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Philo-Judaeus of Alexandria

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122 pages
Project Gutenberg's Philo-Judaeus of Alexandria, by Norman BentwichThis eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and withalmost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away orre-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License includedwith this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.netTitle: Philo-Judaeus of AlexandriaAuthor: Norman BentwichRelease Date: January 10, 2005 [EBook #14657]Language: EnglishCharacter set encoding: ISO-8859-1*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK PHILO-JUDAEUS OF ALEXANDRIA ***Produced by Ted Garvin, jayam, David King, and the PG OnlineDistributed Proofreading TeamPHILO-JUD�USOF ALEXANDRIA,BYNORMAN BENTWICHSometime Scholar of Trinity College,Cambridge.PHILADELPHIATHE JEWISH PUBLICATION SOCIETY OF AMERICA1910COPYRIGHT, 1910,BY THE JEWISH PUBLICATION SOCIETY OF AMERICATO MY MOTHER [Greek: thrept ria] �PREFACEIt is a melancholy reflection upon the history of the Jews that theyhave failed to pay due honor to their two greatest philosophers.Spinoza was rejected by his contemporaries from the congregation ofIsrael; Philo-Jud us was neglected by the generations that followed�him. Maimonides, our third philosopher, was in danger of meeting thesame fate, and his philosophical work was for long viewed withsuspicion by a large part of the community. Philosophers, by the veryexcellence of their thought, have in all races towered above thecomprehension of the people, and aroused the suspicion of ...
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Project Gutenberg's Philo-Judaeus of Alexandria, by Norman Bentwich This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.net Title: Philo-Judaeus of Alexandria Author: Norman Bentwich Release Date: January 10, 2005 [EBook #14657] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK PHILO-JUDAEUS OF ALEXANDRIA *** Produced by Ted Garvin, jayam, David King, and the PG Online Distributed Proofreading Team PHILO-JUD�US OF ALEXANDRIA, BY NORMAN BENTWICH Sometime Scholar of Trinity College, Cambridge. PHILADELPHIA THE JEWISH PUBLICATION SOCIETY OF AMERICA 1910 COPYRIGHT, 1910, BY THE JEWISH PUBLICATION SOCIETY OF AMERICA TO MY MOTHER [Greek: thrept ria] � PREFACE It is a melancholy reflection upon the history of the Jews that they have failed to pay due honor to their two greatest philosophers. Spinoza was rejected by his contemporaries from the congregation of Israel; Philo-Jud us was neglected by the generations that followed� him. Maimonides, our third philosopher, was in danger of meeting the same fate, and his philosophical work was for long viewed with suspicion by a large part of the community. Philosophers, by the very excellence of their thought, have in all races towered above the comprehension of the people, and aroused the suspicion of the religious teachers. Elsewhere, however, though rejected by the Church, they have left their influence upon the nation, and taken a commanding place in its history, because they have founded secular schools of thought, which perpetuated their work. In Judaism, where religion and nationality are inextricably combined, that could not be. The history of Judaism since the extinction of political independence is the history of a national religious culture; what was national in its thought alone found favor; and unless a philosopher's work bore this national religious stamp it dropped out of Jewish history. Philo certainly had an intensely strong Jewish feeling, but his work had also another aspect, which was seized upon and made use of by those who wished to denationalize Judaism and convert it into a philosophical monotheism. The favor which the Church Fathers showed to his writings induced and was balanced by the neglect of the rabbis. It was left till recently to non-Jews to study the works of Philo, to present his philosophy, and estimate its value. So far from taking a Jewish standpoint in their work, they emphasized the parts of his teaching that are least Jewish; for they were writing as Christian theologians or as historians of Greek philosophy. They searched him primarily for traces of Christian, neo-Platonic, or Stoic doctrines, and commiserated with him, or criticised him as a weak-kneed eclectic, a half-blind groper for the true light. Even during the