Pseudo-Philo

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Pseudo-Philo[1][2][3] is the name commonly used for the unknown, anonymous author of Biblical Antiquities.[4] This text is also commonly known today under the Latin title Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum (Book of Biblical Antiquities), a title that is not found, per se, on the Latin manuscripts of Pseudo-Philo's Biblical Antiquities.[5] Pseudo-Philo’s Biblical Antiquities is preserved today in 18 complete and 3 fragmentary Latin manuscripts that date between the eleventh and fifteenth centuries CE.[6] In addition, portions of Pseudo-Philo's Biblical Antiquities parallel material also found in the Chronicles of Jerahmeel, a 14th century Hebrew composition.[7][8] The Latin text of Pseudo-Philo’s Biblical Antiquities circulated in some Latin collections of writings by Philo of Alexandria.[9] Scholars have long recognized the pseudonymous character of the text now known as Pseudo-Philo’s Biblical Antiquities.[10] Primary in this regard is a vastly differing approach to and use of the Jewish Scriptures than that of Philo of Alexandria.[10] For the sake of convenience and due to the lack of a better option, scholars continue to follow the lead of Philo scholar Leopold Cohn in calling the author “Pseudo-Philo.”[11]

Estimated date of work[edit]

Most scholars contend that Pseudo-Philo’s Biblical Antiquities was written sometime between the mid-first century CE and the mid-second century CE.[12] Some scholars propose that Pseudo-Philo's Biblical Antiquities was written shortly preceding the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple in 70 CE[13] while other scholars suggest that Pseudo-Philo's Biblical Antiquites was written post-70 CE, possibly as late as shortly following the Bar Kokhba revolt (132-136 CE).[14] A very small minority of scholars suggest dates outside these bounds. Examples include Abram Spiro who suggests that it was composed in the second century BCE,[15] J. R. Porter who dates Pseudo-Philo to 25 CE,[16] and Alexander Zeron who posits that it was composed sometime in the third or fourth centuries CE.[17] Among the evidence cited by scholars in support of a pre-70 CE date of composition is the depiction of the temple in Jerusalem as still standing and in use for sacrifices (e.g. LAB 22:8).[18] Further, Daniel J. Harrington writes: 'A date prior to AD 70 (and perhaps around the time of Jesus) is suggested by the kind of Old Testament text used in the book, the free attitude towards the text, the interest in the sacrifices and other things pertaining to cult, and the silence about the destruction of the temple'.[19] Howard Jacobson, for example, treats this view dismissively, stating that "Simply put, there are no particularly cogent arguments in support of a pre-70 date."[20] Among the evidence cited in support of a post-70 CE date of composition are thematic parallels with 2 Baruch and 4 Ezra,[21] Jewish texts composed post-70 CE[22] and references to the destruction of the temple (e.g. LAB 19:7).[23]

Original language and translational history[edit]

The scholarly consensus is that Pseudo-Philo’s Biblical Antiquities was not composed in Latin but, rather that it was composed in Hebrew and translated into Greek before being translated into Latin[24][25] [26] by the fourth century CE.[27] The primary evidence for this are the many difficult readings in Pseudo-Philo's Biblical Antiquities that are best explained by the existence of Hebrew and Greek antecedents.[28]

Short description of content[edit]

Pseudo-Philo's Biblical Antiquities is a selective rewriting of Jewish scriptural texts and traditions.[29] Following a basic narrative outline derived from the Jewish Scriptures, the work opens with the creation of the world (LAB 1) and concludes with the death of King Saul (LAB 65).[29] As Leopold Cohn observes, Pseudo-Philo’s Biblical Antiquities “passes rapidly over” or “omits” certain aspects of the scriptural narrative while elaborating other on others, even supplying “many quite novel additions” not paralleled in the Jewish Scriptures.[30] Many of its additions have parallels in other Jewish traditions.

Some scholars have reasoned that the fact that it ends with the death of Saul implies that there were further parts of the work which are now missing while others believe that it is complete.[31]

The work as source of legends[edit]

It is probably the earliest reference for many later legendary accretions to the Biblical texts, such as the casting of Abraham into the fire, Dinah's marriage to Job, and Moses born circumcised. It also contains several other embellishments which deviate quite substantially from the norm, such as Abraham leading a rebellion against the builders of the Tower of Babel (the reason for him being cast into the fire).

