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Philo

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(surnamed in Latin JUDAEUS, i.e., the Jew; in Hebrew, פַּילוֹן הִיְּהוּדַי in Greek, Φίλων [ ] Ι᾿ουδαῖος ), the greatest of ancient Jewish philosophers, flourished in the 1st century of the Christian sera. We give a somewhat lengthy exposition of his philosophic and religious opinions.

Life. Philo was a native and throughout life a resident of Alexandria. The precise time of his birth is unknown, but he represents himself as of advanced age about A.D. 40, when he was sent as chief of an embassy from the Jews of Alexandria to the emperor Caligula, for the purpose of pleading their cause against Apion, who charged them with refusing to pay due honors to Caesar (Josephus, Ant. 18:8, 1; comp. De Legat. ad Caium, 28). He was probably about sixty years old; if so, he was born about B.C. 20, and was contemporary with all the important events of the New Testament. He went again to Rome in the reign of Claudius, but after this nothing is known with certainty of his whereabouts. Philo had a brother employed in the affairs of government at Alexandria, named Alexander Lysimachus, who is supposed to be the Alexander mentioned in Acts 4:6 as a man "of the kindred of the highpriest." That Philo was a member of the sacerdotal family is asserted by Josephus (Ant. 18:8, 1), and also by Eusebius, Jerome, and others, and his own writings indirectly testify that such was the fact. There is also reason to believe that he belonged to the sect of the Pharisees. Philo was eminent for his learning and eloquence. To the attainments usually secured by Jews of his social condition (Eusebius, Prep. Evang. 8:13) he added an extensive knowledge of the Greek philosophy, especially the Platonic, for the acquisition of which the most favorable opportunities would occur in Alexandria, at that time the very metropolis of the learned world and the home of revived Hellenism. He has been represented by Scaliger and Cudworth as ignorant of Jewish literature and customs, but Fabricius and Mangey have clearly shown that such a view is entirely groundless. The supposition of his ignorance of Hebrew must have arisen from the fact that the Jews of Alexandria at that time were so little acquainted with the original of the Old-Test. Scriptures that they had to be supplied with the Sept. and other Greek versions. But even Geiger, who says that Philo had but a schoolboy knowledge of the Hebrew language, concedes that when the tranlslation of the Bible was undertaken for the Alexandrian Jews, "they had not yet been altogether estranged from the Hebrewv languagc;" but that they were no longer so much at home and versed in it that they could have fully mastered the Book which was to offer them the bread and water of life; it was the Grecian language that must bring it home to them" (page 146; comp. also page 148). As absurd as is this charge of Philo's ignorance of Hebrew is the charge that Philo's Greek is unclassical, and this because he was a Jew. As well might we say of the Jewish literati of Germany that their style is Jewish-German, and not the pure tongue of Lessing and Gervinus. Philo's Greek was of course not that of Plato, nor the pure Attic of Demosthenes. No one at Alexandria wrote so purely, but Philo wrote as did his contemporaries, and as wrote the best of them. In his treatise De Congressu, 14. Philo refers himself to his own attainments in grammar, philosophy, geometry, music, and poetry; and his accomplished character was thus gracefully attested by his wife, who, when once asked why she alone of all her sex did not wear any golden ornaments, replied: "The virtue of a husband is a sufficient ornament for his wife" (Fragments, ed. Richter, 6:236).

The circumstance that Philo was contemporary with New-Test. events, coupled with his high intelligence and interest in sacred learning, as well as with the fact that he once visited Jerusalem "to offer up prayers and sacrifices in the Temple" (although only one such visit is referred to by him [Richter's ed. of Firagments, 6:200], his piety and devotion probably led to occasional repetitions of this pilgrimage, which were less likely to be mentioned because of his modesty and reserve in personal matters), led ancient writers to connect Philo intimately with Christianity. Photius (Bibl. Cod. 15) makes him a friend of the apostle Peter; as do also Eusebius (Hist. Ecclesiastes 2:17), Jerome (Catal. Scriptor. Eccles.), and Suidas. Photius goes so far as to say that Philo was admitted into the Christian Church, from which he afterwards fell. But while we have no direct means of testing the truth of such statements, they certainly do not bear the evidence on their face. A man of such decided characteristics as Philo could no more have remained quiet after conversion than did Saul of Tarsus, and, because we have no utterances from him as a Christian, we have reason to reject the story as fabulous from first to last. Besides, Philo's own extant writings do not give the slightest reference to any such important step, and this fact tells even more strongly, if possible, against the report.

