- Hardcover: 944 pages
- Publisher: Hendrickson Publishers (August 1, 1993)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0943575931
- ISBN-13: 978-0943575933
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.8 x 9.3 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 46 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #308,783 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Works of Philo: Complete and Unabridged, New Updated Edition Hardcover – August 1, 1993
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Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Greek
From the Back Cover
The cover illustration depicts a piece of "gold glass" found near Rome. The menorah, or seven-branched lamp stand, was a popular symbol of Judaism and can be found on such famous architectural monuments as the Arch of Titus. The scene on this "gold glass" also shows other items of Jewish ritual significance, including the Ark of the Covenant flanked by two Lions, a "shofar" or trumpet, a palm branch, and an oil jar. Many of these items held strong messianic significance and figured prominently in the life of Israel, such as in the Feast of Tabernacles (or Booths). The photo appears courtesy of the Vatican Library and is used with permission.
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Jewish and Kabbalistic scholars will find early Neoplatonized commentary on the Jewish scriptures, while classicists will find useful comparative points regarding Roman practices, and philosophers will find useful developments of Plato's thoughts. This book really does have a great deal to offer many students of different disciplines. Christian scholars too will find a great deal of roots of early Church theology in this work as well.
I would highly recommend the study of Philo to most people, and this is a good translation of his works.
My parish priest is currently focusing on some of the Wisdom literature in the Old Testament, and as an adjunct to these lessons, I decided to give Philo a try. Indeed, Philo is keenly interested in Wisdom. He describes the Tabernacle as an image of Wisdom. What is also of interest to me is Philo's adoption of a dualist view of the world. The body is evil to him. One can easily infer that Mani and the successor schools of Christian dualism were clearly sewing on fertile ground in the subsequent centuries.
Philo writes as if he were speaking to a student, and this is only right as he would indeed have been imparting a great body of knowledge, as a true generalist, to students who have attached themselves to this man of learning who is the teacher of his school of philosophy. The reader too now gets to walk with this teacher.
It is no wonder that Patristic writers would find much of Philo to be a great value, and much of what he concludes to be rejected too -- the dualistic view of man and creation being a prime example. Still, to see the imagery and language of the Hellenistic world in Philo's writing gives one insight into the thoughts, the idioms, the common language of the thinkers of the Grecco-Roman world. His use of the Hellenistic imagery, vocabulary, and methods of reasoning will be seen again, and taken to new (transformed)levels by the Church Fathers of Christendom over the next several hundred years. For Patristic scholars, Philo seems like something of a prototype.
Philo speaks the language of Plato, Cicero, Seneca, and Aristotle. His religion is certainly different, but the world in which he lives is the same world, and he interprets, and divines the meanings of his Sacred Texts in the context of this world.
While some translations of philosophical and theological works, especially from antiquity, are so wooden and stilted as to make the text too formidable for non-academicians, not so this translation. Philo is made approachable to this reader in large part due to the translation. Despite the amount of reading, the translation assures that the text is never off-putting. Would that all translations could be this readable.
if anyone wishes to compare the writings of paul/saul with philo, and has not thus far done so, then this is a book well worth reading.
there is one software program on the market that i know of that will offer a greek and interlinear text, so this book is somewhat behind the curve in that regard. however, for the sake of the leisure of reading and not crunching, this is the book that will at the least provide the trail for further study.
to the best of my knowledge this is the only other text besides the new testament that mentions the Paraclete in theological similarity to the notion put forward in the canonical new testament. i will leave it to other scholars to hand down the final verdict on this set of ancient writings.
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