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Re: [John_Lit] Philo

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  • Robert Raphael
    Thanks a bunch. Robert raphael ... From: Peter Hofrichter To: johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com
    Message 1 of 5 , Jul 3, 2001
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      Thanks a bunch.

      Robert raphael
      -----Original Message-----
      From: Peter Hofrichter <Peter.Hofrichter@...>
      To: johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com
      Date: Sunday, July 01, 2001 2:52 PM
      Subject: Re: [John_Lit] Philo

      >----- Original Message -----
      >From: "Robert Raphael" <rraphael3@...>
      >To: <johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com>
      >Sent: Friday, June 29, 2001 7:26 PM
      >Subject: [John_Lit] Philo

      > Does anyone on the list have any information and or opinion regarding
      possibility that Philo of Alexandria's teaching that the logos was God's
      son influenced the content of the Gospel of John, particularly the Prologue.

      Yes, look up my book: Peter Hofrichter, Im Anfang war der
      "Johannesprolog". Das urchristliche Logosbekenntnis - die Basis
      neutestamentlicher und gnostischer Theologie (Biblische
      Untersuchungen 17), Regensburg (Pustet) 1986, 481 Seiten, pages

      All the best
      Univ.-Prof. DDr Peter Hofrichter
      Vorstand des Instituts für Kirchengeschichte und Patrologie
      Theologische Fakultät der Universität Salzburg
      Tel +43 662 8044 2700, home +43 6245 85010, mobil +43 664 2027098
      homepage: www.sbg.ac.at/kig

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      ... From: RHS To: Sent: Tuesday, December 11, 2001 7:06 PM Subject: [John_Lit] Philo ... Dear
      Message 2 of 5 , Dec 11, 2001
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        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "RHS" <diadem@...>
        To: <johannine_literature@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Tuesday, December 11, 2001 7:06 PM
        Subject: [John_Lit] Philo

        > My question about Philo is this.
        > What firm evidence do we have that Philo's writings were widely
        > disseminated and read in Jerusalem and/or wherever the author/s of the
        > FG were writing from?
        > There are more than five pages of references to logos in Hatch and
        > Redpath's Concordance to the LXX. Why do we have to link the FG's usage
        > to Philo when the LXX was already so familiar?
        > I am interested in the extent to which first and second century authors'
        > works were distributed and read. I have a feeling we tend to assume a
        > too ready availability of their works, which is why I am asking for firm
        > eveidence rather than speculation.
        > Ross Saunders from DownUnder.

        Dear Ross Saunders:

        What follows is a repeat of my posting of June 30, in which I outline
        evidence that the author of John at least had a copy of Philo's work Fuga
        (On Flight and Finding):

        I have uncovered evidence of a literary dependency of the author
        of John on Philo's work Fuga. If this is correct, then the author of John
        did consciously identify Jesus as being Philo's Logos, God's Son.

        Lev. 21:10 thusly opens in the Septuagint, "And the priest that is chief
        among his brethren, the oil having been poured upon the head of the
        Christou,..". This means, Philo declares in Fuga 108-109, "The High Priest
        is not a man but a divine Logos....his Father being God." Further, in 110,
        he states, "His head has been kechristai with oil and by this I mean that
        his ruling facility is illumined with a brilliant light.". Thus, for Philo,
        the Logos is Son of God. Further, he is the Christ i.e., Annointed One--a
        fact Philo acknowledges by saying that he has been kechristai, i.e.,
        annointed. .

        As we shall now see, the "oil" by which the Logos, the Son of God, has been
        annointed (an
        "oil" that illumines his mind with brilliant light) is the Spirit as Sophia.
        I say this because, first of all, in Philonic thought, the
        Spirit is also Sophia (See Gig 23, "God called up Bezaleel, he
        says, and 'filled him with the Divine Spirit, with Sophia, Understanding,
        and Knowledge, and knowledge to devise in every work.' In these words we
        have suggested to us a definition of what the Spirit of God is." Also see
        On Genesis (Book I, 90), "For the Divine Spirit is not a movement of
        air but Intelligence and Sophia." Finally, see Deus. 2-3, "That
        something is his words about the Divine Spirit, that nothing is harder than
        that it should abide for ever in the soul with its manifold forms and
        divisions--the soul which has fastened on it the grievous burden of the
        fleshly coil. It is after that Spirit (has gone) that the angels or
        messengers (of falsehood) go into 'the daughters of men'. For while the
        soul is illumined by the bright and pure rays of Sophia , through which the
        sage sees God and His potencies, none of the messengers of falsehood has
        access to the reason (i.e., mind), but are barred from passing the bounds
        which the lustral water has consecrated."). I also say this because, second
        of all, as Sophia, the Spirit is a spiritual oil that lightens-up the
        mind. So, in The Worse Attacks the Better (117), Philo declares, "The
        fountain of the divine Sophia" can come "as material for lighting up the
        soul, even as oil does a lamp."