His Theology and Philosophy. In the article NEOPLATONISM (See NEOPLATONISM) (q.v.) it has been shown that this eclectic philosophy, though it developed in the 3d century after Christ, is not only to be regarded in its origin as coeval with Christianity, but must acknowledge as its father and founder Philo the Jew (see Kingsley, Alexandria and her Schools, page 79). Alexandria, from its very foundation by Alexander the Great in B.C. 332, had sought to establish Greek civilization within its borders, and to produce an intellect that might be the rival of Athens in her proudest day. Mind was the secret of Greek power, and for that the great conqueror would work in this African city, which he designed to be the point of union of two, or, rather, of three worlds. For in this place, named after himself, Europe, Asia, and Africa were to meet and to hold communion. Under the Ptolemies this desire was strengthened still more, and yet the outcome of all the Ptolemaean appliances was of little or no account if we except the great collection of MSS. and art treasures. The wisest men. though gathered from the most learned centres of the world, failed to produce anything that was really worth preserving. In physics they did little. In art nothing. In metaphysics less than nothing. Says Kingsley, "You must not suppose that the philosophers whom the Ptolemies collected (as they would any other marketable article) by liberal offers of pay and patronage, were such men as the old Seven Sages of Greece, or as Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle. In these three last indeed, Greek thought reached not merely its greatest height, but the edge of a precipice, down which it rolled headlong after their decease. . . . When the Romans destroyed Greece, God was just and merciful. The eagles were gathered together only because the carrion needed to be removed from the face of God's earth. And at the time of which I now speak the signs of approaching death were fearfully apparent. Hapless and hopeless enough were the clique of men out of whom the first two Ptolemies hoped to form a school of philosophy; men certainly clever enough, and amusing withal, who might give the kings of Egypt many a shrewd lesson in kingcraft and the crafts of this world, and the art of profiting by the folly of fools and the selfishness of the selfish; or who might amuse them, in default of fighting- cocks, by puns and repartees, and battles of logic; 'how one thing cannot be predicated of another,' or 'how the wise man is not only to overcome every misfortune, but not even to feel it,' and other such weighty questions, which in those days hid that deep unbelief in any truth whatsoever which was spreading fast over the minds of men . . . during those frightful centuries which immediately preceded the Christian aera, when was fast approaching that dark chaos of unbelief and unrighteousness which Saul of Tarsus so analyzes and describes in the first chapter of his Epistle to the Romans; when the old light was lost, the old faiths extinct, the old reverence for the laws of family and national life destroyed, yea, even the natural instincts themselves perverted; that chaos whose darkness Juvenal and Petronius and Tacitus have proved in their fearful pages not to have been exaggerated by the more compassionate though more righteous Jew" (pages 55-63).

Fortunately for the Macedonians, another Eastern nation had closely intermingled with them, and from this mixture of two races came that superior product which gave to Alexandrian thought not only a new impulse, but a superior life. When Hellenism was transferred to Alexandria, the Grecian spirit, as we have seen, was in an exhausted and faded condition. But together with Hellenism had come Judaism also. True, the latter was not sought for and imported at the bidding of the mighty conqueror of three worlds, but he had suffered the Jews to find a home in Alexandria, and thus Judaism found its establishment then and there. The Ptolemies also pursued the same conciliatory policy; and Judaism gained strength and developed so much at Alexandria that it became a center of Jewish thought and learning for several centuries, and its rabbins were called "the light of Israel."

Now it is to be expected that whenever two spiritual powers meet, such as Hellenism and Judaism, such as Grecian culture and Jewish religion when two such spiritual world-reforming powers come into conflict with each other that conflict must necessarily result in new formations; something new will always grow out of it, be it by their antagonism or by their spiritual interpenetration; new creations will be evolved, either bearing the character of both, or pre-eminently that of one of them, yet impregnated, in a certain measure, by that of the other. The conflict between Hellenism and Judaism was principally a spiritual struggle, and its result a radical change in the thought and belief of both Jew and Macedonian, which led to the formation of what came to be known as Neo-Platonism, a philosophy of syncretism, whose elements are partly Oriental (Alexandrian-Jewish in particular) and partly Hellenic; but whose form is strictly Hellenic, and whose peculiarity of doctrine is that it is distinguished from Plato's own by the principle of revelation contained in the new philosophy.

The great representative of this syncretism, which also reappeared afterwards in manifold shapes in Gnosticism, is our spirited and prolific theologian, Philo of Alexandria. He held to the divine character of the Old Test., had very strict views of inspiration, and thought that the Mosaic law and the Temple worship were destined to be perpetual. He ascribed to the Jews a mission for all nations, boasted of their cosmopolitism, and called them priests and prophets, who offered sacrifice and invoked the blessing of God for all mankind. With him the expounding of the books of the Old Test. is synonymous with the philosophy of his nation; but in his own exposition he allegorically introduces into those documents philosophical ideas, partly derived from the natural internal development of Jewish notions, and partly obtained from Hellenic philosophy, and thus the theology of Philo has been aptly called a blending of Platonism and Judaism.

