1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Philo (philosopher)

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

Though we know so little of Philo's own life, his numerous extant writings give the fullest information as to his views of the universe and of life, and his religious and scientific aims, and so enable us adequately to estimate his position and importance in the history of thought. He is quite the most important representative of Hellenistic Judaism, and his writings give us the clearest view of what this development of Judaism was and aimed at. The development of Judaism in the diaspora (q v.) differed in important points from that in Palestine; where, since the successful opposition of the Maccabee age to the Hellenization which Antiochus Epiphanes had sought to carry through by force, the attitude of the nation to Greek culture had been essentially negative. In the diaspora, on the other hand, the Jews had been deeply influenced by the Greeks; they soon more or less forgot their Semitic mother tongue, and with the language of Hellas they appropriated much of Hellenic culture. They were deeply impressed by that irresistible force which was blending all races and nations into one great cosmopolitan unity, and so the Jews too on their dispersion became in speech and nationality Greeks, or rather "Hellenists." Now the distinguishing character of Hellenism is not the absolute disappearance of the Oriental civilizations before that of Greece but the combination of the two with a preponderance of the Greek element. So it was with the Jews, but in their case the old religion had much more persistence than in other Hellenistic circles, though in other respects they too yielded to the superior force of Greek civilization. This we must hold to have been the case not only in Alexandria but throughout the diaspora from the commencement of the Hellenistic period down to the later Roman Empire. It was only after ancient civilization gave way before the barbarian immigrations and the rising force of Christianity that rabbinism became supreme even among the Jews of the diaspora. This Hellenistico-Judaic phase of culture is sometimes called "Alexandrian," and the expression is justifiable if it only means that in Alexandria it attained its highest development and flourished most. For here the Jews began to busy themselves with Greek literature even under their clement rulers, the first Ptolemies, and here the law and other Scriptures were first translated into Greek, here the process of fusion began earliest and proceeded with greatest rapidity; here, therefore, also the Jews first engaged in a scientific study of Greek philosophy and transplanted that philosophy to the soil of Judaism. We read of a Jewish philosopher Aristobulus in the time of Ptolemy VI. Philometor, in the middle of the 2nd century B.C., of whose philosophical commentary on the Pentateuch fragments have been preserved by Clement of Alexandria and Eusebius. So far as we can judge from these, his aim was to put upon the sacred text a sense which should appeal even to Greek readers, and in particular to get rid of all anthropomorphic utterances about God. Eusebius regards him as a Peripatetic. We may suppose that this philosophical line of thought had its representatives in Alexandria between the times of Aristobulus and Philo, but we are not acquainted with the names of any such. Philo certainly, to judge by his historical influence, was the greatest of all these Jewish philosophers, and in his case we can follow in detail the methods by which Greek culture was harmonized with Jewish faith. On one side he is quite a Greek, on the other quite a Jew. His language is formed on the best classical models, especially Plato. He knows and often cites the great Greek poets, particularly Homer and the tragedians, but his chief studies had been in Greek philosophy, and he speaks of Heraclitus, Plato, the Stoics and the Pythagoreans in terms of the highest veneration. He had appropriated their doctrines so completely that he must himself be reckoned among the Greek philosophers; his system was eclectic, but the borrowed elements are combined into a new unity with so much originality that at the same time he may fairly be regarded as representing a philosophy of his own, which has for its characteristic feature the constant prominence of a fundamental religious idea. Philo's closest affinities are with Plato, the later Pythagoreans and the Stoics.[2] Yet with all this Philo remained a Jew, and a great part of his writings is expressly directed to recommend Judaism to the respect and, if possible, the acceptance of the Greeks. He was not a stranger to the specifically Jewish culture that prevailed in Palestine; in Hebrew he was not proficient, but the numerous etymologies he gives show that he had made some study of that language.[3] His method of exegesis is in point of form identical with that of the Palestinian scribes, and in point of matter coincidences are not absolutely rare.[4] But above all his whole works prove on every page that he felt himself to be thoroughly a Jew, and desired to be nothing else. Jewish "philosophy" is to him the true and highest wisdom, the knowledge of God and of things divine and human which is contained in the Mosaic Scriptures is to him the deepest and the purest.

