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This article states:

"Eusebius speculated that the Jewish group Philo describes in the Contemplative Life was in fact a Christian group."

And Eusebius links to a disambiguation page. So which Eusebius does this article refer to ?

Thanks in advance!

I'm assuming this is the same person as Philo Judeaus? --Tydaj 22:52, 1 Jun 2005 (UTC)

Eusebius of Caesarea. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:24, 6 August 2011 (UTC)

Philo and Logos[edit]

<Commenting on this phrase in Influence of HellenismThe influence of Stoicism is unmistakable in the doctrine of God as the only Efficient Cause, in that of divine reason immanent in the world, in that of the powers emanating from God and suffusing the world. In the doctrine of the Logos various elements of Greek philosophy are united.>

From Dimont's "Jews, God and History"; ISBN 0451628667; Pg.122.

Philo, who was familiar with the Hebrew Bible only in Greek translation, decided to make it even more acceptable to Greek intellectuals by putting Greek clothing on Jewish revelation. This he did with the aid of allegory and the philosophy of Plato. Though God created the world, argued Philo, God did not influence the world directly, but indirectly through Logos, that is, through "the Word." {Strong's Concordance-Hebrew:1697 daw-vawr' -a word, a discourse; Strong-Greek:3056 Logos-a word, a teaching.}
Logos: We can see how this idea was taken directly by the Christians, for instance, in the Gospel According to Saint John the Apostle, which begins: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God {1 John 1:1}. Ironically, this opening sentence in John is now more a Jewish doctrine than a Christian one. The Christians made the "Son of Man" equal to God, whereas it was the Jews {Jesus, Moses, and Spinoza} who followed John's junction and made "the Word," that is, the Torah, equal to G-D. It is to the Jews that "the Word is G-D."
Because the human soul stems from the "Divine Source," continued Philo, it is capable of conceiving of the nature of divinity itself. This human ability to conceive of divinity, said Philo, could be done in two ways: through the spirit of prophecy, or through inner mystic meditation. Judaism, in Philo's opinion, was the instrument which enabled man to achieve moral perfection, and the Torah was the path to union with G-D. It was on the allegorical concepts of Philo's Logos and the inner mystic contemplation of God that Paul built his Christology. The Jews used the opposite poleof Philo's philosophy—the spirit of prophecy. They built their Judaism by searching the Torah for new meanings ..... {Modern Talmud}

Yesselman 22:56, 31 December 2005 (UTC)


Quote ...

"Although we have no independent confirmation for most of his account, it is an account of mostly public events, so in its main points it would have been difficult for Philo to have misrepresented the situation."

I do not understand why Philo would have found it difficult to misrepresent "public events". He was a politician and an apologist for the Alexandrian Jewish community. Were public events rarely misrepresented by politicians and apologists in the first century? If so what evidence do we have for that?

Ray Elsom

I also have serious problems with that text. There are already several statements that are highly problematic, EG:
"The only event in his life that can be determined chronologically is his participation in the embassy which the Alexandrian Jews sent to the emperor Caligula at Rome for the purpose of asking protection against the attacks of the Alexandrian Greeks. This occurred in the year 40 CE."
The Alexandria riots involved some very nasty mutual killing. This had been going on for quite some time. Firstly the demographic costitution of Alexandria at this time included Egyptians, Egyptians converted or partially converted to Judaism, Jews, Hellenized Jews, Greeks, Greeks converted or partially converted to Judaism. The city had just a couple of years earlier passed from Ptolemaic to Roman overlords.
There were commerical conflicts. There were regular changes in which group might get a special stuatus on commerical dealings. Varying commercial concessions to varying groups, the fact that people where migrating between goups led to strife there for hundreds of years.
There was also the control of temples. Temples at this time were "civic" administered within districts and neighborhoods. The Ptolemaic and Romans of this time due to both their experience of empire tolerant of different religions (and of course themselves polytheistic) and had a very pluralistic view. To the romans in particular their mode across their dominions was each group could worship, have a niche in the temple. Also expected their secular leasders to be honored there. To the Jewish community that had not changed this was an anathema, an impurity in a temple, to Hellenized Jews who had adopted some Greek gods, Greeks, Egyptians etc they wanted their niche in the tmeples. This played out in places other than Alexandria as well.
thre was strife, competition, alternating petition to overlords from all sides. One side assertions by its selected petitioner survices and we should preserve and note it. but let's be careful about language that ingores known facts about interplay in the Near east cities. Philo's philosphy is is a treasure. his polemic is intersting, but it is a policial polemic. Philo certainly makes objectivly racist, biased and many false statemetns of his own. His relating of those others that are niether preserved in thei roriginal nor anything but polemics of others make them no better or worse than his own.06:43, 22 September 2006 (UTC)
Perhaps, tying your reservations to quotes that show Philo's bias, you'd introduce this as context. --Wetman 11:53, 22 September 2006 (UTC)
I agree that the text as accessed today (March 30 2011) is problematic. There are extensive quotes from Philo about the Alexandria rioting without the modern scholarship which places these long running events more in the context of inter-Jewish tensions and conflict.Stae2 (talk) 12:51, 30 March 2011 (UTC)

Greek text[edit]

Is it really necessary to use Greek fonts/characters in an encyclopedia article? For the Greek illiterate (me), a couple paragraphs in this article are little more than gobbledegook.


