Philo of Alexandria was a Jewish philosopher who lived in Roman-ruled Egypt. When the Jews of Alexandria were ordered to defy their beliefs and worship Gaius Julius Caesar, also known as Caligula, they sent Philo to plead their case to the emperor. Philo’s writings provide an account of the atrocities the Jews faced for their refusal to glorify a man as a god. They were dragged to death, burned alive with their families, slaughtered in their homes, and even crucified. Well versed in Greek and Jewish learning, Philo integrated biblical teachings with Greek philosophy, giving rise to an influential approach to Scripture. The ideas that emerged impacted both Christian and Jewish religious thought.
Complete and unabridged, this updated version of The Works of Philo is the most complete one-volume edition of the writings of Philo. Here in translation by the eminent classicist, C. D. Yonge, this edition provides easy access to writing crucial for historians and students of Hellenistic Judaism and early Christianity.
“(179) And what can this best of all things be except God?” (Page 658)
“Relatively little is known about Philo’s life. He lived his entire life in Alexandria, Egypt, the location of the single largest Jewish community outside of Palestine in this period (the Jewish population of Alexandria was perhaps one million people). Philo came from a prominent and wealthy family, was well educated, and was a leader within the Alexandrian Jewish community. So far as is known, Philo visited the temple in Jerusalem only once in his lifetime (On Providence 2.64).” (source)
“And his exordium, as I have already said, is most admirable; embracing the creation of the world, under the idea that the law corresponds to the world and the world to the law, and that a man who is obedient to the law, being, by so doing, a citizen of the world, arranges his actions with reference to the intention of nature, in harmony with which the whole universal world is regulated.” (source)
“Philo, usually known as Philo the Jew (Philo Judaeus) or Philo of Alexandria (a city in Egypt with a large Jewish Diaspora population in Greco-Roman times), lived from about 20 B.C. to about A.D. 50. He is one of the most important Jewish authors of the Second Temple period of Judaism and was a contemporary of both Jesus and Paul. Yet, Philo is not nearly as well known or as frequently read as the first century A.D. Jewish historian Josephus.” (source)
“So then after all the other things, as has been said before, Moses says that man was made in the image and likeness of God. And he says well; for nothing that is born on the earth is more resembling God than man. And let no one think that he is able to judge of this likeness from the characters of the body: for neither is God a being with the form of a man, nor is the human body like the form of God; but the resemblance is spoken of with reference to the most important part of the soul, namely, the mind: for the mind which exists in each individual has been created after the likeness of that one mind which is in the universe as its primitive model, being in some sort the God of that body which carries it about and bears its image within it.” (Pages 10–11)
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Charles Duke Yonge (1812–1891) was an English historian and classicist. Educated at Oxford, he became regius professor of modern history at Queen’s College, Belfast. He is the author of a number of historical works, and also translated several classical works.
Philo of Alexandria (c. 20 BC–AD 50) was a Jewish philosopher who lived in Roman-ruled Egypt. He was educated in Hellenistic, Roman, and Ancient Egyptian culture and Judaic tradition. Philo recorded the atrocities committed against the Jews, largely by the Roman governor, Flaccus. His theological and philosophical writings used allegorical exegesis to unite Greek Stoic philosophy with Jewish philosophy. His works impacted Christian Church Fathers more than Judaism.