last hundred years, which have marked a revival of the historical consciousness of the Jews, as of all peoples, it has still been left in the main to non-Jewish scholars to write of Philo in relation to his time and his environment. The purpose of this little book is frankly to give a presentation of Philo from the Jewish standpoint. I hold that Philo is essentially and splendidly a Jew, and that his thought is through and through Jewish. The surname given him in the second century, "Jud us," not only distinguishes him from an � obscure Christian bishop, but it expresses the predominant characteristic of his teaching. It may be objected that I have pointed the moral and adorned the tale in accordance with preconceived opinions, which--as Mr. Claude Montefiore says in his essay on Philo--it is easy to do with so strange and curious a writer. I confess that my worthy appeals to me most strongly as an exponent of Judaism, and it may be that in this regard I have not always looked on him as the calm, dispassionate student should; for I experience towards him that warmth of feeling which his name, [Greek: philon], "the beloved one," suggests. But I have tried so to write this biography as neither to show partiality on the one side nor impartiality on the other. If nevertheless I have exaggerated the Jewishness of my worthy's thought, my excuse must be that my predecessors have so often exaggerated other aspects of his teaching that it was necessary to call a new picture into being, in order to redress the balance of the old. Although I have to some extent taken a line of my own in this Life, my obligations to previous writers upon Philo are very great. I have used freely the works of Drummond, Sch rer, Massebieau, Zeller, Conybeare, � Cohn, and Wendland; and among those who have treated of Philo in relation to Jewish tradition I have read and borrowed from Siegfried (_Philon als Ausleger der heiligen Schrift_), Freudenthal (_Hellenistische Studien_), Ritter (_Philo und die Halacha_), and Mr. Claude Montefiore's _Florilegium Philonis_, which is printed in the seventh volume of the Jewish Quarterly Review. Once for all Mr. Montefiore has selected many of the most beautiful and most vital passages of Philo, and much as I should have liked to unearth new gems, as beautiful and as illuminating, I have often found myself irresistibly attracted to Mr. Montefiore's passages. Dr. Neumark's book, _Geschichte der j dischen Philosophie des Mittelalters_, � appeared after my manuscript was set up, or I should have dealt with his treatment of Philo. With what he says of the relation of Plato to Judaism I am in great part in agreement, and I had independently come to the conclusion that Plato was the main Greek influence on Philo's thought. To these various books I owe much, but not so much as to the teaching, influence, and help of one whose name I have not the boldness to associate with this little volume, but whose notes on my manuscript have given it whatever value it may possess. The index I owe to the kindly help of a sister, who would also be nameless. Lastly I have to thank Dr. Lionel Barnett, professor of Sanscrit at University College, London, and my father, who read my manuscript before it was sent to the printers. The one gave me the benefit of his wide and accurate scholarship, the other gave me much valuable advice and removed many a blazing indiscretion. NORMAN BENTWICH. _February 28, 1907._ CONTENTS PAGE I. THE JEWISH COMMUNITY AT ALEXANDRIA II. THE LIFE AND TIMES OF PHILO III. PHILO'S WORKS AND METHOD IV. PHILO AND THE TORAH V. PHILO'S THEOLOGY VI. PHILO AS A PHILOSOPHER VII. PHILO AND JEWISH TRADITION VIII. THE INFLUENCE OF PHILO BIBLIOGRAPHY ABBREVIATIONS USED FOR THE REFERENCES INDEX PHILO-JUD�US OF ALEXANDRIA I THE JEWISH COMMUNITY AT ALEXANDRIA The three great world-conquerors known to history, Alexander, Julius C�sar, and Napoleon, recognized the pre-eminent value of the Jew as a bond of empire, an intermediary between the heterogeneous nations which they brought beneath their sway. Each in turn showed favor to his religion, and accorded him political privileges. The petty tyrants of all ages have persecuted Jews on the plea of securing uniformity among their subjects; but the great conqueror-statesmen who have made history, realizing that progress is brought about by unity in difference, have recognized in Jewish individuality a force making for progress. Whereas the pure