It includes a lament about the symbolic human sacrifice of Jephthah's daughter, with the daughter being the singer. Commentators have noted that the characterisation of the daughter is (like other female characterisations in Pseudo-Philo) much stronger and more positive than that of her biblical counterpart.[32] She has a name (Seila), and her role is as wise and willing, rather than passive and reluctant, participant. One commentator has observed that 'the author has done his utmost to put this woman on the same level as the patriarchs, in this case especially Isaac'.[33]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Frederick James Murphy (1993). Pseudo-Philo: Rewriting the Bible. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-507622-6. Retrieved 13 November 2012.
  2. ^ Howard Jacobson (1996). A Commentary on Pseudo-Philo's Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum: With Latin Text and English Translation. BRILL. ISBN 978-90-04-10553-9. Retrieved 13 November 2012.
  3. ^ Philo (30 June 2007). The Biblical Antiquities of Philo. Cosimo, Inc. ISBN 978-1-60206-567-3. Retrieved 13 November 2012.
  4. ^ Jacobson, Howard (1996). A Commentary on Pseudo-Philo's Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum, with Latin Text and English Translation. Leiden: Brill. p. 195. ISBN 90 04 10360 0.
  5. ^ Jacobson, Howard (1996). A Commentary on Pseudo-Philo's Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum, with Latin Text and English Translation. Leiden: Brill. pp. 197–199. ISBN 90 04 10360 0.
  6. ^ Harrington, Daniel (1973). "The Text Critical Situation of Pseudo-Philo's Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum". Revue bénédictine. 83: 383–388.
  7. ^ Jacobson, Howard (1989). "Thoughts on the Chronicles of Jerahmeel, Ps-Philo's Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum, and Their Relationship". The Studia Philonica Annual. 9: 239–263.
  8. ^ Harrington, Daniel (1974). The Hebrew Fragments of Pseudo-Philo's Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum Preserved in the Chronicles of Jerahmeel. Missoula, MT: Society of Biblical Literature.
  9. ^ Goodenough, Erwin R. (1938). The Politics of Philo Judaeus: Practice and Theory. New Haven: Yale. pp. 177–179.
  10. ^ a b Cohn, Leopold (1898). "An Apocryphal Work Ascribed to Philo of Alexandria". Jewish Quarterly Review. 10: 306–307.
  11. ^ Cohn, Leopold (1898). "An Apocryphal Work Ascribed to Philo of Alexandria". Jewish Quarterly Review. 10: 308.
  12. ^ Jacobson, Howard (1996). A Commentary on Pseudo-Philo's Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum, with Latin Text and English Translation. Leiden: Brill. p. 199.
  13. ^ Murphy, Frederick J. (1993). Pseudo-Philo: Rewriting the Bible. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 6. ISBN 0-19-507622-2.
  14. ^ Jacobson, Howard (1996). A Commentary on Pseudo-Philo's Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum, with Latin Text and English Translation. Leiden: Brill. pp. 208–209.
  15. ^ Spiro, Abram (1951). "Samaritans, Tobiads, and Judahites in Pseudo-Philo". Proceedings of the American Academy for Jewish Research. 20: 282.
  16. ^ Porter, J. R. (2010). The Lost Bible. New York: Metro Books. p. 9. ISBN 978-1-4351-4169-8.
  17. ^ Zeron, Alexander (1980). "Erwägungen zu Pseudo-Philos quellen und Zeit". Journal for the Study of Judaism. 11: 52.
  18. ^ Daniel J. Harrington, “Pseudo-Philo,” in The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha (ed. James H. Charlesworth; 2 vols.; Garden City: Doubleday, 1983-1985), 2:299.
  19. ^ Daniel J. Harrington, 'Outside the Old Testament' in Marinus de Jong (ed.) Outside the Old Testament (CUP, 1985), p. 8
  20. ^ Jacobson, Howard (1996). A Commentary on Pseudo-Philo's Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum, With Latin Text and English Translation. Brill Academic Publications. p. 201. ISBN 978-9004105539.
  21. ^ James, M. R. (1971). Biblical Antiquities of Philo. New York: Ktav. pp. 46–58.
  22. ^ Jacobson, Howard (1996). A Commentary on Pseudo-Philo's Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum, with Latin Text and English Translation. Leiden: Brill. p. 201.
  23. ^ Jacobson, Howard (1996). A Commentary on Pseudo-Philo's Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum, with Latin Text and English Translation. Leiden: Brill. p. 200.
  24. ^ Murphy, Frederick (1993). Pseudo-Philo: Rewriting the Bible. New York: Oxford University Press. pp. 3–4.
  25. ^ Harrington, Daniel (1970). "The Original Language of Pseudo-Philo's Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum". Harvard Theological Review. 63: 503–514.
  26. ^ Cohn, Leopold (1898). "An Apocryphal work ascribed to Philo of Alexandria". Jewish Quarterly Review. 10: 308–312.
  27. ^ Jacobson, Howard (1996). A Commentary on Pseudo-Philo's Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum, with Latin Text and English Translation. Leiden: Brill. p. 278.
  28. ^ Jacobson, Howard (1996). A Commentary on Pseudo-Philo's Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum, with Latin Text and English Translation. Leiden: Brill. pp. 223 (also pp. 215-224).
  29. ^ a b Daniel J. Harrington, “Pseudo-Philo,” in The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha (ed. James H. Charlesworth; 2 vols.; Garden City: Doubleday, 1983-1985), 2:297.
  30. ^ Cohn, Leopold (1898). "An Apocryphal work ascribed to Philo of Alexandria". Jewish Quarterly Review. 10: 279.
  31. ^ Jacobson, Howard (1996). A Commentary on Pseudo-Philo's Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum, With Latin Text and English Translation. Brill Academic Publications. p. 254. ISBN 978-9004105539.
  32. ^ See for example Philip Alexander's 1988 article 'Retelling the Old Testament' in It Is Written: Scripture Citing Scripture (Cambridge: CUP) [1] and Frederick Murphy's 1993 book Pseudo-Philo: Rewriting the Bible (New York: OUP) [2]
  33. ^ Van der Horst, Pieter (1989) 'Portraits of Biblical Women in Pseudo-Philo's Liber Antiquitatum Biblicarum' , Journal for the Study of Pseudepigrapha 5, 29 - 46 (at 42)

Bibliography[edit]

  • Pseudo-Philo, P.-M. Bogaert, C. Perrot, J. Cazeaux, and D. J. Harrington. Les Antiquités Bibliques. 2 vols. Sources Chrétiennes 229–230. Paris: Éditions du Cerf, 1976. (Critical text and French translation.) ISBN 2-204-01050-2
  • M. R. James. The Biblical Antiquities of Philo. Prolegomenon by L. Feldman. Library of Biblical Studies. New York: Ktav Pub. House, 1971. (English translation.)
  • "Pseudo-Philo (First Century A.D.)", translated by D. J. Harrington in The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, edited by James H. Charlesworth, vol. 2, New York, 1985, 297-377. ISBN 0-385-19491-9

External links[edit]