opificio mundi, and perhaps that is noteworthy. We do, however, have
an important paraphrase of Genesis 1:3 that makes a connection. In com-
menting on the light of day one, Philo wrote: ‘that invisible and intelligible
light (fw`~) came into existence (gevgonen) as an image of the divine Logos
who interpreted its genesis.’54 The Alexandrian’s phrase ‘light ... came into
existence’ (fw`~ ... gevgonen) is a paraphrase of Genesis 1:3, ‘and light came
into existence’ (kai; fw`~ ejgevneto). His comment that the divine Logos
‘interpreted its genesis’ (qeivou lovgou ... tou` diermhneuvsanto~ th;n gevnesin
auj t ou` ) is probably a play on ‘and God said’ (kai; ei\pen oJ qeov~). The
commentator thus preserved both halves of Genesis 1:3 but reversed them.
In the process, Philo made the ‘invisible and intelligible light’ an image of
the Logos who not only planned the intelligible cosmos, but set out its
genesis. How is this?
Philo provided a hint in a different treatise in which he cited Genesis 1:3
verbatim. In a comment on Genesis 28:11, Philo explained how Jacob could
‘meet a place’ when ‘the sun was set.’ He offered the obvious explanation:
the sun was not the sun in the heavens, but God who is light. He clarified
his allegorical interpretation by appealing to Psalm 26:1 (27:1 MT): ‘the
Lord is my illumination and savior.’ He explained: ‘he is not only light, but
older and higher than every archetype, holding the relationship of the mo-
del ‹of a model›.’55 The model of which God is the model is the Logos: ‘For
the model was the Logos that contains his fullness, namely light, for he said:
‘God said, ‘Let light come into existence.’’’ Philo returned to God to make
the distinction between God and the Logos clear: ‘but he (God) is similar to
none of the things that have come into existence.’ 56 In this text Philo
equated the Logos with intelligible light (not the fullness with light) on the
basis of the statement, ‘and God said: ‘Let light come into existence.’’ The
Logos is the intelligible light from which sense-perceptible light will be
created. 57

53 Aristobulus F 4 (Eusebius, PE 13.12.3–5).

54 Philo, Opif. 31.
55 Here I have accepted Colson’s conjecture, paradeivgmato~ ‹paradeivgmato~›, that brings
the thought into line with Philo’s known thinking (PLCL 5.336 n. 1). On Philo’s basic
line of thinking see below.
56 Philo, Somn. 1.72–75, esp. 75.
57 This is a difficult text. For details see Runia, Philo of Alexandria, On the Creation of
platonizing exegetical traditions of genesis 1:1-5 133

How is the Logos a model? The key passage by which Philo associated
the Logos with the intelligible world is Genesis 1:26–27. The Alexandrian
made a distinction between God and the image of God which he under-
stood to be the Logos. In this text, there is a threefold scale: God, the Image
of God or Logos, and humanity. In Philonic thought, humanity is created in
the image of God, i.e., the Logos. He wrote that human beings were
‘stamped according to the image of God. If the part is an image of an
image, it is clear that it is also true of the whole.’ He explained: ‘If this
entire sense-perceptible world — which is greater than a human image —
is a copy of the divine image, it is clear that the archetypal seal, which we
say is the intelligible world, would itself be the Logos of God.’58 For Philo
the Logos was where the world of ideas resided. Genesis 1:26–27 thus
provided the textual warrant for the hypostasization.
Can we make sense of these distinct exegetical treatments? I think that
we can, although we must recognize that we can only offer a reconstruc-
tion of a complex of exegetical traditions. It is likely that a pre-Philonic
exegetical tradition equated the Logos with the phrase ‘and God said.’
There are at least three statements in later targumim that connect the
Memra with Genesis 1:3. For example, the Fragmentary Targum on the
Torah paraphrased Genesis 1:3: ‘And the Memra of the LORD said, ‘Let
there be light.’ And there was light by the Memra.’59 While this evidence is
late, it points to the existence of independent strands of Jewish exegetical
traditions that made the connection between the Logos/Memra and Gene-
sis 1:3. It is probably this tradition, at least in part, that led Philo to speak of
the Logos. Unlike later Aramaic speaking interpreters who spoke of a

the Cosmos according to Moses, 168. He is followed by Leonhardt-Blazer, ‘Der Logos und
die Schöpfung,’ 304.
58 Philo, Opif. 25. Sacr. 8. He is citing Deut 34:5.
59 Frg. Tg. on Gen 1:3 (M. L. Klein, The Fragment Targums of the Pentateuch according to
their Extant Sources, 2 vols., AnBib 76–77 (Rome, 1980) 1.43 [I have given my own
translation; his translation is on 2:3]). See also 1:70 and 2:36 for an alternative version.
Frg. Tg. on Exod 3:14 (Klein 1:164), ‘And the LORD said to Moses, ‘I am who I am.’ And
the Memra of the LORD said to Moses, ‘The one who said to the world, ‘Come into
existence,’ and it came into existence; and who will yet say to it, ‘Come into existence’
and it will come into existence.’ And he said, ‘Say to the children of Israel, I am is the
one who has sent me to you’’ (Klein’s translation is on 2:123). Frg. Tg. on Exod 12:42 (Klein
1: 167): Four night are written in the Book of Memories. With respect to the first night,
when the Memra of the LORD was revealed to the world to create it, the world was
formless and void and darkness extended over the face of the deep. And the Memra of
the LORD was light and illumination. And he called it the first night’ (Klein’s transla-
tion is on 2;126). The most helpful discussion of these texts is Boyarin, ‘The Gospel of the
Memra,’ 252–61, esp. 256–60. Borgen has also appealed to Gen. Rab. 3:3 (Borgen, Philo,
John and Paul, 84), although this text requires a connection between ‘said’ and ‘light’
that these others do not.
134 gregory e. sterling

Memra, Philo thought in Greek terms. The refrain, ‘and God said,’ has a
lexical and conceptual relationship with the Logos. The verb ei\pen (‘said’) is
used as the second aorist of levgw (‘I say’),60 the cognate verb of the noun
lovgo~ (‘speaking, word, assertion, discourse’). Even if Philo did not recog-
nize the linguistic connection between the verb and noun, the conceptual
relation between the refrain ‘and God said’ as the modus operandi of crea-
tion in Genesis 1 and the Logos as the instrument of creation in Philo’s
cosmology, created an open invitation to make the connection. The possi-
bility of grounding a key concept in the biblical narrative was too good to
pass.61 Philo, however, preferred to think of the Logos as the image of God
based on Genesis 1:26–27. While this identification may also be pre-Philonic,
it is Philo’s preferred option.62 In De opificio mundi he gave a fairly full
explanation of Genesis 1:26–27, but omitted Genesis 1:3 except for a brief
paraphrase. In De somniis, he combined the two, although he failed to
resolve all of the tensions between the different traditions. The relevance of
this discussion for the Prologue of John is that it demonstrates the presence
of independent Jewish exegetical traditions that connected Genesis 1:3 with
the Logos or Memra in much the same was as John did.
Prepositional Metaphysics. As we have already noted, Philo knew and used
prepositional metaphysics including the specific phrase that is in the Pro-
logue of John; however, not in his treatment of ‘day one.’ Here, in a
famous image, he assigned the Logos the role of God’s architect or instru-
ment. 63 He used the expression ‘through whom’ (di∆ ou|) in other texts.64
John and Philo shared a common understanding of causes in the Platonic
tradition. While their grasp of the philosophical concepts behind the use of
such phrases would have been quite different, the technical use of the
prepositional phrase to denote instrumental cause became widespread and
did not require technical knowledge.
Light versus Darkness. In his account of creation on day one, Philo
recounted the seven components of the intelligible cosmos, all drawn from
Genesis 1:1–3: heaven, earth, air (=darkness), the void (=abyss), water,
pneuma, and light. Of the latter two he said: ‘he judged pneuma and light
worthy of special privilege. For he named the former ‘pneuma of God’

60 F. Blass, A. Debrunner, A Greek Grammar of the New Testament and Other Early
Christian Literature (trans. R. Funk; Chicago, 1961) §101.
61 So also Runia, Philo of Alexandria, On the Creation of the Cosmos according to Moses,
143 and Leonhardt-Balzer, ‘Der Logos und die Schöpfung,’ 305.
62 A number of interpreters connected Gen 1:3 and 1:26–27, especially early Christian
interpreters. See E. Pagels, ‘Exegesis of Genesis 1 in the Gospels of Thomas and John,’ JBL
118 (1999) 477–96, esp. 484–88.
63 See §§15–25 for the Logos in creation.
64 E.g., Philo, Sacr. 8 and Spec. 1.81.
platonizing exegetical traditions of genesis 1:1-5 135

because the pneuma is most life-giving — and God is the cause of life, while
with respect to light he says that it is exceptionally beautiful.’ He explained:
‘For the intelligible is brighter and more radiant than the visible to the
same extent, I suppose, that the sun is than darkness, day than night, and
mind, the ruler of the entire soul, than the body.’ He added: ‘That invisible
and intelligible light came into existence as a image of the divine Logos
who interpreted its genesis.’65 Following his exegesis of light, Philo turned
to darkness: ‘after the shining out of intelligible light which came into exist-
ence before the sun, the opponent, darkness, withdrew.’ He understood
evening and dawn to be barriers that God put between light and darkness
as a way of keeping two perpetual antagonists separated: ‘For God separa-
ted them from one another with a wall and kept them apart knowing their
opposite natures and the conflict that arises from their natures.’ 66 The
similarities between the Fourth Gospel and Philo are noteworthy.67 Both
understood the Logos to be light. Both grounded their understanding of
light and darkness as moral opposites in their interpretation of Genesis 1:4.
While a Christian reading the Fourth Gospel might think of the shining and
conflict in temporal rather than eternal terms, i.e., anticipating the incarna-
tion, this would require a proleptic reading of John. The text can be read
without the incarnation in the same way as the texts in Philo.

2. 2 Enoch 24.2–26.3
The identification of such Platonic concepts in Philo is hardly a surprise.
There is at least one other text where the same Platonizing tradition does
surprise us, 2 Enoch. The apocalyptic seer of 2 Enoch shared the perspective
of two worlds: an invisible world from which the visible world came. 68 The
seer presented the act of creation in these words: ‘And I thought up the
idea of establishing a foundation, to create a visible creation.’69 The striking
feature of this statement is the understanding of a conceptual model or
plan by which God created the world. It presents God in the role of an
architect who first thinks of the design and then builds the structure. The
plan is the invisible and the structure the visible. The contrast between the
two is not accidental: the author of 2 Enoch spoke of bringing the visible

65 Philo, Opif. 29–31. For details see Runia, Philo of Alexandria, On the Creation of the
Cosmos according to Moses, 163–73.
66 Philo, Opif. 32–33.
67 The most helpful treatments on light and darkness in Philo and John are Tobin, ‘The
Prologue of John and Hellenistic Jewish Speculation,’ 262–65; Borgen, Philo, John and
Paul, 83–92; and Leonhardt-Balzer, ‘Der Logos und die Schöpfung,’ 314–15.
68 For a broad treatment of the creation accounts in 2 Enoch see Endo, Creation and
Christology, 19–24 and 60–65, esp. 22 and 62.
69 2 Enoch 24.5 (J and A [OTP 1.142–43]).
136 gregory e. sterling

from the invisible on two other occasions.70 The use of an architectural

metaphor for creation is noteworthy.71 Philo introduced his Platonic cos-
mology with the famous image: ‘When a city is founded.’ After he de-
scribed the role of an architect in city planning he made his point: ‘We must
think much the same things about God. When he decided to create the
megalopolis, he first had its forms in mind from which he constituted the
noetic cosmos and then made the sense-perceptible cosmos by using it for
a model.’ 72 The image is repeated several centuries later in a saying
attributed to Rabbi Hoshaya at the outset of Genesis Rabbah: ‘(In the cited
verse) the Torah speaks, ‘I was the work-plan of the Holy One, blessed be
he.’ In the accepted practice of the world, when a mortal king builds a
palace, he does not build it out of his own head, but he follows a work-
plan.’ Hoshaya continues, ‘And (the one who supplies) the work-plan does
not build out of his own head, but he has designs and diagrams, so as to
know how to situate the rooms and the doorways.’73 The similarity be-
tween the imagery in Hoshaya and Philo has led to a debate over whether
Hoshaya drew from Philo and whether the later rabbi used Platonic
categories.74 The presence of the same image in Philo, 2 Enoch, and Hosha-
ya suggests that the image may have been part of a tradition.
There is another, more important congruence between Philo and 2
Enoch. Martha Himmelfarb pointed out that 2 Enoch, like Philo, set off day
one of creation.75 The apocalyptic seer used Genesis 1:3–5 as a means of
explaining how God spanned the gap between the invisible and the visible.
He did so by means of two intermediary figures, Adoil/Adail (identified
with light) and Arkhas/Arukhas (identified with darkness). The two repre-
sent the basic principles from which everything else was formed. The text

70 2 Enoch 24.2 (J); 48.5 (A [in J God is invisible and what he creates is visible]). The
apocalyptic seer mentioned ‘visible’ and ‘invisible’ in 51:5 (J) and 65:1 (J and A).
71 For a more thorough treatment see my ‘Recherché or Representative? What is the
Relationship between Philo’s Treatises and Greek-speaking Judaism?,’ SPhA 11 (1999)
72 Philo, Opif. 17–19.
73 Gen. Rab. 1:1 (Jacob Neusner, Genesis Rabbah, The Judaic Commentary to the Book of
Genesis (A New American Translation) [3 vols.; BJS 104–06; Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1985]
74 E. E. Urbach, The Sages: Their Concepts and Beliefs (2 vols.; Jerusalem: Magnes Press,
1987) 1:198–202, accentuated the difference between the two. D. T. Runia, on the other
hand, has repeatedly argued that Hoshaya drew his imagery from Philo via Origen.
See his ‘Polis and Megalopolis: Philo and the Founding of Alexandria,’ Mnenosyne 42
(1989) 410–12; idem, Philo in Early Christian Literature (CRINT 3.3; Assen: Van Gorcum/
Minneapolis: Fortress, 1993) 14; and idem, Philo of Alexandria, On the Creation of the
Cosmos according to Moses, 154–55.
75 M. Himmelfarb, Ascent to Heaven in Jewish and Christian Apocalypses (New York/
Oxford, 1993) 84–86.
platonizing exegetical traditions of genesis 1:1-5 137

begins with light and then moves to darkness, using the pattern of creation
by fiat in Genesis one to narrate their origins. So, for example, God said:
‘Let one of the invisible things descend visibly!’ And, just as there was a
fulfillment in Genesis 1:3, so there is in 2 Enoch: ‘And Adoil descended,
extremely large.’ The apocalyptic seer elaborated with a second step: ‘And
I looked at him, and behold, in his belly he had a great light. And I said to
him, ‘Disintegrate yourself, Adoil, and let what is born from you become
visible.’ And he disintegrated himself, and there came out a very great
light.’ God then reflected: ‘And I was in the midst of the great light. And
light out of light is carried thus. And the great age came out, and it revealed
all the creation which I had thought up to create.’ The purpose of the light
was thus to illuminate the invisible world, presumably to make it possible
to proceed with creation. The seer then returned to the biblical text: ‘And I
saw how good it was’ (Genesis 1:4). God then sat down on his throne and
said to the light: ‘You go up higher, and be solidified, and become the foun-
dation for the highest things.’ This is apparently related to the separation
of light from darkness in the creation account of Genesis 1:4. The account
concludes: ‘And there is nothing higher than the light, except nothing itself.
And again I bowed myself, and I looked upward from my throne.’76 The
seer worked through the same procedure for the creation of darkness.77
The longer version of 2 Enoch goes on to explain the separation of light
from darkness by the creation of water which is understood as darkness
wrapped around with light. The water is below the light but above the
darkness. Within it are seven circles that have a planet each.78
Although the account uses a mythological cosmogony, it associated the
attempt to bridge the invisible world in which God moved prior to creation
with the world of creation by developing elements in the account of day
one in Genesis 1. In this way 2 Enoch appears to reflect the exegetical tradi-
tion attested in Philo that day one represents the intelligible or invisible
world. It differs from Philo by including elements of the visible world on
day one, i.e., the light becomes visible light and the darkness visible dark-
ness on day one in 2 Enoch. This is hardly a surprise: 2 Enoch may know
some Platonizing exegetical traditions, but it does not demonstrate direct
familiarity with Platonic thought. It does demonstrate the uniqueness of
day one: it is the only day associated with the connection between the
invisible and the visible.79

76 2 Enoch 25:1–5 (J ). A is the shorter recension. It differs mainly by having ‘age’ for
‘light’ until God speaks to it when it is identified as light. I have omitted the supple-
mentary readings in R and P that Andersen includes in his translation in OTP.
77 2 Enoch 26:1–3 (J and A).
78 2 Enoch 27:1–4 (J).
79 2 Enoch 28:1–30:18 (J). The text mentions that humanity is created out of both the
138 gregory e. sterling


What strikes me about the treatment of Genesis 1:1–5 in John, Philo, and 2
Enoch is that all identify ‘day one’ with the eternal, intelligible, or invisible
world. The differences in the three texts suggest that they made independ-
ent use of a common tradition, although I would not rule out the possibility
that the author of 2 Enoch knew Philo’s De opificio mundi. If I may speculate
about the history of this tradition, I suggest that at some point in Alexan-
dria immediately prior to or contemporary with Philo, a Platonizing Jewish
exegete began to explain the differences between day one and the later
days by drawing the line of demarcation between the eternal and the
temporal or the intelligible and the sense-perceptible worlds between day
one and the second through the sixth days. This not only solved the puzzle
about the shift from the cardinal ‘one’ to the ordinals ‘second through
sixth,’ but also removed the tension between the presence of intelligible
light on day one and the sense-perceptible lights on the fourth day. Philo
incorporated the tradition in De opificio mundi. The Jewish community that
produced and read 2 Enoch also knew this tradition.
The tradition appears to have been transmitted to later Christians large-
ly although perhaps not exclusively through the works of Philo. Pseudo-
Justin appears to know a form of this tradition, although the Christian
apologist drew the line between the intelligible and the sense-perceptible
worlds between Genesis 1:1 and 2: the sense-perceptible world was the
earth that God created (Gen 1:1) and the intelligible world was the ‘invis-
ible and unshaped’ earth (Gen 1:2). Pseudo-Justin has thus drawn on the
Platonic tradition, but not understood Genesis 1:1–5 as a unit.80 Clement of
Alexandria knew the Philonic tradition and the distinction between the
creation of the intelligible world on day one and the sense-perceptible
world on the second and following days.81 Not surprisingly, Origen knew
the same tradition and, like Clement, probably became acquainted with it
through the works of Philo.82 Eusebius appears to have known the
tradition as well, perhaps from the Philonic works that Origen brought to

invisible and the visible (30:10), but does not again speak of the invisible world out of
which God created the visible.
80 Pseudo-Justin, Cohortatio ad Gentiles 30.1–3. For details see Runia, Philo in Early
Christian Literature, 187–88.
81 Clement, Strom. 5.93.4–94.2. A. van den Hoek, Clement of Alexandria and His Uses of
Philo in the Stromateis: An Early Christian Shaping of a Jewish Model, VCSup3 (Leiden,
1988) 196, wrote: ‘The whole passage is scarcely intelligible without Philo in the
82 Origen, Hom. Gen. 1.2. On this text see A. van den Hoek, ‘Philo and Origen: A De-
scriptive Catalogue of their Relationship,’ SPhA 12 (2000) 65. For a broader treatment
see Runia, Philo in Early Christian Literature, 173.
platonizing exegetical traditions of genesis 1:1-5 139

Caesarea or through Origen’s own work.83 The tradition even made its
way to Augustine who drew from it to explain ‘the heaven of heaven’
(caelum caeli).84
The author of the hymn that stands behind the Prologue of John knew
this tradition and some of the specific Platonizing exegetical moves that
became attached to it. The first two strophes of the hymn are directly
indebted to this tradition. In fact, they appear to be a relatively faithful
representation of the tradition. The author of the hymn assumed that the
implied readers/hearers knew the same Platonizing Jewish exegetical
tradition of ‘day one.’ The exegetical tradition would have enabled the
hearer to situate the opening strophes of the hymn within a much more
elaborate intellectual framework that would have provided breadth and
depth to the hymn’s laconic lines. We can only speculate about how this
exegetical tradition came to this early Christian author and community.
The most probable source is synagogue instruction. This would not be the
only example in the Fourth Gospel of the author’s and implied readers’
familiarity with a synagogue homily or instruction.85
How would Philo have reacted to these two strophes? While the
concepts are not identical to Philo’s, I do not think that the Alexandrian
would have objected to the first five verses of John. The content of these
verses are fully intelligible within Judaism, especially a form of Judaism that
operated within a Platonic framework.86 The objections would have come

83 Eusebius, Praep. ev. 11.6.19.

84 Auguustine, Conf. 12.1–13, esp. 8 and 13. There is a classic treatment: J. Pépin,
‘Recherches sur le sens et les origines de l’expression caelum caeli dans le Livre XII des
Confessions de S. Augustin,’ Archivium Latinitatis Medii Aevi 23 (1953) 185–274; reprinted
in idem, ‘Ex platonicorum peronsa’: Études sur les lectures philosophiques de Saint Augus-
tin (Amsterdam, 1977) 41–130. Based on the evidence that Pépin provided and that later
collected by P. Agaësse and A. Soulignac (La Genèse au sens littéral en douze libres, 2
vols.; Œuvres de Saint Augustin 48–49 (Paris, 1972), Runia concluded: ‘This evidence
proves byond doubt that Augustine had read the first chapters of QG 1, no doubt in the
Old Latin translation. He may also have had a direct acquaintance with De opificio
mundi, whether in a Latin tranlsation that we do not know about, or just possibly in the
original (since by the time he wrote this work — from 401 to 414 — Augustine could read
some Greek)’ (Philo in Early Christian Literature, 326).
85 The most important illustration of this was uncovered by P. Borgen, Bread from
Heaven, NovTSup 10 (Leiden, 1965).
86 My judgment is thus much the same as Boyarin’s, ‘The Gospel of the Memra,’ 279 (see
also p. 265): ‘According to this reading, the structure of the Prologue consists of an
unexceptionably ‘Jewish’ Logos/Memra midrash on Gen 1:1–5 which has been interpreted
via the Sophia myth by the author of the Fourth Gospel, an interpretation crying in the
wilderness that then beautifully prepares the way for the Incarnation to come in v. 14.’ I
differ from Boyarin by leaving open the possibility of an underlying hymn that has
drawn from this Jewish exegetical tradition.
140 gregory e. sterling

when the Prologue affirmed that the eternal entered the temporal in the
form of a human being. This is the distinctive Christian element. Philo
would have been pleased as long as the eagle of John soared in the heavens
on the basis of ‘day one’ in Genesis; it is only when he is said to have come
down to earth on the basis of Christian experience that the Alexandrian
would have demurred.

The University of Notre Dame

The Studia Philonica Annual XVII (2005) 141–152



David T. Runia

Philonic studies owe a great debt to German scholarship. From 1800 to

1945 no other country or language-area contributed as much to the
increase of our knowledge on Philo’s writings and thought. In the first
instance one must think of the monumental critical edition of Philo’s extant
writings in Greek produced by Leopold Cohn and Paul Wendland, aided
towards the end by Siegfried Reiter and Johannes Leisegang. In the wake
of this project Cohn also commenced the first critically sound translation of
Philo’s works into a modern language. Naturally that language was Ger-
man. Numerous important monographs devoted to Philo were produced
by German scholars such as Gfrörer, Siegfried, Heineman and Völker. And
we should not forget the copious stream of doctoral dissertations that
explored more detailed aspects of Philo’s writings and thought.1
This rich tradition came under great threat during the Nazi period. As a
Jewish author Philo was suspect, as were scholars who studied him. Many
Jewish scholars were either murdered or had to flee abroad. Cohn’s
translation project was halted and not finished until 1964. Two non-Jewish
contributors had to conceal their identities.2 Since the end of the Second
World War German-speaking scholarship has had to give ground. Remark-
ably in the decade 1937 to 1946 it still contributed more than any other
language area (40%). Since then the English language has taken over. By
the decade 1977 to 1986 studies in French and Italian were more copious
than those in German. Before the war this would have been unthinkable.3
Against this backdrop it is of considerable significance that for the first
time since the Second World War a conference was held in Germany that
was largely devoted to Philo.4 The organizers of the conference, which was

1 For details see the bibliographies of G-G, R-R and RRS.

2 See the article by D. Schwartz in this Annual, vol. 1 (1989) 69–73. The history of Philo
scholarship under the Nazis is yet to be written.
3 Statistics based on R-R, pp. xxiii–xxix.
4 In response to my enquiry Dr. Deines writes that as far as the organizers knew it was
the first conference in Germany at all. But they were reminded by Prof. Schaller that
together with Prof. Nikolaus Walter he organized in 1962 a Philo study-group as a
meeting platform for scholars from East and West Germany. This group met all together
four times, in Halle (former DDR) and Göttingen (former West Germany). It comprised in
142 david t. runia

held on 1–4 May 2003, were Karl-Wilhelm Niebuhr and Roland Deines
from the University of Jena. The conference took place, however, at Eisen-
ach, in the shadow of the famous Wartburg, where Luther worked on his
Bible translation. The location was surely fitting, for since the war German
Philonic studies has been carried out mainly in the area of theology and
biblical studies by scholars connected to Protestant and Catholic faculties.
The present conference shared this same background. The theme of the
conference was Philo and the New Testament and it was organized as the
First International Symposium of the Corpus Judaeo-Hellenisticum Novi
Testamenti (CJHNT). Since 1997 the research project with the same title has
been carried out in Jena under the leadership of Prof. Niebuhr, with Dr.
Deines as its chief researcher. With exemplary speed the two scholars have
now published the proceedings of the conference as part of the well-known
series Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament.5 All
Philonists should be grateful to them, for it means that those who were
unable to attend are now in a position to read the papers presented at the
conference for themselves. They can discover what the latest scholarly
status quaestionis is on the relation between Philo and the New Testament
writings that were written in the half century after his death, particularly as
seen in the context of German scholarship. Fourteen of the papers are by
scholars working in Germany, the other eight by scholars who came from
abroad. This also largely determines the language of publication, with
thirteen papers in German, the remainder in English.
Before I proceed to discuss the papers that have now been published,
some more needs to be said about the project that sponsored the con-
ference. For nearly a hundred years attempts have been made to produce a
‘new Wettstein’, i.e. a modern source-book that will give a collection of
both Greco-Roman and Jewish materials for the study of the New Testa-
ment which builds on and expands the great work produced by Julius
Wettstein (1693–1754). Since the Second World war there has been a
division between the Greco-Roman and the Judaeo-Hellenistic sides of the
project, the former being carried out mainly in Utrecht, the latter remaining
in Germany. The aim of the German project, as we can read in the
Introduction to the volume, is the ‘presentation of early Jewish witnesses

total about 12 scholars, including Traugott Holtz, Gerhard Delling and Harald Heger-
mann. The authors regret that they did not include this information on the history of
Philonic research in the volume and ask me to mention it in this article.
5 R. Deines, and K.-W. Niebuhr (edd.), Philo und das Neue Testament: Wechselseitige
Wahrnehmungen. 1. Internationales Symposium zum Corpus Judaeo-Hellenisticum Novi
Testamenti (Eisenach/Jena, Mai 2003), Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen
Testament 172 (Tübingen: Mohr-Siebeck 2004). xxiii and 435 pages. ISBN 3-16-148396-0.
Price €94.
review article: philo in germany 143

which have been marked by Hellenistic culture and the politico-economic

relations of the Hellenistic and Roman epochs for the study and interpreta-
tion of the New Testament’ (p. 13). The concentration on the Hellenized
aspects of Jewish culture and literature has meant that Qumranic and early
Rabbinic material has had to be excluded from the project. This is under-
standable enough, for the ground to be covered is vast, especially since it
includes not only literary sources, but also papyri, inscriptions, coins and
other non-literary materials. The final goal is to produce a work which will
benefit all those working on the New Testament and in related areas,
whether they be theologians, biblical scholars, classicists, historians, patristic
scholars or historians of religion.
As part of the project four international symposia have been planned at
three year intervals. It is naturally most pleasing that the very first of these
was devoted to Philo and his relation to the New Testament. As the editors
write in their excellent introductory chapter, the sheer quantity as well as
the difficulties of his œuvre have meant that his contribution to our
understanding of New Testament exegesis has often been overlooked. So,
it might be concluded, the conference was a chance to show the value of the
project. The introduction also includes eight pages devoted to a brief but
rich overview of Philo’s importance for the Christian tradition, which
includes valuable remarks on Luther’s knowledge of Philo (derived via
Josephus) and the extensive use of Philo made by Hugo Grotius in his three
volumes of Annotations on the New Testament (1650). The programme of
the actual conference as represented in its proceedings falls into four parts:
(a) three papers surveying the field of Philo and the New Testament;
(b) twelve articles presented in six pairs, with a Philonist and a New Testa-
ment scholar looking at a common theme from the viewpoint of their own
specialization; (c) two further articles on separate subjects; (d) three detailed
readings of Philonic texts, the results of workshops held at the conference.
As the programme indicates, every effort was made to ensure that the
scholarly conversation was reciprocal in its approach. Philonists were asked
to show how the study of Philo could contribute to New Testament studies,
but at the same time New Testament scholars were encouraged to demon-
strate that their discipline could also offer assistance in understanding Philo
better in his Jewish and Hellenistic context.

The first of the three papers giving an overview of the subject was by
Gregory Sterling, co-editor of this Journal. His paper is entitled ‘The Place
of Philo of Alexandria in the Study of Christian Origins’. Sterling is positive
and optimistic in his approach. Although he is convinced that there are no
direct connections between Philo and the New Testament, he nevertheless
144 david t. runia

argues that there are many traditions which they share. Philo is not as
isolated within Judaism as we might think. At least two Jewish authors are
demonstrably dependent on him, Josephus and the author of 2 Enoch.
Others share traditions with him. Philo was also known to a number of
pagan intellectuals. As for New Testament writers, Sterling focuses on four
texts where he detects the use of Platonizing traditions reminiscent of what
we find in Philo: the Corinthian correspondence, Hebrews, Luke-Acts and
the Gospel of John. He is particularly intrigued by the correspondences
between Philo’s exegesis of Gen. 1:1–5 and the use made of the same
passage by the Evangelist in John 1:1–5. Is it not likely that they shared the
same Platonizing tradition? This hypothesis needs to be worked out in
more detail.6 In short, Sterling argues that Philo’s treatises fill some of the
gaps left by the New Testament documents. The extent to which this
happens depends on our view of Philo’s place in Judaism. The conference
could not have got off to a more positive start.
George Nickelsburg’s paper on Philo among Greeks, Jews and Chris-
tians was given at Jena during the conference and is aimed at a more gene-
ral audience. Its most interesting aspect is the rather startling comparison
he makes between Philo and the eighteenth century Jewish philosopher
Moses Mendelssohn. Although their background was dissimilar — Men-
delssohn grew up in poverty not far from Jena and came into prominence
through his sheer brilliance — they represent the same cultural pheno-
menon, combining loyalty to Judaism with the willingness to immerse
themselves in the dominant culture of their time. In placing Philo in the
context of his Judaism, Nickelsburg reminds us that philosophy was not the
only form of speculative intellectual activity at that time. He notes how
aspects of wisdom speculation also appear in the apocalyptic collection of
1 Enoch. Its authors were not philosophers in any sense of the term, but
‘their blending of cosmological and theological speculation with ethical
imperatives and critiques does present a parallel to the philosophical
enterprise and the comparison of these two phenomena of the Hellenistic
period is a topic worth pursuing’ (p. 67).
The title of the third of the general papers, by Larry Hurtado, homes in
on the main theme of the conference: ‘Does Philo help explain early Chris-
tianity?’ The answer he gives is Solomonic, yes or no depending on what
one means in asking the question. If it is taken in the strong aetiological
sense, it has to be answered in the negative. We do not find in Philo’s
writings anything that indicates the impetus for or the cause of central
features of earliest Christianity. There is ‘nothing peculiarly Philonic’ in any
of the New Testament writings (p. 75, his emphasis). On the other hand,

6 See the article in this volume on pp. 118–140.

review article: philo in germany 145

Hurtado regards Philo as the single most important Jewish writer for
understanding the Jewish religious setting for the beginnings of Christian-
ity (p. 74, again his emphasis), especially in its expression outside Palestine.
So in this sense the answer must be yes. The remainder of the paper is
structured along these no and yes lines. First he proceeds to illustrate his
position in relation to the thought of Paul, the Gospel of John and Hebrews.
In a footnote to p. 79 we get a fascinating glimpse of a discussion at the
conference. Greg Sterling argued that the particular combination of
Platonic and Jewish motifs in Philo made his writings especially significant
for understanding Hebrews with its somewhat similar complex of motifs
and conceptual categories. On the basis of the footnote, I reconstruct that
Hurtado did not disagree with this, provided that the emphasis fell on
understanding rather than on explaining in the hard sense that the writer
of Hebrews actually took material directly from Philo. With regard to his
context in Judaism Hurtado emphasizes that he does reflect the wider
Jewish experience in the Diaspora and is not just a kind of Alexandrian
‘freak’ (my term). But as such he is a witness rather than an innovator,
trying to bolster up Judaism rather than take it in novel directions. This is
shown in the final part of the essay where Hurtado takes two key distin-
guishing features of early Christianity, its gentile mission and its devotion
to Jesus, and argues that Philo would have been opposed to both. Moses
was for Philo the supreme example of what a human being could attain
and in this sense was a ‘divine man’, but this kind of language cannot
provide a bridge to what happens to Jesus in the New Testament writings.
Further examination of this question would have taken the paper into the
area of the doctrine of the Logos, which Hurtado does not pursue. All in all
his paper reveals an exemplary combination of judicious argument and
informed discussion. It is, in my view, one of the highlights of the book.

Next we come to the six pairs of articles on common themes. As the editors
admit, the coverage they provide is imperfect. It would have been good if a
pair had examined material from the Gospels. But the first pair starts with
comparisons between Acts and Philo’s In Flaccum. In this pair, as elsewhere,
we get an intriguing dialectic involving both similarity and difference. The
comparison can go either way. Pieter van der Horst concludes that Philo
and Luke lived in the same world and that they had both a common
language and a common conceptual framework. The emphasis thus falls on
similarity. Friedrich Avemarie dwells more on the differences. For example,
the In Flaccum recounts real violence, in Acts there is just minor unpleasant-
ness. Philo’s account only moves to Rome in order to explain what is
happening in Alexandria, but the events recorded involve the Roman
146 david t. runia

authorities up the highest level, including the Emperor himself, and are
interpreted as the work of divine providence itself. In Luke there is a
triumphalist movement from Jerusalem through Asia Minor to Rome, but
the Roman officials involved are on the periphery of the action and no
theological role is ascribed to them.
Three of the pairs deal with aspects of the Pauline legacy in relation to
Philo. The first focuses on 1 Cor. 15. Here the dialectic is between a con-
structive and a restrictive approach. In a highly original paper David Hay
first suggests that an examination of the spirituality of the Therapeutae can
shed significant light on Philo’s rather abstruse exegesis of Gen. 1 and 2 in
terms of a double creation of humanity. In a sense the life of the soul that
the community practises can be read as a kind of ‘nearly realized escha-
tology’ (p. 140). Although no direct historical link can be established, there
are parallels between Paul’s affirmations in 1 Cor. 15:44–49 and Philo’s
interpretation of the double creation of humanity, just as there are between
the Corinthians that Paul is addressing and Philo’s Therapeutae. So reading
Philo’s treatises can help us understand the kind of spiritual problems that
Paul was attempting to address. Berndt Schaller, whose paper is dedicated
to the memory of the Australian New Testament scholar John O’Neill,
adopts a more restrictive or perhaps even positivistic approach. Its full title
already indicates this: ‘Adam and Christ in Paul. Or: About use and misuse
of Philo in New Testament research’ (my translation of the German). He
cannot agree with the long tradition starting with Grotius and continuing
up to the 1986 Habilitationsschrift of Gerhard Sellin, that Philo’s statement
about the two kinds of human beings at Leg. 1.31 is the key to under-
standing Paul’s statements at 1 Cor. 15:44–49. There are two main differ-
ences. Paul sees no distinction between the two human beings created in
Gen. 1:26 and Gen. 2:7, whereas Philo does. More importantly the pneu-
matic human being is never identified with the first human being, but the
latter is linked with the ‘earthly Adam’ of Gen. 2:7. This argument is,
however, not as strong as Schaller thinks it is, because the phrase ı pr«tow
ênyrvpow is used by Philo in the Exposition of the Law and the Quaestiones,
but not in the Allegorical Commentary which furnished the point of
The next pair covers rather similar ground, but concentrates on the first
four chapters of 1 Corinthians and the link that scholars have seen between
Paul’s depiction of the Apollos faction of the Corinthian community and
Alexandrian Judaism as represented by Philo. Directing his paper explicitly
against the work of Gerhard Sellin, Dieter Zeller argues that Philo doubtless
saw the ênyrvpow yeoË as quite exceptional, particularly in the case of Mo-
ses, but that it remains difficult to conclude that the wise person occupies
review article: philo in germany 147

the same place as the Logos or is to be seen as identical to him. The texts
required to establish this are simply lacking. Zeller is also sceptical about
the soteriological role attributed to the same figure. In response we get a
spirited reply by Sellin himself. It depends, he argues, on what we
understand under ‘identity’. Both in Philo and in the New Testament the
concept of the Logos is really a ‘bundle of metaphors’ (p. 172). But Sellin
remains convinced that the Philonic concept of the Logos has left traces in
the New Testament, if not in Paul himself, then certainly elsewhere, in
Colossians, the Prologue of John and — as he continues to insist — what
we can reconstruct of the Corinthian opponents of Paul. I believe that
Zeller has the better of the argument, but readers need to study the papers
and reach their own verdict.
The next pair homes in on the use of mystery language in Philo and
Paul. Naomi Cohen asks what Philo means when he uses the vocabulary of
the mysteries. She concludes that this terminology, which is less frequent
than one might think, reflects metaphors of speech. More importantly, she
shows that, when Philo enunciates the key doctrines of his thought, more
often than not mystery language is not used, so that he can hardly have
regarded them as ‘mysteries’ in the technical sense. This result conforms to
recent trends in Philonic research, and it is a pity that Cohen does not
engage this literature. But we may expect her to do so in her coming book,
of which this paper is a preview and which is eagerly awaited. The corre-
sponding paper by Bernhard Heininger makes a fascinating and highly
instructive comparison between the accounts of the ascent of soul, in Paul’s
2 Cor. 12:2–4 and Philo’s Spec. 3.1–6. He concludes that it is not helpful to
label these accounts ‘mystical ecstasy’, but they are also not just ‘mystical
clichés’. For Philo they have primarily an hermeneutical function, whereas
the key characteristic of Paul’s description is restraint. Heininger is
prepared to conclude that both had similar experiences, but that the process
of putting them into words leads to very different results. In both cases we
know the existence of their experiences, but their essence remains concealed
behind the traditional nature of speech.
The next pair of papers focuses on the famous text at 2 Tim. 3:16 that ‘all
scripture is divinely inspired’. Folker Siegert begins with some interesting
observations on the phrase ‘holy scriptures’ in Philo. The Director of the
Institutum Judaicum Delitzschianum in Münster likes to make bold asser-
tions and this paper is no exception. He declares that Philo was the first to
hypostasize the Mosaic law as a monolithic whole removed from any
historicity. Indeed ‘from the formal point of view the Koran as a text that
fell from heaven and regarded as an immutable text is closer to Philo’s
conception [than the NT canon]’ (p. 208). He sharply rejects Burkhardt’s
148 david t. runia

attempt to rescue Philo’s thought on the inspiration of scripture by

highlighting Moses’ role as author and concludes that Philo in his various
statements fails to reach consistency. By way of contrast, in the second
paper by Jens Herzer, which focuses especially on the term yeÒpneustow
(divinely inspired), the statement by Yehoshua Amir is cited with approval
that for Philo the Torah did not fall from heaven as in Rabbinic tradition,
but had Moses as its author. I would have liked to have been present at the
discussion following these two papers. It is a pity that Philonic scholarship
is not making more headway in reaching consensus in this area and I
would advocate two moves that might be helpful, firstly to take more
seriously the distinction that Philo makes between Moses as prophet and as
lawgiver (cf. Mos.), and secondly to take more notice of David Winston’s
seminal article on two kinds of prophecy (JSP 4 (1989) 49–67), which in my
view holds the key to how Philo can combine the special experience of
divine inspiration with the less exalted intellectual activity of being the
author of divinely inspired writings.
The final pair of papers turns to the Letter of 1 Peter. Torrey Seland tries
to imagine how a reader versed in Philo’s writings would read the exhorta-
tion in 1 Pet. 2:11. Four terms are relevant: the sojourner (pãroikow), the
soul (cuxÆ) and desire (§piyum¤a) related to the flesh (sãrj). He suggests
that such a reader would certainly be able to fit the text into the framework
of Philo’s thought, but this would lead to quite a different reading to that
given by modern interpreters. All of this is quite convincing, if rather
speculative, but I am not sure that the final conclusion of the paper follows,
namely that the text ‘may not only be considered as ‘the most Hellenized
cuxÆ passage in the NT [E. Schweizer]’, but as a whole also as one of the
most Philonic passages of the NT’ (p. 264). The second paper by Karl-
Heinrich Ostmeyer examines the theme of suffering which is prominent in
the Letter and asks how it compares with suffering in Philo. The analysis
that he gives of the concept of ‘suffering’ as we find it in Philo is valuable,
but the subject is too large to cover in just a handful of pages. Philo insists
that suffering does not come directly from God, but forms a challenge for
the wise person. In contrast the author of 1 Peter does regard suffering as
coming directly from God and as functioning as an instrument for expe-
rience of Him. In the end, Ostmeyer concludes, not much remains of the
parallels between them, but the comparison helps to bring specific aspects
into focus.
Two papers remain in this section which are not paired. The first by
Christian Noack is another highlight of the book. Like other authors,
Noack emphasizes the difference in social and intellectual context between
Philo and Paul, which in his view explains why there is so little real
review article: philo in germany 149

connection between their ideas. The method which he proposes is to com-

pare the way they deal with theological and spiritual problems that they
have in common. The article focuses on strands in the tradition of wisdom
literature: how should the opposition between wisdom and folly be
characterized? In the case of Philo Noack concentrates on the Allegorical
Commentary. The title of the paper — ‘Haben oder Empfangen’ — is
drawn from Congr. 130, where Philo writes: ‘Those souls which regard
themselves as having, ascribe with boastful speech the choice and birth to
themselves, whereas those who place value on receiving, confess that of
themselves they have nothing that is their own, but receive seeds and fruits
showered on them from outside and, by admiring the giver, repel the
greatest of evils, self-love, by means of the perfect good, love of God.’ This
characteristic Philonic theme is compared to three Pauline passages, 1 Cor.
1–4, Phil. 3, 2 Cor. 2:14–7:4. The first of these contains a passage at 1 Cor.
4:7, which uses the same two verbs (¶xein and lambãnein) as we find in the
Philonic passage. This remarkable parallel has, to my knowledge, not been
noted before. Both thinkers contrast living by grace before God to living
for oneself in the confidence of one’s own power, the former being
equated with wisdom, the latter with folly. The difference is that Philo’s
approach is individualistic and psychological, whereas Paul has social
relations in mind, i.e. he is arguing against a kind of aristocratic self-esteem
which strives for acceptance and honour in society. Moreover the cognitive
dualism which Philo develops, placing oneself rather than God at the centre
of the universe, is missing in Paul. It should be noted that the antithesis that
Noack develops is accentuated by the comparison he makes with the
Allegorical Commentary. If he had adduced the Exposition of the Law he
would have found that Philo has social concerns comparable to those of
Paul (e.g. the attack on those who take pride in their noble birth in Virt.
187–227). But the striking parallel that he found certainly justifies the
The remaining paper by Cana Werman looks at the theme of God’s
house, whether it is the temple or the universe. She reaches the unexpected
conclusion that with regard to temple and cult Philo stands closer to a text
such as 4QFlorilegium from the land of Israel (her formulation) than those
of the Hellenistic-Jewish Diaspora which take a negative view of the
Jerusalem temple (such as Stephen’s speech in Acts 7). Both affirm temple
and sacrifices, the difference between them lying in what they identify as
the superior temple, in Philo’s case the universe, for the Qumran document
the future earthly temple. But the paper’s account of Philo’s position and
further research is required to substantiate the conclusions it reaches.
150 david t. runia

The final section of the volume is entitled ‘Philonic readings’ and presents
three papers based on the results of a number of workshops which
engaged in close reading of some passages in the Exposition of the Law
and the Life of Moses. Naturally I was most intrigued to read the paper by
Jutta Leonhardt–Balzer on the well-known passage Opif. 15–25, part of
Philo’s exposition of the creation taking place on ‘day one’. Was there
much left to say on this text after my Commentary published in 2001?
Were there things that I got badly wrong? Fortunately the answers to
these questions are yes and no respectively. We are presented with a text
and English translation, based largely on that of Whitaker and my own. It is
a pity that the version of David Winston published in his well-known
Philonic anthology was not taken into account. A mini-commentary on the
text is then presented, followed by some conclusions. The most important
of these is the hypothesis that sections 21–23 show differences in method
and terminology and should be seen as an insert from a different back-
ground into the passage §16–25. There is definite merit in this suggestion,
for the transition from divine Logos to divine Powers in §20 is certainly
rather abrupt. The reason given for the insertion is excellent (p. 333): ‘The
previously used image of the seal and the stamp leave the question of why
God created this copy at all, knowing that it would not be as perfect as the
original. It is to answer this question that Philo turns to the matter of God’s
motive for creating the universe.’ On one issue I would like to make a
point of clarification. On p. 325 we read: ‘The term ‘day one’ is used in this
passage for the first time in Greek philosophy. Runia argues that it must be
based on earlier sources (p. 134), but he does not name any evidence.’ This
remark is based on a misunderstanding. What I wrote was that the term
‘noetic cosmos’ is found here in Greek philosophy for the first time (more
or less: a related term in Timaeus Locrus is probably earlier). The term ‘day
one’ is hardly a philosophical term at all. It is an exegetical concept, which
Philo has related to certain features of the number one developed in Greek
arithmology. Finally I suspect that on p. 343 there is an unfortunate mis-
print. We read ‘He [Philo] does agree with Plato’s view of the ideas as
uncreated.’ I suggest that the word ‘not’ has fallen out here.
In the second reading Rosa Maria Piccione focuses on the description of
Moses’ activity as shepherd in Midian (Mos. 1.60–62). She shows how Philo
was aware that in his description he had to reach out to a wide readership.
For this reason he does not use David as an example, but brings into play
the classical background of Xenophon’s Cyropaedia and its tradition. The
role of shepherd was treated with disdain by many people in the ancient
world, notably in Egypt (cf. Agr. 51), although it was favoured in the Plato-
nic tradition. It certainly contrasts with the conception of the divine king
review article: philo in germany 151

such as we find in Hellenistic-Roman ideology, so we may conclude that

Philo was clever in exploiting the theme of paideia as it had developed in the
Xenophonic tradition. To my knowledge this background has not been
noted before and its exploration makes a welcome addition to Philonic
studies.7 In the third reading Jürgen Hammerstaedt makes a number of
‘philological comments’ on the text of Spec. 2.39–48 on the Seventh day.
The aim was to test the value of the textual instruments such as texts,
translations, commentaries and lexica that Philonists have at their disposal.
The result is a number of sharp-witted analyses of brief passages resulting
in valuable and convincing textual emendations. As the author notes, the
exercise shows that we have to continue to labour on the text in addition to
interpreting what earlier editors have presented us with.

