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Re: [John_Lit] Re: Logos in John and Philo

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  • FMMCCOY
    This is a response to Kaare Sigvald Fugseth s post of 9-28. You are correct: Philo does not state, in Fug. 108, that the Logos, as true High Priest, is Son of
    Message 1 of 7 , Sep 28, 2000
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      This is a response to Kaare Sigvald Fugseth's post of 9-28. You are
      correct: Philo does not state, in Fug. 108, that the Logos, as true High
      Priest, is Son of God. What he states is this, "His Father being God". As
      a result, I should have said that there is a resemblance between the Logos
      as High Priest in Fug. 108-114 and what the Baptizer says about Jesus in
      John 3:27ff in that one has God as his Father and the other is a Son of the
      Father.
      I could point out some literary relationships between Philo and the
      author of Joseph and Asenath, but it is a highly technical situation not
      suitable for a posting like this but, rather, for a lengthy manuscript. I
      cannot demonstrate that the Baptizer read Philo, but I strongly suspect
      it--and not just on the basis of John 3:27ff. Even more important is a Q
      tradition passage thusly rendered in Luke 3:16-17, "Indeed, I baptize you
      with water: but he comes who is mightier than I--of whom I am not fit to
      loose the thong of his sandals. And he will baptize you with (the) Holy
      Spirit and with fire: of whom the winnowing fan is in his hand--and he will
      thorougly purge his floor and gather the wheat into his granary. But the
      chaff he will burn with unqunchable fire."
      Here, John speaks of the Logos: who (as I mentioned in a previous
      posting) can "baptize" one with the spiritual water of the Spirit as Sophia
      into eternal life. He can also baptize one with hell-fire. So, in On
      Dreams I (85), Philo declares, "It is of the divine Logos that it is said,
      'The Sun went forth upon the earth, and Lot entered into Zoar, and the Lord
      rained on Sodom and Gomorrah brimstone and fire'. For the Logos of God,
      when it arrives at our earthly composition, in the case of those who are
      akin to virtue and turn away to her, gives help and succor, thus affording
      them a refuge and perfect soterion (safety or salvation), but sends upon her
      adversaries irreparable ruin." Here, Philo emphasises, the Logos gives
      refuge and safety/salvation to the virtuous, but hell-fire to the wicked.
      In Luke 3:16-17, John says the same thing using thrashing imagery: so that
      the grain the Coming One brings into the barn represents the virtuous who
      have been given refuge and safety/salvation by the Logos, while the chaff
      the Coming One burns represents the wicked, upon whom the Logos pours out
      hell-fire. Indeed, I think it likely that John read On Dreams I and largely
      based what he says in Luke 3:16-17 on the above cited quotation by Philo.
      Howerver, because most of his followers were peasants, he switched to
      threshing imagery.
      Note that, Philo's interpretation of Genesis 19:23ff entails, the Logos
      is the Sun and Lord who saves the virtuous, but incinerates the wicked.
      This relates to Malachi 4:2-6: where, God declares, Elijah will return as a
      fore-runner for a Sun of Righteousness and Lord who will save the righteous
      but incinerate the wicked. I suggest that the Baptizer knew about Malachi
      4:2-6 and, further, believed himself to be Elijah come again and this Coming
      One to be Philo's Logos: the Sun and Lord who saves the righteous, but
      incinerates the wicked. This explains why he proclaimed himself to be the
      fore-runner for Philo's Logos.
      You state that John 3:27ff "does not refer to the temple cult in any
      way, and that is perhaps the main difficulty if you want to argue that John
      presents
      Jesus as High Priest." However, the Logos, as the true High Priest, has
      nothing to do with the temple cultus, for his temple is the Cosmos. So, in
      On Dreams I (215), Philo states, "For there are, as is evident, two temples
      of God: one of them is this universe, in which there is also as High Priest
      His First-born, the divine Logos".
      Also important to the discussion is Philo's treatment of Zech. 6:12,
      "Behold, the man whose name is the Anatole. And he shall spring up from his
      stem, and build the house of the Lord." Philo took the Anatole to be the
      Logos and interpreted this passage to mean that the Logos built the "temple
      (i.e., the Cosmos)" in the Beginning. So, in the Confusion of Tongues (62),
      he states, ""'Behold a man whose name is the Anatole'....For that man is the
      eldest Son; whom the Father of all raised up and elsewhere calls him His
      first-born, and indeed the Son thus begotten followed the ways of his Father
      and shaped the different kinds, looking to the archetypal patterns which
      that Father supplied." This confirms that the temple that concerns the
      Logos as High Priest is the Cosmos rather than the Jerusalem temple and its
      cultus.
      Directly relating to Zech. 6:12 and Philo's intepretation of it is Luke
      1:78-79. It is part of a speech by the Baptizer's father in which he
      declares that the Baptizer is the fore-runner for someone else. Luke
      1:78-79 reads, "In which has visited us the Anatole from on high, to shine
      upon those in darkness and sitting in (the) shadow of death, to direct our
      feet into (the) way of peace." Here, we find, the figure for whom the
      Baptizer is the fore-runner is a pre-existent heavenly being, called the
      Anatole, who shines in the darkness and brings us peace. That is to say,
      this figure is Philo's Logos: who is a pre-existent heavenly being called
      the Anatole, who shines in the darkness, and who bring us peace. Indeed,
      bringing peace to us is one of his most important roles. So, in Who is the
      Heir (206), Philo thusly "quotes" the Logos, "'For I am the harbinger of
      peace to creation, from that God whose will is to bring wars to an end, who
      is ever the guardian of peace.'"
      Luke 1:78-79, then, is evidence supporting the proposition that the
      Baptizer proclaimed himself to be the fore-runner for the Logos incarnate on
      earth. This, in turn, supports the proposition that John 3:27ff does have
      the Baptizer identifying Jesus as being this Logos.