If now we ask wherein Philo's Judaism consisted we must answer that it lies mainly in the formal claim that the Jewish people, in virtue of the divine revelation given to Moses, possesses the true knowledge in things religious. Thoroughly Jewish is his recognition that the Mosaic Scriptures of the Pentateuch are of absolute divine authority, and that everything they contain is valuable and significant because divinely revealed. The other Jewish Scriptures are also recognized as prophetic, i.e. as the writings of inspired men, but he does not place them on the same lines with the law, and he quotes them so seldom that we cannot determine the compass of his canon. The decisive and normative authority is to him the "holy laws" of Moses, and this not only in the sense that everything they contain is true but that all truth is contained in them. Everything that is right and good in the doctrines of the Greek philosophers had already been quite as well, or even better, taught by Moses Thus, since Philo had been deeply influenced by the teachings of Greek philosophy he actually finds in the Pentateuch everything which he had learned from the Greeks From these premises he assumes as requiring no proof that the Greek philosophers must in some way have drawn from Moses, a view indeed which is already expressed by Aristobulus. To carry out these presuppositions called for an exegetical method which seems very strange to us, that, namely, of the allegorical interpretation of Scripture. The allegorical method had been practised before Philo's date in the rabbinical schools of Palestine, and he himself expressly refers to its use by his predecessors, nor does he feel that any further justification is requisite. With its aid he discovers indications of the profoundest doctrines of philosophy in the simplest stories of the Pentateuch.[5]

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

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

A consistent application of Philo's abstract conception of God would exclude the possibility of any active relation of God to the world, and therefore of religion, for a Being absolutely without quality and movement cannot be conceived as actively concerned with the multiplicity of individual things. And so in fact Philo does teach that the absolute perfection, purity and loftiness of God would be violated by direct contact with imperfect, impure and finite things. But the possibility of a connexion between God and the world is reached through a distinction which forms the most important point in his theology and cosmology, the proper Being of God is distinguished from the infinite multiplicity of divine Ideas or Forces. God himself is without quality, but He disposes of an infinite variety of divine Forces, through whose mediation an active relation of God to the world, is brought about. In the details of his teaching as to these mediating entities Philo is guided partly by Plato and partly by the Stoics, but at the same time he makes use of the concrete religious conceptions of heathenism and Judaism. Following Plato, he first calls them Ideas or ideal patterns of all things, they are thoughts of God, yet possess a real existence, and were produced before the creation of the sensible world, of which they are the types. But, in distinction from Plato, Philo's ideas are at the same time efficient causes or Forces (δυνάμεις), which bring unformed matter into order conformably to the patterns within themselves, and are in fact the media of all God's activity in the world. This modification of the Platonic Ideas is due to Stoic influence, which appears also when Philo gives to the ίδέαι or δυνάμεις the name of λόγοι, i.e. operative ideas—parts, as it were, of the operative Reason. For, when Philo calls his mediating entities λόγοι, the sense designed is analogous to that of the Stoics when they call God the Logos, i.e. the Reason which operates in the world. But at the same time Philo maintains that the divine Forces are identical with the "daemons" of the Greeks, and the "angels" of the Jews, i e servants and messengers of God by means of which He communicates with the finite world. All this shows how uncertain was Philo's conception of the nature of these mediating Forces. On the one hand they are nothing else than Ideas of individual things conceived in the mind of God, and as such ought to have no other reality than that of immanent existence in God, and so Philo says expressly that the totality of Ideas, the κόσμος νοητός, is simply the Reason of God as Creator (θεού λόγος ήόη κοσμοποιούντος). Yet, on the other hand, they are represented as hypostases distinct from God, individual entities existing independently and apart from Him. This vacillation, however, as Zeller and other recent writers have justly remarked, is necessarily involved in Philo's premises, for, on the one hand, it is God who works in the world through His Ideas, and therefore they must be identical with God, but, on the other hand, God is not to come into direct contact with the world, and therefore the Forces through which He works must be distinct from Him. The same inevitable amphiboly dominates in what is taught as to the supreme Idea or Logos. Philo regards all individual Ideas as comprehended in one highest and most general Idea or Force—the unity of the individual Ideas—which he calls the Logos or Reason of God, and which is again regarded as operative Reason. The Logos, therefore, is the highest mediator between God and the world, the firstborn son of God, the archangel who is the vehicle of all revelation, and the high priest who stands before God on behalf of the world. Through him the world was created, and so he is identified with the creative Word of God in Genesis (the Greek λόγος meaning both "reason" and "word"). Here again, we see, the philosopher is unable to escape from the difficulty that the Logos is at once the immanent Reason of God, and yet also an hypostasis standing between God and the world. The whole doctrine of this mediatorial hypostasis is a strange intertwining of very dissimilar threads; on one side the way was prepared for it by the older Jewish distinction between the Wisdom of God and God Himself, of which we find the beginnings even in the Old Testament (Job xxviii 12 seq.; Prov. viii, ix), and the fuller development in the books of Ecclesiasticus and Wisdom, the latter of which comes very near to Philo's ideas if we substitute for the term "wisdom" that of (divine) "Reason." In Greek philosophy, again, Philo, as we have seen, chiefly follows the Platonic doctrines of Ideas and the Soul of the World, and the Stoic doctrine of God as the λογος or Reason operative in the world. In its Stoic form the latter doctrine was pantheistic, but Philo could adapt it to his purpose simply by drawing a sharper distinction between the Logos and the world.

