- 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 Frank McCoy,
Thank you for all your research.
I still have a couple of problems, though.
1) How can you be so sure that Philo died c.AD50? The New International
Dictionary of the Christian Church states that he was 'probably past
middle age in AD40' when he went to Rome to see Gaius. I cannot find any
precise dating for his birth or his death. If that is the case, then
surely you cannot mount any argument that says 'he could not have done X
because he probably died in AD50.'
2) Eusebius does not cite the evidence for his statement that Philo's
books ended up in Roman libraries. I also wonder why Philo never boasted
3) Let's agree that Eusebius was correct and that Philo's works did end
up in Roman libraries. That is a very unusual example of how one
author's works ended up elsewhere. Can you really use that to establish
the ready availability of Philo's works in other places? Can you really
use that as an example of how readily anyone's works found their way
around the Roman Empire? Also, how available would Roman libraries be to
professed Christians? Would they be allowed in to handle precious mss?
4) Both Philo and Eusebius may be wrong about the Therapeutae. But that
is hardly the point here. What they both say implies some knowledge of
Christian writings by Philo.
5) Let me quote from Wisdom of Solomon 18:14-16
'For while gentle silence enveloped all things,
and night in its swift course was now gone,
your all-powerful word leaped from heaven, from the royal throne,
into the midst of the land that was doomed,
a stern warrior,
carrying the sharp sword of your authentic command,
and stood and filled all things with death,
and touched heaven while standing on the earth.'
Why do we need Philo?
Earlier in 16:12
'For neither herb nor poultice cured them,
but it was your word, O Lord, that heals all people.'
I would translate the last phrase the way the Greek has it, 'the all
In 9:1 is the conjunction of logos and sophia.
Let's agree to differ here, Frank. I guess I happen to want evidence
more precise than is available by the nature of things. That means that,
for me, I have to withhold my judgment of such matters.
Now to the whole business of the BD being adopted into Mary's family.
Has no-one studied the way households worked in those days? Women had
little if any status outside their relationship to a male. As eldest
son, Jesus was the head of the household of Joseph, now dead. Mary is
'the mother of Jesus'. Jesus is not 'the son of Mary'. She gets her
identity from him. He does not get his identity from her.
What he was doing was entrusting his mother to the household of the BD.
She would then be identified through him. He would not be identified
For whatever reason, Jesus did not want his mother to be sponsored by
James, who would take over as head of the household when Jesus died,
seeing Jesus did not leave any son of his own behind. Mary would join
the household of the BD and become his surrogate mother, not just a
surrogate sister or daughter or cousin. This is not Roman adoption but
Mediterranean Hebrew adoption.
Ross Saunders from DownUnder.