      Frank McCoy
      Maplewood, MN USA
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    • Horace Jeffery Hodges
      I strongly suspect, though I cannot prove this, that John the Baptizer could not read Greek and hence could not read Philo -- even if Philo s writings had had
      Message 2 of 7 , Sep 28, 2000
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        I strongly suspect, though I cannot prove this, that
        John the Baptizer could not read Greek and hence could
        not read Philo -- even if Philo's writings had had
        time to circulate far enough to reach Palestine (of
        which I am doubtful).

        The author of John's Gospel could read Greek and might
        have been familiar with Philo's writings -- though I
        see no furiously smoking gun here.

        I do convinced, however, that there was a large body
        of Jewish traditions about God's Word, Jewish
        speculations about Wisdom, and Jewish claims about
        Torah as all (variously) pre-existent and involved in
        the act of creation -- among other such motifs
        circulating in the first century of the common era.
        These sorts of things surface in Philo and Second
        Temple literature as well as in rabbinical writings.
        It should not be surprising to find them surfacing in
        New Testament writings or in the words of figures
        populating the New Testament.

        This, I think -- and not literary dependence -- likely
        accounts for the resonances noted between John's
        Gospel and Philo's writings.

        Jeffery Hodges

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      • FMMCCOY
        In his post of 9-28, Horace Jeffery Hodges makes two points: (1) it is unlikely that the Baptizer would have known how to read Greek, much less have read any
        Message 3 of 7 , Sep 30, 2000
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          In his post of 9-28, Horace Jeffery Hodges makes two points: (1) it is
          unlikely that the Baptizer would have known how to read Greek, much less
          have read any of Philo's works and (2) the similarities between Philionic
          thought and Johannine thought are probably due to first century CE motifs
          and traditions known to both rather than due to John the Evangelist having
          read Philo. In this post, I am responding to the first point. In a later
          post, I will respond to the second point.
          There is evidence that John knew how to read Greek and had read Philo's
          works. According to Luke 1:5-9 , John's father had been a priest at the
          Jerusalem temple. From the inception of Herod's temple until 5 BC, his
          boss, the High
          Priest,. was Simeon (Simon): who was a son of Boethus of Alexandria and,
          so, grew up and was educated in Alexandria. He probably didn't know Philo,
          for he was a generation earlier, but he must have known his parents--who
          belonged to the
          same uppermost strata of Jewish society in Alexandria as Boethus and his
          offspring. If he kept in contact with them and others in Alexandria after
          moving to Jerusalem (and this is likely, for he was very rich and, so, had
          the means to dispatch servants on errands taking them to Alexandria) he
          would have learned of their son and the ideas he was coming up with and--I
          suggest--even getting copies of their son's works from them.
          There is evidence of a direct connection between Simeon and the
          Therapeutae residing in Alexandria. In Cont (80), Philo states, there were
          Therapeutic "poets of an earlier day who have left behind them hymns in many
          measures...lyrics suitable for processions or in libations and at the
          altars, or for the chorus whilst standing or dancing". These are hymns
          meant to be used at the Jerusalem temple: where there were priestly
          processions, sacrificial libations, several sacrificial altars, and a chorus
          composed of Levites. Further, they date to a generation before Philo became
          an adult, i.e., to c. 20 BC..
          Why did the Therapeutae create such hymns c. 20 BC when they lived in
          Alexandria and, so, were in no position to participate in the temple cultus?
          Well, c. 19 BC, the temple cultus was initiated in Herod's temple by
          Simeon. I suggest, then, that the Therapeutae wrote such hymns for the
          temple about that time because Simeon commissioned them
          to create new hymns for this new temple. These hymns would have been in