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

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

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

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

I. The smallest of these is the Ζητήματα καί λύσεις (Quaestiones et solutiones), a short exposition of Genesis and Exodus, in the form of question and answer. The work is cited under this title by Eusebius (H. E ii. 18, 1, 5; Praep Ev vii 13), and by later writers, but the Greek text is now almost wholly lost, and only about one-half preserved in an Armenian translation. Genesis seems to have occupied six books[6] Eusebius tells us that Exodus filled five books. In the Armenian translation, first published by the learned Mechitarist, J Bapt Aucher, in 1826, are preserved four books on Genesis and two on Exodus, but with lacunae. A Latin fragment, about half of the fourth books on Genesis (Phil Jud CII. quaestt. ... super Gen), was first printed at Paris in 1520. Of the Greek we have numerous but short fragments in various Florilegia[7] The interpretations in this work are partly literal and partly allegorical.

II. Philo's most important work is the Νομων ίερών άλληγορίαι (Euseb H. E. ii. 18, 1, Phot. Bibl. Cod. 103), a vast and copious allegorical commentary on Genesis, dealing with chaps. ii.–iv., verse by verse, and with select passages in the later chapters. The readers in view are mainly Jews, for the form is modelled on the rabbinic Midrash. The main idea is that the characters which appear in Genesis are properly allegories of states of the soul (τρόποι τής ψνχής). All persons and actions being interpreted in this sense, the work as a whole is a very extensive body of psychology and ethics. It begins with Gen. ii. 1, for the De mundis opificio, which treats of the creation according to Gen i, ii., does not belong to this series of allegorical commentaries, but deals with the actual history of creation, and that under a quite different literary form. With this exception, however, the Νόμων άλληγορίαι includes all the treatises in the first volume of Mangey's edition, viz—Νόμων ίερών άλληγορίαι πρώται τών μετά την έξαημερον (Legum allegoriarum, lib. i., M. i. 43–65), on Gen ii. 1–17. (2) Νομ ίερ άλλ δεντεραι (Leg. all. lib. ii., M. i. 66–86), on Gen ii 18–iii 1a. (3) Νόμ. ίερ. άλλ. τρίται (Leg. all. lib. iii, M. i. 87–137), on Gen iii 8b–19. The commentaries on Gen. iii. 1b–8a, 20–23 are lost. (4) Περί τών χερουβίμ καί τής φλογίνης ρομφαίας καί τού κτισθέντος πρώτου έξ άνθρώπου Καιν (De cherubim et flammeo gladio, M. i. 138–162), on Gen iii 24 and iv. 1. (5) Περί ών ίερουργούσιν Αβελ τε καί Κάιν (De Sacrificis Abelis et Caini, M. i. 163–190), on Gen. iv. 2–4. The commentaries on Gen. iv. 5–7 are lost. (6) Περί τού τό χείρον τώ κρείττονι φιλείν έπιτίθεσθαι (Quod deterius potiori insidiari soleat, M. i 191–225), on Gen. iv. 8–15. (7) Περί τών τού δοκησισόφου Καιν έγγόνων καί ώς μετανάστης γίνεται (De posteritate Caini, &c., M. i 226–261), on Gen. iv. 16–25; this book, which is wanting in editions prior to Mangey's, is incorrectly given by him, but much more correctly by Tischendorf, Philonea, pp. 84–143. None of the preceding is mentioned by its special title by Euseb. H E. ii. 18, while he cites all that follow by their titles. The reason must be that all up to this point, and no further, are included by him in the Νόμων ίερών άλληγορίαι; agreeing with this we find that these, and these only, are cited under that general title in the Florilegia, especially the so-called Johannes Monachus ineditus (see Mangey's notes before each book). We may therefore conclude with confidence that Philo published the continuous commentaries on Gen il -iv. under the title Allegories of the Sacred Laws, and the following commentaries on select passages under special titles, though the identity of literary character entitles us to regard the latter as part of the same great literary plan with the former. (8) Περί γιγαντων (De gigantibus, M. i. 262–272), on Gen. vi. 1–4. (9) Οτι ατρεπτον τό θείον (Quod Deus sit immutabilis, M. i. 272–299), on Gen. vi. 4–12. (10) Περί γεωργίας (De agricultura, M. i 300–328), on Gen. ix. 20a. (11) Περί φυτουργίας Νώε τό δεύτερον (De plantatione Noe, M. i. 329–356), on Gen ix. 20b. (12) Περί μέθης (De ebrietate, M. i. 357–391), on Gen. ix 21; the Introduction shows that this book was preceded by another which put together the views of the philosophers about drunkenness. (13) Περί τον ίξένηψε Νωε (De sobrietate, M. i. 392–403), on Gen. ix. 24. (14) Περί αυγχύσεως διαλέκτων (De confusione linguarum, M. i. 404–435), on Gen. xi. 1–9. (15) Περί άποικιας (De migratione Abrahami, M. i. 436–472), on Gen xii. 1–6. (16) Περί τού τίς ό τών θείων πραγμάτων κληρονόμος (Quis rerum divinarum haeres sit, M. i. 473–518), on Gen. xv. 1–18. (17) Περί τής είς τά προπαιδεύματα συνόδου (De congressu quaerendae eruditionis causa, M. i. 519–545), on Gen. xvi. 1–6. (18) Περί φυγαδων (De profugis, M. i. 546–577), on Gen. xvi. 6–14 (19) Περί τών μετονομαζομενων καί ών ενεκα μετονομαζονται (De mutatione nominum, M. i 578–619), on Gen. xvii 1-22, in this work Philo mentions that he had written two books, now wholly lost, Περί διαθηκών (M. i 586). (20) Περί τού θεοπέμπτους είναι τους δνείρους (De somniis, lib. i., M. i. 620–658), on the two dreams of Jacob, Gen. xxviii. and xxxi. (21) Book ii of the same (M i 659–699), on the dreams of Joseph, the chief butler, the chief baker, and Pharaoh, Gen. xxxvii. and xl, xli Eusebius makes Philo the author of five books on dreams; three, therefore, are lost.