The allegorical method of interpreting the sacred Scriptures, which had long prevailed among the more cultivated of the Alexandrian Jews, was adopted by Philo without restriction. His principle that the prophets were only involuntary instruments of the Spirit which spoke through them was favorable to the freest use of this mode of exegesis. He pronounced those who would merely tolerate a literal interpretation of the Scriptures as low, unworthy, and superstitious; and while he was thus led astray frequently to the introduction of foreign heathen elements into the store of divine revelation, and to the refusal of all elements which, like the anthropomorphisms for instance, seemed offensive to the culture of the time, Philo, like Origen (q.v.) in later times, far from rejecting the literal sense in every case, often, especially in the case of historical events in the Old Test., assumed both this and the allegorical sense as equally true. But Philo, besides this, regarded as higher that conception of Scripture which penetrated beneath the shell of the letter to what he thought to be the kernel of philosophical truth; beneath the anthropomorphic and anthropopathic representations of God, to that idealistic view of God which, in fact, divests him in the end of all concrete attributes. In this way, in spite of his opposition to Hellenic mysteries, Philo set up a radical distinction of initiated and uninitiated, a mode of interpretation which leads very easily to the contempt of the letter, and thus to an unhistorical, abstractly spiritualistic tendency. (See INTERPRETATION).

As a devoted, believing Jew, Philo accepted Judaism as a truth requiring no proof. But in him, as probably in others of the Alexandro-Jewish school of philosophers before him, the desire was awakened to blend the Jewish inheritance with the newly acquired Grecian knowledge; to heighten the truths of Judaism by the addition of Hellenic culture; to reconcile both treasures with each other, so that each should make the lustre of the other shine the more clearly and brightly. Directly antagonistic as they were to each other, a compromise must needs be effected between them. Judaism is the fruit of self-evidence, inner experience of a vivid conviction, for which no proof is required. Hellenism, on the contrary, proceeded from investigation, from human research, starting from the physical, to reach, by combination and analysis, the higher idea. These are two processes not only diverging in their progress, but even in their whole conception, and these two directly antagonistic views clashed against each other. But there was also in Hellenism a tendency which, although grown from the Grecian spirit, nevertheless endeavored to conceive, by a certain prophetic flight of poesy, the higher, thence to descend to the lower, and thus to make the former descend into lower degrees. It desired likewise directly to conceive the divine,, the ideal, by intuition, by higher perception. With such a bold flight Plato conceived the everlasting Good, the everlasting Beautiful, whence individual ideals evolve themselves, which as archetypes we are not told whether they have a distinct existence, or must be regarded as mere fictions of the spirit are expressed in real objects, perfect in themselves, while the several visible objects represent them in a limited degree. This was a system which especially suited the philosophizing Jews; it afforded them a bridge between the purely spiritual and the physical objects. How does the Highest Spirit, the eternally Perfect One, enter into the finite world? He creates ideals from himself, says Plato. He introspects himself, and thus.perfection is produced; but this perfection impresses itself upon more subordinate existences, and thus it descends from immediate causes to intermediate causes, until the real objects spring into existence, and creation becomes manifest to us; God, the eternal existence, the eternally perfect, is the highest cause, but the eternally Pure One does not immediately come into contact with the impure only by means of manifold emanations and concatenations, the earthly grows into existence. Such views afforded the philosophic Jews a happy means of preserving the theory of the infallibility and inconceivableness of God, and yet of accepting the different figurative expressions concerning God in the Bible, because they could refer to the subordinate beings. Hellenism of that time, stiff and sober as it was, was unfit to conceive naive, poetical imageries, and to admit poetical expression without fearing that thereby the sublimity of thought might be violated. The latter was tenaciously adhered to, and whenever it expressed entities too directly, it had to yield to forced interpretations. To such also the Bible was frequently subjected. Narratives and commands were forcibly driven from their natural simplicity into artificial philosophemes, in the belief that their value would thus be enhanced. The figurative expressions and events in connection with God were referred to such subordinate spirits as had evolved themselves from God. In the writings of Philo that intermediate agency is comprised in the Logos.

As with Plato and the elder Greeks, so with Philo, theology was the ultimate object of all metaphysical science. But there arose a puzzle in the mind of the Jewish philosopher, as in reality it had already arisen in the minds of Socrates and Plato. How could he reconcile the idea of that absolute and eternal one Being, that Zeus, Father of gods and men, self- perfect, selfcontained, without change or motion, in whom, as a Jew, he believed even more firmly than the Platonists, with the Daemon of Socrates, the divine teacher whom both Plato and Solomon confessed? Or how, again, could he reconcile the idea of him with the creative and providential energy, working in space and time, working in matter, and apparently affected and limited, if not baffled, by the imperfection of the matter which he moulded? Philo offered a solution in that idea of a Logos, or Word of God, divinity articulate, speaking and acting in time and space, and therefore by successive acts, and so doing in time and space the will of the timeless and spaceless Father, the abysmal and eternal Being, of whom he was the perfect likeness. In calling this person the Logos, and making him the source of all human reason, and knowledge of eternal laws, he only translated from Hebrew into Greek the name which he found in his sacred books, "The Word of God." Of God himself, Philo teaches that he is incorporeal, invisible, and cognizable only through the reason; that he is the most universal of beings, the Being to whom alone being, as such, truly pertains; that he is more excellent than virtue, than science, or even than the good per se and the beautiful per se. He is one and simple, imperishable and eternal; his existence is absolute and separate from the world; the world is his work.

