- Paperback: 184 pages
- Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press; First Edition edition (February 2, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 066422735X
- ISBN-13: 978-0664227357
- Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.4 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,812,546 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ Free Shipping
+ Free Shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
A Brief Guide to Philo Paperback – February 2, 2005
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
About the Author
Kenneth Schenck is Professor of Religion at Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion, Indiana and an ordained minister in the Wesleyan Church.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Schenck makes the sensible suggestion to begin with one of Philo's non-religious works first (e.g., Embassy to Gaius), which will acquaint the reader with Philo's style and personality, and from there to proceed to Philo's well-structured Questions and Answers on Genesis, before trying to tackle the more complex allegorical works.
A feature of special note is the helpful topical index to Philo's works supplied at the end of the book.
Unlike a previous reviewer, I didn't get the impression that Schenck casts doubt on possible Philonic influences on early Christianity as much as takes a sensible moderate view, in contrast to some who tend to see it everywhere in the Epistles and the Gospel of John. Certainly Philo's later influence on Church Fathers (St. Clement of Alexandria, Origen, St. Ambrose of Milan, etc.) is beyond question.
In my opinion this is the best book for a newcomer about Philo and his works, and even specialists will find it a worthwhile library addition.
For those whose interest in Philo extends beyond the academic and historical to the devotional -- that is, who sense in Philo something of an inspired religious philosopher with genuine spiritual insights, Schenck's book might be supplemented with Samuel Sandmel's Philo of Alexandria: An Introduction -- now out of print, but easily available used for a few dollars. Kenneth Guthrie's book, The Message of Philo (1909), available online, may also interest such readers.
Schenck succinctly shows Philo's seeming centrality in the history of philosophy. He is one of the early examples of Middle Platonism; he is considered one of the transitional figures from ancient to medieval philosophy (and a prime example of a Greco-Roman philosopher). Schenck highlights his importance, but also illustrates his lack of influence. Few read Philo until recently. His impact on philosophy is uncertain and perhaps marginal.
Schenck also illustrates how difficult it is to place Philo in the history of Judaism. Philo is certainly an example of a Hellenized Jew, but how typical was his life and work? What was Philo's relationship to the different strains of 1st century Judaism? Again, Schenck does not shrink from presenting uncertainty. Philo provides us with an invaluable window on the lost world of Hellenized Jews, but his impact on subsequent Judaism was doubtful or non-existent.
Finally, Philo's once one uncontested influence is also brought into doubt by Schenck: his influence on early Christianity. This books shows that the authors of some early Christian works use the same terminology and images as Philo, but in different and sometimes profound ways. Philo influence on early Christianity is cast in doubt by Schenck.
This small book does a great deal of heavy lifting in presenting Philo and his work in all the complexity they deserve.