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

The treatises which belong to this work are the followin: (1) Περί τής Μωυσέως κοσμοποιίτας (De mundi opifico, M. i. 1–42). This work does not fall within the number of the allegorical commentaries. On the other hand, the introduction to the treatise De Abrahamo makes clear its immediate connexion with the De mundi opifico. The position of the De mundi opifico at the head of the allegorical commentaries, which is at present usual in the editions, seems indeed to go back to a very early date, for even Eusebius cites a passage from it with the formula άπό τού πρώτου τών είς τόν νό μον (Praep. Ev. viii 12 fin, ed. Gaisford). The group of the Βίοι σοφών is headed by (2) Βιος σοφού τού κατά διδασκαλίαν τελειωθέντος ή περί νόμων άγράφων [α], ό έστί Ἀβραάμ (De Abrahamo, M. ii. 1–40). Abraham is here set forth as the type of διδασκαλική i e. of virtue as a thing learned. This biography of Abraham was followed by that of Isaac as a type of φυσική άρετή i e. of innate or natural virtue, which in turn was succeeded by that of Jacob as representing άσκητική άρετή, i e. virtue acquired by practice; but both these are now lost. Hence in the editions the next treatise is (3) Βίος πολιτικός όπερ έστί περί Ἰωσήφ (De Josepho, M. ii. 41–79), where Joseph is taken as the pattern of the wise man in his civil relations. The Biographies of the Virtuous are followed by (4) Περί τών δέκα λογίων ά κιφάλαια νόμων είσί (De decalogo, M. ii. 180–209) and (5) Περί τών άναφερομένων έν είδει νόμων είς τά συντείνοντα τών δέκα λόγων (De specialibus legibus; the unabridged title is given by Eusebius, H.E. ii. 18, 5). Here under the rubrics of the ten commandments a systematic review of the special laws of the Mosaic economy is given; for example, under the first and second commandments (divine worship) a survey is taken of the entire legislation relating to priesthood and sacrifice; under the fourth (i e. the Sabbath law, according to Philo's reckoning) there is a survey of all the laws about feasts; under the sixth (adultery) an account of matrimonial law; and so on. According to Eusebius the work embraced four books, which seem to have reached us entire, but in the editions have been perversely broken up into a considerable number of separate tractates (a) The first book (on the first and second commandments) includes the following: De circumcisione (M. ii. 210–212); De monarchia, lib. i. (ii. 213–222); De monarchia, lib. ii. (ii. 222–232); De praemiis sacerdotum (ii 232–237); De victimis (ii. 237–250); De sacrificantibus or De victimas offerentibus (ii. 251–264); De mercede meretricis non accipienda in sacrarium (ii. 264–269). (b) The second book (on the third, fourth and fifth commandments, i e. on perjury, Sabbath observance, and filial piety) is incomplete in Mangey (ii. 270–298), the section De septinario (on the Sabbath and feasts in general) being imperfect, and that De colendis parentibus being entirely wanting. Mai to a large extent made good the defect (De cophini festo et de colendis parentibus, Milan, 1818), but Tischendorf was the first to edit the full text (Philonea, pp. 1–83). (c) The third book relates to the sixth and seventh commandments (adultery and murder; M. 299–334). (d) To the fourth book (relating to the last three commandments) belongs all that is found in Mangey, ii 335–374, that is to say, not merely the tractates De judice (ii. 344–348) and De concupiscentia (ii. 348–358), but also those De Justitia (ii. 358–361) and De creatione principum (ii. 361–374). The last-named is, properly speaking, only a portion of the De justitia, which, however, certainly belongs to the fourth book, of which the superscription expressly bears that it treats also περί δικαιοσίνης. With this tractate begins the appendix to the work De specialibus legibus, into which, under the rubric of certain cardinal virtues, such Mosaic laws are brought together as could not be dealt with under any of the decalogue rubrics. The continuation of this appendix forms a book by itself. (6) Περί τρών άρετών ήτοι περί άνόρείας καί φιλανθρωπίας καί μετανοίας (De fortitudine, M. ii. 375–383; De caritate, ii 383–405; De poenitentia, ii. 405–407). Finally, in less intimate connexion with this entire work is another treatise still to be mentioned, (7) Περί άθλων καί έπιτιμίων (De praemiis et poenis, M ii 408–428) and Περί άρών (De execrationibus, M. ii. 429–457), two parts which constitute a single whole and deal with the promises and threatenings of the law.