Thus while Philo contends that God is to be worshipped as a personal being, he yet conceives him at the same time as the most general of existences: τὸ γενικώτατόν ἐστιν θεός (Legis Alleg. 2). God is the only truly existent being, τὸ ὄν (De Somn. 1:655, ed. Mang.). But Philo, similarly to the Neo-Platonists of a later epoch, advances upon the Platonic doctrine by representing God as exalted not only above all human knowledge and virtue-as Plato had done-but as above the idea of the Good κρείττων τε ἀρετή, καὶ κρείτ των ἐπιστήμη, καὶ κρείττων αὐτὸ τἀγαθὸν καὶ αὐτὸ τὸ καλόν (De Mundi Officio, 1:2, ed. Mang.) with which Plato identifies him-and by teaching that we do not arrive at the absolute by scientific demonstration (λόγων ἀποδείξει), but by an intermediate subjective certainty (ἐναργείᾷ, De post Caini, 48, page 258, ed. Mang.). Still a certain kind of knowledge of God, which, however, is only second in rank, results from the aesthetic and teleological view of the world, as founded on the Socratic principle that "no work of skill makes itself" (οὐδὲν τῶν τεχνικῶν ἔργων ἀπαυτοματίζεται ). God is one and simple: θεὸς μόνος ἐστὶ καὶ ἕν, οὐ σύγκριμα, φύσις ἁπλῆ ...τέτακται οῦν θεὸς κατὰ τὸ ž ν καὶ τὴν μονάδα, μᾶλλον δὲ καὶ μονὰς κατὰ τὸν ἕνα θεόν (Legis Alleg. 2:1, 66 sq. ed. Mang.). God is the only free nature (η μόνη ἐλευθέρα φύσις, De Somn. 2), full of himself and sufficient to himself (αὐτὸ ἑαυτοῦ πλῆρες καὶ ἑαυτῷ ἱκανόν , De Nom. Mutat. 1:582); everything finite is involved in necessity. God is not in contact with matter; if he were he would be defiled. He who holds the world itself to be God the Lord has fallen into error and sacrilege. In his essence God is incomprehensible; we can only know that he is, not what he is. All names which are intended to express the separate attributes of God are appropriate only in a figurative sense. since God is in truth an unqualified and pure being. Notwithstanding the pantheistically sounding neuters which Plato applies to God, Philo ascribes to him the purest blessedness: "He is without grief or fear, not subject to evils, unyielding, painless, never wearied, filled with unmixed happiness" (De Cherubim, 1:154).

God is everywhere by his power (τὰς δυνάμεις αὑτοῦ διὰ γῆς καὶ ὕδατος, ἀέρος τε καὶ οὐρανοῦ τείνας ), but. in no place with his essence, since space and place were first given to the material world by him (De Linguarum Conf. 1:425). Speaking figuratively, Philo describes God as enthroned on the outermost border of the heavens, in an extramundane place (τόπος μετακόσμιος), as in a sacred citadel (Genes. 28, 15; De Vit. Mos. 2:164, etc.). God is the place of the world, for it is he that contains and encompasses all things (De Somniis, 1). In creating the world, God employed as instruments incorporeal potencies or ideas, since he could not come in contact with polluting matter (ἐξ ἐκείνης ῾τῆς οὐσίας πάντ᾿ ἐγέννησεν θεός, οὐκ ἐφαπτόμενος αὐτος· οὐ γὰρ ην θἐμις ἀπειρης καὶ πεφυρμένης ὕλης ψαύειν τὸν ἴδμονα καὶ μακάριον· ἀλλὰ ταῖς ἀσωμάτοις δυνάμεσιν, ων ἔτυμον ὄνομα αἱ ἰδέαι κατεχρήσατο πρὸς τὸ γένος ἔκαστον τὴν ἁρμόττουσσαν λαβεῖν μορφήν, De Sacrificantibus, 2:261). These potencies surround God as ministering spirits, just as a monarch is surrounded by the members of his court. The highest of the divine potencies, the creative (ποιητική ), bears also, according to Philo, in Scripture the name of God (θεός ); the second or ruling (βασιλική ) potency is called the Lord (κύριος) (De Vita Mosis, 2:150, et al.). These are followed by the foreseeing potency, the law-giving, and many others. They are all conceived by Philo, not only in the nature of divine qualities, but also as relatively independent, personal beings, who can appear to men, and who have favored some of them with their most intimate intercourse (De Vita Abrah. 2:17 sq.).

From all that has been said of the Philonic doctrine of the Logos, it is clearly apparent that Philo recognized it as the highest of all the divine forces; and yet many of his descriptions of it were in no essential like those of the apostle John, but rather belonged to Jewish ideas which he found already existing. The distinction of a concealed God and a revelation of him was connected with the Old-Test. idea of theophany. But by tracing back all theophanies to the one principle of revelation lying at their basis, and by making it their objective, the idea of the Logos was attained. The apocryphal book of The Wisdom of Solomon had already interposed wisdom between God and the world as the reflection of the eternal light; the fountain of all knowledge, virtue, and skill; the moulder of all things; the medium of all the Old-Test. revelations (chapters 7-10). This idea Philo also conceived, but he.modified it according as the Platonic influence was more or less strongly felt. Says Neander, "In proportion as he occupied the standpoint which divested the Divine Being of human qualities, or that which favored anthropomorphism, the ideal or the symbolical, might not the λόγος appear as a power of God or as a hypostatic being?" Philo describes the λόγος, therefore, as the first-born before all existence, the πρωτόγονος υἱὸς τοῦ θεοῦ, as the perfect reflection of God, as the ἀρχάγγελος among the angels, as the original power of the divine powers. Alluding to the νοητὸν παράδειγμα of Plato, he describes him as the world-constructing reason; he compares the world to the ζῶον of Plato, and the λόγος to the soul of the world; he calls him God's vicegerent in the world (ὕπαρχος); he gives him the office of mediator between God and the universe, since the connection of phenomena with God is effected through the reason revealed in the world. Hence he is the high-priest of the world, the advocate (παράκητος ) for the defects of men with God, and generally the revealer of the divine nature to the universe.

