Phantoms of the Forum
In Response To: Re: Philo and Herod ()

Nice of Philo AND Paul to stop by the forum and share a few thoughts!! No doubt they knew each other well. Who will pop in next, James brother of Jesus? Definitely need a little comic relief around here from time to time. This gets to be such serious stuff.

Philo a fluke?

If the theory of Philo being a descendant of Honias/Honi the Circle Drawer is correct, and it's the best one I've come across, then Philo was among a household of consummate Sadducees. I suppose Sadducees were rationalists. At least they did not believe in a literal resurrection of the dead. But after losing the High Priesthood and taking up residence in Alexandria they would have been exposed to new ways of thinking, or more accurately, reunited with the olden philosophies of their more distant ancestors the pharaohs, as well as those of the Ptolemaic Greeks.

Like the Herodians, the family of Philo was rich enough and liberal enough to taste the entire smorgasborg of religious experience, from Egypt to Ireland to Italy to Arabia to Persia and even to India. For example Robert Eisenman shows that Paul not only understood the beliefs of all the major Jewish sects, he often deliberately twisted and inverted the meaning of sectarian tenets for his own purposes. He was adapting concepts from far and wide and creating a designer faith that was effective in his own place and time. He may not have had the depth of thinking and clarity of logic of the Pharisee Gamaliel that he so greatly idolized, but the breadth of his knowledge and experience gained from a privileged yet challenged life was probably unequalled.

I don't see the same competitive fire in Philo as with Paul. Competition within the Herodian family was incredibly intense, to say the least. What I have read of Philo (and that isn't much) seems eclectic and abstract. He definitely lacks Paul's edge and practical/personal application, but he isn't alone in that!

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