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Re: [John_Lit] Philo

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    ... From: RHS To: Sent: Tuesday, December 11, 2001 7:06 PM Subject: [John_Lit] Philo ... Dear
    Message 1 of 5 , Dec 11, 2001
      ----- 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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