IV Besides the above-named three great works on the Pentateuch, Philo was the author of a number of isolated writings, of which the following have reached us either in their entirety or in fragments (1) Περί βίου Μωσέως (Vita Mosis, lib. i–iii., M. ii. 80–179). It is usual to group this, as being biographical in its character, with the Βίοι σοφών, and thus to incorporate it immediately after the De Josepho with the large work on the Mosaic legislation. But, as has been seen, the Βίοι σοφών are intended to represent the general types of morality, while Moses is by no means so dealt with, but as a unique individual. All that can be said is that the literary character of the Vita Mosis is the same as that of the larger work. As in the latter the Mosaic legislation, so in the former the activity of the legislator himself, is delineated for the benefit of Gentile readers. (2) Περί τού πάντα σπουδαίον είναί έλείθερον (Quod omnis probus liber, M. ii. 445–470). In the introduction to this treatise reference is made to an earlier book which had for its theme the converse proposition. The complete work was still extant in the time of Eusebius (H. E. ii. 18, 6). Περί τού δούλον είναι πάντα φαύλον, ώ έξής έστίν ό περί τού πάντα σπονδαίον έλείθερον είναι. The genuineness of the writing now possessed by us is not undisputed but see Lucius, Der Essenimus (1881), pp. 13–23. (3) Είς Φλάκκον (Adversus Flaccum, M. ii. 517–544) and (4) Περί άρετών καί πρεσβείας πρός Γάιον (De legatione ad Gaium, M. ii. 545–600). These two works have a very intimate connexion. In the first Philo relates how the Roman governor Flaccus in Alexandria, towards the beginning of the reign of Caligula, allowed the Alexandrian mob, without interference, to insult the Jews of that city in the grossest manner, and even to persecute them to the shedding of blood. In the second he tells how the Jews had been subjected to still greater sufferings through the command of Caligula that divine honours should be everywhere accorded to him, and how the Jews of Alexandria in vain sought relief by a mission to Rome which was headed by Philo. But both together were only parts of a larger work, in five books, of which the first two and the last have perished. For it is clear from the introduction to the Adversus Flaccum that it had been preceded by another book in which the Jewish persecutions by Sejanus, under the reign of Tiberius, were spoken of, and the Chronicon of Eusebius (ed. Schoene, ii. 150, 151) informs us that these persecutions of Sejanus were related in the second book of the work now under discussion. But from the conclusion of the Legatio ad Gaium, which we still possess, we learn that it was also followed by another book which exhibited the παλινωδία, or change of Jewish fortunes for the better. Thus we make out five books in all—the number actually given by Eusebius (H.E. ii. 5, 1). (5) Περί προνοίας (De providentia). This work has reached us only in an Armenian translation, which has been edited, with a Latin translation, by Aucher (see below), 1822. It is mentioned by its Greek title in Eusebius (H. E. ii. 18, 6; Praep. Ev. vii. 20 fin., viii. 13 fin., ed. Gaisford). The Armenian text gives two books, but of these the first, if genuine at all, at any rate appears only in an abridged and somewhat revised state.