The Radical Jewish Philosopher
PLUS: Classical Wisdom Litterae Edition on The Jewish People
Dear Classical Wisdom Members,
I didn’t know what to expect, to be honest. I thought we would be grilled upon arrival! All the blogs mentioned the inquisition. And yet, after a few polite questions, we were shown the exit…. pass the long line for passport control… and just like that, we were in Israel.
Hooray for common sense?
I can’t give you much of my impressions of the country… nor the historical sites visited… nor really anything! This is because this occurred approximately two hours ago. We are waiting to check in our airbnb in a local cafe, which fortunately has wifi.
But these thoughts and more (I still have to report on our excellent “Side” trip - an amazing ancient gem!) will be coming. In the meantime, I thought it would be interesting to look at a radical Jewish philosopher from the ancient world… a man who tried to bring together the bible and hellenistic philosophy… something that impacted Christianity greatly.
Please note, this article comes from our Classical Wisdom Litterae Magazine, dedicated to the Jewish People.
Classical Wisdom Members, you can access the entire issue below the article. Also included: Menahem’s Surprise Attack at Masada, a look at the Roman response to the Jewish revolt; Vespasian Versus Izates Manu, politics behind the Roman-Jewish war; and an Ancient Coin of Jewish Rebellion - Recently Unearthed!
Now for a look at Philo of Alexanderia, the Jewish Philosopher…
All the best,
Founder and Director
P.S. Please make sure to join us for our live event regarding Jews in the Roman Bathhouse… how did the Jews and Christians interact with the Romans and the Greeks? Using the bathhouse as the backdrop Professor Yaron Eliav re-examines how these different peoples got along…or not.
Taking place Tomorrow (Thursday June 15th) at NOON Est. Register here:
Philo of Alexandria, Jewish Philosopher
Written by Ed Whalen, Contributing Writer, Classical Wisdom
Many ancient societies were deeply influenced by Graeco-Roman Civilization, including early Judaic culture. The exchange between them produced important thinkers in Judaism, among them the philosopher Philo of Alexandria, also known as Philo Judaeus. He is perhaps the most important representative of Hellenistic Judaism… and his works had a decisive influence on later Christian thinkers.
But who was this Jewish philosopher?
Like many things from the ancient world, the exact date of Philo’s birth is not known, but it may have been about 20 BC. He was born in Alexandria, Egypt, home at that time to one of the largest Jewish communities in the diaspora. His family was very influential, and indeed, his brother, called Alexander Lysimachus, went on to become one of the wealthiest men in not only the city, but the entire Hellenisitic world at the time. In fact, he was so rich that he gave a loan to the wife of king Agrippa I, as well as gold and silver to overlay the nine gates of the temple in Jerusalem. He also had connections with the imperial family during the reigns of Nero and Claudius.
Philo was brought up in a pious Jewish household and would have studied the Bible and Jewish scholarly works. Alexandria was, at the time,