Home: Alexandria, Egypt
School: Jewish-Hellenistic philosopher
Influences on Philo: Philo received a thorough education in the Old Testament and in Greek literature and philosophy. He had an intimate knowledge of the works of Homer and of the Greek tragedians, but his chief studies were in Greek philosophy, especially the teachings of the Pythagoreans, Plato, and the Stoics.
Rational/Empirical:Anti empiricist. All Knowledge derives from God. Philo condemned sensory knowledge.
Influence: The "Jewish Plato"
Greatest "achievement": Neo-Platonism - the mystical side of Plato, combined with Hebrew teachings, and downplaying Plato's rationalistic side.
Surviving Works: Many of the numerous extant works of Philo are concerned with the exposition and allegorical interpretation of Genesis and with the exposition of the Law of Moses for Gentiles. His other writings include biographies of biblical characters and a series of works on the Ten Commandments.
Synopsis: Continued the philosophy of duality, maintaining that man's immortal soul was of God, yet his body low and despicable.
Philo Judaeus, also Philo of Alexandria, appropriated so completely the doctrines of Greek philosophy that he must be considered also a Greek philosopher who combined the elements borrowed from various sources into an original unity. For this reason he is often referred to as a "Hellenized Jew." To Philo, the divinity of the Jewish law was the basis and test of all true philosophy. He maintained that the greater part of the Pentateuch, in both its historical and legal portions, could be explained allegorically, and that its deepest and truest significance is to be found through such interpretation. He conceived of God as a being without attributes, better than virtue and knowledge, better than the beautiful and the good, a being so exalted above the world that an intermediate class of beings is required to establish a point of contact between him and the world. These beings he found in the spiritual world of ideas-not merely ideas in the Platonic sense, but real, active powers, surrounding God as a number of attendant beings. All these intermediate powers are known as the Logos, the divine image in which persons are created and through which they participate in the deity. An individual's duties consist of veneration of God and love and righteousness toward others. Humans are immortal by reason of their heavenly nature, but just as degrees in this divine nature exist, degrees of immortality also exist. Mere living after death, common to all humanity, differs from the future existence of the perfect souls, for whom paradise is oneness with God.
Philo and ChristainityEdit
While Philo was supposedly a contemporary of Jesus, the works of Philo strangely include not a word about the supposed savior of humanity. He visited the Temple in Jerusalem, and corresponded with family there. He wrote a great many books on religion and philosophy which survive to this day, and mentioned many of his contemporaries. His main theological contribution was the development of the Logos, the "Word" that opens the Gospel of John. Yet Philo not once mentions Jesus, anybody who could be mistaken for Jesus, or any of the events of the New Testament. His last writings come from 40 CE, only a few years after the end of Pontius Pilate's reign, when he was part of an embassy sent by the Alexandrian Jews to the Roman Emperor Caligula.
Philo wrote an account of the Jews covering the entire time that Christ is said to have existed on earth. He was living in or near Jerusalem when Christ's miraculous birth and the Herodian massacre (which also has no independent corroboration) supposedly occurred. He was personally very interested in the concept of resurrection. He was there when Christ supposedly would have made his triumphal entry in Jerusalem. He was there when the Crucifixion with its attendant earthquake, supernatural darkness, and resurrection of the dead would have taken place--when Christ himself supposedly would have rose from the dead. Yet, none of these events are ever mentioned by him.
The following is quoted from: http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/philo.html
- "Much as Josephus would, a half century later, Philo wrote extensive apologetics on the Jewish religion and commentaries on contemporary politics. About thirty manuscripts and at least 850,000 words are extant. Philo offers commentary on all the major characters of the Pentateuch and, as we might expect, mentions Moses more than a thousand times.
Yet Philo says not a word to confirm the existence of Jesus, Christianity nor any of the events described in the New Testament. In all this work, Philo makes not a single reference to his alleged contemporary "Jesus Christ", the godman who supposedly was perambulating up and down the Levant, exorcising demons, raising the dead and causing earthquake and darkness at his death.
With Philo's close connection to the house of Herod, one might reasonably expect that the miraculous escape from a royal prison of a gang of apostles (Acts 5.18,40), or the second, angel-assisted, flight of Peter, even though chained between soldiers and guarded by four squads of troops (Acts 12.2,7) might have occasioned the odd footnote. But not a murmur. Nothing of Agrippa "vexing certain of the church" or killing "James brother of John" with the sword (Acts 12.1,2). "
It simply makes no sense that Philo would not have recorded something about Jesus, vis-a-vis the Jesus described in the book of Mark. Those who argue that Philo would have merely ignored a crowd drawing, miracle working godman because he could not have conceived of the 'logos' in human form merely beg the question that Philo's position would never change, even in the face of negating evidence. Philo never reports ever seeing the godman represented in the Gospels. His silence is glaring. And Philo may well have even provided us with a positive rule out for a real Jesus Christ:
- "And even if there be not as yet any one who is worthy to be called a son of God, nevertheless let him labour earnestly to be adorned according to his first-born word, the eldest of his angels, as the great archangel of many names; for he is called, the authority, and the name of God, and the Word, and man according to God's image, and he who sees Israel."
- – Philo, "On the Confusion of Tongues," (146)
Quotation via: http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/philo.html
Can this situation be any worse for Christian claimants? Actually, yes. We know directly from Philo that there was a pre-Christianity Jewish belief in a celestial being actually named "Jesus", who wa the firstborn son of god, made in the celestial image of god, who was god's agent of creation. (Carrier, Not the Impossible Faith, pp 250) (As Carrier states, all of these claims ban be found in the works of Paul, 1 and 2 Corinthians and Romas.)
Now ask yourself: when have you ever heard of these historical facts from a Christian debater?