In conclusion, the volume under review may be warmly recommended to

all scholars interested in the relation between Philo and that remarkable
collection of writings bundled together in the New Testament. The cover-
age of papers is good, though far from complete. The synoptic papers at
the beginning of the volume give excellent overviews and present the main
issues with clarity and conviction. Other papers advance our knowledge on
more specific themes. It is pleasing to see the greater methodological
sophistication that is being developed in our discipline. There appeared to
be a general consensus that parallels on their own are never enough to
postulate a relation between two texts. Social and intellectual context have
to taken into account as well.8 As is to be expected, there was some
variation in how optimistic scholars were about the value of comparing the
two corpora. The most optimistic view is that Philo and other Hellenistic-
Jewish texts can help us fill in gaps in our knowledge of the background to
the New Testament. Other scholars were more cautious. There was also

7 There are a number of mistakes in the Greek cited in the text, making it difficult for
the reader to construe in some cases. I note the following: p. 345, end of second line
≤mervtãthw; p. 346 first line Ípobeblhm°nvn; line 6 §reunvm°nƒ; p. 354, second line, colon
after fugÒntew.
8 In an Appendix a paper is included by Martina Böhm which anticipates some of the
results of her soon to be published Habilitationsschrift on the accounts of the Patriarchs
in Philo. She adopts a strongly sceptical position on the question of the extent to which
Philo’s presentation of Abraham can allow a better understanding of the role of the
Patriarch in the New Testament. Biblical exegesis is largely determined by local socio-
cultural concerns. Even in Philo there are marked differences between the three commen-
taries, and often we can only guess at the particular background which they presuppose.
If this position is pursued to its logical conclusion, it not only places a bomb under the
entire CJHNT project, but must also lead to a strong atomization of research results, since
socio-cultural situations are very often sui generis and difficult to reconstruct. The book,
which will take up similar themes to Sandmel’s well-known 1955 monograph, is eagerly
152 david t. runia

some variation in the extent to which Philo was seen as representative of

Hellenistic Judaism. These differences do not invalidate the aims of the
larger CJHNT project, but will allow its authors to sharpen their focus and
stimulate them to continue this valuable work.

Finally I would like to return to my opening theme, the study of Philo in

Germany. I have not yet mentioned the two brief opening addresses by
the Dean of the Theological Faculty in Jena and the Bishop of the Evangeli-
cal Lutheran church in Thüringen which are included in the volume. Both
explicitly refer to the dark shadows that loom over the study of Philo and
Judaism in twentieth century Germany. Indeed Eisenach, the very town
where the conference was held, was the site of the ‘Institut zur Erforschung
und Beseitigung des jüdischen Einflusses auf das deutsche kirchliche Leben’
(Institute for research on and removal of Jewish influence on German
church life), led by the New Testament scholar Walter Grundmann, who
after the War resumed his teaching role in the German Democratic Repub-
lic (DDR). In a moving address Bishop Christoph Kähler emphasized that,
though the purpose of the conference was not to address issues in the
history of research, it would nevertheless not be appropriate to cover up
this shameful past with silence. Against this background the location of the
Conference at Jena and Eisenach is all the more significant. Scholarship too
has its socio-cultural context. Its influence is always present, and from time
to time things can go badly wrong. It is regrettable, therefore, that the vol-
ume under review does not have a section in which we are given personal
information about the contributors. Not even their present address and
institutional affiliation is listed. Future generations may well wish to know
more about the scholars who participated in this important and positive
moment in the history of Philo scholarship in Germany.

Queen’s College
The University of Melbourne
The Studia Philonica Annual XVII (2005) 153–160



Ishay Rosen-Zvi

Midrashei Halakha or Legal Midrashim is the term that scholars have

commonly used to describe a group of biblical commentaries that was
most likely redacted somewhere in the third century but consists mainly of
second-century, Tannaitic material.1 Despite their name, Legal Midrashim
are not solely legal:2 they contain a variety of exegetical material dealing
with biblical law, narrative and poetry. In addition to being one of the ear-
liest, and most complete, running commentaries on the Pentateuch,3 these
compositions also present a special method of reading scripture, famously
known as Midrash.4 Since the late nineteenth century, scholars have
distinguished between two types of Tannaitic Midrash, identifying them
with the second-century schools of Rabbi Akiva and Rabbi Ishmael. So
important is this division to rabbinic scholarship, that most of the modern
academic study of Tannaitic Midrashim can basically be seen as clarification
and elaboration of this insight. The identification of new Midrashim has
tended to only further validate the approach and has strengthened its hold
over scholarship.5
Azzan Yadin’s new book offers a fresh perspective on the legal sections
of the Midrashim of Rabbi Ishmael6, most fully preserved in the Mekhilta to

* Azzan Yadin, Scripture as Logos: Rabbi Ishmael and the Origin of Midrash. University
of Pennsylvania Press: Philadelphia, 2004. 248 pages. ISBN 0-8122-3791-9. Price $44.
1 On these issues, see D. Boyarin, ‘On The Status of Tannaitic Midrashim,’ JAOS 112
(1992) 455–465, and Yadin’s references (pp. 177–178).
2 Thus many scholars prefer the name Tannaitic Midrashim. See, however, n. 21 below.
3 On the comparison between Tannaitic Midrash and the concept of running commentary
in Qumran and Philo, see S. Fraade, From Tradition to Commentary: Torah and its
Interpretation in the Midrash Sifre to Deuteronomy (Albany 1991) 1–23.
4 Although the term ‘Midrash’ appears in the Bible, and was already used in Qumran to
describe their interpretive processes, it has become identified especially with rabbinic
interpretive techniques. Thus, we find many titles like ‘Midrash, Mishna and Gemara,’
‘Midrash and Literature,’ ‘the Midrashic Imagination,’ etc.
5 See M. Kahana, ‘New Fragments from the Mekhilta to Deuteronomy’, Tarbiz 54 (1985)
485–551 [Hebrew]; idem, Sifre Zuta on Deuteronomy (Jerusalem 2002) [Hebrew].
6 In his prologue Yadin clarifies (pp. xi–xii) that the name ‘R. Ishmael’ in the book
refers to a group of compositions, not to the historical figure. He does, however, compare
154 ishay rosen-zvi

Exodus and the Sifre to Numbers. Through a close reading of a series of

R. Ishmael’s legal homilies and an analysis of their structure and termino-
logy, Yadin strives to uncover the textual ideology and hermeneutical
conceptions of this school. In his words, he attempts to ‘reconstruct the
implicit fore-understanding of Torah that determines the ancient readings’
(p. 10). To the end of establishing ‘the concept of scripture that underlies
the legal sections of the Mekhilta and the Sifre Numbers’ (p. 10), Yadin
devotes the first six chapters of the book. He explores midrashic concepts
(i.e. Ha-Katuv vs. Torah) in Chapter One; terminology (Shomea Ani and Ki-
Shmuo) in Chapter Two; general principles (e.g., ‘Preliminary statements
not interpreted’ or ‘Freed for the sake of analogy’) in Chapter Three;
interpretive rules (Midot) in Chapters Four and Five; and the notion of Din
in Chapter Six. This rich textual journey concludes with a rather innovative
and surprising conclusion: that the school of Rabbi Ishmael had a novel
conception of Torah that determined, to a large extent, its interpretive
In Yadin’s view, the school of R. Ishmael saw the Torah not as simply
text, but, first and foremost, as teacher; the Torah is envisioned not as a
document in need of interpretation, but as an instructor, actively leading
the reader to the correct understanding. Furthermore, these Midrashim
conceived of the reader as a passive hearer (Shomea), yielding to the voice
of the katuv or written word. The interpretive activity itself, in other words,
is ascribed mostly to scripture, not to the sage. The interpretive ideology
that Yadin identifies with this school can thus be summarized as a ‘herme-
neutics of submission.’ Whereas scholarship has long equated the special
character of R. Ishmael’s interpretive assumptions with his tendency to
stick to the plain meaning of scripture (Pshat)7 or to ‘logic’ (Din),8 Yadin
shifts the focus from the specific interpretive strategies to the unique
conceptualization of scripture which lies behind them.
In order to evaluate more fully the work’s significance and the origin-
ality of its conclusion, it will be helpful to read it in relation to the two most
influential approaches to Midrash that have guided recent scholarship: the
deconstructionist and the philological — or, in rough (but not totally unjus-
tified) terms, the American and the Israeli. The deconstructionist model

his textual findings to traditions ascribed to, or relating to R. Ishmael, the sage. For
example, his lack of extra-biblical traditions (p. 145) or his alleged priestly origin
(p. 166).
7 This seems to be the most common characterization of this school. See among others,
J. N. Epstein, Prolegomena to Tannaitic Literature (Tel Aviv 1957) 521–536 [Hebrew]; A. J.
Heschel, Theology of Ancient Judaism, vol. 1 (London and New York 1962) 3–23 [Hebrew];
Kahana, Sifre Zuta, 82–84 [Hebrew].
8 Kahana op. cit. 83 and n.20. See also Yadin’s debate with J. Neusner in chap. 6.
review article: joining the club 155

views Midrash as exemplifying a type of independent, free reading in

which the text is regarded as polysemic and whose meaning is solely deter-
mined by the reader. In a rather naïve version of this theory which flour-
ished during the eighties on some American campuses, scholars went so far
as to regard the midrashic-bible as the quintessential ‘open text.’9 Similar
views, however, still play a large role in contemporary scholarship, albeit in
much more nuanced and sophisticated forms.10 In stark opposition to these
views, Yadin’s work strives to show that what characterizes the Midrashic
reading, at least in its R. Ishmael version, is ‘hermeneutical restraint — not
freedom’ (p. 94), and that its interpretive endeavor is conducted, ultimately,
under ‘thoroughly textual determination’ (p. 82).
The philological school — developed mainly in the Talmud department
of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and most identified with its found-
ing father, J. N. Epstein — engages with the Tannaitic Midrashim from a
purely philological, historical perspective. It abstains as much as possible
from theoretical questions and displays sustained suspicion of ‘fashionable’
methodological reflections and tools.11 Over the last century, this method
has achieved much and has demonstrated the importance of the philo-
logical approach in publishing critical editions of rabbinic texts, in restoring
the remains of ‘lost Midrashim,’ in dividing the Midrashim into different
schools, in clarifying the relationships between them, and in other worthy
undertakings.12 The narrowness of the philological perspective, however, is
also largely responsible for separating rabbinic scholarship from the larger
interest in hermeneutics in general and in ancient Jewish hermeneutics in
particular.13 As a result, the rabbinic culture of late antiquity — one of the
most interpretive-based cultures — has not been engaged from a herme-
neutical perspective as deeply as have other, related cultures (such as

9 Yadin (p. 94) mentions two books in this context: Susan Hendelman’s The Slayers of Mo-
ses (Albany 1982) and Hartman and Budick’s Midrash and Literature (New Haven 1986).
10 See for example Yadin’s references to James Kugel (p. 55) and to David Stern (p. 61).
11 On J. N. Epstein and the establishment of ‘The Institute of Jewish Studies’ in the
Hebrew University in the 1920‘s see D. Myers, Reinventing the Jewish Past: European
Jewish Intellectuals and the Zionist Return to History (Oxford 1995). For two reflections on
this school, from within and from without respectively, see: M. Kahana, ‘T h e
Academica Talmudic Research and the Traditional Study in the Yeshiva’, M. Kahana
(ed.), Bechevlei Masoret U-Tmura (Jerusalem 1990) 113–142; M. Halbertal, ‘D a v i d
Hartman and the Philosophy of Halakhah’, in A. Sagi and Z. Zoher (edd.), Renewing
Jewish Commitment (Tel Aviv 2001) 13–35 [Hebrew].
12 See M. Kahana, ‘Midrashei Halakhah’, in S. Safrai (ed.), The Literature of The
Sages, Second Part, Philadelphia (forthcoming). A short summary of the development of
scholarship on Midrash can be found in his The Mechiltot On The Amalek Portion
(Jerusalem 1999) 15–19 [Hebrew].
13 This is, of course, a rough generalization and exceptions to the rule do exist in both
camps. See Yadin’s own reference to several precedents to his work on pp. ix and 10.
156 ishay rosen-zvi

classics, early Christianity, and Biblical studies). Thus, while hermeneutical

studies of Qumran’s Pesharim or Philo’s allegories are more and more
common,14 similar scholarly works on Tannaitic Midrash are still rare.
When they do discuss interpretive questions, the scholarship has produced
analysis that is unsophisticated and, at times, even trivial. This is especially
true in regard to the legal parts of these Midrashim. For whereas the
Aggadic parts have taken a ‘hermeneutic turn’ in the last twenty years,
thanks to the works of D. Boyarin, J. Kugel, M. Fishbane, D. Stern, S. Fraade
and others,15 the scholarship on the legal parts has remained, by and large,
purely philological16 — so much so, in fact, that Yadin felt obligated in his
introduction 17 to justify the very use of hermeneutical tools in studying
these texts.
The estrangement, however, is mutual: scholars of ancient biblical inter-
pretation rarely include investigations of Tannaitic Midrashim in their
research of ancient textual techniques, attitudes and ideologies;18 and
Talmudic scholars, in turn, rarely integrate the fruits of such research in
their work. One might partially explain the schism on the basis of the
especially difficult hurdle that the requisite textual and linguistic skills
represent, preventing many scholars from even approaching the material
and limiting those who do to analysis on the textual level alone.19 However,

14 D. Dawson’s, Allegorical Readers and Cultural Revision in Ancient Alexandria (Berke-

ley 1992) is a classic example. How much could be gained by incorporating rabbinic
allegory — a phenomenon more prevalent than many scholars believe — into this superb
analysis! For Tannaitic (including legal!) allegory see J. Frankel, Darchi Ha-Agada Ve-
Hamidrash, vol. 1 (Tel Aviv 1996) 197–234.
15 For references see Yadin, ix.
16 Yadin correctly mention two exceptions: M. Halbertal, Interpretive Revolutions in the
Making: Values as Interpretive Considerations in Midrashei Halakhah (Jerusalem 1997)
[Hebrew] and J. Harris, How Do We Know This? Midrash and the Fragmentation of
Modern Judaism (Albany 1995).
17 Entitled ‘On the Hermeneutic Dimension of Midrash Halakhah’ (1–10).
18 References to Halakhic Midrashim appear mainly in works discussing the origins of
Midrash in Qumran. See, for example, M. Bernstein, ‘Midrash Halakhah at Qumran?’
Gesher 7 (1979) 145–166; S. Fraade, Looking for Legal Midrash at Qumran’, in M. E. Stone
and E. G. Chazon (edd.) Biblical Perspectives: Early Use and Interpretation of the Bible in
Light of the Dead Sea Scrolls (Leiden 1998) 59–79; M. Fishbane, ‘Use, Authority and
Interpretation of Mikra at Qumran’, in M. J. Mulder (ed.), Mikra: Text, Translation,
Reading and Interpretation of the Hebrew Bible in Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity
(Assen 1988) 349–377, to name but a few. This vast body of scholarship notwithstanding,
most other references to Tannaitic Midrash discuss specific, mostly non-legal themes but
not the textual techniques (or ideologies) themselves (Kugel’s Traditions of the Bible and
Louis Feldman’s Josephus’s Interpretation of the Bible are two classic examples).
19 In this context, one should add that Yadin’s way of citing, translating and interpret-
ing the primary texts in a clear and elegant manner make the book an excellent intro-
duction to this challenging literature.
review article: joining the club 157

the study of Qumranic literature, despite the similar linguistic and textual
difficulties that it presents, has seen a course of development over the last
half of century quite different from that of Tannaitic Midrash.
In light of the prevalent disconnection between the related disciplines,
Yadin’s book represents a major accomplishment. By posing new ques-
tions and employing under-utilized hermeneutical tools,20 Yadin not only
rethinks some of the most basic questions of Midrash as interpretation, but
he is also able to connect, maybe for the first time, the study of the legal
Midrashim to the broader discussions of ancient Jewish hermeneutics. The
legal material, which stood undoubtedly at the center of the Tannaitic
intellectual endeavor,21 can, at last, join the larger family of ancient Jewish
Using close textual readings, Yadin develops his broad thesis regarding
R. Ishmael’s idea of reading as total submission to scripture: ‘No inde-
pendent interpreter, the reader carries out the exegetic instructions already
inscribed in the text’ (p. 83). The thesis is elaborated gradually in a well-
structured argument over the course of the first part of the book: moving
from terminology to textual ideology and then to the specific interpretive
practices that result.22 In the last two chapters, Yadin moves from the
textual reasoning itself to a historical reconstruction of its context: what
could be the possible background for such an extreme personalization of
scripture as the sole authority and ultimate teacher? R. Ishmael’s school, he
suggests, is part of a priestly tradition — found also in Qumran, Ben Sira
and later in Targum Pseudo-Jonathan — which looks to scripture as the
central authority while marginalizing any extra-scriptural traditions.
Following E. E. Urbach, Yadin opposes this priestly tradition with the
Pharisees’ ‘paradosis tôn paterôn’ whose legacy is to be found in the legal
traditions (Halakhot) of R. Akiva’s Mishna and Midrashim (pp. 166–168).

20 See especially his discussion of ‘hermeneutic holism’ in the introduction, and his
usage of ‘markedness’ in Chapter Three.
21 Although the Tannaitic Midrashim contain a significant amount of non-legal
material, it is the legal parts that stand at its center, as can be shown — at least on the
level of compilation — from the fact that the Midrashim to Exodus and Numbers both
begin with the first legal section in the books. Indeed, the book of Genesis does not have
any early Midrashic compilation, probably due to its lack of legal material. Only later
rabbinic compositions dedicate themselves fully to Aggadic materials.
22 Yadin ties the different chapters into a coherent, progressive narrative by using a
dialectical model in which the ‘ideal of scriptural self-interpretation’ meets the reality
of ‘the persistent need for an interpreter,’ thus creating all kinds of compromises and
compensations (p. 80). Brilliant as it is, this unified narrative seems, at times, a little
too neat. See, for example, Yadin’s account of the rule ‘no punishment from logical
argument’ which, to my mind, seems forced (pp. 83–86).
158 ishay rosen-zvi

Here, however, one feels that the work is only just begun:23 mainly because
the opposition that Yadin builds between R. Ishmael’s Midrashim and the
Sifra24 does not cover the complexity of the relationships between Midrash
and Tradition, or, better put, between the Oral and Written Torah in
Tannaitic Literature and even in the Mishna itself.25
Much of Yadin’s conclusions are based on an analysis of Midrashic
terminology and specific idioms characterizing R. Ishmael’s Midrashim. So,
for example, in the first chapter, he makes an astute distinction between
two terms that the Midrashim use to denote scripture: Torah and Ha-katuv.
After studying various appearances of this word pair, he comes to the
following conclusion: ‘the distinction between torah and ha-katuv is not
merely stylistic but rather a sustained and consistent rhetorical strategy
aimed at establishing two distinct personifications. TORAH is figured
almost exclusively as a speaker of scriptural passages […] while HA-
KATUV is part of the midrashic give-and-take […] HA-KATUV is pre-
sented as an active teacher that employs a wide range of interpretive
techniques’ (p. 32). Midrash scholars cannot fail to notice the novelty of
such an analysis, not only in the specific conclusion that Yadin reaches, but,
first and foremost, in the ingenious method that he employs to deduce
hermeneutical ideologies from simple terminological distinctions.26 Here,
however, lies a methodological problem that must be engaged. How
literally should we take the midrashic terminology? What are we to do

23 As Yadin himself notes, thus promising to dedicate an independent study to this issue
(p. 151). As far as I know, this study is indeed well on its way.
24 One of the latest Tannaitic Midrashim, which functions as a systematic, Midrashic
grounding of the laws of the Mishna to an extent unparalleled even in R. Akiva’s
Midrashim. Moreover, as M. Kahana has recently shown (Sifre Zuta 109–110),
R. Akiva’s Midrashim, unlike R. Ishmael’s, do not belong to one unified school, but to
various schools all identified with R. Akiva: a fact which proves, according to Kahana,
the dominance of Akiva’s school in the late Tannaitic period.
25 For even the Mishna, supposedly the purest manifestation of Rabbi Akiva’s Oral-
Torah ideology, includes hundreds of Derashot and biblical proof texts. Scholars have
begun only recently to discuss the question of the relationships between the two Torot —
between Midrash and Halakhah — from perspectives other than purely developmental,
diachronic ones (as in Urbach’s paper discussed by Yadin, p. 167–168). See, most recently,
H. Najman, Seconding Sinai: The Development of Mosaic Discourse in Second Temple
Judaism (Leiden 2003) 108–137.
26 It seems to me, however, that a basic distinction is somewhat overlooked here:
TORAH refers usually to the Pentateuch in general or at least to one of its books, while
HA-KATUV refers always to a specific verse. This distinction might account for some of
the differences between the two terms described in the book: scripture is but a container of
verses (thus it always ‘speaks verses’ as Yadin notes), while HA-KATUV, the specific
verse under discussion, is the active player, teaching us new Halakhot (otherwise the
verse would have been redundant and unnecessary, as the common opening question ‘why
is it stated’ [?rmaˆ hml ] indicates).
review article: joining the club 159

with idioms like: ‘Ha-katuv came and drew an analogy’ (çyqhˆ bˆtkh ab) or
‘we have heard [from scripture] the penalty’ (wn[mç çnw[)? Does the homilist
simply hear, or believe he hears, scripture teaching? Does scripture really
draw analogies for him? How are we to move from this highly formalized
and ‘frozen’ language to textual conceptions and ideologies? The book
lacks any explicit methodological discussion of the issue, leaving us with a
largely un-problematized27 deduction from terminology to ideology.28
Here is one example: the Sifre on Numbers, while discussing the legal
right of husband and father to annul a woman’s vow, says: ‘You are
compelled to draw an analogy from the father to the husband’ and vice
versa (p. 81); from this phrase Yadin concludes: ‘The ‘compulsion’ to draw
the analogy shifts the interpretative agency to the biblical text, so that,
ultimately, heqqesh [analogy — I.R.] is generated by the biblical text, not the
reader’ (p. 82). But how seamlessly can we move from the rhetoric of
Midrash to the ‘implicit fore-understanding of Torah’ or to ‘rabbinic ideas
about scripture’(p. 10)? Can this idiom directly teach us about the ‘thor-
oughly textual determination’ of interpretation according to R. Ishmael,
and his ‘scripture centered ideology?’ In a short paper, Moshe Halbertal
analyzes the midrashic idiom ‘If it were not a written verse it could not be
said’ (wdlrl rçpa ya bwtk arqm almla), 29 which appears a few times in
Tannaitic Midrashim to introduce exceptionally daring theological state-
ments. Despite the explicit statement, Halbertal shows that in almost all
cases in which this idiom is employed, there is actually no ‘written’ verse
compelling the homilist to say what he says. Thus, we must take the idiom
as a rhetorical apology, justifying and neutralizing daring religious
statements, rather than taking it at face value and mistakenly claiming that
the homilist regards scripture as the sole source of his theological

27 Sifre Numbers 118 (cited and discussed by Yadin on pp. 89–92) provides a clear
example of the difficulty in deducing ideological conclusions from Midrashic idioms:
R. Akiva (!) is cited as saying ‘HA-KATUV came and drew analogy’ but when R. Yosi
replies to him he says ‘My master, YOU draw an analogy’. If we would not claim that
this is an intentional rephrasing (which seems unlikely here), we would have to
conclude that these terms are interchangeable, at least in this context.
28 Yadin’s conceptualization of ‘rhetorical self-justification’ in Midrash serve him
mainly to distinguish it from ‘actual interpretive practices’ (p. 4; see n. 22 above) but not,
as one would expect, from ‘rabbinic ideas about scripture.’ Indeed, when referring to R.
Akiva’s midrashic ideology in Chapter Seven, Yadin is much more willing to interpret
the references to scripture as rhetorical devices of justification rather than a simple
indication of the ideology of submission.
29 M. Halbertal, ‘If it were not a written verse it could not be said’, Tarbiz 68 (1998) 39–59
160 ishay rosen-zvi

These last critical notes are to be taken as no more than an opening of a

Beit-Midrash style give-and-take and as an invitation for further exploration
of these fascinating questions. I do not mean to diminish at all from the
achievement of this book — its thorough textual studies, its innovative
methodology and conclusions, and its great importance in the context of
Midrashic scholarship. If the work is not complete it is because this is the
inescapable fate of truly pioneering works. Thus, I cannot but join Jeffrey
Rubinstein in his enthusiastic endorsement of Yadin’s book: ‘This is
perhaps the most significant and innovative scholarly work on the halakhic
midrashim in the past thirty years.’
The Studia Philonica Annual XVII (2005) 161–197


D. T. Runia, E. Birnbaum, K. A. Fox, A. C. Geljon, H. M. Keizer,
J. P. Martín, R. Radice, J. Riaud, D. Satran, G. Schimanowski,
T. Seland

R. Abush, ‘Eunuchs and Gender Transformation: Philo’s Exegesis of the
Joseph Narrative’, in S. Tougher (ed.), Eunuchs in Antiquity and Beyond
(London 2002) 103–121.
The article examines Philo’s interpretation of Joseph in order to gain a better
understanding of his views on gender relations, castration, eunuchism and circumcision.
Philo’s views of gender relations are complex because views on the differences between

* This bibliography has been prepared by the members of the International Philo
Bibliography Project, under the leadership of D. T. Runia (Melbourne). The principles on
which the annotated bibliography is based have been outlined in SPhA 2 (1990) 141–142,
and are largely based on those used to compile the ‘mother works’, R-R and RRS. The
division of the work this year has been as follows: material in English (and Dutch) by
D. T. Runia (DTR), E. Birnbaum (EB), K. A. Fox (KAF), A. C. Geljon (ACG) and H. M.
Keizer (HMK); in French by J. Riaud (JR); in Italian by R. Radice (RR) and H.M. Keizer
(HMK); in German by G. Schimanowski (GS); in Spanish and Portugese by J. P. Martín
(JPM); in Hebrew (and by Israeli scholars) by D. Satran (DS); in Scandinavian languages
(and by Scandinavian scholars) by T. Seland (TS). Once again this year there has been
close co-operation with L. Perrone (Bologna/Pisa), indefatigable editor of Adamantius
(Origen studies). I am also grateful both to authors who have helped me in gaining
access to items not easily available to me in Australia and to colleagues who have drawn
my attention to bibliographical material which I missed or who have helped me locate
obscure items. They include this year Manuel Alexandre, Giovanni Benedetto, John
Dillon, Piet van der Horst, Alan Kerkeslager, Frank Shaw and Emmanuele Vimercati.
With sadness I record the death of Henk Spierenburg (The Hague), who showed a great
interest in this bibliography and esp. in Philo’s relation to Gnosticism and esoteric
traditions. I am once again extremely grateful to my former Leiden colleague M. R. J.
Hofstede for efficiently performing diverse electronic searches. The bibliography is
inevitably incomplete, because much work on Philo is tucked away in monographs and
articles, the titles of which do not mention his name. Scholars are encouraged to get in
touch with members of the team if they spot omissions (addresses below in ‘Notes on
162 the studia philonica annual 17 (2005)

male and female are combined with the notion of spiritual progress in which the female
can be left behind, but the soul can also receive the divine seed. After some general
observations on Philo’s interpretation of eunuchism, the article concentrates on the figure
of Joseph. Just like the Rabbis, Philo is sensitive to ambiguities in the figure of Joseph as
he appears in the biblical narrative. He can be read both negatively (indulging in
pleasure) and positively (rejecting passion). The latter interpretation runs parallel to
his allegorization of circumcision. Ultimately Philo’s gender hierarchy guarantees that
the figure of the eunuch must always be subject to slippage back into the passive realm of
sensuality. Philo thus prefigures debates about the role of self-mutilation in early
Christianity. (DTR)

F. Back, Verwandlung durch Offenbarung bei Paulus. Eine religions-

geschichtlich-exegetische Untersuchung zu 2 Kor 2,14–4,6, Wissenschaftliche
Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 2.153 (Tübingen 2002), esp. 24–38.
The monograph contends that in 2 Cor. 2:14–4:6 Paul, when he compares himself with
Moses, uses the metamorphosis motif to convince the Corinthians about his legitimacy as
an apostle. In her examination of Jewish-Hellenistic texts Back explains Philo’s reports
of the metamorphosis of Moses (Mos. 2.66–70) and Abraham (Virt. 212–219) as a
phenomenon of charismatic and prophetic enthusiasm. The authority of the mediator of
divine revelation (Offenbarungsmittler) is underlined, the divinity of his message con-
firmed and the development of his spiritual perfection documented. Philo, just like the
author of LAB, knows about the metamorphoses of Moses; but he limits the brightness of
his face. Both Paul and Philo use the metamorphosis motif to show that the message of
some chosen human beings comes directly from God and is confirmed by their life. In this
way they become models for others on the path to the knowledge of God. (GS)

S. Badilita, ‘Le symbolisme des couleurs cheze Philon: l’exemple du De

Somniis I, 189–227’, in L. Villard (ed.), Couleurs et vision dans l’antiquité
classique (Rouen 2002) 153–165.
Philo’s commentary on one of the dreams of Joseph (Gen. 31:11–13) is of particular
interest for the study of the symbolism of colours. The author proposes a first
interpretation of the three shme›a: tÚ diãleukon, tÚ poik¤lon and tÚ spoldoeid¢w =antÒn in
relation to Jacob, the symbol of the éskhtÆw, who attains to wisdom through practice, but
at the time of the dream has not yet reached the goal of his spiritual itinerary (§199–
212). A second interpretation is then given: the same signs, but now in reverse order, are
related to the High Priest, the symbol of the t°leiow, the man who has attained wisdom
(§213–219). The three signs this time represent the three stages in an ascent that can be
described as mystical. Attached to this second part is also a digression on the politician,
represented by Joseph (§219–227), who only has access to the intermediate sign, the
poik¤lon, which has a negative connotation. (JR)

M. Baltes, Die philosophische Lehre des Platonismus: Von der »Seele« als der
Ursache aller sinnvollen Abläufe, 2 vols., Der Platonismus in der Antike 6
(Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt 2002).
Continuing this magnificent source-book of the history of Platonism up to about the 4th
cent. c.e. (cf. R-R 8731, RRS 9015, 9603, SPhA 13 (2001 252), Baltes now systematically
bibliography of philonic studies 2002 163

collects and comments on texts relating to the doctrine of the soul. The only Philonic text
selected is Opif. 137, illustrating the soul as a m°sh oÈs¤a, but further references to the
Alexandrian in the commentary on other texts. Sadly this volume is the last to be
completed by Baltes, who died in January 2003. The project is being continued by C.
Pietsch and M.-L. Lakmann. (DTR)

L. Baynes, ‘Personification, and the Transformation of Grammatical

Gender’, The Studia Philonica Annual 14 (2002) 31–47.
Philo saw grammatical gender as philosophically important, but this created a prob-
lem when a word’s grammatical gender and its true nature conflicted. Fug. 5152 is illus-
trative (cf. Abr. 101102; QG 4.18). Rebecca’s father is Bathouel, which etymologically
means ‘daughter of God’. Philo asks how the female ‘daughter of God’, Wisdom, which
is grammatically feminine, can in nature be masculine. Contrary to Sly (RRS 9066),
Baynes shows that Philo was not the only ancient to wrestle with the significance of
grammatical gender and, although Philo does not have a systematically consistent and
sustained philosophy of language, he nevertheless draws on Stoic linguistic theory to
resolve this conflict. Philo enters the nature/convention debate and in almost complete
agreement with the Stoics comes down on the side of convention. Names were given by
human imposition but, and here is the qualification, the names given reflect the nature
of things (cf. Opif. 149–150). Philo and the Stoics only part company in the identity of
the namegiver. For the Stoics it was wise men, for Philo it was the wise man, Adam (Leg.
2.15). With the Stoics, Philo believed that language gradually underwent corruption
with the addition and subtraction of letters to words. As a result, grammatical gender
now deceives by obstructing meaning rather than clarifying it. The task of etymology
practiced by the Stoics and Philo is the means to divest nouns of their usually feminine
grammatical gender so they conform to their true meaning and fit Philo’s philosophical
schema. (KAF)

S.-P. Bergjan, Der fürsorgende Gott. Der Begriff der PRONOIA Gottes in
der apologetischen Literatur der Alten Kirche, Arbeiten zur Kirchengeschichte
81 (Berlin–New York 2002), esp. 39–43.
The conviction that God was concerned for the world was generally current at the time
of the rise of Christianity. In her study in the Christian apologetic literature of the 2nd
and 3rd centuries Bergjan makes some reference to the term pronoia in Philo’s writings.
For example Conf. 115, Det. 144f. and Post. 11 are cited as the background of some ideas of
the Church Fathers, especially those of Alexandria. Philo was one of the first who
explained the nature of God with reference to his activity — as a general pattern of
meaning, in terms of order or as individual care. It is a pity that in the monograph no
attention was paid to Philo’s treatise on divine providence (De providentia 1–2) or the
two political-apologetic ones (In Flaccum and Legatio), where the idea of the divine
providence is underlined in central passages. (GS)

R. Bergmeier, ‘Der Stand der Gottesfreunde; zu Philos Schrift „Über die

kontemplative Lebensform”’, Bijdragen 63 (2002) 46–70.
Usually scholarly interest in Philo’s De vita contemplativa is limited to the so-called
Therapeutae as a distinctive group or community of Jewish sectarians, their identity and
character, their Mareotic settlement and ascetic way of life. But Philo himself is not
164 the studia philonica annual 17 (2005)

really engaged in giving an account of a historical community, for he writes a

philosophical treatise on being wholly devoted to worship and contemplation (Con-
templ. 1, 58, 67, 90). For this reason he does not describe, but actually defines that to;
qerapeutiko;n gevno~ has consisted of those who aspire to ‘the contemplation of the Being’
(11; cf. Plato, Rep. 582c) and in this way obtain complete felicity. At the end of the
treatise (90) this idea is taken up again in idealizing words about being true
philosophers, i.e. friends of God, a gift of God that affords true virtue and leads to the
height of felicity. Philo presents the contemplative manner of living by telling about
the so-called Therapeutae. In doing so he uses different traditions and sources that allow
him to present an apparently historical community: (a) remarks that actually refer to
Jewish life and institutions in general; (b) the source on the Essenes which he already
used when writing Prob. 75–91 and Hypoth. 11.1–18; (c) another source on the Essenes, not
used before, but also known to Josephus and Pliny, not Pythagorean, but presenting the
Essenes in a Pythagorean perspective. The common features of the Therapeutae and the
Essenes thus represent Philo’s version of the matter, and his Therapeutae are the
paradigm of the philosophical manner of living that Philo wants to promulgate. Jews,
at least the best of them, he wishes to say, are those people who belong to God’
friendship and spend all their virtuous life in meditation and worship (Contempl. 58, 90;
cf. Praem. 43–44). (GS, based on the author’s summary)

K. Berthelot, ‘La mise en cause et la défense de la ‘philanthropie’ des

lois juives au Ier et au XVIIIe siècles de notre ère’, Revue des Etudes Juives
161 (2002) 41–82.
In the 18th century, in response to the accusations of misanthropy originally formula-
ted in the literature of the Hellenistic and Roman periods, a new defence of the ‘philan-
thropy’ of the Laws of Moses was developed. This defence shows continuity with the
apologetics of Philo and Josephus, but is also radically different in the way it interprets
the biblical concept of ger, the resident stranger. In the 1st century of our era Jewish
philanthropy is expressed in the welcome accorded to proselytes. In contrast in the 18th
century the term designates a stranger who is not converted to Judaism and the philan-
thropy consist in guaranteeing his safety within the Jewish community without demand-
ing his conversion. The author demonstrates that in both cases the cultural context influ-
ences the interpretation. In antiquity this occurs through praise of Roman philanthropy,
in the 18th century through the idea of tolerance. (JR)

K. Berthelot, ‘Philo and Kindness towards Animals (De Virtutibus 125–

147)’, The Studia Philonica Annual 14 (2002) 49–65.
The paper demonstrates how Philo in response to accusations of misanthropy against
the Jewish people argues apologetically that the Law of Moses commands Jews to
behave in humane ways toward all human beings. Applying the a minori ad maius
argument to Deut. 22:10, Philo argues that if Jews are commanded in the law to extend
gentleness and goodness to animals, then all the more so will they extend justice to all
humans. Berthelot says that the ‘ass’ of Deut 22:10 does not signify proselytes as Colson
supposed (LCL) but non-Jews in general. Extending kindness to animals becomes a form of
training for the practice of filanqrwpiva toward humans. That this same argument in De
Virtutibus 125–147 can be seen in Plutarch and Sotion, as reported by Seneca, suggests that
this a minori ad maius argument was well-known before Philo and was Pythagorean in
origin. (KAF)
bibliography of philonic studies 2002 165

G. Bohak, ‘Ethnic Continuity in the Jewish Diaspora in Antiquity’, in

J. R. Bartlett (ed.), Jews in the Hellenistic and Roman Cities (London 2002)
The author suggests that a common assumption in many studies of the Jewish
Diaspora is the certainty of Jewish ethnic continuity in Diaspora settings. This view,
Bohak claims, is based on the experiences of the mediaeval Jewish Diaspora, and is a
model that should be challenged as a key to understanding the Jewish Diaspora in
antiquity. According to Bohak, Jewish continuity in Diaspora settings cannot be taken for
granted, and in some cases it may have been the exception, not the rule. The author first
investigates the Thessalian Demetrias — which attracted many foreigners — focusing
especially on the Phoenician immigrants; then he deals with the works of Philo, the
Egyptian Chora and the land of Onias. Especially interesting for Philonists is his
exposition of In Flaccum 45–46. Bohak’s own conclusion is that the often implicit
assumption that the communities of the Jewish Diaspora thrived from one generation to
the next, flies in the face of what we know about the fate of immigrants in the ancient
world — and of some of the Jewish evidence as well. (TS)

A. P. Bos, ‘Gnostische spiritualiteit: de Grieks-filosofische component’,

Philosophia Reformata 67 (2002) 108–127.
Characteristic of the Gnostic movement is a double theology: a distinction between
the highest, unknown and invisible God, who is truly good, and a lower God, who creates
the cosmos. According to Bos, Philo is an important figure in the development of this
gnostic belief. In the beginning of Opif. he rejects the world-view of the Chaldeans, who
consider the created cosmos to be God. Bos refers to this view as cosmic-theology,
whereas Philo, believing in a transcendent God, represents a meta-cosmic theology. The
author also discusses a passage from Abr. (60–70) in which Abraham is commanded to
free himself from the Chaldean world-view. The metaphor of awaking from a deep
sleep, used by Philo, is — directly or indirectly — borrowed from Aristotle. (ACG)

F. Calabi, ‘Conoscibilità e inconoscibilità di Dio in Filone di Alessandria’,

in eadem (ed.), Arrhetos Theos: l’ineffabilità del primo principio nel medio
platonismo (Pisa 2002) 35–54.
Philo in some passages speaks of God as being unnameable, but in other passages of
human beings as being unable to know the name of God. The author therefore poses the
problem whether in Philo’s view (1) God does not reveal his name (because it is such as
humans are not able to know it) or whether (2) God does not have a name (because of his
nature). Her conclusion is that Philo expresses himself along the lines of the 1s t
hypothesis when he is quoting and commenting a biblical text, whereas in (much more
numerous) expositions more or less independent from biblical passages he develops the
2 nd hypothesis (for which cf. Plato’s Parmenides). The second problem the author
discusses is the relation between the via negationis, via eminentiae and via analogiae, all
of which can be found in Philo’s discourse. Here she concludes that for Philo the three
ways are not mutually exclusive or incompatible: they are three different modes, not of
how God relates to the world, but how human beings relate to God. (HMK)
166 the studia philonica annual 17 (2005)

F. Calabi, ‘Filone di Alessandria tra Bibbia e filosofia’, in P. Stefani (ed.)

Due grandi sapienze: Bibbia ed ellenismo (Florence 2002) 231–260.
The aim of the article is to illuminate the joint presence and close interrelationship of
the Jewish heritage and Greek culture in Philo. Elements which contribute to the
doctrines of the creation of the cosmos and the divine Powers are drawn from Plato’s
Timaeus and Republic as well as Middle Platonist developments. Reference is also made
to Aristotle’s Physics, De generatione animalium and De partibus, not to speak of numerous
allusions to Stoicism. Such references, however, are used for the purpose of interpreting
the biblical text, e.g. the clarification of difficulties inherent in the double account of
creation, the explanation of creation as act of divine will, the providential role of God
etc. In addition the doctrine of the Powers must be seen in the context of the Jewish
prohibition of pronouncing the divine Name and the double appellation of God and Lord
in the Bible. The article focuses in particular on the passages in Opif. dealing with the
simultaneous creation of the cosmos, the divine Model of which the empirical world is a
copy, the role of the Architect of the cosmos, as well as the representation of the Divine
powers in Cher., Abr. and De Deo. (RR)

F. Calabi, ‘Il governante sulla scena. Politica e rappresentazione nell’In

Flaccum di Filone Alessandrino’, in eadem (ed.), Immagini e rappresentazione.
Contributi su Filone di Alessandria, Studies in Philo of Alexandria &
Mediterranean Antiquity (Binghamton–New York 2002) 45–57.
The article studies the theatrical metaphors present in Flacc., the numerous references
to mimics and actors, and the presentation of public life as a great spectacle in which the
main figures present themselves publicly. As background the author recalls the cross-
currents between theatre and political oratory in Greek literature of the 5th and 4th
century b.c.e., the negative view of Plato, who considered theatre as a place of fiction,
and the Stoic use of the metaphor of the actor. The article presents the evidence for the
exhibitionism and villainy of Flaccus, which is echoed by the games and contests in the
circus, while the reversal that takes place in the theatre is represented by the farce of
Carabas. Philo views the theatre in a negative light, seeing it as characterized by
falsity and obscurity. Apart from the traditional Jewish hesitation towards the theatre,
Platonic influences probably also play a role here. Opposed to the negative representa-
tion of the deceivers is the dignified ‘spectacle’ of the persecuted Jews. The account taken
as a whole is negative, presenting the protagonist as similar to a mimic or an actor.
There is a reversal in relation to the Stoic metaphor of the actor. The virtuous indivi-
dual consents to the choices he has carried out. He does not recite his life but lives it.

