Selected Writings PDF
by Philo of Alexandria
Philo (20 B.C.–50 A.D.), known also as Philo of Alexandria (Greek: Φίλων ὁ Ἀλεξανδρεύς, Hebrew: ידידיה הכהן Yedidia Hacohen), Philo Judaeus, Philo Judaeus of Alexandria, Yedidia, "Philon", and Philo the Jew, was a Hellenistic Jewish Biblical philosopher born in Alexandria.
Philo used philosophical allegory to attempt to fuse and harmonize Greek philosophy with Jewish philosophy. His method followed the practices of both Jewish exegesis and Stoic philosophy. His allegorical exegesis was important for several Christian Church Fathers, but he has barely any reception history within Judaism. "The sophists of literalness," as he calls the literalist Jews, "opened their eyes superciliously" when he explained to them the marvels of his exegesis. He believed that literal interpretations of the Hebrew Bible would stifle mankind's view and perception of a God too complex and marvelous to be understood in literal human terms.
Some scholars hold that his concept of the Logos as God's creative principle influenced early Christology. Other scholars, however, deny direct influence but say both Philo and Early Christianity borrow from a common source. For Philo, the Logos was God's "blueprint for the world", a governing plan.
The few biographical details concerning Philo are found in his own works, especially in Legatio ad Gaium ("embassy to Gaius"), and in Josephus. The only event in his life that can be determined chronologically is his participation in the embassy in which the Alexandrian Jews were sent to the emperor Caligula at Rome as the result of civil strife between the Alexandrian Jewish and Greek communities. This occurred in the year 40 CE.
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