[8] Eusebius (Praep. Ev. viii. 14) quotes from the second book to an extent that amounts to a series of excerpts from the whole. The short passage in Praep. Ev. vii. 21, is also taken from this book, and it appears that Eusebius knew nothing at all about the first. (6) Ἀλέξανδρος ή περί τού λόγον έχειν τά άλογα ζώα (De Alexandro et quod propriam rationem muta animalia habeant; so Jerome, De Vir. Ill. c. 11); the Greek title is given in Euseb. H.E. ii. 18, 6. This also now exists only in an Armenian translation, which has been edited by Aucher. Two small Greek fragments occur in the Florilegium of Leontius and Johannes (Mai, Scr. vet. nov. coll. vii. 1, p. 99, 100a). (7) Τποθετικά, a writing now known to us only through fragments preserved in Euseb. Praep. Ev viii. 6, 7. The title, as Bernays[9] as shown, means "Counsels," "Recommendations," the reference being to such laws of the Jews as can be recommended also to non-Jewish readers. (8) Περί Ἰουδαίων a title met with in Euseb. H.E. ii. 18, 6. The writing is no doubt the same as Ήύπέρ' Ιουδαίων άπολογία, from which a quotation is given in Euseb. Praep. Ev. viii. 11. To this place also, perhaps, belongs the De nobilitate (M. ii. 437–444), which treats of that true noblesse of wisdom in which the Jewish people also is not wanting.[10]

V. The doubtful treatises: (1) Περί βίον θεωρητικού ή ίκετών άρετών (De vita contemplativa). This contains the sole original account of an ascetic community known as the Therapeutae (q. v.) having their home on the shores of Lake Mareotis. These were held by Eusebius and many other Christian writers to be the earliest Christian monks, which of course could not be the case if it was a genuine work of Philo. On this account, amongst others, it was held to be spurious by Graetz and P. E. Lucius; and this view gradually received the assent of most modern scholars. Latterly, however, L. Massebieau has shown with great thoroughness that in language and thought alike it is essentially Philonic, and the genuineness of the book has also been affirmed by P. Wendland, and especially by F. C. Conybeare. (2) Περί άφθαρσίας κόσμον (De incorruptibilitate mundi), declared unauthentic by Z. Frankel and J. Bernays, has been successfully defended by F. Cumont. (3) Περί κόσμον (De mundo). It is generally agreed that, in L. Cohn's words, this is "nothing but a compilation from various portions of the περί άφθαρσίας and other Philonic works." (4) Two discourses, De Sampsone and De Iona, extant only in Armenian, and certain other writings of the same kind. These appear only to have been imputed to Philo by chance, and certainly cannot claim to be his work. (5) Περί τού πάντα σπουδαίον είναι έλείθερον (Quod omnis probus liber sit) has been questioned by Z. Frankel and R. Ansfeld; but their arguments would rather point to its being an early work of Philo, which P. Wendland believes to be the case. (6) Περί προνοίας (De providentia), which we possess as a whole only in an Armenian version, consists of two books, the first of which appears to be in a Christian recension, but there is no reason for denying its Philonic origin.