F. Calabi (ed.), Immagini e rappresentazione. Contributi su Filone di

Alessandria, Studies in Philo of Alexandria & Mediterranean Antiquity
(Binghamton–New York 2002).
The volume collects together the papers of a section of the ‘Mediterranean XXI
Conference’ held in Castellamare di Stabia, Italy in 1999. The studies it contains were
presented from a multi-disciplinary perspective, with each author belonging to a
different discipline and attempting to illuminate aspects of Philonic thought from
differing points of view. The subjects discussed range from the conceptions of humanity
bibliography of philonic studies 2002 167

and political power to the interrelationships between Philonic thought and Platonic and
Stoic philosophy. For individual contributions see the summaries elsewhere in this
bibliography (Calabi, Graffigna, Mazzanti, Radice). (RR)

F. Calabi, ‘Sovranità divina, regalità umana in Filone di Alessandria’, in

P. Bettiolo and G. Filoramo (edd.), Il dio mortale: Teologie politiche tra
antico e contemporaneo (Brescia 2002) 63–77.
Philo is rather indifferent as to what may be the best type of government. What
interests him is to assert and demonstrate the legitimacy of the Law of Moses. Prototype
and model of the true king is Moses, the lawgiver. In first century Alexandria the Mosaic
Law needed to be defended: Philo underlines its eternity, necessity and truth in respect of
other laws. The Law is one and contains all there is to know about the relationships
between God, cosmos and man and about the relationships between men. Human kingdoms
and governments come and go, what counts is concordance with the will and the Law of
God. (HMK)

C. Carlier, La Cité de Moïse, la représentation du peuple juif chez Philon

d’Alexandre (diss. Sorbonne 2002).
This doctoral dissertation was prepared under the supervision of Prof. Monique
Alexandre and defended in June 2002. It has not yet appeared in published form. The
basis of the study is a philological investigation of the terms used to describe the city as
a community of persons (pol¤thw, politeÊv-politeÊomai, pol¤teuma, polite¤a; pÒliw had been
covered in an earlier unpublished study). On this basis conclusions are reached on how
Philo as a Hellenized Jews conceives the community of the Jewish people in terms of the
Hellenistic conception of the city. The dissertation consists of five chapters. The first
examines the use of pol¤thw and polite¤a in relation to the Jews in non-Jewish authors such
as Hecataeus, Manetho, Nicholas of Damascus and Strabo. In the second chapter Carlier
examines various Hellenistic-Jewish writers before Philo and their use of the
vocabulary of the city. In the last three chapters attention is fixed on Philo himself.
Chapter three examines Philo’s use of institutional terminology when describing the city
of Moses and the members of its community. Chapter four examines the conceptual
terminology used to depict the relations between the members of the city of Moses,
notably fil¤a, koinvn¤a, fisonom¤a. The fifth chapter turns to the philosophical use of the
vocabulary of the city, examining the link between city and cosmology, the concept of the
kosmopol¤thw, the connection between citizenship and virtue and the concept of God as
only citizen. In an appendix a commentary is given on Legat. 281–282 which describes
Jerusalem as flerÒpoliw. The main conclusion of the study is that Philo’s conception of the
Mosaic polity shows a community of Jews and proselytes held together by a common
devotion to the laws of Moses, a community without a territory, but with the created
reality of the cosmos as its spiritual home. In this conception Philo is influenced by his
reading, not only of Plato, but also of Aristotle’s political thought. To some degree he
shows nostalgia for the institutions of the classical polis as set out in 4th century
philosophical writings. But at the same time he stands in the middle of the volatile
political situation of his own time, in which Alexandria is ruled from Rome. Philo thus
combines being both a bookish figure and one who is very much involved in contemporary
politics. In both cases his Jewish identity is paramount. (DTR)
168 the studia philonica annual 17 (2005)

J. C. Cavadini, ‘Exegetical Transformations: The Sacrifice of Isaac in

Philo, Origen, and Ambrose’, in P. M. Blowers, A. Russell Christman,
D. G. Hunter and R. D. Young (edd.), In Dominico Eloqui: In Lordly
Eloquence. Essays on Patristic Exegesis in Honor of Robert Louis Wilken (Grand
Rapids–Cambridge 2002) 35–49.
The author considers how Origen and Ambrose receive and transform Philo’s
interpretation of the aqedah (Gen. 22:1–19). Philo understands Abraham to be an
unwritten law, and his identity is closely bound up with God. He is therefore ‘always
ready to renounce’ — as shown by his willingness to leave home and to sacrifice his
‘beloved and only son’ (Abr. 168). Answering ‘unnamed ‘quarrelsome critics’’ (Abr. 178),
Philo emphasizes Abraham’s obedience to God as the motivation behind his willingness
to sacrifice Isaac. Philo also allegorizes the story to mean that the sage must sacrifice
his joy to God, i.e., recognize that ‘his joy is only in God’ (p. 38). Origen focuses on
Abraham as an archetype of faith — rather than of law, as in Philo — ready to give up
his identity by sacrificing God’s promises, an act that may suggest martyrdom on
Abraham’s part. Origen’s Abraham is also ‘a kind of figure for God the Father’ (42), and
Isaac and the ram are figures for Christ. Ambrose builds on and transforms elements from
Origen and Philo, but in Ambrose’s exegesis, Isaac plays the primary role as a type for
Christ, and Abraham becomes a mere onlooker. Cavadini ends with some reflections on
how to evaluate ‘precritical’ exegesis and observes that, because Ambrose minimizes the
role of Abraham as depicted in the biblical narrative, his exegesis ‘seems less successful’
than that of Philo and Origen (48). (EB)

A. Choufrine, Gnosis, Theophany, Theosis: Studies in Clement of Alex-

andria’s Appropriation of his Background (New York 2002).
See summary of author’s dissertation in the Bibliography for 2001, SPhA 16 (2004)

N. G. Cohen, ‘Context and Connotation. Greek Words for Jewish

Concepts in Philo’, in J. L. Kugel (ed.), Shem in the Tents of Japheth: Essays on
the Encounter of Judaism and Hellenism, Supplements to the Journal for the
Study of Judaism 74 (Leiden etc. 2002) 31–61.
The author aims to show that in the case of several rather common Greek words,
Philo found a Judeo-Greek connotation (related to their general connotation, but not the
same) ready to hand. The terms discussed are nomos and nomothesia (= Torah), paradosis
(= ancestral traditions), dogma (= rule), dikaiosyne (= faithful adherence to Torah
statutes), and most extensively sophia and logos (= Torah). The author goes on to argue
that these Judeo-Greek terms were once again redefined by early Christianity and these
re-definitions were accepted by scholars as their primary connotation. This explains
why they have so often been misconstrued by Philonic scholars. (HMK)

I. Davidzon, ‘Il deserto nel De Vita Mosis di Filone Alessandrino:

possibilità di un’ascesa etica e conoscitiva attraverso i prodigi’, Materia
guidaica 7 (2002) 67–73.
bibliography of philonic studies 2002 169

The article deals with the meaning of the desert as seen in Philo’s De vita Moysis. It
intends to show how the desert is not only a physical place but offers to human beings the
possibility of rising to God. In this treatise there is a strict relationship between the
desert, suffering and divine intervention. In this context manna is the link between
human beings and God. The human path towards God starts with the sufferings and the
deprivations inflicted by the desert, but finally humans reach the contemplation of
nature and the knowledge of God through the wonder of manna as divine manifestation.
(DTR; based on author’s summary)

D. M. De Souza–Filho, ‘The Maker’s Knowledge Principle and the

Limits of Science’, Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical
Association 76 (2002) 229–237.
In modern philosophy, the ‘maker’s knowledge argument’ denotes that people can
know what they make. The argument can be construed positively — that people can
indeed know what they make — or negatively — that people can know only what they
make. This understanding of human knowledge has implications for the definition of
‘scientific knowledge, which is thus separated from speculative metaphysics and purely
theoretical knowledge’ (232). Although it is widely assumed that the maker’s know-
ledge argument is not found in ancient philosophy, the author argues that the Demiurge
in Plato’s Timaeus has a maker’s knowledge of the universe, though this is a knowledge
of ‘a technical, practical kind’ (233), rather than a metaphysical knowledge of unchang-
ing forms and principles. Philo may have been the first to articulate the maker’s know-
ledge principle in relation to God. For Philo God, unlike Plato’s Demiurge, incorporates
the Platonic Form of the Good and therefore he has perfect knowledge that is both
theoretical and practical. Christian thinkers further developed the explicit idea of God
as creator ex nihilo. Originally attributed to God as creator, maker’s knowledge gradually
came to be applied to humans and this application became the foundation of the maker’s
knowledge argument in modern philosophy. (EB)

B. Decharneux, ‘Hérésies, sectes et mystères des premiers siècles de

notre ère’, in A. Dierkens and A. Morelli (edd.), «Sectes» et «hérésies» de
l’Antiquité à nos jours, Problèmes d’histoire des religions 12 (Brussels 2002)
The author aims to show that the concept of heresy (hairesis in Greek, the correspond-
ing Latin term is secta) with its connotation of inciting repressive measures is late. In the
case of Philo, who strives to present Judaism and the philosophical religion par excel-
lence, he demonstrates that the way of life of the Therapeutae as described in Contempl.
is highly spiritual and valorizes Judaism. In their case the use of the term hairesis is
positive. (JR)

J. M. Dillon, ‘The Essenes in Greek Sources: Some Reflections’, in J. R.

Bartlett (ed.), Jews in the Hellenstic and Roman Cities (London 2002) 117–
In this article, the author compares some aspects of the descriptions of the Essenes in
Philo and Josephus with descriptions of the Qumranites in the Qumran scrolls. The
aspects focused on are asceticism and rejection of marriage, community of life and
170 the studia philonica annual 17 (2005)

property, and some various provisions like the total number of members, their clothes,
swearing and the degree of determinism in their ideology. The author argues that
neither Philo nor Josephus can count as first-hand witnesses. The evidence from Greco-
Roman sources such as these very probably refer to the same groups as depicted in the
Scrolls; but one should not expect a greater degree of accuracy than is generally
characteristic of Greek sources of alien civilizations or customs. (TS)

S. Docherty, ‘Joseph the Patriarch: Representations of Joseph in Early

Post-biblical Literature’, in M. O’Kane (ed.), Borders, Boundaries and the Bible
(Sheffield 2002) 194–216.
The author pays special attention to how interpreters of the Joseph narrative are
influenced by their religious and cultural settings. Besides an introduction and conclusion
the article is divided into four sections: inner-biblical interpretation, covering Psalm
105:16–22 and 1 Maccabees 2; Hellenistic Jewish sources, including Artapanus, Joseph and
Aseneth, and Josephus’s Jewish Antiquities; Palestinian Jewish sources, including Jubilees
and Pseudo-Philo; and negative presentations of Joseph, including those of Philo (214)
and Genesis Rabbah. Most of these depictions of Joseph are quite positive and highlight
his resistance to Potiphar’s wife and his exalted position in Egypt. Themes that reflect
the concerns of authors and readers include ‘the issue of intermarriage with Gentiles, the
continuing validity of the Jewish law and the need to promote unity’ (215). Philo is not
discussed among the Hellenistic Jewish texts but only under the section on negative
interpretations. His treatment of Joseph is positive in De Iosepho, in which he stresses
Joseph’s powerful position in Egypt, and more negative in De Somniis, in which he calls
attention to Joseph’s arrogance and instability, perhaps as a way of criticizing contem-
porary Roman rulers. (EB)

M. Dulaey, ‘L’apprentissage de l’exégese biblique par Augustin. Pre-

mière partie: dans les années 386–389’, Revue des Etudes Augustiniennes 48
(2002) 267–295, esp. 286.
It is very unlikely that Philo exerted influence on the exegesis that Augustine gives of
Gen. 2:4–5 as he read it in the Vetus Latina. On the other hand, the interpretation which
he gives in De Genesi contra Manichaeos of the rivers Geon and Tigris is the one found in
Leg. 1.23. (JR)

J. E. Dyck, ‘Philo, Alexandria and Empire: the Politics of Allegorical

Interpretation’, in J. R. Bartlett (ed.), Jews in the Hellenstic and Roman Cities
(London 2002) 149–174.
The aim of the article is to explore the cultural and political dimensions of
allegorical interpretation as it is evidenced by the works of Philo, especially the way in
which it is embedded in the cultural politics of Alexandria on the one side, and the
imperial politics on the other. The essay takes the form of critical reflections on David
Dawson’s cultural critical reading of Philo, using Daniel Boyarin as a third dialogue
partner. The focus throughout the article, however, is primarily on the work of Dawson,
and the author reaches some different conclusions: Far from revising Greek culture and
imperial politics, Dyck suggests, Philo in actual fact endorses it. To him, Philo repre-
sents ‘a form of Judaism which had come to terms with a high degree of socio-cultural
bibliography of philonic studies 2002 171

and political assimilation and acculturation. Furthermore, it accommodated Judaism to

the dominant culture via practices such as allegorical interpretation without abandoning
its distinctive traditions and practices’ (174). (TS)

G. Ellia, L’expression de la vie intérieure chez Philon d’Alexandrie

(Mémoire de maîtrise Université Caën 2002).
The first part of the thesis is devoted to an examination of the exegetical themes in
Philo which are the most revealing in relation to the interior life. These are the follow-
ing: snakes and the grasshopper, fire, the two trees, the desert and paths. These themes
signify the dynamism of the interior life. The second part of the thesis emphasizes those
moral situations that humans have at their disposal in order for that interior life to
follow its course, a life which the locus of a struggle of the soul with herself. The third
part clarifies how the human being can put an end to this struggle or at least not be
overwhelmed. It emphasized the importance of ‘working on oneself’ (‘travail sur soi’) for
Philo, a process that takes place not only through effort and conversion, but also through
a new-found understanding of ‘knowledge of the self’ (‘connaissance de soi’) as quest for
the Other in oneself (‘l’Autre en soi’). (JR)

L. H. Feldman, ‘The Death of Moses, according to Philo’, Estudios

Bíblicos 60 (2002) 225–254.
This article deals with several aspects of the presentation of Moses by Philo,
including Moses’ alleged divinity. Philo is reluctant to call Moses divine, because this
epithet was used for the Roman emperors. In addition, Philo tries to refute the story of
Moses’ bodily ascension to heaven and his apotheosis. At his death Moses’ whole being
is transformed into mind and is thus immortal, but he does not become God. In Ex. 7:1
Moses is said to become ‘as God to Pharaoh’ but Philo allegorically interprets God as
referring to the mind, which is God to the unreasoning part. Moses is the most perfect
man and is a level higher than Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He is the wise man, who
possesses all the virtues. Being neither God nor man, he stands on the borderline between
the uncreated and creation, just as the High priest is less than God but superior to
humans. Moses is not God but is called friend of God. He is a partner of God, and enters
the darkness that is God’s invisible existence. (ACG)

L. H. Feldman, ‘Philo’s Version of the ‘Aqedah’, The Studia Philonica

Annual 14 (2002) 66–86.
This paper describes Philo’s treatment of the binding of Isaac at Abr. 167–202 and
investigates reasons that motivated Philo’s shaping of the biblical narrative of Gen.
22:1–19. Philo’s omissions and additions to the biblical account are due to the fact that
he wrote his narrative to defend Abraham in the face of non-Jewish critics who
minimized Abraham’s deed and accused Jews of misanthropy. Philo does not mention the
physical binding of Isaac, for example, as that probably would have seemed excessive to
a Greek audience and would have been incriminating for Abraham. (KAF)

L. H. Feldman, ‘Philo’s View of Moses’ Birth and Upbringing’, Catholic

Biblical Quarterly 64 (2002) 258–281.
172 the studia philonica annual 17 (2005)

In Mos. Philo presents Moses as a representative of the perfect king, and in describing
Moses’ life he follows the method of ancient biographies, discussing his descent,
childhood and education. He emphasizes the excellence of Moses’ parents, who are both
Levites, and dramatizes the story of the abandonment of Moses by his parents. Retelling
the narrative, he refers several times to the role of divine providence in the rescue of
Moses. A typical motif in the biography of a hero is his exceptional physical and
intellectual development, his beauty, and self-restraint. This motif occurs in Philo as
well, who narrates that Moses was educated by teachers from Greece and Egypt, and
that he quickly surpassed his teachers’ intellect. It is noteworthy that he is educated in
the same subjects as the philosopher-king in Plato’s Republic. In contrast to Josephus,
Philo recounts the story of the killing of an Egyptian overseer by Moses, giving
justification for Moses’ deed, but he does not speak about the two Israelites fighting.

L. H. Feldman, ‘The Plague of the First-born Egyptians in Rabbinic

Tradition, Philo, Pseudo-Philo, and Josephus’, Revue biblique 109 (2002) 315–
Feldman addresses the question how the Rabbis, Philo, Pseudo-Philo, and Josephus
cope with the fact that God, in slaying the first-born in Egypt, kills innocent people and
animals. Philo underscores that God kills the first-born only, and not the whole nation.
Moreover, the children embodied the vices of their parents. He avoids the problem of
the justification of punishing innocent children for the sins of their fathers. With
regarding to the Flood and the destruction of Sodom, Philo remarks that the people
performed so many wicked deeds that they deserved punishment. In discussing the war
with the Amalekites he passes over the command to annihilate them. (ACG)

L. H. Feldman, ‘The Portrayal of Phinehas by Philo, Pseudo-Philo, and

Josephus’, Jewish Quarterly Review 92 (2002) 403–421.
Philo discusses Phinehas in eight treatises. Acknowledging that the multitude would
consider Phinehas a murderer for killing Zimri and Cozbi the Midianite, Philo — in
contrast — praises Phinehas for his zeal. He also considers as well-deserved the reward
of peace bestowed on Phinehas by God. In committing murder Phinehas kept others from
apostasizing. On the symbolic level, ‘Zimri and Cozbi represent passion and mere
appearance, while Phinehas represents sincerity, truth, reason, and intelligence’ (323).
Pseudo-Philo greatly expands the role of Phinehas, whose activities extend from the
Exodus to the time of the Judges. Josephus’ treatment of Phinehas, however, is influenced
by contemporary factors and his own situation. A priest who sympathized with Rome
and disdained the Zealots of his day, Josephus does not call Phinehas a zealot and does
not mention the reward he received for taking the initiative to do violence. Instead
Josephus depicts him as a hero who took the law into his own hands to halt Zimri — a
figure possibly reminiscent of Josephus’s own contemporaries — who intermarried and
flouted Moses’ authority. (EB)

L. H. Feldman, ‘The Portrayal of Sihon and Og in Philo, Pseudo-Philo

and Josephus’, Journal of Jewish Studies 53 (2002) 264–272.
The author retells two biblical stories of genocide against King Sihon of the Amorites
(Num. 21:21–32; Deut 2:26–37) and King Og of Bashan (Num 21:33–35; Deut 3:1–7), and
bibliography of philonic studies 2002 173

then examines how these stories were portrayed in Philo, Pseudo-Philo, and Josephus.
At Mos. 1.258–262, Philo drops any mention of God hardening Sihon’s heart and the
divine mandate to destroy all men, women and children. Only soldiers are put to death.
Moreover, the Israelites had justice on their side in view of how their emissaries were
treated. At Leg. 3.225–235, the story is treated allegorically with Sihon being equated
with Sophists. Philo does not treat the elimination of Og and his people. (KAF)

L. H. Feldman, ‘Philo’s Version of the Biblical Episode of the Spies’,

Hebrew Union College Annual 73 (2002) 29–48.
This paper describes Philo’s non-allegorical treatment of the episode of the spies in
Num. 13–14 at Mos. 1.220–236. Although brief in length, Philo’s version closely parallels
Josephus’ treatment but contains several revisions due to theological problems and
aspects in the biblical text that could cause embarrassment. Philo focuses on Moses and
his qualities of leadership. As a general Moses takes responsibility for the decision to
reconnoitre the land and he alone chooses the spies. Sensitive to the charge that
Israelites might be accused of theft, Philo omits Moses’ instruction to the spies to take
fruit from the land. He also leaves out the dialogue between Moses and God in which
God threatens to annihilate the Israelites as this would make Moses more merciful than
God. (KAF)

C. B. Forbes, ‘Pauline Demonology and/or Cosmology? Principalities,

Powers and the Elements of the World in their Hellenistic Context’, Journal
for the Study of the New Testament 85 (2002) 51–73, esp. 58–67.
As part of an investigation of what Paul means with his terminology of ‘principali-
ties and powers’, the author examines Philo’s theological use of the term dunãmeiw. A
large number of passages are quoted and it is concluded that Philo’s doctrine is not fully
consistent (and is exacerbated for the reader by inconsistent use of capital letters for
Powers/powers in translation). The tendency to create personified abstractions for and
around God is not idiosyncratic and peculiar to Philo, but is also common in Middle
Platonism, for example in an author such as Plutarch. Paul uses this terminology not just
for purposes of communication, but as the result of personal synthesis of Hellenistic-
Jewish and Greco-Roman thought. (DTR)

F. Frazier, ‘Les visages de Joseph dans le De Josepho’, The Studia Philoni-

ca Annual 14 (2002) 1–30.
Although entitled Life of the Statesman, Philo’s bios of Joseph offers neither a
reappraisal of the political world nor a transformation of the biblical Joseph into an
ideal Greek politicus. Instead we discover a series of tensions within the text. First,
within the commentary sections of the treatise (§28–36, 54–79, 125–56) the high moral
value of the politicus is relativized by the ontological inferiority of the political world.
Second, in the narrative sections of the treatise (§2–27, 37–53, 80–124, 157–268), the
figure of Joseph displays a number of characteristics that belong to the pious biblical
hero rather than the politicus of the commentary sections. Third, in the final narrative
section and conclusion, Philo displaces the portrait of the commentary sections through
two speeches of Joseph (§238–45 and 262–66) and two final assessments (§246–49 and 268–
70). Can these different images of Joseph merge into a synthetic figure of an ideal
politicus judaeus? Neither the composition of the text nor a comparison of Joseph with
174 the studia philonica annual 17 (2005)

Moses suggest that they can. The politicus graecus is immersed in the material world and
cannot be fully unified with Jewish piety. The figure of Joseph represents a distinctive
spiritual experience. (DTR; based on author’s summary)

K. Fuglseth, A Sectarian John? A Sociological-Critical, Historical and

Comparative Analysis of the Gospel of John, Philo and Qumran (diss. Trondheim
This study is the dissertation version of a doctoral thesis presented to The Norwegian
University of Science and Technology, Trondheim-Norway, for the degree of Dr. art. in
2002, under the supervision of Peder Borgen and Jarl H. Ulrichsen. An edited version
entitled Johannine Sectarianism in Perspective is soon to be published in the series Novum
Testamentum Supplements by E. J. Brill. It is an investigation of the alleged community
behind the Gospel of John, the so-called ‘Johannine community’. The Gospel is analysed
by means of social-scientific methods (mainly Stark and Bainbridge), and compared to
texts from two other Jewish milieus, the Jewish community in Alexandria as reflected in
the works of Philo and the community of Qumran as reflected in some of the Dead Sea
Scrolls. Two issues are primarily focused on as basis for the sociological analysis and
comparison: (1) the relationship to the Jerusalem Temple — dealing with John and the
Temple (152–228), the Temple in Philo and Qumran (229–296), and Temple-related
festivals in John (297–335); (2) social relationships to ‘others’ and ‘outsiders’ as found in
these writings — Social Relationships in John (338–377) and Social relationships in
Philo and Qumran (378–413). Philo is explicitly dealt with in an introductory section
(115–137), in which the author discusses the question ‘Was there a Philo community?’.
His qualified answer to this question is that we should only use the notion of a ‘Philo
community’ or ‘Philo group’ in a general way, referring to Jews in Alexandria like Philo.
Nevertheless, a general Philonic audience is plausible. In pp. 229–265 he discusses ‘the
Temple in Philo’s writings.’ On the basis of how Philo deals with aspects related to the
Temple, Fuglseth characterizes Philo, in spite of his criticism of animal sacrifices and
rejection of temples of stone, as a Jerusalem adherent. Philo never supported an abroga-
tion of the Temple, but criticized those who did. Finally, in Chapter 8 (pp. 378–395),
social relationships in Philo’s writings are described. Although it is hard to find a Philo
community depicted in his writings in the same way as in the Gospel of John and in the
Dead Sea Scrolls, Philo nevertheless deals with the relationships to non-Jews. Accord-
ing to Fuglseth, there is a universalizing outlook on the relationships to Gentiles. This
relationship is described as depending on Israel and her special relationship to God.
Hence particularism and universalism are not contradictory concepts in Philo’s case. (TS)

A. C. Geljon, ‘Mozes als Platoonse Stoïcijn’, Hermeneus 74 (2002) 344–

This article focuses on the presentation of Moses as a Stoic sage and a Platonic
philosopher-king in Philo. The four functions that Philo ascribes to Moses — philoso-
pher-king, lawgiver, high priest, prophet — have a Stoic background. Philo attributes
Platonic-Stoic virtues to Moses, such as self-restraint, temperance, justice. Describing
Moses’ youth in Mos., Philo depicts him as subduing the passions with self-control, just
as a Stoic sage. When Moses stays in Midian he practices the theoretical life and tries to
live according to the right reason of nature. Having attained the ideal of the Stoic sage
totally, Moses is the sapiens, whereas his brother Aaron plays the role of the proficiens,
who is still under way, unable to reach the final goal. (ACG)
bibliography of philonic studies 2002 175

A. C. Geljon, Philonic Exegesis in Gregory of Nyssa’s De vita Moysis,

Brown Judaic Series 333: Studia Philonica Monographs 5 (Providence RI
This book is a revised version of the author’s 2000 Leiden doctoral dissertation: cf.
SPhA 15 (2003) 117. In the first part of this study, the author argues that Philo’s
biography of Moses, Mos., is not part of the so-called Exposition of the Law, as is usually
assumed, but that is has to be compared with introductory lives (bioi) of philosophers.
Examples of such bioi are the Lives of Democritus and Plato, written by Thrasyllus, and
Porphyry’s Vita Plotini. A bios not only narrates the important facts of the philosopher’s
life such as his descent, birth, death, but also discusses his writings. It was meant as an
introduction to his philosophy. In Mos. Philo recounts Moses’ life, but also relates the
origin of the Greek translation of the books of Moses. In this way the treatise introduces
readers without any knowledge of the Pentateuch to Mosaic philosophy, as more
elaborately explained in the allegorical writings. Part II is an introduction to Gregory’s
De vita Moysis, in which the author also deals with Gregory’s attitude towards Judaism.
Gregory discerns a kinship between Philo and the neo-Arian Eunomius, because both do
not ascribe being to the Logos, but only to God the Father. Gregory resists the view that
the Logos is, in one way or another, subordinated to God. But at the same time there are
similarities between Philo and Gregory in the doctrine of God, especially in the notion
that God’s essence is incomprehensible for the human mind. Both show also a negative
approach to the divine, which is expressed with alpha-privatives. In part III Geljon
analyses the Philonic background of Gregory of Nyssa’s De vita Moysis. He distinguishes
between Philonic phraseology on the one and exegesis derived from Philo on the other
hand. On the level of phraseology Gregory offers more than 25 borrowings from Philo,
the greatest part of which are derived from Mos. The most important exegetical theme
in which Gregory uses Philo’s exegesis is the interpretation of Egypt, Pharaoh, and the
exodus from Egypt. Like Philo, Gregory interprets Egypt as the land of the passions,
Pharaoh as lover of the passions and the exodus as the liberation of the passions.
Remarkably Origen, to whom Gregory is also indebted, does not offer this reading of
Egypt. Other important exegetical themes which reveal Philo’s influence are the neces-
sity of education, the interpretation of the serpent as a symbol of pleasure and the
exegesis of the royal way. In all these themes Gregory does not rely on Philo’s Mos. but
draws on the treatises belonging to the Allegorical Commentary. Gregory does derive
two interpretations from Philo’s Mos.: the dark blue of the high priest’s robe referring to
the air; and the interpretation of the hardness of the nut of Aaron’s staff as a symbol of
the austerity of the virtuous life. In the conclusion the author states that Gregory is not a
slavish imitator of Philo, but an original and creative thinker and exegete. (ACG)

U. Gershowitz and A. Kovelman, ‘A Symmetrical Teleological

Construction in the Treatises of Philo and in the Talmud’, Review of Rabbinic
Judaism 5 (2002) 228–246.
The composition of some Philonic treatises and Talmudic tractates is characterized by
‘unity and coherence’ (228 n. 4). The authors recognize two connected principles of organi-
zation — anticipation and symmetry — described by J. Cazeaux in relation to Philonic
treatises. According to the principle of symmetry, the beginning and end of a work are
marked by ‘two fixed points, two sister-quotations for example’ (230). Anticipation, or
teleological construction, describes the organization of a work whereby between the
beginning and the end a chain of quotations and exegeses distract the reader, but the
176 the studia philonica annual 17 (2005)

topic of the opening verse reappears at the end. Without arguing for any continuity
between Philo and the Talmud, the authors observe that ‘the same tension between
exegetical and homiletic foundations must have created the same patterns and structures
in both sources’ (232). To illustrate the pattern of symmetry and teleology, the authors
analyze Philo’s Legum allegoriae and B. Qid 29a–36a (the pattern may characterize the
underlying Mishnaic chapter as well). Variations on the pattern in the Talmud are also
discussed. Some observations by Philo about beginnings and ends are adduced to argue
that symmetry and teleology were at the heart of both his composition and his
philosophy. (EB)

R. M. M. Gerth, The Interpretation of Genesis 6.6 — ’and the Lord repented’

— in Early Rabbinic and Patristic Tradition (diss. Hebrew Union College 2002).
This dissertation concerns the interpretation in antiquity of Gen 6:6, ‘and the Lord
repented that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him to His heart’, and
specifically the phrase v’yinachem Adonai (and the Lord repented) in early rabbinic and
patristic tradition. Chapter three examines Gen 6:6 as it appears in the LXX translation
and in the writings of Philo. (DTR; based on DAI-A 63-11, p. 3975)

P. Graffigna, ‘L’immagine della bilancia in Filone d’Alessandria’, in F.

Calabi (ed.), Immagini e rappresentazione. Contributi su Filone di Alessandria,
Studies in Philo of Alexandria & Mediterranean Antiquity (Binghamton–
New York 2002) 27–44.
The figure of the balance is part of a ‘conceptual and metaphorical field’ which
illustrates the notion of equilibrium for various points of view, from the stability of the
wise person to the precarious and insecure situation of the one who yields to passion. In
general the image gets used in the context of ethical values in order to represent the
continual oscillation of foolish persons in opposition to the solidity of those who follow
the ‘royal road’ that leads to God. There is a direct link with the metaphor of the ship
battered by the waves in order to indicate the tempest of the passions. But it also
represents the concept of the mean and of a balanced account before God. (RR)

E. Gruen, Diaspora: Jews amidst Greeks and Romans (Cambridge MA–

London 2002), esp. 54–83 and passim.
This wide-ranging study of the Jewish diaspora in the four centuries from Alexander
to the fall of the Temple offers the revisionistic thesis of Jewish communities who felt at
home in the Greek and Roman cities in which they lived and exhibited little sense of
insecurity in an alien society, maintaining both respect for the Jewish homeland in
Palestine and commitment to gentile government in their local environment. Chapter 2
focuses on the Jewish community in Alexandria. In giving a close reading of the incident
in 38 c.e., Gruen argues that Philo’s account of events is flawed. Flaccus should not be
seen as the principal villain, nor other Greeks mentioned in his narrative. The chief
source of hostility to the Jews were the rank and file Egyptians. The dreadful pogrom of
38 c.e., however, now defines the history of Jews in Alexandria. Their experience in the
city was primarily positive. Philo is also frequently referred to in Chapter 7, ‘Jewish
constructs of Greeks and Hellenism’, and Chapter 8, ‘Diaspora and Homeland’. For
detailed references see the index on p. 383. (DTR)
bibliography of philonic studies 2002 177

L. Gusella, ‘The Therapeutae and other Community Experiences of the

Late Second Temple Period’, Henoch 24 (2002) 295–329.
This study proceeds along the same lines as an Italian article published by the same
author in 2001 (summary in SPhA 16 (2004) 242) about three forms of Jewish community
life of the second and first century BC: the Essenes, the Qumran community and the
Therapeutae. Essenism was a movement spread over the whole of Palestine, consisting of
local communities in towns, villages or isolated spots; the Qumran community represents
one of these, albeit with specific characteristics and an independent development. The
Therapeutae, known only from Philo’s De vita contemplativa, formed a single community
of limited dimensions and with peculiar characteristics: the presence of women, celibacy
practiced by all members, preponderance of solitary contemplative activity, alternated
by community meetings on the Sabbath and on the festival of the fiftieth day. While
the Essenes and Qumran appear closely related (cf. the Groningen thesis), the community
experience of the Therapeutae was independent and unique. (HMK; based on the
author’s Italian abstract)

H. Gzella, Lebenszeit und Ewigkeit. Studien zur Eschatologie und Anthro-

pologie des Septuaginta-Psalters, Bonner Biblische Beiträge 134 (Bonn 2002),
esp. 38–39, 109–111.
In the course of his Münster dissertation, while controversially discussing whether
the Septuagint Psalms are aware of traces of independent interpretation, Gzella has
explained some hermeneutical trends of Philo. Translation has a mystical dimension for
him (Mos. 2,40), a kind of unio mystica between author and translator. While interpret-
ing Ps. 16 (15) and the anthropological ideas that it contains Gzella compares the
dualistic aspects of the Septuaginta-Psalm with the Platonically influenced ideas in
Philo’s treatises (esp. the deep antithesis between body and soul). Further relations
between Septuaginta-Psalms and Philonic anthropological or eschatological ideas (such
as toil and trouble, enjoyment, pain and education, eternity and coming face to face with
God) can be found by consulting the excellent indices. (GS)

C. Hayes, Gentile Impurities and Jewish Identities: Inter-marriage and Con-

version from the Bible to the Talmud (Oxford–New York 2002).
Jewish notions of Gentile impurity are integral to the understanding of group identity
because these notions influence ideas about whether and how non-Jews can join the Jewish
community. Indeed controversies on these questions ‘led to the rise of sectarianism in the
Second Temple period and, ultimately, to the separation of Christianity and Judaism’
(10). Hayes identifies different kinds of purity/impurity, including ritual, moral, and
genealogical. In Part I she examines concepts of Gentile impurity in the Bible and various
Second Temple sources and then considers implications regarding intermarriage and
conversion. She also examines the positions of Paul and early Church Fathers. Part II is
devoted to rabbinic views of Gentile impurity, intermarriage, and conversion. Hayes
argues against earlier scholars who claim that it is ritual impurity that Jews most
commonly associate with non-Jews. Instead she maintains that it is genealogical purity
that concerns Ezra, Jubilees, and 4QMMT, while other Second Temple sources, the Rabbis,
and Paul emphasize the moral factor. Philo exemplifies this concern with moral —
rather than ritual or genealogical — purity/impurity, and he understands conversion as
‘a passage from impiety to piety (moral impurity to moral purity)’ (57). Likewise
178 the studia philonica annual 17 (2005)

Philo’s explanation of the prohibition against intermarriage is based on ‘the deleterious

moral-religious effect it may have on the Israelite partner’ (70). (EB)

L. R. Helyer, Exploring Jewish Literature of the Second Temple Period. A

Guide for New Testament Students (Downers Grove, IL 2002), esp. 311–335.
The stated purpose of this book is to provide undergraduates, seminary students,
pastors and interested laypersons an introduction to Jewish writings important for an
understanding of the New Testament. It deals primarily with selections from Apocry-
pha, Pseudepigrapha, Dead Sea Scrolls, Josephus, Philo, Bar Kochba Letters and
Mishnah. The presentation is chronological, providing historical introductions to the
various groups of literature. Chapter 9 deals with Philo (pp. 311–335). After a brief
historical introduction, he presents Philo’s writings. Then he discusses selected passages
and their relevance for the New Testament by dealing with topics such as creation and
the origin of evil; the problem of circumcision; the Logos; Adam Christology; substance
and shadow; mysticism; and allegorical interpretation. The Chapter ends with some
suggestions for further Reading. (TS)

I. Himbaza, ‘Le Décalogue de Papyrus Nash, Philon, 4 Qphyl G, 8Qphyl

3, et 4Qmez A’, Revue de Qumran 79 (2002) 411–428.
A comparative study of the texts cited in the title of the article demonstrates that
the form of the Decalogue that they represent stands closer to the version of Exodus than
to that of Deuteronomy, and that this Decalogue is closer to the LXX than the Masoretic
text. In the case of Philo (cf. Decal. 36, 51, 97–101) it appears that the order of command-
ments six to eight agrees with that of the LXX (Deuteronomy). But various indications
presented by the author lead to the conclusion that Philo agrees more with the text of
Exodus than that of Deuteronomy. These indications are the elements specific to the text
in Exodus (cf. Decal 16, 44–45, 47, 97–101). The elements of the Deuteronomy text are found
in Decal. 44. On the basis of his enquiry the author concludes that Philo cites the text of
the Decalogue from memory. (JR)

A. van den Hoek, ‘Assessing Philo’s Influence in Christian Alexandria:

The Case of Origen’, in J. L. Kugel (ed.), Shem in the Tents of Japheth: Essays
on the Encounter of Judaism and Hellenism, Supplements to the Journal for the
Study of Judaism 74 (Leiden etc. 2002) 223–239.
The article is a more discursive presentation of the material set out in full in the
author’s article in SPhA 12 (2000); see the summary at SPhA 15 (2003) 120. The compari-
son of two huge corpora of texts such as those of Philo and Origen presents considerable
methodological challenges. Van den Hoek advocates being as thorough as possible, i.e.
building up a complete dossier of links between them. She bases her material primarily
on identifications given in editions of Philo’s and Origen’s works. These are then graded
in categories from A to D, depending on the kind of influence or dependence shown in
them. A dozen examples are treated in more detail in order to show how the classifica-
tion works. On the basis of the results (only summarily indicated in the article) a number
of conclusions are reached. The most interesting texts are those graded A or B, which
indicate certain or highly likely borrowings. It appears that Origen drew on 22 of
Philo’s 36 preserved works. The subject matter is predominantly biblical interpretation
and allegories, but there are also quite a few texts dealing with philosophical questions
bibliography of philonic studies 2002 179

and the theme of creation. Philo was for Origen not only a theoretical model, but also a
limitless resource for practical purposes. (DTR)

P. W. van der Horst, ‘The First Pogrom: Alexandria 38 c.e.’, European

Review 10 (2002) 469–484.
The first ever documented pogrom took place in Alexandria in 38 c.e. The eye-witness
account given by Philo is a problematic source because his concern is largely theological
and also because he fails to inform the reader about the causes of the violence. These
causes must be sought in a growing tendency among Alexandrian intellectuals to depict
Jews as criminal misanthropes, and the Jewish tendency to side with the Roman
occupiers of Egypt. (DTR; based on the author’s summary)

F. Jung, SVTHR. Studien zur Rezeption eines hellenistischen Ehrentitels im

Neuen Testaments, Neutestamentliche Abhandlungen 39 (Münster 2002),
esp. 240–256.
The NT term Sotêr (saviour, deliverer) has long been seen as the counterpart of pagan
gods or of persons such as Hellenistic or Roman emperors who were honoured as gods.
Consistent with this interpretation, NT scholarship has presented Jesus as the saviour in
opposition to all the other pretensions. But the present Munich dissertation under the
advice of J. Gnilka shows that it is a widely used term relating to saving actions on the
part of both gods and human beings. The thesis of this Monograph is that the idea was
not developed in contrast to one or many concepts of salvation but through the reception
of well-known religious, cultural and political traditions, of which Philo is a good
example. In the chapter about the Septuagint Jung offers a detailed description and
analysis of the term in the different texts and Gattungen of the books which show deep
Hellenistic influence. God’s activity for his chosen people becomes more and more a trait
of his personality. Philo could build upon these descriptions. He focuses all his testi-
monies on the God of Israel as the one true Saviour. But Jung also marks the differences.
First of all it is noted that the Saviour can also change to becoming Judge. This supports
the paraenetical approach of the author. It is interesting that all the references to God
as saviour come from the Pentateuch. Jung notes the difference between the Gattungen in
Philo’s treatises. But he does not notice that all the texts which underline God’s activity
in preserving the world originate in the Exposition of the Law. In contrast the Allegori-
cal Commentary uses the term svrÆr for God’s beneficent activity only once (Sobr. 55).
Deliverance can only be offered by the true creator, the God of Israel, whom all people
are invited to worship. This motif is most clearly seen in the apologetic treatises (such
as Legatio). In the various texts or inscriptions (and some coins) which he cites (in both
Greek and German) Jung develops his method and ability of differentiation most
impressively. The NT authors refer to these common ideas and are able to develop their
own Christological concepts against this background. (GS)

A. Kamesar, ‘Writing Commentaries on the Works of Philo: Some

Reflections’, Adamantius 8 (2002) 127–134.
In response to the plans for the new series of commentaries on the works of Philo, the
author offers suggestions for how these commentaries should approach their task.
Because he himself is preparing a commentary on Quod deterius, he is particularly con-
cerned with commentaries on the Allegorical Commentary. He argues that progress may
180 the studia philonica annual 17 (2005)

be achieved by a greater focus on what he calls the ‘lower elements’ of the text. The first
of these is Philo’s understanding of the Septuagintal text that forms the basis of the
treatises. The Septuagint should be seen as a ‘stand-alone’ text, not just a translation of
the Hebrew. Moreover Philo’s reading of the text is not always easy to discern, because
he often moves straight to allegorical interpretation. The second ‘lower element’ is the
‘grammatical’ level, using the term in the ancient sense, i.e. the level of interpretation or
exegesis of literary texts. The third is the rhetorical level, which is the aspect of the
text directed towards the reader’s edification. Kamesar ends the article by emphasizing
that other themes, including the relation to wider exegetical traditions and philoso-
phical issues, should not be neglected. But choices have to be made, and it is hoped that
differing approaches will result in a broader illumination of Philo’s writings. (DTR)

P. Kotzia-Panteli, ‘Forschungsreisen. Zu Iamblichos’ ‘Protreptikos’

40,1–11 Pistelli’, Philologus 146 (2002) 111–132, esp. 124–132.
Philo Migr. 217–219 is cited and discussed at some length in order to show that the
motif of the ‘traveller in search of gain’, which is found in Iamblichus’ Protrepticus and is
often thought to originate in the Aristotelian work of the same name (B53 Düring) is a
typical theme of the protreptic genre and can be traced back to Theophrastus. (DTR)

J. L. Kugel (ed.), Shem in the Tents of Japheth: Essays on the Encounter of

Judaism and Hellenism, Supplements to the Journal for the Study of Judaism
74 (Leiden etc. 2002).
This monograph contains the papers of two conferences held on the encounter of
Judaism and Hellenism held at Bar Ilan Universtiy in 1998 and Harvard University in
1999. The title is a playful reversal of the biblical injunction that Japheth should dwell
in the tents of Shem (Gen. 9:27). After an initial essay by A. I. Baumgarten on whether
the Greeks as overlords of Palestine for two centuries were different, the volume is divi-
ded into three parts: two papers on Issues of language, five papers on Hellenism in Jewish
Writings, and three papers on The Reception of Judaism by the Greek Fathers. Papers
specifically relating to Philo were presented by N. Cohen, A. van den Hoek, D. T. Runia
(2) and D. Winston. See the summaries presented under the names of the authors. (DTR)

Y. T. Langermann, ‘On the Beginnings of Hebrew Scientific Literature

and on Studying History Through ‘Maqbilot’ (Parallels)’, Aleph 2 (2002)
169–189, esp. 180–185.
The author mentions four texts that he believes represent the earliest Jewish writings
in Hebrew about scientific knowledge; he dates these to the 8th or 9th century. One text is
Sefer yetsira (SY), which discusses components of the universe and their relationship to
numbers and letters of the Hebrew alphabet. The second part of the article is a critique
of Y. Liebes’s Ars Poetica in Sefer Yetsira (see SPhA 16 (2004) 218–228) — specifically, of
Liebes’ use of parallels to date SY to the first century. Langermann primarily objects that
Liebes ignores important questions about his sources and juxtaposes parallels without
explaining how he chooses them and why they are significant. Liebes adduces so many
parallels between SY and Philo that he devotes a separate index to Philo’s works alone.
According to Langermann, these works may have been known to later Jewish writers and
thus parallels with Philo would not necessarily support a first-century dating for SY.
Citing an article by B. Chiesa, who suggests that Jews writing in Arabic knew Philo’s
bibliography of philonic studies 2002 181

works through the Armenian tradition, Langermann observes, ‘If Chiesa is correct, the
question is no longer whether Philo’s writings were known in the early Islamic period,
but how much of the Philonic corpus was available and through which channels of
submission’ (p. 182). Langermann also discusses Pythagorean aspects of Philo’s thought,
especially arithmology. (EB)

M. Mach [˚am lakym], “ ˆwlyp ypl ,yjxnh dmwlh ,µhrba” [‘Faith, Practice and
Learning — Abraham according to Philo’], in M. Hallamish, H. Kasher
and Y. Silman (edd.), The Faith of Abraham in the Light of Interpretation
throughout the Ages (Ramat-Gan 2002) 59–70.
Following a brief survey of the importance of Abraham in the varied forms and
expressions of Judaism during the Second Temple period, Mach turns to the centrality of
the figure in the writings of Philo. The point of departure for the investigation is the
divergence of Philo’s portrayal from that found in the epistles of Paul. The latter’s
focused treatment of Abraham’s ‘justification through faith’ (Gen 15:6) is contrasted
with Philo’s dynamic description of the patriarch’s progress through the acquisition of
secure knowledge of the Deity. Mach places predominant emphasis on the epistemo-
logical process which underlies Philo’s own use of the word pistis and the concomitant
portrayal of Abraham on his path to becoming a nomos empsychos. (DS)

J. P. Martín, ‘Alegoría de Filón sobre los ángeles que miraron con

deseo a las hijas de los hombres’, Circe 7 (2002) 261–282.
Compares the exegesis of Philo on the myth of the nephilim (Genesis 6:1–4) with the
Book of Jubilees and with the tradition of Henoch, which interpret the myth in
connection with the history of human culture and the entrance of evil in the world. Philo
accepts a mythological reading of the biblical text. By means of allegory, he denies any
sexual interpretation and affirms the radical distinction between angels and women,
that is to say, between soul and material bodies. In this context we find early the term
pneumatikos in sense of ‘immaterial’ (QG 1.92 Greek fragment). (JPM)

J. P. Martín, ‘El concepto de hermenéutica en Filón de Alejandría’,

Anales de la Academia Nacional de Ciencias de Buenos Aires 36 (2002) 287–306.
The author distinguishes three senses of hermêneuein in Philo: to communicate; to
translate; to interpret. The three sense constitute a chain of actions between God and
man. Communication begins with the creative act of the divine Logos, and extends to the
unfolding of logoi in nature and to the text written by Moses, the hermêneus. The
hermeneutical act continues in the translation of the LXX for all the nations, and finally,
it finishes in the comprehensive reading by the wise person, who culminates the process
of hermêneuein by silence before God. (JPM)

J. P. Martín, ‘Historiografía, religión y filosofía en el siglo II’, in J. Fer-

nández Sangrador and S. Guijarro Oporto (edd.), Plenitudo Temporis,
Miscelánea Homenaje a R. Trevijano Etcheverría (Salamanca 2002) 313–332.
The author shows that the Christian apologists of the 2nd century Tatian and
Theophilus develop certain conceptions of history inherited from the Hellenistic
182 the studia philonica annual 17 (2005)

Judaism, including Philo. They hold an universal and unitary vision of history, in which
Adam is the origin and in which the first developments are led by the patriarchs. The
Pentateuch is considered the first non-mythological book of the history of mankind.