The Logos is the archetype of the reason, which is formed not after the Absolute himself, the ῎Ον , but after the Logos. He, as the revelation of the Absolute in the reason, is the image of God, after which man, according to Genesis, was created. In this connection he calls the Logos the ideal man; and alluding to a Jewish mystical idea, the original man. In the Logos is the unity of the collected revelations of the Divine Being which is individualized in man. In general, everything is traced back to the distinction between the Divine Being as he is in himself and his revelation in the Logos, or the ειναι and the λέγεσθαι . The revelation of God in creation in all positive revelation in the communication of separate ideas by peculiar dogmas all this forms part of the knowledge of the revealed God in the phenomenal world, and of the symbolical knowledge from the standpoint of the υἱοὶ τοῦ λόγου, over which the standpoint of the υἱοὶ τοῦ ῎Οντος is raised. But this Logos by Philo is only a sort of intermediate being between God, who is in his nature hidden, simple. without attributes, and the eternal, shapeless, chaotic matter (the Platonic ὕλη ). It is the reflection, the first-born Son of God; the second God; the sum of the ideas, which are the original types of all existence; the ideal world itself (κόσμος νοητός); the medium through which the actual, sensible world (κόσμος αἰσθητός) is created and upheld; the interpreter and revealer of God; the archangel, who destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, spoke to Jacob and to Moses in the burning bush, and led the people of Israel through the wilderness; the high-priest (ἀρχιερεύς), and advocate (παράκλητος), who pleads the cause of sinful humanity before God, and procures for it the pardon of its guilt. We see an apparent affinity of this view with the christology of St. Paul and St. John, and thus it probably came to exert no small influence with the early Church fathers in the evolution of their doctrine of the Logos.

But at the same time we must not overlook the very essential difference. Philo's doctrine would not itself suggest the application of the idea of the Logos to any historical appearance whatever; for the revelation of the Logos refers not exclusively to any single fact, but to everything relating to the revelation of God in nature and history. If, according to John's Gospel, the appearance of the Logos is the highest and only medium of communication with God, then communion with the Logos in Philo's sense can only be a subordinate standpoint; for not even the highest man immediately apprehends the Absolute. Yet out of this religious idealism a preparation and a medium might be formed for Christian realism, when what was here taken in a merely ideal sense showed itself as realized in humanity. Christianity refers the Logos to the perfect revelation of God in human nature, to the one revelation in Christ; and substitutes for the immediate apprehension of the Absolute the historically founded communion with God revealed in Christ. The symbolical meaning of Philo's Paraclete was elevated by the reference to the historical Christ as the only high-priest. Thus the Alexandrian ideas formed a bridge to Christianity. But we cannot regard the doctrine of a union of the Logos with humanity, in all the forms under which it appeared, as a reflection in the first place of Christianity, but must doubtless presuppose a tendency of this kind before the Christian aera. A yearning of the spirit goes before great events an unconscious longing for that which is to come. This must especially have been the case in that greatest revolution which the religious development of humanity experienced. It was preceded by an unconscious feeling of a revelation of the spiritual world to humanity a longing which hastened to meet the new communications from God. It was not difficult for those who regarded the Logos as the medium of revelation, by which God made himself cognizable to pious souls, and, on the other hand, who held the Messiah to be the highest of God's messengers, to suppose a particular connection between him and the Logos. But, after all, this Jewish idea of the Logos is quite eclipsed by the Christian idea of the Messiah: with the Jews it is simply the hope of their miraculous restoration from all parts of the world to Palestine, through the agency of a superhuman appearance (/OgLc); and even this supernatural phenomenon has no legitimate place in Philo's system; it means nothing.