Good idea. Don't have the time to do this myself just now, I'm afraid. Also: the problem is that the origins of this article lie in the online version of the 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia entry on Philo ( The online version has numerous minor and a few major spelling mistakes, especially in the Greek. I corrected one really glaring error earlier on, but I really can't do it for the whole thing.
The bigger question is: is there a point in working on those parts of this wikipedia (en) article which are based on a 100-year old piece? Would it not be better to start from scratch? But then, I don't have the time to do this now either, so who am I to talk...
Any suggestions?

Cheers, Hs282 00:32, 30 September 2006 (UTC)

Hundred-year-old scholarship concerning authors of classical antiquity holds up better than articles on technology: the recovery of the documents had in large part already been made. The Jewish Encyclopedia still makes a dependable base. There are modern ways of reading text that should be brought to bear here, without getting into personal interpretations. Many glitch errors introduced in getting old text on-line do need correcting, and Hs282's efforts have improved the article. --Wetman 03:03, 30 September 2006 (UTC)
Better, but not well. We have learned much about Hellenistic Judaism in the last century. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 02:25, 13 July 2007 (UTC)

Anybody capable still interested in changing terms and names written in Greek into English? Sentences like "this doctrine touches upon the Platonic doctrine of ideas as well as the Stoic doctrine of the γενικώτατόν τι and the Neo-Pythagorean doctrine of the type that served at the creation of the world; and in the shaping of the λόγος τομεύς it touches upon the Heraclitean doctrine of strife as the moving principle" mean nothing to mere mortals. The need for it was brought up at least 3 years ago, but nothing was done since. If I could read Greek I would do it myself. I hope someone can do this little job... Thanks! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:08, 23 October 2009 (UTC)


To him Logos was God's "blueprint for the world", a governing plan.

Where does this flaming anachronism come from? Blueprints were invented in 1842, not the first century BCE. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 02:25, 13 July 2007 (UTC)

De Opificio mundi 15-25, God consults Logos before creating etc. Blueprint is a schematisation, which may seem anachronic indeed —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:04, 15 October 2007 (UTC)
Perhaps User:Pmanderson's objections could be better met by incorporating a quote into the text. --Wetman 07:46, 15 October 2007 (UTC)

Look at my comment below. This whole article is of poor standard. It is utterly idiotic some of the things mentioned in this article. (talk) 21:05, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

I am not so educated but...[edit]

I do not think it would be accurate to put a DH POV on to Philo. It seems like someone is using this article as propaganda tool. (talk) 21:03, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

I think you should read the Wikipedia Guidelines: "Treating others with respect is key to collaborating effectively in building an encyclopedia."Ettormo (talk) 11:16, 20 December 2009 (UTC


Copyright image?[edit]

The image used in the article, taken from de:wiki, is an engraving by Karl Thieme of 1952: isn't it copyright? In the engraving is the inscription that says, in translation, "Portrait worked by K. Thieme, philosopher pictures, Basel 1952 - HHU - Dusseldorf". It has been copied from Karl Thieme, ed. Philosophenbilder. (Basel. Birkhauser) 1952, a collection of portraits of 140 famous philosophers. --Wetman (talk) 21:48, 24 December 2009 (UTC)

Knowledge of Hebrew[edit]

I don't know much about Philo but I do speak Hebrew as a native language and know biblical hebrew very well. I read some of his writings and some parts are just silly. It's very obvious that he got his ideas from a translation and had no idea how it may have been in hebrew. He analizes sections that are completely lost in translation and no Hebrew speaker could ever come up with this. Things like origins of random greek words from the bible that mean something totaly different in the original.