J. P. Martín, ‘Religión y teología’, in F. Diez de Velasco and F.

García Bazán (edd.), El estudio de la religión, Enciclopedia IberoAmericana
de Religiones 1 (Madrid 2002) 227–255, esp. 231–235.
Analyzes the influence that Philo had on the Christian concept of theology, a
tradition to which Clement, Origen, Augustine and others belong. In the Philonic model
scientific theology furnishes instruments which convert narrative accounts, i.e. mythoi, to
the condition of episteme. (JPM)

A. Mazzanti, ‘L’identità dell’uomo in Filone di Alessandria’, in F.

Calabi (ed.), Immagini e rappresentazione. Contributi su Filone di Alessandria,
Studies in Philo of Alexandria & Mediterranean Antiquity (Binghamton–
New York 2002) 7–26.
The characteristic of ‘boundary-dweller’ (meyÒriow) which Philo attributes to human
beings in a certain measure constitutes their essence, inasmuch as the human being
(ênyrvpow) is presented as the being which stands in between the material world and the
heavenly realm. This fact, according to some scholars (H. A. Wolfson, A. Maddalena, T.
H. Tobin, D. Winston, M. Harl, G. Reale and others) implies an aspect of negativity
implicit from the beginning, even if it is possible to surmount the dichotomy in a third
dimension of the Spirit (pneËma). This third constituent bestows on the corporeal a
certain positive element of participation, thanks to the (Platonic) relation between the
model and the image. In this perspective the human being comes to be identified with
the noetic and rational essence. This is indivisible and immanent in anthropological
reality. (RR)

D. A. Nielsen, ‘Civilizational Encounters in the Development of Early

Christianity’, in A. J. Blasi, J. Duhaime and P.-A. Turcotte (edd.),
Handbook of Early Christianity. Social Sciences Approaches (Walnut Creek, CA
2002) 267–290, esp. 269–278.
The author deals with the topic of civilizational encounters under three headings:
Civilizational Encounters I: Judaism, Hellenism and the second axial age of antiquity
(269–278): Civilizational Encounters II: Christianity and Paganism in Origen’s creation
theology (278–287), and Civilizational Encounters III: Christianity amidst religious and
philosophical cults (287–289). Only the first is directly concerned with the views of
Philo. He focuses on Philo’s accounts of creation under the following headings: the root
image, of creation by measure, weight and number; the role of law and rule in creation;
the related neo-Pythagorean number symbolism; the similar congruent role of the logos in
the creative process; and the relationship of these ideas to those about universal moral
order, including retribution, judgment, and punishment. The categories of Greek philoso-
phy are here used as a tool or instrument in setting forth his views. In this way Philo
proves to be one of the first Jewish thinkers to respond in a systematically creative way
to the ‘modernizing’ challenges of his time. (TS)
bibliography of philonic studies 2002 183

J. Novoa, ‘Filón de Alejandría y el diálogo entre helenismo y judaís-

mo’, in F. Arenas-Dolz, E. Bérchez Castaño and D. Camacho Rubio
(edd.), Actas del I congreso Nacional de Estudiantes de Humanidades: Filosofía y
formas literarias en la Antigüedad, Symposion Asociación Cultural (22–24 abril
1999) (Valencia 2002) 161–174.
Presents an introductory portrait of Philo. The author deals with some Philonic topics
such as the figure of Moses as universal model of the wise man, and the relation of Greek
and Jewish traditions in the interpretation of the Bible. (JPM)

J. C. O’Neill, ‘How Early is the Doctrine of Creatio ex Nihilo?’, Journal of

Theological Studies 53 (2002) 449–465, esp. 456–462.
Argues forcefully, esp. against Gerhard May, for the view that Philo, and
Hellenistic-Jewish authors before him, held the doctrine that God created the world out
of nothing. A large number of Philonic texts, including from De providentia and De Deo,
are adduced. Because the doctrine was already credally formulated by the time of the
NT, there is nothing in the NT that contradicts it. Indeed at Rev. 4:11 the minority
reading oÈk ∑san should be read. (DTR)

T. H. Olbricht, ‘Greek Rhetoric and the Allegorical Rhetoric of Philo

and Clement of Alexandria’, in S. E. Porter and D. L. Stamps (ed.),
Rhetorical Criticism and the Bible, JSNT.SS 195 (Sheffield 2002) 24–47.
In this comparative study of the function of allegory in the works of Philo and
Clement, the author finds that both believed that the Scriptures contained truths that
might be decoded by help of allegorization. Philo’s allegorization pointed upward
(beyond sense experience) and downward. The allegorization of Clement exhibited
neither of these: his allegorization was flat and immediate. Clement, however, could
use typology, a procedure Philo did not employ. (TS)

L. Padovese, Cercatori di Dio. Sulle tracce dell’ascetismo pagano, ebraico e

cristiano dei primi secoli, Uomini e Religioni: Saggi (Milan 2002), esp. 68–104.
In his wide-ranging account of the religious life in the first centuries of our era, with
an emphasis on the themes of the search for God and the role of asceticism, the author
devotes a chapter to Jewish asceticism, which he subtitles ‘marginal parenthesis in the
history of Israel’. After a brief section on rabbinic/talmudic objections to asceticism,
Padovese goes back in time and devotes sections to the Essenes and the Therapeutae, for
which Philo is his chief or sole source. The final ten pages of the chapter are devoted to
Philo himself. After some introductory remarks, the author concentrates on the themes of
the quest for God and spiritual virginity. In the case of the former theme, he notes the
emphasis on human nothingness, which is contrasted with the Greek and Platonic
emphasis on human perfection and self-realization. Philo thus leaves the framework of
Greek asceticism and anticipates the affirmation of asceticism in Christian monasticism.
184 the studia philonica annual 17 (2005)

R. Passarella, ‘Medicina in allegoria: Ambrogio, Filone e l’arca di

Noè’, in I. Gualandri (ed.), Tra IV e V secolo: Studi sulla cultura latina
tardoantica, Quaderni di Acme 50 (Milan 2002) 189–252.
A study of Ambrose’s interpretation of Noah’s ark as allegory of the human body, in
particular of the digestive process (De Noe 7.22–9.29 and Hexam.–71). The
author concentrates on Ambrose’s use of (medical) terminology and on his sources, among
whom Philo (QG 2.3, 2.6 and esp. 2.7, and Opif. 118–19) has a prominent place. (HMK)

A. Passoni dell’Acqua, ‘I LXX nella Biblioteca di Alessandria’,

Adamantius 8 (2002) 114–126, esp. 125f.
Critical review of N. Collins, The Library in Alexandria and the Bible in Greek
(Leiden etc. 2000; summarized in SPhA 15 (2003) 113). The reviewer discusses Collins’ de-
tailed argumentation for her thesis (rehabilitating the historicity of Aristeas’ account)
that the origin of the LXX was a Greek initiative (Ptolemy) which met with resistance
from the part of Judaism, and she expresses her surprise that Collins feels the need to
exclude the possibility of more than one contributing factor at the origin of the LXX, viz.,
both a Greek initiative and an interest from the part of Hellenistic Judaism to have the
Scriptures in a more accessible tongue. For Passoni Dell’Acqua, the way in which Collins
interprets Philo’s and Josephus’ accounts of the origin of the LXX — in her view Philo
stresses the role of the Jews in the enterprise, and in so doing completely distorts
Aristeas’ account, while Josephus avoids as much as possible any allusion to divine
inspiration of the translation, and in so doing eliminates any support for the thesis of a
Jewish initiative — is much influenced by the thesis which is her point of departure,
and therefore runs the risk of creating a vicious circle of argumentation. (HMK)

R. Radice, ‘Filone Alessandrino e la tradizione platonica. Il caso di

Seneca’, in F. Calabi (ed.), Immagini e rappresentazione. Contributi su Filone di
Alessandria, Studies in Philo of Alexandria & Mediterranean Antiquity
(Binghamton–New York 2002) 58–69 (check).
Seneca could have been present at the lectures held by Philo at Rome during his
participation in the Embassy in 39–40. Moreover certain statements in Seneca’s Ep. 65 —
which constitute somewhat of an exception in his thought — look very much like a
reference to the doctrine of the ideas as thoughts of God as we find it in Opif. It is in fact
possible to recognize in this letter a valuable link which is lacking in the history of
Platonism as it develops from the Academy to Middle Platonism. It is also a witness in
favour of the thesis of the ‘bi-directionality’ of the relations between Alexandrian Juda-
ism and Greek philosophy, i.e. the need to consider the contributions that the Jewish-
Alexandrian tradition may have made to Greek philosophy and not only those
contributions that move in an inverse direction. (RR)

F. Raurell, Carta d’Aristeas. Introducció, text revisat, traducció i notes

(Barcelona 2002).
The author gives ample consideration of Philo in this new bilingual edition of Letter
of Aristeas. In a well-researched introduction and in his notes Raurell describes the
Wirkungeschichte of the Letter in the works of the Hellenistic Judaism and elucidate
bibliography of philonic studies 2002 185

similarities and differences between Aristeas and Philo, specially in relation to to Mos.
2:31–44. (JPM)

G. Reydams-Schils, ‘Philo of Alexandria on Stoic and Platonist Psycho-

Physiology: the Socratic Higher Ground’, Ancient Philosophy 22 (2002) 125–
The aim of the article is to explore which psychological model Philo uses in his
analysis of rational behaviour and the passions. The author argues that the two strands
of philosophical influence which he undergoes are balanced because they have been
subsumed under his larger purpose. In the first part she outlines the trajectory of thought
from Plato to Philo, emphasizing the role of the ‘Socratic’ view of the relation between
body and soul, which is prominent in both Plato and the Stoics. Adding to the complexity
of Philo’s stance is the pressure of interpreting scripture, which in large part determines
his strategies. In the second part a valuable list of Philonic passages is presented under
five headings: the soul/body distinction, mind versus the senses and the passions, the
Stoic model of the soul, the Platonist model of the soul, ‘mixed’ cases. On the basis of
these passages a conceptual analysis of Philo’s stance is given in the final part of the
article. Reydams-Schils argues that Philo’s choice for one psychological model over the
other is largely determined by the context of the scriptural passage being commented on,
but this is by no means sheer randomness. The distinctions between body and soul and
between mind and passions provide the higher hermeneutical ground from which he can
launch either into the Platonic or the Stoic model. In both cases the Socratic paradigm
plays an important role. For this reason the epigraph of the article is a quote from Q G
4.99, which alludes to the contrast between beautiful mind and ugly body in the case of
Socrates himself. (DTR)

J. Reynard, ‘La notion d’athéisme dans l’œuvre de Philon d’Alexan-

drie’, in G. Dorival and D. Pralon (edd.), Nier les dieux, nier Dieu, Textes
et Documents de le Méditerrané antique et médiévale (Aix-en-Provence
2002) 211–221.
As an adherent of strict monotheism, Philo criticizes atheism as it manifests itself in
diverse guises: polytheism (animal cult, veneration of natural elements, divinization of
human beings); atheism as doctrine; atheism as moral category, symbolized by Pharaoh,
but also by Cain; atheistic exegesis. In the author’s view the problematics of atheism
centre on the unicity of God the uncreated creator. Polytheistic cults, philosophical doc-
trines, wicked behaviour, inappropriate readings: all of these are judged in accordance
with the single criterion of conformity to Jewish monotheism. Everything that threatens
this belief is imbued with atheism, a term which sums up everything which Philo
fights against. One atheist, however, does find favour in his sight: Theodore of Cyrene,
whom he sees not so much as a denier of God but of the Athenians gods (Prob. 127–130).

D. Rokeah, Justin Martyr and the Jews, Jewish and Christian Perspectives
Series 5 (Leiden etc. 2002), esp. 22–28.
This work is a revised and updated version of an earlier edition published in Hebrew
by The Ben-Zion Dinur Center for Research in Jewish History, the Hebrew University,
186 the studia philonica annual 17 (2005)

Jerusalem in 1998. Chapter four of this study contains a summary of the discussion on the
question of Justin’s dependence on Philo. E. R. Goodenough argues that several Philonic
interpretations in Justin prove the Christian author’s dependence on Philo. A different
view is advanced by L. W. Barnard, who examines the development of the theory of the
Logos in Judaism and Greek thought. In his view the similarities between he two writers
must be regarded as a product of their common source, viz. the LXX. Finally, the opinion
of O. Skarskaune is reported, who posits that no evidence for a direct link between Philo
and Justin exists. Justin’s sources are (1) Christian testimonies, based on disputes between
Jewish-Christians and Christians, and (2) typological interpretation developed by
Justin himself. (ACG)

R. Roukema, ‘Le Fils du Très-Haut. Sur les anges et la christologie’,

Etudes théologique et religieuses 77 (2002) 343–357, esp. 346–348.
Deut. 32:8–9, which shows that before the exile Israel had a belief in a pantheon
similar to that which occurs in Ugaritic texts, is cited twice by Philo (Post. 89–92, Plant
59–60). The text in Deut. 32:8 is read as ‘following the number of the angels of God’. For
Philo the Israel which belongs to the Lord (Kurios) are those who see and worship God.
There is no difference between the Most High (Hupsistos) and the Lord, and elsewhere
(Opif. 171, Leg. 3.82, Decal. 64–65) Philo affirms that there is no other God than the Most
High, because God is One. Polytheism is thus rejected. However, in the Philonic texts
things are not that simple. Philo records the distinction between theos and kurios and the
appearance of God as three (Abr. 121–124). He also speaks of a seven-fold appearance of
the single God (QE 2.67–68). According to the author Philo has joined together Old
Testament and Jewish conceptions with Greek and philosophical ideas. Despite his
confession of monotheism, Philo takes up again the ancient Israelite conception of the
Pantheon by paying attention to the plurality in the single God. (JR)

D. Roure, ‘L’obtenión del perdón en Ben Sira i en Filón d’Alexandria’,

in A. Puig i Tírrech (ed.), Perdón i reconcilación en la tradición jueva,
Publications de l’Abadia de Montserrat (Barcelona 2002) 209–221.
Without taking sides in the theological discussions of other contributions in the
volume, Roure presents a philological comparison of the vocabulary of forgiveness in
Sirach and in Philo. There are common terms in both authors, such as eleos and syngnômê.
Others terms are found only in Sirach, e.g. exsilasmos, others only in Philo, e. g. oiktos.

D. T. Runia, ‘Eudaimonism in Hellenistic-Jewish and Early Christian

Literature’, Iris (Journal of the Classical Association of Victoria) 15 (2002) 63–72.
A reduced version of the following article adapted for presentation to a conference
entitled Christ on Olympus, named after a poem written by the Bendigo poet William
Gay in 1895. (DTR)

D. T. Runia, ‘Eudaimonism in Hellenistic-Jewish Literature’, in J. L.

Kugel (edd.), Shem in the Tents of Japheth: Essays on the Encounter of Judaism
and Hellenism, Supplements to the Journal for the Study of Judaism 74
(Leiden etc. 2002) 131–157.
bibliography of philonic studies 2002 187

The article examines the relation between Greek philosophical and Hellenistic-
Jewish ideas by focusing on the concept of eudaimonia, usually but misleadingly
translated ‘happiness’. In the first section six crucial features of the concept in Greek
thought are outlined, notably the link to the good life and theological connotations. In
the next two sections use of the term and concept in Philo and Josephus are examined. It is
concluded that in these authors a form of eudaimonism is present, but elsewhere in
Hellenistic-Jewish literature it scarcely occurs. The question is then raised whether this
is perhaps merely a matter of terminology, i.e. a Greek term is used but its content is
Jewish. It is proven that this is not the case by noting that Philo relates the concept of
eudaimonia to God, which does not take place in the Bible at all. In the final section the
question is raised why Philo is so attracted to the themes of excellence (aretê) and well-
being (eudaimonia). It is concluded that they help him bridge the gap between his
loyalty to Judaism and his situation as an intellectual in Alexandria. (DTR)

D. T. Runia, ‘One of Us or One of Them? Christian Reception of Philo

the Jew in Egypt’, in J. L. Kugel (ed.), Shem in the Tents of Japheth: Essays on
the Encounter of Judaism and Hellenism, Supplements to the Journal for the
Study of Judaism 74 (Leiden etc. 2002) 203–222.
Starting-point for the article is the discovery of three significant Philonic papyri in
Egypt, the Coptos codex, the Oxyrhynchus codex and a small papyrus fragment
published in 1994. All three are definitely of Christian provenance. The paper falls into
four parts. In the first part a brief account is given of Philo’s survival in Egypt (including
Alexandria). Thereafter the article concentrates on two test cases, the use of Philo by
Didymus the Blind and Isidore of Pelusium. On this basis some conclusions are reached in
the final section. Philo’s greatest value to Christians in Egypt was the contribution he
could make to biblical interpretation. Up to the 4th century there was no reason to
emphasize that Philo was a Jew. He was ‘one of us’. During the 4th century this tacit
acceptance starts to change and it may be concluded that he starts to become ‘one of
them’, albeit as a special case. With regard to the papyri, however, it is quite possible
that their owners simply regarded their author as a Christian interpreter, i.e. ‘one of
us’. (DTR)

D. T. Runia, ‘Philo of Alexandria and the End of Hellenistic Theology’,

in A. Laks and D. Frede (edd.), Traditions of Theology: Studies in Hellenistic
Theology, Its Background and Aftermath, Philosophia Antiqua 89 (Leiden 2002)
The article is the final one in a collection of nine papers presented at the 8th Sympo-
sium Hellenisticum held in Lille in the summer of 1998. Its basic thesis is that Philo’s
theology is a witness to the end of Hellenistic theology and the beginning of a new
theology that would dominate philosophy until the end of antiquity. It begins with two
texts in the doxographer Aëtius and the sceptic Sextus Empiricus which, it is argued, are
typical of Hellenistic theology. They are confident and direct in their approach to the
question of the divine nature. It either exists or it does not exist. The evidence of Philo is
then called in. The paper concentrates on texts from the Exposition of the Law, esp. Opif.
7–25, Spec. 1.32–50 and Praem. 36–46. Through an analysis of six theological themes —
the basic division of reality, the noetic cosmos and the extended image in Opif. 17–18, the
Logos, the reception of the divine powers, existence and essence, a superior path to know-
ledge — it is argued that the confident and direct epistemology of Hellenistic theology
188 the studia philonica annual 17 (2005)

gives way to a different approach which is less confident and more complex, involving a
negative theology in which the nature of God is not denied but regarded as not directly
accessible to human knowledge. Three further authors are adduced by way of compari-
son: the Pseudo-Aristotelian De mundo, Seneca and Alcinous. The paper ends with some
reflections on whether Philo, in his philosophical theology, is a witness or an innovator.
‘Philo stands at the interface of Hellenistic and later Greek philosophy, looking … both
back and forward. He has the status of an outsider. The inspiration that he found in
biblical thought made him sensitive to changes that were in the air, e.g. in the case of
negative theology… [T]he texts in which Philo points forward to later developments are
the ones that are most interesting (311).’ (DTR)

D. T. Runia and G. E. Sterling (edd.), The Studia Philonica Annual,

Volume 14, Brown Judaic Studies 335 (Atlanta 2002).
This volume in the continuing series contains 6 articles, 1 review article, 15 book
reviews, as well as the usual Bibliography section, News and Notes and Notes on
contributors. See summaries elsewhere in this section. (DTR)

D. T. Runia, E. Birnbaum, A. C. Geljon, K. A. Fox, H. M. Keizer, J. P.

Martín, R. Radice, J. Riaud, T. Seland, and D. Zeller, ‘Philo of Alexan-
dria: an Annotated Bibliography 1999’, The Studia Philonica Annual 14 (2002)
This year’s installment of the yearly annotated bibliography of Philonic studies
prepared by the International Philo Bibliography Project primarily covers the year 1999
(80 items), with addenda for the years 1993–97 (16 items), and provisional lists for the
years 2000–2002. (DTR)

M. Salcedo Parrondo, ‘El problema del determinismo astral en el ‘De

prouidentia’ de Filón de Alejandría’, in A. Perez Jimenez and R. Cabal-
lero (edd.), Homo Mathematicus (Actas del Congreso International sobre
Astrologos Griegos y Romanos (Malaga 2002 ) 249–258.
In De providentia Philo takes a stand against astral determinism, emphasizing the
free will and responsibility of human beings. In the extensive Philonic corpus, however,
the opposition against astrology is not clear. Salcedo concludes that the thought of Philo
rather seems a compromise between the Jewish monotheism and its Hellenistic culture,
virtually an eclectic Platonism. (JPM)

K. O. Sandnes, Belly and Body in the Pauline Epistles, Society for New
Testament Studies Monograph Series 120 (Cambridge 2002), esp. 108–135.
In a number of passages, Paul uses expressions like ‘their god is the belly’ (Phil. 3:19),
or serving ‘their own belly’ (Rom 16:18). In this study K. O. Sandnes suggests that Paul
here exploits a traditional idiom, a topos or a literary commonplace that is attested in
ancient Greco-Roman sources, and exploited in Jewish sources as well. The belly became a
catchword for a life controlled by the passions. Accusations of belly-worship was not
only pejorative rhetoric to Paul, but developed from Paul’s conviction that the body was
bibliography of philonic studies 2002 189

destined to a future with Christ. After an introductory chapter, Sandnes deals in Chap-
ter Two with Aspects of ancient theories of the belly: ‘the belly as a sign — ancient physio-
gnomics’ (24–35); ‘The belly in ancient moral philosophy’ (35–60); ‘Ancient critique of
Epicureanism’ (61–78), and ‘Banquets — opportunities for the belly’ (79–93). In Chapter
Three he deals with The appropriated belly (97–135), briefly presenting aspects of the
belly-topos in Jewish-Hellenistic sources, and then ‘The belly in Philo’s writings’ (108–
135). Sandnes finds two partly conflicting views on the belly in the writings of Philo. On
the one hand, his warnings against being enslaved to the belly and its pleasures indicate
opposition to immoderate pleasure. The desires of the belly have to be controlled,
mastered or tamed. On the other hand, the belly is viewed from another perspective as
well. It is not only a matter of taking control of the belly, but to abandon it altogether. At
the end, belly-devotion is a sign of paganism. According to Sandnes, a possible way to
reconcile these two views might be Philo’s concept of gradual progress through training.
Philo does not expect everyone to have reached the same level in mastering the belly,
thus allowing for some flexibility in his attitudes. In the rest of his study, Sandnes deals
with belly-worship in the Pauline texts of Philippians, Romans and 1 Corinthians.
Finally he tests his results by having a look at how the earliest expositors of Paul’s
letters dealt with this topic. (TS)

P. Schäfer, Mirror of His Beauty: Feminine Images of God from the Bible to
the Early Kabbalah. Jews, Christians, and Muslims from the Ancient to the
Modern World (Princeton–Oxford 2002), esp. 39–57.
The notion of a feminine manifestation of God is found in the earliest kabbalistic
work, the 12th century book Bahir. Schäfer seeks the origins of this notion by tracing
possible precedents in biblical and early Jewish wisdom literature, Philo and gnostic
sources, and in the idea of the Shekhinah in rabbinic literature and Jewish philoso-
phical writings. Observing that ‘the kabbalistic notion of God’s femininity [is] a radical
departure from earlier Jewish models’ (10), Schäfer re-examines G. Scholem’s theory
that the notion originated in gnostic sources. He then turns to the Christian side of the
Bahir’s setting in 12th century France and finds significance in ‘the gradual deification of
Mary’ (12) and in Jewish-Christian polemics about Mary. He concludes by suggesting
ways of understanding origins and influence as a dynamic process. On the subject of Philo
he notes that, influenced by Jewish and philosophical traditions, Philo presents a range
of complex ideas about Wisdom and the Logos, at times even changing the gender of
Wisdom from female to male. (EB)

K. L. Schenck, ‘Philo and the Epistle to the Hebrews: Ronald William-

son’s Study after Thirty Years’, The Studia Philonica Annual 14 (2002) 112–
Even though direct dependence cannot be demonstrated, the author of Hebrews and
Philo stand in the same common milieu of Alexandrian Hellenistic Judaism. Both rely on
similar Alexandrian traditions in the areas of Middle Platonic cosmology and psycho-
logy, even if they develop them differently (cf. Heb 8:5), and both used the same
Alexandrian text of the LXX (cf. Heb 13:5 and Conf. 166). There are fundamental
differences between Hebrews and Philo in their eschatology and allegorical interpreta-
tion but even here, the differences are not as great as R. Williamson supposed in his
monograph (cf. R-R 7037). (KAF)
190 the studia philonica annual 17 (2005)

G. Schimanowski, ‘Philo als Prophet, Philo als Christ, Philo als Bischof’,
in F. Siegert (ed.), Grenzgänge. Menschen und Schicksale zwischen jüdischer,
christlicher und deutscher Identität: Festschrift für Diethard Aschoff, Münste-
raner Judaistische Studien 11 (Münster 2002) 36–49.
It is a curious part of the reception of Philo that he was adopted from Christianity as
witness of the sufferings of Christ and the beginning of Christianity and that by the end
of the Patristic period he had virtually achieved the status of a Church Father. This
development is clearly demonstrated through two bronze-busts in the Cathedral of
Münster, Germany, where Philo is twice represented as part of altogether 14 busts of the
OT prophets. He holds a scroll written with a Latin text in his hand: Philo. Morte
turpissima condemnemus illum (Let us condemn him to a shameful death). This shows
that he is regarded as the author of the book of Wisdom (cf. Wisd. 2:20). The article
pursues Philo’s Nachleben in Christianity as Prophet, witness to the beginning of
Christianity and even finally by the end of the 5th century c.e. as bishop (ej p iv s kopo~).
This first part is based upon the monograph of D. T. Runia, Philo in Early Christian
Literature. A Survey (R-R 9373). The second part gives an overview of the three
historical aspects: Philo the Jew, Philo the Alexandrian and Philo the Roman. Two
illustrations of Philo’s bust precede the article. (GS)

I. W. Scott, ‘Is Philo’s Moses a Divine Man?’, The Studia Philonica

Annual 14 (2002) 87–111.
To test C. R. Holladay’s claim (R-R 7717) that Jews in the Diaspora did not deify
their heroes, the author isolates Philo’s biography of Moses as the most important place
to evaluate his thesis. The author shows how the modern scholarly construct of theios
aner has little to do with ancient perceptions and that to first-century eyes there was no
set type or model of theios aner. Scott’s eventual concern seems to be to explore how Jesus of
Nazareth came to be seen as God in the Church. He identifies two features that
divinized humans had in common, divine parentage and bodily ascension, but since both
traits are absent from Philo’s portraiture of Moses, Scott concludes, as did Holladay
before him, that we cannot look to Philo for a bridge between Hellenism and early
Christian thought. (KAF)

T. Seland, ‘Saul of Tarsus and Early Zealotism. Reading Gal 1.13–14 in

Light of Philo’s Writings’, Biblica 83 (2002) 449–471.
One of the most consistent features in the portraits of Saul of Tarsus in the Acts of the
Apostles and in the letters accredited to Paul is the fervent zeal of his youth. The zeal of
the young Saul has been dealt with in several studies, drawing on the issue of zealotry in
Palestine, but the conclusions reached are rather diverse. The present study suggests that
the often overlooked phenomenon of zealotry in the writings of Philo of Alexandria
should also be considered. The material from Philo does not support the view that the
early zealots formed any consistent movement or party, but that they were vigilant
individuals who took the Law in their own hands when observing cases of gross
transgressions of the Torah. (TS)

F. Shaw, The Earliest Non-mystical Jewish Use of Iao (diss. University of

Cincinnati 2002).
bibliography of philonic studies 2002 191

The publication of a fragmentary Septuagint manuscript from the Judean desert,

4QLXXLevb (= 4Q120), which contains a few instances of the earliest Greek form of the
Jewish name of God Iao, has brought up the problem of the role of this name in the LXX’s
textual tradition. After reviewing what little has been said in scholarship on this
matter, in order to investigate the issue of this form of the divine name within Judaism,
the study examines all (or nearly all) the earliest non-mystical usage of Iao. This
includes the following: (1) Christian copies of ancient onomastica (which must go back to
earlier Jewish originals) where a surprising number of instances of Iao are found in
expositions of biblical characters’ names. This evidence indicates that far more copies of
LXX mss. containing Iao must have circulated than the single instance found so far since
the onomastica were originally based on the LXX’s text. (2) Several classical/gentile
sources: specifically Diodorus of Sicily and the Roman polymath Varro; other instances
may exist in Herennius Philo of Byblos, the emperor Gaius (apud Philo Judaeus),
Valerius Maximus, and the pagan story of Jewish ass worship. (3) Jewish sources: a
passage in the Mishnah, several instances in the Pseudepigrapha, epigraphic evidence.
(4) Ecclesiastical testimony: Origen, Eusebius, Jerome, Theodoret, and the unknown
ecclesiastical interpolator(s) responsible for certain entries in Hesychius’ lexicon. The
conclusion reached is that, if one is to understand the appearance of Iao in the LXX’s
history, one must look beyond merely the textual issue. Rather this Qumran MS is
evidence of the fact that there was contention within ancient Judaism on the matter of
the use and disuse of God’s name. Not all Jews of the second temple period were eager to
discontinue their employment of the divine name. Some likely motives for their
persistent use of Iao and the historical situation that may have influenced their usage of
the name are explored. A chronology of the use of the divine name in various sources
during the late centuries b.c.e. and the first few centuries c.e. is sketched, and an
attempt is made to document when the name most likely moved from being a non-
mystical usage to the more commonly known one associated with Gnostics, magical
papyri, and other charms and amulets. Three areas need further investigation and
elaboration. First, not all second temple period Greek-speaking Jews referred to God as
kyrios or theos. Some employed Iao (onomastica, Qumran MS, classical sources), some
‘Heaven’ (1, 2 Macc., Matthew, Prodigal Son parable in Luke), others ‘Father’ (most NT
writers), others ‘the Unseen One’ (onomastica, Hebrews 11), others Greek philosophical
terms (Philo, Acts 17, Josephus) while at times some Jews used despotes instead of the
more standard kyrios (two LXX translators, Josephus); all this, combined with scribal
practices at Qumran, seems to show that there was considerable choice among ancient
Jews and early Christians regarding how to refer to God. No one appears to have yet
studied this as individual preference, and the likely reasons for it, in detail. Secondly,
it becomes apparent when one works extendedly with the two critical editions of ancient
onomastica that these lists have much to offer those interested both in Hellenistic
Judaism and early Christianity. Thirdly, though modern academics are far too often
eager to state in principle that antique Judaism was quite diverse, yet they are
frequently reluctant to apply this dictum to specific practices and beliefs among ancient
Jews. There exists a real gap between this now nearly universally accepted general
abstraction and the utilization of the notion in areas where it can help us understand the
dynamics behind individual issues. See also the article by the author elsewhere in this
volume. (DTR; based on summary supplied by the author)

J. L. Sicre Díaz, ‘Las tradiciones de Jacob: búsqueda y rechazo de la

propia identidad’, Estudios Bíblicos 60 (2002) 443–478, esp. 465–469.
Although Philo’s treatise dedicated to patriarch Jacob is lost, the author attempts to
reconstruct it in outline by means of evidence in extant works. The author distinguishes
192 the studia philonica annual 17 (2005)

and opposes two traditions of ancient Jewish literature on Jacob: one rejects him as a
cheater because he has supplanted his brother; the other elevates him as model of the
Jewish people. Philo belongs to this second tradition, together with the Book of Jubilees,
the Targum Neofiti and others. Philo sees in Jacob a prototype of the wise person, model
of asceticism and virtue. (JPM)

J. Martin Soskice, ‘Philo and Negative Theology’, Archivio di Filosofia 70

(2002) 491–514.
The author argues that Philo’s treatment of the divine names cannot be accused of
wrenching God from the Sinai and forcing Him into the Acropolis. In Philo (and the
Christian writers who followed him) naming and knowing God presents itself as a
problem because of the testimony, not of philosophy, but of Jewish scripture (p. 498):
above all the texts about Moses meeting God and asking his name in Exod. 3, Exod. 20 and
Exod. 33. After a discussion of Philo’s (exegetical) thought on the subject, notably in
Mut., the author concludes (p. 504) that for Philo, resolutely metaphysical as his
treatment is, God nevertheless is not an object of ‘adequation’: we name Him ‘by grace’
and ‘relatively’. (HMK)

O. Skarsaune, In the Shadow of the Temple: Jewish Influences on Early

Christianity (Downers Grove IL 2002), esp. 73–75
In Chapter two, devoted to the Jews in Israel and in the Diaspora, Skarsaune briefly
records Philo’s view on Jerusalem, quoting Legat. 281–283. For Philo, Jerusalem was his
real native city, the religious centre on which he was focused, and to which he made a
pilgrimage. This position makes him representative of the most Diaspora Jews. The
reference to Allegorical Interpretation 281 on p. 73 is incorrect. It should be Legat. 278, 281.

G. Theissen, ‘Zum Freiheitsverständnis bei Paulus und Philo. Paradoxe

und kommunitäre Freiheit’, in H.-J. Reuter, H. Bedford-Strom, H.
Kuhlmann and K.-H. Lütcke (edd.), Freiheit verantworten. Festschrift für
W. Huber zum 60. Geburtstag (Gütersloh 2002) 357–368.
In this article Theißen makes an interesting comparison between Paul and Philo and
gives some noteworthy parallels. He claims to find a synthesis between the Hellenistic
autonomous ethic (with freedom from all passions) and the biblical love which humans
beings are commanded to exercise towards their fellow people. Paul and Philo both focus
on exemplary communities. The author maintains that this synthesis is systematically
set out in Philo’s treatise of Freedom (Quod omnis probus liber sit). He focuses on three
levels of freedom: freedom as self-determination which is well-founded in God; freedom
as competence in law; freedom as competence in conflicts. But both authors have their
own particular insights too. It is Philo’s firm conviction that a society is able to abandon
slavery. He idealizes Jewish community life and the social-cultural expression of the
way of life of the Therapeutae or Essenes. In his view a life in obedience to the law is
possible for all people. Paul introduces in Galatians the term freedom as a counter-term
to social and religious pressure (Gal. 2:3; cf. 5:1, 13f.). For Paul freedom could and
sometimes must mean resistance to the (Jewish) law. (GS)
bibliography of philonic studies 2002 193

A. Tripolitis, Religions of the Hellenistic-Roman Age (Grand Rapids 2002),

esp. 77–84.
Besides an introduction and conclusion, the book is divided into five parts. Part I, ‘The
Hellenistic-Roman World’, surveys historical background, mystery cults, and religious
philosophies. Part II covers Mithraism; Part III, Hellenistic Judaism; Part IV,
Christianity; part V, Gnosticism. In her treatment of Hellenistic Judaism, the author
considers the history and Hellenization of the Jewish Diaspora and addresses the
development of the synagogue. She also devotes a section to Philo (77–84), whom she
singles out as the most important representative of this kind of Judaism. After briefly
describing Aristobulus as the first to interpret the Pentateuch allegorically, Tripolitis
discusses Philo’s ideas about God, the Logos, the universe, the human soul, and the
individual’s quest for God. She notes that although Philo was an observant, committed
Jew, he was ‘rejected by Palestinian Jewish theologians’ (84); instead his thought
influenced later pagan philosophers and Christian thinkers. (EB)

M. S. Venit, Monumental Tombs of Ancient Alexandria: The Theater of the

Dead (New York–Cambridge 2002), esp. 20–21.
Little archaeological evidence remains of such great Alexandrian edifices as the
Pharos lighthouse, the Library, or the Museum. Over the last century, however,
excavations of underground tombs (hypogea) have provided a key to the long and
complex social history of the ancient city, where so many different groups lived side by
side. With some 170 photographs and sketches, this impressive volume details the
results of these excavations and explains the distinctiveness of the monumental tombs —
which combine Greek and Egyptian elements — from the Ptolemaic through to the
Roman period. The author also discusses the influence of the Alexandrian style in tombs
outside the city, whether in Egypt or beyond. Very few Jewish tombs can be identified
with certainty. Features that suggest a Jewish identification include lamps showing a
seven-branched candelabra or a palm tree, epitaphs with biblical or Jewish names like
Miriam or Joseph, and the absence of ornaments and paintings. Jews were buried in all
parts of the city in the same cemeteries as other groups. Philo is mentioned only in
passing for evidence that Jews lived throughout the city (20). Nonetheless Philo
scholars may wish to consult this volume to learn more about the great cosmopolis —
home to the most important Jewish Diaspora of its time — where Philo lived and wrote.