But again, his dualistic and idealistic view of the world absolutely excludes an incarnation, which is the central truth' of Christianity (comp. Dorner, Person of Christ). His Christ, if he needed any. could have been at best but a gnostic, docetistic, fantastic Christ; his redemption, but ideal and intellectual. He attained only an artificial harmony between God and the world, between Judaism and heathenism; which hovered, like a "spectral illusion," an "evanescent fata morgana," on the horizon of dawning Christianity. Says Schaff, "It is a question not vet entirely settled whether Philo's Logos was a personal hypostasis or merely a personification, a divine attribute. While Gfrorer, GrossmannDahne, Lucke, Ritter, and Semisch maintain the former view, Dorner (Entwicklungsgeschichte der Lehre von der Person Christi, 2d ed. 1:23 sq.) has latterly attempted to re-establish the other. To me, Philo himself seems to vibrate between the two views; and this obscurity accounts for the difference among so, distinguished scholars on this point" (Hist. of the Apostolic Church, page 180). The eternal atonement, which Philo imagined already made and eternally being made by his ideal Logos, could be effected only by a creative act of the condescending love of God; and it is a remarkable instance of divine wisdom in history that this redeeming act was really performed about the same time that the greatest Jewish philosopher and theologian of his age was dreaming of and announcing to the world a ghostlike shadow of it.

Of his other philosophic speculations we have space only to refer to some of his ethical views. With him knowledge and virtue are gifts of God, to be obtained only by self-abnegation on the part of man. A life of contemplation is superior to one of practical, political occupation. In other words, the business of man is to follow and imitate God (De Caritate, 2:404, et pass.). The soul must strive to become the dwelling-place of God, his holy temple, and so to become strong, whereas it was before weak, and wise, whereas before it was foolish (De Somn. 1:23). The highest blessedness is to abide in God (πέρας εὐδαιμονίας τὸ ἀκλινῶς καὶ ἀῤῥεπῶς ἐν μόνῳ στῆναι ). The various minor sciences serve as a preparatory training for the knowledge of God. Of the philosophical disciplines, logic and physics are of little worth. The highest step in philosophy is the intuition of God, to which the sage attains through divine illumination when, completely renouncing himself and leaving behind his finite self-consciousness, he resigns himself unresistingly to the divine influence.

It remains for us to notice the use that has been made of Philo's writings within the domain of New-Test. interpretation. There are some Christian exegetists who in their rationalistic tendency have gone so far as to account for the character and style of some of the NewTest. Scriptures by referring their origin to Philo's writings. (We here quote largely from Kitto's Biblical Cyclopcedia.) Mr. Grinfield. in his Hellenistic Greek Testament, and the accompanying Scholia, has derived many of his notes from the works of Philo; in the application, however, of such illustrations, it must be borne in mind that Philo's style was hardly a natural one; it is very elaborate, and avoids Alexandrian provincialisms, and on that account often fails to elucidate the simple diction of the New Test., even where there is similarity in the subject-matter (comp. Carpzovii Exer. Sacr. in Ep. ad Hebr. page 140). But recent critics of the rationalistic school are not content with finding in Philo such illustration of the New Test. as might be expected to occur in a contemporary, and in some respects kindred, Greek writer; they go so far as to assert that some of the prominent doctrines of the sacred writers are little else than accommodations from the opinions of Philo, mediate or immediate. Thus Grossmann (Quaest. Philon. sub init.) does not scruple to say that Christianity is the product of the allegories of the Jewish synagogue and of Philo. Other writers, more measured in their terms, trace isolated truths to a like source. For instance, the well-disposed Ernesti (Institutes), and after him Luicke, who says, "It is impossible to mistake as to the immediate historical connection of John's doctrine of the Logos with the Alexandrian in its more perfect form, as it occurs in Philo." Similarly, Strauss, De Wette, and others; while others again apply the like criticism to St. Paul. Among these we must especially notice Gfrorer, whose work, Philo und die judisch-alexandrinische Theologie, has been made accessible to English readers, in an abridged form. by Prof. Jowett, in his dissertation St. Paul and Philo, contained in his commentary on St. Paul's Epp. 1:363-417.

No criticism, however, is to be tolerated by the believer in Revelation which does not start from the principle that the characteristic truths of Christianity are self-evolved, i.e., (to use Dorner's words) "have not emerged from without Christianity, but wholly from within it" (Person of Christ [Clark], volume 1, Introduction, page 45). Instead of making Philo, in any sense, a fountain-head of Christian doctrine, it would be more correct to regard him as the unconscious source of antichristian opinion unconscious, we say, for with all his knowledge and skill in style, Philo possessed not those energetic qualities which characterize founders of schools of opinion. To say nothing of Philo's influence upon the theosophizing fathers of the Church, Clement of Alexandria and Origen, who borrowed largely from their Jewish predecessor and fellow-citizen, some of the salient heresies of the early centuries had almost their spring in the Philonian writings (for the affinity of the opposite opinions of Arius and Sabellius to certain opinions of Philo, see Mosheim's Notes on Cudworth cited below); while that pagan philosophy, the Neo-Platonism of Alexandria, which derived much of its strength and obtained its ultimate defeat from the Christianity which it both aped and hated, is mainly traceable to our Philo. For a popular but sufficiently exact statement of (1) Philo's relation to Neo-Platonism, and (2) of the antagonism of this Neo-Platonism to Christianity, the reader is referred to Lewes's Hist. of Philosophy, pages 260-278. Although we cannot therefore allow that the inspired volume of the Christian religion owes in its origin anything to Philo, we do not deny to his writings a certain utility in the interpretation of the New Test. (See PHILOSOPHY, GREEK).