          Greek, which would have pleased Simeon's boss, i.e., Herod the Great: who
          tried to get his subjects to accept Greek culture and language.
          If this scenario is correct, then Simeon would have tried to get the
          temple priests, such as the Baptist's father, to have their sons raised
          knowing how to speak and write Greek. Further, he would tried to have them
          teach their sons about Alexandrian Judaism: particularly Therapeutic thought
          and, very likely, Philionic thought as well. Hence, if this scenario is
          correct, then the Baptizer likely was raised by his father to both speak and
          write in Greek and to be well-educated as respects Alexandrian
          Judaism--particularly as expressed by the Therapeutae and Philo.
          There is a way to test the validity of this scenario. That is, if it is
          correct, then the Baptizer had been deeply influenced by Therapeutic
          thought. Indeed, this appears to be the case!
          The Therapeutae were the most zealous fasters in Judaism and they took
          life-long vows to abstain from wine. Compare Luke 7:33 (Q tradition), "For
          John the Baptist has come, neither eating bread nor drinking wine,..".
          Again, we learn (Cont. 38-39, "Their clothing likewise is the most
          inexpensive,...for they practice an all-round simplicity." Compare Luke
          7:25 (Q tradition), where Jesus, speaking about the Baptizer, states, "But
          what have you come out to see? A man in soft clothing? Behold, they who
          are living in splendid clothing and in luxury are in the palaces."
          Particularly important is Luke
          3:10-14 (Lukan tradition), Here, the Baptizer states, "He that has two
          tunics, let him give to him that has not. And he that has food, let him do
          likewise." Similarly, according to Philo (Cont. 14), the Therapeutae "made
          good the needs of men, their kinsfolk and friends, and so turned their
          indigence into affluence." Again, the Baptizer states, "Exact nothing
          more beyond that which is appointed to you." and "Oppress no one,...and be
          satisfied with your wages." Similarly, the Therapeutae taught that one
          should not be covetous and try to oppress others. So, Philo states (Cont.
          71), they believe that "the wrongful and covetous acts of some who pursued
          that source of evil, inequality, have imposed their yoke and invested the
          stronger with power over the weaker." Finally, the Baptizer tells one to
          not "falsely accuse". Compare Cont. (39): where, we learn, the Therapeutae
          believe that "from falsehood flow the manifold forms of evil."
          As the scenario passes this test of its validity, it likely is true.
          Hence, it is likely that the Baptizer knew how to read Greek and knew about
          Philo and his teachings. Further, while he was growing up, he could have
          received copies of Philo's works from the (by then) retired Simeon bar
          Boethus.

          Frank McCoy
          Maplewood, MN USA
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        • Paul Schmehl
          I m not sure what the point of all this is. Your entire case is built upon speculation without any evidence at all. I could just as easily posit that God
          Message 4 of 7 , Sep 30, 2000
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            I'm not sure what the point of all this is. Your entire "case" is
            built upon speculation without any evidence at all. I could just as
            easily posit that God had a copy of Philo printed and sent Gabrial to
            deliver it to John.

            It's interesting supposition, but it doesn't prove anything, nor does
            it strengthen your argument. Speculation and innuendo do not confirm
            or refute anything.

            Paul Schmehl baldeagl@...
          • Horace Jeffery Hodges
            Frank, I think that your reconstruction of John the Baptizer s life is very hypothetical (as your consistent reliance on the subjunctive indicates) and that
            Message 5 of 7 , Sep 30, 2000
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              Frank, I think that your reconstruction of John the
              Baptizer's life is very hypothetical (as your
              consistent reliance on the subjunctive indicates) and
              that the parallel ethical motifs that you see signify
              a common religious and ethical heritage rather than
              literary dependence.