J. W h i t l o c k , Schrift und Inspiration. Studien zur Vorstellung von

inspirierter Schrift und inspirierter Schrifauslegung im antiken Judentum und in
den paulinischen Schrifte, Wissenschaftliche Monographien zum Alten und
Neuen Testament 98(Neukirchen-Vluyn 2002), esp. 74–75, 96–121.
This study is the author’s 1999 Tübingen dissertation with some supplements, espe-
cially for the Qumran writings. Even if Philo’s interest concerns mainly the Pentateuch
and Moses as the most important inspired person, he knows much more about OT writings.
Some texts like 1 Sam. were cited as a flerÚw lÒgow . When telling the story of the
Septuagint translation miraculous aspects are give much more emphasis when compared
to the narrative of the so-called Letter of Aristeas. Many terms of the Platonic doctrine of
inspiration occur. Philo shows that he knows all four kinds of inspiration of the Greek
tradition. He himself is presented as an inspired author. Nevertheless the biblical texts
194 the studia philonica annual 17 (2005)

are his first source. The use of the term pneuma comes nearer to the Jewish tradition than
to the Greek background. Whitlock explains some traditional views on the question of
inspiration and the Holy Scripture. Most of these he agrees with, but on some occasions
he has re-examined the texts for his own purpose. In some cases, however, he is
criticizing interpretations such as that of H. Leisegang which goes back to the beginning
of the 20th century. Interaction with recent interpretations of Philo is rare. (GS)

W. T. Wilson, ‘Sin as Sex and Sex with Sin: The Anthropology of James
1:12–15’, Harvard Theological Review 95 (2002) 147–168, esp. 149–157.
Philo’s use of sexual metaphors to illumine the human predicament helps clarify the
Book of James’ utilization of the same at James 1:12–15. (KAF)

D. Winston, ‘Philo and the Wisdom of Solomon on Creation, Revela-

tion, and Providence: The High-Water of Jewish Hellenistic Fusion’, in J. L.
Kugel (ed.), Shem in the Tents of Japheth: Essays on the Encounter of Judaism
and Hellenism, Supplements to the Journal for the Study of Judaism 74
(Leiden etc. 2002) 109–130.
Winston commences his beautifully crafted paper with some general remarks on his
understanding of the main thrust of Philo’s thought. In his commentaries the reader is
‘deftly beguiled into discovering Greek philosophical doctrine beneath the literal shell
of the scriptural narrative’ (109). The aim of the paper is to examine several themes in
Philo’s thought that resist an easy blending of their Jewish and Greek elements. In each
case Winston prefaces his treatment with a brief description of the theme in the Wisdom
of Solomon, whose author was probably Philo’s near contemporary. The first theme is
creation. Various texts are cited in order to establish and confirm that Philo espouses the
doctrine of eternal creation, i.e. God is always creating the universe in a process that had
no beginning. The largest part of the article treats the theme of revelation, particularly
in relation to the role of Moses as author of scripture and Philo’s theory of three types of
prophecy, Winston restates his position and compares it with other interpretations by
Burkhardt, Levison and Amir. The paper ends with a brief discussion of the theme of
providence. The cyclical ‘dance’ of the Logos (Deus 176) can be reconciled with Philo’s
belief in the eventual advent of the Messianic age if it is assumed that the rotation
equality of the present cosmic era will be replaced by a steady state form of equality, in
which there will be no dislocations of the divine economy. (DTR)

Extra items from before 2002

M. Alexandre jr., ‘The Power of Allegorical Interpretation in Philo’s
De Abrahamo 107–132’, Euphrosune 26 (1998) 35–48.
After some initial remarks on Philo’s method of allegoresis and some recent interpre-
tations by scholars such as Hamerton-Kelly, Dawson, Hay and Dillon, the author
presents a close reading of Abr. 107–132, paying particular attention to the structural and
rhetorical features of the passage. It is concluded that ‘allegory is … a rhetorical instru-
ment that can be used as an exegetical technique as well as an persuasive argumentative
tool’ (46). (DTR)
bibliography of philonic studies 2002 195

M. Baldassarri, ‘La Difesa della Provvidenza: nello scritto plutarcheo

De sera numinis vindicta’, The Ancient World 25 (1994) 147–158, esp. 155–158.
The author reviews Plutarch’s discussion of the question why the Divine Providence
sometimes punishes with delay (De sera numinis vindicta), and compares Plutarch’s
argumentation with that of Philo in De providentia, noting among other things that
Plutarch’s treatise represents a religious approach, while Philo in Prov. presents a
philosophical investigation. (HMK)

L. Boff and J.-Y. Leloup, Terapeutas del Desierto: De Filón De Alejandría y

Francisco de Asís a Graf Dürckheim (Santander 1999).
Spanish translation of the book listed below under the authorship of J.-Y. Leloup, L.
Boff and L. M. A. de Lima. (JPM)

W. Carter, ‘Adult Children and Elderly Parents: the Worlds of the New
Testament’, Journal of Religious Gerontology 12 (2001) 45–59.
As background for understanding NT teaching about adult children and elderly
parents, the author discusses Philo, Aristotle, and the 2nd century c.e. Stoic Hierocles.
Philo speaks of honoring one’s parents in connection with the fifth commandment.
According to him parents have a God-like role, are superior in virtue because they are
older, and function as instructors and benefactors to their children. Philo does not
acknowledge any change in the relationship between children and parents as children
become adults. Based on Leviticus 19, Philo also mentions respect for the elderly, for
whom parents are ‘prototypes’. Philo’s teachings are similar to other first-century
discussions — which go back to as early as Aristotle — on household organization.
Aristotle establishes a hierarchic household structure in which the male is central — as
husband, father, master, and wealth-earner. Children are indebted to parents for
sustenance, upbringing, and education and remain obligated to parents throughout their
lives. Hierocles also emphasizes a child’s ‘never-ending obligation’ to care for parents
(52) and elaborates on this obligation in several ways. The NT does not speak with one
voice on this issue. Some writings uphold Aristotelian tradition, but Matthew calls for a
new kind of community of disciples that is egalitarian and inclusive. This diversity in
NT positions opens the way for different Christian responses regarding obligations of
adults to their parents. (EB)

B. Chiesa, ‘Dawud al-Muqammis e la sua opera’, Henoch 18 (1996) 121–

155, esp. 131–137.
In this review of Sarah Stroumsa’s Dawud ibn Marwan al-Muqammis’ Twenty
Chapters (1989), Chiesa discusses the possiblity of Philo having been a source of al-
Muqammis. About the latter, little more is known than what al-Qirqisani tells us in his
Kitab al-anwar of 927 c.e., who brings him into relation with a certain Nana. There are
valid arguments for identifying this Nana with Nonnus of Nisibi (9th century). Chiesa
then develops the following argumentation (p. 132): (1) if al-Qirqisani had knowledge
of the works of Philo, his most probable intermediary source was al-Muqammis; (2) that
al-Muqammis may have known Philo is very likely given his relationship with Nonnus,
who was active precisely in the environment where Philo’s writings circulated — viz. in
Armenia —; (3) that al-Qirqisani knew Philo is certain. Chiesa presents in detail the
196 the studia philonica annual 17 (2005)

parallels between a fragment identified as belonging to book VI of al-Qirqisani’s Kitab

al-anwar, and Philo’s De decalogo and De specialibus legibus. (HMK)

D. Goodblatt [flbdwg dwd], “ynv tyb tpwqtb larcy-≈rab hkwlmhw hnwhkh dwjya ”
[‘The Union of Priesthood and Kingship in Second Temple Judea’], Cathedra
102 (2001) 7–28, 209 [English summary].
The author claims that the commonly perceived opposition in Judaism of the Second
Temple period to the union of the offices of priesthood and kingship deserves careful
reexamination. In response to a scholarly consensus that interprets widespread enmity to
the Hasmonean dynasty as a result of principled opposition to the possibility of the
linking of the roles of king and priest, Goodblatt argues that such expressions are
consistently ad hominem and should not be treated as an expression of ideological
incompatibility. In the course of the argument, Philo’s standpoint is reviewed (20–21):
the brief examination of five key passages leads the author to the conclusion that Philo
is positively inclined in principle to the possibility of the union of kingship and
priesthood, while his reservations are always on the level of either practical difficulty
or historical circumstance. (DS)

C. H. Kahn, Pythagoras and the Pythagoreans (Indianapolis 2001), esp. 99–

A number of pages are devoted to Philo as part of this valuable general introduction
to Pythagoreanism. He is included in the chapter on the Neopythagoreans. After
discussing the philosophy of Eudorus Kahn states: ‘It is a Platonism of this sort, with
heavy Pythagorean overtones, that we find reflected a generation or two later in the
Biblical allegories of Philo of Alexandria’ (99). Philo’s writings can thus help to ‘put
flesh and bones on the bare skeleton provided by the fragments and testimonia for
Eudorus’ (ibid.) A brief discussion follows on Philo’s theology and use of number
symbolism, both of which combine Pythagorean and biblical/Jewish ideas. (DTR)

J.-Y. Leloup, L. Boff and L. M. A. de Lima, Terapeutas do deserto: de Fílon

de Alexandria e Francisco de Assis a Fraf Dürckheim (Petropolis, Brazil 1998,
This book is the result of a seminar on therapeutic psychology directed by the
authors. Leloup contributes the point of departure, i.e. Philo’s idea of therapeuein to on,
‘taking care of being’ (Contempl. 2). That was the topic of a previous book on Philo (cf.
RRS 2254, 2851). The expression ‘care of being’ is understood in the context of
contemporary phenomenology and with a strong emphasis on transpersonal therapeutics.
L. Boff contributes with a reflection on the life and writings of Francis of Assisi in the
same perspective. Leloup, finally, incorporates within the therapeutic proposal the
anthropological perspective and methodology of the psychologist and philosopher
Karlfried Graf Dürckheim (1896–1988), promotor of the ‘transpersonal psychotherapy’
which both authors find congruent with basic features of Philo’s Therapeutai. The
treatise De vita contemplativa is mentioned frequently as witness to the therapeutics
practised by priests of the desert, who took care of the human phenomenon in its
totality, involving the harmony of men and women, body and soul, immanence and
transcendence. Philo can thus be considered an old instructor for the contemporary
holistic therapies. (JPM)
bibliography of philonic studies 2002 197

Y. Liebes [sbyl hdwhy], hryxy rps lv hryxyh trwt [Ars Poetica in Sefer Yetsira]
(Jerusalem–Tel Aviv 2000), esp. 76–79, 91–92, 105–110, 206–207, 226–228,
Liebes’ monograph presents a radical reevaluation of the status of the Jewish
mystical treatise known as Sefer Yetsirah or, somewhat inadequately, the ‘Book of
Formation.’ This small but enigmatic composition, which played a seminal role in the
development of central components of Jewish mysticism in the Middle Ages, has been
described as ‘layers of tradition woven together to form a collage of speculation on the
process of divine creativity and the nature of what has been created’. (thus E. Wolfson,
SPhA 16 (2004) 227; see the critical considerations raised in his review article of Liebes’
book there.) The claim of this book for the interests of the present audience lies precisely
in its extreme argument for an early dating of the Sefer Yetsirah: in opposition to a
consensus of scholarly opinion which sees the treatise as inherently tied to an early
Islamic context, Liebes would assign the work to the end of the period of the Second
Temple. The argument naturally turns to salient parallel material from the first century
c.e., and there are extended discussions of presumed contacts between the mystical
treatise and the Philonic corpus, especially with regard to the presentation of Abraham
(76–79, 91–92, 105–110), the Temple (206–207) and messianic universalism (226–228). In
his concluding discussion of the date of Sefer Yetsirah (230–231), Liebes emphasizes the
extreme proximity of the worldviews of the author with those of Philo. (DS)

D. Noy, ‘‘A Sight Unfit to See’: Jewish Reactions to the Roman Imperial
Cult’, Classics Ireland 8 (2001) 68–83.
Taking his point of departure in Gaius Caligula’s decision to have a statue of himself
installed in the Jewish Temple at Jerusalem, the author discusses this and other episodes
in order to reach a conclusion on the general Jewish reactions to the imperial cult. Using
the works of Philo, Josephus, the Rabbis and some papyri and inscriptions, the author’s
main thesis is that the case of Caligula was exceptional, and that usually there was no
pressure from central authorities for Jews to compromise with the cult, although the
issue may have been less clear-cut at a local level. In general, the Jews seem to have been
content to ignore the imperial cult, and the proponents of the cult were content to ignore
the Jews. (TS)

D. R. Schwartz, ‘Temple or City: What did Hellenistic Jews see in

Jerusalem’, in M. Poorthuis and C. Safrai (edd.), The Centrality of
Jerusalem: Historical Perspectives (Kampen 1996) 114–127.
The article focuses on the question of the view that Jews in the Hellenistic Diaspora
had of Jerusalem and the Temple. In general their attitude towards the city of Jerusalem
was positive, but they were negative about the Temple. It was difficult for them, living
outside Jerusalem in the Diaspora, to assume that God dwells in one particular place, i.e.
the Temple in Jerusalem. In 2 and 3 Maccabees the view is expressed that God has his
residence in heaven. As for Philo, on the one hand he defends the Temple when attacked
by the Roman emperor Gaius Caligula and we know that he made a pilgrimage to
Jerusalem, which he calls the ‘metropolis’, but on the other hand he argues that the
Temple is wholly spiritual. (ACG)
The Studia Philonica Annual XVII (2005) 198–214

A Provisional Bibliography 2003–2005

The user of this supplementary Bibliography of very recent articles on Philo is

once again reminded that it will doubtless contain inaccuracies and red herrings,
because it is not in all cases based on autopsy. It is merely meant as a service to
the reader. Scholars who are disppointed by omissions or keen to have their own
work on Philo listed are strongly encouraged to contact the Bibliography’s com-
pilers (addresses in the section Notes on contributors).

F. Alesse, ‘Il tema dell’emanazione (aporroia) nella letteratura astrologica e
non astrologica tra
—— , ‘Il tema dell’emanazione (aporroia) nella letteratura astrologica e
non astrologica tra I sec. a.C. e II d.Ch.’, MHNH (Revista Internacional
de Investigación sobre Magia y Astrología Antiguas) 3 (2003) 117-134.
M. Alesso, ‘Cosmopolitismo alejandrino en la obra de Filón’, Revista de
Historia Universal 13 (2003) 17–30. I sec. a.C. e II d.C.’, MHNH (Revista
Internacional de Investigación sobre Magia y Astrología Antiguas) 3 (2003)
—— , ‘No es bueno que el hombre esté solo’, Circe 8 (2003) 17–30.
W. Ameling, ‘‘Market-place’ und Gewalt. Die Juden in Alexandrien’,
Würzburger Jahrbücher für die Altertumswissenschaft 27 (2003) 71–123.
A. E. Arterbury, ‘Abraham’s Hospitality among Jewish and Early Chris-
tian Writers: a Traditional History of Gen 18:1–16 and its Relevance for
the Study of the New Testament’, Perspectives in Religious Studies 30
(2003) 359–376.
D. E. Aune, T. Seland and J. H. Ulrichsen (edd.), Neotestamentica et
Philonica: Studies in Honor of Peder Borgen, Supplements to Novum
Testamentum 106 (Leiden–Boston 2003).
S. Badilita, ‘La communauté des Thérapeutes: une Philonopolis?’, Adaman-
tius 9 (2003) 67–77.
R. Bergmeier, ‘Zum historischen Wert der Essenerberichte von Philo und
Josephus’, in J. Frey and H. Stegemann (edd.), Qumrankontrovers. Bei-
träge zu den Textfunden vom Toten Meer, Einblicke. Ergebnisse – Berichte –
Reflexionen aus Tagungen der Katholischen Akademie Schwerte 6
(Paderborn 2003) 11–22.
supplement: provisional bibliography 2003-2005 199

K. Berthelot, Philanthropia judaica: Le debat autour de la ‘misanthropie’ des

lois juives dans l’antiquite, Supplement Series to the Journal for the Study
of Judaism (Leiden–Boston 2003).
E. Birnbaum, ‘Allegorical Interpretation and Jewish Identity among Alex-
andrian Jewish Writers’, in D. E. Aune, T. Seland and J. H. Ulrichsen
(edd.), Neotestamentica et Philonica: Studies in Honor of Peder Borgen, Sup-
plements to Novum Testamentum 106 (Leiden–Boston 2003) 307–329.
L. Boff and J.-Y. Leloup, I terapeuti del deserto. Da Filone di Alessandria e
Francesco d’Assisi a Graf Dürckheim (Milan 2003).
P. Borgen, ‘The Gospel of John and Philo of Alexandria’, in J. H. Charles-
worth and M. A. Daise (edd.), Light in a Spotless Mirror: Reflections on
Wisdom Traditions in Judaism and Early Christianity (Harrisburg, PA 2003)
—— , ‘Philo of Alexandria as Exegete’, in A. J. Hauser and D. F. Watson
(edd.), A History of Biblical Interpretation, Vol 1: The Ancient Period (Grand
Rapids 2003) 114–143.
A. P. Bos, ‘God as ‘Father’ and ‘Maker’ in Philo of Alexandria and its
Background in Aristotelian Thought’, Elenchos 24 (2003) 311–332.
P. Bosman, Conscience in Philo and Paul: A Conceptual History of the Synoida
Word Group, WUNT 2.166 (Tübingen 2003).
D. Boyarin, Sparks of the Logos. Essays in Rabbinic Hermeneutics, The Brill
Reference Library of Judaism 11 (Leiden–Boston 2003).
G. R. Boys-Stones (ed.), Metaphor, Allegory and the Classical Tradition.
Ancient Thought and Modern Revisions (Oxford 2003).
L. Brottier, ‘Joseph le politique; de l’anonymat du héros dans le traité
philonien ‘De Josepho’ à sa mise en scène à l’époque moderne’, Revue
des Etudes Juives 162 (2003) 43–68.
A. Cacciari, ‘Philo and the Nazarite’, in F. Calabi, (ed.), Italian Studies on
Philo of Alexandria, Studies in Philo of Alexandria and Mediterranean
Antiquity 1 (Boston-Leiden 2003) 147–166.
F. Calabi, ‘Il serpente e il cavaliere: piacere e ‘sophrosyne’’, Annali di
Scienze Religiose 8 (2003) 199–215.
—— , (ed.), Italian Studies on Philo of Alexandria, Studies in Philo of Alexandria
and Mediterranean Antiquity 1 (Boston-Leiden 2003).
—— , ‘La luce che abbaglia: una metafora sulla inconoscibilità di Dio in
Filone di Alessandria’, in L. Perrone (ed.), Origeniana Octava. Origen and
the Alexandrian Tradition, 2 vols., Bibliotheca Ephemeridum Theologica-
rum Lovaniensium 164 (Leuven 2003) 223–232.
—— , ‘Theatrical Language in Philo’s In Flaccum’, in F. Calabi, Italian
Studies on Philo of Alexandria (ed.), Studies in Philo of Alexandria and
Mediterranean Antiquity 1 (Boston-Leiden 2003) 91–116.
200 the studia philonica annual 17 (2005)

A. Carriker, The Library of Eusebius, Supplements to Vigiliae Christianae

67 (Leiden–Boston 2003), esp. 164–177.
C. M. Conway, ‘Gender and Divine Relativity in Philo of Alexandria’,
Journal for the Study of Judaism 34 (2003) 471–491.
N. Dax Moraes, ‘Fílon de Alexandria e a tradição filosófica’, Metanoia.
Primeiros escritos em filosofia 5 (2003) 55–88.
—— , O Logos em Fílon de Alexandria: Principais Interpretações (Master’s
thesis, Pontificial Catholic University, Rio de Janeiro 2003).
—— , ‘O Logos filoniano e o mundo platatônico das Idéais,’ Anais de
Filosofia. Revista de Pós-Graduação da Universidade Federal de São João del-Rei
10 (2003) 169–190.
B. Decharneux, ‘Entre le pouvoir et sacré: Philon d’Alexandrie, ambassa-
deur près du ‘divin’ Caius’, Problèmes d’Histoire des Religions 13 (2003)
D. S. Dodson, ‘Philo’s De Somniis in the Context of Ancient Dream Theo-
ries and Classifications’, Perspectives in Religious Studies 30 (2003) 299–312.
W. Eisele, Ein unerschütterliches Reich. Die mittelplatonische Umformung des
Parusiegedankens im Hebräerbrief, Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für die neutesta-
mentliche Wissenschaft und die Kunde der älteren Kirche 116 (Berlin–
New York 2003).
G. Ellia, La sensation chez Philon d’Alexandrie: spiritualité des sens (DEA
Université de Nantes 2003).
M. Endo, Creation and Christ, WUNT 2.144 (Tübingen 2003), esp. 166–179.
J. E. Ellis, ‘Philo’s View of Homosexuality’, Perspectives in Religious
Studies 30 (2003) 313–323.
T. Engberg-Pedersen, ‘Paraenesis Terminology in Philo’, in D. E. Aune,
T. Seland and J. H. Ulrichsen (edd.), Neotestamentica et Philonica:
Studies in Honor of Peder Borgen, Supplements to Novum Testamentum
106 (Leiden–Boston 2003) 371–392.
L. H. Feldman, ‘The Command, according to Philo, Pseudo-Philo, and
Josephus, to Annihilate the Seven Nations of Canaan’, Andrews Univer-
sity Seminary Studies 41 (2003) 13–30.
—— , ‘Moses in Midian, according to Philo’, Shofar 21 (2003) 1–20.
—— , ‘Philo’s interpretation of Korah’, Revue des Etudes Juives 162 (2003) 1–
—— , ‘Questions about the Great Flood, as Viewed by Philo, Pseudo-Philo,
Josephus, and the Rabbis’, Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft
115 (2003) 401–422.
E. Ferguson, ‘The Art of Praise: Philo and Philodemus on Music’, in J. T.
Fitzgerald, T. H. Olbricht and L. H. White (edd.), Early Christianity
and Classical Culture. Comparative Studies in Honor of Abraham J. Malherbe,
Novum Testamentum Supplements 110 (Leiden-Boston 2003) 391–426.
supplement: provisional bibliography 2003-2005 201

F. Frazier, ‘Les Anciens chez Philon d’Alexandrie. L’archéologie’ de

Moïse et l’espérance d’Enos’, in B. Bakhouche, (ed.), L’Ancienneté chez
les Anciens, vol. II, Mythologie et religion (Montpellier 2003) 385–410.
J. Frey, ‘Zur historischen Auswertung der antiken Essenerberichte. Ein Bei-
trag zum Gespräch mit Roland Bergmeier’, in J. Frey and H. Stege-
mann (edd.), Qumran kontrovers. Beiträge zu den Textfunden vom Toten
Meer, Einblicke. Ergebnisse – Berichte – Reflexionen aus Tagungen der
Katholischen Akademie Schwerte 6 (Paderborn 2003) 23–56.
K. Fuglseth, ‘Common Words in the New Testament and Philo: Some
Results from a Complete Vocabulary’, in D. E. Aune, T. Seland and
J. H. Ulrichsen (edd.), Neotestamentica et Philonica: Studies in Honor of
Peder Borgen, Supplements to Novum Testamentum 106 (Leiden–Boston
2003) 393–414.
K. L. Gaca, The Making of Fornication: Eros, Ethics and Political Reform in
Greek Philosophy and Early Christianity (Berkeley 2003), esp. 190–217.
S. Gambetti, The Alexandrian Riots of 38 C.E. and their Implications for the
Experience of the Jews of the Diaspora: A Historical Assessment (diss.
Berkeley 2003).
J. Gebara, Le Dieu créateur, Histoire de la doctrine de la création. De Philon
d’Alexandrie à Théophile d’Antioche (diss. Sorbonne 2003).
D. M. Goldenberg, The Curse of Ham. Race and Slavery in Early Judaism,
Christianity, and Islam (Princeton 2003).
D. Goodblatt, ‘The Union of Priesthood and Kingship in Second Temple
Judea [Hebrew]’, Qatedrah-le-toldot-Eres-Yisra’el-el-we-yissubah 102 (2003)
7–28, 209.
L. Grabbe, ‘Did all Jews think alike? ‘Covenant’ in Philo and Josephus in
the Context of Second Temple Judaic Religion’, in S. E. Porter and J. C.
R. de Roo (edd.), The Concept of the Covenant in the Second Temple Period,
Supplements to the Journal for the Study of Judaism 71 (Leiden–Boston
2003) 251–266.
P. Graffigna, ‘The Stability of Perfection: the Image of the Scales in Philo
of Alexandria’, in F. Calabi (ed.), Italian Studies on Philo of Alexandria,
Studies in Philo of Alexandria and Mediterranean Antiquity 1 (Boston-
Leiden 2003) 131–146.
M. Hadas-Lebel, Philon d’Alexandrie: un penseur en diaspora (Paris 2003).
H. Harrauer, ‘Ein neuer Philo-Papyrus mit per‹ filanyrvp¤aw’, Analecta
Papyrologica 14–15 (2002–2003).
J. R. Harrison, Paul’s Language of Grace in its Graeco-Roman Context, WUNT
2.172 (Tübingen 2003).
D. M. Hay, ‘Foils for the Therapeutae: References to Other Texts and Per-
sons in Philo’s De vita contemplativa’, in D. E. Aune, T. Seland and J. H.
202 the studia philonica annual 17 (2005)

Ulrichsen (edd.), Neotestamentica et Philonica: Studies in Honor of Peder

Borgen, Supplements to Novum Testamentum 106 (Leiden–Boston 2003)
P. W. van der Horst, ‘Common Prayer in Philo’s In Flaccum 121–124’, in
J. Tabory, (ed.), Kenishta: Studies of the Synagogue World (Bar Ilan 2003)
—— , Philo’s Flaccus: The First Pogrom, Philo of Alexandria Commentary
Series 2 (Leiden–Boston 2003).
W. Houston, ‘ Towards an Integrated Reading of the Dietary Laws of
Leviticus’, in R. Rendtorff and R. A. Kugler (edd.), The Book of Levi-
ticus, Vetus Testamentum Supplements 93 (Leiden–Boston 2003) 142–
S. Hultgren, ‘The Origin of Paul’s Doctrine of the Two Adams in 1 Corin-
thians 15:45–49’, Journal for the Study of the New Testament 89 (2003) 343–
P. Ibek, ‘Naród zydowski jako Logos w ujeciu Filona z Aleksandrii
[Polish]’, in K. Pilarczyk (ed.), Zydzi i judaizm we wspóczesnych badaniach
polskich, vol. 3 (Kraków 2003) 291–301.
S. Inowlocki, La citation comme méthode apologétique: les auteurs juifs dans
l’Apodeixis d’Eusébe de Césarée (diss. Free University Brussels 2003).
H. Jacobson, ‘faran or barad in Philo’s QG’, Journal of Theological Studies
54 (2003) 158–159.
P. Jeffery, ‘Philo’s Impact on Christian Psalmody’, in H. W. Attridge and
M. E. Fassler (edd.), Psalms in Community. Jewish and Christian Textual,
Liturgical, and Artistic Traditions, Society of Biblical Literature. Sympo-
sium Series 25 (Atlanta 2003) 147–187.
F. Kayser, ‘Les Ambassades Alexandrines à Rome (Ier–IIe Siecle),’ Revue
des Etudes Anciennes 105 (2003) 435–68.
K. Klun, The Decalogue in Jewish and Christian Philosophy (diss. Ljubljana
—— , ‘Filon Aleksandrijski med svetim pismom in filozofijo [Slovenian:
Philo of Alexandria: Between the Bible and Philosophy]’, Phainomena
(Ljubljana) 43–44 (2003) 173–231.
J. W. Martens, Philo of Alexandria on the Mosaic and Greco-Roman Law,
Studies in Philo of Alexandria and Mediterranean Antiquity 2 (Boston–
Leiden 2003).
J. P. Martín, ‘Filone di Alessandria e la letteratura cristiana antica’,
Adamantius 9 (2003) 188–192.
—— , ‘Proyecto de una traduccdión al castellano de Filón de Alejandría’,
Revista Biblica 65 (2003) 235–239.
—— , ‘Ricerche sulla tradizione alessandrina in Argentina (1983–2000)’,
Adamantius 9 (2003) 230–250, esp. 234f.
supplement: provisional bibliography 2003-2005 203

M. Martin, ‘Philo’s Use of Syncrisis: an Examination of Philonic Composi-

tion in the Light of Progymnasmata’, Perspectives in Religious Studies 30
(2003) 271–297.
A. M. Mazzanti, ‘Il dialogo fra l’uomo d Dio in Filone di Alessandria: A
proposito di Quis rerum divinarum heres sit 3–33’, in L. Perrone (ed.),
Origeniana Octava. Origen and the Alexandrian Tradition, 2 vols., Bibliotheca
Ephemeridum Theologicarum Lovaniensium 164 (Leuven 2003) 233–244.
—— , ‘The ‘Mysteries’ in Philo of Alexandria’, in F. Calabi, (ed.), Italian
Studies on Philo of Alexandria, Studies in Philo of Alexandria and
Mediterranean Antiquity 1 (Boston-Leiden 2003) 117–129.
M. Merino Rodriguez, Clemente de Alejandría: Stromata IV–V; Martirio
cristiano e investigación sobre Dios, Introducción, traducción y notas, Fuentes
Patrísticas 15 (Madrid 2003).
S. M. Nadler, ‘Spinoza and Philo; the alleged mysticism in the Ethics’, in J.
Miller (ed.), Hellenistic and Early Modern Philosophy (Cambridge 2003)
H. Najman, ‘Cain and Abel as Character Traits. A Study in Allegorical
Typology of Philo of Alexandria’, in G. P. Luttikhuizen (ed.), Eve’s
Children. The Biblical Stories Retold and Interpreted in Jewish and Christian
Traditions, Themes in Biblical Narrative 5 (Leiden–Boston 2003) 107–118.
—— , Seconding Sinai. The Development of Mosaic Discourse in Second Temple
Judaism, Supplements to the Journal for the Study of Judaism 77 (Leiden–
Boston 2003), esp. 70–107.
—— , ‘A Written Copy of the Law of Nature: an Unthinkable Paradox?’, in
D. T. Runia, G. E. Sterling, and H. Najman (edd.), Laws Stamped with
the Seals of Nature. Law and Nature in Hellenistic Philosophy and Philo of
Alexandria, The Studia Philonica Annual 15, Brown Judaic Series 337
(Providence RI 2003) 54–63.
D. F. M. P. Nascimento, ‘Fílon de Alexandria e a tradição filosófica [Por-
tugese = Philo of Alexandria and the philosophical tradition]’, Metanoia.
Primeiros escritos em filosofia (S. João del-Rei) 5 (2003) 55–80.
—— , Logos em Fílon de Alexandria: principais interpretações [Portugese = The
Logos in Philo of Alexandria: main interpretations] (Master’s thesis, Ponti-
fical Catholic University, Rio de Janeiro 2003).
—— , ‘ O Logos filoniano e o mundo platônico das Idéias [Portugese =
Philonic Logos and platonic world of Ideas]’, Anais de Filosofia . Revista da
Pós-Graduação da Universidade Federal de São João del-Rei (UFSJ) 10 (2003)
M. Niehoff, ‘Circumcision as a Marker of Identity: Philo, Origen and
Genesis Rabbah on Gen. 17:1–14’, Jewish Studies Quarterly 10 (2003) 89–
204 the studia philonica annual 17 (2005)

J. N. Novoa, ‘The Appropriation of Jewish Thought by Christianity. The

Cases of Philo of Alexandria and Leone Ebreo’, Science et esprit 55 (2003)
J. S. O’Leary, ‘Logos and Koinônia in Philo’s De confusione linguarum’, in L.
Perrone (ed.), Origeniana Octava. Origen and the Alexandrian Tradition, 2
vols., Bibliotheca Ephemeridum Theologicarum Lovaniensium 164
(Leuven 2003) 245–274.
A. Paddle, ‘The Logos as the Food of Life in the Alexandrian Tradition’, in
L. Perrone (ed.), Origeniana Octava. Origen and the Alexandrian Tradition,
Bibliotheca Ephemeridum Theologicarum Lovaniensium 164 (Leuven
2003) 195–200.
A. Passoni dell’Acqua, ‘Upon Philo’s Biblical Text and the Septuagint’,
in F. Calabi (ed.), Italian Studies on Philo of Alexandria, Studies in Philo of
Alexandria and Mediterranean Antiquity 1 (Boston-Leiden 2003) 25–52.
B. A. Pearson, ‘Cracking a Conundrum: Christian Origins in Egypt’,
Studia Theologica 57 (2003) 61–75.
H. M. Post, Metaforen van de Ziel. Vrouw en man in de Genesis-exegese van
Philo Judaeus en Augustinus (diss. Leiden 2003).
R. Radice, ‘La figura del legislatore in Filone e i suoi precedenti filosofici’,
Ricerche Storico Bibliche 15 (2003) 153–162.
—— , ‘The ‘Nameless Principle’ from Philo to Plotinus: An Outline of
Research’, in F. Calabi (ed.), Italian Studies on Philo of Alexandria, Studies
in Philo of Alexandria and Mediterranean Antiquity 1 (Boston-Leiden
2003) 167–182.
E. Reinmuth, ‘Allegorese biblischer Erzählinhalten bei Philon von Alexan-
drien’, in W. Kraus and K.-W. Niebuhr (edd.), Wunderbare Geburten
(Tübingen 2003) 80–95.
J. N. Rhodes, ‘Diet and Desire; the Logic of the Dietary Laws according to
Philo’, Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses 79 (2003) 122–133.
L. H. Rivas, ‘La cristología de la Carta a los Hebreos’, Revista Bíblica 65
(2003) 81–114, esp. 89–98.
L. Rosso Ubigli, ‘The Image of Israel in the Writings of Philo of Alex-
andria’, in F. Calabi (ed.), Italian Studies on Philo of Alexandria, Studies in
Philo of Alexandria and Mediterranean Antiquity 1 (Boston-Leiden 2003)
D. T. Runia, ‘Philo of Alexandria, Legatio ad Gaium 1–7’, in D. E. Aune,
T. Seland and J. H. Ulrichsen (edd.), Neotestamentica et Philonica:
Studies in Honor of Peder Borgen, Supplements to Novum Testamentum
106 (Leiden–Boston 2003) 349–370.
—— , ‘Plato’s Timaeus, First Principle(s) and Creation in Philo and Early
Christian Thought’, in G. Reydams-Schils (ed.), Plato’s Timaeus as
Cultural Icon (Notre Dame 2003) 133–151.
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—— , ‘The King, the Architect, and the Craftsman: a Philosophical Image in

Philo of Alexandria’, in R. W. Sharples and A. Sheppard (edd.), Ancient
Approaches to Plato’s Timaeus, Bulletin of the Institute of Classical Studies
Supplement 78 (London 2003) 89–106.
—— , ‘Theodicy in Philo of Alexandria’, in A. Laato and J. C. de Moor
(edd.), Theodicy in the World of the Bible (Leiden etc. 2003).
D. T. Runia, E. Birnbaum, K. A. Fox, A. C. Geljon, H. M. Keizer, J. P.
Martín, R. Radice, J. Riaud, D. Satran, T. Seland and D. Zeller,
‘Philo of Alexandria: an Annotated Bibliography 2000’, The Studia Philo-
nica Annual 15 (2003) 109–148.
D. T. Runia, G. E. Sterling and H. Najman (edd.), Laws Stamped with the
Seals of Nature. Law and Nature in Hellenistic Philosophy and Philo of Alexan-
dria, The Studia Philonica Annual 15, Brown Judaic Series 337 (Providence
RI 2003).
M. Salcedo Parrondo, ‘Aplaneis asteres: Las estrellas fijas en Filón de
Alejandría’, Magia y Astrología Antiguas 3 (2003) 217–228.
E. Salveschi, ‘Between Philo and Pindar: the Delos Quotation (Aet. 120–
122)’, in F. Calabi (ed.), Italian Studies on Philo of Alexandria, Studies in
Philo of Alexandria and Mediterranean Antiquity 1 (Boston-Leiden 2003)
T. Seland, ‘(Re)Presentations of Violence in Philo’, in SBL Seminar Papers
vol. 42 (Atlanta 2003) 117–140.
R. Sgarbi, ‘Contributions from the Armenian Version to Philo’s Text ‘Peri
biou theoretikou’’, Aevum 77 (2003) 131–136.
F. Siegert, Register zur “Einführung in die Septuagina”: Mit einem Kapital zur
Wirkungsgeschichte, Münsteraner Judaistische Studien 13 (Münster 2003).
—— , ‘‘Und er hob seine Augen auf, und siehe’: Abrahams Gottesvision
(Gen 18) im hellenistischen Judentum,’ in R. G. Kratz and T. Nagel
(edd.), Abraham, unser Vater (Göttingen 2003) 67–85.
D. Smith, From Symposium to Eucharist: the Banquet in the Early Christian
World (Minneapolis 2003), esp. 158ff.
G. E. Sterling, ‘‘Philo has not been used half enough’: the Significance of
Philo of Alexandria for the Study of the New Testament’, Perspectives in
Religious Studies 30 (2003) 251–269.
—— , ‘Universalizing the Particular: Natural Law in Second Temple Jewish
Ethics’, in D. T. Runia, G. E. Sterling, and H. Najman (edd.), Laws
Stamped with the Seals of Nature: Law and Nature in Hellenistic Philosophy
and Philo of Alexandria, The Studia Philonica Annual 15, Brown Judaic
Series 337 (Providence RI 2003) 64–80.
J. Taylor, Jewish Women Philosophers of First-Century Alexandria. Philo’s
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J. W. Thompson, ‘Creation, Shame and Nature in 1 Cor 11:2–16: the

Background and Coherence of Paul’s Argument.’, in J. T. Fitzgerald,
T. H. Olbricht and L. H. White (edd.), Early Christianity and Classical
Culture. Comparative Studies in Honor of Abraham J. Malherbe, Novum
Testamentum Supplements 110 (Leiden-Boston 2003) 237–257.
H. G. Thümmel, ‘Philon und Origenes’, in L. Perrone (ed.), Origeniana
Octava. Origen and the Alexandrian Tradition, 2 vols., Bibliotheca Epheme-
ridum Theologicarum Lovaniensium 164 (Leuven 2003) 275–286.
P. J. Tomson, ‘When Paul met Peter: Factual Observations about a Fictio-
nal Conversation in Alexandria’, Analecta Bruxellensia 8 (2003) 179–192.
S. Torallas Tovar, ‘Philo of Alexandria on Sleep’, in T. Wiedemann and
K. Dowden (edd.), Sleep, Nottingham Classical Studies 8 (Bari 2003)
K. J. Torjesen, ‘The Alexandrian Tradition of the Inspired Interpreter’, in
L. Perrone (ed.), Origeniana Octava. Origen and the Alexandrian Tradition,
2 vols., Bibliotheca Ephemeridum Theologicarum Lovaniensium 164
(Leuven 2003) 287–299.
L. Troiani, ‘Il greco degli autori guideo-ellenisti’, Materia Giudaica 8 (2003)
—— , ‘Philo of Alexandria and Christianity at its Origins’, in F. Calabi (ed.),
Italian Studies on Philo of Alexandria, Studies in Philo of Alexandria and
Mediterranean Antiquity 1 (Boston-Leiden 2003) 9–24.
J. R. Van Cleave, Plato and Jesus (Philo of Alexandria) (diss. Claremont
Graduate School 2003).
H. Weiss, A Day of Gladness: the Sabbath among Jews and Christians in
Antiquity (Columbia SC 2003), esp. 32–51,
J. Whitlark, ‘Enabling Charis: Transformation of the Convention of
Reciprocity by Philo and in Ephesians’, Perspectives in Religious Studies 30
(2003) 325–357.
J. M. Zamora Calvo, ‘La prudencia en el tratado Sobre José de Filón de
Alejandría’, Revista Agustiniana 44 (2003) 623–642.
D. Zeller, ‘Gott bei Philo von Alexandrien’, in U. Busse (ed.), Der Gott
Israels im Zeugnis des Neuen Testaments, Quaestiones Disputatae 201
(Freiburg–Basel–Wien 2003) 32–57.
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M. Alesso, ‘La alegoría de la serpiente en Filón de Alejandría: Legum
Allegoriae II, 71–105’, Nova Tellus (2004) 97–119.
—— , ‘La génesis del tiempo en Filón de Alejandría’, Circe 9 (2004) 16–30.
F. Avemarie, ‘Juden vor den Richterstühlen Roms. In Flaccum und die
Apostelgeschichte im Vergleich’, in R. Deines and K.-W. Niebuhr
(edd.), Philo und das Neue Testament: Wechselseitige Wahrnehmungen. 1.
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menti (Eisenach/Jena, Mai 2003), WUNT 172 (Tübingen 2004) 107–126.
C. Batsch, ‘ Le ‘pacifisme des Esséniens’, un mythe historiographique’,
Revue de Qumran 21 (2004) 457–468.
M. A. Beavis, ‘Philo’s Therapeutai: Philosopher’s Dream or Utopian Con-
struction’, Journal for the Study of the Pseudoepigrapha 14 (2004) 30–42.
E. Birnbaum, ‘A Leader with Vision in the Ancient Jewish Diapora: Philo
of Alexandria’, in J. Wertheimer (ed.), Jewish Religious Leadership: Image
and Reality, 2 vols. (New York 2004) 1.57–90.
—— , ‘Portrayals of the Wise and Virtuous in Alexandrian Jewish Works:
Jews’ Perceptions of Themselves and Others’, in W. V Harris and
G. Ruffini (edd.), Ancient Alexandria between Egypt and Greece, Colum-
bia Studies in the Classical Tradition 26 (Leiden–Boston 2004) 125–160.
M. Böhm, ‘Abraham und die Erzväter bei Philo: Hermeneutische Über-
legungen zur Konzeption der Arbeit am CJHNT’, in R. Deines and
K.-W. Niebuhr (edd.), Philo und das Neue Testament: Wechselseitige Wahr-
nehmungen. 1. Internationales Symposium zum Corpus Judaeo-Hellenisticum
Novi Testamenti (Eisenach/Jena, Mai 2003), WUNT 172 (Tübingen 2004)
D. Boyarin, ‘By Way of Apology: Dawson, Edwards, Origen’, The Studia
Philonica Annual 16 (2004) 188–217, esp. 200ff.
F. Calabi, ‘Les sacrifices et leur signification symbolique chez Philon
d’Alexandrie’, in E. Bons (ed.), «Car c’est l’amour qui me plait, non le
sacrifice…» Recherches sur Osée 6:6 et son interprétation juive et chrétienne,
Supplements to the Journal for the Study of Judaism 88 (Leiden–Boston
2004) 97–117.
—— , ‘Tra Platone e la bibbia: ontologia e teologia in Filone d’Alessandria’,
Oltrecorrente No. 9 (2004) 47–59.
N. G. Cohen, ‘The Mystery-Terminology in Philo’, in R. Deines and K.-W.
Niebuhr (edd.), Philo und das Neue Testament: Wechselseitige Wahrneh-
mungen. 1. Internationales Symposium zum Corpus Judaeo-Hellenisticum
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A. Yarbo Collins, ‘The Charge of Blasphemy in Mark 14:64’, Journal for

the Study of the New Testament 26 (2004) 379–401.
C. P. Cosaert, ‘The Use of ‘agios’ for the Sanctuary in the Old Testament
Pseudepigrapha, Philo, and Josephus’, Andrews University Seminary
Studies 42 (2004) 91–103.
N. Dax Moraes, ‘Tradição e transformação: a Torah como fundamento do
mundo em Fílon de Alexandria’, Metanoia. Primeiros escritos em filosofia 6
(2004) 7–30.
R. Deines and K.-W. Niebuhr (edd.), Philo und das Neue Testament: Wechsel-
seitige Wahrnehmungen. 1. Internationales Symposium zum Corpus Judaeo-
Hellenisticum Novi Testamenti (Eisenach/Jena, Mai 2003), Wissenschaftliche
Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 172 (Tübingen 2004).
P. Deming, Paul on Marriage and Celibacy: the Hellenistic Background of 1
Corinthians 7 (Grand Rapids 2004 ), esp. 87–93.
L. H. Feldman, ‘Philo, Pseudo-Philo, Josephus and Theodotus on the Rape
of Dinah’, Jewish Quarterly Review 94 (2004) 253–277.
—— , ‘Remember Amelek!’ Vengeance, Zealotry, and Group Destruction in the
Bible, according to Philo, Pseudo-Philo, and Josephus, Monographs of the
Hebrew Union College 31 (Cincinnati 2004).
K. Fuglseth, A Comparison of Words in Philo and the New Testament (Mellon
Press 2004).
A. C. Geljon, ‘Philo van Alexandrië over de jeugd van Mozes’, Hermeneus
76 (2004) 182–191.
J. Hammerstaedt, ‘Textkritische und exegetische Anmerkungen zu Philo,
De Specialibus Legibus II 39–70’, in R. Deines and K.-W. Niebuhr
(edd.), Philo und das Neue Testament: Wechselseitige Wahrnehmungen. 1.
Internationales Symposium zum Corpus Judaeo-Hellenisticum Novi Testa-
menti (Eisenach/Jena, Mai 2003), WUNT 172 (Tübingen 2004) 359–373.
D. M. Hay, ‘Philo’s Anthropology, the Spiritual Regimen of the Thera-
peutae, and a possible Connection with Corinth’, in R. Deines and K.-W.
Niebuhr (edd.), Philo und das Neue Testament: Wechselseitige Wahrneh-
mungen. 1. Internationales Symposium zum Corpus Judaeo-Hellenisticum
Novi Testamenti (Eisenach/Jena, Mai 2003), WUNT 172 (Tübingen 2004)
B. Heininger, ‘Paulus und Philo als Mystiker? Himmelsreisen im Vergleich
(2Kor 12,2–4; SpecLeg 3,1–6)’, in R. Deines and K.-W. Niebuhr (edd.),
Philo und das Neue Testament: Wechselseitige Wahrnehmungen. 1. Inter-
nationales Symposium zum Corpus Judaeo-Hellenisticum Novi Testamenti
(Eisenach/Jena, Mai 2003), WUNT 172 (Tübingen 2004) 197–204.
J. Herzer, ‘Die Inspiration der Schrift nach 2 Tim 3,16 und bei Philo von
Alexandrien’, in R. Deines and K.-W. Niebuhr (edd.), Philo und das Neue
Testament: Wechselseitige Wahrnehmungen. 1. Internationales Symposium
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zum Corpus Judaeo-Hellenisticum Novi Testamenti (Eisenach/Jena, Mai 2003),