Besides the explanation of words and phrases above referred to (a service which is the more valuable because of Philo's profound acquaintance with the Septuagint version, in which the writers of the New Test. show themselves to have been well versed also), the works of Philo sometimes contribute interesting elucidation of scriptural facts and statements. We may instance his delineation of the character of Pontius Pilate (De Legat. ad Caium, 38, Richter, 6:134; Bohn, 4:164). This well- drawn sketch of such a man, from the masterly hand of a contemporary, throws considerable light on more than one point, such as the relations of Herod and Pilate, which are but lightly touched in the Gospels (comp. Hale's Analysis, 3:216-218). As a second instance, may we not regard the remarkable passage of St. Paul as receiving light from Philo's view of the twofold creation, first of the heavenly (οὐράνιος ) or ideal man, and then of the earthly (γήϊνος) man? (Comp. 1 Corinthians 15:46-47, with Philo, De Allegor. Legis, 1:12, 13 [Richter, 1:68; Bohn, 1:601, and De Mundi Opific. page 46 [Richter, 1:43; Bohn, 1:39]; and see Stanley on Corinthians, 1:331.) But then such illustration is rather an example of how Philo is corrected by St. Paul, than of how St. Paul borrowed from Philo. Respecting the allegorical method of interpreting the Old Test., of which the apostle is alleged to have derived the idea from our author, it should be remembered that St. Paul, guided by the Divine Spirit, who had indited the ancient Scriptures, was directed to apply Old-Test. facts to New-Test. doctrines, as correlative portions of one great scheme of providential dispensation; whereas Philo's adaptations of te same facts were only the product of an arbitrary and extremely fanciful imagination; so that in the case of the former we have an authoritative and sure method of interpreting ancient events without ever impairing their historical and original truth, whereas the latter affords us nothing besides the conjectures of a mind of great vivacity indeed, but often capricious and inconsistent, which always postpones the truth of history to its allegorical sense, and oftentimes wholly reduces it to a simple myth. Readers of Philo are well aware of the extravagance and weakness of many of his allegories; of these some are inoffensive, no doubt, and some others are even neat and interesting, but none carry with them the simple dignity and expressiveness of the allegorical types of the New Test. St. Paul and Philo, it is well known, have both treated the history of Hagar and Sarah allegorically (comp. Galatians 4:22-31 with Philo, De Congressu, pages 1-5 [Richter, 3:71-76; Bohn, 2:157-162]; and see Lightfoot, Epist. to Gal. pages 189-191; and Howson's Hagar and Arabia, pages 20, 36, 37); but although we have here one of the best specimens of Philo's favorite method, how infinitely does it fall short of St. Paul's! To say nothing of authority, it fails in terseness and point, and all the features of proper allegory. The reader will at once perceive this who examines both.

Literature. For an account of Philo's philosophical and theological system in general, the reader is referred to Mosheim's notes on Cudworth, p. 640-649 [transl. by Harrison, 2:320-333], where Philo's influence on Patristic divinity and early heresy, especially the Sabellian, is clearly traced; to Ritter, Hist. of Phil. [transl. by Morrison], 4:407-478; and to Dollinger, The Gentile and the Jew [transl. by Darnell], 2:398-408; Neander, Hist. of Christ. Dogmas, 11:135 sq.; id. Ch. Hist. page 58 sq.; Ueberweg. Hist. of Philos. 1:222 sq.; Schaff, Hist. of the Apost. Ch. page 176 sq.; Tennemann, Hist. of Phil. page 170 sq.; Fabricius, Dis. de Platonismo Philonis (Leips. 1693, 4to); id. Sylloge Dissertat. (Hamb. 1738, 4to); Stahl, Attempt at a Systematic Statement of the Doctrines of Philo of Alexandria, in the Allgem. Bibl. der Bibl. Literatur of Eichhorn, tom. 4. fasc. 5; Schreiter, Ideas of Philo respecting the Immortality of the Soul, the Resurrection, and Future Retribution, in the Analecten of Keil and Tzchirner, volume 1, section 2; see also volume 3, section 2; Scheffer, Quaestiones, part 1, 2, 1829-31; Grossmann, Quaestiones Philoniance, part 1, De theologies Philonis fontibus et auctoritate (1829); Gfrorer, Philo und die Alexandrinische Theosophie (1831, 1835, 2 volumes); Dahne, Geschichtliche Darstellung der judisch-alexandrinischen Religionsphilosophie (1831), part 1; id. in the Theol. Studien und Kritiken, 1833, page 984; Bucher, Philonische Studien (1848); Creuzer, Kritik der Schriften des Juden Philon, in Theol. Studien und Kritiken, January 1832. Philo's opinions about the divine Logos have been warmly discussed. The ancients, as we have seen, were fond of identifying them with Christian doctrine; Mangey, in the middle of the last century, accompanied his splendid edition of Philo's works (2 volumes, fol.) with a dissertation, in which he made our author attribute, in the Christian sense, a distinct personality to the Logos; bishop Bull had stated a similar opinion (Def. Fid. Nic. [transl. by the Reverend Peter Holmes for the Anglo. Cath. Lib.], 1:31-33); and, more recently, Bryant (Sentiments of Philo Jud. concerning the λόγος); and, very lately, Pye Smith (Messiah, 1:573-600).