Editions.— Till recent days the best edition was that of Mangey (2 vols., London, 1742); the handiest the Holtze duodecimo (Leipzig, 1851) Both are still very useful, but for scholars they will be superseded by the enlarged and critical edition of Leopold Cohn and Paul Wendland (Berlin, 1896-1902). See also papers by Cohn in Hermes, xxxviii. (1903) and xliii. (1908). There is an English translation of the old text by C. D. Yonge (4 vols., London, 1854).

Literature.—The best special studies of Philo will be found in Siegfried, Phito von Alex. (Jena, 1875); Drummond, Philo-Judaeus (London, 1888). For his place in philosophy, see Zeller, Phil. der Griechen (1881). For his relation to Palestinian speculation, B. Ritter, Philo und die Hatacha (Leipzig, 1879). An excellent general account will be found in Schurer, The Jewish People in the time of Jesus Christ (Eng. trans., 1891), or in Dr Edersheim's article on Philo in the Dictionary of Christian Biography. For the question of the genuineness and historical value of the De vita contemplativa, see L. Massebieau, in Revue de l'histoire des religions, vol. xvi. (Paris, 1887), F. C. Conybeare, Philo: About the Contemplative Life (Oxford, 1895); G. Fayot, Études sur les thérapeutes (Genève, 1880); P. E. Lucius, Die Therapeuten (Strassburg, 1880); P. Wendland, Die Therapeuten (Leipzig, 1896). Also F. Cumont, Philo, de aet. mundi (1891); J. Bernays in the Abhand. der k. Akad. der Wiss. (1876). (E. S.*; C. Bi.) 

  1. Euseb., H. E. ii. 17, 1; Jer. ut supra; Phot Bibl. Cod. 105; Suid, s.v. "Φίλων."
  2. The fathers of the Church have specially noticed his Platonism and Pythagoreanism; an old proverb even says, with some exaggeration, ή Πλάτων φιλωνίζει ή Φίλων πλατωνίζει (Jerome, Photius and Suidas, ut supra). Clement of Alexandria directly calls him a Pythagorean. Eusebius (H. E. ii. 4, 3) observes both tendencies. Recent writers, especially Zeller, lay weight also on his Stoic affinities, and with justice, for the elements which he borrows from Stoicism are as numerous and important as those derived from the other two schools.
  3. See the list of these in Vallarsi's edition of Jerome (iii. 731–734), and compare Siegfried, "Philonische Studien," in Merx's Archiv. ii 143–163 (1872).
  4. See Siegfried, Philo, pp 142–159.
  5. For details, see Gfrorer, Philo, i 68 seq; Zeller, Phil. der Gr. (3rd ed., vol. iii, pt. ii., pp 346–352); Siegfried, Philo, pp. 160 seq.
  6. See, especially Mai, Scriptt vett. nov. coll vol. vii. pt. i. pp. 100, 106, 108.
  7. See Opp, ed. Mangey, ii 648–680; Mai, op cit, vol vii pt. i, 96 seq.; Euseb. Praep Ev vii 13. A fragment on the cherubim, Exod xxv 18, has been published by Mai, Class. Auctt. iv. 430 seq., by Grossmann (1856) and by Tischendorf (p. 144 seq.).
  8. See Diels, Doxographi Graeci, 1879, pp. 1–4; Zeller, Phil d Gr. iii 2, p. 340 (3rd ed).
  9. Monatsb. d. Berl. Akad (1876), pp. 589–609.
  10. This conjecture is Dahne's, Theol. Stud. u. Krit. (1833), pp. 990, 1037.