WUNT 172 (Tübingen 2004) 223–240.
R. Hoppe, ‘Gerechtigkeit bei Matthäus und Philo’, in R. Kampling (ed.),
‘Dies ist das Buch ...’. Das Matthäusevangelium. Interpretation – Rezeption –
Rezeptionsgeschichte. Für Hubert Frankemölle. FS Frankemölle (Paderborn
2004) 141–155.
P. W. van der Horst, ‘Philo and the Rabbis on Genesis: Similar Questions,
Different Answers’, in A. Volgers and C. Zamagni (edd.), Eratapo-
kriseis. Early Christian Question-and-Answer Literature in Context, Biblical
Exegesis and Theology 37 (Leuven 2004) 55–70.
—— , ‘Philo’s In Flaccum and the Book of Acts’, in R. Deines and K.-W.
Niebuhr (edd.), Philo und das Neue Testament: Wechselseitige Wahrneh-
mungen. 1. Internationales Symposium zum Corpus Judaeo-Hellenisticum
Novi Testamenti (Eisenach/Jena, Mai 2003), WUNT 172 (Tübingen 2004) 95–
L. W. Hurtado, ‘Does Philo Help Explain Christianity?’, in R. Deines and
K.-W. Niebuhr (edd.), Philo und das Neue Testament: Wechselseitige Wahr-
nehmungen. 1. Internationales Symposium zum Corpus Judaeo-Hellenisticum
Novi Testamenti (Eisenach/Jena, Mai 2003), WUNT 172 (Tübingen 2004) 73–
S. Inowlocki, ‘Eusebius of Caesarea’s Interpretatio Christiana of Philo’s De
vita contemplativa’, Harvard Theological Review 97 (2004) 305–328.
S. Inowlocki, ‘The Reception of Philo’s Legatio ad Gaium in Eusebius of
Caesarea’s works’, The Studia Philonica Annual 16 (2004) 30–49.
H. Jacobson, ‘Philo, Lucretius, and Anima’, Classical Quarterly 54 (2004)
H. Jacobson, ‘A Philonic Rejection of Plato’, Mnemosyne 57 (2004) 488.
A. Kamesar, ‘The Logos Endiathetos and the Logos Prophorikos in Allegorical
Interpretation: Philo and the D-Scholia to the Iliad’, Greek, Roman, And
Byzantine Studies 44 (2004) 163–181.
C. Kannengiesser, Handbook of Patristic Exegesis, 2 vols., Handbook of
Patristic Exegesis 1 (Leiden–Boston 2004), esp. 176–183.
A. Kovelman, ‘Continuity and Change in Hellenistic Jewish Exegesis and
in Early Rabbinic Literature’, Review of Rabbinic Judaism 7 (2004) 123–
J. Leonhardt-Balzer, ‘Creation, the Logos and the Foundation of a City:
a Few Comments on Opif. 15–25’, in R. Deines and K.-W. Niebuhr
(edd.), Philo und das Neue Testament: Wechselseitige Wahrnehmungen. 1. In-
ternationales Symposium zum Corpus Judaeo-Hellenisticum Novi Testamenti
(Eisenach/Jena, Mai 2003), WUNT 172 (Tübingen 2004) 323–344.
—— , ‘Der Logos und die Schöpfung: Streiflichter bei Philo (Opif. 20–25)
und im Johannesprolog (Joh 1,1–18)’, in J. Frey and U. Schelle (edd.),
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Kontexte des johannesevangeliums, Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen

zum Neuen Testament 175 (Tübingen 2004) 295–315.
J. Lierman, The New Testament Moses, WUNT 2.173 (Tübingen 2004).
W. Loader, The Septuagint, Sexuality and the New Testament. Case studies on
the Impact of the LXX on Philo and the New Testament. (Grand Rapids 2004).
J. P. Martín, Teófilo de Antioquía A Autólico, Fuentes Patrísticas 16 (Madrid
etc. 2004)
A. M. Mazzanti and F. Calabi (edd.), La rivelazione in Filone di Alessandria:
natura, legge, storia. Atti del VII convegno di studi del Gruppo Italiano di
Ricerca su Origene e la traditione alessandrina (Bologna 29–30 settembre
2003), Biblioteca di Adamantius 2 (Villa Verruchio 2004).
A. H. Merrills, ‘Monks, Monsters, and Barbarians: Re-defining the
African Periphery in Late Antiquity’, Journal of Early Christian Studies 12
(2004) 217–244.
I. Miller, ‘Idolatry and the Polemics of World-Formation from Philo to
Augustine’, Journal of Religious History 28 (2004) 126–145.
L. Miralles Macia, ‘La figura del mesías según los historiadores judeo-
helenísticos Filón de Alejandría y Flavio Josefo’, Sefarad 64 (2004) 363–
H. Najman, ‘Early Nonrabbinic Interpretation’, in A. Berlin and M. Zvi
Brettler (edd.), The Jewish Study Bible (New York 2004) 1835–1844.
D. F. M. P. Nascimento, ‘Tradição e transformação: a Torah como funda-
mento do mundo em Fílon de Alexandria [Portugese = Tradition and
transformation: the Torah as world’s principle in Philo of Alexandria]’,
Metanoia. Primeiros escritos em filosofia (S. João del-Rei) 6 (2004) 7–30.
G. W. E. Nickelsburg, ‘Philo among Greeks, Jews and Christians’, in
R. Deines and K.-W. Niebuhr (edd.), Philo und das Neue Testament:
Wechselseitige Wahrnehmungen. 1. Internationales Symposium zum Corpus
Judaeo-Hellenisticum Novi Testamenti (Eisenach/Jena, Mai 2003), WUNT 172
(Tübingen 2004) 53–72.
M. R. Niehoff, ‘Mother and Maiden, Sister and Spouse: Sarah in Philonic
Midrash’, Harvard Theological Review 97 (2004) 413–444.
C. Noack, ‘Haben oder Empfangen: Antithetische Charakterisierungen
von Torheit und Weisheit bei Philo und Paulus’, in R. Deines and
K.-W. Niebuhr (edd.), Philo und das Neue Testament: Wechselseitige Wahr-
nehmungen. 1. Internationales Symposium zum Corpus Judaeo-Hellenisticum
Novi Testamenti (Eisenach/Jena, Mai 2003), WUNT 172 (Tübingen 2004)
K.-H. Ostmeyer, ‘Das Verständnis des Leidens bei Philo und im ersten
Petrusbrief’, in R. Deines and K.-W. Niebuhr (edd.), Philo und das Neue
Testament: Wechselseitige Wahrnehmungen. 1. Internationales Symposium
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zum Corpus Judaeo-Hellenisticum Novi Testamenti (Eisenach/Jena, Mai 2003),

WUNT 172 (Tübingen 2004) 265–281.
J. Carleton Paget, ‘Jews and Christians in Ancient Alexandria from the
Ptolemies to Caracalla’, in A. Hirst and M. Silk (edd,), Alexandria, Real
and Imagined, The Centre for Hellenic Studies, King’s College London,
Publications 5 (Aldershot-Burlington 2004) 143–166.
P. Pavone, ‘TÚ pahytÒn, materia preesistente o intero creato?’, in A. M.
Mazzanti and F. Calabi (edd.), La rivelazione in Filone di Alessandria:
natura, legge, storia. Atti del VII convegno di studi del Gruppo Italiano di
Ricerca su Origene e la traditione alessandrina (Bologna 29–30 settembre
2003), Biblioteca di Adamantius 2 (Villa Verruchio 2004) 123–136.
S. Pearce, ‘Jerusalem as ‘Mother-city’ in the Writings of Philo of Alexan-
dria’, in J. M. G. Barclay (ed.), Negotiating Diaspora. Jewish Strategies in the
Roman Empire, Library of Second Temple Studies 45 (London 2004) 19–36.
R. M. Piccione, ‘De Vita Mosis I 60–62: Philon und die griechische paideia’,
in R. Deines and K.-W. Niebuhr (edd.), Philo und das Neue Testament:
Wechselseitige Wahrnehmungen. 1. Internationales Symposium zum Corpus
Judaeo-Hellenisticum Novi Testamenti (Eisenach/Jena, Mai 2003), WUNT 172
(Tübingen 2004) 345–357.
P. Richardson, Building Jewish in the East (Waco TX–Leiden 2004), esp.
J. Rowlandson and A. Harker, ‘Roman Alexandria from the Perspective
of the Papyri’, in A. Hirst and M. Silk (edd.), Alexandria, Real and
Imagined, Centre for Hellenic Studies 5 (Burlington, VT 2004) 79–111.
J. R. Royse, ‘Jeremiah Markland’s Contribution to the Textual Criticism of
Philo’, The Studia Philonica Annual 16 (2004) 50–60.
D. T. Runia, ‘Clement of Alexandria and the Philonic Doctrine of the
Divine Power(s)’, Vigiliae Christianae 58 (2004) 256–276.
—— , ‘Etymology as an Exegetical Technique in Philo of Alexandria’, The
Studia Philonica Annual 16 (2004) 101–121.
—— , ‘A Neglected Text of Philo of Alexandria: First Translation into a
Modern Language’, in E. G. Chazon, D. Satran and R. A. Clements
(edd.), Things Revealed: Studies in Early Jewish and Christian Literature in
Honor of Michael E. Stone, JSJSup 89 (Leiden 2004) 199–207.
—— , ‘Philo of Alexandria’, in G. R. Evans (ed.), The First Christian Theolo-
gians: an Introduction to Theology in the Early Church, The Great Theolo-
gians (Malden MA–Oxford–Carlton 2004) 77–84.
—— , ‘Quaestiones in Exodum 2.62–68. Supplement to the Philo Index’, The
Studia Philonica Annual 16 (2004) 229–234.
D. T. Runia, E. Birnbaum, K. A. Fox, A. C. Geljon, H. M. Keizer, J. P.
Martín, R. Radice, J. Riaud, D. Satran, G. Schimanowski and
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T. Seland, ‘Philo of Alexandria: an Annotated Bibliography 2001’, The

Studia Philonica Annual 16 (2004) 235–280.
D. T. Runia and G. E. Sterling (edd.), The Studia Philonica Annual, volume
16, Brown Judaic Studies 339 (Providence RI 2004).
H. Savon, ‘Remploi et transformation de thèmes philoniens dans la
première lettre d’Ambroise à Just.’, in B. Gain, P. Jay and G. Nauroy
(edd.), Chartae caritatis: Études de patristique et d’Antiquité tardove pffertes à
Yves-Marie Duval (Paris 2004).
B. Schaller, ‘Adam und Christus bei Paulus. Oder: Über Brauch und Fehl-
brauch von Philo in der neutestamentlichen Forschung’, in R. Deines
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2004) 143–153.
C. Schiano, ‘Dal dialogo al trattato nella polemica antigiudaica. Il Dialogo
di Papisco e Filone e la Disputa contro i giudei di Anastasio abate’, Vetera
Christianorum 41 (2004) 121–150.
G. Schöllgen, Reallexikon für Antike und Christentum, Band 20 (Stuttgart
D. S. Schwartz, ‘Did the Jews Practice Infant Exposure and Infanticide in
Antiquity?’, The Studia Philonica Annual 16 (2004) 61–95.
A. F. Segal, Life after Death: a History of the Afterlife in Western Religion, esp.
368–375 (New York 2004)
T. Seland, ‘The Moderate life of the Christian paroikoi: A Philonic reading
of 1 Pet 2:11’, in R. Deines and K.-W. Niebuhr (edd.), Philo und das Neue
Testament: Wechselseitige Wahrnehmungen. 1. Internationales Symposium
zum Corpus Judaeo-Hellenisticum Novi Testamenti (Eisenach/Jena, Mai 2003),
WUNT 172 (Tübingen 2004) 241–264.
G. Sellin, ‘Einflüsse philonischer Logos-Theologie in Korinth: Weisheit
und Apostelparteien (1Kor 1–4)’, in R. Deines and K.-W. Niebuhr
(edd.), Philo und das Neue Testament: Wechselseitige Wahrnehmungen. 1.
Internationales Symposium zum Corpus Judaeo-Hellenisticum Novi Testa-
menti (Eisenach/Jena, Mai 2003), WUNT 172 (Tübingen 2004) 165–172.
F. Siegert, ‘Der Logos, «älterer Sohn» des Schöpfers und «zweiter Gott».
Ein Erinnerung an Philon’, in J. Frey and U. Schelle (edd.), Kontexte des
johannesevangeliums, WUNT 175 (Tübingen 2004) 277–294.
—— , ‘Die Inspiration der Heiligen Schriften: Ein philonisches Votum zu
2Tim 3,16’, in R. Deines and K.-W. Niebuhr (edd.), Philo und das Neue
Testament: Wechselseitige Wahrnehmungen. 1. Internationales Symposium
zum Corpus Judaeo-Hellenisticum Novi Testamenti (Eisenach/Jena, Mai 2003),
WUNT 172 (Tübingen 2004) 205–222.
supplement: provisional bibliography 2003-2005 213

—— , ‘Sara als vollkommene Frau bei Philon’, in R. Kampling (ed.), Sara

lacht... Eine Erzmutter und ihre Geschichte. Zur Interpretation und Rezeption
der Sara-Erzählung, (Paderborn 2004) 109–129.
H. J. Spierenburg, ‘Philo Judaeus over filosofie, wijsheid en intelligentie’,
Prana: Tijdschrift voor spiritualiteit en randgebieden der wetenschappen 142
(2004) 82–85.
G. E. Sterling, ‘The Place of Philo of Alexandria in the Study of Christian
Origins’, in R. Deines and K.-W. Niebuhr (edd.), Philo und das Neue
Testament: Wechselseitige Wahrnehmungen. 1. Internationales Symposium
zum Corpus Judaeo-Hellenisticum Novi Testamenti (Eisenach/Jena, Mai 2003),
WUNT 172 (Tübingen 2004) 21–52.
G. E. Sterling, ‘Was there a Common Ethic in Second Temple Judaism?’,
in J. J. Collins and G. E. Sterling (edd.), Sapiential Perspectives: Wisdom
Literature in Light of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Proceedings of the Sixth Inter-
national Symposium of the Orion Center, 20–22 May 2001 (Leiden etc. 2004).
K. P. Sullivan, Wrestling with Angels. A Study of the Relationship between
Angels and Humans in Ancient Jewish Literature and the New Testament,
AGJU 55 (Leiden-Boston 2004), esp. 216–219.
J. E. Taylor, ‘The Women ‘Priests’ of Philo’s De Vita Contemplativa.
Reconstructing the Therapeutae’, in J. Schaberg, A. Bach and E. Fuchs
(edd.), On the Cutting Edge. The Study of Women in Biblical Worlds. Essays
in Honor of Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza (London 2004) 102–122.
C. Termini, ‘Taxonomy of Biblical Laws and filotexn¤a in Philo of Alex-
andria: A Comparison with Josephus and Cicero’, The Studia Philonica
Annual 16 (2004) 1–29.
M. A. Tolbert, ‘Philo and Paul: The circumcision debates in Early Judaism’,
in F. Crüsemann et al. (edd.), Dem Tod nicht glauben. Sozialgeschichte der
Bibel. Festschrift für Luise Schottroff zum 70. Geburtstag (Gütersloh 2004)
J. A. Waddell, ‘Will the Real Judaism Please Stand up? Ritual Self-defini-
tion as Ideological Discourse from Qumran to Jerusalem’, Henoch 26
(2004) 3–23.
C. Werman, ‘God’s House: Temple and Universe’, in R. Deines and
K.-W. Niebuhr (edd.), Philo und das Neue Testament: Wechselseitige Wahr-
nehmungen. 1. Internationales Symposium zum Corpus Judaeo-Hellenisticum
Novi Testamenti (Eisenach/Jena, Mai 2003), WUNT 172 (Tübingen 2004)
J. Wyrick, The Ascension of Authorship: Attribution and Canon Formation in
Jewish, Hellenistic, and Christian Traditions, Harvard Studies in Compara-
tive Literature 49 (Cambridge-London 2004).
D. Zeller, ‘Philonische Logos-Theologie im Hintergrund des Konflikts von
1Kor 1–4?’, in R. Deines and K.-W. Niebuhr (edd.), Philo und das Neue
214 the studia philonica annual 17 (2005)

Testament: Wechselseitige Wahrnehmungen. 1. Internationales Symposium

zum Corpus Judaeo-Hellenisticum Novi Testamenti (Eisenach/Jena, Mai 2003),
WUNT 172 (Tübingen 2004) 155–164.

M. Böhm, Rezeption und Funktion der Vätererzählungen bei Philo von Alexan-
dria. Zum Zusammenhang von Kontext, Hermeneutik und Exegese im frühen
Judentum, Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft
und die Kunde der älteren Kirche 128 (Berlin–New York 2005).
L. Carlsson, Round Trips to Heaven. Otherworldly Travelers in Early Judaism
& Christianity, Lund Studies in History of Religions 19 (Stockholm 2005).
J. Dillon, ‘Cosmic Gods and Primordial Chaos in Hellenistic and Roman
Philosophy: the Context of Philo’s Interpretation of Plato’s Timaeus and
the Book of Genesis’, in G. H. van Kooten (ed.), The Creation of Heaven
and Earth: Re-interpretations of Genesis 1 in the Context of Judaism, Ancient
Philosophy, Christianity, and Modern Physics, Themes in Biblical Narrative:
Jewish and Christian Traditions 8 (Leiden–Boston 2005) 97–108.
A.-K. Geljon, ‘Divine Infinity in Gregory of Nyssa and Philo of Alexan-
dria’, Vigiliae Christianae 59 (2005) 152-178.R. Goulet, ‘Allégorisme et
anti-allégorisme chez Philon d’Alexandrie’, in G. Dahan and R. Goulet
(edd.), Allégorie des poètes allégorie des philosophes: études sur la poétique et
l’herméneutique de l’allégorie de l’Antiquité à la Réforme (Paris 2005) 59–87.
G. H. van Kooten, ‘The ‘True Light which enlightens everyone’ (John
1:9): John, Genesis, the Platonic Notion of the ‘True, Noetic Light,’ and
the Allegory of the Cave in Plato’s Republic’, in idem (ed.), The Creation
of Heaven and Earth: Re-interpretations of Genesis 1 in the Context of Judaism,
Ancient Philosophy, Christianity, and Modern Physics, Themes in Biblical
Narrative: Jewish and Christian Traditions 8 (Leiden–Boston 2005) 149–
194, esp. 153–155.
A. Kovelman, Between Alexandria and Jerusalem: the Dynamic of Jewish and
Hellenistic Culture, The Brill Reference Library of Judaism 21 (Leiden–
Boston 2005)
K. Schenck, A Brief Guide to Philo (Louisville 2005).
S. Weitzman, Surviving Sacrilege: Cultural Persistence in Jewish Antiquity
(Cambridge Mass. 2005), esp. 58–75.
The Studia Philonica Annual XVII (2005) 215–251


David E. Aune, Torry Seland, and Jarl Henning Ulrichsen (edd.),

Neotestamentica et Philonica: Studies in Honor of Peder Borgen. Supple-
ments to Novum Testamentum 106. Leiden–Boston: Brill, 2003. xiv +
461 pages. ISBN 90-8191-9544-8. Price € 138, $186.

This volume is a collection of eighteen essays in honor of Peder Borgen,

Professor of New Testament (emeritus) at the University of Trondheim in
Norway. It is divided into four sections that reflect four of the areas in
which Borgen has made significant contributions: The Historical Jesus (two
essays); Pauline Studies (five essays); The Fourth Gospel (six essays); and
Philo Studies (five essays). The book also contains a select bibliography of
Borgen’s scholarly publications from 1987 to 2001 (pp. 415–26). Although
all the contributions in this volume are well done and worthy of comment,
I will confine my comments to the five essays that deal with Philo of
Alexandria (pp. 307–414).
Ellen Birnbaum, in her essay ‘Allegorical Interpretation and Jewish
Identity among Alexandrian Jewish Writers’ (pp. 307–29), explores the very
complicated and disputed role allegorical interpretations play in expressing
various aspects of Jewish identity in relation to non-Jews in three Jewish
sources: the Letter of Aristeas, the fragments of Aristobulus, and Philo of
Alexandria. In the Letter of Aristeas 128–71 the high priest Eleazar offers
allegorical interpretations of the Jewish food laws. These interpretations
present Jews as distinct from and superior to other peoples. Yet other
sections of the work (e.g. 16, 187–294) are quite positive about non-Jews.
Turning to Aristobulus, Birnbaum rightly notes that his allegorical interpre-
tations serve to defend a fitting concept of God rather than to interpret the
Jewish food laws. The allegorical interpretations in Aristobulus do not
explicitly deal with the relationship of Jews and non-Jews. But in the non-
allegorical interpretations Aristobulus clearly tries to show the superiority
of Judaism by claiming that Greek philosophers and poets took their wis-
dom from Moses. Finally, in the longest section of her essay, Birnbaum
argues that Philo’s allegorical interpretations contain passages (e.g. Somn.
1.55–60) that express a sense of the superiority of Jews while other
interpretations universalize particular aspects related to Israel, the chosen
people, or the covenant in order to embrace all wise or virtuous people.
Still other passages are neutral with regard to Jewish identity. In this way
Philo’s allegorical interpretations express both particularist and universalist
views of the relation of Jews to non-Jews.
216 the studia philonica annual 17 (2005)

David M. Hay, in his essay ‘Foils for the Therapeutae: References to

Other Texts and Persons in Philo’s De Vita Contemplativa’ (pp. 330–48),
focuses on references to texts, groups, and individuals in De Vita Con-
templativa other than the Therapeutae themselves. These include references
by Philo to a treatise of his own on the Essenes, to the Jewish scriptures,
and to different writings by the Therapeutae themselves. Beyond refer-
ences to Jewish writings, Philo also refers to pagan writers such as Homer,
Anaxagoras, Democritus, Xenophon, Plato, and perhaps a writing on the
ancient Egyptian priests as philosophers by Chaeremon, an Alexandrian
contemporary of Philo. Although not entirely so, Philo’s references to
pagan authors in De Vita Contemplativa are on balance rather negative. All
of these references tend to highlight the superiority of the Therapeutae and
lead the reader to believe that the members of this group are living at the
summit of human experience.
David T. Runia’s essay ‘Philo of Alexandria, Legatio ad Gaium 1–7’ (pp.
349–70) explores several vexing issues in the interpretation of the opening
paragraphs of Philo’s Legatio ad Gaium. Runia offers what he calls a
‘contextual reading’ of the passage. By this he means a reading that locates
the theological section (4–7) within the whole of Legat. 1–7 and Legat. 1–7
within the larger context of the whole of the Legatio ad Gaium. Runia
convincingly argues that Legat. 1–7 is a not a Philonic ramble nor is there a
lacuna in the text. Rather, the passage as a whole serves as a kind of
exordium to the whole treatise. Runia shows how themes and vocabulary
in Legat. 1–7 reappear a number of times in the rest of the treatise. Philo’s
chief theme in the treatise is focused on God’s divine providence for the
Jewish people, a providence that exceeds the capacity of language to
describe. In this context, the explicitly theological section (Legat. 4–7) serves
a triple purpose: (1) to explain the special relationship between God and
Israel (here he means the Jews); (2) to locate the role of divine providence
in the divine nature; and (3) to anticipate the theme of the rivalry between
God and the megalomaniac emperor Gaius in the rest of the treatise.
Troels Engberg-Petersen, in his essay ‘Paraenesis Terminology in Philo’
(pp. 371–92), explores the proper translation of a range of terms used by
Philo in connection with paraenesis. First, using Leg. 1.92–94 as a basis, he
argues that the translations of some of these terms in the Loeb edition of
Philo need to be revised. The Greek terms paraine›n and para¤nesiw should
be translated as ‘advise’ or ‘enjoin’ and ‘advice’ and ‘injunction’ respec-
tively. The Greek terms parakale›n and parãklhsiw mean ‘exhort’ and
‘exhortation.’ This is not a change from the Loeb translation. And, finally,
the Greek terms protr°pein/protr°pesyai and protropÆ should be translated
as ‘urge’ or ‘incite’ and ‘urging’ or ‘incitement.’ Second, Engberg-Petersen
book review section 217

argues that these terms lie on a line between command and prohibition on
the one hand and knowledge and moral excellence on the other hand, that
is between acting out of fear because commanded to do so and acting
because you yourself want to do so. Para¤nesiw (injunction) lies closer to
the command/prohibition side while protropÆ (urging) lies closer to the
knowledge/moral virtue side. The term parãklhsiw (exhortation) is a
broader term and covers both injunction and urging. While one can argue
with one or another of Engberg-Petersen’s interpretations, he has per-
formed a valuable service by retrieving these terms from a kind of
paraenetic linguistic soup.
Finally, Kåre Fuglseth’s essay ‘Common Words in the New Testament
and Philo: Some Results from a Complete Vocabulary Comparison’ (pp.
393–414) draws on the computerized database of the Philo Concordance
Project, which he worked on with Borgen and R. Skarsten and which lies
behind The Philo Index. A Complete Greek Word Index to the Writings of Philo of
Alexandria (Grand Rapids: 2000). He uses this database to compare the
common words in the Philonic corpus with those found in the New Testa-
ment. On the basis of this comparison, Fuglseth concludes that, in addition
to common themes, the comparison of the vocabulary indicates that there
are unique ties between some of the texts of the New Testament and the
writings of Philo. This is especially the case for the relationship between the
Philonic corpus and the Letter to the Hebrews, a relationship that now
deserves renewed consideration.
All five of these essays on various aspects of Philo’s work are quite well
done. They are presented clearly and are well argued. They are a fitting
tribute to a scholar who has done and still does both.

Thomas H. Tobin, S.J.

Loyola University, Chicago

Daniel Boyarin, Border Lines: The Partition of Judaeo-Christianity.

Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2004. xv + 374 pages.
ISBN 0-8122-3764-1. Price $38.50.

In his previous book, Dying for God: Martyrdom and the Making of Christianity
and Judaism,1 Daniel Boyarin argued that Judaism and Christianity did not
part ways but rather constituted a single continuum until the early fourth
century. In Border Lines, Boyarin continues to ponder the parting, or, as he
prefers, the partitioning, of Judaism and Christianity by addressing the

1 Daniel Boyarin, Dying for God: Martyrdom and the Making of Christianity and
Judaism (Stanford, 1999).
218 the studia philonica annual 17 (2005)

question: how and why was the border between Judaism and Christianity
written and by whom? Boyarin situates this question within the Jewish and
Christian struggle for self-identification and self-definition in the early
centuries of the common era, and looks to the discourse of orthodoxy and
heresy for one, if not necessarily the single, definitive, answer.
Boyarin’s working hypothesis presumes a category he calls ‘Judaeo-
Christianity,’ not to be confused with ‘Jewish Christianity.’ Judaeo-
Christianity is to be understood as ‘the entire multiform cultural system …
the original cauldron of contentious, dissonant, sometimes friendly, more
frequently hostile, fecund religious productivity out of which ultimately
precipitated two institutions at the end of late antiquity: orthodox Chris-
tianity and rabbinic Judaism’ (p. 44). Boyarin’s work aims not only to
describe this category but also to account for a division within it that by the
end of the third or early fourth centuries produced two separate categories,
‘Judaism’ and ‘Christianity,’ that came to be viewed by many as binary
opposites. Instrumental in drawing this border line was the discourse of
early Christian heresiology, which produced differentiation both within
each of the emergent categories and between them.
Boyarin’s argument focuses not on the essences of Judaism and
Christianity — what Judaism and Christianity ‘were’ — but rather on the
history of representations of orthodoxy and heresy. He begins with texts
from the second and third century, principally Justin’s Dialogue with Trypho
and the Mishna and Tosefta, in order to trace the discourse of heresiology
constructed in each. Next, he addresses Logos theology, that is, the belief in
a ‘Logos’ or divine word as a constitutive and active part of the divine, in
order to show its transmutation from a commonly-held doctrine of God to
the central theological difference between Judaism and Christianity (p. 30).
He traces this development through readings of the prologue of the Fourth
Gospel and a number of pre-rabbinic and para-rabbinic texts in order to
show the widespread acceptance of Logos theology, and then turns to the
Rabbis of the Talmud who turn Logos theology into a difference between
Jews and Others in the context of their construction of heresiology. Finally,
Boyarin discusses orthodox Christianity’s construction of Judaism and
Christianity as religions in the fourth and fifth century, with particular focus
on the rabbis’ rejection of ‘Judaism’ as a name for Jewishness. By this
point, the main difference between ‘Judaism’ and ‘Christianity’ lay in their
asymmetrical understanding of Judaism. Boyarin argues that even as
Christianity configures Judaism as a different religion, Judaism refuses that
call, with the occasional, ambivalent and strategic exception.
Throughout, Boyarin engages in a crucial methodological move. Rather
than reading texts as descriptions of already-existing differences, he under-
book review section 219

stands them as actively engaged in producing those differences. It is this

move, in part, that permits him to push the process of the partitioning of
‘Judaeo-Christianity’ to the second century and well beyond.
The argument is complex and wide-ranging, but here we shall focus on
one key aspect, namely, Logos theology. Contrary to the usual understand-
ing that Christian belief in the Logos of God was a major theological
difference between Christianity and Judaism, Boyarin argues that many or
perhaps even most non-Christian Jews continued to include Logos or
Sophia as a central part of their doctrines about God well into the rabbinic
period. He establishes this by analyzing Philo’s treatment of Logos, and the
Targums’ understanding of ‘memra.’ He argues that the acceptance or
rejection of Logos theology, seen by most scholars as a fundamental theo-
logical difference between Judaism and nascent Christianity, did not play
this role until it became important in the production of difference accom-
plished through the creation of heresiology. This is because differences in
an understanding of the divine Logos ran not between Judaism and
Christianity broadly drawn but within or, more precisely, among the
varieties ultimately associated with each nascent group. And it was not the
assertion that Logos became human, but, more precisely, the assertion of
the human Logos’ physical death and resurrection that was unacceptable
to most non-Christian Jews and hence became a definitive factor in the
production of difference.
The theoretical arguments are fascinating and sophisticated, as one has
come to expect from Boyarin. But there is one aspect that jars: the reading
of John’s prologue that Boyarin uses to set up the Logos argument, and, by
extension, his overall position regarding John as a document that predates
the partitioning of Judaism and Christianity.
Boyarin argues that John 1:1–5, which introduces Johannine Logos theo-
logy, should be read as a non-christological, thoroughly Jewish, midrash on
Genesis 1 and Proverbs 8, which may have been inherited by the evangelist
(p. 87). This inherited Jewish midrash is then expanded and interpreted
from a christological perspective in the following verses of the prologue.
This analysis is plausible and, in and of itself, neither startling nor revolu-
tionary; it can take its place beside the many other history-of-religion and
source critical arguments that have been proposed for the prologue in the
last two centuries of Johannine criticism. But this analysis fits only uneasily
into the overarching argument which Boyarin intends it to support.
In the first place, if there has not yet been a definitive parting of the ways
between Judaism and Christianity in the first century, but rather an over-
arching Judaeo-Christianity, and if Logos theology, including the actual or
potential identification of the Logos with a human being, was widespread
220 the studia philonica annual 17 (2005)

in Judaeo-Christian thought, why is it necessary to show that the first part

of the prologue originally was not christological or that it came from an
earlier Jewish source? Even describing it in these terms suggests that
Boyarin is in danger of backsliding into the standard categories of New
Testament interpretation that he is trying so hard to challenge. I happen to
agree with Boyarin that one does not yet have a definitive, solid border
between Judaism and Christianity at this stage, though I suspect the border
between Johannine theology and the theology of non-christological Juda-
ism is a rather solid one at least from the point of view of the Johannine
narrator. But the analysis of the prologue neither makes nor refutes this
case. Whether the prologue was taken from a prior non-christological
source, or not, whether, in its Johannine context, it is already christological
in that it identifies Jesus as the divine Logos, or not, does not have any
bearing on the question of the relationship between Judaism and Chris-
tianity as having already parted or partitioned, or not. If ‘Johanninism’ is
to be taken seriously as a variety of Judaism or Judeo-Christianity, and if
the ascription of human identity to the Logos is not seen as definitive of
Christianity as opposed to Judaism, then whether or not the Logos is Christ
in John should not make a difference to Boyarin’s overall hypothesis.
One also wonders, parenthetically, at the distinction that Boyarin labors
so hard to establish, namely, between what he describes as the standard
line of interpretation, which takes the prologue to be an example and
continuation of a scripture genre, and his own reading, which takes it as an
exegesis of discrete biblical passages. He requires this distinction in order to
show that his reading is a contribution to the field but in fact it seems like a
distinction so fine as to be almost imperceptible, and indeed raising these
two as oppositional or dichotomous is strange in a critical genre that has
the undermining of dichotomies as one of its goals.
A second, more general problem is Boyarin’s argument that for John, as
for Matthew, Jesus does not come to displace Moses’ mission but to fulfill it
(p. 104). True, the Johannine Jesus presents himself to his Jewish interlocu-
tors as the one whose coming is prophesied in scripture. But elsewhere, the
Gospel constructs a much more polemical relationship between Jesus and
the assumptions and practices of Jewish law. One obvious example is Jesus’
declaration to the Samaritan woman that ‘the hour is coming when you will
worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem’ (4:21). From
the point of view of the Gospel narrator, Jesus fulfils the Torah and in doing
so also replaces its specific practices, such as pilgrimage to Jerusalem, with
an exclusive focus on faith in his own identity as Messiah and Son of God.
Further, to argue that ‘the earliest Christian groups (including, or even
especially, the Johannine one) distinguished themselves from non-Christian
book review section 221

Jews not theologically, but only in their association of various Jewish

theologoumena and mythologoumena with this particular Jew, Jesus of
Nazareth’ (p. 105) is to ignore the centrality of those associations to the
Johannine message. For the Fourth Gospel, as John 20:30–31 states so
emphatically, it is precisely belief in those associations that is essential for
salvation and eternal life. Indeed, the Gospel is written explicitly to help
readers believe ‘that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through
believing you may have life in his name’ (John 20:31). Resisting or denying
those associations, as do non-christological Jews, earns the wrath of God
(John 3:36).
This is not to argue for a definitive border, boundary or parting of the
ways as an objective fact of history, but simply to suggest that already the
Gospel of John, which predates Justin Martyr by several decades, constructs
a difference between the Johannine understanding of Jesus and his role vis-
à-vis God and humankind, and the understanding of the divine-human
relationship that the Gospel attributes to Jesus’ Jewish opponents. What-
ever the historical realities were regarding the parting or partitioning of the
ways, John constructs a boundary rhetorically, narratively, and theological-
ly. It would seem that if one applies Boyarin’s own methodological insight,
namely, that texts that ultimately became revered or authoritative by
Christians produced difference rather than reflected it, one might suggest
that this process is present already in the Gospel of John, a late-first-century
text, and hence requires a rethinking of the dating that one assigns to the
process of border-drawing or partitioning within Judaeo-Christianity.
One further complication to which John testifies relates to Boyarin’s
argument that the ‘crucifixion of the Memra’, which is ‘how the Logos
became Christian,’ occurred when the rabbis transferred ‘all Logos and
Sophia talk to the Torah alone’ (p. 129) in an effort to consolidate their own
power as the sole religious virtuosi. In doing so, Boyarin states, they in
effect created a strict monotheism that did not exist before by ‘protecting
one version of monotheistic thinking from the problematic of division
within the godhead’ (p. 129). I am not arguing against Boyarin’s historical
construction, but, as I have suggested elsewhere, the statements that the
narrator puts in the mouths of the Jews in that chapter suggests that the
Gospel either perceives or constructs Jesus’ Jewish opponents as subscrib-
ing to a radical monotheism which was violated by the ascription of divine
sonship to Jesus. Again, this is an example where the Gospel of John, read
using the overall critical approach that Boyarin develops, actually pushes

1 See ‘John 8:31–59 from a Jewish Perspective,’ in Remembering for the Future 2000: The
Holocaust in an Age of Genocides, vol. 2, ed. J. K. Roth and E. Maxwell-Meynard (London
2001), 787–97.
222 the studia philonica annual 17 (2005)

the production of difference between Judaism and Christianity much

earlier than he is arguing here and in his other work on this topic.
Finally, in reading Boyarin on John, one would hardly imagine the
polemical tone and content of the Fourth Gospel. Yet this is the text in
which Jesus declares that non-believing Jews have the devil as their father
(8:44), suffer from spiritual blindness (9:41) and will die in their sins (8:24).
To recognize the polemical tone of the Gospel and to give it its due is not to
say that the Gospel reflects an extra-textual reality in which there has been
a definitive separation between the Johannine community and the Jewish
community. Like the second and third century texts that Boyarin analyses,
the Gospel of John may well be producing difference as much as, or more
than, describing it. This is a speculative question that exegesis alone cannot
determine. But whatever its relationship, or lack thereof, to the world
outside the text, the polemical tone can hardly be denied. Yet this is given
no acknowledgement in Boyarin’s analysis, even though he himself sets
out to look at how the difference between Judaism and Christianity is
constructed in texts.
Indeed, one has the impression that in John, the ‘Jews’ and Jesus’ crowd
were scholars sitting around discussing Logos theology and a variety of
theologoumena and mythologoumena over fine wine. In light of Boyarin’s
fascinating opening remarks describing his own love of Christianity, one
suspects that here John is speaking for Boyarin, who himself values his
harmonious relationship with Christian colleagues. But as one who has
similarly treasured these relationships over a long period of time, I wonder:
do productive and mutually enhancing collegial relationships between Jew-
ish and Christians scholars in our own personal experience today require
that we construct ancient Jewish-Christian relationships along these same
lines? I think not. In fact, my own experience has been the opposite. The
most honest and compelling academic relationships have been those in
which difference, whether ancient or contemporary, has been acknow-
ledged and explored, not ignored, harmonized or glossed over.
To conclude: This book, like all of Boyarin’s work, offers a personal,
insightful, refreshing and compelling analysis. Particularly engaging is the
way in which Boyarin help his readers see familiar texts in a new light and
challenges accepted wisdom, reminding us throughout of the constructed
nature of knowledge and identity, our own as well as that of the ancient
texts we study. His argument regarding the role of heresiology in the
construction of difference is interesting. It may not be the whole answer to
the question of the how, why and when of the partitioning, as Boyarin
himself recognizes, as it requires an overly benign reading of the earlier
texts that robs them of the force, emotion and power that I for one still
book review section 223

perceive very strongly in them. Yet my appreciation of and keen interest in

Boyarin’s work on the partitioning/parting puzzle is by no means dimin-
ished by my critique of some aspects of his argument. On the contrary. His
theoretical acumen and his willingness to challenge accepted positions
continues to enrich my own thinking about how the New Testament, the
texts at the core of my own interest, both reflect and construct the
relationship between Judaism and Christianity.

Adele Reinhartz
Wilfred Laurier University

Laura Gusella, Esperienze di comunità nel giudaismo antico: esseni,

terapeuti, Qumran. Firenze: Nerbini, 2003. 342 pages. ISBN 88-88625-04-
6. Price € 28.50.

The title of the book, which is the revision of the author’s doctoral
dissertation, echoes a famous article by G. Vermes (‘Essenes-Therapeutai-
Qumran,’ The Durham University Journal 52 [1960], 97–115). Instead of
connecting the Essenes and Qumran, as one would do at once, the author
chooses to ground her analysis on the ancient sources. First, she analyses
the Essenes and the Therapeutai, who are described by indirect sources
(particularly Josephus for the first, and De vita contemplativa by Philo for the
latter); and second, the Qumran community, which is described by direct
sources. After separate analyses of the three groups (pp. 19–288), a
comparison is proposed, where some of the key questions of the three
groups’ life are discussed, such as entrance into the community, commu-
nity hierarchy and fraternal relationships, economic management, women
and the issue of celibacy (pp. 291–320).
The Therapeutai community is approached with particular attention to
detail (pp. 79–200). The author believes that the place Philo described is a
real place, located north of the Mareotic lake (the term Íp°r of Contempl. 22
is interpreted in this way, pp. 101–105), in an area between the lake and the
sea. The community is viewed as a real one and possesses a real architectu-
ral structure. The life and activities of the Therapeutai are then considered,
especially with regard to the composition of the community. Particularly
stressed is the issue of women, called Therapeutrides. Given Philo’s
misogyny, the author argues, both the positive description and the peculiar
nomenclature are signs of historical authenticity. The Therapeutrides must
have been recognised as genuine members of the community, must have
had a high education and conducted the same lifestyle as the men, with the
unique exception of not taking vows and explaining the Scripture at a
224 the studia philonica annual 17 (2005)

community level. Like the men, the Therapeutrides must have been
celibate as well. The fact that Philo only explicitly considers the celibacy of
the female members of the community is due, according to the author, to
the difficulty of thinking of sexual abstention for women, who in ancient
society and in particular in Jewish society ‘found recognition, dignity and
position thanks to the fact of being married and having children’ (p. 148).
The author supposes that the ‘senior maidens’ of Contempl. 68 are women
who, upon being widowed, chose not to remarry, and being ‘certainly part
of a high economic, social and cultural level of Alexandrian society… after
completing their familial and social duties, might have been able to join the
Therapeutai community, in order to devote their lives to the service of God,
and to experience a more intimate communion with him’ (p. 148).
As for the first two movements, the analysis points out that despite the
similarities, there are divergences which cannot simply be corroborated
with other contemporaneous sources. The analysis therefore confirms the
Groningen hypothesis, according to which the relationship between the
Essene movement and the Qumran community is seen in terms of ‘affilia-
tion’, characterised by a subsequent independent evolution (p. 204, with
references). The Therapeutai, on the other hand, represent neither an Egyp-
tian version of Palestinian Essenism nor the contemplative side of the
Essene movement. The significant differences to be found in this group
(particularly the solitary rhythm of life and the mixed composition of the
community) cannot be merely explained, according to the author, by its
different geographic, social, cultural and economic environment. The Thera-
peutai represent a distinct community experience, independent from the
Essenes and Qumran. As for the three groups as a whole, they may be con-
sidered more as local communities than as authentic movements, especially
the Therapeutai and Qumran. On the other hand, the unifying factor is the
need for community, due to a common element that is both anthropologi-
cal (the desire and need to join a community) and religious (the search for
God). Finally, with regard to the comparison with Christian forms of mon-
asticism, the author rejects a direct connection between the Therapeutai and
the Desert Fathers as well as between the Qumran-Essenes and the Syrian
and Palestinian coenobites. Correspondences between them go back, rath-
er, to the anthropological-religious element common to the three groups.
I would like to emphasize the author’s precision and attention in her
quotation of Greek sources, which demonstrates her intimate knowledge
of the ancient texts, and especially of Philo’s work.

Silvia Castelli
Università degli Studi di Pavia
Pavia, Italy
book review section 225

Bruce W. Winter, Philo and Paul Among the Sophists: Alexandrian and
Corinthian Responses to a Julio-Claudian Movement. Second Edition, with
a Foreword by G. W. Bowersock. Grand Rapids MI – Cambridge, UK:
Eerdmans, 2002. xix + 302 pages. $32.00/£22.99 (paper).