But the conclusions of these writers, however learnedly asserted, have been abundantly refuted in many works; the chief of which are Carpzovii Disput. de λόγῳ Philonis, non Johannis, adversus Mangey (1749); Csesar Morgan's Investigation of the Trinity of Plato and of Philo Jud.; Burton's Banmpton Lectures, note 93, pages 550-560; and Dorner's Person of Christ [Clarke], 1:22-41. (See also the able articles of professors H.B. Smith and Moses Stuart, in the Bibliotheca Sacra, 6:156-185, and 7:696- 732.) An interesting review of Philo's writings and their relation to Judaism, from the Jewish point of view, occurs in Jost's Geschichte des Judenthums, 1:379-393 (the chapter is designated Die Gnosis im Judenthume); Gratz, Gesch. der. Juden, 3:298 sq.; Schultz, Die judische Religionsphilosophie in Gelzer's Prot. Monatsblatt, volume 24, No. 4 (October 1864); Clemens, Die Therapeuten (Konigsb. 1809); Georgius, Ueber die neuesten Gegensatze in Aufassung der Alexandrin. Religionsphilosophie in Illgen's Zeitschr. f. hist. Theol. (1839), Nos. 3 and 4; Keferstein, Philo's Lehre v.d. Mittelwesen (Leips. 1846); Wolff, Die Philonische Philosophie (ibid. 1849; 2d ed. Gothenb. 1858); Frankel, Zur Ethik des Philo, in Monatschrift f. Gesch. u. Wissensch. d. Judenthums, July 1867; Delaney, Philon d'Alexandrie (Paris, 1867). We ought not to close this article without noticing the old opinion which made Philo the author of the beautiful Book of Wisdom in the Apocrypha. This opinion, which was at one time very prevalent, has not stood its ground before recent critical examination. For the literature of the question we can only refer our readers to Prof. C.L.W. Grimm's Das Buch der Weisheit, Einleitung, section 6, where the authorities on both sides are given. Corn. a Lapide, in Librum Sapientiae, also discusses Philo's claims to the distinguished honor which tradition had conferred on him, but decides against him [new edition by Vives. 8:264].

Besides Mangey's edition of Philo, above referred to, we mention Turnebus's edition (Paris, 1552, fol.), emended by Hoeschelius (Colon. Allobrog. 1613; Paris, 1640; Francof. 1691); Pfeiffer's edition, incomplete (Erlangen, 1785-92, 5 volumes, 8vo), and the convenient edition by Richter (Leips. 1828-30, 8 volumes, 12mo). This last contains not only a reprint of Mangey, in the first six volumes, but two supplementary volumes of Philo's writings, discovered by Angelo Mai in a Florentine MS., and by Bapt. Aucher in an Armenian version, and translated by him into Latin. What an edition of Philo ought to be to deserve the approbation of the critical student has been pointed out by different German theologians, most recently by Creuzer, in Theol. Studien u. Kritiken, 1832, pages 1-43. A popular and cheap edition was published at Leipsic (1851-53); also Philonea, ed. Tischendorf (Leips. 1868). A fuller account of these editions, with a list of the various versions of Philo's writings, which have been made from time to time into Latin, Hebrew, German, French, Italian, Spanish, and English, is contained in Fiirst's Bibl. Jud. Furst adds a catalogue of all the leading works in which Philo and his writings have been treated. To his list of versions we must here add the useful one published by Mr. Bohn, in four vols. of his Eccl. Library, by Mr. Yonge.

For a complete, and withal succinct examination of the entire field of Philo's opinions, we refer to Herzog's Real-Encyklop. 11:578-603. Shorter and more accessible, but inevitably imperfect, notices occur in Smith's Dict. of Gr. and Rom. Biog. and Mythol. 3:309 sq.; Schaff's Apostolic Church [Clarke], pages 211-214; Horne's Introduction [by Eyre], pages 277, 278; [by Davidson], pages 363-365; Davidson's Hermeneutics [Clarke, 1843], pages 63-65; Fairbairn's Hermeneut. Man. page 47. A temperate review of Jowett's Dissertation on Philo and St. Paul may be found, written by Dr. J.B. Lightfoot, in the Journal of Philology, 3:119-121; and for sound views respecting Philo's doctrine of the λόγος, as bearing upon the writings of the New Test., see Neander's Planting of the Christian Church [Bohn], 2:13-15; Westcott's Introduction, pages 138-143, and Tholuck's St. John [Clarke], pages 62-67. The interest of Jews in the writings of their philosophic countryman is curiously exhibited in the Hebrew version of certain of them. These are enumerated by Furst, Bibl. Judaica, 2:90. As. de' Rossi, one of the translators, has revived Philo's synonym Jedidiah, by which he was anciently designated in Rabbinical literature (see Bartolocci, ut sup., and Steinschneider's Bodl. Catal. s.v. Philon).

Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Philo'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/​encyclopedias/​eng/​tce/​p/philo.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.
 
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