              That's my hunch about your work, but I'm no expert
              here.

              Jeffery Hodges

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            • FMMCCOY
              Paul Schmehl, thank you for the input. Hopefully, you ll be more impressed with another line of reasoning suggesting that John the Baptist had access to the
              Message 6 of 7 , Oct 1, 2000
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                Paul Schmehl, thank you for the input. Hopefully, you'll be more
                impressed with another line of reasoning suggesting that John the Baptist
                had access to the works of Philo.
                In the Clementine Homilies (Homily II, Chapts. XXIII-XXIV). it is said
                that "John, a day-baptist" had 30 chief disciples, his favorite being Simon.
                This Simon is earlier described (i.e., in Chapt. XXII) as follows, "This
                Simon is the son of Antonius and Rachel, a Samaritan by race, of the village
                of Gitthae, which is six schoeni distant from the city (of Samaria). He,
                having disciplined himself in Alexandria,.."
                According to this early Christian tradition, then, John's favorite
                disciple had spent some time in Alexandria. Indeed, Egypt appears to have
                been one of his favorite locales to visit--for, in the first cited passage
                from the Clementine Homilies, it is declared that Simon had been in Egypt at
                the time that John was executed!
                There is a way to check the credibility of this early Christian
                tradition. That is, if John's favorite disciple had been spending much of
                his time in Egypt, particularly Alexandria, then one should find evidence of
                Alexandria being a secondary center for the Baptizer's
                movement.
                Significantly, in Acts 18:24-25, :it is declared that Apollos of
                Alexandria, arrived in Ephesus c. 53 CE "knowing only the baptism of John."
                This is evidence that Alexandria was, indeed, a secondary center for the
                Baptizers movement!
                As there is credible evidence that John's favorite disciple liked
                visiting Egypt, particularly Alexandria, John could very well
                have obtained copies of Philo's works from this disciple.

                Frank McCoy
                Maplewood, MN USA















                xx
                ----- Original Message -----
                From: "Paul Schmehl" <baldeagl@...>
                To: <johannine_literature@egroups.com>
                Sent: Saturday, September 30, 2000 4:08 PM
                Subject: Re: [John_Lit] Re: Logos in John and Philo


                > I'm not sure what the point of all this is. Your entire "case" is
                > built upon speculation without any evidence at all. I could just as
                > easily posit that God had a copy of Philo printed and sent Gabrial to
                > deliver it to John.
                >
                > It's interesting supposition, but it doesn't prove anything, nor does
                > it strengthen your argument. Speculation and innuendo do not confirm
                > or refute anything.
                >
                > Paul Schmehl baldeagl@...
                >
                >
                >
                > SUBSCRIBE: e-mail johannine_literature-subscribe@egroups.com
                > UNSUBSCRIBE: e-mail johannine_literature-unsubscribe@egroups.com
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                >
              • FMMCCOY
                In his post of 28-9-00. Horace Jeffery Hodges suggests that similarities between Philionic thought and Johannine thought are probably due to first century CE
                Message 7 of 7 , Oct 2, 2000
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                  In his post of 28-9-00. Horace Jeffery Hodges
                  suggests that similarities between Philionic thought and Johannine thought
                  are probably due to first century CE motifs and traditions known to both
                  rather than to
                  John having read Philo. Certainly, some of the similarities are due to
                  motifs and traditions known to both. However, it could still be that the
                  author of John read some of Philo's works. Let me give a case in point..
                  In Philo's work, Fuga, we have this sequence regarding the Logos as the
                  true High Priest of Leviticus 21:10-14:

                  109 His father is God
                  110 He is anointed by God with the Spirit as Sophia
                  111 He is King of the Cosmos in the sense of being God's Vice-roy
                  114 He is betrothed

                  In Chapter three of John, we have this sequence regarding what the Baptizer
                  says about Jesus:

                  29. He is the Bridegroom
                  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 gospel.
                  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've had more than my share of recent posts. So, unless someone asks
                  me to respond on some point(s), I'm going to sit back and just read what
                  others have
                  to say on topics relating to Johannine literature for a while.

                  Frank McCoy
                  Maplewood, MN USA
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