This second edition updates and otherwise advances the basic lines of
argument first laid out in the author’s doctoral dissertation (Macquarie
University, 1988) and subsequently in its initial published edition (Cam-
bridge University Press, 1997). Most generally, the book argues that the
Second Sophistic, the earliest evidence for which has traditionally been seen
in the orations of Dio Chrysostom in the late first century c.e, was thriving
already decades earlier, in the middle of that century. This broad point,
however, arises from Winter’s more specific theses that Philo and Paul
both formulated consciously anti-sophistic positions in reaction to the
‘virtuoso orators’ who were gathering ardent followings in, respectively,
Alexandria and Corinth. The missionary activity and struggles of Paul as
reflected in his Corinthian letters are of particular interest to Winter. The
apostle is at any rate the subject of the book’s longest and densest argu-
ments (compare the nearly one hundred pages in three chapters on Paul
with just under fifty pages in three chapters on Philo). The book is intro-
duced by a new, very brief foreword by G. W. Bowersock that charac-
terizes it as an ‘authoritative work,’ ‘indispensable’ for those interested in
the practice of rhetoric in the Roman Empire (ix).
After an introductory chapter that lays out the parameters of the study
and briefly surveys past scholarship, Winter begins, in Part I, with an
examination of the evidence for sophistic activity in first-century Alexan-
dria. Apart from the writings of Philo, the principal evidence comes from
P.Oxy. 2190, a letter written by a student of the sophists in Alexandria who,
apparently between teachers, seeks counsel from his father (Chapter 1; text
and translation are provided in an appendix, pp. 256–60), and from Dio
Chrysostom’s Alexandrian Oration (Chapter 2). From these texts, Winter
expertly develops a portrayal of a sophistic movement integral to the
education and civic leadership of late first-century Alexandria. Sophists ‘ran
schools, declaimed publicly and stood in the place of traditional leaders of
the polis, namely the philosophers’ (p. 58). A high value was placed on
declamation at advanced levels of education; the services of the sophists
were thus in great demand and commanded significant compensation.
Winter also emphasizes the competitive dimension of the movement and
begins to develop, from Dio in particular, stock elements of the critique of
the sophists that emanated from philosophical circles (and already from
Plato): in short, the charge that guile, vanity, and avarice — not truth, virtue,
and civic duty — were their typical characteristics.
226 the studia philonica annual 17 (2005)

Neither of these texts, however, is dated earlier than the 70’s. Winter’s
claim that that this movement was already in full flower in Alexandria
decades before Dio is based on his reading of Philo, whose writings had
generally been overlooked in prior studies of the sophists. The crux of his
argument is found in Chapter 3 where, in what is apparently the first
systematic analysis of Philo’s use of the term ‘sophist,’ Winter argues that
it is not the ‘loose, pejorative’ term it has often been taken to be (p. 13), but
one that refers specifically to professional, ‘virtuoso orators’ operative in
cities like his own Alexandria (p. 79).
With this point established, Winter goes on to explore more fully Philo’s
posture vis-à-vis these sophists. Chapter Four explores his critique of the
movement, which revolves around a charge that they represent a hypo-
critical perversion of Greek paidea for the purposes of material gain. Funda-
mentally replicating Plato’s critique, Philo’s treatment is not dissimilar to
that of Dio, except that here the core points have been refracted through a
lens provided by the Jewish scriptures. Like Dio, for example, Philo picks up
Plato’s comparison of the sophist to a deceptive goÆw, but explicates it with
reference to the biblical account of the contest between Moses and the
magicians of Egypt. Chapter Five, finally, examines ‘Philo’s own experi-
ences among the sophists’ (p. 95). It is clear, first of all, that Philo had re-
ceived much of the same type of training they had. His Embassy to Gaius
reveals that he was himself of ‘considerable oratorical ability’ (p. 96), while
On Providence and Alexander show that he was also no stranger to the art of
debate. On the other hand, he clearly does not count himself a sophist;
sophists are a group to be defeated, not joined. Defeating them, however,
requires mastery of their arts, and Philo discourages all ‘‘laymen’ in
rhetoric’ (p. 100), however virtuous, from engaging in debate with them at
all. They are counseled to leave such debates to those — presumably like
Philo himself — who combine a love of virtue with rhetorical expertise.
In Part II Winter examines the evidence for sophistic activity in Corinth.
Once again he first explores the later evidence, in this case ranging from the
early 90s to about 110 c.e The analysis of the relevant texts from or
concerning both participants in the sophistic movement (Favorinus,
Herodes Atticus) and those critical of it (Dio, Plutarch, and some previously
neglected [in this context] works of Epictetus) in Chapters 6 and 7 com-
plement the portrait of the sophists developed in Part I. Once again one
finds sophists as ‘major public figures’ (p. 140) traveling in the elite circles
of the city. They came largely from wealthy, powerful families, and the
rhetorical training they offered represented an important step toward
public office. They placed a high premium on personal appearance, particu-
larly in the form of fine clothes and appropriate grooming habits. Winter
book review section 227

also emphasizes the ongoing and sometimes intense professional rivalries

that characterized not only individual sophists but, by extension, their
disciples as well.
In Chapters 8–10, which make up well over a third of the book, Winter
turns his attention to ‘the impact of the sophists on the Corinthian church’
(p. 142) at the time of Paul. At the heart of this reconstruction is Winter’s
argument for a type of influence that, if indirect, was no less consequential
for the fledgling Christian community in Corinth: Paul, he argues, had from
the outset consciously and deliberately fashioned his missionary efforts
there in an anti-sophistic manner (Chapter 8). Indeed, this was no ad hoc
plan for Corinth alone; Winter suggests that Paul had ‘already adopted an
anti-sophistic stance’ at least by the time he first visited Thessalonica (see
pp. 150–55, new to this edition). Concretely, this meant that Paul eschewed
the conventions that normally defined a sophist’s entry into a city (e.g., he
didn’t begin with encomium to flatter the Corinthians, nor did he declaim
extemporaneously on a topic of the audience’s choosing); in short, ‘he had
come not to establish his own reputation but to declare Jesus, the crucified
Messiah’ (p. 157). Moreover, he did not engage in the economic exchange
that normally governed the relation of a sophist to a city: he worked to
support himself rather than accepting remuneration, nor did he promise
any material benefactions. ‘Paul goes beyond manual labor to a thorough-
ly anti-sophistic lifestyle in order to decrease further any possible connec-
tion with the sophists’ (p. 170).
As Winter sees it, however, the Corinthian ekklêsia, for its part, and
despite Paul’s best intentions, ‘follow[ed] the sophistic precedent’ of align-
ing themselves with one teacher over against the other (p. 173). Winter
suggests, in other words, that the Christian community at Corinth had
become ‘contaminated’ by the ‘secular’ Corinthian culture associated with
the sophistic movement in particular (p. 179; cf. p. 181f, 186, etc.), and that
this led inevitably to ‘secular conduct’ (p. 178) like jealous quarreling. In
Chapter 9 Winter examines Paul’s reaction to ‘the Corinthians’ incorpo-
ration of [such] secular values into their Christian self-perception’ (p. 180).
1 Corinthians 1–4 in particular is read as a pointed critique of the sophistic
movement, with an eye to three core issues: status, loyalty to teachers, and
boasting — with the last, in particular, being re-framed by Paul with
reference to Jewish scriptural texts like Jer 9:23–24.
In Chapter 10 Winter analyzes 2 Corinthians 10–13 with the goal of clari-
fying the Corinthians’ negative response to Paul’s ‘anti-sophistic’ stance
and Paul’s subsequent reply to the sophistic ‘super apostles’ who opposed
him there. The salient points of Winter’s reading of this text are as follows.
Angered by Paul’s position — and snubbed by their preferred (oratorically
228 the studia philonica annual 17 (2005)

sound) apostle, Apollos — the Corinthians ‘recruited’ new teachers, trained

in rhetoric, for their ekklêsia. These teachers then sought to counter the
‘devastating apostolic critique’ (p. 203) of the sophistic movement found in
1 Corinthians 1–4 and, simultaneously, to undermine Paul’s own authority
claim. The apostle, in short, was pilloried by means of a comparison formu-
lated on sophistic grounds. His personal appearance was said to be con-
temptible, his oral delivery unsatisfactory, and his financial arrangements
deceptive; his sophistic opponents, on the other hand, boasted of their own
strengths in each of these areas. Paul replied with a parodying synkrisis of
his own in 2 Corinthians 10–13.
Chapter 11 ties the threads together, stating general conclusions regard-
ing the sophistic movement of the first century, and Paul and Philo’s
relation to it and to each other.
This is a well-crafted study. Winter’s general point regarding the exist-
ence of the sophistic movement already in the mid-first century remains
solid, particularly in the light of the evidence from Philo (and earlier,
beyond Alexandria and Corinth, from the writings of Philodemus).
Particularly given his explicit interaction with this movement, it makes for a
potentially interesting socio-rhetorical context for understanding Philo.
The extent to which this context illuminates Paul — who, unlike Philo,
never actually uses the term ‘sophist’ — and the Corinthian correspond-
ence, however, is less clear. If Winter recognizes, in passing, that Paul’s
detractors in Corinth ‘could [have] argue[d] that his activity was governed
not by theological considerations but by his own deficiencies as a public
speaker’ (p. 223), he never himself pauses to consider this possibility. In
any case, whether or not Winter’s ‘sophistic thesis is preferable to even a
modified form’ of Schmithals ‘Gnostic thesis’ — i.e., to a thesis of incipient
Gnosticism in Corinth, the book’s odd silence on many other issues sug-
gests that it is not the comprehensive explanation that Winter wants it to
be. Oratory, indeed, is not even the only type of speech at issue in Corinth;
cf. 1 Corinthians 13–14 on glossolalia — scarcely a sophistic convention! In
fact, one might well argue that Paul’s oratorical ability is only one subset of
an over-arching issue better framed in terms of spirit possession. Winter
does not adequately address the fact that what he analyzes with reference
to formal education and professional sophistry is reckoned as a spiritual gift
by the Christian community in Corinth (1 Cor 1:4–8; 12:8). Paul’s limita-
tions in this area — highlighted when Apollos visited, and exacerbated by a
number of other apparent ‘weaknesses’ on Paul’s part — thus seem to
have suggested to the Corinthians that Paul was spiritually deficient in

Cf. Winter’s ‘Philodemus and Paul on Rhetorical Delivery,’ in J. T. Fitzgerald et al.,
Philodemus and the New Testament World, NovTSup 111 (Leiden 2004) 323–42.
book review section 229

comparison with other cult leaders. After his failure to carry out the
demonstration of spiritual power he had threatened (1 Cor 4:18–21; cf. 2
Cor 12:21–13:3), the community came now to ‘desire proof that Christ [i.e.,
the possessing agent] is speaking in [him] at all’ (2 Cor 13:3) — a demand
that Winter entirely passes over. Thus Paul’s subsequent comparison of
himself with the ‘super-apostles’ in 2 Corinthians 10–13 is not limited to
matters of oratory, but also includes ‘signs and wonders and mighty
works’ (12:12) as well as ‘visions and revelations’ (12:1). Seen in this light,
the accusation that he’s been trying to scare them with letters while away
(10:9–11) seems less a critique of his skill at extemporaneous oratory per se
than a reversal of the very type of charge that Paul had earlier hurled at
them, namely, that their ‘arrogance’ toward him was empty, merely a
function of geographical distance, and not something that they could back
up with actual power in person (cf. 1 Cor 4:18). The core question asked in
Corinth, in short, would not seem to be ‘Is Paul among the sophists?’ (p. 1;
emphasis mine) but, as with his ancient namesake, ‘Is Paul among the pro-
phets?’ Nonetheless, the rhetoric Paul generates in response to this situa-
tion is helpfully illuminated by comparison with the long-standing debates
between philosophers and sophists.
This concern regarding the book’s interpretation of Paul’s Corinthian
letters should in no way overshadow what Winter has accomplished here.
There is much to be learned from this erudite and lucid volume. Winter
brings the sophistic movement to light in a way that should be of great
interest to any student of ancient Mediterranean society, including those
interested in locating Jewish intellectuals and the fledgling Christian
movement within it.

Matt Jackson-McCabe
Niagara University
Niagara Falls, NY

Italian Studies on Philo of Alexandria. Edited by Francesca Calabi.

Studies in Philo of Alexandria and Mediterranean Antiquity 1. Boston–
Leiden: Brill, 2003. 192 pages. ISBN 0-391-04189-4. Price $91.

This book, the inaugural volume in the series ‘Studies in Philo of Alexan-
dria and Mediterranean Antiquity,’ is a collection of nine essays, all written
in English by Italian scholars. Some essays are specifically noted as revi-
sions of earlier work published in Italian, and others are not. In recent years
there has been a significant amount of research on Philo in Italy, but
outside that country much of it remains unread because of the language
230 the studia philonica annual 17 (2005)

barrier. In her introduction to this volume, Francesca Calabi gives a very

brief history of that research from 1967 to the present. The essays chosen
for this book represent scholars from different fields of study, and there is
no stated theme that unifies the selections. As Calabi writes, ‘The articles in
the present book are conducted with various approaches: historical, linguis-
tic, philological, philosophical … The complexity of Philo requires a multi-
faceted study and our aim in writing this book was exactly this: to give an
analysis which tried to trace Philo’s thought in its different components
and implications’ (p. 2). Nevertheless, it is the case that the majority of the
articles are concerned more with the Greco-Roman than with the Judaic
backgrounds of Philo’s work. Of the nine essays, only three (those of
Passoni, Rosso Ubigli, and Cacciari) focus primarily on Philo’s relationship
to Judaism.
The task of Lucio Troiani’s essay, ‘Philo of Alexandria and Christianity at
its Origins,’ is to cast ‘a glimmer of light on the darkness in which the first
decades of the spread of the Christian doctrine are shrouded’ (p. 9). He
notes that the works of Philo, and particularly the Legatio ad Gaium, which is
contemporary with the first decades of Christianity, have been for the most
part ignored in this task. The essay is divided into three major sections. The
first has to do with the textual nature of Paul’s theological proclamations;
that is, his many allusions to the scriptures, allusions which may not have
been understood by Gentile audiences. This problem has been addressed
by positing the existence of the ‘God-fearers.’ Troiani tries to further the
issue by noting that the evidence of Philo demonstrates that Greco-Roman
Judaism was ‘cosmopolitan and international, deep-rooted through gene-
rations in the life and institutions of the individual cities to which those who
practiced it belonged.’ The second section reminds readers that the pro-
claiming of any truth belonged not to religion, but to philosophy (p. 14),
and ends with the question ‘Is it legitimate to judge Graeco-Roman religion
and Christianity as being two homogenous entities, and, thus, entities that
can be compared?’ (p. 15) The third section addresses the spread of Chris-
tianity and concludes with the assertion that those Jewish communities, like
Alexandria, which were ‘a little distanced from the synagogue and from
what one might call institutional Judaism, were more receptive to the
evangelical message’ of Christianity (p. 24).
In her essay ‘Upon Philo’s Biblical Text and the Septuagint,’ Anna
Passoni Dell’Acqua examines Philo’s quotations from the Bible using a
philological approach. She first offers a brief history of research on the
topic from the sixteenth to the twentieth centuries, which she concludes by
noting the completion of the Pentateuch of the Göttingen Septuagint in
1991, an achievement that ‘calls for a new examination of the whole
book review section 231

subject’ of Philo’s usage (p. 28). The heart of the essay is a review of the
status questionis that highlights the work of Katz, Siegfried, Pick, Ryle,
Cohn-Wendland, Conybeare, Schroeder, Knox, Colson, Kahle, Barthélemy,
and Howard. In conclusion she quotes Cohn: ‘But a final solution of the
questions has not been brought, and, indeed, has not hitherto been possible,’
adding for her own part that ‘there is good reason for feeling discouraged’
(p. 46). Nonetheless, she identifies positive directions for continuing study.
First, ‘one would need to compare [Philo’s] exegetical method with that of
pre-rabbinic and rabbinic Judaism in order to identify the part represented
by Midrashic elements’ (pp. 46–47). Further, it would be necessary ‘to
compare the different ways in which the biblical text is quoted according to
the literary genre used by Philo and the period during which the writings
were produced.’ Finally, ‘a better knowledge of the Midrashic tradition
might help to understand the influence it had on the way the biblical text
was reproduced’ (p. 47). The final section of the essay is an excursus that
compares Philo’s use of the LXX text of the first book of the L e g u m
allegoriae in the Göttingen edition to ‘the version quoted by Philo as it
appears in the latest two editions,’ Loeb and Éditions du Cerf. She ends
with the assertion that ‘Philo freely chose which biblical text to follow
(either the Septuagint or the Hebrew)’ (p. 52).
Liliana Rosso Ubigli’s piece, ‘The Image of Israel in the Writings of Philo
of Alexandria,’ focuses on Flacc., Legat., and Spec. as the books which refer
most directly to Israel and its institutions (p. 53). She begins with an
examination of Philo’s understandings of the terms ÉEbra›oi, Xalda›oi,
ÉIouda›oi and ÉIsraÆl. Rosso Ubigli notes that although the history of Israel
is not one of Philo’s main interests, the concept of polyanthropia is almost a
leitmotif of his work. She discusses the term specifically as it appears in
Hypoth., where it ‘give[s] the impression of a kind of captatio benevolentiae,
since Augustus had passed a law which aimed to limit the fall in birthrate
among the upper classes’ (p. 60). Indeed, the Jewish population of Alexan-
dria was not limited to the two Jewish quarters, but extended to the other
parts of the city as well, not to mention throughout Egypt and elsewhere in
the Diaspora. Jews, according to Philo, have dual citizenship, both in the
‘Holy City’ of Jerusalem and in the land of their birth and nurture. How-
ever, writes Rosso Ubigli, ‘it is not the ‘land’ which attracts his interest, but
the laws and their interpretation’ (p. 66). Philo ‘extrapolated’ the Deca-
logue from the ‘general context of the Law,’ and ‘it is configured as a sort
of summa of general principles … in which the other particular rules of the
Law are subsumed’ (p. 68). ‘The Law lent itself, therefore, to interpretation
not only from a national point of view, but also from a universal one, if
certain rules, like those related to the particularistic character of Israel, could
232 the studia philonica annual 17 (2005)

be reinterpreted’ (p. 71). Thus Philo views the Jews as an ‘intermediary

people,’ who have the same function in and for the world that the priest
offers in and for the state. In conclusion, then, Rosso Ubigli argues that
while traditional institutions and concepts of Israel remain important to
Philo, ‘it is in monotheism and the Law where Israel’s foundation lies.’ It is
the law itself which is ‘the synthesis where the two opposing tendencies to
particularism and universalism … can finally be reconciled’ and which
allows the people to take on the new role of ‘mediator between God and
the other populations’ (p. 73).
‘Does Philo represent a possible phase in the history of Pindaric fortune?
Or, rather: Is Pindar a reliable reference in Philo’s cultural and literary
mission? In his tireless endeavour to assimilate Greek to Jewish values?’
(p. 75) These are the initial questions that Enrica Salvaneschi poses in her
essay ‘Between Pindar and Philo: The Delos Quotation (Aet. 120–122).’ She
answers each in the affirmative. Analyzing the quotation and the Philonic
framework in which it appears, she focuses upon ‘the equivalence between
pistoËsyai and afin¤ttesyai, namely between ‘proving’ and ‘hinting at’’
(p. 77). Only rarely in the Philonic corpus does afin¤ttesyai or its cognates
have a negative meaning; in fact, it often has a positive one, and that is to
define the ‘symbolic’ method through which both biblical and pagan
authors convey their most important meanings. Salvaneschi argues that
afin¤ttesyai is in fact a bridge between allegory, obviously a method much
beloved by Philo, and ‘the habit of muyoplaste›n,’ which he despises (p. 83).
In the end, ‘belief in riddles,’ a shift in meaning from the obscure to the
clear, is one way that Philo makes the works of the ancient pagan poets
available to his audience (p. 89).
Francesca Calabi examines the metaphor of ‘Theatrical Language in
Philo’s In Flaccum’ and to a lesser extent in the Legatio ad Gaium. The meta-
phor is certainly not unique to Philo, and Calabi introduces the essay with a
brief discussion of how Plato, Aristotle, Cicero, and others use it to illumi-
nate political situations. For Philo, the metaphor is almost invariably nega-
tive, and therefore manifestly appropriate to apply to the events described
in Flacc. Closely aligned to the concept of politics as theater is the idea of
politics as spectacle, another image that is clearly important in Flacc. from
start to finish. ‘The entire work develops along a double register: reality
and appearance, truth and pretending’ (p. 99). Flaccus at first appears to be
an exemplary ruler, only to fall prey to, and then to participate actively in,
the machinations of the Alexandrian crowds, who take him ‘like a masked
dummy on the stage with the title of government inscribed upon him
merely for show’ (Flacc. 19–20). The unfortunate Carabas and the Jews
themselves are herded into the city’s theater, where they embody ‘politics
book review section 233

qua spectacle,’ a scene that clearly reflects the games in the arena (p. 104).
Philo’s use of the theatrical metaphor is not always completely negative,
however. Calabi argues that Philo portrays many leaders, including Moses
and Joseph, as playing parts that are given them by God, who alone holds
real power. Good leaders acknowledge this, but bad ones like Flaccus fail to
make the distinction and illegitimately identify themselves with the roles
they play.
In ‘The ‘Mysteries’ in Philo of Alexandria,’ Angela Maria Mazzanti limits
her investigation to the terms mustÆrion, ˆrgia, and teletÆ. After a brief
survey of thought on the mysteries in authors such as U. Bianchi,
G. Bornkamm, E. R. Goodenough, and A. D. Nock, Mazzanti looks at how
Philo uses the vocabulary of ‘mystery’ to ‘distinguish between different
kinds of rituality’ (p. 121), to discuss salvation, corporeality, and particularly
initiation. Initiation into the mysteries is, according to Mazzanti, positively
correlated to the attainment of ethical perfection (pp. 126–27). She con-
cludes by noting that ‘the multiplicity of the themes emerging from the
reading of the text offers a detailed picture, problematic in many ways. The
terminology can be understood according to referential links that mirror
conceptual influences and well known (sic) formulations present both in the
ritual context and, especially, in a philosophic context’ (p. 129).
The title of Paola Graffigna’s essay, ‘The Stability of Perfection: The
Image of the Scales in Philo of Alexandria’ could more exactly read after
the colon ‘The Image of the Scales and the Ship in Philo of Alexandria.’
Graffigna makes a case for the central place that these two images hold in
expressing the relationship of humans to God and the often fluctuating
state of human happiness. The unbalanced scales or the tossing ship
represent the ethical wavering of the foolish person (here exemplified
particularly by the character of Cain in De posteritate Caini). This wavering is
the antithesis of stability (eustatheia), a word Philo borrows from Stoic
thought and a concept represented by nouns or verbs that have the Greek
root sta-/ste- (p. 132). God is motionless and unchanging, but the foolish
human is quite the opposite. Nevertheless, ‘every man, as Philo points out
in Praem. 62–63, is half way between wickedness and virtue’ (p. 135), and it
is this ‘mixed life’ (Her. 45–46) that is characteristic of humanity. Two other
important images come into play to express the idea of balance: the image
of the two horses and the charioteer of the soul in Plato’s Phaedrus and the
middle or ‘king’s way.’ As Philo writes in QE fr. 12, ‘the greatest happiness
(eudaimonia) is in remaining (sthenai) permanently stable and without
swerving (aklinos kai arrepos) in God only’ (p. 146).
In ‘Philo and the Nazirite,’ Antonio Cacciari analyzes the figure of the
nazirite in eight major passages: Deus 86, Ebr. 2, Somn. 1.252–53, Agr. 174,
234 the studia philonica annual 17 (2005)

Spec. 1.248–49, Mut. 220, Fug. 113, and Leg. 1.17. Interestingly, Philo never
uses the calque from Hebrew, which does indeed appear in the LXX.
Instead, he usually employs the circumlocution ‘the great vow’ to desig-
nate the state of being a nazirite. Perhaps this is because of Philo’s lack of
knowledge of Hebrew, but Cacciari believes that more likely it is ‘t o
represent the real significance of naziriteship, i.e., the ‘great vow’’ (p. 159).
Summarizing his findings from the above passages, Cacciari writes that ‘It
is clear enough from our survey that Philo’s interest in naziriteship is deep
and mainly concerns the following topics: (a) the significance of the nazirite
as a religious figure and the special value of his ‘vow’ (eÈxÆ); (b) the
comparison with the (high) priest; (c) the theme of defilement and last, but
not least, (d) the question regarding voluntary vs. involuntary sins’ (p. 158).
Most of the essay remains within the boundaries of the Philonic corpus and
the Hebrew scriptures, but Cacciari notes parallels in several significant
passages to Stoic and Platonic concepts and vocabulary. He concludes by
noting that ‘Philo apparently follows the same path of rabbinical literature
[in defining a nazirite], but with two main differences: he introduces the
categories of Stoic and Platonic philosophy as a tool to explain the nazirite’s
peculiarity’ (p. 166).
Roberto Radice’s essay, ‘The ‘Nameless Principle’ from Philo to Ploti-
nus: An Outline of Research,’ demonstrates ‘how rich in meanings is the
theme of ineffability’ (181). He begins with an examination of nameless-
ness as ‘above being’ (epekeina ontos) in Plotinus (Enneads V and VI) and
Plato (Parmenides). ‘For Plato, ‘being nameless’ is a negative mark that
cannot be in any way attributed to the Principle. But for Plotinus, the exact
opposite is true’ (p. 169). Radice distinguishes between two different types
of unnameability in Plotinus. In Enneads VI, ‘the argument for the unname-
ableness of the One on the grounds of its non-being leads to the need for a
name as a matter of what is useful and convenient,’ as a sort of ‘stop-gap.’
In Enneads V Plotinus makes clear that ‘above being’ is not the name of the
One; it is ‘a formula that requires us to distinguish it from every other
thing, and that inserts it into the frame of negative theology, within which it
seems possible to get a hold on it beginning with what it is not’ (p. 169).
These statements do not suffice to delineate the thought of Plotinus on this
matter, however. Radice lays out Plato’s philosophy of names, which is not
very different from that of Plotinus: both think that a name does not fully
represent the thing named (pp. 171–72). Therefore the difference between
the two does not come from their philosophies of naming. Rather, ‘it
follows from a profound change in the overall understanding of the
Principle, which is no longer posited in the ontological sphere, but in the
henological. It therefore requires a new theory of naming, and specifically the
book review section 235

negative characterization that we have described as begin ‘above words’’

(p. 173, emphasis in original). Where, then, might this change take place? ‘A
first point of reference’ could be Philo (p. 173). For Philo, who does believe
that the signifier has a very close relationship the signified, unnameableness
is ‘a sign of its infinity and, in consequence, of the subject’s inability to
grasp its reality: God’s essence is indeed necessarily unknowable.’ In this
Philo is a forerunner of Plotinus (p. 175). Radice concludes his essay with a
survey of the evolution of arreton (sic) in the Middle Pythagoreans, Middle
Platonism, and Numenius’ Synthesis, and then with some reflections on
Gnostic influences on Plotinus that have some correspondences with Philo.
In summary, Radice notes, ‘In the period under consideration, ineffability is
connected to two questions of the greatest importance: that of the (posi-
tive) infinity of the Principle; and that of the value and representativeness
of a ‘name.’ As to the former of these, we can see that Philo marks the
moment of change within Platonism, and that Numenius represents an
intermediate position. As to the latter, Plotinus continues the Platonic tradi-
tion, while Philo and the Gnostics take a different route based on a strong
conception of a name’ (pp. 181–82).
As with many collections of essays, the quality of the work as a whole is
somewhat mixed. In this particular volume, part of that assessment hinges
upon the readability of the prose. Calabi admits in her introduction that
‘there will be expressions which will sound odd … to English speaking
people’ (p. 1), and such is indeed the case in several of the articles. The
occasional linguistic infelicity, however, does not significantly detract from
the worth of the book, which is a welcome, valuable, and necessary addi-
tion to the study of Philo worldwide.

Leslie Baynes
Missouri State University

Kåre Fuglseth. A Comparison of Greek Words in Philo and the New

Testament, Texts and Studies in Religion 97. Lewiston NY: Edwin Mel-
len Press, 2003. 197 pages. ISBN 0-7734-6774-2. Price £ 69.95, $109.95.

Das norwegische Philo Concordance Project war eine der ersten computer-
gestützten geisteswissenschaftlichen Unternehmungen. Schon Ende der
60er Jahre begann ein Team unter Peder Borgen und Roald Skarsten, auf
der Grundlage der Cohn-Wendland-Ausgabe einen elektronisch lesbaren
Philo-Text zu erstellen, der bis 1993 schrittweise vervollständigt und mit
Suchfunktionen versehen wurde. Seit 1997 steht diese Datenbank der
Wissenschaft zur Verfügung, im Jahr 2000 wurde der Index in Buchform
236 the studia philonica annual 17 (2005)

publiziert: P. Borgen, K. Fuglseth and R. Skarsten, The Philo Index. A Com-

plete Greek Word Index to the Writings of Philo of Alexandria (Grand Rapids/
Leiden 2000) Rezension von (D. T. Runia in SPhA 12 (2000) 205–206).
Kåre Fuglseth, seit 1990 Mitglied im norwegischen Philo-Team, legt mit
dem zu besprechenden Buch statistische Tabellen und Analysen zum
Wortgebrauch bei Philo im Vergleich mit dem Neuen Testament vor, die er
mit Hilfe der Datenbank des Philo Concordance Project durchgeführt hat.
In einem Beitrag zur im gleichen Jahr erschienenen Festschrift für Peder
Borgen hat er diese Analysen näher erläutert und ihre Ergebnisse inter-
pretiert: K. Fuglseth, ‘Common Words in the New Testament and Philo:
Some Results from a Complete Vocabulary Comparison’, in D. E. Aune,
T. Seland, J. H. Ulrichsen (edd.), Neotestamentica et Philonica: Studies in Honor
of Peder Borgen (Leiden/Boston 2003) 393–414.
Das Buch enthält nach Vorworten von K. Fuglseth und P. Borgen und
einer kurzen Einführung von Fuglseth (1–12) vier umfangreiche Listen. Die
erste führt alle zwischen Philo und dem Neuen Testament gemeinsamen
Wörter alphabetisch auf (13–83). Die zweite ordnet denselben Wortbestand
nach Häufigkeit (85–155). Die dritte erfasst den gemeinsamen Wortbestand
von Philo und dem Johannes-Evangelium, geordnet nach Häufigkeit (157–
174), die vierte schließlich in gleicher Anordnung denjenigen von Philo und
dem Hebräerbrief (175–193). Eine kurze Bibliographie schließt den Band ab.
Die Einführung gibt die den Listen zugrunde liegenden Daten und
absoluten Zahlen an und erläutert die Darbietung der statistischen Über-
sichten. Eine Tabelle erfasst detailliert die Häufigkeit philonischer Wörter in
den einzelnen Schriften des Neuen Testaments (6). Dabei werden die
Nomina und die Verben noch gesondert berücksichtigt. Daraus ergeben
sich besonders signifikante Werte für das Johannes-Evangelium und den
Hebräerbrief, ein Ergebnis, das angesichts der bisherigen Forschung zu
Philo und dem NT wenig überrascht.
Der wesentliche Informationsgehalt des Buches steckt in den in neun
Spalten aufgeteilten Tabellen zum gemeinsamen Wortbestand. Jeder Eintrag
besteht aus einer fortlaufenden Ordnungsnummer, dem griechischen Wort,
einem grammatischen Code, einem Wert für die relative Häufigkeit in bei-
den Textcorpora gemeinsam („minimal relative value frequency”), gefolgt
von Angaben zur absoluten Häufigkeit in beiden Textcorpora, zur absolu-
ten Häufigkeit im NT und bei Philo je für sich, zur relativen Häufigkeit im
NT und gegebenenfalls einer Bemerkung dazu, ob die relative oder die
absolute Häufigkeit des Wortes in NT höher als bei Philo liegt. Dazu wurde
aus der Anzahl der Wortvorkommen (tokens), der Wörter (lemmas), der
gemeinsamen Wörter (common lemmas), der Wortvorkommen bei
gemeinsamen Wörtern (tokens of common lemmas) sowie der Anzahl der
book review section 237

gemeinsamen Nomen und Adjektive (number of common lemmas in the

NT and in Philo of noun and adjectives) der Wert von 3,17 berechnet, der
die höhere Häufigkeit von Wörtern oder Textformen bei Philo gegenüber
dem NT ausdrückt (10). Dieser Wert ist bei allen Auswertungen zur
relativen Häufigkeit zu Grunde zu legen.
Kriterium der Häufigkeit in der zweiten Liste ist der Wert für die relative
Häufigkeit in beiden Textcorpora gemeinsam. Darin zeigt sich das Haupt-
interesse der statistischen Erhebungen. Es liegt bei der Erhebung von
thematischen Korrespondenzen zwischen Philo und dem NT bzw. ein-
zelnen seiner Schriften. Solche Erhebungen werden von Fuglseth aber nicht
durchgeführt, nicht einmal angedeutet. Er bietet lediglich das statistische
Material dafür. Darin liegen Wert und Grenze des vorliegenden Buches.

Karl-Wilhelm Niebuhr

Kathy L. Gaca, The Making of Fornication: Eros, Ethics and Political Re-
form in Greek Philosophy and Early Christianity. Hellenistic Culture and
Society 40. Berkeley–Los Angeles–London: University of California
Press, 2003. xvii + 359 pages. ISBN 0-520-235999-1. Price $60 (cloth).

No one with any knowledge of the ancient world can doubt that there is a
significant difference in sexual mores between pagan Greco-Roman culture
and European culture as it developed in the West under the dominance of
biblical and Christian thought. The conventional explanation, put forward
by Foucault and other scholars, is that the Church fathers developed their
restrictive and ascetic views on sexuality by marrying biblical injunctions
with ideas of restrained desire developed by the Platonic and Stoic
philosophical traditions. In this important but flawed book, Kathy Gaca
takes this interpretation head on and presents an alternative hypothesis
centred around the notion of fornication.
Fornication is the key concept of the study. It translates the Greek
porne¤a, related to the word pÒrnh (prostitute), which in turn is derived
from the verb p°rnhmi (to offer for sale). The term is thus most neutrally
translated ‘harlotry’ or ‘whoredom’. But ever since the King James ver-
sion it has been rendered by ‘fornication’ (from the Latin fornicatio, derived
from fornix, meaning ‘arch’ or ‘cellar’ as the place of a brothel) and this is
still the case in the New Revised Standard Version used in many churches
today. It is one of the ‘works of the flesh’ listed by Paul in Galatians 5:19
and has been a key term in the development of Christian sexual ethics ever
since. Gaca argues that the term means more than just ‘unchastity’ or
238 the studia philonica annual 17 (2005)

‘sexual immorality’. In the biblical and Patristic thought it means ‘sexual

behaviour opposed to God’s law’. As such it embodies an entire way of
thinking that wishes to regulate human sexual behaviour for the purposes
of religious and social control. The influence on Western culture has been
profound. The title of the book, ‘The Making of Fornication,’ thus means to
say something like this: the restrictive sexuality that has affected relations
between men and women (not to speak of same-sex couples) so markedly
during the past two millennia is a cultural product, the result of how Hel-
lenistic Jews and early Christians used the Bible and moulded the biblical
tradition under the influence of certain ideas from Greek philosophical
The study is admirably structured by means of three groups of three
chapters, preceded by an introduction and followed by a conclusion. The
first group of chapters is devoted to the sexual reforms or regulatory prac-
tices advocated by Greek philosophers: Plato, the Stoics and the Pythago-
reans respectively. For Plato sexual desire is an irrational force which needs
to be brought under strict control if human society is to flourish. In the
Republic and the Laws, he puts forward various regulatory proposals
involving communal living and eugenics. The early Stoics take over Plato’s
communalism, but are convinced that sexuality is not necessarily irrational.
It can be used as a form of bodily expression compatible with rational
behaviour and directed towards mutual friendship. The third philosophical
tradition is that of the Pythagoreans, who advocate that sexual relations
should only take place for the purposes of procreation within a marital
relationship. This view is also espoused by the influential later Stoics Seneca
and Musonius, and was to prove highly appealing to Philo and the Church
fathers. The presentation of material in the first part of the book, though
too rigid in the way it converts philosophical ideas into school doctrines,
provides a valuable background for the later Patristic period. It is ironical
but probably true that Plato’s ideas exercised more influence through
people such as Philo and Clement than the Greeks of his own time.
The second part turns to the watershed period of the first century ce.
But first Gaca rightly turns to the Greek Old Testament, because it forms
the essential background to both the Pauline and Philonic views on sexual
behaviour. The Septuagint is ultimately the source of the concept of forni-
cation, for it sees sexual behaviour in a strictly religious perspective. Right
sexual behaviour is in service of the Lord, deviation from it is an abomina-
tion and is regarded as apostasy. In the first chapter Gaca explores this
background particularly as it has influenced Paul. He takes over the Penta-
teuch’s sexual programme in the service of monotheism and develops it
into his own highly restrictive sexual code. Fornication can be avoided if a
book review section 239

man and woman have sexual relations within Christian marriage or if they
are already married to a partner who can be converted. All other sexual
relations are tantamount to idolatry. In the next chapter Gaca explores
Pauline thought further and especially the two crucial metaphors of sexual
fornication and spiritual adultery. The former goes back to the Old Testa-
ment prophets and plays on the woman as harlot, not so much in the
sexual but in the religious sense, i.e. because she worships other gods. The
second also has Old Testament roots. God’s people are like a woman who
can remain faithful to her master or can go astray. Both metaphors com-
bine to express Paul’s fervent conviction that the only way to make love
authentically is in service of the one true God. The third chapter, not quite
following chronological sequence, turns to Philo. Perceptively Gaca starts
her chapter by arguing that he does not share the purported Middle Plato-
nist lack of interest in political subjects. Philo wants to establish a city of
God based on a philosophical interpretation of the Law of Moses. His inno-
vative sexual agenda consists of combining the laws of the Pentateuch and
the ideology of fornication with the reformist and procreationist ideas of
the Pythagoreans. The key to his reinterpretation of the Bible is the way he
reads the tenth commandment, oÈk §piyumÆseiw (‘you shall not desire’) in
predominantly sexual terms, linking it to a Platonic view of desire as an
irrational force, but also taking over the biblical view that sexual activity
must be seen in religious terms and for that reason must be strictly con-
trolled. The programme that the Church fathers were to inflict on the
Western world cannot be understood without Philo’s innovative sexual
The final part then turns to the Patristic tradition. Three figures from the
second century are analysed, Tatian, Clement of Alexandria and the little-
known Christian Platonist Epiphanes, whose treatise On justice, written
before he died at the age of seventeen, is cited by Clement in Stromateis
book 3. The three Christian thinkers form a neatly contrasting group.
Tatian is the foremost representative of Christian encratism, the life-
destroying doctrine of complete sexual renunciation. Clement’s thought is
more mainstream. He agrees with Philo that sexual desire is inherently
lawless and the cause of fornication, i.e. rebellion against God. It is so dan-
gerous in his view that it must be controlled by a form of procreationism
even more severe than that of Philo. Clement will only allow marriage and
sexual relations for people who are capable of reproduction. According to
Gaca’s interpretation, he is so opposed to the appetitive desire that he
wants Christians to engage in the sexual act for procreative purposes with-
out feeling any physical pleasure at all. Epiphanes, on the other hand, has
been unjustly vilified by Clement and the subsequent Christian tradition.
240 the studia philonica annual 17 (2005)

He wants to return to the communal ideals of Plato and the early Stoa,
recognizing the validity of the claims of eros within a Christian theistic
framework. The youthful thinker has the final word in the book (p. 305):
‘Not least of Epiphanes’ heretical common bonds with the philosophers
was the conviction that sexual morality should be attained through justice,
dialogue, and reasoning, not through power, commandments, possessive
metaphors, and submission.’
In a number of respects this is an impressive book. It is written with
erudition and passion. The footnotes yield ample evidence of wide reading
and mastery of many different areas of ancient religion, culture and
philosophy. I find myself in agreement with the author’s two main theses
that Philo and the early Patristic thinkers were inspired by the Septuagint in
developing their ideas on how Jews and Christians should engage in sexual
activity, and that they transformed the material on sexual reform that they
derived from Greek philosophical sources into a sexual code of conduct
that is radically different. I am also sympathetic to her thesis that religion
has been enormously influential in determining how human beings orga-
nize and regulate their affective lives and sexual practices. The main prob-
lem I have with the study is that its author overstates her case. I have three
In the first place, the book combines two projects, an analysis of how
Hellenistic Judaism and early Christianity regulated sexual conduct within
the confines of their religious convictions and an analysis of the role of the
concept of fornication (porne¤a) within that process. Gaca often implies that
the two processes are the same thing, as is implied in the title of her book.
But this is hardly the case. The use of the rhetorics of fornication is a
powerful instrument in the process of guiding or imposing sexual rules.
There can be no doubt that there is a strong association of porneia with
polytheism and idolatry. As the Wisdom of Solomon pithily states, ‘the
invention of idols is the beginning of fornication’ (14:12, cited on p. 152,
199). As a concept, therefore, the way porneia is used often only makes
sense if one takes the religious context into account. But Gaca goes a step
further when she states (p. 20): ‘Porne¤a as ‘fornication’ requires biblical
monotheism to be intelligible as a sexual rule, insofar as sexual intercourse
and procreation are fornicating, and forbidden, by virtue of not being
dedicated to the Lord alone.’ Here the concept takes on a life of its own
and becomes reified in a way that James Barr protested against in his
epochal The Semantics of Biblical Language. It is not necessarily the case that
every time the term porneia is used, the entire conceptual baggage postu-
lated by Gaca is implicit as well. In the case of Philo, for example, the reader
might be quite surprised to discover that he makes virtually no use of the
book review section 241

term porne¤a and the equivalent verb porneue¤n at all (only four texts in all).
Although Philo certainly wants to restrict bodily desires and to regulate
sexual practices, I doubt that the concept of fornication was important for
him at all. It certainly needs to be proven that every time he speaks about
desire and pleasure he has spiritual fornication in mind, as is affirmed on
p. 216.
Secondly, the study is marked by a prevalence of strong language and
relentless rhetoric which makes it unpleasant to read. One can hardly doubt
that this is a deliberate stylistic and strategic choice. As the reference to
Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale on p. 269 indicates, this book has a
sub-text of feminist polemic against modern American conservative Chris-
tianity which barely manages to remain below the surface of the scholarly
text and bubbles up at regular intervals, particularly when discussing the
thought of Clement, who is seen as the most important factor in determin-
ing the direction of mainstream Christianity. We read, for example, that
Clement constructs ‘a bleak basilica’ (p. 269) and proposes ‘the demoniza-
tion of appetitive sexual desire’ (p. 289). The following play on words is not
untypical of Gaca’s style (p. 291): ‘To preserve the church’s chastity as
Christ’s monogamous bride, he [Clement] attacked Epiphanes’ arguments
as the fornicating den of iniquity. Epiphanes, Plato and the early Stoics,
however, give thoughtful reasons for regarding Clement’s biblically based
marriage system as the sacred den of inequity that remains with us today.’
Little attempt is made to do justice to Clement’s thought as a theologically
and philosophically mature construction. For example Gaca claims that
Clement’s God is a ‘singular masculine entity’ (p. 270). Yet Clement in his
negative theology certainly regards God as beyond gender, and is even
prepared to refer to God as ‘mother’ as well as ‘father’ (cf. Quis dives 37.2;
I owe the point to Eric Osborn).
Thirdly, as the author recognizes in the Introduction (p. 10), her study is
‘oriented towards texts and their prescriptions… not towards actual sexual
practices’. She rightly goes on to affirm that this approach reflects the
literate and even bookish nature of early Christian sexual morality. It is
ironical, therefore, that the author frequently does not allow the texts she
bases her argument on to speak for themselves. Instead she imposes her
interpretation on them in such a way that the reader is frequently misled
into thinking that what she says is found in the text of the author being
studied. I shall illustrate my objection with regard to the way that Philo is
interpreted (but the same applies to the way Paul, Clement and the other
Christian thinkers are read). Here are a number of examples.
(i) It is argued that sexual desire can be tamed by diet and that Moses’
dietary laws are the one sure regimen that reduces sexual desire. But this
242 the studia philonica annual 17 (2005)

is not said in the texts cited, Spec. 4.85, 95–96, 100–118 (‘belly’ in 96 does
not refer to the genitals because the context talks about food and drink).
Spec. 3.9 talks about passionate sexual desire and even about unchaste
behaviour with one’s own wife, but it has nothing to do with diet.
(ii) On p. 198 we read that ‘Philo’s Tenth Commandment is innovative
as a Decalogue rule because it valorizes sexual desire as the main source
of wickedness.’ On the next page she adds: ‘Sexual desire is inherently
wicked and its primary yearning is to break away from the regulatory
confines of the Pentateuch.’ It is of course true that Philo makes
numerous negative remarks about desire and sexual desire in particular.
But you will not find any grounds for these statements in his treatment
of the Tenth commandment in Spec. 4.78–100, the only text (apart from
Decal. 173) cited.
(iii) On p. 200 we read: ‘For Philo… the ‘origin of wrongdoing’ and ‘of
violation of the Law’ (Spec. 4.84, Opif. 151–2) is innate sexual desire and
its tendency to excessive pleasure, as Plato argues, not the worship of
competing gods in the vicinity.’ This is a difficult sentence to understand,
especially in the comparison it makes between Philo and Plato, but what
Philo says at Opif. 152 is that ‘this desire [for sexual relations] gave rise to
bodily pleasure, which is the starting-point for wicked and law-breaking
deeds’ (my translation).
(iv) Gaca affirms on p. 202: ‘The biblical whore Pleasure as Philo concep-
tualises her, however, is no ordinary woman and the pleasure that he
fears is not generically appetitive. She is the goddess Aphrodite and her
pleasure is sexual.’ No evidence is given for this statement and there is
no evidence to give. Philo only mentions Aphrodite twice in all his
works, once in a reference to the morning star in the context of a
polemic against polytheism (Decal. 54), once in a reference to Plato’s
Symposium (Contempl. 59).
(v) On p. 206 we read: ‘Once the wife’s menstrual period ends, how-
ever, Philo exhorts the husband to take courage and sow as he sees fit to
help produce a flourishing crop of children in the Lord.’ This statement
is not found in Spec. 3.33, where Philo writes: ‘But if the menstruation
stops, he [the man] may take heart and sow his seed, no longer fearing
destruction of what is deposited.’ Remarkably Gaca does not draw
attention to one text that does give support to her position. In Spec. 3.36
Philo states that those who decide to marry women whose barrenness
has been proven in fact copulate like pigs or goats ‘and they should be
inscribed in the lists of the impious as adversaries of God’. This harsh
text is the best example I have found of how Philo takes over the
religiously inspired sexual ethic of the Pentateuch.
book review section 243

(vi) Another chilling Philonic text is found at Spec. 3.51, where Philo goes
further than the LXX text in stating that harlots should be stoned to
death. He calls such a person a ‘communal defilement’, but nowhere
does he say that ‘women who become prostitutes are in rebellion
against God’. What we read is that they ‘corrupt the graces of nature,
which should make them the ornament of goodness’.
The upshot of all this is that the reader cannot simply assume that what is
attributed to Philo is actually said by him. Naturally there has to be latitude
for interpretation, but the basis of the argument has to be in the texts and
they have to be the starting-point. In this regard Gaca’s study compares
unfavourably with the volume recently published by William Loader
entitled The Septuagint, Sexuality and the New Testament (Grand Rapids 2004),
which covers much of the same ground. Loader argues that the Septuagint
created a new emphasis on sexuality compared with the Hebrew Bible and
this is taken over by Philo and New Testament authors, including Paul. So
there is some interesting agreement with Gaca’s thesis. But the method
differs. Loader bases his analysis on a direct and meticulous examination of
the texts in question.
I conclude that Gaca’s study is an important study on an important
topic. Because of the aggressiveness of its rhetoric, it is not a pleasure to
read. And because its method of analysing and interpreting texts is flawed,
it is to be used with caution.