I asked a couple of professors I had classes with that teach Philo's stuff in the Hebrew University and they agreed. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:42, 13 February 2011 (UTC)

Modern Hebrew is not ancient Hebrew. Modern Hebrew is a mostly 20th century reformation. Hebrew as a progenitor language was a Christian romantic obsession. Hebrew is to Phoenician and Aramaic as Yiddish is to German. The modern assumption that everything written of in ancient times (from that region) had to be Hebrew is false. The Greek Septuagint is more ancient than any written Hebrew account. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:55, 22 December 2012 (UTC)
Um... what? So the Septuagint is older than the proto-Masoretic text type on which it is based? I really hope I didn’t read your comment right. Evanh2008 (talk|contribs) 06:10, 22 December 2012 (UTC)

The second part of the paragraph seems to be inconsistent with the source. The article says "Philo read the Jewish Scriptures chiefly in the Septuagint Greek translation.[Ref: Philo Judaeus: His Knowledge of Hebrew from the Jewish Encyclopedia ] His knowledge of Hebrew has been a matter of scholarly dispute, with most scholars arguing that he did not read the language. One piece of evidence that supports that hypothesis is Philo's creative (often fanciful) use of etymologies." while the Jewish Encyclopedia says "While he read the Old Testament chiefly in the Greek translation, not deeming it necessary to use the Hebrew text because he was under the wrong impression that the Greek corresponded with it, he nevertheless understood Hebrew, as his numerous etymologies of Hebrew names indicate (see ...). These etymologies are not in agreement with modern Hebrew philology, but are along the lines of the etymologic midrash to Genesis and of the earlier rabbinism." --Rumping (talk) 20:47, 15 November 2015 (UTC)

Copy and paste from Jewish Encyclopedia[edit]

Large sections of this article are copied and pasted from the Philo Judaeus article 1906 Jewish Encyclopedia. While the JE is in the public domain, all material in articles should be attributed (See Wikipedia:Plagiarism) and copying and pasting is almost never allowed (See Wikipedia:Copy-paste).

I am willing to host a user page to start from scratch if other editors are willing to join me. Otherwise, I will remove the copied text and refer to this talk section in the comments. Mnnlaxer (talk) 03:05, 15 December 2012 (UTC)

I am starting to delete sections that are almost exact copies of the JE. It should also be noted that there should be much more recent scholarship, or at least online sources, that are better than this 100-year old work.Mnnlaxer (talk) 18:27, 15 December 2012 (UTC)
Repeating my question here. I don't completely understand the intended procedure here. Are you saying that the two entire sections you have removed so far were removed because they are incorrect/innacurate and have no place in the article at all, or they were temporarily removed until they can be rewritten and reinserted back in the article? Even though the JE may be outdated by more recent material it is still a pretty good, reliable, and accurate source, and in general a solid foundation from where to start, in matters of Jewish history. I don't think it can be simply completely dismissed just on the basis of the age of the material. Thanks, warshytalk 19:26, 15 December 2012 (UTC)
Some of the material isn't appropriate for a general article on Philo. His views on numerology for instance. While it may make sense for the JE to be as comprehensive as possible, it does not for a Wikipedia article. If Philo's numerology is notable in your opinion, I would start a new article on that. Also, an article that has just one source needs work more immediately than just revising the text. A fresh start would create a better article in the end. I'm following the Wiki Policy of Be Bold! as well. However, if you think a section should be reinserted, undo my changes. Each section is a different edit. Mnnlaxer (talk) 02:03, 17 December 2012 (UTC)

I've replaced the Copy and Past template with the Template:Jewish_Encyclopedia and Template:Refimprove templates. The article still needs a lot of work. Please pitch in and help out! Mnnlaxer (talk) 21:13, 20 December 2012 (UTC)


That's just wrong, in English. The "religion" field possibly should be more specific than Jewish, but the other additions of "Judaean" are less specific than Jewish, even if they were sourced. Furthermore, there's a probable 3RR violation. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 12:05, 1 November 2013 (UTC) Specifically,

  1. "Jewish" (appears to be) sourced, although it isn't attacked to any particular reference.
  2. "Judaean" (appears to be) not sourced.
  3. Even if "Judaean" is accurate and found to be sourced, "Jewish" should not be removed.
  4. "Pharisee" is not a religion or a religious sect, at least according to the Wikipedia article, so should not appear in the "religion" field. (This is arguable, but it needs to be argued, as it appears to also be one of the "schools of philosophy" within Judaism.) If found accurate, and sourced, it should be elsewhere in the article, not in the infobox.

Arthur Rubin (talk) 12:22, 1 November 2013 (UTC)

Jewish / Judean are used interchangeably by authors on the subject. In the contemporary context there was only one word for the two concepts - Ioudaios. There are many sources that call Philo "Judean" instead of "Jewish" - a quick google books search makes that clear.
Pharisee is to Temple Judaism as Catholic is to modern Christianity. The Pharisees believed in Oral Law, whereas the larger Saducee sect did not.
Oncenawhile (talk) 14:02, 1 December 2013 (UTC)
Interesting point about the Pharisees; perhaps you should work to get that explanation into our Wikipedia article. As for "Judaean", in spite of the article Ioudaios, "Jewish" represents a religion, and "Judaean" represents either a people from a geographical area, a people associated with that geographic area or a philosophy relating to one of the previous. "Judaean" is not more specific than "Jewish". If sources can be found, both should be in the article. — Arthur Rubin (talk) 17:40, 1 December 2013 (UTC)