        Next, in Fuga 111, Philo states that "he (i.e., the Logos) shall never
        remove the mitre from his head; he shall not, that is to say, lay aside his
        kingly diadem, the symbol not of absolute sovereignty, but of an admirable

        Finally, in Fuga 114, Philo declares that "to him (i.e., the Logos) is
        betrothed a virgin of the hallowed people, pure and undefiled and of ever
        inviolate intention."

        So, in Philo's work, Fuga, we have this sequence regarding the Logos:
        109 His father is God (and, so, he is Son of God)
        110 He is anointed by God with the Spirit-Sophia
        111 He is King of the Cosmos in the sense of being God's Vice-roy
        114 He is betrothed to "a virgin of the hallowed people"

        In Chapter three of John, we have this sequence regarding what the Baptizer
        says about Jesus:
        29. He is the Bridegroom of the bride
        31. He is the King of the Cosmos ("is above all")
        34. He is anointed by God with the Spirit ("for not by measure gives God
        the Spirit")
        35a. His father is God ("The Father loves the Son")

        Note that the sequence in Fuga is in reverse order to that in John:
        109 = 35a
        110 = 34
        111 = 31
        114 = 29
        This is because, I suggest, the author of John was glancing at Fuga in
        reverse order of the narrative flow while writing this section of his

        There is a way to test this hypothesis. That is, if it is true, than
        John 3:35b should directly relate to a passage in Fuga not long before 109.
        Indeed. this is the case! In particular, John 3:35b directly relates to
        Fuga 101.

        In John 3:35b, John declares, the Father "has given all things into his
        (i.e., the Son's) hand." How can the Son govern the Cosmos through his
        hand? The answer is found in Fuga 101, where Philo declares that, "while
        the Logos is the charioteer of the Powers, He Who talks is seated in the
        chariot, giving directions to the charioteer for the right-wielding of the
        reins of the universe." In his right-wielding of the reins of the universe,
        of course, the Logos uses his hand. Therefore, in Fuga 101 we have a scene
        in which God has given the rulership of all things into the hand of the
        Logos--thereby making it an amazing parallel to John 3:35b: where the Father
        has given the rulership of all things into the hand of the Son...

        That this hypothesis passes this test of its validity in a decisive
        fashion means that it likely is true. Therefore, it is likely that the
        author of John was glancing at Fuga 101-14 in reverse order of its
        narrative flow while writing John 3:29-35.

        I think that this literary relationship can be expanded beyond 3:35 to 4:24:
        with 4:10-15 relating to 97, 4:16-18 relating to 94, 4:22 relating to 82
        and 4:23-24 relating to 77-81. In this
        case, from 3:29 to 4:24, we have allusions to Fuga made in reverse order,
        i.e., first an allusion to 111, then to 110, then to 109, then to 101, then
        to 97, then to 94, then to 82 and then to 77-81. Certainly, John 3:29-4:24
        is a deliberately contrived literary unit, for it is immediately preceded,
        in 3:28, by the Baptizer's cry that he is not the Christ and it is
        immediately followed, in 4:25-26, with Jesus' proclation that he is the

        In 4:10-15, Jesus engages in a discussion with a Samaritan woman over
        water: with Jesus referring to a living water that he has and that can
        become a fountain of water springing up into eternal life within oneself..
        There is an allusion here, I believe, to Fuga 97: where Philo exhorts one to
        "pass forward to the supreme Divine Logos, who is the fountain of (the
        Spirit as) Sophia, in order that he may draw from the stream and, released
        from death, gain life eternal as his prize." Hence, in 4:10-15, Jesus
        identifies himself as being the Logos.