David T. Runia
Queen’s College

Stephen Weitzman, Surviving Sacrilege. Cultural Persistence in Jewish Anti-

quity, Cambridge, MA: Harvard, 2005. viii+183 pages. ISBN 0-674-01708-0.
Price $39.95.

Steven Weitzman has written a remarkably fresh and original book on the
strategies of survival in ancient Judaism in the face of foreign occupation
and physical destruction. He formulates the topic as ‘the efforts of early
Jews to preserve their religious traditions,’ but he takes this as a case study
of the universal problem of maintaining tradition. He focuses especially on
the problems posed by foreign rule and on threats to the Jerusalem
The study is divided into eight chapters. The first deals with the Babylo-
nian destruction of Jerusalem in 586 b.c.e. How, asks Weitzman, did the
Temple cult survive such an experience? His concern is not with ‘what
244 the studia philonica annual 17 (2005)

really happened’ but with the ways in which ancient Jews coped with the
situation by telling stories that asserted that the Temple’s contents had
survived, either in hiding or in Babylon, and became available again as links
to tradition. He notes a similar phenomenon in ancient Babylonia. The
Book of Ezra claims that Persia played a key role in the restoration, and this
is not implausible in light of the evidence from Elephantine. In the
Hellenistic period, the list of hidden vessels was expanded to include the ark
of the covenant. In a somewhat different vein, Weitzman notes the story in
1 Esdras that Zerubbabel won the king’s favor by his wit, which simul-
taneously mocked the king and flattered him.
The second chapter deals with the Maccabean crisis. Here Weitzman
leaves aside the question of the motives behind the persecution, and
focuses instead on the tactics of the Hasmoneans in their shifting relations
with the Seleucid kings. The emphasis is on the opportunism of the Jewish
leaders, but Weitzman argues that this required more than pragmatism. It
also required imagination, ‘an ability to reconceptualize a sacrilegious
enemy as a pious supporter,’ as in the account of the death of Antiochus
Epiphanes in 2 Maccabees.
The third chapter deals with Jewish strategies for dealing with Roman
rule, by depicting the rulers as friendly and well-disposed and, in the cases
of Herod and Agrippa, by cultivating personal relationships with the empe-
rors. Weitzman analyzes at length the speech attributed to Agrippa in the
Legatio ad Gaium, especially with regard to the affectation of candor,
designed to characterize Agrippa as a friend rather than as a flatterer. The
politics of friendship, however, failed in the years leading up to the Jewish
The fourth chapter deals with another aspect of the Roman threat.
Because of their ‘addiction to visual stimulation,’ the Romans wanted to
gaze on the holy things that should be kept hidden. Weitzman argues that
Jews developed ‘an alternative to physical obstruction, a way to satisfy
Roman eyes without allowing them to violate the Temple’ (p. 83). This was
the technique of ekphrasis, borrowed from Greek and Roman authors who
used it ‘to convey the visual experience of seeing a spectacle or a great
work of art in writing.’ So Philo and Josephus (and already the Letter of
Aristeas) describe at length the spectacle of the Temple, and its effect on
Gentiles such as Marcus Agrippa, grandfather of Agrippa. The Jewish
writers were careful, however, to restrict the description of the spectacle to
the exterior of the Temple, and to protect the Holy of Holies. This tech-
nique was effective only for a time. After the conquest of Jerusalem, the
contents of the Temple were displayed for all to see in the triumph of Titus,
and depicted forever on the arch erected in his memory.
book review section 245

Chapter Five turns to a different kind of strategy to preserve the Temple

cult by ‘developing ways to relocate it in hidden or out of the way places
beyond the enemy’s reach’ (p. 97). The primary example here is the Cop-
per Scroll, which Weitzman regards as not merely an attempt to protect
some treasure but as ‘an effort to preserve Jewish tradition itself in a latent
form from which the Temple cult could later be rekindled’ (p. 107). He
admits that this thesis cannot be proved, but he adduces a parallel story
from Pausanias about Messene in support of its plausibility. He deals more
briefly with the community of the Dead Sea Scrolls as an alternative temple,
and barely touches on the theme of the heavenly Jerusalem.
Weitzman also considers the Jewish revolt as a defence of cult and
tradition, although he acknowledges that this was not the only issue at
stake. In chapter 6, he pursues the question of why the rebels thought they
could succeed against the Romans. Here he focuses on the belief that the
Jews had at their disposal divine power. This belief seems irrational by
modern standards, but it was not peculiar to the Jews. Weitzman adduces
parallels, both from modern studies of millennarian movements and from
Greco-Roman antiquity. Greek and Roman generals developed ways to
manipulate the psychology of their soldiers, to convince them of the reality
of divine aid. The War Scroll from Qumran is premised on the belief that
the decisive power in battle is divine. The appeal to divine help was a
tactical measure designed to influence morale, and it also involved an artful
appeal to the imagination.
The seventh chapter deals with another aspect of Jewish resistance, the
willingness to die for the law. Again, Weitzman is concerned with the tacti-
cal significance. In 2 Maccabees, for example, the deaths of the martyrs are
credited with determining the outcome of the rebellion. Weitzman adduces
the Roman practice of devotio, whereby a general who saw that things were
going badly might offer to sacrifice his life, and throw himself into the
battle. He discusses at some length the ambiguous attitude of Josephus to-
wards voluntary death, which acknowledges its nobility while associating it
with rash impetuousness. Of course, Josephus could hardly have endorsed
voluntary death without qualification, in view of his own refusal to
participate in the suicide at Yotapata. Weitzman notes, however, the parallel
between Josephus and Yohanan ben Zakkai, who was credited with pre-
serving the tradition by only ‘playing dead.’
In the brief concluding chapter, Weitzman argues that what unites all
these strategies is a double artfulness of tactical pragmatism and imagina-
tion. Judaism survived not only by tactical opportunism but also ‘b y
creating opportunities simply not available within the parameters of the
possible’ (p. 161).
246 the studia philonica annual 17 (2005)

This is a well-written book (although several minor errors escaped the

proof-reader’s eye). Its appeal lies largely in the originality of its approach,
which brings freshness to old and familiar subject matter. The discussion is
enriched by Weitzman’s familiarity and engagement with Greco-Roman
antiquity, and contemporary scholarship thereon, which puts the discussion
of Judaism in a broader context and enables Weitzman to treat it as a case-
study in the history of religion. The book could also be considered a
contribution to the burgeoning field of post-colonialism.
There is some ambiguity about the focus of the book. The stated topic is
the preservation of religious traditions, and several chapters focus specific-
ally on the Temple cult. Yet several other chapters deal more broadly with
strategies of survival (e.g. the chapters on the Maccabees, on ‘friends in
high places,’ and on the Jewish revolt). All of these had implications for the
preservation of the cult, but this is not the primary focus in many cases.
Weitzman is well aware that preservation of the cult was not the only issue
at stake, but his book may nonetheless give a somewhat misleading
impression in this regard.
The book is illustrative and not exhaustive. Nonetheless, the absence of
the apocalyptic literature is striking, especially in a book that purports to
deal with the use of imagination in dealing with adversity. Weitzman
makes passing reference to themes in Daniel, 4 Ezra and 2 Baruch, but he
does not at all analyze the use of the apocalyptic genre as a strategy of
survival. Also, while Weitzman makes good use of modern anthropological
studies, the discussion might have been further enriched by use of the
work of James C. Scott, Domination and the Arts of Resistance (New Haven:
Yale, 1990), whose approach is quite congenial to that of Weitzman.
To say that Weitzman might have done some other things in this book,
however, is not to detract from what he has actually done. This is a very
stimulating study that sheds much new light on Second Temple Judaism.

John J. Collins
Yale University

Philip Bosman, Conscience in Philo and Paul: A Conceptual History of the

Synoida Word Group. Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testa-
ment 2. Reihe 166. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2003. Pp. x + 318. ISBN 3-16-
148000-7. Price € 49.

There are a significant number of concepts that are first attested in Philo in
a form that we know well today. For example, he is the first to state that
the Platonic ideas are the thoughts of God; the first to articulate the via
book review section 247

negativa, and the first to use conscience in a sense that begins to approach a
modern understanding. This revised and edited translation (originally writ-
ten in Afrikaans) of a dissertation submitted to the University of Pretoria in
1996, explores the last of these in concert with the Pauline usage. The disser-
tation was directed by Andrie du Toit; the committee included Hans-Josef
Klauck and Johann Thom.
The work sets out to trace the early evolution of conscience through its
linguistic development and the interaction of the linguistic developments
with changing conceptual frameworks. It thus combines a traditional
philological approach with conclusions reached in cognitive sciences that
study the ways in which human beings process information. Throughout
the monograph Bosman devotes equal attention to the philological and
conceptual aspects of the terms, although the work is more attentive to
philological matters than to cognitive theories. For those of us for whom
method should be a means to an end rather than the end itself, this is
Chapters one and two are preliminary statements that set out the basic
task of the work and its orientation (chapter one) and then situate the pro-
posed contribution within the history of scholarship (chapter two). Bosman
restricts his focus to the suvnoida group, particularly the substantival forms
suneivdhsi~ and suneidov~. While the verb form is common prior to the first
century b.c.e., there are only a handful of examples of the substantival
forms prior to that century. Philo is the first author to use suneidov~ with
any regularity, while Paul is the first Christian author to use suneivdhsi~.
These linguistic facts are what led Bosman to focus on these two writers.
He wisely concludes that while they are the first authors to use the terms
on a sustained basis, neither should be credited with the creation of the
concept ‘conscience.’ Both writers assumed that their readers understood
the terms, assumptions that required widespread awareness of the terms
and the concepts attached to them. They do, however, represent a decisive
moment in the evolution of the concept, at least based upon the evidence
that we have. It is important to remember that we know far less about
Hellenistic philosophy than Plato and Aristotle; our evidence is largely
Bosman surveys the study of conscience from the early centuries to the
present to help the reader understand how previous treatments viewed the
origin of the concept and the contributions of Philo and Paul. His survey of
scholarship concentrates on Luther, Kähler, and four twentieth century
studies: Pierce, Stelzenberger, Maurer (TDNT), and the well-known mono-
graph of Eckstein. Bosman is aware of other major studies, e.g., Nikipro-
wetzky, Wallis, and Klauck on conscience in Philo, and interacts with them
248 the studia philonica annual 17 (2005)

on specific points throughout the monograph including a brief summary

when he introduces the Philonic material (p. 107), but assumes that the
reader knows these works. It would have been useful to have given a fuller
sketch of the history of scholarship to orient the reader to the specific
debates more adequately.
The third and fourth chapters explore the use of the word group prior to
the first century b.c.e. In keeping with the methodology laid out in chapter
one, Bosman divides his analysis into linguistic considerations (chapter
three) and the conceptual framework (chapter four). He subdivides his
linguistic analysis into the categories of the verb, the substantives, and the
Latin conscientia. The most interesting development of the verb suvnoida is
the reflexive use since this raises the question whether self-awareness is a
form of the conscience. Although Bosman challenges this assumption, he
recognizes that the expression suvnoida ejmautw/` kakovn ti (‘I am aware that I
have done something bad’) became a fixed phrase that did not require the
full form for a hearer to understand it, e.g., Euripides, Orest. 396. While the
negative form is the dominant usage, negative content is not required. The
substantives are rare before the first century b.c.e. There is only one occur-
rence of suneidov~ (Demosthenes 18.110) and only a handful of attestations
for suneivdhsi~ (e.g., Democritus fr. 297). Bosman argues that the substan-
tives still carry the verbal meaning for the most part and should not be
uniformly rendered by ‘conscience.’ The understanding of the Latin con-
scientia is probably derived from its Greek counterparts and should not be
used as evidence for an earlier or parallel development of the concept
(contra P. Schönlein).
With the basic linguistic evidence laid out, Bosman turns to cognitive
science to help establish the conceptual framework that he will employ. He
uses the stimulus-response schema to explain how a primary experience
could lay at the root of the conceptual development (p. 76). He argues that
in this instance, the stimulus is a transgression that an individual judges
negatively. Since ancients often thought of themselves as part of a unit,
they would have responded with inner turmoil over the tension created by
actions that were not in keeping with the virtues that were promoted by
the unit, i.e., the city. In particular, the tension would produce a loss of
parrhsiva externally and fear of reprisal internally. Bosman’s treatment of
this material is dense and careful. There are some places where his attempt
to cover a wide span leads to simplistic analyses, e.g., the explanation of the
rise of individualism as a result of the Peloponnesian War is far from ade-
quate (pp. 89–90; although see also pp. 179–84). These, however, are asides
and do not detract from the substance of the argument which appears
book review section 249

Bosman devotes one of the longest chapters in the monograph to Philo

(chapter five). He notes that Philo used suvnoida reflexively 3 times in the
sense of a knowledge of a mistake and non-reflexively once. He employed
suneivdhsi~ 4 times, 3 times with a verbal accent (e.g., p. 138) and once as an
equivalent to his key term suneidov~. There is little that is remarkable about
these uses in Philo. The situation changes when we consider the 32 uses of
suneidov~, a term whose content ‘represents a decisive turn in the history of
the word group’ (p. 107). The word always appears in an articulate con-
struction and always in the singular (p. 176). The most striking feature of
the term is the large number of occasions when Philo pairs it with e[legco~
(‘rebuke’; see Opif. 128; Det. 23–24; Post. 59; Ebr. 125; Spec. 1.235; 4.40; Prob.
149) or the verbal cognate ejlevgcw (‘rebuke’; see Deus 128; Conf. 121; Ios. 48,
262; Spec. 1.235; 3.54; 4.6, 40; Virt. 206)) or similar language that suggests
the formation of a judgment, e.g., kathgorevw. Bosman would have done
well to gather this material together in a clear format. He recognizes that
suneidotov~ and e[;legco~ function as synonyms, but suggests that they retain
‘their own intrinsic meaning’ (p. 110). He works through the uses of the
terms in the corpus, beginning with the non-biblical writings (= apologetic
and philosophical writings), then moving to QG and QE, the Allegorical
Commentary, and the Exposition of the Law. He concludes with a synthesis
of his findings. I am not sure why Bosman began with the apologetic and
philosophical treatises that were — for the most part — among the last
treatises that Philo wrote. He appears to work from the mistaken assump-
tion that the philosophical treatises were among Philo’s earliest, e.g., pp.
113–14, an assumption that Abraham Terian has shown to be less than
probable (‘A Critical Introduction to Philo’s Dialogues,’ ANRW 2.21.2
(1984) 272–94). I would separate the apologetic works from the philoso-
phical since they have such a different orientation and implied audience.
Like the philosophical dialogues, they were written late (a point Bosman
recognizes). I therefore think that he should have made both groups the
last treatises that he examined, a point that would have permitted him to
view the corpus with greater diachronic precision. After working through
each occurrence of the word group with due care to the context, intersect-
ing issues, and varying nuances, Bosman synthesizes his findings. While it is
often risky to synthesize Philonic thought, Bosman avoids the typical traps
into which many have fallen. He recognizes that Philo is aware of the
parrhsiva topos that served as the frame for the classical period. Unlike ear-
lier statements, Philo situates the conscience in the rational soul. The most
important function is forensic: it is an inner monitor. This permits Philo to
be concerned not only with actions, but with intents. Human beings have a
nou` ~ that is informed by the lov g o~. The suneidov ~ acts when the lov g o~ is
250 the studia philonica annual 17 (2005)

present, i.e., when a person knows that they have done or intend to do
something contrary to reason, the conscience rebukes them. If a person is
unaware that an action is wrong, the conscience does not function. Philo
thus has an ‘ethical intellectualism.’ God has a role as the one who sets the
standards and avenges wrongs.
Bosman’s treatment of Philo is careful and incisive. This does not mean
that he will win assent on all issues or that he has written the final word.
For example, he does not provide any indication of the importance of
suneidotov~ in Ios.: it appears 7 times in this single treatise (47, 48, 68, 195, 215,
262, 265), more than any other treatise of Philo. Why? The use enables Philo
to focus on the inner decision of Joseph who rejected the seductions of the
Egyptian woman (47, 48, 68) and sets up a contrast in the latter part of the
treatise with the conscience of his brothers (262). It is also worth asking
whether Joseph as the ideal politician forms a contrast with Flaccus (Flacc.
7) and Isidorus (Flacc. 145) who represent negative images of politicians.
Bosman devotes another long chapter to Paul (chapter six). Unlike Philo
who preferred the Attic participial formulation, Paul had a predilection for
substantive suneivdhsi~ which he used 14 times (he also used the verb once).
The range of meaning in Paul is notorious: some think that the term should
be translated in various ways while others want to provide a single English
translation. Bosman prefers to recognize the semantic flexibility of the term
in Paul, but thinks that it may have a single meaning. His analysis of Paul
follows the same pattern as his treatment of Philo: he works through the
texts and then systematizes his findings. The bulk of Paul’s usages occur in
his treatment of the eating of meat in 1 Cor 8:1–11:1, a situation that per-
haps served as a catalyst for the Apostle’s thinking. Like Philo, Paul knew
the traditional association with parrhsiva. However, unlike Philo’s negative
orientation in which a bad conscience might restrict frank-speaking, Paul’s
conscience could bear witness to his parrhsiva (see 2 Cor 1:12). Similarly,
both knew conscience as an inner court of law, but Paul understood the
court to be neutral; he does not have the close association with e[l;egco~ that
we find in Philo. Both made connections with intellectual processes, al-
though again in different ways: Philo associated conscience with nou`~ and
lovgo~ (mind and the Logos); Paul linked suneiv d hsi~ with gnw`si~ and
ajlhvqeia (knowledge and truth). The two are thus quite similar in their basic
orientation, although Paul thinks of conscience in a much more neutral way
than his Alexandrian counterpart.
The work concludes with a final chapter that summarizes the findings
(chapter seven). A reader might find it useful to begin by first reading
chapter seven and then reading chapters one through six before reading
seven again. It would provide the reader with an orientation that will help.
book review section 251

Bosman makes significant demands on the reader: he often assumes that a

reader knows concepts or works. His reasoning is therefore often lacunose.
It is, however, worth the effort to work through his analyses. The careful
attention to philological detail, the close reading of each text, and the
insistence on understanding the texts within the conceptual framework that
ancients would have heard them makes this an impressive piece of
research. While I would have found it helpful if Bosman had contextualized
Philo’s anthropology more fully in Middle Platonic and Stoic texts and
Paul’s understanding of humanity more fully in light of his understanding
of the gospel, I profited a good deal from reading the work and am
confident that others will have the same experience.

Gregory E. Sterling
University of Notre Dame
The Studia Philonica Annual XVII (2005) 252–253


Philo of Alexandria Group of the Society of Biblical Literature

The Philo of Alexandria Group of the Society of Biblical Literature con-

vened for two sessions on November 22nd 2004, in San Antonio, Texas,
during the Annual Meetings of the Society of Biblical Literature and the
American Academy of Religion. Both sessions this year were devoted to
the theme of ‘The Worlds of Logos Theology’.
Presiding at the morning session was Hindy Najman (University of
Toronto), who together with David T. Runia (University of Melbourne), has
taken over the chair of the Group. The first speaker was Harold W.
Attridge (Yale University), who presented a paper entitled ‘Philo and John:
Two Riffs on One Logos?’. He was followed by Robin Darling Young
(University of Notre Dame) with a paper on ‘Philo as Prophet for Clement
of Alexandria’. The third speaker on the programme was Daniel Boyarin
(University of California at Berkeley), who was unable to attend for family
reasons. His paper ‘Origen’s Philo-logia’ was read out by the chair.
The afternoon session on the same theme was presided by the doyen of
North American Philonic scholars, David Winston (Berkeley). It consisted of
four speakers: Assan Yadin (Rutgers University) speaking on ‘Philo:
Between the Logos Didaskalos and Nomos Didaskalos’; Jutta Leonhardt-
Balzer (University of Tübingen) on ‘Creation and the Logos in Philo and
John: Eternity meets History’; Gregory E. Sterling on ‘‘The Second God’:
the Exegetical Traditions of Genesis 1:1–5 in Philo and John’; and Thomas
H. Tobin on ‘The World of Thought in the Philippians Hymn’. The four
papers were followed by discussion and by a meeting of the Board of the
Philo of Alexandria Commentary Series. The papers of Harold Attridge and
Gregory Sterling are published in a revised form elsewhere in this Annual.
Plans have also been made for the continuation of the Group’s activities
at the next meeting of the AAR/SBL at Philadelphia in November 2005.
One session will be devoted to the subject of Philo and Qumran, the other
to Philo’s treatise De virtutibus.

David T. Runia
Queen’s College
University of Melbourne, Australia

1 Items of general interest to Philo scholars to be included in this section can be sent to
the editor, David Runia (contact details in Notes on Contributors below).
news and notes 253

In memoriam Henk Spierenburg

On March 5 h as the result of a traffic accident Henk Spierenburg passed
away in his home city of The Hague at the age of 71. Although trained as
an engineer, Henk’s passion was the tradition of Theosophical thought,
especially as formulated by Mrs. H. P. Blavatsky. In recent years the focus
of his research was ancient antecedents of this thought and in 2001 he
published the Dutch monograph De Philonische geheime leer: de Kabbala van
Philo van Alexandrië [The Secret Philonic Doctrine: the Kabbala of Philo of
Alexandria] (see the summary at SPhA 16 (2004) 257). Henk was a kind and
generous man. Although well aware that his intellectual approach to Philo
and the philosophical tradition stood outside the scholarly mainstream, he
was eager to keep abreast of Philonic studies and showed considerable
interest in the publication of this Annual. At one stage we had a discussion
about the activities of the Philo Press in Amsterdam in the late 1960’s. I told
him I had never been able to obtain a copy of E. R. Goodenough’s classic
study By Light, Light, whether in the original edition published by Yale
University Press or of the Amsterdam reprint edition. When he came
across a copy of the latter, he purchased it for me and arranged for it to be
sent all the way to Melbourne. Vale, Henk, passionate scholar and good

David T. Runia
The Studia Philonica Annual XVII (2005) 254–257


Harold W. Attridge is the Lillian Claus Professor of New Testament at

Yale Divinity School. His postal address is 409 Prospect St., New Haven
CT 06511, USA; his electronic address is

Leslie Baynes is Assistant Professor in the Department of Religious

Studies at Missouri State University. Her postal address is Department of
Religious Studies, 901 South National Ave, Springfield, MO 65804, USA;
her electronic address is

Ellen Birnbaum has taught at several Boston-area institutions, including

Boston University, Brandeis, and Harvard. Her postal address is 78
Porter Road, Cambridge, MA 02140, USA; her electronic address is

Silvia Castelli teaches at the University of Pavia. Her postal address is

Departmento di Scienze dell’Antichità, Università degli Studi di Pavia,
Strada Nuova 65, 27100 Pavia, Italy; her electronic address is silvia.

John J. Collins is Holmes Professor of Old Testament at Yale Divinity

School. His postal address is 409 Prospect, New Haven, CT 06511, USA;
his electronic address is

Kenneth A. Fox is Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies and New

Testament at Canadian Theological Seminary. His postal address is 630-
833 4th Avenue SW, Calgary AB, T2P 3T5, Canada; his electronic
address is

Albert C. Geljon teaches classical languages at the Christelijke Gymna-

sium in Utrecht. His postal address is Gazellestraat 138, 3523 SZ Utrecht,
The Netherlands; his electronic address is

David M. Hay is McCabe Professor of Religion Emeritus, Coe College,

Cedar Rapids, Iowa. His postal address is 1428 Airline Road, McDonough,
GA 30252, USA; his electronic address is

Matt Jackson-McCabe is Associate Professor in the Department of Reli-

gious Studies at Niagara University. His postal address is Department of
notes on contributors 255

Religious Studies, Niagara University NY 14109, USA; his electronic

address is

Heleen M. Keizer is Dean of Academic Affairs at the Istituto Superiore di

Osteopatia in Milan, Italy. Her postal address is Via Guerrazzi 3, 20052
Monza (Mi), Italy; her electronic address is

Allen Kerkeslager is Assistant Professor of New Testament and Reli-

gions of the Ancient World and Director of the Ancient Studies Program
at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. His postal address is Depart-
ment of Theology, Saint Joseph’s University, 5600 City Avenue, Phila-
delphia, PA 19131-1395, USA; his electronic address is

José Pablo Martín is Director of Studies at the Universidad Nacional de

General Sarmiento, San Miguel, Argentina, and Senior Research fellow of
the Argentinian Research Organization (CONICET). His postal address is
Azcuenaga 1090, 1663 San Miguel, Argentina; his electronic address is

Hindy Najman is Associate Professor in the Department of Near and

Middle Eastern Civilizations, University of Toronto. Her postal address is
4 Bancroft Ave, Toronto, Ontario M5S 1C1, Canada; her electronic
address is

Karl-Wilhelm Niebuhr is Professor of New Testament at the University

of Jena. His postal address is Kregelstrasse 10, D-04416 Markkleeberg,
Germany; his electronic address is

Maren Niehoff is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Jewish Thought

at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem. Her postal address is Department
of Jewish Thought, Hebrew University, Mt. Scopus, Jerusalem 91905,
Israel; her electronic address is

Roberto Radice is Professor of Ancient Philosophy at the Sacred Heart

University, Milan. His postal address is Via XXV Aprile 4, 21016 Luino,
Italy; his electronic address is

Adele Reinhartz is Associate Vice-President Research at the University of

Ottawa. Her postal address is Office of the Vice-President, 550 Cumber-
land, Ottawa, Ontario K1N 6N5, Canada; her electronic address is
256 notes on contributors

Jean Riaud is Professor in the Institut de Lettres et Histoire, Université

Catholique de l’Ouest, Angers. His postal address is 24, rue du 8 mai
1945, Saint Barthélemy d’Anjou, France; his electronic address is

Ishay Rosen-Zvi is a post doctoral fellow in the Scholion Center for Jewish
Studies in the Hebrew University, Jerusalem and the Shalom Hartman
Institute. His postal address is: Shalom Hartman Institute, 12 Gedalyahu
Alon St., Jerusalem 93113, I s r a e l ; his electronic address is

James R. Royse is Professor of Philosophy at San Francisco State Univers-

ity. His postal address is P. O. Box 16700, San Francisco CA 94116-0700,
USA; his electronic address is

David T. Runia is Master of Queen’s College and Professorial Fellow in

the School of Fine Arts, Classics and Archaeology at the University of
Melbourne. His postal address is Queen’s College, College Crescent, Park-
ville 3052, Australia; his electronic address is runia@queens.unimelb.

David Satran is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Comparative

Religion, Hebrew University, Jerusalem. His postal address is Depart-
ment of Comparative Religion, Hebrew University, Mt. Scopus, Jeru-
salem 91905, Israel; his electronic address is

G. Schimanowski is Research Fellow at the Institutum Judaicum Delitz-

schianum in Münster, Germany. He also works as Schulreferent in the
Saarland region of Germany. His postal address is Mittelstaedter Strasse
19, 72124 Pliezhausen, Germany; his electronic address is gschimanow@

Torrey Seland is Professor of New Testament, School of Missions and

Theology, Stavanger, Norway. His postal adress is School of Missions
and Theology, Misjonsveien 34, 4024 Stavanger, Norway; his electronic
address is

Frank Shaw is Adjunct Professor of History at the University of Dayton,

Dayton, Ohio, USA. His postal address is History Department, University
of Dayton, 300 College Park, Dayton OH 45469-1540, USA; his electronic
address is
notes on contributors 257

Gregory E. Sterling is Senior Associate Dean of the Faculty, College of

Arts and Letters and Professor in New Testament, Department of
Theology, University of Notre Dame. His postal address is Department
of Theology, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame IN 46556, USA; his
electronic address is

Thomas H. Tobin S.J. is Professor of New Testament, Department of

Theology, Loyola University of Chicago. His postal address is Depart-
ment of Theology, Loyola University of Chicago, 6525 North Sheridan
R o a d , Chicago IL 60626-5385, USA; his electronic address is

Walter T. Wilson is Associate Professor of New Testament at Emory

University. His postal address is Candler School of Theology, Emory
U n i v e r s i t y , Atlanta GA 30322, USA; his electronic address is

David Winston is Emeritus Professor of Hellenistic and Jewish Studies,

Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley. His postal address is 1220 Grizzly
Peak, Berkeley CA 94708, USA; his electronic address is dwinston
The Studia Philonica Annual XVII (2005) 258–264

Authors and Book reviews can only be considered for publication in The
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sary) and to keep their use of this language to a reasonable minimum. It
should always be borne in mind that not all readers of the Annual can be
expected to read Greek or Hebrew. Transliteration is encouraged for
incidental terms.
3. With regard to the citation of scholarly references the Annual em-
ploys the conventions embodied in the following examples (note (i) that no
publishers’ names are given, (ii) for articles single quotation marks are
used, and (iii) that books and journals are italicized, series are not):
A. Mendelson, Secular Education in Philo of Alexandria, Monographs of the Hebrew
Union College 7 (Cincinnati 1982) 15–27.
Y. Amir, ‘The Transference of Greek Allegories to Biblical Motifs in Philo’, in F. E.
Greenspahn, E. Hilgert, B. L. Mack (edd.), Nourished with Peace: Studies in
instructions to contributors 259

Hellenistic Judaism in Memory of Samuel Sandmel, Scholars Press Homage Series 9

(Chico, California 1984) 15–25.
J. P. Martín, ‘El encuentro de exégesis y filosofía en Filón Alejandrino’, Revista Biblica
46 (1984) 199–211.
Mendelson op. cit. (n. 0) 23ff.
Amir, art. cit. (n. 0) 16–18 or Martín ‘El encuentro’ 199–201.

It is also possible to give references by author and date in the footnotes

only, with full details presented in a bibliography at the end of the article, as
in the following example:
In notes:
See Kraemer (1989) 351; Mangey (1742) 2.134; Nikiprowetzky (1977) 251.
In bibliography;
R. S. Kraemer, ‘Monastic Jewish Women in Greco-Roman Egypt: Philo Judaeus on
the Therapeutrides’, Signs (Chicago) 14 (1989) 342–370.
T. Mangey, Philonis Judaei opera quae reperiri potuerunt omnia, 2 vols. (London
V. Nikiprowetzky, Le commentaire de l’Écriture chez Philon d’Alexandrie: son
caractère et sa portée; observations philologiques, ALGHJ 11 (Leiden 1977).
For the abbreviations to be used, see further below. A sound guide to the
way that Philonic scholarship should be cited will be found in D. T. Runia,
Philo of Alexandria: an Annotated Bibliography 1987–1996, VCSup 57 (Leiden
2000). Note that with regard to the use of capitals in citing English refer-
ences, both English-American and continental European conventions are
permissible. Submissions which do not conform to these guidelines will be
returned to the authors.
4. The following abbreviations are to be used in both articles and book
(a) Philonic treatises are to be abbreviated according to the following list.
Numeration is according to Cohn and Wendland’s edition, using Arabic
numbers only (e.g. Spec. 4.123). Note that De Providentia should be cited
according to Aucher’s edition, and not the LCL translation of the fragments
by F. H. Colson.
Abr. De Abrahamo
Aet. De aeternitate mundi
Agr. De agricultura
Anim. De animalibus
Cher. De Cherubim
Contempl. De vita contemplativa
Conf. De confusione linguarum
Congr. De congressu eruditionis gratia
Decal. De Decalogo
Deo De Deo
Det. Quod deterius potiori insidiari soleat
260 the studia philonica annual 17 (2005)

Deus Quod Deus sit immutabilis

Ebr. De ebrietate
Flacc. In Flaccum
Fug. De fuga et inventione
Gig. De gigantibus
Her. Quis rerum divinarum heres sit
Hypoth. Hypothetica
Ios. De Iosepho
Leg. 1–3 Legum allegoriae I, II, III
Legat. Legatio ad Gaium
Migr. De migratione Abrahami
Mos. 1–2 De vita Moysis I, II
Mut. De mutatione nominum
Opif. De opificio mundi
Plant. De plantatione
Post. De posteritate Caini
Praem. De praemiis et poenis, De exsecrationibus
Prob. Quod omnis probus liber sit
Prov. 1–2 De Providentia I, II
QE 1–2 Quaestiones et solutiones in Exodum I, II
QG 1–4 Quaestiones et solutiones in Genesim I, II, III, IV
Sacr. De sacrificiis Abelis et Caini
Sobr. De sobrietate
Somn. 1–2 De somniis I, II
Spec. 1–4 De specialibus legibus I, II, III, IV
Virt. De virtutibus

(b) Standard works of Philonic scholarship are abbreviated:

Aucher Philonis Judaei sermones tres hactenus inediti (Venice 1822), Philonis
Judaei paralipomena (Venice 1826)
G- G H. L. Goodhart and E. R. Goodenough, ‘A General Bibliography
of Philo Judaeus’, in E. R. Goodenough, The Politics of Philo Judae-
us: Practice and Theory (New Haven 1938, reprinted Hildesheim
1967 2 ) 125–321
PCH Philo von Alexandria: die Werke in deutscher Übersetzung, edited by
L. Cohn, I. Heinemann et al., 7 vols. (Breslau, Berlin 1909–64)
PCW Philonis Alexandrini opera quae supersunt, ediderunt L. Cohn, P.
Wendland, S. Reiter, 6 vols. (Berlin 1896–1915)
PLCL Philo in Ten Volumes (and Two Supplementary Volumes), English
translation by F. H. Colson, G. H. Whitaker (and R. Marcus), 12
vols., Loeb Classical Library (London 1929–62)
PAPM Les œuvres de Philon d’Alexandrie, French translation under the
general editorship of R. Arnaldez, J. Pouilloux, C. Mondésert
(Paris 1961–92)
R-R R. Radice and D. T. Runia, Philo of Alexandria: an Annotated
Bibliography 1937–1986, VCSup 8 (Leiden 1988)
RRS D. T. Runia, Philo of Alexandria: an Annotated Bibliography 1987–
1996, VCSup (Leiden 2000)
instructions to contributors 261

SPh Studia Philonica

SPhA The Studia Philonica Annual
SPhM Studia Philonica Monographs

(c) Biblical books, Pseudepigraphical, Qumran, Rabbinic and Gnostic litera-

ture are to be abbreviated as recommended in the SBL Handbook of Style
Peabody Mass. 1999 (published by Hendrickson) §8. Note that biblical
books are not italicized and that between chapter and verse a colon is
placed (placement of a full stop after the abbreviation is optional, provided
the author is consistent). Authors writing in German or French should
follow their own conventions for biblical citations.

(d) Classical and Patristic authors should be cited in the manner recom-
mended by the three Oxford lexica:
H. G. Liddell, R. Scott, H. S. Jones (edd.), A Greek-English Lexicon (Oxford
1940 9);
P. G. W. Glare (ed.), The Oxford Latin Dictionary (Oxford 1982);
G. W. H. Lampe (ed.), A Patristic Greek Lexicon (Oxford 1961).
Preferred abbreviations for Josephus, however, are AJ, BJ, c. Ap., and Vita,
but English abbreviations (Antiquities, War, etc.) are permitted. Once again
consistency is the first requirement.

(e) Journals, monograph series, source collections and standard reference

works are to be be abbreviated in accordance with the recommendations
listed in The SBL Handbook of Style, Peabody Mass. 1999 (published by Hen-
drickson) §8. The following list contains a selection of the more important
abbreviations, along with a few abbreviations of Classical and philosophical
journals and standard reference books not furnished in the list mentioned
above. (Note that some of these differ from the above-mentioned list in
order to attain consistency with the bibliographies R-R and RRS.)

ABD The Anchor Bible Dictionary, 6 vols. (New York etc. 1992)
AC L’Antiquité Classique
ACW Ancient Christian Writers
AGJU Arbeiten zur Geschichte des antiken Judentums und des
AJPh American Journal of Philology
AJSL American Journal of Semitic Languages
ALGHJ Arbeiten zur Literatur und Geschichte des hellenistischen Judentums
ANRW Aufstieg und Niedergang der römischen Welt
APh L’Année Philologique (founded by Marouzeau)
BAGD A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and other Early Christian
literature, edited by W. Bauer, W. F. Arndt, F. W. Gingrich, F. W.
Danker (Chicago 19792)
262 the studia philonica annual 17 (2005)

BDB Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament, edited by F. Brown, S.
R. Driver, C. A. Briggs (Oxford 1952)
B ibO r Bibliotheca Orientalis
BJRL Bulletin of the John Rylands Library
BJS Brown Judaic Studies
BMCR Bryn Mawr Classical Review (electronic)
BZAW Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft
BZNW Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft
BZRGG Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für Religions- und Geistesgeschichte
CAH The Cambridge Ancient History, edited by J. B. Bury et al., 16 vols.
(Cambridge 1923– )
CBQ The Catholic Biblical Quarterly
CBQ.MS The Catholic Biblical Quarterly. Monograph Series
CChr Corpus Christianorum, Turnhout
CIG Corpus Inscriptionum Graecarum, edited by A. Boeckh, 4 vols. in 8
(Berlin 1828–77)
CIJ Corpus Inscriptionum Judaicarum, edited by J. B. Frey, 2 vols. (Rome
CIL Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum (Berlin 1862– )
CIS Corpus Inscriptionum Semiticarum (Paris 1881–1962)
CP h Classical Philology
CP J Corpus Papyrorum Judaicarum, ed. by V. Tcherikover and A. Fuks, 3
vols. (Cambrige Mass. 1957–64)
CQ The Classical Quarterly
CR The Classical Review
CRINT Compendia Rerum Iudaicarum ad Novum Testamentum
CPG Clavis Patrum Graecorum, edited by M. Geerard, 5 vols. (Turnhout
CPL Clavis Patrum Latinorum, edited by E. Dekkers (Turnhout 1954)
CSCO Corpus Scriptorum Christianorum Orientalium
DA Dissertation Abstracts
DBSup Dictionnaire de la Bible, Supplément (Paris 1928– )
DSpir Dictionnaire de Spiritualité
EncJud Encyclopaedia Judaica, 16 vols. (Jerusalem 1972)
EPRO Études préliminaires aux religions orientales dans l’Empire romain
FrGH Fragmente der Griechische Historiker, edited by F. Jacoby
GCS Die griechischen christlichen Schriftsteller, Leipzig
GLAJJ M. Stern, Greek and Latin authors on Jews and Judaism, 3 vols. (Jerusalem
GRBS Greek, Roman and Byzantine Studies
HKNT Handkommentar zum Neuen Testament, Tübingen
HNT Handbuch zum Neuen Testament, Tübingen
HR History of Religions
HThR Harvard Theological Review
HUCA Hebrew Union College Annual
JAAR Journal of the American Academy of Religion
JAOS Journal of the American Oriental Society
JbAC Jahrbuch für Antike und Christentum
JBL Journal of Biblical Literature
JHI Journal of the History of Ideas
JHS The Journal of Hellenic Studies
JJS The Journal of Jewish Studies
instructions to contributors 263

JQR The Jewish Quarterly Review

JR The Journal of Religion
JRS The Journal of Roman Studies
JSHRZ Jüdische Schriften aus hellenistisch-römischer Zeit
JSJ Journal for the Study of Judaism in the Persian, Hellenistic and Roman
JSNT Journal for the Study of the New Testament
JSNT.S Journal for the Study of the New Testament. Supplement Series
JSOT Journal for the Study of the Old Testament
JSOT.S Journal for the Study of the Old Testament. Supplement Series
JSP Journal for the Study of the Pseudepigrapha and Related Literature
JSSt Journal of Semitic Studies
JThS The Journal of Theological Studies
KB L. Koehler and W. Baumgartner, Lexicon in Veteris Testamenti libros, 3
vols. (Leiden 1967–833)
KJ Kirjath Sepher
LCL Loeb Classical Library
LSJ A Greek-English Lexicon, edited by H. G. Liddell, R. Scott , H. S. Jones
(Oxford 19409)
MGWJ Monatsschrift für Geschichte und Wissenschaft des Judentums
Mnem Mnemosyne
NCE New Catholic Encyclopedia, 15 vols (New York 1967)
NHS Nag Hammadi Studies
NT Novum Testamentum
NT.S Supplements to Novum Testamentum
NTA New Testament Abstracts
NTOA Novum Testamentum et Orbis Antiquus
NTS New Testament Studies
O LD The Oxford Latin dictionary, edited by P. G. W. Glare (Oxford 1982)
OTP J. H. Charlesworth (ed.), The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, 2 vols.
(New York-London 1983–85)
PAAJR Proceedings of the American Academy for Jewish Research
PAL Philon d’Alexandrie: Lyon 11–15 Septembre 1966 (Paris 1967)
PG Patrologiae cursus completus: series Graeca, edited by J. P. Migne, 162
vols. (Paris 1857–1912)
PGL A Patristic Greek Lexicon, ed. by G. W. H. Lampe (Oxford 1961)
PhilAnt Philosophia Antiqua
PL Patrologiae cursus completus: series Latina, edited by J. P. Migne, 221
vols. (Paris 1844–64)
PW Pauly-Wissowa-Kroll, Real-Encyclopaedie der classischen
Altertumswissenschaft, Stuttgart
PWSup Supplement to PW
RAC Reallexikon für Antike und Christentum
RB Revue Biblique
REA Revue des Études Anciennes
REArm Revue des Études Arméniennes
REAug Revue des Études Augustiniennes
REG Revue des Études Grecques
REJ Revue des Études Juives
REL Revue des Études Latines
RGG Die Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart, 7 vols. (Tübingen 1957–653)
RhM Rheinisches Museum für Philologie
264 the studia philonica annual 17 (2005)

RQ Revue de Qumran
RSR Revue des Sciences Religieuses
SB H. L. Strack and P. Billerbeck, Kommentar zum Neuen Testament aus
Talmud und Midrasch, 6 vols. in 7 (Munich 1922–61)
SBLDS Society of Biblical Literature. Dissertation Series
SBLMS Society of Biblical Literature. Monograph Series
SBLSPS Society of Biblical Literature. Seminar Papers Series
SC Sources Chrétiennes
Sem Semitica
SHJP E. Schürer, The History of the Jewish People in the Age of Jesus Christ,
revised edition, 3 vols. in 4 (Edinburgh 1973–87)
SJLA Studies in Judaism in Late Antiquity
SNTSMS Society for New Testament Studies. Monograph Series
SR Studies in Religion
StUNT Studien zur Umwelt des Neuen Testaments
SVF Stoicorum veterum fragmenta, edited by J. von Arnim
TDNT Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, 10 vols. (Grand Rapids
THKNT Theologischer Handkommentar zum Neuen Testament, Berlin
TRE Theologische Realenzyklopädie, Berlin
TSAJ Texte und Studien zum Antike Judentum
TU Texte und Untersuchungen zur Geschichte der altchristlichen Literatur,
TWNT Theologisches Wörterbuch zum Neuen Testament, 10 vols. (Stuttgart
VChr Vigiliae Christianae
VChr.S Supplements to Vigiliae Christianae
VT Vetus Testamentum
WUNT Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament
ZAW Zeitschrift für die alttestamentliche Wissenschaft
ZKG Zeitschrift für Kirchengeschichte
ZKTh Zeitschrift für Katholische Theologie
ZNW Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft
ZRGG Zeitschrift für Religions- und Geistesgeschichte