        In 4:16-18, we have a curious exchange between the Samaritan woman and
        Jesus in which Jesus tells her that she has had five husbands and that the
        one she is with is not her husband. There is an allusion here, I believe,
        to Fuga. 94: where Philo states that the are six cities of refuge, with the
        chief and best city being the Logos. Therefore, in 4:16-18, the five
        "husbands" the woman has had are the five inferior cities of refuge (the
        royal power, the creative power, the gracious power, the legislative power,
        and the prohibitions on what we should do). With each of these five cities
        of refuge, she has spent some time in the past "honoring and obeying" . The
        city of refuge she is
        currently with (i.e., Jesus: the Logos who is the chief and best city of
        refuge), is not her husband because she has not (at least up till this point
        in time) ever "honored and obeyed" him.

        In 4:22, Jesus tells the Samaritan woman, " You worship who you know
        not, we worship what we know--for salvation is of the Jews." I believe that
        this relates to Fuga 82: where, Philo states, "For to know Him is true
        wisdom and virtue, and ignorance of Him is manifest stupidity and
        wickedness." Therefore, here, Jesus is very critical of the Samaritans.
        The Jews know God. Hence, as they know what is wisdom and virtue, salvation
        is of them. In contrast, the Samaritans do not know God and, so, know only
        what is stupid and wicked. They need help and it is from the Jews that they
        should seek it.

        In 4:23-24, Jesus tells the Samaritan woman, "But is coming (and now is!)
        an hour when the true worshippers will worship the Father within Spirit and
        Truth (rather than at Mt. Gerizim or the Jerusalem temple). God is a Spirit
        and they that worship Him must worship within Spirit and Truth." I believe
        that this relates to Fuga. 77-81: which Philo thusly begins by citing Exodus
        21:14a, "'If a man set upon his neighbor to slay him by guile and flee for
        refuge' to God, even to Him Who has been symbolically called a place."
        Here, Philo goes beyond the six cities of refuge to the ultimate refuge,
        i.e., God. Next, commenting on Exodus 21:14b, "You shall take him from My
        altar and put him to death.", Philo speaks of "the refuge which is a place
        of deliverance
        and safety for suppliants only, namely, the altar. Is not this meet and
        right? For the place of sacrifice is wholly occupied by victims free from
        blemish, that is by innocent and purified souls". This altar, where one
        finds refuge with God Himself, then, is not to be found on Mt Gerizim or in
        Jerusalem: for it is a spiritual altar open only to unblemished souls.
        Where, then, is this spiritual altar (and God!) located? Philo gives a clue
        by referring to the locacation as being "the hallowed precincts". This
        tells us that the location is the heavenly temple or tabernacle, i.e., the
        Spirit-Sophia, which is the true house of God. (e.g., see Cong. 116, "And
        further on he will speak of God's dwelling-place, the tabernacle, as being
        'ten curtains', for to the structure which includes the whole of (the Spirit
        as) Sophia, the perfect number ten belongs, and (the Spirit as) Sophia is
        the court and palace of the All-ruler, the sole Monarch, the Sovereign
        Lord."). Those who find refuge in God, then do so within the Spirit-Sophia,
        the heavenly temple or tabernacle: which, rather than any earthly temple
        (even the one at Jerusalem!), is the true house of God.. In worshipping God,
        then, they worship him within the Spirit-Sophia. Or, to use Johannine
        language, since the author of John took to Spirit to also be Truth (e.g.,
        see 14:17, 15:26 and 16:13), they worship God within Spirit and Truth.

        To recap:
        Passage from Fuga Relates to Passage from John
        77-81 4:23-24
        82 4:22
        94 4:16-18
        97 4:10-15
        101 3:35b
        109 3:35a
        110 3:34
        111 3:31
        114 3:29
        Suggested reason: the author of John was glancing at Fuga in reverse of the
        narrative flow while writing John 3:29-4:24. If so, then Jesus is
        identified as Philo's Logos, God's Son, in this part of John. And, if he is
        identifed as Philo's Logos, God's Son, in this part of John, the reasonable
        expectation is that he is identified as Philo's Logos, God's Son, in other
        parts of John as well--particularly the Prologue.


        Frank McCoy
        Maplewood, MN USA
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